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Muhammad in the Bible

Muhammad in the Bible

The idea that the Bible contains prophecies about the coming of Muhammad (peace be upon him), may surprise many people. It isn’t difficult to understand why, since the general perception people have of the Muhammad (pbuh) is that of a man with no connection to Biblical Prophets or prophecies.

However, taking a closer look at Muhammad’s (pbuh) life, it becomes clear that he upheld the basic tenets that the Biblical Prophets came with, and led millions to do the same. Indeed it was because of the teachings of Muhammad (pbuh) that billions of Muslims since his time up until today have revered the persons of Jesus, Moses and Abraham (peace be upon them all).

In this article, you will discover how both the Old and New Testament contain numerous verses which describe the coming of a new Prophet. Additionally, verses from the Bible itself will clearly show us that Muhammad (pbuh) is that Prophet.

John and the Priests

In the Chapter of John, some Jewish priests quizzed John the Baptist about three people who they were informed about in their scriptures. They asked him:

“Who are you?”

John confessed (he didn’t deny but confessed), “I’m not the Christ.”

They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”

John said, “I’m not.”

“Are you the Prophet?”

John answered, “No.” [John 1:19-21]

So they then asked him, “Why do you baptize if you aren’t the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” [John 1:25]

The priests were expecting three people as prophesied by their books, so they asked about Christ, Elijah and ‘the Prophet’. So who is ‘the Prophet’ they are referring to here? This cannot be a reference to Jesus as he is the Christ.

Looking at a copy of the Bible with cross-referencing, we find that the words ‘the Prophet’ which occur in John 1:25 refer to the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:18 in the Old Testament, which also mentions a forthcoming Prophet.

According to Deuteronomy 18:18 God speaks to the Prophet Moses and tells him that he will raise up a new Prophet who has certain clearly identifiable characteristics: I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him. [Deuteronomy 18:18-19]

In this prophecy God is telling Moses that he will raise a Prophet like him, who will be from ‘among their brethren’. Since these verses are directed to Moses and the Jewish People, the ‘brethren’ mentioned here are the brethren of the Jewish people.

Now Abraham, the forefather of the Jewish nation had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac (Genesis 21). The children of Isaac are the cousins of the children of the Ishmael. The children of Isaac are the Jews and the children of Ishmael are the Arabs.

‘Brethren’ in the language of the Old Testament can refer to the Jews themselves (Numbers 32:6), or to the ancestral cousins of the Jews such as the Arabs, Edomites and others (see Deuteronomy 2:4,8 for usage of the word ‘brethren’). So the Arabs are considered the brethren of the Jews.

Muhammad and Moses

Some people may claim that Jesus is the new Prophet being referred to in Deuteronomy 18:18. However ‘the Prophet’ mentioned in John 1:25 can’t be Jesus because he is described as a separate person to ‘the Christ’. In addition to this, the verse informs us that the Prophet will have the characteristic of being someone who is ‘like’ Moses. Jesus was very different to Moses, but what about Muhammad (pbuh)?

There is no doubt that Moses and Muhammad (pbuh) are very similar. Many historians who have studied the lives of Moses and Muhammad (pbuh) have remarked upon the many similarities between them. The late Reverend James L. Dow (1908-1977) who authored the Collins Gem Dictionary of the Bible wrote under the entry of ‘Moses’:

‘’The only man in history who can be compared even remotely to him is Mohammed.’’[1]

All of the evidence so far shows conclusively that Muhammad (pbuh) is the Prophet mentioned in John 1:25.

There are still many people who reject Muhammad (pbuh) purely because he was not Jewish (i.e not from the Children of Isaac). But we know that Prophets such as Noah, who are also mentioned in the Bible, weren’t Jewish either.

The Children of Abraham

According to the Bible, God made a promise to Abraham about his descendants: I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.[Genesis 17:7]

In this verse we see God promising Abraham that He will have a covenant with his descendants. This covenant was fulfilled by God by sending Prophets from the descendants of Isaac to the Jews (e.g Daniel, Jacob, Jesus etc.). But the promise that was made to Abraham by God was to all of his descendants, so it makes sense that Prophets would also be sent from the descendants of Abraham’s other son Ishmael.

In the Old Testament, God singled out the descendants of Ishmael (the Arabs) for a particular blessing: And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. [Genesis 17:20]

According to the verse above, God tells Abraham about a ‘Great Nation’ to come from Ishmael. This is another reason why God would send Prophets amongst the Arabs, how could God call a nation great if they were to be unbelievers? Their greatness is defined by their belief and obedience to God. We see that Muhammad (pbuh) fits the description of a Prophet from the descendants of Ishmael, who called people back to the religion of Abraham.

Muhammad (pbuh) did indeed come from that nation of rulers mentioned in Genesis 17:20. The book of Genesis tells us that Abraham left his wife (Hagar) and Ishmael to settle in ‘Paran’ (Genesis 21:21), which according to historians is in Arabia. Ishmael grew up and settled in Arabia and had twelve sons one of whom was called ‘Kedar’ (Genesis 25:13). Isaiah 21:13-17 confirms that the descendants of Kedar were in Arabia. It is well known that Muhammad (pbuh) was a direct descendant of Kedar.

In the Davis Dictionary of the Bible it is stated that Kedar is ‘…A tribe descended from Ishmael … The people of Kedar were Pliny’s Cedrai, and from their tribe Mohammed ultimately arose’[2]. There were Jewish tribes in Medina (the city that the Muhammad (pbuh) migrated to) who had settled there because they were awaiting the arrival of a Prophet. In fact, Ben Shalom the Chief Rabbi of Medina embraced Muhammad (pbuh) as the Prophet whose arrival was foretold in their scriptures.

Now let’s look at some interesting verses from Isaiah 42 about a messenger from Arabia.

The Messenger from Arabia

The Old Testament prophesises the coming of a Prophet from Arabia who would be from the descendants of Kedar. The verses of Isaiah 42 describe the coming of a Prophet who God refers to as ‘my Messenger’ (Isaiah 42:19). This Messenger would be from ‘the villages that Kedar inhabits’ (Isaiah 42:11), which means that the Messenger would emerge from Arabia since that’s where the villages of the descendants of Kedar lived according to Isaiah 21:13-17. This Messenger would give ‘judgment’, ‘light’ and ‘Law’ to the ‘Gentiles’ (Isaiah 42:1-4). Gentiles is a term referring to the non-Jews. This Messenger would be a ‘man of war’ who will first be persecuted and then will fight and defeat idol worshippers (Isaiah 42:13-17).

This description fits Muhammad (pbuh) exactly. Muhammad (pbuh) emerged from Arabia and was a direct descendant of Kedar, he was persecuted by and then fought and defeated the idol worshippers [3]. He bought about ‘judgment’ and ‘law’ to a lawless Arab people (Arabs would be classed as ‘Gentiles’) when he became the ruler of the Arabian Peninsula.

Conclusion

This booklet briefly describes some of the many verses in the Bible that deal with the coming of Muhammad (pbuh). Many Christians and Jews have accepted Islam (Islam literally means ‘submission to God’) by recognising Muhammad (pbuh) from the Bible. One of those is the late Revered David Benjamin Keldani the author of ‘Muhammad in the Bible’[4].

“I must remind the Christians that unless they believe in the absolute unity of God, and renounce the belief in the three persons, they are certainly unbelievers in the true God … The Old Testament and the Qur’an condemn the doctrine of three persons in God; the New Testament does not expressly hold or defend it, but even if it contains hints and traces concerning the Trinity, it is no authority at all, because it was neither seen nor written by Christ himself, nor in the language he spoke, nor did it exist in its present form and contents for – at least – the first two centuries after him.” Rev. David Benjamin Keldani, B.D. (1867-1940)

In the Quran, God tells the Christians and the Jews to follow the Prophet who is mentioned in their own books:

‘I shall ordain My mercy for those who are conscious of God and pay the poor due; who believe in Our Revelations; who follow the Messenger (Muhammad) – the unlettered prophet they find described in the Torah that is with them, and in the Gospel’ [7:156-157]

Since it has clearly been shown that Muhammad (pbuh) is mentioned in the Bible, as a next step, we invite you to look into Islam. Many people are attached to their identity, and don’t want to convert to or even look into another religion. But Islam is not just another religion, it’s the same message preached by Moses, Jesus and Abraham. It is the final instalment of the messages sent by God over the centuries. Islam teaches us to have a direct relationship with God, and that no one should be worshipped except God alone. It also teaches that God is nothing like a human being or like anything that we can imagine.

The concept of God is summarised in the Quran as:

Say, He is God, the One, God, the Absolute, He does not give birth, nor was He born, and there is nothing like Him*. [112:1-4]

Guidance ultimately comes from God. We ask God to guide us and you. May God’s peace and blessing be upon you for the rest of your days.

*God is not male or female, the word ‘Him’ when used for God does not refer to gender

References

[1] James L. Dow, Collins Gem Dictionary

[2] John D. Davis ,Davis Dictionary of the Bible

[3] Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A biography of the Prophet

[4] David Benjamin Keldani, Muhammad in world Scriptures

[5] James F. Hastings, Dictiona

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