Muhammad calligraphy

The Bible provides a standard for prophethood, it gives us a measure by which we can assess whether Muhammad (peace be upon him), or anybody else for that matter, is a genuine prophet of God:

You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed. [Deuteronomy 18:21-22]

Here the Bible sets out a very practical test that allows us to distinguish true prophets from false ones. Only a genuine prophet of God, those who have been given access to the unseen as part of God’s revelation to them, will be able to make predictions about the future that are not only detailed, but always come to pass. Only genuine prophets of God, those who receive information from God, the One who has complete knowledge of the future, can get it right every time. By comparison, the predictions of false prophets are often vague in nature and fail to come to pass. This is the key difference between a false prophet and a true one.

DOES THE BIBLE PASS ITS OWN TEST?

Before looking at predictions made by Muhammad, let’s analyse some prophecies in the Bible itself in order to establish a benchmark:

The Prophet Daniel

The Old Testament book of Daniel describes a terrifying vision of the future:

After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.

While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully. [Daniel 7:7-8]

Prophet Daniel does go on to explain elements of his vision such as the beasts representing kingdoms and ten horns being symbolic of kings. What about the main part of Daniel’s vision, the little horn? If we look to Jewish commentaries we find a confusing picture. Some classical commentators, such as Ibn Ezra and Rashi, interpreted the little horn to be a reference to the Roman emperor Titus. Rashi in his Old Testament commentary stated: “That [the little horn] is Titus, about whom the Rabbis, of blessed memory, said (Gittin 56b) that he blasphemed and berated and entered the Heichal with brazenness.” [1] Other classical commentators, such as Saadia Gaon, took the very different view that the little horn refers not to an individual but rather a nation: “This small horn designates the other nation which is associated with Edom and rules Syria after it.” [2] More modern commentators, such as 18th century Rabbi David Hillel Altshuler, took the view that the little horn represents the Ishmaelites. In his commentary, “Metsudat David”, he says that the little horn will be a great king arising in the East who will become a Muslim and be a wise leader [3].

We’ve seen that Jewish commentators throughout the ages have differed greatly on the meaning of this prophecy. Christian commentators have been just as divided. Early Church Fathers such as Irenaeus, Tertullian and Jerome interpreted the little horn to be a reference to the Antichrist of the End Times. In his commentary on Daniel, Jerome says with reference to the little horn that “it is the man of sin, the son of perdition, who dares to sit in the temple of God, making himself as God.” [4] Other early Christian theologians such as Cyprian, Porphyry and Ephrem the Syrian understood the little horn to be Antiochus Epiphanes who was a Greek king of the Seleucid Empire. In his commentary on Daniel, Ephrem the Syrian states: “This is Antiochus, the persecutor of the Jews, who sprang up in the midst of the ten kings” [5]. Many Protestant Christian commentaries differ still by interpreting the little horn to be a reference to a Pope of the Catholic Church. For example, Adam Clarke’s commentary on the Bible states: “Another little horn – Among Protestant writers this is considered to be the popedom.”

The Book of Revelation

The New Testament book of Revelation puts forward some very vivid imagery in its description of the End Times:

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.”

Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. [Revelation 17:1-4]

The book of Revelation does go on to explain elements of the prophecy, such as the seven heads and ten horns being kings and the waters are said represent peoples, multitudes, nations and languages. What about the main part of this prophecy, the woman sitting on the beast? If we look to Christian commentaries we find a confusing picture. Early Church Fathers such as Jerome, Augustine and Tertullian identified the woman as the Pagan Rome of their day which persecuted Christians. Tertullian wrote: “So, again, Babylon, in our own John, is a figure of the city Rome, as being equally great and proud of her sway, and triumphant over the saints.” [6]. Saint Victorinus of Pettau, who wrote the earliest commentary on the book of Revelation, also held the opinion that the woman represents Pagan Rome: “The seven heads are the seven hills on which the woman sitteth that is, the city of Rome” [7]. Others, such as the renowned 19th century Scottish theologian William Milligan, take the view that the woman is symbolic of an apostate Jerusalem:

It is difficult not to think that there was one great drama present to the mind of the Seer and suggestive of the picture of the harlot’s ruin, that of the life and death of Jesus. The degenerate Jewish Church had then called in the assistance of the world-power of Rome, had stirred it up, and had persuaded it to do its bidding against its true Bridegroom and King. An alliance had been formed between them; and, as a result of it, they crucified the Lord of glory. But the alliance was soon broken; and, in the fall of Jerusalem by the hands of her guilty paramour, the harlot was left desolate and naked, her flesh was eaten, and she was burned utterly with fire. [8]

Many modern New Testament commentaries take a different view still. They have the understanding that the author of the book of Revelation did not intend for the woman sitting on a beast to symbolise an entity from the past, such as Pagan Rome or an apostate Jerusalem, but rather was pointing to Papal Rome, the Catholic Church in the future. For example, the Benson Bible Commentary states:

Revelation 17:4-5. And the woman was arrayed — With the utmost pomp and magnificence; in purple and scarlet — Which were the colours of the imperial habit, — the purple in times of peace, and the scarlet in times of war: and the scarlet is the colour of the popes and cardinals, as it used to be that of the Roman emperors and senators. Nay, the mules and horses which carry the popes and cardinals are covered with scarlet cloth, so that they may properly be said to ride upon a scarlet-coloured beast. The woman is also decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls — And who can sufficiently describe the pride, and grandeur, and magnificence of the Church of Rome in her vestments and ornaments of all kinds?

Similarly, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary also states that the woman is not Pagan Rome but Papal Rome:

17:1-6 Rome clearly appears to be meant in this chapter. Pagan Rome subdued and ruled with military power, not by art and flatteries. She left the nations in general to their ancient usages and worship. But it is well known that by crafty and politic management, with all kinds of deceit of unrighteousness, papal Rome has obtained and kept her rule over kings and nations.

Other commentaries don’t just restrict it to the Catholic Church; they interpret the woman to represent any apostate church. The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible states: “It cannot be pagan Rome, but papal Rome, if a particular seat of error be meant, but I incline to think that the judgment (Re 18:2) and the spiritual fornication (Re 18:3), though finding their culmination in Rome, are not restricted to it, but comprise the whole apostate Church, Roman, Greek, and even Protestant”.

Each of these different interpretations for the books of Daniel and Revelation has its own merits, but it’s out of the scope of this article to get into the strengths and weaknesses of each view. What is clear, however, is that different Jewish and Christian commentators held very different views of the prophecies in the Bible. This is a direct consequence of the ambiguous nature of the prophecies, which often lack important details such as dates and the names of people and places. Instead what we find is highly metaphorical and symbolic imagery such as fantastical beasts. Note that the purpose of analysing these Biblical prophecies is not to try and show that they are false. Quite the opposite, these prophecies could very well come true in the future. If Jews and Christians accept that such Biblical prophecies are divinely inspired and satisfy the Bible’s standard of prophethood as laid out in Deuteronomy 18:21-22, then one must be consistent and hold Muhammad to a similar standard.

Prophecies about Jesus

A point worth mentioning is that some Christians claim that there are over three hundred prophecies in the Old Testament which have been fulfilled by Jesus. The problem with this claim is that if one examines these prophecies, you will find that they are not specific and they must be stretched in order to make them fit the person of Jesus. For example, in the Gospel of Matthew:

When he arose, he took the young child [Jesus] and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. [Matthew 2:14-15]

So according to the Gospel of Matthew, there’s a prophecy in the Old Testament that was fulfilled by Jesus. But when one goes back to the book of Hosea in the Old Testament where the passage is referenced from, you will find that only half the passage has been quoted:

When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. [Hosea 11:1]

As you can see, when read in full, rather than being a prophecy about Jesus, this verse was in fact speaking of a past event, the exodus of the Israelites at the time of Moses.

In another example, the Gospel of Matthew quotes a non-existent prophecy from the Book of Jeremiah:

Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.” [Matthew 27:9-10]

Here the Gospel of Matthew is making the point that the betrayal of Jesus by Judas for thirty pieces of silver was foretold by Jeremiah. The problem is that when one looks to the Book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament, no such prophecy is found. It is actually found in the Book of Zechariah:

I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the Lord. [Zechariah 11:12-13]

Notice that the details are different. Whereas the Gospel of Matthew mentions the purchase of a field for thirty pieces of silver, Zechariah mentions no such thing. So not only is the wrong book of the Old Testament named in the Gospel of Matthew, but the contents are different.

If Christians have no issue accepting these standard of prophecies for Jesus, then in the name of fairness and consistency they should adopt at least a similar standard for Muhammad. Christians should adopt a methodology that is fair and consistent when it comes to finding prophecies of Jesus and Muhammad in the Old Testament. We can’t have one set of standards for Muhammad, and another for Jesus.

PUTTING MUHAMMAD ﷺ TO THE TEST

The following article covers numerous examples of clear and accurate predictions found in the Islamic source texts:

http://www.manyprophetsonemessage.com/2016/03/27/accurate-predictions-a-sign-of-true-prophethood/

As you can seen, Muhammad accurately foretold of many things, and was given a book of revelation, the Qur’an, which accurately foretold of many more things. These prophecies are much clearer than many of those found in the Bible, which as we’ve seen can be ambiguous and lack important details such as dates and the names of people and places. The Qur’an and Hadith are filled with prophecies about the future which have either been fulfilled, or are transpiring before our eyes today. Purely from probability, it is impossible to accurately guess such events, spanning multiple nations and different time periods, many of which were outside of the sphere of influence of Muslims, without making a single mistake. An honest evaluation leads to only one conclusion, the Prophet Muhammad more than meets the standard for a true prophet that is laid out in the Bible.

To learn more about the miracles of the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad you can order and download the free book “The Eternal Challenge: A Journey Through The Miraculous Qur’an” from here.

References

1 – Accessed 11th May 2017:

http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16490

2 – Saadia ben Joseph, Joseph Alobaidi, The Book of Daniel: The Commentary of R. Saadia Gaon, pp. 534 – 535.

3 – Translated from here (accessed 11th May 2017:):

http://www.sefaria.org/Metzudat_David_on_Daniel.7.10?lang=bi

4 – “Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture Old Testament XIII Ezekiel, Daniel”, Edited by Kenneth Stevenson and Michael Glerup, p.227.

5 – Ibid.

6 – Tertulian Answer to the Jews Chapter 9.

7 – Catalin Negru, History of the Apocalypse, p. 66.

8 – William Milligan, The Book of Revelation, p. 68

Written by Many Prophets One Message
A CALL TO THE TRUTH

    3 Comments

  1. Robert July 14, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    in Daniel there is prediction that Jesus will change the season and the law and he is a false prophet.Jews on the yourpharisee friend blog always use the prophecy about changing the law to disprove Jesus as prophet

    • Robert July 14, 2017 at 10:49 pm

      in John Jesus makes claims about himself and repurposes the Jewish holy day and tries to bring himself in gods place. The Jesus of john does signs to take attention away from invisible god and attention on himself (Jesus) .this is clearly changing the law and holy seasons as predicted in daniel

      • Nawaz Arshad July 21, 2017 at 4:48 am

        The problem with the quotes mentioned in Gospels and most certainly in John ( whoever he really was,since all of them are anonymous) is that we have no way to verify it they are actually spoken by Jesus as it’s attributed to him so we can’t say that Jesus said it.