In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
What Does the Bible Say about
Say: 'Do you see whether this message be from Allah (God Almighty), and yet you reject it, and a witness from among the Children of Israel bore witness of one like him.' " (the Holy Quran 46:10)
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The subject of this evening's talk - "What the Bible says about Muhammed" will no doubt come as a surprise to many of you because the speaker is a Muslim. How does it come about that a Muslim happens to be expounding prophecies from the Jewish and Christian Scriptures?
As a young man, about 30 years ago, I attended a series of religious lectures by a Christian theologian, a certain Rev. Hiten, at the "Theater Royal", Durban in South Africa.
This Reverend gentleman was expounding Biblical prophecies. He went on to prove that the Christian Bible foretold the rise of Soviet Russia, and the Last Days. At one stage he went to the extent of proving that his Holy Book did not leave even the Pope out of its predictions. He expatiated vigorously in order to convince his audience that the Beast 666 mentioned in The Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament, was the Pope, who was the Vicar of Christ on earth.
Christian scholars are ingenious and indefatigable in their efforts to prove their case. Rev. Hiten's lectures led me to ask that if the Bible foretold so many things - not even excluding the "Pope" and "Israel", - then surely it must have something to say about the greatest benefactor of mankind, prophet Muhammed, may the peace of Allah be upon him.
As a youngster I set out to search for an answer. I met priest after priest, attended lectures, and read everything that I could lay my hands relating to the fields of Bible prophecies. Tonight I'm going to narrate to you one of these interviews with a Dominee of the Dutch Reformed Church.
I was invited to the Transvaal (South Africa) to deliver a talk on the occasion of the birthday of the prophet Muhammed. Knowing that in that province of the Republic, the Afrikaans language is widely spoken, even by my own people, I felt that I ought to acquire a smattering of this language so as to feel a little "at home" with the people. I opened the telephone directory and began phoning the Afrikaans-speaking Churches. I indicated my purpose to the priests that I was interested in having a dialogue with them, but they all refused my request with "plausible" excuses.
No. 13 was my lucky number. The thirteenth call brought me pleasure and relief. A Dominee Van Heerden ("Dominee" is the Afrikaans equivalent of "priest") agreed to meet me at his home on the Saturday afternoon that I was to leave for Transvaal.
He received me on his verandah with a friendly welcome. He said if I did not mind, he would like his father-in- law from the Free State, a 70 year old man, to join us in the discussion. I did not mind. The three of us settled down in the Dominee's library.
I posed the question: "What does the Bible say about Muhammed?" Without hesitation he answered: "Nothing!" I asked: "Why nothing? According to your interpretation the Bible has so many things to say about the rise of Soviet Russia and about the Last Days and even about the Pope of the Roman Catholics?" He said: "Yes, but there was nothing about Muhammed!" I asked again: "Why nothing? Surely this man Muhammed who had been responsible for the bringing into being a world-wide community of millions of believers who, on his authority, believe in:
Surely this book (the Bible) must have something to say about this great leader of men who spoke so well of Jesus and his mother Mary?"
The old man from the Free State replied: "My son, I have been reading the Bible for the past 50 years, and if there was any mention of him, I would have known it."
I inquired: "According to you, are there not hundreds of prophecies regarding the coming of Jesus in the Old Testament." The Dominee interjected: "Not hundreds, but thousands!" I said: "I am not going to dispute the thousand and one prophecies in the Old Testament regarding the coming of Jesus Christ, because the whole Muslim world has already accepted him without the testimony of any Biblical prophecy. Muslims have accepted the de facto Jesus on the authority of Muhammed alone, and there are in the world today no less than 900,000,000 followers of Muhammed, who love, respect, and revere Jesus Christ as a great Messenger of God without having the Christians to convince them by means of Biblical dialectics.
Out of the 'thousands' of prophecies referred to, can you please give me just one single prophecy where Jesus is mentioned by name? The term Messiah, translated as Christ, is not a name but a title. Is there a single prophecy where it says that the name of the Messiah will be Jesus, and that his mother's name will be Mary, that his supposed father will be Joseph the Carpenter; that he will be born in the reign of Herod the King, etc? No! There are no such details! Then how can you conclude that those 'Thousand' prophecies refer to Jesus, peace be upon him?"
The Dominee replies: "You see, prophecies are word pictures of something that is going to happen in the future. When that thing actually comes to pass, we see vividly in these prophecies the fulfillment of what had been predicted in the past." I said: "What you actually do is that you deduce, you reason, you put two and two together." He said: "Yes." I said: "If this is what you have to do with a 'thousand' prophecies to justify your claim with regards to the genuineness of Jesus, why should we not adopt the very same system for Muhammed?" The Dominee agreed that it was a fair proposition, a reasonable way of dealing with the problem.
I asked him to open up Deuteronomy, chapter 18, verse 18, which he did. I read from memory the verse in Afrikaans, because this was my purpose in having a little practice with the language of the ruling race in South Africa.
"N Profeet sal ek vir hulle verwek uit die midde van hulle broers, soos jy is, en ek sal my woorde in sy mond le, en hy sy sal aan hulle se alle wat ekhom beveel." (Deut 18:18)
The English translation reads as follows:
"I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and I will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him." (Deut 18:18)
Having recited the verse in Afrikaans, I apologized for my uncertain pronunciation; the Dominee assured me that I was doing fine. I inquired: "To whom does this prophecy refer?" Without the slightest hesitation he answered: "Jesus!" I asked: "Why Jesus? his name is not mentioned here" The Dominee replied: "Since prophecies are word pictures of something that is going to happen in the future, we find that the wordings of this verse adequately describe him. You see, the most important words of this prophecy are 'soos jy is', 'like unto thee', or 'like you' - like Moses; and Jesus is like Moses."
I asked the Dominee: "In which way is Jesus like Moses?" The answer was: "In the first place Moses was a Jew and Jesus was also a Jew; secondly, Moses was a Prophet and Jesus was also a Prophet - therefor Jesus is like Moses and that is exactly what God had foretold Moses - 'soos jy is'."
"Can you think of any other similarities between Moses and Jesus?" I asked. The Dominee said that he could not think of any. I replied: "If these are the only two criteria for discovering a candidate for this prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:18, then in that case the criteria could fit any one of the following Biblical personages after Moses:- Solomon, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Malachi, John the Baptist etc., because they were also all Jews as well as Prophets. Why should we not apply this prophecy to any one of these prophets, and why only to Jesus?" The Dominee had no reply. I continued: "You see, my conclusions are that Jesus is most unlike Moses, and if I am wrong I would like you to correct me."
So staying, I reasoned with him: "In the first place Jesus is not like Moses, because, according to you, Jesus is God, but Moses is not God, is this true?" He said: "Yes." I said: "Therefore Jesus is not like Moses!". "Secondly, according to you, Jesus died for the sins of the world, but Moses did not have to die for the sins of the world. Is this true?" He again said: "Yes." I said: "Therefore Jesus is not like Moses!". "Thirdly, according to you, Jesus went to Hell for three days, but Moses did not have to go there. Is this true?" He answered meekly: "Y-e-s!" I concluded: "Therefore Jesus is not like Moses!". "But Dominee,.." I continued: "..these are not hard, solid facts, they are mere matters of belief over which the little ones can stumble and fall. Let us discuss something very simple, very easy that if the little ones are called in to hear the discussion, would have no difficulty following it, shall we?" The Dominee was quiet happy at the suggestion.
Since the Dominee was helplessly agreeing with every point, I said: "Dominee, so far what I have done is to prove only one point out of the whole prophecy - that is proving the phrase 'Like unto thee' - 'Like You', like Moses'. The Prophecy is much more than this single phrase which reads as follows:
'I will raise them up a prophet from among their bretheren like unto thee..'
The emphasis is on the words "From among their brethren." Moses and his people, the Jews, are here addressed as a racial entity, as a whole, and as such their brethren would undoubtedly be the Arabs.
Abraham had two wives, Sarah and Hagar. Hagar bore Abraham a son, his first born, '..and Abraham called his son's name, which Hagar bare Ishmael.' (Genesis 16:15). 'And Abraham took Ishmael his son..' (Genesis 17:23). 'And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.' (Genesis 17:25).
Up to the age of thirteen Ishmael was the only son of Abraham, then God grants him another son through Sarah, named Isaac, who was very much the junior to his brother Ishmael.
If Ishmael and Isaac are the sons of the same father Abraham, then they are brothers. And so the children of the one are the bretheren of the children of the other. The children of Isaac are the Jews and the children of Ishmael are the Arabs - so they are bretheren to one another. The Bible affirms: 'And he (Ishmael) shall dwell in the presence of all his bretheren.' (Genesis 16:12). 'And he (Ishmael) died in the presence of all his bretheren." (Genesis 25:18). The children of Isaac are the brethren of the Ishmaelites. In like manner Muhammed is from among the brethren of the Israelites because he was a descendant of Ishmael the son of Abraham. This exactly as the prophecy has it - "From among their bretheren" (Deut.18:18).
There the prophecy distinctly mentions that the coming prophet who would be like Moses, must arise not from the Children of Israel nor from among themselves, but from among their brethren. Muhammed therefore was among their bretheren!
The prophecy proceeds further: '..And I will put my words into his mouth..' What does it mean when it is said 'I will put my words in your mouth'? You see, when I asked you (the Dominee) to open Deuteronomy chapter 18, verse 18, at the beginning, and if I had asked you to read, and if you had read, would I be putting my words into your mouth? The Dominee answered: "No." But, I continued: "If I were to teach you a language like Arabic, about which you have no knowledge, and if I asked you to read or repeat after me what I utter i.e. "Say: 'He is Allah the One and Only; Allah, the eternal absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; and there is none like unto Him.' (the Holy Quran 112:1-4) (I read them in Arabic). Would I not be putting these unheard words of a foreign tongue which you utter, into your mouth?" The Dominee agreed that it was indeed so. "In an identical manner", I said: "The words of the Holy Quran, the Revelation vouchsafed by the Almighty God to Muhammed, were revealed.
History tells us that when Muhammed was forty years of age he was in a cave some three miles north of the City of Mecca. In the cave the Archangel Gabriel commands him in his mother tongue: 'Eqra!', which means 'Read!', or 'Recite!' Muhammed was terrified, and in his bewilderment replied that he was not learned!. The angel commands him a second time with the same result. For the third time the angel continues. Now Muhammed, grasps that what was required of him was to repeat! to rehearse! And he repeats the words as they were put into his mouth:
'Read! In the Name of the Lord and Charisher, Who Created. Created man from a (mere) clot of congealed blood: Read! and thy Lord is the Most Bountiful, He Who taught (the use of) the pen, taught man that which he new not". (the Holy Quran 96:1-5).
These are the first five verses which were revealed to Muhammed, which now occupy the beginning of the 96th chapter of the Holy Quran.
When the angel departed, Muhammed rushed to his home. Terrified and sweating all over he asked his wife Khadija to 'cover-him up!' He lay down, and she watched by him. When he had regained his composure, he explained to her what he had seen and heard. She assured him of her faith in him and that Allah would not allow any terrible thing to happen to him. Are these the confessions of an impostor? Would impostors confess that when an angel of the Lord confronts them with a Message from on High, they get fear-stricken, terrified, and sweating all over, run home to their wives? Any critic can see that his reactions and confessions are that of an honest, sincere man.
During the next twenty three years of his life, words were 'put into his mouth', and he uttered them. They made an indelible impression on his heart and mind; and as the volume of the Sacred Scripture, the Holy Quran, grew, they were recorded on palm-leaf libre, on skins; and in the hearts of his devoted disciples. Before his demise these words were arranged according to his instructions in the order in which we find them today in the Holy Quran.
The words (revelation) were actually put into his mouth, exactly as foretold in the prophecy under discussion: "And I will put my words in his mouth." (Deut 18:18).
Muhammed's experience in the Cave of Hira, and his response to that first Revelation is the exact fulfillment of another Biblical Prophecy. In the Book of Isaiah, chapter 29, verse 12, we read: 'And the Book is delivered to him that is not learned' (Isaiah 29:12). 'The Unlettered prophet' (the Holy Quran 7:158). And the Biblical verse continues: 'Saying, read this, I pray thee:' 'And he saith, I am not learned.'. 'I am not learned.' is the exact translation of the Arabic words which Muhammed uttered twice to the Holy Spirit, the Archangel Gabriel, when he was commanded: 'Read!').
Let me quote the verse in full without a break as found in the King James Version, or the Authorised Version as it is more popularly know: 'And the Book is delivered to him that is no learned, saying: 'Read this I pray thee'. And he saith: 'I am not learned.' ' (Isaiah 29:12).
'He does not speak (aught) of (his own) desire: It is no less than inspiration sent down to him. He was taught by One Mighty in Power' (the Holy Quran 53:3-5).
Without any human learning, 'he put to shame the wisdom of the learned'.
"See!" I told the Dominee, "how the prophecies fit Muhammed like a glove. We do not have to stretch prophecies to justify their fulfillment in Muhammed." The Dominee replied, "All your expositions sound very well, but they are of no real consequence, because we Christians have Jesus Christ the incarnate God, who has redeemed us from the Bondage of Sin!" I asked: "Not important? God didn't think so! He had His warnings recorded in the scriptures. God knew that there would be people like you who will light-heartedly discount His words, so He followed up Deuteronomy 18:18 with a dare warning:
'And it shall come to pass (it is going to happen), that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which he shall speak in My Name, I will require if of him.'
(In the Catholic Bible the ending words are 'I will be the revenger', 'I will take revenge!'). "Does not this terrify you? God Almighty is threatening revenge! We shake in our pants if some hoodlum threatens us, yet you have no fear of God's warning?"
Miracle of Miracles! in the verse 19 of Deuteronomy chapter 18, we have a further fulfillment of the prophecy in Muhammed! Note the words '..My words which he shall speak in My Name'. In whose name is Muhammed speaking?" I opened Yusuf Ali's translation of the Holy Quran, at chapter 114, Surat An-Nas, or The Chapter of Mankind, the last chapter of the Quran, and showed him the formula at the head of the chapter, and the meaning:
'In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful'.
And the heading of chapter 113, and the meaning: 'In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful'. And every chapter downwards 112, 111, 110,..was the same formula and the same meaning on every page, because the end surahs (chapters) are short and take about a page each. And what did the prophecy demand? '..Which he shall speak in My Name'; and in whose name does Muhammed speak? In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
The Prophecy is being fulfilled in Muhammed to the letter; every chapter of the Holy Quran except the 9th begin with the formula: 'In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful'. The Muslim begins his every lawful act with the Holy formula. But the Christian begins: 'In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.'
Concerning Deuteronomy chapter eighteen, I have given you more than 15 reasons as to how this prophecy refers to Muhammed and not to Jesus.
In New Testament times, we find that the Jews were still expecting the fulfillment of the prophecy of One like Moses, refer John 1:19-25.
When Jesus claimed to be the Messiah of the Jews, the Jews began to esquire as to where was Elias? The Jews had a parallel prophecy that before the coming of the Messiah, Elias must come first in his second coming. Jesus confirms this Jewish belief:
"Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias is come already, and they knew him not,.. then the Disciples understood that he spoke unto them of John the Baptist." (Mathew 17:11-13).
According to the New Testament the Jews were not the ones to swallow the words of any would-be Messiah. In their investigations they underwent intense difficulties in order to find their true Messiah. And this the Gospel of John confirms: "And this is the record of John (the Baptist), when the Jews sent priests and levites from Jerusalem to ask him, 'Who art thou?', and he confessed and denied not; but confessed, 'I am not the Christ' " (This was only natural because there can't be two Messiahs at the same time. If Jesus was the Christ then John couldn't be the Christ!) "And they asked him: 'What then? Art thou Elias?' And he saith: 'I am not' " Here John the Baptist contradicts Jesus! Jesus says that John is Elias and John denies that he is what Jesus ascribes him to be. One of the two (Jesus or John), God forbid!, is definitely not speaking the truth!
On the testimony of Jesus himself, John the Baptist was the greatest of the Israelite prophets: "Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women, there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist" (Matthew 11:11).
We Muslims know John the Baptist as Yahya. We revere him as a true prophet of Allah. The Holy Prophet Jesus known to us as Eesa, is also esteemed as one of the mightiest messenger of the Almighty. How can we Muslims impute lies to either of them? We leave this problem between Jesus and John for the Christians to solve, for their "Sacred Scriptures abound in discrepancies which they have been glossing over as the 'dark sayings of Jesus' " (See the Times Magazine December 30th, 1974, article How true is the Bible?).
We Muslims are really interested in the last questions posed to John the Baptist by the Jewish elite - Art thou that prophet? And he answered, "No."(John 1:21).
Please note that three different and distinct questions were posed to John the Baptist, and to which he gave three emphatic No's as answers. To recapitulate:
But the learned men of Christendom somehow only see two questions implied here. To make doubly clear that the Jews definitely had three separate prophecies in their minds when they were interrogating John the Baptist. Let us read the remonstrance of the Jews in the verses following:
"And they asked him, and said unto him: 'Why baptizest thou then, if
The Jews were waiting for the fulfillment of three distinct prophecies: a. the coming of Christ. b. the coming of Elias, and c. the coming of that Prophet.
If we look up any Bible which has a concordance or cross-references, then we will find in the marginal note where the words the Prophet, or that Prophet occur in John 1:25, that these words refer to the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:15 and 18. And that that Prophet - the Prophet like Moses - "Like unto thee", we have proved through overwhelming evidence that he was Muhammed and not Jesus!
Muslims are not denying that Jesus was the Messiah, which word is translated as Christ. We are not contesting the Thousand and One Prophecies which the Christians claim abound in the Old Testament foretelling the coming of the Messiah. What we say is that Deuteronomy 18:18 does not refer to Jesus Christ but it is an explicit prophecy about the prophet Muhammed!."
The Dominee, very politely parted with me by saying that it was a very interesting discussion and he would like me very much to come one day and address his congregation on the subject. A decade and half has passed since then but I am still awaiting that privilege.
I believe the Dominee was sincere when he made the offer, but prejudices die hard, and who would like to loose his sheep?
To the Lambs of Christ I say, why not apply that acid test which the Master himself wanted you to apply to any would be claimant to prophethood? He had said:
"By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes from the thorns, of figs from the thistles? Every good tree will bear good fruit and every evil tree will bear evil fruit... By their fruits ye shall know them". (Mathew 7:16-20).
Why are you afraid to apply this test to the teachings of Muhammed? You will find in the Last Testament of God, the Holy Quran, the true fulfillment of the teachings of Moses and Jesus which will bring to the world the much needed peace and happiness. George Bernard Shaw was quoted as saying:
"If a man like Muhammed were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness."
The weekly news magazine Time dated July 15, 1974, carried a selection of opinions by various historians, writers, military men, businessmen an others on the subject: "Who were History's Great Leaders?" Some said that it was Hitler; others said Gandhi, Buddha, Lincoln and the like. But Jules Masserman, a United States psychoanalyst, put the standards straight by giving the correct criteria wherewith to judge. He said: "Leaders must fulfill three functions:
With the above three criteria he searches history and analyses Hitler, Pasteur, Gaesar, Moses, Confucius and the lot, and ultimately concludes: "People like Pasteur and Salk are leaders in the first sense. People like Ghandi and Confucius, on one hand, and Alexander, Caesar, and Hitler on the other, are leaders in the second, and perhaps the third sense. Jesus and Buddha belong in the third category alone. Perhaps the greatest leader of all times was Muhammed, who combined all three functions. To a lesser degree, Moses did the same."
According to the objective standards set by the professor of the Chicago University, Jesus and Buddha are nowhere in the picture of the "Great Leaders of Mankind", but by a queer coincidence groups Moses and Muhammed together, thus adding further weight to the argument that Jesus is not like Moses, but Muhammed is like Moses. Deut 18:18 "Like unto thee", like Moses!
In conclusion, I end with a quotation of a Christian Reverend the commentator of the Bible, followed by that of his Master:
"The ultimate criterion of a true prophet is the moral character of his teaching." (Prof. Dummelow).
"By their fruits ye shall know them." (Jesus Christ)
A concluding suggestion : come let us reason together!
"Say: 'O People of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah (God); that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, lords and patrons other than Allah (God)'. If then they turn back, say: 'Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (Bowing to God's Will).' " (the Holy Quran 3:64)
People of the Book is the respectful title given to the Jews and the Christians in the Holy Quran. The Muslims are here commanded to invite, O People of the Book!, O Learned People!, O People who claim to be the recipients of Divine Revelation, of a Holy Scripture; let us gather together onto a common platform, "that we worship none but Allah (God)", because none but God is worthy of worship, not because "The Lord thy God is a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me." (Exodus 20:25). But because He is our Lord and Cherisher, our Sustainer and Evolver, worthy of all praise, prayer and devotion.
In the abstract the Jews and the Christians would agree to all the three propositions contained in this Quranic verse. In practice they fail. Apart from doctrinal lapses from the unity of the One True God, Allah, may He be praised, there is the question of a consecrated Priesthood (among the Jews it was hereditary also), as if a mere human being - Cohen or Pope, or Priest, or Brahuman, - could claim superiority apart from his learning and the purity of his life, or could stand between man and God in some special sense. Islam does not recognize priesthood!.
The Creed of Islam is given to us here in a nutshell from Holy Quran:
"Say ye: 'We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes (of the Children of Israel), And that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: And we bow to Allah (in Islam).' " (the Holy Quran 2:136).
The Muslim position is clear. The Muslim does not claim to have a religion peculiar to himself. Islam is not a sect or an ethnic religion. In its view all religion is one, for the Truth is one:
"It was the same religion preached by all the earlier prophets." (the Holy Quran 42:13).
It was the truth taught by all the inspired Books. In essence it amounts to a consciousness of the Will and Plan of God and a joyful submission to that Will and Plan. If anyone wants a religion other than that, he is false to his own nature, as he is false to God's Will and Plan. Such a one cannot expect guidance, for he has deliberately renounced guidance.
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