Monday, 18 August 2008

The mention of Mohammed in the Bible


draft version 1.0

One important component of the cumulative argument for the warrant of Islamic belief, is the authority of Mohammed as a prophet within the biblical scriptures. Many non Muslims, more so Christians would be perplexed by the idea that Muslims would be referring to biblical scriptures to demonstrate the prophethood of Mohammed. However this contention can simply be overcome by the understanding of Islam not as a new religion as such, but more so as a continuation of prophethood and the finality of messangerhood. From the time of Adam to Mohammed, it is stated that there have been anything from one hundred to twenty thousand prophets sent to mankind. Each brought new revelation or confirmed the previous message. If we understand Islam in this sense and that Mohammed (saw ) was the final and last messenger, the most important messenger, then it would be quite plausible to inquire as to whether Moses, Jesus or another prophet from the lineage of prophets would mention such a great prophet.


The other explanation of such an enterprise is that God, ‘Allah’, in the Quran mentions that Mohammed is included within the biblical scriptures.


“Those who follow the Apostle, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own Scriptures, in the Torah and the Gospel” (Quran 7:157; Trans.: Yusuf Ali)


To present a summary of the argument that the Prophet of Islam is mentioned within the biblical scriptures, I shall explore two main arguments comprised of two verses each, with supportive arguments, containing other verses to add further contextualisation.


Christian apologists overtly dismiss the claim that the authority of Mohammed is mentioned within the Bible. They claim that the mention of Islam’s prophet is nowhere to be found. Their defence is that Muslims are misquoting the biblical references and namely, taking them out of their ‘proper’context.


Muslim apologists claim that Moses prophesised the coming of a new prophet and within this prophecy a clue is given to recognise this new prophet.


"I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 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 18:18

Muslim Apologists claim that this particular verse is referring to Mohammed, the prophet of Islam. Their first argument is based upon to the mention that a prophet will rise amongst their brethren. The second argument is that Mohammed is more similar to Moses, than Jesus is similar to Moses, and lastly the verse containing the particular and rather descriptive sentence “put words in his mouth”.


1) “A Prophet will rise amongst their brethren…”


It is argued that the brethren of the Israelites, as mentioned in the verse, are the Ishmaelites. The late Ahmed Deedat a prominent South African biblical scholar explains that Abraham had two sons from two different wives, Sarah the mother of Isaac who is the father of the Jews and Hagar the mother of Ishmael the father of the Arabs.[1]

As it is widely accepted that Mohammed come from Arabia, the lineage of the Ishmaelites i.e Arabs, Mohammed therefore falls within this description. The Bible also confirms this historical relationship. [2]


2) Mohammed is more similar to Moses than Jesus is similar to Moses; therefore the prophecy is foretelling the coming of Mohammed rather than Jesus.


Ahmed Deedat drew analogies between Moses and Mohammed. Firstly, Moses had a father and mother, whereas Jesus had a miraculous birth. Moses married as did Mohammed, Jesus did not. Both Moses and Mohammed were accepted by their people in their very lifetime, where as Jesus was rejected by his people during his life. Moses and Muhammad were prophets as well as kings. Dedat explains that Moses not only was a spiritual leader but also a material leader too. Moses had the power over his people to punish. An example is given of the Israelite who was found picking up firewood on Sabbath Day, and Moses had him stoned to death. (Numbers- 15:13). Mohammed is also known to not to be just a spiritual leader but also material leader. Jesus on the other hand was known to have said that his kingdom was not of this world.

“My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”(John 18:36).

Moses and Muhammad brought new laws and new regulations for their people. Moses not only gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, but a very comprehensive ceremonial law for the guidance of his people. Jesus however, as Deedat demonstrates with the following verse, does not:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished”.(Mathew 5:17-18).

Hence Jesus did not come with a new law. Mohammed on the other hand, as it is well known brought a new set of laws to the Arabs. Both Moses and Muhammad died natural deaths, but according to Deedat and orthodox Christian belief, Jesus’ body is in Heaven. [3].

Deedat also focuses on Jesus’ unique characteristics, such as him being known as the Son of God and of his alleged resurrection where he died for the sins of the world and also that he was in Hell for three days. By this Deedat suggests that Moses and Jesus are incomparable.


Dr Jamal Badawi a well-known author, activist adds further similarities. Badawi likens Moses to Mohammed as Moses migrated as did Mohammed during his time as a prophet. Moses left Egypt for Median and Mohammed left Makkah for Yathrib which is now called Medina. The other commonalty between Moses and Mohammed is that both of their encounters with enemies ended with a military and moral victory, where as Jesus only ended with a moral victory. Lastly, the teachings revealed to Moses were available in a written form in their lifetimes, whereas the Gospel was written down many years after Jesus. [4]


3) “Put words in his mouth…”

Proceeding with arguments for verse Deuteronomy 18:18, the specific wording of the verse “put words in his mouth” is a vivid description of the type of revelation received by Muhammad. Angel Gabriel used to come and dictate to him specific portions of the Qur’an which were then repeated by Prophet Muhammad exactly as he had heard them. Muhammad’s own thinking or authorship were not involved in any way in what he uttered.[5] As the Qur’an describes:

“He (Muhammad) does not speak of his own desire, it is no less than a revelation sent down to him.” (The Qur’an 53:3-4)



The second verse that has caused much controversy within the Muslim-Christian dialogue, is the verses pertaining to the Gospel of John speaking of the coming of a “Paraclete.” The “Paraclete”, in its English form comes from the Greek word “Parakletos”, which means “one who consoles, one who intercedes on our behalf, a comforter or an advocate”.[6] 'Paraclete' appears in the New Testament in the Gospel of John (14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7, 20:22) where it may be translated in English as "Counselor", "Helper", or "Comforter". The Christian apologists say that this description is for the Holy Spirit.[7]

There are two distinct arguments as to why the mention of ‘Paraclete’ is in fact a reference to Mohammed. First the origin and etymology of the word ‘Paraclete’ and second the context the ‘Paraclete’ is mentioned.


Muslim apologists claim that the ‘Paraclete’ is actually Prophet Mohammed. They argue that the ‘Parakletos’ is the corrupted form of a very similar word ‘Periklitos”, which means ‘admired one’ or ‘glorified one’, which is the identical meaning of the name ‘Ahmad’ in Arabic, which was itself the other name of Mohammed. [8]

With respect to the contextual arguments, Deedat argues that this ‘Paraclete’ could not be the ‘Holy Spirit’, as it must be a ‘person’ indicated by the grammatical expression within the Johannone verses. The verses pertaining to the ‘Paraclete’ for example John 16:13 use the masculine pronouns “He and “himself”. Deedat points out that if the ‘Paraclete’ were referring to the Holy Spirit, then why would the verses use masculine pronouns, when in fact they should be using the pronoun ‘it’ for a neutral gender. [9] This is based on the assumption that the Holy Spirit is neutral in gender of course.

Continuing the discussion about the grammatical expression used, Dr Maurice Bucaille also suggests that these verses can not be attributed to the Holy Spirit but rather “to a being with hearing and speech organs”. [10] He demonstrates this by examining the Greek verb ‘to hear’, ‘akouo’, meaning to perceive sound. The Greek verb ‘to speak’, ‘laleo’, which is the general meaning of ‘to emit sound’ specifically ‘to speak’. The verb occurs very frequently in the Greek text with respect to Jesus’ preaching, and with this in mind, he suggests the ‘Paraclete’ will be hearing and speaking in a physical capacity. Bucaille adds that “It has a very obvious material character moreover, which comes from the idea of the emission of sounds conveyed by the Greek word that defines it.”[11]


Now let us look at the contextual arguments. In John 16 6-17 , Deedat asks us to home unto two main points. Firstly, Jesus says that if he does not go the ‘Paraclete’ cannot come. The second is that Jesus says that he has many things to say but it could not be told then and that the ‘Spirit of Truth’ would guide them to all truths.


“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you.” (16 6-17)


Argument thus follows:


1. Jesus has to leave for the ‘paralcete’ to appear

2. If ‘Paraclete’ appears he will guide to all truths

3. Jesus did leave

4. Therefore the ‘Paraclete’ appeared to guide to all truths.


Deedat explains that this is a rather strange conditional clause by Jesus for the Holy Spirit to arrive, as the ‘Holy Spirit’ was already around. He quotes “And it came to pass, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost” (Luke 1:15), “and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily form, as a dove, upon him (Jesus), and a voice came out of heaven, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). According to Deedat this conditional arrival could not be for the Holy Spirit as the Holy Spirit was always here among mankind. Also Deedat, quite boldly challenges Christians that if the ‘Spirit of Truth’ is the ‘Holy Spirit’ then what new truths did the Holy Spirit provide, that Jesus didn’t provide? [12] The answer being nothing. He then concludes that these references can not be the Holy Spirit, but rather refer to Mohammed, as he brought new religious knowledge to the world.



[1] What the Bible says about Mohammed (Islamic Propagation Centre, Durban, South Africa 1976)

[2] Genesis 24:67, 16:15 - 16

[3]WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT MUHAMMAD (Islamic Propagation Centre, Durban, South Africa 1976)

[4] Mohammed in the Bible ( Dr Jamal Badawi)

[5] ibid

[6] http://cf.blueletterbible.org

[7] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraclete

[8]Jesus' Prophecy (Paraclete) ( Dr Jamal Badawi) http://www.islamicity.com

[9]Muhammad, the natural successor to Christ (Ahmed Deedat)

[10] The Bible, The Quran and Science (Dr Maurice Bucaille)

[11] ibid

[12] Mohammed in the Bible (Ahmed Deedat)


15 comments:

Anonymous said...

i read that sad book some 12 years ago. waste of time.

two questions:

1. please present your evidence that moses actually existed.

2. As the torah and gospels are both, according to Muslims, corrupted, "proof" based on what they say is worthless, is it not? you cannot have it both ways.

then, the "paraclete" is clearly the same as the "shekinah" - which is genarally considered to be a female entity. so how can mohammed = paraclete? Also the paraclete "intercedes" which is in direct conflict with the sunni creed - although such an idea would no doubt go down well in Tehran.

perhaps you could start at the beginning and tell us what a prophet is - with proofs, please. how might one tell a real prophet from a false one?

tom

Yahya Hayder Seymour said...

Tom,

Don't get too big for your boots without articulating enough knowledge, Intercession of Muhammad is a clear cut principle in Sunni Islam as well as Shia Islam, however the major difference for Sunnis is they believe the intercession to be confined to the Afterflife. For an authentic reference see (http://www.islamonline.net/livefatwa/english/Browse.asp?hGuestID=ZTYjn0).

In fact since you claimed, and I quote you here: "Also the paraclete 'intercedes' which is in direct conflict with the sunni creed"

Please quote from Aqeedah at Tahawiyyah (The Sunni Creed), where it states explicitly that the Prophet shall not intercede at all.

P.S which book did you read, Adam sourced at least 3.

Adam Deen,

I respect the intention of the article though a brief one and a very simplistic one. However to be fair, I think as you are someone who professes the desire to develop Islamic Apologetics to a more standard level, that you should elaborate more and develop this argument further with your own thoughts on it.

The Muslim World has no need for people like us to merely regurgitate what Dr. Badawi and Shaykh Ahmed Deedat (ra) have already written and been subsequently thoroughly challenged on.

Adam Deen said...

Yahya,

There seems to be a vast amount on the topic and for people that are unfamiliar with this topic, it can be quite confusing. The purpose of the article was simply to summarise what exists on the matter at present.

I totally agree that I should develop this further with my own thoughts, which I intend to do soon inshallah. This is the reason it is posted as a ‘draft’, the finished article will have counter arguments and my concluding thoughts. So as a summary I think or rather, hope, it serves its purpose.

It would be good to bounce off some ideas from you, so feel free to contribute.

Thanks for your comment.

frank said...

Adam

Clutching at straws! I know you can do better. Mohammed in the Bible. Sorry I do not think so.I can give biblical authority for UFO's but this does not make it so.
I suspect that the truth of the matter is that Muslims are so insecure regarding Muhammed and Islam - his life and his influence - that any supporting evedence to his worth, is worth the search

Frank

Anonymous said...

Mr Seymour seems rather to have missed the point. if you quote the Gospels as part of a proof, whilst simultaneously insisting that the Gospels are corrupted you cannot expect to be taken seriously.

even if one ignores that uncomfortable fact the arguments put forward do not hold water.

if you argue that Mohammed = paraclete, then you must take the paraclete and the shekinah according to the sources of those terms - which are Jewish and Christian because they are not referred to in basic islamic material.

if mohammed does not intercede, he is not the paraclete, which does intercede. The paraclete = shekinah, which is feminine, and mohammed is not female. therefore the argument that mohammed = paraclete is utter rubbish and nothing whatsoever to do with the sunni creed. it is simply irrational.

If you hold, as you appear to, to the notion that mohammed intercedes (after death or not) then you breach the principle that Allah has no partners.

The Qur’an 39:44 states that “All intercession belongs to Allah entirely.” QED

Tom

Anonymous said...

Prophet will just be asking for the believes to be forgiven on the day of judgement. That is for god to grant it or not. So how is that making Muhammad a partner of god? Muhammad has no power. God is the one with the power. I think the word intercede is being lost in translation.

Anonymous said...

which part of, "The Qur’an 39:44 states that “All intercession belongs to Allah entirely” do you not understand?

which aya states that mohammed will intercede on judgement day? none. in this regard 39.44 is definitive, is it not?

and if mohammed is the paraclete as claimed in the blog, how come he is not female?

if you think that "intercede" is a mistranslation, produce your evidence for this.

otherwise it would be polite to admit your error.

tom

Yahya Hayder Seymour said...

Tom,

The passage should be translated as "Say Allah's is the intercession altogether!" (39:42)

This is quite clear as Qur'anic Ayats may not be read in Isolation what so ever, and there are Ayahs which talk about those whom Allah (Swt) has given the powers to (19:87, 20:108)

As for your other points Tom,

We may still quote the Gospels despite Corruption due to the fact we claim it still contains Inspired Scripture, just like Historical Jesus Scholars can quote parts of Josephus despite acknowledging Christian Interpolations into the text.

Secondly, it would be polite of you to admit to your error.

You Said: "Also the paraclete 'intercedes' which is in direct conflict with the sunni creed"

However the Creed of Tahawiyyah states under article 11 that:

"The Intercession which he has kept in store for them is a reality as it is narrated in the hadiths."

As for your assertion that this creates Partners with Allah, this derives from a simplistic view that Muhammad's ability to intercede is independant of Allah (SWT).

Anonymous said...

"All intercession belongs to Allah entirely"

that is clear.

"Say Allah's is the intercession altogether!" is hardly even english and is very unclear. state your authority for this translation and tell us what it means.

if the gospels are corrupted, unless you can show which bits have been corrupted, with evidence, you cannot use any of them in evidence, can you?

you cite, "Creed of Tahawiyyah" article 11" which seems to be a recent invention and implies tha hadeeth can, as a class of inputs, be relied upon. obviously that is wrong. the most current were documented 200 years after mohammed's death. Many are known to be nonsense and you cannot cite a hadith to gainsay, "All intercession belongs to Allah entirely" by definition.

in your own response, you claim that mohammed's intercession is "not independant of allah", in which case how is it intercession at all? please cite your sources.

finally, you have yet to explain why, if he was the paraclete, mohammed was not female.

telling isn't selling. tom

slimewad said...

I think Tom has dealt sufficiently with the gaping flaws in the Paraclete argument. I would like to add something on the Deuteronomy passage.

Firstly, a brief survey of the use of “brethren” in Deuteronomy shows that it is most often used to talk about the Israelites, not Ishmaelites. It’s mainly an inter-group term, as used today by Muslims and Christians to refer to their co-religionists.

Secondly, we mustn’t take that verse out of context. As the author of Deuteronomy looks back on the life of Moses, he concluded "Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do in Egypt… For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.” (34:10-12) So the key identifies we’re looking for in the next prophet are 1) A face-to-face relationship with God & 2) Miraculous signs and wonders, mighty power and awesome deeds (for Israel to see). So in context Jesus fits the bill perfectly; Mohammed does not. As the eternal Son of God Jesus had a face-to-face relationship with his Father – indeed Jesus is the image of God, his exact representation and in Jesus’ ministry (in Israel) he performed far greater miracles than Moses e.g. raising the dead.

In addition, I would add that:
- Jesus states that Moses wrote about him. (Cf. John 5:46).
- The Apostles quote this passage as being fulfilled in Jesus. (Cf. John 1:45; Acts 3:17-24)
- On Jesus’ and Moses’ births, infant deaths were enacted. (Cf. Ex. 1:15-16,22; Mt. 2:13)
- Both were rescued by divine intervention. (Cf. Ex. 2:2-10; Mt. 2:13)
- God prepared Moses for his mission by his wandering in the wilderness for forty years; Christ for forty days. (Cf. Ex. 7:7; Mt. 4:1)
- Both shone with glorious light at the Mount of Transfiguration. (Cf. Ex. 34:29; Mt. 17:2)
- Both have ministries of intercession. (Cf. Exodus 32:30-32; 1 Tim. 2:5)
- Both are the mediators of God's covenant. (Cf. Exodus 24:4-8; Mark 14:24; 1 Cor. 11:23-25).
- Both liberated their people from bondage; one from slavery in Egypt, the other from slavery to sin. (Cf. Exodus; Isaiah 53; John 8:32-36; Gal. 5:1).
- Both are Israelites from the tribe of Judah. (Cf. Num. 26:59; Luke 3:22-38)

So I can't see that you're going to change anyone's mind with this article, although I'm sure the choir will appreciate your preaching.

Yahya Hayder Seymour said...

Tom,

If I believed that Muhammad was prophecized in the New Testament, I would've stated that the Paraclete is Muhammad, however I am consistent in my methodology and don't just dig deeper holes for myself.

I acknowledge on the basis of context the Paraclete isn't Muhammad, all I was pointing out was that your objections to Muhammad being the Paraclete were mostly lame.

Again, it's quite easy to show which bits have been corrupted Tom.

Now as to your recent rant about hadiths not being trusted and this concept being a concoction of the ahadith which due to late dating cannot possibly be reliable to draw information from.....

BE CONSISTENT TOM! Don't start switching what you meant every two minutes, you stated "The Sunni Creed", then you stated that the Qur'an condemns all forms of Intercession, to which again you have been refuted on.

Your original statement involved Muhammad's intercession being in contradiction with the Sunni Creed, well since I've quoted the Sunni creed and you were most definitely wrong.... please just be a good little boy and acknowledge your mistake.

Interestingly, your most recent critique of ahadith literature shall be your downfall, if you only accept material which we can carbon date then your very own bible falls down the drain, however Western Academics and actual scholars on Islam would merely laugh at your ignorant rants on the ahadith there.

Since the source for Muhammad's intercession is ahadith, there is no need for me to source it seeing as you blatantly reject anything which refutes your instable argumentation.

As to your final objection: "How is Muhammad's intercession even Intercession if it is not independant of Allah" (Quoting Ad Verbatim)

Easy, just like Pontious Pilate allowed the people to intercede for Bar Abbas, It was them interceding for him, albeit by the permission of Pontious Pilate.

Anonymous said...

the original blog included the assertion that Mohammed was the paraclete. I said that this must be wrong, and you agree with me. fine.

your creed obviously contradicts the very clear 39:44 which states that “All intercession belongs to Allah entirely”. if you think that has loopholes, thats pretty odd - and not my problem.

how can you tell which parts of scripture are corrupted? Ah yes, its, err, the bits you think are wrong? of course, you cannot tell.
i have no doubt that all ancient writings are "corrupted" if only because the meanings of words change over time quite dramatically. even if the words themselves are correctly recorded the understanding of the text can and does change. for example, the word "wicked" ...

as for the hadith, the were recorded from 200 years AH to later than 400 AH on the basis if verbal transmission... that 16 generations of hearsay. I do not accept them as evidence, and you cannot deny that even devout muslims know (or should know) that many are nonsense - the "72 houris" for example. i am aware of the alleged "science" of hadith classification, but at the end of the day, no-one can prove the authenticity of a single one to the standards of uk civil law (which is less onerous than criminal law). it is the same for all "holy writings" - jewish and christian too. the only difference is that other faiths know that doubt must exist with ancient documents, but many muslims will not admit that.

by the way, i didn't mention carbon dating, did i? you also use the odd expression, "your bible". not mine squire. you chaps always assume that people must belong to some other faith - and mostly that is not true. we live in a secular civil society. religion is a private matter until it become political or threatening, as with islam today.

as for your "sunni creed" - perhaps you could point me at a document which sets out this creed? tom

Anonymous said...

still waiting for the "sunni creed" document.... tom

Yahya Hayder Seymour said...

Tom,

I suggest you try a library one day, perhaps a more academic one like SOAS, they contain wonderful works written by Non-Muslim Academics which detail many things such as the Sunni Creed.

However seeing as you have remained incapable of doing such, here is are two suggestions of purchase for the standard sunni creed.

http://www.amazon.com/Islamic-Creeds-Selection-Surveys/dp/0748605134/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1222916589&sr=8-4 (The late Montgomery Watt's survey of Islamic Creeds, mainly now extinct ones however an interesting comparative survey never the less)

http://www.amazon.com/Creed-Imam-al-Tahawi-Hamza-Yusuf/dp/097028439X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1222916679&sr=1-1 (The Complete Translation of the Creed of al-Tahawi, with commentary by Imam Hamza Yusuf Hanson which is accepted by all Sunnis as the Creed).

Anonymous said...

that's the problem and my point.

there is no sunni creed, there are many sunni creeds, past and present. and many claim the others to be heretics. are the wahhabis, for example, heretics or not for their belief in the human physical attributes of God?

will the real islam stand up? tom