musa (as) 1 (moses) announces good tidings of a prophet like him
when prophet musa (as) descended down tur mount after allah 2 (swt) 3 spoke to him, he told the children of israel that: “and the lord said unto me, they have well spoken that which they have spoken. i will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that i shall command 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. but the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which i have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. and if thou say in thine heart, how shall we know the word which the lord hath not spoken? when a prophet speaketh in the name of the lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” (deuteronomy 18:17-22) 4
it is explicit that the above text is about a great prophet to come after prophet musa (as). the characteristics of this prophet are mentioned i order for us to know who he is. christians claim that this prophet is isa (as) (jesus)5 . peter 6 mentions that “for moses truly said unto the fathers, a prophet shall the lord your god raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. and it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. yea, and all the prophets from samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.” (acts of the prophets 3: 22-24) although peter believes that this is the description of prophet isa (as), we, as muslims, are sure that this text, as many others, refers to prophet muhammad ( saws ) 7 . christians do not have solid evidence that may support their claim. on the other hand, upon analysis, the text provides many indications that consolidate the claim that this prophet to come after prophet musa (as) is prophet muhammad ( saws ). this torah text mentions the characteristics of this prophet as follows:
he is a prophet “a prophet shall the lord your god raise up.” christians do not believe that isa (as) was a prophet; they bestow divinity over him while orthodox christians believe he is allah himself. how come it is said “a prophet shall the lord your god raise up” and not “myself shall i raise up”? if isa (as) is the prophet mentioned in the text, then his divinity is just a chimera. christians should have a solution for this dilemma!!
he is not one from the children of israel; rather, he is one from their brothers, that is, their cousins “unto you of your brethren.” the cousins of the children of israel are the children of esau bin 8 ishaq (as) (isaac) and the children of ismai’l (as) bin ibrahim (as) (abraham). it is not uncommon in torah to use the word ‘brethren’ to refer to ‘cousins.’ musa (as) says to the children of israel “ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of esau…” (deuteronomy 2:4) as mentioned before, the children of esau are the cousins of the children of israel. another use of the same reference is in numbers when “moses sent messengers from kadesh unto the king of edom , thus saith thy brother israel , thou knowest all the travail that hath befallen us” ( 20:14 ) here musa (as) calls edom ‘brother’ while he is actually a ‘cousin.’ therefore, the prophet announces in the text can be an arab in order to realize the bliss promised for the offspring of ismai’l (as) or it can be one from the children of esau. however, none from the latter group claimed to be the waited-for prophet. who is he then?!
this prophet is like musa (as). there was never a prophet like musa (as) in children of israel: “and there arose not a prophet since in israel like unto moses, whom the lord knew face to face” (deuteronomy 34:10) in the sumerian torah the issue is more emphatic: “and there shall not be a prophet in israel like moses, whom the lord conferred privately with.” (deuteronomy 34:10) this similarity is realized in prophet muhammad ( saws ) but not in prophet isa (as). this is not a matter of bias; rather, it is based on many similarities: both musa (as) and muhammad ( saws ) were born naturally; both married; both had shari’ah; both fought their enemies; both led his ummah 9 ; both were human beings. christians claim that prophet isa (as) was a god. they should decide first because they contradict themselves!!
isa (as) himself described the prophet to come as being like prophet musa (as): “do not think that i will accuse you to the father: there is one that accuseth you, even moses, in whom ye trust. for had ye believed moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. but if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (john 5: 45-47)
the prophet to come is illiterate. he does not read or write and the revelation that comes to him is an oral one 10 “will put my words in his mouth”, that is, he does write down the revelation. isa (as) was not illiterate: “and he came to nazareth , where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” (luke 4:16)
he delivers his entire message “he shall speak unto them all that i shall command him.” this really fits prophet muhammad ( saws ). in the noble qur’an, allah (swt) says what can be translated as “today i have completed your religion for you, and i have perfected my favor on you, and i am satisfied with islam as a religion for you.” (tmq (11 ) 5:3) prophet isa (as) described that prophet to come in the paraclete prophecy in john: “and i will pray the father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” ( 14:26 ) prophet isa (as) cannot be that prophet who shall deliver all what allah commands him because allah has lifted him before he could do so. therefore, he told his disciples that there would be another ‘comforter’ who would deliver the message in full and no killing or torture would prevent him from doing that: “i have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. howbeit when he, the spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (john 16: 12-13)
those who do not listen to the prophet to come would be punished by allah “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.” he is to be obeyed and followed. otherwise, the disobedient would be punished. this really happened to all the enemies of prophet muhammad ( saws ). in the prophecy of husbandmen prophet isa (as) says that “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) the said prophet is like a stone on which his enemies perish one after another. he is the prophet prophesied by daniel: “and in the days of these kings shall the god of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great god hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” (2: 44-45)
prophet isa (as) did not have such power and strength; he even did not threat his alleged killers 12 , then what about those who did not even listen to his words? narrating the alleged crucifixion (rather crucifiction) story, luke mentions that “then said jesus, father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. and they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” ( 23: 34 )
the prophet to come would not be killed; allah would protect him. the lying prophet shall die: “but the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which i have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.” christians may claim that the said prophet is isa (as) because he was crucified and died. however, was isa (as) a lying prophet?! absolutely not.
the prophet to come would talk about unseen future events that would materialize even after many years. the noble qur’an and the sunnah 13 are fraught with many predictions that came true. one example is the defeat of the romans at the hands of the persians. in 617 ad, the persian empire was about to annihilate the roman empire . the armies of khusraw parwiz (chosroes ii) reached egypt and conquered most of the roman empire . heraclius wanted to flee from constantinople but the roman archbishop convinced him to stay and ask for meek peace.
amid al this and contrary to all expectations, prophet muhammad ( saws ) said that the romans would defeat the persian within nine years. allah revealed to him what can be translated as “the romans have been overcome (by the persians). in the more adjacent (i.e., more easy to reach; the levant ) (part) of the earth. and even after their being overcome, they will overcome (the others) within several years. to allah belongs the command ever before and ever after, and upon that day the believers will exult.” (tmq 30: 2-5) this really took place: from 623 to 625 ad heraclius succeeded in expelling the persians. in 627 ad the romans marched until they reached the tigris and then the persian asked for peace and returned the sacred cross that they had taken before. who then told prophet muhammad ( saws ) about what would happen? allah (swt) did because muhammad ( saws ) was the prophet to come and the on prophesied by prophet musa (as) and referred to by prophet isa (as). edward gibbon mentions that at the time the noble qur’an predicted such an event it was the hardest to believe because the first twelve years of heraclius reign asserted that the roman empire was going to perish. the same story is mentioned in the sunnah in sunan at-trimidhi (3193) with more details.
in light of the above, it should be clear that the prophet predicted by musa (as) was not the great prophet isa (as) who did not match the characteristics mention din the prophecy but rather his brother prophet muhammad ( saws ). jews are still waiting for their elias because they do not believe he has come. when yahiya (as) (john the baptist) was sent, jews came and ask him: “what then? art thou elias? and he saith, i am not. art thou that prophet? and he answered, no.” (john 1:21) that meant he was not the prophet the jews were waiting for. the disciples wanted isa (as) to be that prophet to come, especially when they saw his miracles but he had another opinion because he knew he was not that prophet to come: “then those men, when they had seen the miracle that jesus did, said, this is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. when jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.” (john 1:21)
christians say that there is a problem in the torah text (deuteronomy 18: 17 -22) that refutes the muslims’ claim. for allah says to musa (as) “the lord thy god will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken” (deuteronomy 18: 15) they say that the bold phrase indicates that the prophet to come would be from among the children of israel. however, verification would refute this phrase as being an addition because prophet musa (as) did not mention it when he recounted the story to his people: “and the lord said unto me, they have well spoken that which they have spoken. i will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that i shall command him.” (deuteronomy 18: 17-18) there is a contradiction here. was allah (swt) contradicting himself? or was it musa (as)? or was this a matter of tampering with the text? i think it is the last one. otherwise, let christians justify what they say especially that the problematic phrase is not mentioned in peter’s quotation of the same event in the acts: “for moses truly said unto the fathers, a prophet shall the lord your god raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.” (3: 22) or in stephanus’s quotation as well: “this is that moses, which said unto the children of israel, a prophet shall the lord your god raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.” (acts 7: 37 ) how could musa (as), peter, and stepahnus miss that important phrase? really they could just if it was not an original one!
musa’s (as) prophecy of the promised bliss in paran
just before his death, prophet musa (as) told his people blessed news mentioned in 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. yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.” (33: 1-3) habakkuk reiterates the same prophecy: “god came from teman, and the holy one from mount paran . selah. his glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. and his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power. before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. he stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting.” (3: 3-6)
the above has witnessed radical changes because of biased translations. however, the core meaning is still the same and still supports the muslims’ claim that the prophet to come was muhammad ( saws ). the text mentions three places from which bliss would come: the mount of sinai here allah (swt) talked to prophet musa (as), seir which is a mountain at the land of judah: “and the border compassed from baalah westward unto mount seir, and passed along unto the side of mount jearim, which is chesalon, on the north side, and went down to bethshemesh, and passed on to timnah:” (joshua 15: 10), and paran mountain which is, according to the references in the old and new testaments, to the south of the desert of palestine. the old testament mentions that prophet ismai’l (as) was raised at paran: “and he dwelt in the wilderness of paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of egypt .” (genesis 21: 21) it is historically proved that he grow up in makkah. both jews and christians think this text tells about the past regarding the spread of allah’s glory to such far places as paran, seir and sinai. however, muslims believe that the text indicates clearly the appearance of prophet isa (as) in seir in palestine and then the appearance of prophet muhammad ( saws ) in the mount of paran along with thousands of his supporters. muslims’ claim is well supported:
first: paran mountain is in makkah where prophet ismai’l (as) lived: “and he dwelt in the wilderness of paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of egypt .” (genesis 21: 21) his offspring spread in the area: “these are the sons of ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations. and these are the years of the life of ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people. and they dwelt from havilah unto shur that is before egypt , as thou goest toward assyria : and he died in the presence of all his brethren.” (genesis 25: 16-18) havilah is an area in yemen while shur is at the south of palestine . thus, prophet ismai’l (as) and his offspring inhabited south and north of hejaz and this area includes paran where he lived.
second: the existence of an area called paran in palestine does not mean there is no other one of the same name at which prophet ismai’l (as) lived, that is, hejaz where prophet ismai’l (as) and his father built the ka’ba and where zamzam well sprung under his feet. this last fact was mentioned by many scholars and historians such as jerome and yusbius who mentioned that paran was makkah.
third: it not acceptable to say that the text is about the past because the use of past tense is not uncommon in expressing the future in the old and new testament as well as in the nobel qur’an.
fourth: why did allah (swt) mentioned paran mountain in particular if it the reference is to the spread of his glory?
fifth: the mentioning of thousands of saints, or the “angels” in some translations, is another proof as the word ‘angles’ can refer to ‘followers or companions’: “and there was war in heaven: michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.” (revelation 12: 7) when did thousands of angelic/ innocent supporters appear in paran? they are muhammad ( saws ) and his companions.
sixth: habakkuk further supports the muslims’ stand: “god came from teman, and the holy one from mount paran . selah. his glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. and his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power. before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. he stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting.” (3: 3-6) this means that there would a prophethood that would sparkle like light and its effects would be everlasting.
this is our claim supported by many proofs. we accept other opinions that are based on logical facts and explanations. until then, we think it is clear that prophecies about the coming of prophet muhammad ( saws ) abound in both old testament and new testament and that they are supported by historical facts. let your bias go, read without presuppositions and we are sure you will find the right way.
1- salla allah alayhe wa salam [all prayers and peace of allah be upon him].
2- 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.
3- suhanahu wa ta'ala [glorified and exalted be he].
4- all quotations are taken from king james bible (2000).
5- of course they have the right to claim, but the issue is to provide logical and acceptable evidence. here we do not only claim; we provide proofs.
6- he is one of prophet isa’s (as) disciples. he was a fisherman and prophet isa (as) called him ‘botrous’ which means ‘the rock’.
7- salla allah alayhe wa salam [all prayers and peace of allah be upon him].
8- literally: ‘the son of’ in arabic.
10- in this prophet muhammad ( saws ) is unlike prophet musa (as). however, we say they are similar and not identical.
11- translation of the meaning of the qur’an. this translation is for the realized meaning, so far, of the stated (surah: ayah) of the qur’an. reading the translated meaning of the qur’an can never replace reading it in arabic, the language in which it was revealed. this is the translation of dr. muhammad mahmûd ghâli.
12- as muslims, we believe that prophet isa (as) was not crucified but rather lifted to heaven.
13- words and actions of prophet muhammad ( saws ).