J And the disbelievers say, “This is naught but a lie that he has fabricated, and another people have helped him in it.” They have indeed produced a wrongdoing and a calumny.
Z And they say, “They are fables of those of old which he has had written down, and they are recited to him morning and evening.”
4-5 These verses describe the accusation leveled against the Prophet that he was taught what to say by certain Jews and Christians (Q, Ṭ), and was merely rehearsing old stories; see also 16:103: He has merely been taught by a human being. Some commentators name specific people who were learned in the Torah, but then became followers of the Prophet, and it was alleged that he took stories from them (R). Many commentators connect these verses with a certain Naḍr ibn al-Ḥārith of the Quraysh, a storyteller who would recite stories from Persian history and myth; the disbelievers would compare his stories with the Quran and announce in the Prophet’s presence that al-Ḥārith’s stories were better (Ṭ). Fables of those of old are also mentioned in 6:25; 8:31; 16:24; 23:83; 27:68; 46:17; 68:15; 83:13.