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Friday Sermon: Where is the Prophet Muhammad (s) in the Bible?

Faith

Friday Sermon: Where is the Prophet Muhammad (s) in the Bible?

The Jews are told not to despise those who come from the lineage of their cousin brothers in Duet 23:7: “Do not despise an Edomite, for the Edomites are related to you. Do not despise an Egyptian, because you resided as foreigners in their country”.

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In part 1 we reviewed the Qur’anic verses which explains to Muslims that they have duties of care towards Christian communities. In part 2, we introduced how a community remembers and changes the histories of past figures with new information and social demands. And in part 3 we reviewed how the Gospels were compiled and how they leave a plethora of questions about their authenticity.

In this part we turn to the question of where the Prophet Muhammad (s) is mentioned or indicated to in Biblical scriptures. This is another important aspect of Muslim-Christian dialogue which allows co-religionists to explore each other’s holy books together and in good faith of the wider perspective of God’s purpose of revelation.

It is also necessary for Muslims to know where the Prophet (s) is described in the Bible as part of the evidence of Islam is mentioned in the Qur’an, when it says: “Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel” (7:157).

Looking at the Bible today, there appears no apparent mentioning of the Prophet (s) such as by name. We also know from evidence that the Bibles in circulation in the 7th Century at the time of the Prophet in Arabia are greatly the same as the ones today. That means that it is unlikely that the Prophet’s (s) name was removed upon his announcement as this would not have been possible to cover.

Yet the Qur’an speaks at length about Tahreef, or distortions, of the previously revealed books: “Among the Jews are those who distort words from their [proper] usages” (4:46) and “Woe, then, to those who write out the Scriptures with their own hands and then, in order to make a trifling gain, claim: ‘This is from Allah'” (2:79).

This suggests then, two potentials: Either the distortions occurred between revelation and the announcement of the Prophet Muhammad (s), meaning there was a removal of all clear descriptions or by distortions, or it is meant as false interpretations or a mixture of both.

In either case, the Qur’an was revealed responding to the presence of these distortions and yet still claimed the presence of the Prophet Muhammad (s) in those very same scriptures.

Let us start by looking at one of the most prominent verses affirming the Prophet Muhammad (s) in Deuteronomy 18:18:

“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” (Berean Study Bible translation).

There appears four distinct parts to this verse:

1) There will be a Prophet from amongst the brothers of the Jews
2) This Prophet will be like you, meaning Moses (s)
3) God will raise him up amongst the people
4) He will speak only what Divinity commands him to

There will be a Prophet from amongst the brothers of the Jews

From the lineage of Abraham (s) comes two prophetic traditions, the line of Isaaq (Ishaaq) and Ishmael (Isma’il); from the latter comes the Prophet Muhammad (s).

Prophethood here is described as coming from the brothers of the Jews, or the lineage of Prophet Isma’il (a). The Jews are told not to despise those who come from the lineage of their cousin brothers in Duet 23:7: “Do not despise an Edomite, for the Edomites are related to you. Do not despise an Egyptian, because you resided as foreigners in their country” – the Edomites, as descended from Esau, is the twin brother of Jacob.

In fact the Qur’an places the familial ties so close that it states the People of Book will recognise the Prophet (s) as if one of their own family members: الَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ يَعْرِفُونَهُ كَمَا يَعْرِفُونَ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ وَإِنَّ فَرِيقًا مِّنْهُمْ لَيَكْتُمُونَ الْحَقَّ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ “Those whom We have given the Book recognize him as they recognize their sons, and a party of them most surely conceal the truth while they know (it)” (2:145).

This Prophet will be like you, meaning Moses (s)

The Qur’an repeats the similarities of the Prophet’s Muhammad (s) and Moses (a), such as their receiving Divine Law (Shar’iah), Revelation, and saving their peoples from tyranny. For example:

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَابَ فَلَا تَكُن فِي مِرْيَةٍ مِّن لِّقَائِهِ وَجَعَلْنَاهُ هُدًى لِّبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ “And certainly We gave the Book to Musa, so be not in doubt concerning the receiving of it [O Muhammad], and We made it a guide for the children of Israel” (32:23).

And: “Behold, [O mankind,] We have sent unto you an apostle who shall bear witness to the truth before you, even as We sent an apostle unto Pharaoh” (73:15) إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْكُمْ رَسُولًا شَاهِدًا عَلَيْكُمْ كَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَى فِرْعَوْنَ رَسُولًا.

What is most interesting is when the Prophet (s) returned from receiving revelation, he presented himself to his wife, the ‘Lady and Leader of all the Women of the World’s’ [Sayyidatu Nisaa’ il-‘Alameen] of her time, Khadija (a), who in turn brought him (s) to her cousin and Christian scribe, Waratah bin Nawfal, who said: “Indeed what has come to you is just as what has come to Moses.”

Moreover in a Mutawatir (so widely transmitted narration amongst the generations it yields certainty) narration the Prophet (s) told Imam Ali (a): “Are you not pleased that your position to me as that of Aaron to Moses, except that there shall be no prophet after me?”

God will raise him up amongst the people

The Qur’an repeats that messengers are raised to their people and amongst themselves, so that they may distinctly know them. This leaves no excuse that he is not aware of their matters or is untrustworthy to them, or seeking something worldly.

For example this verse says: “It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom” (62:2).

He will speak only what Divinity commands him to

The Qur’an explicitly states that the Prophet Muhammad (s) does not speak of his own caprice and whims: “Nor does he speak out of his desire. This is nothing but a revelation that is conveyed to him, something that a very powerful one has imparted to him” (53:3-5).

Interestingly, Isaiah 29:12 states that scripture is to be given to the one who knows no letters, or is unlettered: “Or if the scroll is handed to one unable to read, he will say, ‘I cannot read'”. Famously, the first verse of the Qur’an revealed to the Prophet (s) was that he was told: “Read! In the Name of your Lord!” to which he replied, “I do not read!”

Here is just one verse of the previous scriptures referring to the Prophet Muhammad (s). InshaAllah in the coming sermons we will elaborate on where else he is mentioned so that this message may be spread widely.

Whilst you’re here…

The Muslim Vibe is a non-profit media platform aiming to inspire, inform and empower Muslims like you. Our goal is to provide a space for young Muslims to learn about their faith as well as news stories affecting them, so we can reclaim the Muslim narrative from the mainstream.

Your support will help us achieve this goal, and enable us to produce more original content. Your support can help us in the fight against Islamophobia, by building a powerful platform for young Muslims who can share their ideas, experiences and opinions for a better future.

Please consider supporting The Muslim Vibe, from as little as £1 – it will only take a minute. Thank you and Jazakallah.

Keep Reading

The Jews are told not to despise those who come from the lineage of their cousin brothers in Duet 23:7: “Do not despise an Edomite, for the Edomites are related to you. Do not despise an Egyptian, because you resided as foreigners in their country”.

In part 1 we reviewed the Qur’anic verses which explains to Muslims that they have duties of care towards Christian communities. In part 2, we introduced how a community remembers and changes the histories of past figures with new information and social demands. And in part 3 we reviewed how the Gospels were compiled and how they leave a plethora of questions about their authenticity.

In this part we turn to the question of where the Prophet Muhammad (s) is mentioned or indicated to in Biblical scriptures. This is another important aspect of Muslim-Christian dialogue which allows co-religionists to explore each other’s holy books together and in good faith of the wider perspective of God’s purpose of revelation.

It is also necessary for Muslims to know where the Prophet (s) is described in the Bible as part of the evidence of Islam is mentioned in the Qur’an, when it says: “Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel” (7:157).

Looking at the Bible today, there appears no apparent mentioning of the Prophet (s) such as by name. We also know from evidence that the Bibles in circulation in the 7th Century at the time of the Prophet in Arabia are greatly the same as the ones today. That means that it is unlikely that the Prophet’s (s) name was removed upon his announcement as this would not have been possible to cover.

Yet the Qur’an speaks at length about Tahreef, or distortions, of the previously revealed books: “Among the Jews are those who distort words from their [proper] usages” (4:46) and “Woe, then, to those who write out the Scriptures with their own hands and then, in order to make a trifling gain, claim: ‘This is from Allah'” (2:79).

This suggests then, two potentials: Either the distortions occurred between revelation and the announcement of the Prophet Muhammad (s), meaning there was a removal of all clear descriptions or by distortions, or it is meant as false interpretations or a mixture of both.

In either case, the Qur’an was revealed responding to the presence of these distortions and yet still claimed the presence of the Prophet Muhammad (s) in those very same scriptures.

Let us start by looking at one of the most prominent verses affirming the Prophet Muhammad (s) in Deuteronomy 18:18:

“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” (Berean Study Bible translation).

There appears four distinct parts to this verse:

1) There will be a Prophet from amongst the brothers of the Jews
2) This Prophet will be like you, meaning Moses (s)
3) God will raise him up amongst the people
4) He will speak only what Divinity commands him to

There will be a Prophet from amongst the brothers of the Jews

From the lineage of Abraham (s) comes two prophetic traditions, the line of Isaaq (Ishaaq) and Ishmael (Isma’il); from the latter comes the Prophet Muhammad (s).

Prophethood here is described as coming from the brothers of the Jews, or the lineage of Prophet Isma’il (a). The Jews are told not to despise those who come from the lineage of their cousin brothers in Duet 23:7: “Do not despise an Edomite, for the Edomites are related to you. Do not despise an Egyptian, because you resided as foreigners in their country” – the Edomites, as descended from Esau, is the twin brother of Jacob.

In fact the Qur’an places the familial ties so close that it states the People of Book will recognise the Prophet (s) as if one of their own family members: الَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ يَعْرِفُونَهُ كَمَا يَعْرِفُونَ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ وَإِنَّ فَرِيقًا مِّنْهُمْ لَيَكْتُمُونَ الْحَقَّ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ “Those whom We have given the Book recognize him as they recognize their sons, and a party of them most surely conceal the truth while they know (it)” (2:145).

This Prophet will be like you, meaning Moses (s)

The Qur’an repeats the similarities of the Prophet’s Muhammad (s) and Moses (a), such as their receiving Divine Law (Shar’iah), Revelation, and saving their peoples from tyranny. For example:

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَابَ فَلَا تَكُن فِي مِرْيَةٍ مِّن لِّقَائِهِ وَجَعَلْنَاهُ هُدًى لِّبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ “And certainly We gave the Book to Musa, so be not in doubt concerning the receiving of it [O Muhammad], and We made it a guide for the children of Israel” (32:23).

And: “Behold, [O mankind,] We have sent unto you an apostle who shall bear witness to the truth before you, even as We sent an apostle unto Pharaoh” (73:15) إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْكُمْ رَسُولًا شَاهِدًا عَلَيْكُمْ كَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَى فِرْعَوْنَ رَسُولًا.

What is most interesting is when the Prophet (s) returned from receiving revelation, he presented himself to his wife, the ‘Lady and Leader of all the Women of the World’s’ [Sayyidatu Nisaa’ il-‘Alameen] of her time, Khadija (a), who in turn brought him (s) to her cousin and Christian scribe, Waratah bin Nawfal, who said: “Indeed what has come to you is just as what has come to Moses.”

Moreover in a Mutawatir (so widely transmitted narration amongst the generations it yields certainty) narration the Prophet (s) told Imam Ali (a): “Are you not pleased that your position to me as that of Aaron to Moses, except that there shall be no prophet after me?”

God will raise him up amongst the people

The Qur’an repeats that messengers are raised to their people and amongst themselves, so that they may distinctly know them. This leaves no excuse that he is not aware of their matters or is untrustworthy to them, or seeking something worldly.

For example this verse says: “It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom” (62:2).

He will speak only what Divinity commands him to

The Qur’an explicitly states that the Prophet Muhammad (s) does not speak of his own caprice and whims: “Nor does he speak out of his desire. This is nothing but a revelation that is conveyed to him, something that a very powerful one has imparted to him” (53:3-5).

Interestingly, Isaiah 29:12 states that scripture is to be given to the one who knows no letters, or is unlettered: “Or if the scroll is handed to one unable to read, he will say, ‘I cannot read'”. Famously, the first verse of the Qur’an revealed to the Prophet (s) was that he was told: “Read! In the Name of your Lord!” to which he replied, “I do not read!”

Here is just one verse of the previous scriptures referring to the Prophet Muhammad (s). InshaAllah in the coming sermons we will elaborate on where else he is mentioned so that this message may be spread widely.

Whilst you’re here…

The Muslim Vibe is a non-profit media platform aiming to inspire, inform and empower Muslims like you. Our goal is to provide a space for young Muslims to learn about their faith as well as news stories affecting them, so we can reclaim the Muslim narrative from the mainstream.

Your support will help us achieve this goal, and enable us to produce more original content. Your support can help us in the fight against Islamophobia, by building a powerful platform for young Muslims who can share their ideas, experiences and opinions for a better future.

Please consider supporting The Muslim Vibe, from as little as £1 – it will only take a minute. Thank you and Jazakallah.

Keep Reading

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