Rational thinking indicates that the world was in dire need of revelation, of water from the fountain of spiritual guidance, at the time when the Holy Prophet appeared. He led an ideal life, a perfect example to be followed throughout the future. He started his mission against immense difficulties. He and his followers met strong persecution and opposition. But he was protected and helped by God in miraculous ways. Before his death his mission was firmly established all over Arabia and was rapidly spreading to other countries.
He worked miracles. He foretold the future, and his prophecies were fulfilled not only in his lifetime but continue to be fulfilled in our time as well. He brought a teaching which has attracted countless adherents since he appeared. In short, all rational tests prove that the mission of the Holy Prophet Muhammad was truly from God.
There is also another test, the historical one, which our present day world requires of a messenger of God. A notable American Bishop of the Catholic Church wrote in a nationally famous magazine that the test of history available to all men, all civilizations and all ages can be applied only to Jesus, because:
There were no predictions about Buddha, Muhammad, or anyone else -except Christ. Others just came and said: “Here I am, believe me”. Christ alone steps out of the line and answers: My coming was foretold, even to the smallest detail.
This statement is quite challenging and requires attention. We Muslims believe that Jesus was a true prophet of God. We also accept his advent as having been foretold in the previous scriptures.
But what about Muhammad?
We find that his coming was foretold in clear and precise terms not only by Jesus himself but by Moses and other Biblical prophets as well. In fact it seems from whatever words of Jesus are available to the world, that the bringing of glad tidings of a great coming prophet was one of the chief objects of his mission.
Again and again Jesus said that he was sent to the world only to give as much guidance as the people of his own time could bear. As for complete teaching which would stay forever with mankind, he said:
But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14-26)
Only the prophet of Islam could have fulfilled this prophecy of Jesus. Muhammad was truly sent in his name because he bore testimony to his truth. The Holy Quran says:
The Messiah, son of Mary, was a messenger, “surely messengers like unto him had passed away before him” (The Holy Quran 5:76)
The Holy Quran reports that the angels told Mary:
Surely Allah gives you good news with a word from Him of whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, worthy of regard in this world and hereafter. (The Holy Quran 3:46)
The Holy Prophet testified to the truth of Jesus as a divine and honored Teacher and Prophet, and declared them mistaken and misguided who thought him accursed. The Holy Quran described his teachings as “guidance and light .”Further elaborating the same prophecy, Jesus said:
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will sent him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. … I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. How be it 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 show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. (John 16:7-14)
This prophecy clearly lays down that:
The Comforter will come after the departure of Jesus.
When the Comforter comes, he will reprove the world of sin, truth and justice.
He will guide the world into all truth.
The book revealed to him will contain no human word.
He will foretell things to come.
He will glorify Jesus and clear him of all charges.
Now when we take this prophecy point by point, it is unmistakably proven that it applies to none else but the Holy Prophet Muhammad. He came after Jesus. The Comforter was supposed to reprove the followers of Jesus. Obviously, he could not be a Christian or a Jew .The prophecy must relate to one who would belong to another people but should respect Jesus and promote reverence for him. The Holy Prophet was neither Jew nor a Christian. He was an Ishmaelite. But he defended the honor of Jesus. Thus says the Quran:
[The Jews] slew him not, nor crucified him, but he was made to appear to them like one crucified, and those who differ therein are certainly in a state of doubt about it: they have no definite knowledge thereof, but only follow a conjecture; and they did not convert this: conjecture into a certainty; on the contrary, Allah exalted him to Himself (The Holy Quran 4: 158)
Here the Holy Quran specifically says that Jesus was saved from that accursed death designed for him by his enemies. However, they only suspected that they had succeeded in crucifying him. But Allah had not only saved him but admitted him to the circle of His favored ones.
Of the promise, “He will show you things to come”, we need only say that no prophet has told the world of things to come as much as has the prophet of Islam.
The prophecy said that “he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that he shall speak”. This description can only apply to the Prophet Muhammad. The New and Old Testaments do not contain a single book in which man’s word has not been mixed with God’s. The Quran is nothing but the word of God from beginning to end. Not a word even of the Prophet is to be found in it.
When Peter appeared before the people of Jerusalem, his words were: “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you”. John starts one of his conversations with “I, John, who am your brother”. On the same lines we read the utterances of Philip, James and others in the Bible.
About the Holy Prophet, the Quran says:
He does not speak out of his own desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed. (The Holy Quran 53:4-5)
The prophecy had said: “He will guide you unto all truth”. Again Muhammad was the only prophet who claimed to have brought a universal and perfect law. The Holy Quran says:
Today We have perfected your religion for you and completed Our favor upon you. (The Holy Quran 5:4)
How clearly has the prophecy been fulfilled in the person of the Prophet Muhammad in all of its details. Sometimes an unsuccessful attempt is made to dim the glory of this marvelous prophecy by claiming that this Comforter was the Holy Ghost who came after Jesus to his disciples. One wonders how this claim can be harmonized with the fact that the person foretold in the verses is described with the pronoun “he,” which could not possibly refer to a spirit. Then, was not the Spirit of Truth supposed to come only after the departure of Jesus? Should it be then assumed that the Holy Ghost was not with Jesus ? Obviously no devoted Christian will accept this assumption. One can also inquire where that truth is which is not found in the New Testament but was later brought by the Holy Ghost.
A Prophet From Thy Brethren
The fact is that before Jesus, Moses had also foretold of a great prophet in clear and precise words. When Moses went to Mount Horeb under the command of God he addressed the Israelites saying:
The Lord thy God will raise unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me, unto him ye shall hearken. (Deuteronomy 18:15)
And again, God’s words to Moses:
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. (Deuteronomy 18:18-19)
It is evident from these verses that Moses foretold a Law-giving Prophet who was to appear after him, and who was to be from among the brethren of Israel.That he was to be a Law-giver and not an ordinary Prophet is obvious from the words “like unto Moses”, since Moses was also a Law-giver. The promulgation of “a new Law” means the initiation of a new movement, a new nation. A prophet with a new Law is obviously no ordinary teacher or reformer. He has to present a comprehensive teaching, incorporating fundamental principles as well as detailed rules.
Was Jesus such a prophet? Was he a Law-giver? Did he bring a new Law into the world to replace an old one? The answer, in his own words:
Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto You, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled. (Matthew 5:17-18)
And the followers of Jesus went so far as to declare:
And the Law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law. (Galatians 3:12-13)
Jesus laid no claim to a new Law; his disciples regarded the Law as a curse. It was the Holy Quran which announced from the very outset that:
This is the (complete and perfect) Book, there is nothing of doubt in it. It is a guidance for the righteous. (The Holy Quran 2:3)
The prophecy also said that the Promised One was to be raised not from among Israel but from their brethren. Muhammad was from the brethren of the Israelites, the Ishmaelites.
It also told that God would put his words in his mouth. The New Testament gospels do not consist of words which God put in Jesus’s mouth. They only tell us his story and what he himself and his disciples said and did.
The Holy Quran, on the other hand, says:
Say,O Muhammad, I am a man like unto you: Only the word of God come unto me. (The Holy Quran 18: 111)
The prophecy spoke of “words which he shall speak in my name.” Strange as it may seem, there is not a single example of words which Jesus may be said to have received from God with the command to pass them on. The Holy Quran, on the other hand, specifically claimed to be the word from God.
The words of the Lord had announced that the Promised One would be a prophet. Jesus, according to the Christian evangelists, did not claim to be a prophet. Matthew reports that he asked his disciples:
“Whom do men say that I the son of man ..?”
Peter replied that he was the Christ. the Son of the living God.
Thus Jesus denied being either John the Baptist or Elias or one of the prophets. Muhammad was proclaimed as not only a prophet but also as “like unto Moses,” when the Quran said:
Verily We have sent to you a Messenger, who is a witness over you, even as we sent a Messenger to Pharaoh. (The Holy Quran 73:16)
In short, one thousand nine hundred years before the advent of the prophet of Islam, Moses declared that his own Law was, in the divine scheme, not the last Law; that the world was to have a fuller Law later on; and that, for this God would send in the latter days another Messenger of His. This Messenger was to teach all truth; it was he who was to mark the last stage in the spiritual advance of man. The world had to wait for another book and another Prophet.
If, therefore, the Quran and the Holy Prophet have come after the Bible and after the Prophets Moses and Jesus, and if they claim to have come from God as guidance to man, their claim must be treated as just and true. It must be taken as the Fulfillment of ancient prophecies. The revelation of the Quran was not a gratuitous revelation, a redundance in the presence of other revelations. Indeed, if the Quran had not been revealed, promises made by God through His messengers would have gone unfulfilled, and the world would have become afflicted with doubt and disbelief.
Divine Light From Paran
The prophecies of the Bible had even led its followers to that part of the world where the great Prophet was to appear. Thus it was said:
And he said, the Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; and shined forth from Mount Paran and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. (Deuteronomy 33:2)
In this verse Moses is promised three manifestations of the glory of God. The first of these appeared on Sinai in the time of Moses. Time passed. The second manifestation promised in the prophecy was to take place at Seir, a part of the world near where the miracles of Jesus took place. “Rising up from Seir,” therefore, meant the advent of Jesus.
The third manifestation of divine glory was to take its rise from Paran, and Paran (Arabic Faran) is the name of the hills which lie between Mecca, the birth place of Muhammad, and Medina, the town where he died. According to the Old Testament, Ishmael, the ancestor of Muhammad, lived in this part. Thus we have in the Bible:
And God was with the lad (Ishmael): and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran. (Genesis 21:20-21)
Historical and geographical evidence shows that the descendents of Abraham lived in Arabia. All of them held Mecca and Kaaba, the house of worship built by Abraham, in great reverence. His son Ishmael first settled in Mecca. Genesis gives the names of twelve sons of Ishmael including two named Tema and Kedar. (Genesis 25:13-16) This is further supported by the testimony of Isaiah where we read:
The burden of Arabia. In the forest of Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye traveling companies of Dedanim.The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they provided with their bread him that fled. For they fled from the swords, from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war. For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail: And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the Lord God of Israel hath spoken it. (Isaiah 21:13-16)
This prophetic passage is a picture of the Battle of Badr which took place about a year after the Holy Prophet’s migration from Mecca to Medina. In this battle the sons of Kedar , the people of Mecca and the territories around, unable to withstand the fierceness of Muslim swordsmen and archers, sustained disastrous defeat. God made a handful of men, poorly armed and without provisions, the means of inflicting this humiliation on an army led by experienced generals.
The battles with the Meccans continued against heavy odds until such time that the Prophet Muhammad entered Mecca after a struggle of several years. This was the time when ten thousands of saints accompanied him. The Holy Prophet declared that the message of God had been completed in the form of the Holy Quran. Thus the prophecy of Moses was fulfilled that the Lord would shine forth from Paran with ten thousands of saints, with a fiery Law in his right hand. Thus also the prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled that the spirit of Truth “will guide you into all truth.” His fiery Law, the Holy Quran, consumed all impurities of flesh and turned the grossest hearts into pure gold.
Could Jesus have fulfilled this wonderful prophecy? He did not rise from Paran. He had only twelve disciples and not ten thousand saints. Isaiah had spoken of one that fled; the flight of Muhammad is such an important part of Muslim history that the Islamic calendar starts from the very year of migration.
“The Earth Was Full Of His Praise”
This advent was also prophesied by Habakkuk several centuries before Jesus. Thus we have:
God comes from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the ea11h was full of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand5: and there was the hiding of his power. Before him went the pestilence, and the burning coals went fo11h at his feet. He stood and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, and the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting. I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction; and the cu11ain of the land of Midian did tremble. (Habakkuk 3:3-7)
This again shows that the third manifestation mentioned earlier was going to be by one who would appear from the land of Tema and Mount Paran. The earth was going to be full of his praise. It is not a mere accident, then, that the Holy Prophet of Islam was named Muhammad, which literally means, the Praised One. Only a man with a name as beautiful as his personality and character could answer to the description of Habakkuk.The enemies of Muhammad suffered destruction, pestilence and humiliation of “burning coals” in encountering him in spite of overwhelmingly stronger and larger forces.
Moses died while he was still fighting his enemies. Jesus was put on the Cross. The prophet who beheld and drove the nations asunder, as mentioned by Habakkuk,could be, there- fore, none else but Muhammad. His enemies who looked like “everlasting mountains and perpetual hills” with their immense power were completely routed. Later “the tents of Cushan” and the “curtains of the land of Midian,” that is, the land of Canaan then under the Roman Caesar, also found their salvation in surrendering to the servants of the Holy Prophet in the time of that Caesar’s successors.
The Prince Of Peace
Lets us go on now to Isaiah. Here we find many passages about a coming prophet which can be true only of Muhammad. We are told of a time when a man will call the nations of the world who would swiftly answer his call and gather around him (Isaiah5:26-30). We are told that the followers of the Promised One will be obliged to take part in wars. We are told that the advent of this prophet will be at a time when even the light will be darkened by the sin and corruption of land and sea. Isaiahalso tells us that at the time God will turn away His face from the house of Jacob (Isaiah 8:13-17).
And then: For unto us a Child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6- 7)
The prophecy gives promise of a king who will have five titles:
The Mighty God
The Everlasting Father and
The Prince of Peace
Was Jesus ever a King? Were the names enumerated in this prophecy ever applied to him? Wonderful he might have been called, because of peculiar birth, but while his deniers regarded his birth as illegitimate, his supporters were in doubt about his ancestry. He gave no exhibition of the might that is mentioned in the above verse. Nor could he be called Everlasting Father, because he himself had mentioned another one coming after him. He neither became king nor could he ever bring peace to the world. He remained oppressed by his opponents until he was put on the Cross. He could not, therefore, be rightly called the Prince of Peace. He never attained to any government and, therefore, the words, “of his government there shall be no end,” have no meaning in terms of his life. These signs mentioned in Isaiah apply only to the Prophet of Islam.
It was he who had to shoulder the responsibilities of a state, and thus, quite against his will, had to be called king.
Muhammad was Wonderful both in his name and achievements. Jesus, in his parable of the vineyard, speaks of the householder who let his vineyards to husbandmen. These wicked men not only beat, killed and stoned his other servants but also his son. The lord, says Jesus, will come himself, destroy these wicked husbandmen and render the vineyard to those who “shall render the fruits in their seasons.” This will be so because:
The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the comer; and this is the Lord’s doing, and it marvelous in our eyes. (Matthew 21:33-44)
This is the way in which the “Wonderful” one had to appear. When the son would be slain, then the other one would be sent who would prove to be the head of the corner. And he would seem “marvelous” in the eyes of Jesus and the whole world.
And about his wonderful achievements we may quote Thomas Carlyle. He writes:
To the Arab nation it was a birth from darkness into light; Arabia first become alive by means of it. A poor shepherd people ,roaming unnoticed in its deserts since the creation of the world, a hero-prophet was sent down to them with a word they could believe: see, the unnoticed becomes world-notable, the small has grown world-great,’ within one century afterward, Arabia is at Grenada on this hand, Delhi on that, glancing in valor and splendor and the light of genius, Arabia shines through long ages over a section of the world. Belief is great, long-living, The history of a nation becomes fruitful, soul-elevating, great, so soon as it believes. These Arabs, the man Mahomet and that one century-is it not as if a spark had fallen, one spark, on a world of what seemed black, unnoticeable sand, but 10, the sand proves explosive powder, blazes heaven-high from Delhi to Grenada. I said ,the great man was always a lightning out of heaven; the rest of men waited for him like fuel and then they too would flame.
(Thomas Carlyle in Heroes And Hero-worship)
The second name of the Promised One is Counsellor. This again applied to the Holy Prophet. A nation turned to him for advice. He, in turn, held regular consultation with his people, and made it obligatory on the State to consult the people in all important matters. The Holy Quran tells us that his companions sought his consultation regularly.
The prophecy had also described him as mighty God. The Bible has often mentioned the prophets as God himself. (Exodus 7:1 and 4:16)
Whenever a human being is spoken of as a “like of God” it can only mean that he is a manifestation of the Almighty .The Holy Prophet, again, answers the description of the prophecy. There are several references relevant to this in the Holy Quran. At the Battle of Badr, the prophet took a handful of gravel and threw it at the enemy. This proved a signal for a dust storm which discomfited the enemy and contributed to his defeat. Of this, God says to the Holy Prophet:
And thou threwest not when thou didst throw, but it was God who threw. (The Holy Quran 8:18)
Again it says:
Verily those who swear allegiance to thee indeed swear allegiance to God. (The Holy Quran 48:11)
Thus came the manifestation of mighty God, The Holy Prophet, who was able to subjugate all his enemies in his lifetime and to smash all opposition.
The fourth name in the prophecy is Everlasting Father. Jesus was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel and, therefore, could not possibly have an everlasting character. On the other hand, the Holy Prophet was referred to in the Quran as “bringer together of all mankind”. (The Holy Quran 34 :29). He was promised that his teaching would abide forever with the people because at the end of days, the Promised Messiah would appear from among his followers and would revive the teachings of Islam and prove conclusively that the spiritual dominion of the Prophet of Islam was everlasting and there would be no heavenly teachers then except from his followers.
The fifth name in the prophecy is Prince of Peace. Can Jesus be truly called such? He did not become a sovereign in his life. He did not ever gain power to administer forgiveness to his enemies, and therefore, there was not much occasion for him to perform what he preached. On the other hand, the very religion of Muhammad is called Islam, meaning peace. As for the performance of peace and forgiveness in Muhammad’s life we have ample evidence.
Through thirteen long and weary years the prophet of Islam and his little band of devoted followers bore with calm dignity and patience the bitterest persecution at the hands of the Meccans. Starvation, flogging, scoffings, humiliations, degradations and outrages of every description were the order of the day. When the Prophet took refuge in Medina, even there he was not left in peace. Over a period of seven years of sustained and brutal persecution the Prophet of Islam appeared suddenly on the heights of Paran, at the head of ten thousand saints, with no battle fought and not a drop of blood shed, when any penalty inflicted upon these Meccans would have been light in comparison to their long record of misdeeds, the Prophet announced, gently and mercifully:
There shall be no retribution exacted from you, you shall all go free. (The Holy Quran 12:93)
Is it the same way that the Christians treated their enemies when they came to power? Who should then be called a true Prince of Peace, Jesus or Muhammad? Jesus could not afford peace to others. His followers were able to afford it, but they did not give it. The prophet of Islam had the power to punish his enemies but he chose to forgive. Muhammad, therefore, was the Prince of Peace of Isaiah’s prophecy. It was he again who also attained government and thus could fulfill the last part of this prophecy saying, “Of the increase of his government and peace, there shall be no end.”
These are just a few of the many prophecies found in the Bible about the advent of that great prophet who was going to lead the world into all truth.
Muhammad was going to be, in the words of Solomon, “altogether lovely” which in Hebrew is expressed as Mahmaddim. (Song of Solomon 5: 10-16) He was the fulfillment of the “stone” of Daniel’s dream. (Daniel 2:34-35) He was the coming of the lord of the vineyard himself as foretold by Jesus.
True, there are some prophecies about Jesus as well in the Old Testament but it is also a fact that there are many which cannot rightly be applied to him. These could be fulfilled in the person of the one who was coming with a Law and whose mission was to be not just to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” but to the whole world, one who was spoken of by Jesus as the Comforter and Spirit of Truth. The predictions about Muhammad in the Bible are clear and precise.
The door to the Kingdom of Heaven has been opened by the fulfillment of these prophecies. Blessed are those who accept the call of the Lord of Heaven and Earth to enter His Kingdom and receive His communion.
And our last observation is that all praise is due to God, the Sustainer of the Universe.
by Dr. Khalil Ahmad Nasir