the psalms1 mentions the characteristics of the last prophet
the proofs are many that prophet muhammad (saws)2 is the last prophet and the one mentioned in both the old testament and the new testament.3
psalms are another evidence in this regard. one psalm reads as follows:
“1 my heart overflows with a goodly theme; i address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe. 2 you are the most handsome of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore god has blessed you forever. 3 gird your sword on your thigh, o mighty one, in your glory and majesty. 4 in your majesty ride on victoriously for the cause of truth and to defend the right; let your right hand teach you dread deeds. 5 your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; the peoples fall under you. 6 your throne, o god, endures forever and ever. your royal scepter is a scepter of equity; 7 you love righteousness and hate wickedness. therefore god, your god, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; … 9 daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor; at your right hand stands the queen in gold of ophir. 10 hear, o daughter, consider and incline your ear; forget your people and your father's house, 11 and the king will desire your beauty. since he is your lord, bow to him; … 16 in the place of ancestors you, o king, shall have sons; you will make them princes in all the earth.17 i will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations; therefore the peoples will praise you forever and ever.”4 (psalm 45: 1-17)
christians believe that the above text was a prophecy of the prophet to come, that is, isa (as)5 (jesus) in their belief. as far as muslims are concerned, they believe that the above descriptions fit prophet muhammad (saws) more than they fit prophet isa (as).
the above text mentions nine characteristics of the prophet to come:
first: he would have more beauty than any human being “you are the most handsome of men.” this cannot be a description of isa (as) because christians believe that the prophecy of isaiah was realized in isa (as), that is, “he has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to him.”6 (isaiah 53:2)
although we disagree with this meaning their scholars asserted more than once. cleamndous the alexandrian said, “his beauty was in his soul and deeds, but his look was ugly” while tartilian mentioned that “he had no physical beauty; in fact, he was far removed from any bodily glory.” if this is their opinion of isa (as) how can it be said that he was “the most handsome of men.”7
on the other hand, many proofs are there on the handsomeness of our prophet (saws). al-baraa bin malik, one of his companions, describes him as follows: “i did not see anybody … looking more handsome than the prophet. he was not excessively tall or short and had wide shoulders. his hair used to hang down to the earlobes. he was the most handsome man i ever saw.”8
second: the words of prophethood are delivered verbally by him “grace is poured upon your lips.” this means he is illiterate and his revelation is not written. isa (as) was not illiterate: “when he came to nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. he stood up to read” (luke 4:16)
in deuteronomy, the prophet to come would be illiterate: “i will raise up for them a prophet like you (that is moses) from among their own people; i will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that i command.” (deuteronomy 18:18)
in isaiah it is written that “the vision of all this has become for you like the words of a sealed document. if it is given to those who can read, with the command, ‘read this,’ they say, ‘we cannot, for it is sealed. and if it is given to those who cannot read, saying, ‘read this, ‘they say, ‘we cannot read.’” (isaiah 29: 11-12) in many versions, the plural pronoun ‘we’ is ‘i’. this is the same expression prophet muhammad (saws) says to angel jibril (as) (gabriel) at the cave of hira’, that is “i cannot read”.
third: he is eternally blessed: “god has blessed you forever.”
fourth: he would have sword by which he would conquer his enemies, “gird your sword on your thigh, o mighty one, in your glory and majesty. in your majesty ride on victoriously for the cause of truth and to defend the right; let your right hand teach you dread deeds. your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; the peoples fall under you.” isa (as) did not hold a sword or fight any enemy. he did not have the status of a king among his people. on the contrary, prophet muhammad (saws) fought for allah9 ’s cause “in your majesty ride on victoriously for the cause of truth and to defend the right” and he was the leader of his people.
fifth: he would love good deeds just like all other prophets, but allah (swt)10 prefers him, “your god, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
sixth: presents would be presented to this prophet and the king’s daughters would serve him and be among his wives, “daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor; at your right hand stands the queen in gold of ophir.” prophet isa (as) did not marry while prophet muhammad (saws) married lady safiyah bint-huiayy ibn-akhtab who was the king among his people and lady maria bint-sham’oun was gifted to him. the daughter of khosrau was the wife of his grandson al-hussein.
seventh: peoples would follow him and embrace his religion, “13the princess is decked in her chamber with gold-woven robes; 14 in many-colored robes she is led to the king; behind her the virgins, her companions, follow.15 with joy and gladness they are led along as they enter the palace of the king.”
eighth: he would give his people dignity and high status after debasement, “in the place of ancestors you, o king, shall have sons; you will make them princes in all the earth.”
ninth: he would be praised forever, “i will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations; therefore the peoples will praise you forever and ever.” the meaning of muhammad is the ever-praised, is this a matter of coincidence?!
in brief, twisting facts in order to suit one’s purpose and bias does not succeed. both the old and new testaments are full of references to the coming of prophet muhammad (saws) and the fair reader of both would discover this for himself. there are many books written about the translations of the bible that indicate the bias and illogical turns. one of the best books you can read is truth in translation: accuracies and bias in the english translations of the new testament by jason david beduhn (university press of america 2003). at the beginning of this book, the author mentions that there “are many english translations of the bible, and no two read alike. if you have noticed this, you may have been alarmed. since christians believe that their salvation to some degree depends upon understanding the truths in the bible, the idea that bibles differ in what they say can be very disturbing.” (vii)
1- psalms (hebrew: tehilim, תהילים, or “praises”) is a book of the hebrew bible (the christian old testament), included in the collected works known as the "writings" or ketuvim. the book of psalms consists of 150 psalms, each of which constitutes a religious song, though one or two are atypically long and may constitute a set of related chants. when the bible was divided into chapters, each psalm was assigned its own chapter. psalms are sometimes referenced as chapters, despite chapter assignments postdating the initial composition of the “canonical” psalms by at least 1,500 years.
2- salla allah alayhe wa salam [all prayers and peace of allah be upon him].
3- these mean what we have now of these documents that have been tampered with so that to delete any reference to muhammad (saws) but evidences are still many to prove that he is the last prophet. it is also noteworthy that we have many new testaments and many old testaments but we do not have an authenticated origin.
4- source: http://bible.thelineberrys.com
5- alayhe as-salam [all peace of allah be upon him].
6- this translation is taken from new american standard bible (1995). in god’s word translation it is “he grew up in his presence like a young tree, like a root out of dry ground. he had no form or majesty that would make us look at him. he had nothing in his appearance that would make us desire him.” in king james bible it is “for he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” in american standard version it is “for he grew up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” in bible in basic english it is “for his growth was like that of a delicate plant before him, and like a root out of a dry place: he had no grace of form, to give us pleasure.” in douay-rhemis bible: “and he shall grow up as a tender plant before him, and as a root out of a thirsty ground: there is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him, and there was no sightliness, that we should be desirous of him.” in darby bible translation:“ for he shall grow up before him as a tender sapling, and as a root out of dry ground: he hath no form nor lordliness, and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”
7- our prophet (saws) describes prophet isa (as) as being “a man of medium height and moderate complexion inclined to the red and white colors and of lank hair.” this means he was handsome and this is logical because how can allah (swt) send an ugly prophet to call people to his path. ugliness is a repelling characteristic that would undermine the call in its cradle.
8- at-tirmithi, muhammdan attributes (3). sahih as per al-albani in compendium of muhammdan attributes (p. 14). al-baraa bin ‘azib was asked, “was the face of the prophet (as bright) as a sword?" he said, "no, but (as bright) as a moon.” (sahih al-bukhari volume 4, book 56, number 752).
9- the word allah is the arabic term for god. although the use of the word ‘allah’is most often associated with islam, it is not used exclusively by muslims; arab christians and arabic-speaking jews also use it to refer to the one god. the arabic word expresses the unique characteristics of the one god more precisely than the english term. whereas the word "allah" has no plural form in arabic, the english form does. allah is the god worshipped by all prophets, from adam to noah, abraham, moses, jesus and muhammad.
10- subhanahu wa ta'ala [glorified and exalted be he].