Speaking to the Muslims about the Christian faith, they often tell me: “Your Bible speaks of Muhammad. Jesus Himself foretold His coming.”
I answer them in this way, “Here is a Bible, could you tell me where Muhammad is mentioned? ”
Most of them reply: “I do not know where, but the Koran says it would have been predicted in your Bible.”
One of the biggest arguments put forward by Muslims in their discussion with Christians revolves around the coming of Muhammad, which they said was announced in the Bible. The whole problem stems from a passage in the Koran that says:
“Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel…” (Sura 7: 157).
This has led Muslim experts from the earliest days of Islam to seek both in the Old Testament whether or where their prophet was indeed foretold by the earlier prophets.
Some of the books written by Muslims on this subject rely on a range of verses drawn from just about all the Old Testament. However, the most often quoted is: Deuteronomy 18:18-19.
In this text God said to Moses:
“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. “
According to them, Mohammed is this prophet. Abraham having had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, they claim that the expression “their brethren” refers to the Arabs. As Muhammad descended from Ishmael, so would he be the prophet announced by Moses. But is that true to the statement God made?
A glance at the context will make it possible to know if this text is addressed to the descendants of Ishmael.
To whom does God refer in the terms “their” and “their”?
When Moses utters these words he is in the wilderness of Sinai at the head of the people of Israel whom he had torn from slavery in Egypt. God tells Moses that he, Moses, will die and instructs him to repeat to the people his instructions for him to respect them once he has entered the land He promised the descendants of Israel. Thus the paragraph that contains this proclamation of Moses (Deuteronomy 18: 9) begins:
“When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations.”
This expression is also found in Deuteronomy 17:14 and 26:1. The phrase “when you” is used 24 times in Deuteronomy and in all cases concerns the people of Israel from the perspective of their establishment in the promised land . “You” is used hundreds of times to designate either Moses or the people. Verse 15, which precedes the announcement made in 18, is almost identical but formulated in the second person: “Jehovah your God shall raise up a prophet unto me from among your brethren.” Doubt is no longer permitted “their brethren” and “your brothers” in verse 18 refer to the people of Israel as the descendants of Isaac and not those of Ishmael who are never mentioned in Deuteronomy; Therefore, the prophet here announced can not be Muhammad.
Who is the prophet announced by Moses?
There is only one answer that can be given: Jesus Christ!
The New Testament, the Injil, affirms, that the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:15-18 was fulfilled to the letter in Jesus Christ of Nazareth, born of the tribe of Judah. His mother Mary, was fully Jewish, and therefore Jesus was an Israelite as Moses had written by the Word of the Lord.
In the Gospel according to John, we read these words from the Apostle Philip:
“We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (John 1:45).
Further on Jesus himself says, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me also, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe in his writings, how will you believe my words? (John 5: 46-47)
The apostle Peter even quotes the verse of the Torah in relation to Jesus Christ in one of his first discourses of evangelization in Jerusalem:
Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.” (Acts 3: 19-26).
This very important passage demonstrates in an indisputable way that the brethren in question are the Jews, referred to here as “the seed of Abraham”, that is to say, his legitimate descendants and that person of which Moses and “all the prophets” spoke is indeed Jesus.
The expression “firstly” makes it possible to understand that this good news is first announced to the Jews and will be second to “all the families of the earth”, to the non-Jews, among them the Arabs. Several Arabs who had evidently given up idol worship and had begun to worship the God of Abraham based on the teaching of the Torah were present in Jerusalem at that time. The Bible relates that by an extraordinary miracle they could hear Peter’s first speech directly in Arabic. This is what we read in Acts 2. The Jews in no way expected that the coming Prophet would be someone other than a Jewish brother. Isaiah 29: 12
The Muslims also refer to Isaiah 29:11-12, where it is written:
And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read.”
Ahmed Deedat insists:
(a) the book to which it refers here is the Koran.
(b) The person to whom the book is given is Muhammad
(see Quran 7: 158).
According to Deedat, Mohammed’s experience in the cave of Hira, later known as Djebel-Ennour (The Mountain of Light), and his Answer to this first revelation is the exact fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah.
Before discerning what it is, let us point out that the reference (7: 158) that Ahmed Deedat gives, testifies simply that Muhammad was nabi Ummy which would mean “prophet of the nations” expressing those who have not received a book. This is not a report in which it would be mentioned that he (Mohammed) did not know how to read. Besides, we find nowhere in the whole Koran such a declaration. On the contrary, the Koran teaches us that Mohammed knew how to read.
There are several Islamic sources and other histories that confirm Mohammed was able to read, notably Mohammed Talbi, an Arabic associate, and great specialist in Medieval Islamic history, former dean of the University of Tunis, who in his book the breath of the spirit qualifies this legendary story:
“Contrary to the legend, born of false apologetic anxieties, (Mohammed) was a cultivated man. They read the Bible in his beautiful family. There was no need for him to meet a monk during a trip to Syria to be initiated into Judeo-Christianity.
Ummi’s description of the Koran, which tradition has interpreted as “illiterate,” means that he was “the prophet of the nations” Sura 5:157-158 confirms this interpretation: “Say to those who have received the book, and to the Ummiyyin.” “Those who received the book” are obviously Jews and Christians. Who are the Ummiyyin? They are of all others, all non-Jewish nations. “(LXII, 2). The meaning of ‘ummi’ is therefore well established. It does not mean “illiterate” in any way.
He designates the gods or the gentiles, that is, all the non-Jewish nations that had not yet received a revealed Book. (Mohamed Talbi Universality of the Qur’an Ed: Southern act cool “the breath of the spirit” pages 10-12)
Finally, it is the Sunnah, which has taught that Mohammed was literate, as narrated by Ursa, according to Anas bin Malik,
“One day the Prophet wrote a letter, or had the idea of writing a letter. It was told the Prophet that they would not read the letters unless they were sealed. So the Prophet got a silver ring with “Mohammed the Apostle of Allah” engraved on it. I was watching his white (of the ring) sparkle on the prophet’s hand. (Sahih Bukkari, Volume 1, Book 3, Number 65)
Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Thursday! What (great thing) took place Thursday ” Then he began to weep until his tears wet the gravel of the earth. Then he said, “On Thursday when Allah’s Apostle’s illness got worse and (where) he said,” Seek me what to write, so that I can write something for you. Sahih Bukkari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 288
Similar Hadiths can be found at the following references:
Sahih Bukkari, Volume 4, Book 53, Number 393
Sahih Bukkari Volume 9, Book 92, Number 468
Sahih Bukkari, Volume 4, Book 59, Number 716
Sahih Bukkari, Volume 4, Book 59, Number 717
Sahih Bukkari, Volume 7, Book 70, Number 5 73
Interpretation of Isaiah 29: 12
This being said, let us turn now to Isaiah 29 to examine the verse in context. TAhmed Deedat did not consider the context. This will show us that his interpretation is totally false and more than that, it is a very simple business to sweep his assertions aside. There is no prediction of a future prophet in this passage. It is, instead, the announcement of a punishment on Israel:
And I will encamp against you all around, and will besiege you with towers and I will raise siegeworks against you. And you will be brought low; from the earth you shall speak, and from the dust your speech will be bowed down; your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost, and from the dust your speech shall whisper. Isaiah 29: 3-4
As part of The punishment, we read that God will also take away the ability to read (understand) the words of God because they disobeyed the Lord. Verse 10 clearly states that the prophets will be put to sleep as part of that judgment, and therefore they will no longer be able to receive revelation from God:
Astonish yourselves and be astonished; blind yourselves and be blind! Be drunk, but not with wine; stagger, but not with strong drink! For the LORD has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes (the prophets), and covered your heads (the seers). And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read.” And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men Isaiah 29: 9-13
We ask Ahmed Deedat whether he really wants to argue that this refers to Muhammad? If, as Ahmed Deedat has alleged, this is so, Muhammad would have a heart away from God, worshipping, not according to the will of God, but rather according to the inventions of men (v.13 ) But more, Deedat is saying that his inability to read is part of the punishment of God. The passage in Isaiah says that God put these people into a deep sleep because of spiritual backsliding. When they give the book to someone, he cannot read or understand what the word of God means. Moreover, this judgment concerns Israel, and Muhammad is not a part of the people of Israel, on the contrary, Mohammed claimed to be a descendant of Ishmael!
The only conclusion we can draw is that Ahmed Deedat’s claim is unfounded and even absurd, for by this, Ahmed Deedat describes his own prophet Mohammed as a man with a heart far from God, and rendering worship that is not according to the will of God. God, but invented by men (the traditions of men).