Ibrāhim (Abraham, peace be upon him) is widely regarded as the Patriarch of monotheism and the common father of the Jews, Christians and Muslims. Through his second son, Ishāq (Isaac), came all Israelite prophets including such towering figures as Ya'qūb (Jacob), Yūsuf (Joseph), Mūsa (Moses), Dāwūd (David), Sulaimān (Solomon), and 'Īsa (Jesus), may peace and blessings be upon them all. The advent of these great prophets was in partial fulfillment of Allāh's (God's) promises to bless the nations of earth through the descendents of Abraham (Genesis 12:2-3). Muslims, whose creed considers the belief in and respect of all prophets an article of faith, wholeheartedly accept such fulfillment.
BLESSINGS OF ISHMAEL AND ISAAC
Was the first born son of Abraham, Ismā'īl (Ishmael) and his descendants included in God's covenant and promise? A few verses from the Bible may help shed some light on this question:
After Jesus (peace be upon him), the last Israelite messenger and prophet, it was time that God's promise to bless Ishmael and his descendants be fulfilled. Less than 600 years after Jesus came the last messenger of Allāh, Muhammad ( - peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), from the progeny of Abraham through Ishmael. Allāh's blessing of both of the main branches of Abraham's family tree was now fulfilled. But is there additional corroborating evidence that the Bible did, in fact, foretell the advent of the prophet Muhammad ()?
MUHAMMAD (): The Prophet Like Unto Moses
A long time after Abraham, God's promise to send the long-awaited Messenger was
repeated, this time in Moses' (peace be upon him) words.
THE AWAITED PROPHET WAS TO COME FROM ARABIA
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 Makkah).
Indeed the King James Version of the Bible mentions the pilgrims passing through
the valley of Ba'ca (another name of Makkah) in Psalms 84:4-6.
MUHAMMAD'S () MIGRATION FROM MAKKAH TO MADĪNAH: Prophecied In The Bible?
Habakkuk 3:3 speaks of God (God's help) coming from Te'man (an oasis north of Madīnah, according to J. Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible) and the holy one (coming) from Paran. That holy one who under persecution migrated from Paran (Makkah) to be received enthusiastically in Madīnah was none but Prophet Muhammad ().
Indeed, the incident of the migration of the prophet and his persecuted followers is vividly described in Isaiah 21:13-17. That section foretold as well about the battle of Badr in which the few ill-armed faithful miraculously defeated the "mighty" men of Ke'dar, who sought to destroy Islam and intimidate their own folks who turned to Islam.
THE QUR'ĀN FORETOLD IN THE BIBLE?
For twenty-three years, Allāh's words (the Qur'ān) were truely put into
Muhammad's () mouth. He was not the "author" of the Qur'ān. The
Qur'ān was dictated to him by the Angel Gabriel who asked Muhammad () to
simply repeat the words of the Qur'ān as he heard them. These words were then
committed to memory and to writing by those who hear them during Muhammad's ()
life time and under his supervision.
Was it another coincidence that Isaiah ties between the messenger connected with Ke'dar and a new song (a scripture in a new language) to be sang unto the Lord (Isaiah 42:10-11)? More explicitly prophesies Isaiah, "For with stammering lips, and another tongue, will he speak to this people" (Isaiah 28:11). This latter verse correctly describes the "stammering lips" of Prophet Muhammad () reflecting the state of tension and concentration he went through at the time of revelation. Another related point is that the Qur'ān was revealed piece-meal over a span of twenty-three years. It is interesting to compare this with Isaiah 28:10 which speaks of the same thing.
THE PARACLETE, PROPHET MUHAMMAD ()
Up to the time of Jesus (peace be upon him) the Israelites were still awaiting that prophet like unto Moses prophesied in Deuteronomy 18:18. When John the Baptist came they asked him if he was Christ and he said, "No." They asked him if he was Elias and he said, "No." Then, in apparent reference to Deuteronomy 18:18, they asked him "Art thou that Prophet?" and he answered, "No." (John 1: 19-21)
In the Gospel according to John (Chapters 14, 15, 16), Jesus (peace be upon him) spoke of the "Paraclete," or comforter, who will come after him, who will be sent by the Father as another Paraclete, who will teach new things which the contemporaries of Jesus could not bear. While the Paraclete is described as the spirit of truth, (whose meaning resembles Muhammad's () famous title Al-Amīn, the trustworthy), he is identified in one verse as the Holy Ghost (John 14:26). Such a designation is, however, inconsistent with the profile of that Paraclete. In the words of the Dictionary of the Bible, (Ed. J. Mackenzie) "These items, it must be admitted, do not give an entirely coherent picture."
Indeed, history tells us that many early Christians understood the Paraclete to be a man and not a spirit. This might explain the followers who responded to some who claimed, without meeting the criteria stipulated by Jesus, to be the awaited "Paraclete."
It was Prophet Muhammad () who was the Paraclete. Comforter, helper, admonisher, sent by God after Jesus. He testified of Jesus, taught new things, which could not be borne at Jesus' time. He spoke what he heard (revelation), he dwells with the believers (through his well-preserved teachings). Such teachings will remain forever because he was the last messenger of Allāh, the only Universal Messenger to unite the whole of humanity under God and on the path of PRESERVED truth. He told of many things to come which "came to pass" in the minutest detail, meeting the criterion given by Moses (peace be upon him) to distinguish between the true prophet and the false prophets (Deuteronomy 18:22). He did reprove the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment (John 16:8-11).
WAS THE SHIFT OF RELIGIOUS LEADERSHIP PROPHECIED?
Following the rejection of the last Israelite prophet, Jesus (peace be upon him), it was about time that God's promise to make Ishmael a great nation be fulfilled (Genesis 21:13, 18).
In Matthew 21:19-21, Jesus spoke of the fruitless fig tree (a Biblical symbol of prophetic heritage) to be cleared after being given a last chance of three years (the duration of Jesus' ministry) to give fruit. In a later verse in the same chapter, Jesus (peace be upon him) said:
"Therefore, say I unto you, the Kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruit thereof" (Matthew 21:43). That nation of Ishmael's descendants (the rejected stone in Matthew 21:42) which was victorious against all super-powers of its time as prophesied by Jesus: "And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder" (Matthew 21:44).
OUT OF CONTEXT COINCIDENCE?
Is it possible that the numerous prophecies cited here are all individual and
combined-out-of-context misinterpretations? Is the opposite true, that such
infrequently studied verses fit together consistently and clearly point to the
advent of the man who changed the course of human history, Prophet Muhammad
(peace and blessings be upon him)? Is it reasonable to conclude that all these
prophecies, appearing in different books of the Bible and spoken by various
prophets at different times were all coincidence? If this is so here is another
Says Allāh, as quoted by Moses (peace be upon him):
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words, which
he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. (Deuteronomy 18:19)
May the light of truth shine in your heart and mind. May it lead you to peace and certitude in this life and eternal bliss in the Hereafter.
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