Muhammad in the Bible
By: Dr. Jamal Badawi
Those who follow the Apostle, the unlettered Prophet, Whom they find mentioned in their own Scriptures, in the Torah and the Gospel... (Holy Qu'ran: VII - 157; Translation: Yusif Ali)
BIBLE PROPHECIES ABOUT THE ADVENT OF MUHAMMAD
Abraham is widely regarded as the Patriarch of monotheism and the common father of the Jews, Christians and Muslims. Through His second son, Isaac, came all Israelite prophets including such towering figures as Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon and Jesus. May peace and blessings be upon them all. The advent of these great prophets was in partial fulfillment of God's promises to bless the nations of earth through the descendents of Abraham (Genesis12:2-3). Such fulfillment is wholeheartedly accepted by Muslims whose faith considers the belief in and respect of all prophets an article of faith.
BLESSINGS OF ISHMAEL AND ISAAC
Was the first born son of Abraham (Ishmael) and his descendants included in God's covenant and promise? A few verses from the Bible may help shed some light on this question;
Genesis 12:2-3 speaks of God's promise to Abraham and his descendants before any child was born to him.
Genesis 17:4 reiterates God's promise after the birth of Ishmael and before the birth of Isaac.
In Genesis, ch. 21. Isaac is specifically blessed but Ishmael was also specifically blessed and promised by God to become "a great nation" especially in Genesis 21:13, 18.
According to Deuteronomy 21:15-17 the traditional rights and privileges of the first born son are not to be affected by the social status of his mother (being a "free" woman such as Sarah, Isaac's mother, or a "Bondwoman" such as Hagar, Ishmael's mother). This is only consistent with the moral and humanitarian principles of all revealed faiths.
The full legitimacy of Ishmael as Abraham's son and "seed" and the full legitimacy of his mother, Hagar, as Abraham's wife are clearly stated in Genesis 21:13 and 16:3. After Jesus, the last Israelite messenger and prophet, it was time that God's promise to bless Ishmael and his descendants be fulfilled. Less than 600years after Jesus, came the last messenger of God, Muhammad, from the progeny of Abraham through Ishmael. God's blessing of both of the main branches of Abraham's family tree was now fullfilled. But are there additional corroborating evidence that the Bible did in fact foretell the advent of prophet Muhammad?
MUHAMMAD: The Prophet Like Unto Moses
Long time after Abraham, God's promise to send the long-awaited Messenger was repeated this time in Moses' words.
In Deuteronomy 18:18, Moses spoke of the prophet to be sent by God who is:
From among the Israelite's "brethren", a reference to their Ishmaelite cousins as Ishmael was the other son of Abraham who was explicitly promised to become a "great nation".
A prophet like unto Moses. There were hardly any two prophets ,who were so much alike as Moses and Muhammad. Both were given comprehensive law code of life, both encountered their enemies and were victors in miraculous ways, both were accepted as prophets/statesmen and both migrated following conspiracies to assassinate them. Analogies between Moses and Jesus overlooks not only the above similarities but other crucial ones as well (e.g. the natural birth, family life and death of Moses and Muhammad but not of Jesus, who was regarded by His followers as the Son of God and not exclusively a messenger of God, as Moses and Muhammad were and as Muslim belief Jesus was).
THE AWAITED PROPHET WAS TO COME FROM
Deuteronomy 33:1-2 combines references to Moses, Jesus and
Muhammad. It speaks of God (i.e. God's revelation) coming from Sinai, rising
from Seir (probably the
Indeed the King James version of the Bible mentions the
pilgrims passing through the
Isaiah 42:1-13 speaks of the beloved of God. His elect and messenger who will bring down a law to be awaited in the isles and who "shall not fail nor be discouraged till he have set judgement on earth." Verse 11, connects that awaited one with the descendants of Ke'dar. Who is Ke'dar? According to Genesis 25:13, Ke'dar was the second son of Ishmael, the ancestor of prophet Muhammad.
MUHAMMAD'S MIGRATION FROM
Habakkuk 3:3 speaks of God (God's help) coming from Te'man (an
Oasis North of Medina according to J. Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible), and
the holy one (coming) from Paran. That holy one who under persecution migrated
from Paran (
Indeed the incident of the migration of the prophet and his persecuted followers is vividly described in Isaiah 21:13-17. That section foretold as well about the battle of Badr in which the few ill-armed faithful miraculously defeated the "mighty" men of Ke'dar, who sought to destroy Islam and intimidate their own folks who turned -to Islam.
THE QUR'AN (KORAN) FORETOLD IN THE BIBLE?
For twenty-three years, God's words (the Qur'an) were truely put into Muhammad's mouth. He was not the "author" of the Qur'an. The Qur'an was dictated to him by Angel Gabriel who asked Muhammad to simply repeat the words of the Qur'an as he heard them. These words were then committed to memory and to writing by those who hear them during Muhammad's life time and under his supervision.
Was it a coincidence that the prophet "like unto Moses" from the "brethren" of the Israelites (i.e. from the lshmaelites) was also described as one in whose mouth God will put his words and that he will speak in the name of God, (Deuteronomy 18:18-20). Was it also a coincidence the "Paraclete" that Jesus foretold to come after Him was described as one who "shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak (John 16:13)
Was it another coincidence that Isaiah ties between the messenger connected with Ke'dar and a new song (a scripture in a new language) to be sang unto the Lord (Isaiah 42:10-11). More explicitly, prophesies Isaiah "For with stammering lips, and another tongue, will he speak to this people" (Isaiah 28:11). This latter verse correctly describes the "stammering lips" of Prophet Muhammad reflecting the state of tension and concentration he went through at the time of revelation. Another related point is that the Qur'an was revealed in piece-meals over a span of twenty three years. It is interesting to compare this with Isaiah 28:10 whichspeaks of the same thing.
THAT PROPHET- PARACLETE- MUHAMMAD
Up to the time of Jesus (peace be upon him), the Israelites were still awaiting for that prophet like unto Moses prophecied in Deuteronomy 18:18. When John the Baptist came, they asked him if he was Christ and he said "no". They asked him if he was Elias and he said "no". Then, in apparent reference to Deuteronomy 18:18, they asked him "Art thou that Prophet" and he answered, "no". (John 1: 1 9-2 1).
In the Gospel according to John (Chapters 14, 15, 16) Jesus spoke of the "Paraclete" or comforter who will come after him, who will be sent by Father as another Paraclete, who will teach new things which the contemporaries of Jesus could not bear. While the Paraclete is described as the spirit of truth, (whose meaning resemble Muhammad's famous title Al-Amin, the trustworthy), he is identified in one verse as the Holy Ghost (John 14:26). Such a designation is however inconsistent with the profile of that Paraclete. In the words of the Dictionary of the Bible, (Ed. J. Mackenzie) "These items, it must be admitted do not give an entirely coherent picture."
Indeed history tells us that many early Christians understood the Paraclete to be a man and not a spirit. This might explain the followings who responded to some who claimed, without meeting the criteria stipulated by Jesus, to be the awaited "Paraciete".
It was Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who was the Paraclete, Comforter, helper, admonisher sent by God after Jesus. He testified of Jesus, taught new things which could not be borne at Jesus' time, he spoke what he heard (revelation), he dwells with the believers (through his well-preserved teachings). Such teachings will remain forever because he was the last messenger of God, the only Universal Messenger to unite the whole of humanity under God and on the path of PRESERVED truth. He told of many things to come which "came to pass" in the minutest detail meeting, the criterion given by Moses to distinguish between the true prophet and the false prophets (Deuteronomy 18:22). He did reprove the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment (John 16:8-11)
WAS THE SHIFT OF RELIGIOUS LEADERSHIP PROPHESIED?
Following the rejection of the last Israelite prophet, Jesus, it was about time that God's promise to make Ishmael a great nation be fulfilled (Genesis 21:13, 18)
In Matthew 21:19-21, Jesus spoke of the fruitless fig tree (A Biblical symbol of prophetic heritage) to be cleared after being given a last chance of three years (the duration of Jesus' ministry) to give fruit. In a later verse in the same chapter, Jesus said: "Therefore, say I unto you, The Kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruit thereof" (Matthew 21:43). That nation of Ishmael's descendants (the rejected stone in Matthew 21:42) which was victorious against all super-powers of its time as prophesied by Jesus: "And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder" (Matthew 21:44).
OUT OF CONTEXT COINCIDENCE?
Is it possible that the numerous prophecies cited here are all individually and combined out of context misinterpretations? Is the opposite true, that such infrequently studied verses fit together consistently and clearly point to the advent of the man who changed the course of human history, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Is it reasonable to conclude that all these prophecies, appearing in different books of the Bible and spoken by various prophets at different times were all coincidence? If this is so here is another strange "coincidence"!
One of the signs of the prophet to come from Paran (
Says God as quoted by Moses:
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. (Deuteronomy 18:19)
About the author:
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Dr. Jamal Badawi was born in
In addition to teaching in his formal field of education (Management), he has been teaching a course on "Islamic Religious Tradition" which is part of the offerings of the Religious Studies department at the same university.
Dr. Badawi has also taught a course on Islam at Stanford University (USA) and gave a series of lectures on the Quran at Oxford University (UK).
Dr. Badawi is the author of several works on Islam, the last of which is 'Gender Equity in Islam'. He also researched, designed and presented 352 half hour TV programs on Islam broadcasted from several local cable stations and radio stations in the US and Canada, in addition to their use in several countries overseas. Audio and video copies of these programs were made available to users in nearly 35 countries around the world. Sets of these programs are included in the library collections of several universities.
Dr. Badawi is a member of the Consultative Council of North
America, a member of the Juristic Council of North America and the
founder/chairman of the Islamic Information Foundation, a non-profit
educational foundation registered in
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