Was Muhammad the Promised Prophet?

A Christian friend recently asked me if it’s true that Muhammad was predicted in Deuteronomy 18:18 as Muslims claim. Several Christian apologists like John Gilchrist, Sam Shamoun etc. have done a good job in refuting the “Muhammad in the Bible” fantasies. This is one of the claims that illustrate the shallow and inconsistent arguments Muslims resort to in a bid to “prove” that Muhammad is a prophet of God.

On one hand, they tell us that the Bible is “corrupt” and false, but when they are cornered with evidence against Muhammad, they start to appeal to the authority and credibility of the Bible to validate their guru. It’s a cognitive dissonance that is quite amusing and at the same time, sad.

In Deut. 18:18, God says to Moses, “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.”

Because this promised Prophet would be like Moses, some Muslims have tried to link Muhammad with Moses by pointing at some “similarities” – none of which confers any prophetic identity. The Bible indicates 3 unique features that distinguish Moses as Israel’s first prophet:

1. He was the mediator of a covenant. When God manifested Himself to the children of Israel, He promised to send them a prophet like Moses “as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly” (Dt. 18:16).

Moses mediated the old covenant between God and the Israelites. Through him, God gave the Israelites His law and requirements. As a token of this covenant, Moses sprinkled blood of calves on the people (Heb. 9:20). But Muhammad was no mediator of any covenant.

2. Moses knew God face-to-face. He had such a unique relationship with God that for 40 years, God manifested and frequently spoke directly to him in a way that He didn’t do with others (Exo. 33:11). The Quran confirms this in Sura 4:164 “And to Moses Allah spoke directly.” Allah didn’t speak to Muhammad face-to-face.

3. Moses performed great signs and wonders. God used him to bring plagues on Egypt, divide the Red Sea, bring manna from heaven and water from a rock. On the other hand, Muhammad had no miracle or sign. Even when his critics demanded for some, he admitted he couldn’t work any miracle. Certainly, Muhammad wasn’t the promised prophet.

Like a drowning man – whether by hook or by crook – Muslims latch on to the phrase “from among your brothers” in Deut. 18:18 arguing that Arabs are the brothers of Israelites, so the promised prophet must be an Arab and was Muhammad. This claim doesn’t hold water.

Looking at the whole of Deuteronomy we see that the term “among their brothers” was exclusively used for only the tribes of Israel. In Dt. 18:2, it was used for the Levites and other tribes in Israel. In each instance the term “their brothers” occurs in the Old Testament, it always refers to the tribes of Israelites, not to non-Israelites:

“… The LORD your God has given you this land to take possession of it. But all your able-bodied men, armed for battle, must cross ahead of your BROTHER Israelites” (Dt. 3:18)

“If there is a poor man AMONG YOUR BROTHERS in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted… (Dt. 15:7)

“Be sure to appoint over you the king the LORD your God chooses. He must be from AMONG YOUR BROTHERS. Do not place a foreigner over you, one WHO IS NOT A BROTHER Israelite” (Dt. 17:15)

“Do not take advantage of a hired man who is poor and needy, whether he is A BROTHER ISRAELITE or an alien living in one of your towns” (Dt. 24:14)

Some may argue that Isaac and Ishmael were half-brothers. But no valid connection exists between Ishmael and Muhammad or even the southern Arabs. In fact, no prophet was to be expected from the lineage of Ishmael because God’s covenant was with Isaac. Even the Quran agrees that prophethood was to come from the Israelites:

“And We gave to Him Isaac and Jacob and placed in his descendants prophethood and scripture…” (29:27).

Therefore, the promised Prophet was to come out of Israel and He is Jesus Christ. He is the “Prophet” (Mt. 13:57) and “the Son of the God” (Jn. 10:36). Like Moses:

1. He is the Mediator of a covenant. Through Him, God instituted a new covenant replacing that of Moses (Jer. 31:31-34). Under this new covenant, His laws would be written on His people’s hearts. This covenant was effected through blood (1 Cor. 11:25).

2. Jesus knew God face-to-face. He declared this in John 7:29 and 6:46.

3. Jesus performed great miracles. Like Moses, He also exercised power over the sea (Mk. 4:39).

Muhammad deceived his followers to believe that he was mentioned as God’s prophet in the Bible. This is why today Muslims are forced to jump through different hoops to “find” him within its pages. Let’s examine these two claims in the Quran:

Those who follow the Apostle, the unlettered Prophet whom they (Israelites) will find mentioned in their own (Scriptures) – in the Law and the Gospel – for he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil … He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them…” (Q 7:157)

This statement was attributed to Moses. One, there’s no way the Israelites could have known of any prophecy of an apostle of Allah to come within the pages of the Gospel when the Gospel had not yet been revealed in their time. The gospel was penned by Jesus’ apostles – and the Judaists didn’t believe the gospel – so how could Allah be telling them of a book that didn’t exist until 1,500 years later? Two, if Muhammad was unlettered or illiterate (as Muslims claim) how could he have certainly known that his coming was predicted in the Law and Gospel?

Three, Moses says the coming prophet would uphold justice, fairness and free the Jews from their yokes, but Muhammad was a great enemy to the Jews. He hated them; cursed them; enslaved them, assaulted them and unjustly murdered hundreds of them in one single day. Ibn Umar reported Muhammad as saying:

“You will fight against the Jews and you will kill them until even a stone would say ‘Muslim, there is a Jew (hiding himself behind me), kill him’.” (Muslim 7:41:6981)

Are we to believe that God who called Israel “the apple of [His] eye” (Zech. 2:8) and loved them “with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3) would then send them an apostle “like Moses” to rape, oppress, banish and slaughter them? Far from it!

In the second claim, Jesus allegedly says:

O children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah unto you, confirming the Taurat (Torah) which came before me, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad. they said: this is obvious sorcery!” (Q 61:6).

This statement lacks an eye witness account and like many fictional speeches Muhammad imputed onto Bible characters, it is invalid. Here was a man who lived for 40 years as a good ol’ pagan, going on caravan journeys, sitting around night fires with Jewish, Christian and Sabean traders listening to their stories and … boom, he wakes up one day to realize that his name is “Ahmad” announced as Jesus’ successor in the Gospels! Megalomania much?

Maybe, Muhammad forgot he had earlier recited that prophethood was reserved for the Israelites: “And We [Allah] did certainly give the Children of Israel the Scripture and judgement and prophethood, and We provided them with good things…” (Q 45:16)

The textual validity of Sura 61:6 is also questionable. The manuscript of Ubayy Ibn Ka’ab (one of the 4 earliest memorisers of the Quran), though destroyed by Uthman, survives in quotations and it reads differently from the common version:

“O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of God to you And I announce to you a prophet (nabiy) whose community (umma) will be the last community and by which God will put a seal on prophets (nabiyun) and messengers (rusul), they said: this is obvious sorcery!”

The part appearing in bold says nothing about an “Ahmad” promised by Jesus. It was obviously a later interpolation. Both variants may have been smuggled into the text to support an agenda. Irrespective of the cheap labours of Muslim apologists to legitimise Muhammad from the Bible, in the light of evidence, they have no ground to stand on.

Advertisements

Allah’s Irredeemable Gaffes about Christians and Jews

All through the Quran we are told that Allah is “all wise” and “all knowing” but there are several places in the Quran that belie this attribute. What he says about Jews and Christians is a case study.

1. Sura 2:139 Say (unto the People of the Scripture): “Dispute ye with us concerning Allah when He is our Lord and your Lord? Ours are our works and yours your works. We look to Him alone.”

A contrast of the attributes, characteristics and nature of the God of the Bible with the Allah of Islam clearly reveal that both are miles apart. The historical evidence of Islam’s theology also disqualifies Allah as the God of the Bible. The Arabian word for God is Ilah, but the “Allah” Muhammad preached is neither from both Judaism nor Christianity but paganism.

God’s name or the Tetragrammation (YHVH or YHWH) occurs no less than 7,000 times in the Hebrew Scriptures. This name was rendered as “LORD” or “Yahweh” and later “Jehovah” – pronounced with the vowels from Adonai which means ‘Lord.’ From the names of many Old Testament characters we can see that Yahweh was widely known as God’s name. For example:

Adonijah (My Lord is Yahweh)
Elijah (My God is Yahweh)
Azariah (Yahweh has helped)
Hezekiah (Yahweh strengthens)
Isaiah (Yahweh is salvation)
Jeremiah (Yahweh has uplifted)
Joshua (Yahweh is salvation)

If the ancient Jews knew Allah as their Lord as the Quran claims, at least one individual in the OT would have been named after him. So Azariah would be “Azarallah,” Isaiah would be “Isa’allah” and Adonijah would be “Adonallah.” Allah cannot be the Christian God either, because the New Testament reveals God as the Father of Jesus Christ – a designation that Allah vehemently repudiates.

As a matter of historical record, it was impossible for those who penned the Bible to speak of Allah as God because up until the 7th century when Muhammad made Allah into the “only God”, Allah was the name of a pagan deity. The Bible was completed long before Muhammad was born and there’s no way Christians would take one of the pantheon of pagan Arabia as their Lord.

2. Sura 2:140 “Do you say that Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac and Jacob and his children were Jews or Christians?’ Say ‘Do you know better or Allah and who is more unjust than he who hides the testimony that he has from Allah? And Allah is not unaware of what you do.”

This verse presents us with a farrago of categorical confusion and befuddling ignorance. Abraham was a Chaldean from Ur (modern Iraq). Ishmael was his illegitimate son and was excluded from God’s covenant. Isaac was the promised son with whom God formed His covenant and he gave birth to Jacob (Israel) who fathered the 12 tribes. The 12 tribes were Jews, not Christians. There was no Christianity until about 20 centuries later. This is not about someone “hiding a testimony” it’s about Allah knowing no better.

The general Hebrew word for God is “El” or “Elohim” and the names of OT figures and places bear this out e.g AbimaEL, BethEL, SamuEL, JoEL, JezreEL etc. Abraham named his son Ishmael (Ishma + EL) meaning “God hears.” If he was a Muslim or knew God as Allah, his son’s name should have been Ishmnallah. No amount of semantic acrobatics can rescue Allah and his Quran from his numerous fraudulent claims.

3. Sura 2:143 “Thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that ye may be witnesses against mankind, and that the messenger may be a witness against you. And We appointed the qiblah which ye formerly observed only that We might know him who followeth the messenger, from him who turneth on his heels. In truth it was a hard (test) save for those whom Allah guided…”

Here, we see Allah blowing hot-cold-hot. In Sura 2:125, the author of the Quran had said “Take as your place of worship where Abraham stood to pray.” By this he meant facing the Ka’aba in Mecca. But when Muhammad fled to Medina where majority of Jews lived, he tried to copy their religion so he led his followers to face the direction of Jerusalem while praying. The Jews and some of his followers questioned this conflicting “revelation” and a verse came:

“The foolish of the people will say: What hath turned them from the qiblah which they formerly observed? Say: Unto Allah belong the East and the West. He guideth whom He will unto a straight path” (2:142).

This led to the vs. 143 quoted above. Muhammad said his blowing hot and cold on the qibla was a test from Allah after all, Allah guides whoever he wills to a straight path. What an absurd excuse for a god who purposely deceives his own subjects. But wait for it, Allah changed his mind again about the prayer direction when Muhammad was frustrated at the Jews’ rejection of his prophethood:

4. Sura 2:144 “We have seen the turning of thy face to heaven (for guidance, O Muhammad). And now verily We shall make them turn (in prayer) toward a qiblah which is dear to thee. So turn thy face towards the Inviolable Place of worship, and ye (O Muhammad), wheresoever ye may be, turn your faces (when ye pray) toward it. Lo! Those who have received the Scripture know that (this revelation) is the Truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do.”

So Muslims were told to face the Ka’aba they had faced before. Interestingly, these revelations and counter-revelations are in the same Sura 2! One would expect a coherent thought from even a normal human being. The snag: Abraham and Ishmael were never in Mecca and never built the Kaaba. Abraham resided in Hebron (Jerusalem) and there is no reason he would move his family and animals 1,000 miles through an uncharted desert to build a temple. The People of the Book know the truth.

Sura 3:97 says there are “clear signs” in “the station of Abraham” at Mecca and those who go on hajj should visit the shrine. This station of Abraham (Maqam Ibrahim) is located inside the courtyard of the Holy mosque of Mecca. In there is a glass encasing a stone with footprints, allegedly those of Abraham when he built the Kaaba. Muslims pray towards the house of rocks in this shrine daily. These are rather clear signs of idolatry and falsehood.

Muhammad was born about 2,500 years after Abraham and there are reasons to reject his claims. There’s no way a worker building something would ever stand so long at the same spot that his feet would make a mark on a solid natural stone and this will still be visible after two millennia. Credulity has its limit. No scientific evidence exists to prove that the marks or stone at Maqam Ibrahim dates as old as it’s asserted.

Besides, the description of the station of Abraham in Sura 3:97 doesn’t fit the Maqam Ibrahim in Mecca (which is located outside the Kaaba temple) but instead fits the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem where according to Jewish tradition, is the rock where Abraham tried to sacrifice Isaac.

5. Sura 2:145 “And even if you bring to those who have been given the Book every sign they would not follow your qiblah, nor can you be a follower of their qiblah, neither are they the followers of each other’s qiblah, and if you follow their desires after the knowledge that has come to you, then you shall most surely be among the unjust.”

This is lame. First, Jews and Christians have no qibla. The true God is a Spirit and He is worshipped in spirit and truth. And where there is true spiritual worship, there are no litany of regulations for prayer, complicated rituals or bondage to any fixed direction or mode of praying (Jn. 4:24)

Second, there’s no justifiable reason for Jews and Christians to follow the Islamic qibla since Mecca has no significance in both Judaism and Christianity. The Bible mentions the city of Jerusalem about 800 times but says nothing about Mecca or Medina. Muhammad’s feeble attempt to tie the Jewish patriarchs and prophets to Mecca destroys Islam’s foundations.

6. Sura 2:146 “Those unto whom We gave the Scripture recognize (this revelation) as they recognize their sons. But lo! a party of them knowingly conceal the truth.”

On the contrary, the Quran contradicts the Bible so much that it is clear that both cannot be from the same God. There is no single Bible teaching that the Quran fully explains. There is no single Bible story that is correctly relayed in the Quran. There is no Bible character that has not been historically and morally assassinated in the Quran. But rather than owning up to his cluelessness and forgeries, the author of the Quran blames its irredeemable gaffes on some Jews and Christians who “knowingly conceal the truth.” How convenient.

7. Sura 4:163 “We have revealed our will to you as we have revealed it to Noah and to the prophets who came after him; as we revealed it to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the tribes, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, Solomon and to David We gave the Psalms.

Here again we see a mish-mash rearrangement of Bible characters and riotous ignorance. Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and his 12 sons were patriarchs, not prophets and they all came after Job. Aaron was a Levite priest while David and Solomon were kings. The author of the Quran must have heard about the Jewish prophets, but he didn’t know their order and chronology.

This list also omits major Jewish prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and Samuel. No informed Jew will ever confuse patriarchs with prophets or omit major prophets from a list as this. The Quran doesn’t even appeal to human reasoning. A revelation that is so beneath human intelligence can’t be from God. It’s impossible.

8. Sura 5:13 “And because of their breaking the covenant, We have cursed them and made hard their hearts. They change words from their context and forget a part of that whereof they were admonished. Thou wilt not cease to discovery treachery from all save a few of them. But bear with them and pardon them. Lo! Allah loveth the kindly.”

If we strip this verse of its hateful tone, what remains are vapid accusations. Allah (or whoever is speaking here) says he made a covenant with Christians but says nothing about the nature of the covenant or when it was broken. One thing is clear however, none of Allah’s curses can affect true Christians. This was a diversionary tactic. To justify his deception, Muhammad projected his forgeries and forgetfulness onto his opponents.

But he failed to explain why Jews and Christians would alter their own sacred books for centuries just to disprove a man whose moral, ethical and spiritual credentials already disqualify him as a true prophet. It makes no sense. In Muhammad’s narcissistic bubble universe, centuries of Jewish and Christian history must have been corrupted or forgotten for him to be right!

He accuses most Christians of treachery yet he endorsed treachery with non-Muslims. In Sura 10:94, Allah commands Muhammad to go to the People of the Book – without nuances or distinctions – for confirmation of the truth, but when they told him inconvenient Bible truths, he accused them of treachery and forgery! This is a heart hardened by Allah and Christians today need to pardon and bear with Muslims who act the same.

9. Sura 5:14 “And with those who say: ‘Lo! we are Christians,” We made a covenant, but they forgot a part of that whereof they were admonished. Thereof We have stirred up enmity and hatred among them till the Day of Resurrection, when Allah will inform them of their handiwork.”

What a nice hobbyhorse. When Christians pointed out the numerous errors and lies in his recitations, Muhammad turned the blame on them and accused them of forgetting a covenant they made with Allah. He used the divisions amongst some Christians he knew as “proof” so that his own infractions would be overlooked.

So his Allah stirs up enmity in people yet he will condemn them for what he made them do! What an unjust and sadistic deity. Islam has no evidence, all it has are stubborn claims; not even a theory of how it is possible for Jews and Christians to conceal or corrupt their Scriptures and thousands of extant manuscripts would tell otherwise, that the Bible is true and trustworthy.

When a record alleged to be from God is plagued with lies, blunders, contradictions and confusion, it’s intolerable for us to cover or excuse them to protect the image of a prophet or religion. These are evidence that the record is entirely man-made.