Myth #6 - Mohammed was the Fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy

Myth #6

Mohammed was the Fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy

“’Prophet!’ said I, ‘thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted, -
On this home by horror haunted, - tell me truly, I implore, -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me, - tell me, I implore!’
Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore!’
- Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven


Many Muslims will claim that Mohammed was foretold in earlier Scriptures, i.e. the Bible, and thus Christians and Jews ought to recognize that he was The Final Prophet of God. To substantiate this claim, they point to several passages in the Old and New Testaments that supposedly speak of Mohammed. In fact, this line of inquiry has a very long yet not well-evolved record in the history of Muslim polemics against Christianity. In many respects, the same claims that the Muslims were making against the Byzantines in the 11th century are those that are being used by Muslims in the 21st. Little innovation has been introduced into most of these claims of prophetic foretelling for Mohammed. This is not because of the great success that these Muslim arguments have had with those who are knowledgeable of the Bible (indeed, these arguments tend to serve better for bolstering Muslims in their own beliefs than in changing anyone else's). Rather, it is because of the stagnancy that has been introduced into Muslim polemics on this point. This stagnancy exists because of the Muslim truism that the Bible (the Torah and the Gospels) was altered by the Jews and Christians so as to deny the truths of Islam that would otherwise still be found in these texts. Thus, when the Muslims find verses in these Scriptures that their more creative theologians can recast as prophecies about Mohammed, it becomes an article of faith that these "prophecies" are still found (despite Jewish/Christian tinkering) because of providential preservation on the part of Allah.

However, the efforts at reading Mohammed into the Bible that were made by the early Muslim apologists were based merely upon a general ignorance of the Biblical writings. Much of the Muslim contention about Biblical corruption by Christians, at least, stemmed from the refusal of Christians to agree that Mohammed was foretold in the Old and New Testaments. The claims about the Paraclete, the rider of the camel (Isaiah 21:7), and the prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:18) can be dated as far back as the caliph al-Mahdi who had a discussion with the Nestorian Catholicos Timothy about the "general alteration" of the Scriptures to conceal references to Mohammed in 782 AD. After this, Muslim writers appear to have devoted a much greater amount of time to searching the Biblical texts for references to Mohammed. After iterating the above points, Watt then points out that despite their efforts at presenting better arguments for Mohammed's appearance in the Bible, the early Muslim apologists were still hampered in their efforts by a general lack of biblical knowledge,

"....but as was also pointed out by Goldhizer, even the best Muslim scholar had only a very slight acquaintance with the Bible, and they still retained some of the old fables."1

As was mentioned in a previous chapter, the Qur’an itself makes several statements that Muslims interpret as referring to corruption of the actual Biblical text itself. This, however, does not seem to be the true intention of either the quranic passages, nor of the early commentators of the Qur’an,

“The conclusion of this examination of passages is that the Qur’an does not put forward any general view of the corruption of the text of the Old and New Testaments. It makes clear allegations of the concealment of passages. It also makes the accusation of tahrif (‘corruption’ or ‘alteration’), but by this does not mean tampering with the written text (except perhaps in copying it), but - to judge from the examples - means the employment of various tricks in the course of dealing with Muslims.”2

Among these tricks were the alteration by the spoken word (i.e. misquoting) and even actual concealment of a text using the hand! By means of such “tricks”, the early Muslims believed that the earlier “Peoples of the Book” deliberately attempted to sidestep the “obvious” references to Mohammed in the Old and New Testaments.

Upon examination, however, it is quite clear that Mohammed is not discussed in these various passages, and indeed, the Bible is silent about him. A look at the actual context of these passages, both in the text and in the historical and social settings, dispels the myth that these passages refer to Mohammed. While any Christian who has spent a reasonable amount of time studying the Bible is unlikely to be swayed by the argument that Mohammed is found in these passages, it may still be helpful for new Christians to see the errors in the Muslim claims for these verses, and can also be of benefit to all Christians who deal with Muslims by helping to systematically dispel and debunk these claims in the minds of the Muslim friends and neighbors with whom we interact. As such, I present a discussion of the most common Old and New Testament verses that are abused by Muslim polemicists.

Biblical Passages That Muslims Misuse to Claim that Mohammed was Foretold

Genesis 49:10

"The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be."

Muslim apologists claim that because "Judah" is a Hebrew name which means "praise", and because "Mohammed" means "he is to be praised" in Arabic, that this is a prophecy pointing to Mohammed. This interpretation has several fundamental flaws. First, we should note again that the name "Mohammed" probably did not originally even mean "praised one" (though it was redefined to mean this by later Arabic grammarians) but had a meaning closer akin to "chosen one". It did not take on any apparent aspect as a personal name for the Arab prophet in Arabic writings until the first half of the 8th century AD 3. Before this, the term was used as a titular description, a general term which was introduced into the developing Arab monotheism as the need for a messianic/prophetic figure arose. I would refer the reader back to the discussion of this issue in Chapter 5 for a fuller exposition of this matter.

Those Muslims who make the argument for this verse, however, miss the fact that it is not Judah who is the object of this prophecy, but the one called “Shiloh”. As such, the matter of what the names “Judah” and “Mohammed” mean in their respective idioms is irrelevant. Shiloh is not so much a name as it is a title or a term of description, one which means “tranquil“, it comes from the Hebrew root word shalah which means “tranquil, secure”. Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of this Messianic title, He who even in the midst of the raging storm could sleep, and then simply say, “Peace, be still” and cause the wind and waves to cease. He likewise bore His burden of scourging, mockery, and crucifixion with remarkable equanimity. This sort of tranquility and security cannot rightly be said to apply to Mohammed, for whom Islamic traditions record a life characterized by violence, bloodshed, revenge, and strife.

Further, the context of this passage clearly indicates that this prophecy was directed specifically toward a descendant of Israel’s son, Judah, who was the literal antecedent of the tribe of Judah. As such, there is no contextual warrant for the allegory that Muslims try to spin into this verse. This prophecy saw the first part of its fulfillment some 600 years after it was given when David of the tribe of Judah became king of Israel, thus receiving the royal power and authority symbolized by the term "scepter". Jesus was of the tribe of Judah, as a descendant of David, and it is indeed to Him that the gathering of the people both was (Matthew 4:25, Luke 5:17, John 6:2), and will be in the future (Revelation 21:24). Mohammed, of course, was Arab, and not Jewish, and could not have been of the tribe of Judah, thereby making him completely unqualified to fulfill this prophecy in its plain and literal sense.

Deuteronomy 18:15,18

"The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him shall ye hearken....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."

Muslim apologists claim that this passage refers to Mohammed, and support this by pointing out that the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) and the New Testament citation of this passage in Acts 3:22 lack the phrase "from the midst of thee". Because of this, they say, the "brethren" spoken of were Ishmaelites, who would have been distantly related to the Hebrews by virtue of their descent from Abraham through Ishmael. This argument is quite inadequate for a number of reasons. As seen earlier, there is no real reason to suggest that the Septuagintal text-type is really older than the Masoretic text-type (and therefore "better" or "more authentic"), and given the poor quality of the Septuagintal translation in general, it is inadequate for criticizing the Masoretic text. Further, though there is no extant citation of Deuteronomy 18:15 in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Deuteronomy 18:18 is cited, especially in the so-called Testimonia, manuscript 4Q175 (dated to the early 1st century BC), and this citation is of the Masoretic type. This suggests that the citation was drawn from a Masoretic-type text existing at the latest nearly 100 years before Christ, showing at least this much antiquity for the Masoretic reading of Deuteronomy 18.

Further, the assumption that the lack of "from the midst of thee" must therefore mean that the prophet spoken of in the passage will arise from among a more distantly related people to Israel, and that this group would necessarily be the Ishmaelites (as opposed, say to the Midianites or the Edomites, who were also as closely related to the Israelite line as was Ishmael), appears to be a case of special pleading on the part of the Muslim apologists. This is especially true when surrounding contextual evidences from within Deuteronomy itself indicates that, regardless of this presence or lack of "in the midst of thee", any prophet arising within Israel would necessarily be OF Israel. Elsewhere in Deuteronomy, the text specifically states that the Israelites were each others' brethren (3:18) and draws a distinction between themselves as "brethren" and foreigners as "strangers" (24:14). In a passage (17:15) that has very similar wording to that of Deuteronomy 18:15, God tells Israel that they are to raise up kings only from "among thy brethren", and not from among strangers. The history of Israel presented in the Old Testament uniformly shows that there never was, even one time, a king over Israel and Judah who was not Israelite. The reasonable and common sense understanding of "among thy brethren" must be that of being from among Israel herself. As Pfander eloquently puts it,

"Who at the present day among Muslims, if told to summon one of his "brethren" to receive some important post, would conclude that members of his own family were excluded, and that he must find a man whose ancestors had, hundreds of years before, been kindred to his own?"4

The Qur'an itself even suggests that this is true. In the Qur'an, we see the stories of three prophets who were sent to three different Arabian tribes: Hud to the tribe of 'Ad (Surah 7:65), Salih to the tribe of Thamud (7:73), and Shu'aib to the tribe of Madyan (7:85). Each one of these three prophets is said to have been "one of their own brethren", and each addresses his respective audiences as "O my people!". The Qur'an, likewise, openly states that prophethood and revelation were given to the children of Israel (Suwar 29:27, 45:16-17). As such, even the quranic understanding of what is meant by the term "brethren" seems to be that of one's own people, not another group that may be related, but more distantly.

Also, there is no conclusive evidence that Arabs, or at least most of them, are even descended from Ishmael. We must keep in mind that the word "Arab" is not so much a specific ethnic name as it is a description. It comes from a common Semitic root crb which has several meanings; most prominent among them are the ideas of sterility (probably relating to the desert wastes that these tribes inhabited), duskiness or covering (i.e. to make something dark by covering it), and intermingling (literally, intertwining or braiding). The Bible itself calls the notion of Arabian descendent from Ishmael into question, and seems to suggest for the Arabs a mixed background related to the last of the meanings for the root given above. In Jeremiah chapter 25, right in the middle of a list of various nations that were to be judged by God, comes verse 24, "And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert." Thus, we see that Arabia is intimately connected with these mingled peoples, groups that had intermarried to the point that their original origin could not be easily determined.

Retsö has an interesting discussion about the traditional division made by the ancient Arabs between the crab (true Arabs) and the mustacriba (Arabicized groups) which suggests this mingling as well5. There were a number of tribes in both South and North Arabia that were not considered to be indigenous to Arabia, but had migrated there and gradually become integrated as mustacriba, many of them claiming genealogical descent from one or more patriarchs who also appear in the Bible, such as Aws (Uz), Lawudh (Lud), Imliq (Amalek), or Arfakhshadh (Arphaxad). In addition, archaeological evidence suggests that the descendents of Cush, a son of Ham, traveled across the Arabian peninsula during their migration from Mesopotamia to the region of Ethiopia, leaving genetic as well as artifactual remains across the whole region 6. Evidence links many tribes all over the Arabian peninsula to several of the sons of Cush - Sebah, Havilah, Sabta, Raamah, Sheba, Dedan, and Sabtecha 7. The presence of names relating to Cush in or near Mesopotamia ("Kish", a Sumerian city, and Khuzistan, a region in southwestern Iran that is immediately east of Mesopotamia) and also across Arabia into Africa (e.g. the Egyptians referred to the area of present-day Ethiopia and Sudan as "Kesh", the Hebrews used the term "Kuwsh" to refer to the same) also suggest this Cushite migration. Interestingly, the Bible also indicates that Moses' wife was a Cushite. In Numbers 12:1 it says, "And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman." The English word "Ethiopian" is here translated from the Hebrew word kuwshiyth, meaning "Cushite". Yet, we know from earlier in the story of Moses' life (Exodus 2:16-22) that Moses' wife was the daughter of "the priest of Midian" named Jethro/Reuel, Midian being a desert region around the Gulf of Aqaba, immediately south of the Transjordan. In Habakkuk 3:7, Midian and Cush are associated with each other through the parallelism of the verse, "I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble", suggesting that the two are at least somewhat analogous. As such, this would suggest a "Cush" in northwestern Arabia, as well as in Mesopotamia and in eastern Africa. It seems likely that the later Semitic Midianites (descendants from Abraham) displaced the earlier Cushitic inhabitants of the area that would later be known as Midian, perhaps mingling with them and assimilating them, as seems to have happened elsewhere in Arabia between Cushites and the Semitic tribes of the Arabian peninsula.

It is this author's studied determination that after the Tower of Babel and the end of Nimrod's (the son of Cush) rebellion, that at least some of the Cushites departed from their original dwelling place in Sumer where Nimrod had built his empire, crossing Arabia and entering into Eastern Africa, where they have dwelt to this day. Carleton Coon notes the African appearance of many ethnic stocks in Southern and Western Arabia8, evidence for the Cushite migration through Arabia. Hence, it is highly unlikely that the Arabs of Mecca, to whom Mohammed is reported to have belonged (specifically, the Quraysh tribe), could have clearly or solely traced their lineage back to Ishmael. Many, if not most of them, would have descended in large part from either the various other non-Ishmaelite Semitic groups that immigrated into Arabia at various points in the past, or from the Hamitic Cushites, or a mixture of both.

This prophecy clearly points to Jesus Christ. Faithful men in Israel recognized Jesus as the fulfillment of this prophecy. Note their testimony, "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.....Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet." (John 6:14, 7:40) Further Jesus' actions and words demonstrated His fulfillment of this prophecy and office of that Prophet. Just as the Prophet was to have the words of God put into his mouth, so did Jesus. "....as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things" (John 8:28) - "For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak." (John 12:49) Christ Himself bore testimony to having the words of God from the Father, and following the Father's commands to speak them. And indeed, the Lord also had God the Father's testimony that the people should hearken unto Him. During His transfiguration, the Father spoke from heaven, "This is my beloved Son, hear him." (Mark 9:7) Christ, from the tribe of Judah, was a Jew, raised up from the midst of His brethren. Hence, Jesus Christ was the complete fulfillment of Moses' prophecy in Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 33:2

“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.”

Muslim apologists will often point to this verse, claiming that it is a prophecy about Mohammed. The Muslim effort at eisegeting Mohammed into the Bible with this verse is one of the more interesting examples we may give. The basis for this belief is their claim that “Paran” is a reference to Mecca, and because there are certain Muslim traditions that depict Mohammed as capturing Mecca with 10,000 Muslim followers, this verse is a prediction of that event.

This apologetic attempt to cast Deuteronomy 33:2 as a prophecy about Mohammed simply makes no sense, either logically or theologically. To begin with, the passage is not even presented in any sort of prophetic way. In fact, it is given in the past tense, it is described by Moses as an event which had already occurred. Further, the verse explicitly states that it is the LORD who came from mount Paran. In the Hebrew, this is referring to YHWH, making this a direct reference to God Himself coming down from mount Paran in a picture of anthropomorphy. Unless Muslims wish to equate Mohammed WITH God, then they cannot read this text naturally and still try to find Mohammed in it.

Further evidences refute the conjecture that Paran can be equated with Mecca. Looking back to the origins of the equation of Paran with Mecca, we see that practically the only source for this identification comes from an incidental comment made by a medieval Muslim geographer named Yaqut al-Hamawi. In the geographical work which he finished in 1228 AD, he wrote,

“Faaraan: After the alif there is a raa' and it ends in a nun. An Arabicized Hebrew word. It is one of the names for Mekkah mentioned in the Torah. It has been said that it is a name for the mountains of Mekkah. Ibn Makulan Abu Bakr Nasr Ibn al-Qaasim Ibn Qudaa`ah al-Qudaa`i al-Faaraani al-Iskandari said "I have heard it is a reference to the mountains of Faaraan, that is to say, the mountains of the Hijaaz. In the Torah God came from Sinaa' and dawned from Saa`iir and became known from Faaraan"; they are the mountains of Filastiin, and it is His sending down of the Injiil upon Isa, peace be upon him, and His revealing from Mount Faaraan the fact of His sending down the Qur'an upon Muhammad, peace be upon him. It is said Faaraan is the mountain of Mekkah; Faaraan is also a village in the region of Sughd, one of the provinces of Samarqand, to whom Abu Mansuur Muhammad Ibn Bakr Ibn Isma`iil al-Samarqandi al-Faaraani traces his origins. This was transmitted from Muhammad Ibn al-Fadl al-Larmaani and Nasr Ibn Ahmad al-Kindi the Qur'anic scholar, from whom Abu al-Hasan Muhammad Ibn Abd Allah Ibn Muhammad al-Kaaghidhi al-Samarqandi transmitted. Abu Abd Allah al-Qudaa`i said, "Faaraan and al-Tur are two districts in southern Egypt."9

It is largely upon the basis of al-Hamawi’s testimony that Muslims make this identification and the subsequent apologetic claim. Now, it should be apparent to the discerning reader that there are several problems with relying on what we see above to try to nail down something as important as a prophecy. Al-Hamawi’s sole source is based upon the hearsay of one man, who says that “the mountains of Faran” (Paran)10 was a name for the mountains around Mecca. No explanation is given as to where this identification came from, or why one would not logically place Paran in or near the Sinai peninsula, where both Mts. Sinai and Seir also exist. As such, his statement is hearsay, and is not sufficient evidence to overturn the uniform consensus that geographers and scholars have held for centuries. Further, al-Hamawi notes that this name is "an Arabicized Hebrew word". The obvious question is, "Why would Arabs located over 1000 km from Palestine refer to mountains in their heartland with names that they had to Arabicize in the first place?" One would logically presume that there would be no need to "Arabicize" names for landmarks existing right in the middle of the indigenous Arabian civilization.

Other problems exist as well. Mecca is a city, it is neither a mountain nor is it a region containing mountains, and is actually located in a valley. Deuteronomy 33:2 states that the LORD came "from mount Paran" - mehar paran. The term har can be used to describe either a single peak, or a mountainous region as a whole (such as in Genesis 8:4, where it is used to describe the mountains of Ararat). Neither of these ideas, however, seem to fit Mecca. Further, al-Hamawi's exposition is self-contradictory in that he identifies all three of these mountains (Sinai, Seir, and Paran) as “mountains of Filastiin” (Palestine), which again, seems to cast doubt upon his concurrent report that Paran is Mecca. As such, the statement of al-Hamawi, which Muslim apologism has rested upon for well-nigh eight centuries, is a very weak foundation upon which to try to construct a Biblical prophecy about Mohammed.

Al-Hamawi’s testimony is further weakened in that either he or his source seems to be the originator of the “Mecca=Paran” equation. Evidence from another much more well-known and well-traveled Muslim geographer contradicts al-Hamawi's testimony, indicating that before al-Hamawi, the identification of Paran with Mecca was not known. Al-Idrisi, another Arabic geographer who flourished roughly 70 years before al-Hamawi, produced a much more systematic and in-depth geography of the Muslim world of his time, this one written around 1154 AD. In it, he speaks also of Paran, which he refers to as “Faran Ahrun“ (Paran of Aaron),

"This district lies 40 miles from Al Kulzum, and along the sea coast. The city of Faran stands at the bottom of a gulf. It is a small town where certain of the Arabs have their camping ground. Over against Faran is a place where the sea has formed a bay, and beside it is a mountain of very hard rock. The waters surge round this and encircle it, and when the winds rise, the passage thereof is difficult, and no one can accomplish it, except with great effort. Travelers are frequently lost there, unless Allah save and guard them. According to the common saying, this is the sea wherein Pharaoh - Allah curse him! - was drowned." 11

Al-Idrisi’s identification seems little plausible if one tries to apply it to Mecca. He states that Paran (which he seems to identify as the name for both a city and a district) stands at the bottom of a gulf, and indicates that the sea forms a bay next to the city. Mecca is around 80 km inland from the Red Sea, and thus would have no bay next to it. He further states that it is a “small town” where “the Arabs have their camping ground”. At the time of his writing, Mecca was certainly not a small town, and certainly would not have been referred to as a “camping ground” by a Muslim! Further, Al-Idrisi positively nails down the location of Paran in the Sinai peninsula. He comments that the common saying was that the sea on which Paran sat was the sea where Pharaoh was drowned during the attempt to recover his Israelite slaves during the Exodus. Tradition in all three groups, Muslim, Jewish, and Christian, has been that this event occurred in the Gulf of Suez, which is the western finger of the Red Sea that forms a “V” around the Sinai peninsula. Thus, in his mind as well as the minds of his readers at the time, his reference would definitely be to a town on the bank of the Gulf of Suez. Further, he states precisely that Paran was 40 miles (in modern distance units, of course) from Al-Kulzum. Kulzum was an ancient town on the Gulf of Suez that served sometime as a fortress for controlling the canals in the region. Kulzum finds mention in the “Thousand and One Arabian Nights” stories, where it serves as the castle and capital for the Blue King, a king of the Jinn. A more serious identification is made by Burton in his translation and commentary on that literary work, however,

“The old name of Suez-town from the Greek Clysma (the shutting), which named the Gulf of Suez "Sea of Kulzum." The ruins in the shape of a huge mound, upon which Sá'id Pasha built a Kiosk-palace, lie to the north of the modern town and have been noticed by me. (Pilgrimage, Midian, etc.) The Rev. Prof. Sayce examined the mound and from the Roman remains found in it determined it to be a fort guarding the old mouth of the Old Egyptian Sweet-water Canal which then debouched near the town.”12

None of this is located even remotely near to Mecca or the Hijaz, but all are located in the Sinai peninsula. The identifying information seems to conclusively identify a site located at or near the headwaters of the Suez finger of the Gulf. Even though the "Faran" in question is not the mountain itself, the identification of this toponym still suggests a location for "Faran" in the Sinai peninsula.

This is supported even further by the testimony of Ibn Khaldun in his Muqaddimah, written in 1377. In describing the geography of the regions around the Mediterranean, he said,

"Two other seas, they say, branch off from the Indian Ocean. One of them branches off where the Indian Ocean ends, at Bib al-Mandeb. It starts out narrow, then flows widening toward the north and slightly to the west until it ends at the city of al-Qulzum in the fifth section of the second zone, 1,400 miles from its starting point. This is the Sea of al-Qulzum or Sea of Suez (Red Sea). From the Red Sea at Suez to Fustat is the distance of a three days' journey. The Red Sea is bordered on the east by the coast of the Yemen, the Hijiz, and Jiddah, and then, where it ends, by Midyan (Madyan), Aila (Aylah), and Faran. On the west, it is bordered by the coast of Upper Egypt, 'Aydhib, Suakin, and Zayla' (Zila'), and then, where it begins, by the country of the Beja. It ends at al-Qulzum. It (would) reach the Mediterranean at al-'Arish. The distance between (the Red Sea and the Mediterranean) is a six days' journey. Many rulers, both Muslim and pre-Islamic, have wanted to cut through the intervening territory (with a canal) but this has not been achieved...."13

In this reference to Faran, Ibn Khaldun clearly places Faran in the Sinai peninsula, at the northern end of the Red Sea. Faran is associated geographically with Midian and with Aila (ancient Elath, modern Elat, located at the end of the Gulf of Aqaba). Ibn Khaldun is also careful to distinguish between the region of Faran and the Hijaz (where Mecca is located) - the two regions are obviously distinct. Clearly, Ibn Khaldun did not follow the identification of Paran with Mecca that was mentioned in al-Hamawi's work.

Further, internal evidence from the Bible itself firmly places Paran in the Sinai peninsula. Paran is mentioned on a handful of occasions in the Old Testament, most of which are inconclusive for giving a positive location, but a few of which prove very informative. In I Kings 11:15-18, we see a parenthetical aside detailing the escape of an Edomite royal heir named Hadad to Egypt during the time when David and Joab killed the males of Edom in a campaign. They fled to Egypt for protection with the Pharaoh, and in this passage their route is said to have been from Midian (a region south of Israel around the headwaters of the Gulf of Aqaba, the other finger of the Red Sea) to Paran, and then on to Egypt. Now, it would seem to make little sense for them to flee from Midian to a place 1000 km south, then return by the same route14 so as to go to Egypt. However, the placement of Paran near the headwater of the Gulf of Suez would make perfect sense for this passage.

The other passage of interest is Genesis 21:21, which describes the circumstance of Ishmael after he and his mother Hagar were expelled from Abraham’s household. This verse states that he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran, and that his mother took for him a wife from the women of Egypt. This gives additional evidence for placing Paran in Sinai over towards Egypt. As Hagar herself was Egyptian, it would seem natural that after her expulsion, she would return to the people of her nativity, and thus would approach Egypt. That she took a wife for Ishmael from the Egyptians also suggests proximity to Egypt, as she (being an expelled slave woman) would not have had the resources to send for a woman in a land over 1200 km away, the distance that the populated parts of Egypt would have been from Mecca. As such, the biblical testimony which touches on the location of Paran also contradicts the attempt to locate Paran at Mecca.

Psalm 45:3-5

"Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee."

It is claimed that this applies to Mohammed because of his supposed status as a prophet, and because of his conquests. In fact, Mohammed is often known in Islam as "The Prophet of the Sword". However, as we see, this passage stipulates that the individual mentioned was to ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness. It has been shown above that Mohammed (at least as he is presented in the traditions) was certainly NOT a righteous man, and that he was not the bearer of truth, as the flawed Qur'an which is attributed to his intermediacy indicates. Mohammed was also not meek before God, meekness being the quality of being submitted to God and serving Him faithfully. Mohammed violated numerous of God's laws (repeatedly), lived in sin, and never put his faith and trust in Jesus Christ as his Savior, which is God's command to us ("..repent ye, and believe the gospel." - Mark 1:15)

Further, when this passage is taken in context, we see that it actually refers to God Himself. Psalm 45:6 says, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre." This reference to God in v. 6 follows immediately after the text above, and is contextually addressing the conquering hero of vv. 3-5. No Muslim would claim that Mohammed was God, as this would be blasphemy to them. Hence, when taken in context, this passage fails as an attempt to put Mohammed in the Bible.

Because of the messianicity of this passage, the theological context shows that the victorious rider is the Lord Jesus Christ. This is clearly shown in Hebrews 1:8, "But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom." This passage quotes Psalm 45:6 and applies it to the Lord Jesus Christ. And indeed, Jesus will return to earth one day with His sword and shall destroy wickedness and will establish His reign and carry out His judgment, being called "THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS" (Revelation 19:11-16). All authority is given to Christ for judgment. "And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man." (John 5:27) All the nations will be gathered unto Him, and on the last day, even Mohammed will bow down before the Lord Jesus Christ and acknowledge that He is the Lord! (cf. Philippians 2:11)

Isaiah 21:7

"And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with much heed."

Muslims will contend that this is a prophecy referring to the coming of both Jesus Christ and Mohammed, with Mohammed coming after and therefore bringing a fuller revelation from God. They say this, arguing that the chariot of asses refers to Christ's entering Jerusalem on the back of a young colt, and the chariot of camels refers to Mohammed because he always rode a camel.

However, looking at the context of this verse, one sees that it is not a prophecy relating to the coming of anyone. It is part of a vision relating the destruction of Babylon by the Persian empire. The chariot of asses and camels is carrying messengers who spread the word about the fall of Babylon, as indicated in verse 9 of the same chapter, "And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground." Note that verse 9 indicates that the chariot brought the news, the significance of which is to announce the destruction of Babylon by the Medes and Persians, not to announce the coming of any prophet. Bashear addresses the use of this verse in early Muslim religious and apologetic literature,

“Verse 21:7 indeed contains the key phrase rendered by Ibn Ishaq and later Muslim scholars as rakib al-himar wa rakib al-jamal; verse 21:20 speaks about the destruction of Babylon. The main problem is that (Hebrew RKB) in 21:7 could also be vocalized in a way that conveys the plural sense, I.e. that the watchman which Isaiah ordered to be set, saw “riders” on asses and “riders” on camels. Needless to add, in itself Isa. 21:6-10 could also be taken, in a non-apocalyptic way, as a vision based on what he heard from travelers of his own time who arrived on asses and camels, I.e. as a documentary description of some actual battles over Babylon, e.g. between Cyrus who used camel riders and the Scythians of Darius’ camp who were hindered by using asses.” 15

Bashear is incorrect in his suggested translation of the word rekeb as “riders”, this word is more properly understood to refer to chariots and chariotry in a general and collective sense16. Further, it makes sense to translate this word as "chariot" rather than as "riders", presuming a single chariot pulled jointly by both kinds of animals. Uniformly throughout vv. 7 and 9, the relevant terms are in the singular, suggesting a single unit, rather than two troops, one of camel riders and one of donkey riders. Further, to the objection that camels and donkeys could not be used together to pull a chariot, we should again note that this is a vision - by its very nature, it is meant to be symbolic rather than literal, and the camels and asses are meant to represent the Medes and other steppe people (who rode donkeys in battle) and the Persians (who used camels). Nevertheless, Bashear recognizes that the vision in this passage is to be understood in a normal sense - it refers to the messengers dispatched in chariots to report the fall of Babylon. There is no room in the verse for reading in the suggestion that it refers to any sort of "coming of a prophet" or other religious figure. As Bashear noted in his article, other early Muslim traditions contain various stories of Mohammed as either a donkey-rider or a camel-rider, to emphasize his place as a prophet and man of Allah. This particular interpretation of Isaiah 21:7, as it is found among the early Muslim scholars beginning with ibn Ishaq, appears to be based upon a mistranslation of the Hebrew of the passage, rendering “rider” for where the Hebrew text says “chariot”, which would be quite easy to do as both words employ the same root. The imposition of “riders” of camels and donkeys in place of chariots pulled by such, would then fit quite easily into the literary motif of early Muslim literature in which religious leaders and prophets ride into important locations on these beasts, as a symbol of their authority and prophethood. As such, this verse is a classic example of the Muslim ploy of taking Biblical verses completely out of context to make claims that the Bible supports their theology, when in fact the Bible does not say anything even near to what they are claiming. But in a sense, it is understandable to see why the early Muslim theologians would believe they had potential grounds for making it, as they misunderstood and mistranslated the passage and believed they had recognized a record that could be made to fit with a type of literary theme with which they were already familiar.

Matthew 3:2

"...Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Muslims will often claim that this call to repentance made by John the Baptist was indicative of the coming "kingdom of heaven", by which they mean the establishment of the power of Islam, with the Qur'an as the Law of the kingdom. Note though that John said that the kingdom of heaven was "at hand", a term which indicates immediacy, which would not seem to be rightly applied to an event reputed to have occurred over six centuries later. Further, the words of Christ Himself clearly indicate that the kingdom of heaven was already present long before Mohammed was ever born.

Jesus said, "But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you." (Matthew 12:28) Christ cast out many devils during the course of His earthly ministry, and did so in the power of the Holy Spirit, with whom He was anointed (John 1:32-34, Luke 3:21-22, Mark 1:10, Matthew 3:16). The Qur'an even acknowledges the presence of the Holy Spirit in Christ, "We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of messengers; We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirit." (Surah 2:87) Hence, Christ's clear testimony in Matthew 12:28 indicates that the kingdom of heaven was already come at the time He had spoken His words, long before the coming of Mohammed and Islam.

Likewise, in Mark 9:1, Christ told His disciples, "Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power." This prediction was then fulfilled by their witness of the vision of the transfiguration of Christ, who appeared to them with Moses and Elijah in the glorified state. They saw in this vision the glory of the future and permanent kingdom of God - the foretaste of which was already present with them.

Hence, we see that neither the temporal nor the spiritual aspects of the kingdom of God can be in any way related to Mohammed or Islam. The temporal aspects, the power of Christ residing with and in believers on earth, had already come nearly 600 years before Mohammed. The future permanent kingdom in all its infinite glory with believers in their glorified, purified, spiritual bodies in no wise resembles anything on earth, Islamized or otherwise.

Mark 1:7 and the surrounding verses (also Luke 3:16ff, John 1:27ff)

"And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose."

Muslims will argue that these words are the words of Christ, referring to the coming of Mohammed. Of course, a simple reading of this verse in context quite clearly indicates that these words were spoken by John the Baptist, as John is described in the verse immediately prior to this passage and is clearly shown to be the one who is speaking. Similarly, the parallel passages John 1:15, Matthew 3:1-12, and Luke 3:16 all clearly demonstrate this without a doubt. Additionally, John himself makes it clear that the Lord Jesus was the one to whom he was referring, as he testifies in John 1:29-30, "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which was preferred before me: for he was before me."

Muslims also try to claim that this passage, then, could still not refer to Christ since Jesus was already in the world. However, John was speaking of Christ coming after him in ministry, as the context of the passage shows. As the Gospels bear record, the Lord did not begin His preaching ministry until after John the Baptist had been put in prison, and was not engaged in his own preaching ministry any more (Mark 1:14, Matthew 4:12-17). When John identified Jesus as the Lamb of God, a picture of the Messiah, John’s disciples left his ministry and joined themselves to that of Jesus (John 1:35-37), clearly showing that the succession which the scriptures have in view is ministerial, not temporal. Further, John 1:26-27 clarifies this whole matter quite nicely,

“John answered them, saying, I baptize with water, but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.”

The one who John was declaring and proclaiming was already among them, He was present with them in this world already at the time of his proclamation! Obviously, the notion of chronological succession is not in view at all with regard to this event. Thus, the words of John the Baptist quite clearly indicate the Lord Jesus Christ (of whom he also said "He must increase, but I must decrease" - John 3:30), not Mohammed.

Claiming to see Mohammed in this passage misses the obvious Messianic overtone of John‘s annunciation of Jesus, as well. When questioned by the representatives of the Pharisees and priestly caste who were sent to him from Jerusalem, John responded to their questioning of his identity by saying,

“...I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.” (John 1:23)

Here, John quotes Isaiah 40:3, applying it to his own ministry of preparation. The preparation for what, he specified in vv. 29-30, while pointing the people to Christ, the Messiah. The Qur’an itself states that Christ is the Messiah (Surah 3:45), and there is no reason to see anyone but Christ being announced in these passages.

John 4:21

"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father."

In this verse, Muslims suppose that Christ was declaring that prayers would no longer be made toward Jerusalem, but instead toward Mecca, and that this foretold the coming of the Muslim religion. However, as Christ listed no place to which worship would be directed (and in fact, eschews the whole idea of worship towards any geographic point), the claim that He is referring to Mecca is spurious, supposition based entirely on the Muslim desire for it to be so, rather than on any actual evidence from the text.

In fact, the whole point of this passage in the Bible is that Jesus was telling this woman that true worship of God would no longer depend on a geographical focus of prayer and a single locale for worship (as it had in the Old Testament, see e.g. Deut. 12:11, Ps. 132:13, Dan. 6:10). Instead, with the coming of Christ and the kingdom of God, worship would be true worship when it was done with a right heart and reverence for God, regardless of location. In verse 23-24 of the same chapter, Christ continued speaking to the woman and said, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." Christ said, "and now is". He had already abolished what Muslims call qiblah, the focus of prayers. Hence, He certainly did not allude to Mecca becoming qiblah, but abolished the whole notion altogether. The essential point is that Jesus Christ certainly was not telling this woman that the direction of prayer would be turned to a sanctuary in the Hijaz. Rather, He was emphasizing to her to spiritual and personal nature of true religion, that it was not an act centered upon a geographic locale specific to any one particular group of people, but upon heartfelt desire to worship God regardless of location or nationality. As a city, Mecca is no more important than Jerusalem, or New York, or London, or even Nome, Alaska, for that matter. For one to be worshipping God in truth means to worship with a heart desiring to please Him, which is attentive to His commands, and which seeks to do what His Word, the Bible, says. Without reverence for God and the Bible, true worship is an impossibility.

As an important aside, we must understand that Mecca was not even the original point for Muslim qiblah, as has been shown from archaeology and early contemporary source documents. The Muslim traditions themselves indicate that Mohammed chose Jerusalem as the point of qiblah for a 16-month period, until Mecca was "revealed" to be the better direction for prayer17. Suggestively, mosques built in a variety of places from the first two centuries of the Muslim era show qiblah which do not face toward Mecca. Two early mosques were investigated in Iraq, one at Wasit and the other at a site near Baghdad, both mosques were built during the Umayyad dynasty (661-750 AD). Both of these were oriented such that the direction for prayer was pointed too far north for the object of their qiblah to have been Mecca18. The Hajjaj mosque at Wasit faced 33º too far north, and the one near Baghdad 30º. Instead of facing towards Mecca, these mosques appear to face towards a region in northwestern Arabia. Even early Muslim writers note that there was apparently some confusion as to the direction in which the mosque should point for prayers. Al-Baladhuri records the tradition that the first mosque built in Kufa, a city in Iraq, faced west, meaning it pointed toward Jerusalem (whereas a qiblah towards Mecca would face almost due south)19. Al-Maqrizi, likewise, reported in the traditions that Amir ibn al-As, the first Arab governor of Egypt, prayed in a mosque facing slightly south of east20, which again would not be in the direction of Mecca, but towards the same general region in northwestern Arabia that was noted for the two Iraqi mosques. Crone and Cook note that this mosque of al-As, which pointed to a location too far north, was later rebuilt during the governorship of Qurra b. Sharik so as to correct the qiblah21. They also show that the earliest evidences from tangible sources shows that the sanctuary to which the very early Muslims prayed was too far north to be located in the Hijaz, but was instead in northwestern Arabia22. Again, these evidences indicate a general direction of qiblah towards another site somewhere in between Palestine and the Hijaz, rather than either Jerusalem or Mecca themselves. The orientations of Egyptian mosques were recorded by the Syriac patristic writer Jacob of Edessa (d. 708 AD) as facing east towards the "Ka'bah" of the "Mahgraye"23, even though Mecca would be southeast from Egypt. Again, that would suggest a qiblah facing towards northwestern Arabia, but not Jerusalem nor Mecca. As was noted earlier, this ka'bah might well have been the ka'bah dedicated to Dushara which was located in the area of Petra, south of Jerusalem and in Arabia Petraea, in northwestern Arabia. The evidences for a northerly qiblah may indicate a pagan center which became a model for the later Ka'bah situated in Mecca. Thus, at least at the beginning of the 8th century, the Muslim sanctuary to which prayer was directed seems to have been at some point in northwestern Arabia, not Mecca. Only later, with the added pressure to specifically "Arabicize" the emergent religion by recasting its origin in the Hijaz, was the sanctuary of the Muslims shifted to the ka'bah in Mecca, which was also previously a pre-Islamic pagan center of worship and which was retrofitted to serve as the center of Muslim devotion. Hawting notes that no mosques from the 7th century have been found which point towards Mecca, and he further concludes,

"It seems that the Muslim sanctuary at Mecca is the result of a sort of compromise between a preexisting pagan sanctuary and sanctuary ideas which had developed first in a Jewish milieu. I envisage that Muslim sanctuary ideas originated first in the Jewish matrix, as did Islam itself. At a certain stage in the development of the new religion the need arose to assert its independence, and one of the most obvious ways in which this could be done was by establishing a specifically Muslim sanctuary. The choice of sanctuary would have been governed by already existing sanctuary ideas and when a suitable sanctuary was fixed upon these sanctuary ideas would themselves have been modified to take account of the facts of the sanctuary which had been chosen. It seems likely that the Meccan sanctuary was chosen only after the elimination of other possibilities - that in the early Islamic period a number of possible sanctuary sites gained adherents until finally Mecca became established as the Muslim sanctuary. And it also seems likely that one reason for the adoption of the Meccan sanctuary was that it did approximate to the sanctuary ideas which had already been formed - although they had to be reformulated, the physical facts of the Meccan sanctuary did not mean that already existing notions and terminology had to be abandoned."24

Bashear likewise notes the confusion about the direction of qiblah in very early mosques,

“Added to the important discovery of the two-qibla mosque of Be’er Orah, our findings may give a certain support to Tor Andrae’s suggestion of an early eastern qibla. However, we feel that, as far as the first century is concerned, one cannot speak of “one original qibla of Islam,” but rather of several currents in the search for one. It is also plausible to suggest that this search was eventually decided after Islam acquired a central sanctuary, prayer places, and religious concepts and institutions of its own.”25

In this same article26, he notes that early Muslim lexicographic and tafsir sources showed a recognition of the east as a place of both Christian and solar worship, and this direction was vehemently contradicted in the later Muslim traditions (where the sunrise was associated with the devil and anti-Christ). Even despite this, there are definite traces of an easterly prayer direction in early Islam. As Islam developed into a more specifically Arabic religion, seen before in Chapter 5, the direction of prayer was moved south, towards the now-important sanctuary at Mecca. This change in direction parallels a change in religious thought as the Islamic monotheism evolved. The later attachment of importance to Mecca as a cultic center in the Arab religion may be due to the rise and incorporation of “the south” as a source of messianic deliverance in some strands of Middle Eastern religion current during the development of the Arab monotheism27. Bashear notes that “the south” (yaman, al-yamaniyya) was associated in some strains of Judaism and pseudo-Christian gnosticism with an apocalyptic messianic deliverer, a source which eventually became attached to Mecca. Elsewhere, he points out the codified Islamic view of the east as “bad” and the south as “good”,

“As for traditional Islam, note has been taken of the strong connotation between condemning the mashriq (east/sunrise) and praising the south (yaman) as the source of belief, wisdom, and deliverance: an idea which has clear parallels in gnostic Christianity as well as Judaism from the period of the Prophets.” 28

So, the evidence from the very earliest times in Islam shows a direction of prayer which was occasionally towards Jerusalem, was often towards a region in northwestern Arabia that may have been the location of a pagan ka'bah that served as a model for the later ka'bah in Mecca, or more generally towards "the east". However, at some point after the first decade of the 8th century, the qiblah seems to have been changed to a specifically Arab sanctuary in Mecca, which originally had been an important sanctuary to Hubal. This change in the direction of prayer is recorded in the Qur'an in Surah 2:144, which suggests that this particular ayah was incorporated into the surah at some point later than ~708 AD, after the death of Jacob of Edessa. What we may be seeing here is that these may represent part of the development of Mohammed as a specifically Arab prophet, as was discussed earlier, who became attached to the Arab lands of the south as a deliverer and messianic figure. Naturally, a sanctuary to the south of the point of origination of the emergent Arabic monotheism (which was in the vicinity of Syria) would then become associated with this prophet who came from the south (the direction associated with wisdom and deliverance). The sanctuary of the god Hubal, a likely choice for monotheization as he was or could be made to be the al-ilah for all the Arab peoples throughout the Fertile Crescent, would seem to be the logical site for the qiblah of the now-monotheistic worship of al-ilah.

John 14:16-17, 26 and John 15:26

"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.....But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the 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."

Muslims contend that in this passage, the Greek parakleton translated as "Comforter", refers to the coming of Mohammed, who fulfilled this when he received the Qur'an from the angel Gabriel, whom Muslims believe is the Holy Spirit.

Several problems arise with this interpretation, however. First, the Comforter is clearly said to be the Holy Ghost. Islam's belief that Gabriel is the Holy Spirit would seem to suggest that, even within the Islamic understanding of things, this could not indicate Mohammed. Second, the Comforter is sent in Christ's name, which Mohammed certainly did not fulfill. Instead, Mohammed came rejecting Christ and His teachings. Mohammed disbelieved that the Lord Jesus Christ is God Incarnate and that He died for our sins and rose again. Because of his disbelief, Mohammed cannot be said to have been sent in Christ's name, in other words, in Christ's express reputation and testimony as the Son of God. Third, the Comforter is said to dwell not only with us, but in us. This certainly does not apply to Mohammed, who is not only dead (and therefore not with us anymore), but also was a physical being incapable of living in us. The Holy Spirit, the third member of the triune Godhead, is God's very Spirit who dwells within saved, born-again Christian believers. The Holy Spirit seals all true believers at the moment they accept Christ as their Savior (Ephesians 1:13) and serves, among other things, as their comfort and assurance of salvation until the final redemption at the Lord's return (Ephesians 1:14, 4:30). Fourth, Mohammed did not "bring all things to our remembrance" that Christ had taught, but instead rejected much of the teachings of Christ with which he did not agree. Thus, Mohammed fails to fit this qualification, too.

The word parakletos is a Greek word meaning "helper, comforter, sustainer, advocate". Mohammed certainly did not fit this description. Mohammed sought to destroy those who opposed him, contradicting the notion that he was a helper or sustainer. The Holy Ghost, contrastingly, seeks to call all men unto Christ, working in their hearts, convicting them of sin, and turning them to faith in God (John 16:8-11). The Holy Ghost truly does help and seek to sustain and comfort men. Mohammed sought only to turn people with the sword, if they would not submit to the rule of his man-made religion. Also, the Qur'an denies that any but Allah can be an advocate, and therefore Mohammed could not fulfill that role, by Islam's own teachings. Also, the Comforter had the role of glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ and to do the work which Christ sent Him to do. "He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you." (John 16:14-15) Mohammed certainly, as we noted, did not glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, but instead glorified himself and the false god Allah. Nor did Mohammed do the work of Christ, but instead opposed the work of Christ through his denial of the deity and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

A further problem with this attempt to find Mohammed at this point is found in another apparent mistranslation of the original language of the text by early Muslim scholars. In his discussion of Muslim treatment of Biblical materials, Watt points out a problem with their application of parakletos to Mohammed,

“In contrast to this inaccurate reference to the Old Testament, there is a fairly exact translation of John 15.23 - 16.1 in the Sira of Ibn Ishaq (d. 768/151). After the quotation there is a comment, presumably by Ibn Ishaq and not by his editor, Ibn Hisham, to the effect that Muhammad is linguistically equivalent to the Syriac MNHMNA and the Greek BRQLITS. This comment seems to presuppose the confusion between parakletos and periklutos.”29

The Greek word periklutos means “renowned, praised”. This word, and not parakletos, would be the word which is properly translated to “Mohammed”, once the early grammarians began to settle on the meaning of that name as “one who is praised”. From this, we can see that this whole Muslim apologetic argument is based upon a simple confusion of these two Greek words among early Muslims. The Muslims misunderstood periklutos in place of parakletos, and hence, believed they had found a place in the Greek New Testament where Mohammed was foretold.


Thus, we see from the passages above that Muslim apologists grasp at straws in their attempts to find Mohammed in the Bible. By relying on passages taken out of context and by trying to squeeze meaning into texts where it does not fit, Muslims seek to falsely authenticate Mohammed as a prophet sent from God. While Islam must rely on textual gymnastics to authenticate Mohammed from the Bible, the same need not be said for the Biblical testimony concerning the Lord Jesus. Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of dozens of explicit prophecies for which no verbal wrangling is needed. Precise details of the life and death of the Messiah predicted centuries in advance were fulfilled in the minutest detail by Jesus Christ. What needs to be further understood is that even for those prophecies for which the fulfillment by Christ was not necessarily “miraculous“ in the sense of “providential timing of circumstances“, the fulfillments were instead very deliberate acts by the Lord Jesus Christ that were done intentionally so as to demonstrate Himself to be the Messiah who fulfilled the Scriptures. Thus, while it might not be miraculous that Christ would ride an unbroken donkey colt into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, this was done by the Lord for the specific purpose of pointing to Himself as the Messiah of Israel (per Zechariah 9:9) - He explicitly claimed this role and position. Of course, many other prophetic fulfillments certain do demonstrate the hand of Providence because they involve events that would have been impossible to foresee hundreds of years beforehand, except by supernatural revelation, and that would have been impossible to engineer apart from Providential timing.

Prophecies Fulfilled by the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ

Other Prophecies Fulfilled by Christ

In addition to these, the life and person of Jesus Christ fulfilled other prophecies given in the Old Testament.

The biblical testimony from the Hebrew scriptures is quite clear. Jesus Christ was the unique fulfillment of dozens of prophecies given by God. The odds of one single person fulfilling each and every one of these prophecies, as Jesus has done, is literally so astronomically remote as to be absolutely impossible. Yet, He did. While Muslim apologists have to scrabble for convoluted explanations to try to find Mohammed in the Biblical record, Jesus Christ is quite clearly shown to have been predicted as the Messiah who was to come for Israel and for the whole world.


End Notes

(1) - W.M. Watt, “Development of the Muslim Attitude to the Bible”, Early Islam: Collected Articles, p. 83
(2) - Ibid., p. 78
(3) - Y.D. Nevo and J. Koren, Crossroads to Islam, p. 265
(4) - C.G. Pfander, Mizanu'l Haqq: The Balance of Truth, p. 230
(5) - See J. Retsö, The Arabs in Antiquity: Their History from the Assyrians to the Umayyads, pp. 31-40
(6) - J.F. Walvoord and R.B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 43
(7) - B. Cooper, After the Flood, throughout Appendix 2
(8) - C. Coon, The Races of Man, pp. 82-83
(9) - Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mu'jam al-Buldan, Vol. 3, p.834
(10) - Faran in Arabic is analogous to Paran. In Hebrew, both the “p” and the “f“ are represented by the letter “Pe“. The pronunciation of this letter depends upon the presence or lack of the Dagesh Lene within the letter. If it lacked the Dagesh, as it would in unpointed Hebrew scripts, then it would indicate the “f” phoneme. Further, Arabic does not have the "p" phoneme except in certain loan words. In Arabic, because the "p" is changed to "f", Paran in Hebrew becomes "Faran". We can see this phenomenon occurring also in Yaqut’s passage with the reading of Palestine as "Filistiin".
(11) - Al-Idrisi, Nuzhat al-Mushtaq fi Ikhtiraq al-Afaq, p. 2; from G. Le Strange, Palestine under the Moslems, p. 440
(12) - The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, trans. R.F. Burton, Vols. 5-6, the 769th Night, p. 2775
(13) - Ibn Khaldun, Muqqadimah, trans. F. Rosenthal, Ch. 1, pp. 51-52
(14) - It is unlikely that any escape such as that recorded here would have involved a sea route to Egypt. The Red Sea was historically known for its treacherous waters, and there were no ports on the eastern (Arabian) coast of the Red Sea between Elath in the far north and Yemen in the far south during this time. Thus, if Paran was or was near Mecca, their route to Egypt would have to have been to Mecca by land, and then back exactly the way they came, to get to Egypt proper; or else travel many hundreds of miles further south to Yemen, obtain shipping back to the African side of the Red Sea, and then travel many hundreds of miles back North to the Egyptian capital in the Nile delta. Neither option seems even remotely likely.
(15) - S. Bashear, “Riding Beasts on Divine Missions: An Examination of the Ass and Camel Traditions”, Studies in Early Islamic Tradition, Ch. 5, pp. 42-43; originally in Journal of Semitic Studies, Vol. 46, No. 1 (Spring 1991), pp. 37-75
(16) - See W. White, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Vol. 2, eds. R.L. Harris, G.L. Archer, and B.K. Waltke, p. 847
(17) - E.g, Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al-tabaqat al-kabir, Vol. 1, pp. 283-284
(18) - P. Crone and M. Cook, Hagarism: The Making of the Muslim World, p. 23
(19) - Al-Baladhuri, Kitab Futuh al-Buldan, ed. M.J. de Goeje, p. 276
(20) - Taqi al-Din al-Maqrizi, al-Mawa`iz wa al-i`tibar fi dhikr al-khitat wa al-athar, Vol. 4, p. 6
(21) - Crone and Cook, op. cit., p. 24
(22) - Ibid., p. 23
(23) - See W. Wright, Catalog of Syriac Manuscripts, p. 604
(24) - G. Hawting, "The Origins of the Muslim Sanctuary at Mecca", Studies in the First Century of Islamic Society, ed. G.H.A. Juynboll, pp. 27-28
(25) - S. Bashear, “Qibla Musharriqa and Early Muslim Prayer in Churches”, Studies in Early Islamic Tradition, Ch. 6, p. 282; originally in The Muslim World, Vol. 81 (1991), pp. 267-282
(26) - Ibid., p. 281
(27) - S. Bashear, “Yemen in Early Islam: An Examination of Non-Tribal Traditions”, Studies in Early Islamic Tradition, Ch. 1, p. 360; originally in Arabica, Vol. 36 (1989), pp. 327-361
(28) - S. Bashear, “Qibla Musharriqa and Early Muslim Prayer in Churches”, Studies in Early Islamic Tradition, Ch. 6, p. 272; originally in The Muslim World, Vol. 81 (1991), pp. 267-282
(29) - Watt, op. cit., p.82
(30) - H. Morris, Biblical Basis for Modern Science, p. 73
(31) - As Miller notes, this identification of "weeks" as a figurative term for seven-year periods is actually well-attested in Jewish literature, despite what modern Jewish "anti-missionaries" might say. See Miller's essay at http://www.christian-thinktank.com/q70weeks.html
(32) - For a more in-depth examination of this passage as a Messianic predictor of Christ, see http://www.studytoanswer.net/doctrine/almah.html
(33) - For a fuller study of this passage as Messianic, see http://www.studytoanswer.net/judaism/micah5n2.html
(34) - See http://www.christian-thinktank.com/baduseot.html
(35) - J.H. Sailhamer, “The Messiah and the Hebrew Bible“, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Vol. 44, No. 1 (March 2001), pp. 16-17

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