By Anthony Rogers
Given that many others have done this before, the
following aims to be a (relatively) short but pungent reply to the Muslim claim
that Muhammad's coming was prophesied in Deuteronomy 18.
In fact, not only is it certain from the Qur’an that Muhammad performed no miraculous sign or wonder to confirm that he was a prophet from God,4 it is just as certain that he performed no sign or wonder such as would identify him as the prophet like unto Moses, a point on which, once again, the Qur’an agrees: “But (now), when the Truth has come to them from Ourselves, they say, ‘Why are not (Signs) sent to him,like those which were sent to Moses?’”
An Additional Set of Problems
To further complicate matters, the argument that Deuteronomy 18 prophecies the coming of Muhammad rests on several hotly disputed assumptions, such as that the Arabs are descended from Ishmael, and that Muhammad was illiterate, not just unlettered, the latter being a technical term for Gentiles or people generally unlearned when it came to the Jewish and Christian scriptures. It also ignores that the prophecy excludes from its purview anyone who speaks in the name of any other God than Yahweh, which Muhammad did by speaking in the name of a god whose descriptive nature and character are decidedly contrary to the Bible, as well as anyone who makes a prediction that does not come to pass, which Muhammad did many times over.
In other words, even if all the other qualifications were met by Muhammad, that is, even if it could be shown that the passage is really talking about a future descendant of Ishmael who would be so unlike Moses in the key features of his prophetic office as any one person could be, and as Muhammad certainly was, then Muhammad would still be disqualified.
The Muslim idea that the passage refers to an Arab who didn’t speak with God and didn’t perform any miracle flounders over and over again on all the salient points of the prophecy. In light of this fact, Muslims would do well to disabuse themselves of the absurd notion that Muhammad is prophesied here in Deuteronomy 18.
For all the verbal legerdemain employed by Muslims in an attempt to conjure Muhammad up out of Deuteronomy 18, the fact is that any prophet, who would lay claim to fulfilling Deuteronomy 18, must be an Israelite, must speak face to face with God, and must have a ministry marked by divine approval. And Muhammad just didn’t cut the muster, for he failed not on one, or two, but on all three points.
In conclusion, not only was Muhammad not the prophet foretold in Deuteronomy 18, but according to that very passage he was not a true prophet at all. Accordingly, although Muhammad uttered many curses and imprecations on anyone who would deny him the all important title of prophet, and even though he would often buttress this demand by saying that Allah would punish those who do not submit to him as the messenger of Allah, according to Deuteronomy 18 there isn’t the slightest reason for anyone to fear, for these are the words of a presumptuous man. Indeed, the divine command is, “Do not be afraid of him.”
Continue with Part II.
1 See also S. 44:30-33.
2 Yusuf Ali notes on this verse: “Allah spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai. Hence the title of Moses in Muslim theology: Kalim Allah: the one to whom Allah spoke.” (Footnote #670)
3 This verse is plagued with problems for Muslims, for not only does there seem to be a discrepancy among the translators, with some translating it as “with some Allah spoke”, rather than “with one of them Allah spoke”, but it also seems to suggest that Moses and Jesus were both “preferred” or “gifted” above Muhammad, for the former spoke to Allah directly and the latter had miraculous signs.
4 Surah 2:118; 2:145; 6:37; 6:109; 10:20; 11:12; 13:7; 13:27; 17:59; 17:90-93