Thursday, 16 April 2009

Muhammad in the Bible? Part II

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!
[14]

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:

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:1-3)

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." [15] 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 Israel before his death. And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, And rose up from Seir unto them; He shined forth from mount Paran, And he came with ten thousands of saints: From his right hand went a fiery law for them. (Deuteronomy 33:1-2)

Notice that this passage says nothing about prophets. It is a description of God’s victory in bringing the Israelites into the
Holy Land. God was with them as they passed Sinai, Seir, and Paran. Indeed, the language used by Moses to describe God’s help is common in the Old Testament:

LORD, when thou wentest out of Seir, When thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, The earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, The clouds also dropped water. The mountains melted from before the LORD, Even that Sinai from before the LORD God of Israel. (Judges 5:4-5)

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 Israel. ... The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: The Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. (Psalm 68:7-8, 17)

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 land of Hijaz, where arose Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) from among the descendents of Ishmael”. [16]

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 village of Sa’ir near Jerusalem) and shining forth from Paran. According to Genesis 21:21, the wilderness of Paran was the place where Ishmael settled (i.e. Arabia, specifically Mecca). [17]

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 Mount Paran. To say that this really refers to prophets requires an unjustified leap of interpretation, especially since similar language is used elsewhere in the Old Testament to describe God’s victories over Israel’s enemies. Further, while God gave a revelation at Sinai, the Muslim interpretations of "Seir" are problematic. Ali holds that it refers to David’s conquest of Seir, but what does this have to do with the rise of a prophet or the giving of revelation? Badawi says that the reference to Seir probably refers to the village of Sa’ir near Jerusalem. But this view is preposterous. The Pentateuch mentions Seir numerous times as the place where the Edomites settled, and the same word is used in Deuteronomy 33. Needless to say, the Edomites didn’t settle in the village of Sa’ir near Jerusalem, which makes it impossible to link Jesus to Seir. Additionally, Paran (near Mecca, according to Muslims) is also mentioned several time in the Torah:

And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud [i.e. the glory of the LORD] rested in the wilderness of Paran. (Numbers 10:12)

And afterward the people removed from Hazeroth, and pitched in the wilderness of Paran. (Numbers 12:16)

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 13:26)

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)

Mount Paran is in northwestern Sinai, a great distance from Mecca. However, even if Paran were the land of Muhammad, as Badawi claims, the Torah would simply be telling us that the Israelites spent time there during their flight from Egypt, and that the fiery pillar of the glory of God rested there for a time. It makes sense, then, to think that Moses’ report that the LORD "shined forth from mount Paran" refers to the LORD literally shining forth from Mount Paran, not to Muhammad figuratively shining forth with the Qur’an in Mecca.

Ali’s final prophecy (other than Jesus’ prediction of the coming Comforter) is taken from Isaiah:

The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye traveling companies of Dedanim. The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, They prevented with their bread him that fled. For they fled from the swords, From the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, And from the grievousness of war. (Isaiah 21:13-15)

According to Ali, this "burden upon Arabia" is a clear prophecy about Muhammad:

In the first place the word "Arabia" is by itself significant enough. Then the mention of one who fled sheds still further light on the object of the prophecy. The history of the world records but one such flight that has won the importance of a red-letter event—the flight of the Holy Prophet Muhammad from Makkah. ... A yet clearer testimony, however, is contained in the words, "he fled from drawn swords." History confirms that the Holy Prophet Muhammad fled from Makkah while his house was still surrounded by blood-thirsty enemies with drawn swords ready to fall upon him in a body as soon as he came out. ... These two authoritative facts of history, supplemented by a direct mention of the land of Arabia as the birth-place of the Promised Prophet, furnished an indisputable clue that the prophecy refers to the Holy Prophet Muhammad. [18]

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 Arabia in 732 B.C. Further, the inhabitants of Tema lived approximately four hundred miles north of Mecca, so it is difficult to imagine how the prophecy could apply to Muhammad’s flight from Mecca. It seems most reasonable, then, to conclude that Isaiah prophesied about the Assyrian empire’s attacks on Arabia that occurred during his own lifetime, not about Muhammad’s flight from Mecca more than a thousand years later.

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.

IHS

3 comments:

  1. Prophecy Servant of God
    ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
    word Atmak not necessarily means ‘whom I uphold’ but is infact a name

    the writing of Atmak is אתמך
    the writing of Ahmad is אחמד

    Isaiah 42:1
    God says
    “Behold, 'My Servant' (pronounced as Abd-ee), ‘whom I uphold’ (pronounced as Atmak);

    God mentioning about the coming of His servant
    Behold My Servant Ahmad (Isaiah 42:1) - so who is this Ahmad as in God'servant?

    He is none other than
    Abd-Allah Ahmad (Servant of God, Ahmad) - Prophet Muhammad s.a.w

    ReplyDelete
  2. a) study more Hebrew, yours is terrible
    b) put it into context and you will come to another conclusion

    Thanks for studying more and don`t waste our time please with irrelevant quotations taken out of context.

    ReplyDelete
  3. c) You insert words that are not in the text!!!!

    Now I understand why you are such a specialist in tampering manuscripts hahahahah!!!

    ReplyDelete