Part Two: The Minor Prophecies:
Although the most popular Muslim prophecies completely fail upon closer inspection, Muslim apologists have offered a number of other weaker examples of predictions about Muhammad. They are less common because, in context, they typically have nothing to do with a coming prophet or the rise of another religion. Muslims therefore have to force their own meaning into these prophecies, but they do so at the expense of their own integrity.
In addition to the prophecies discussed above, Maulana Muhammad Ali offers three other Biblical prophecies about the rise of Muhammad. Yet he begins, oddly enough, by quoting some verses from the Qur’an regarding the coming of a final prophet, and he goes on to argue that only Muhammad fits the description of the "Messenger" in these verses. Ali thus quotes verses given by Muhammad as evidence that Muhammad was the one proclaimed in the verses! 
After engaging in this bit of circular reasoning, Ali offers a promise made to Abraham (cleverly combined with a later promise about Ishmael) as the first prediction of the rise of Islam:
And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. (Genesis 17:20)
Ali considers this to be the first "prophecy announcing the advent of the Holy Prophet Muhammad."  However, while I quoted the first passage in context, we left the second passage as it appears in Ali’s book. Watch what happens when we include the surrounding verses:
And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. (Genesis 17:18-22)
Hence, to support his case, Ali quotes a promise that God made to Abraham, then quotes a verse about Ishmael, claiming that it shows that the promise refers to Ishmael and his descendents (i.e. Muhammad). Yet, in quoting the verse, he leaves out all the surrounding material, which states that the covenant was to be made, not with Ishmael, but with Isaac. Knowing that few of his readers will be so bold as to actually look up the references he cites, Ali has no difficulty wrenching this verse from its context, giving it a meaning far different from the one expressed in Genesis.
Nevertheless, Muslims still argue that this passage predicts the rise of a nation from Ishmael’s descendents, and that such a prediction can only refer to the rise of Islam. However, the fulfillment of this prophecy took place in the Book of Genesis, not twenty-six centuries later in Mecca:
Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s handmaid, bare unto Abraham: and these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, and Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa, Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphich, and Kedemah: these are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations. (Genesis 25:12-16)
Ali’s second example is Moses’ prediction of a prophet like himself, which we have already addressed. His third prophecy also comes from Deuteronomy:
And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of
Notice that this passage says nothing about prophets. It is a description of God’s victory in bringing the Israelites into the
LORD, when thou wentest out of Seir, When thou marchedst out of the field of
O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, When thou didst march through the wilderness; Selah. The earth shook, the heavens also dropped At the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved At the presence of God, the God of
Yet Muslim apologists claim that Moses’ words at the beginning of his blessing aren’t a description of God’s victory; instead, they are a prediction of three great prophets. Ali argues:
" Coming from Sinai" refers to the appearance of Moses, while "rising up from Seir" refers to the conquest of Seir by David. Now Paran is admittedly the ancient name for the
Most Muslim commentators, however, believe that "Seir" refers to the prophethood of Jesus, not to the conquest of Seir by King David. Thus Badawi claims:
Deuteronomy 33:1-2 combines references to Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. It speaks of God (i.e. God’s revelation) coming from Sinai, rising from Seir (probably the
These interpretations are fraught with difficulties. Moses’ blessing begins by saying that the LORD (not the prophets) came from Sinai, rose up from Seir, and shined forth from
And the children of
And afterward the people removed from Hazeroth, and pitched in the wilderness of Paran. (Numbers )
And Moses by the commandment of the LORD sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all those men were heads of the children of Israel. (Numbers 13:3)
And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land. (Numbers )
These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red sea, between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab. (Deuteronomy 1:1)
Ali’s final prophecy (other than Jesus’ prediction of the coming Comforter) is taken from Isaiah:
The burden upon
According to Ali, this "burden upon Arabia" is a clear prophecy about Muhammad:
In the first place the word "
Before we agree with Ali that this prophecy is "indisputable," perhaps we should read the next two verses, which he conveniently leaves out of his quotation:
For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of a hireling, And all the glory of Kedar shall fail: And the residue of the number of archers, The mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: For the LORD God of Israel hath spoken it. (Isaiah 21:16-17)
The verses that Ali omits provide a timeframe for when the prophecy was to be fulfilled. The fulfillment was to take place within a year of the prophecy! While we cannot be certain when the prophecy was made, we know that Isaiah wrote during the expansion of the Assyrian empire, and that the Assyrians began invading
This concludes Ali’s evidence that the Bible speaks about Muhammad. Other Muslim apologists offer a few additional prophecies, but they all suffer from the same problems. After examining five Biblical "prophecies" about Muhammad, we can see that the method Muslims use in their Argument from Biblical Prophecy consists of the following steps:
Step One: Find any verse in the Bible that can be interpreted, by a stretch of the imagination, as a prophecy about Muhammad;
Step Two: Wrench the verse from its context, ignoring the verses that precede it and those that follow;
Step Three: Ignore all obvious, common-sensical interpretations of the prophecy, especially those that were fulfilled shortly after the prophecy was given;
Step Four: Popularize the prophecy and the Muslim interpretation in books, pamphlets, sermons, and internet articles, knowing that few people will ever critically examine the passage.
While such a method appears detestable to the uninitiated, it comes quite naturally to many Muslim apologists. Nevertheless , it isn’t really their fault. Muhammad claimed that the Bible is full of prophecies about the rise of Islam, so Muslims are doing their best to find those prophecies. They’ve spent nearly fourteen centuries searching for at least two unambiguous predictions (one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament), yet all their attempts have failed. This presents an enormous problem for Islam, for this lack of Biblical support leads to a devastating conclusion. Since Muhammad claimed that the Bible predicts the rise of Islam, the following syllogism refutes Muhammad’s prophethood:
Premise One: If Muhammad was a true prophet, the Bible must contain numerous clear prophecies about him (for this is what he claimed).
Premise Two: There are no clear prophecies about Muhammad in the Bible.
Conclusion: Therefore, Muhammad was not a true prophet.
Of course, this means that the Muslim search for Biblical support has actually backfired and shown the religion to be false. However, such a conclusion may be too hasty, for, in reality, the Bible does contain prophecies about Muhammad. Muslims have simply overlooked them.