Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) in the book of Moses
By S. Abdullah Tariq
An clear cut biblical prophecy for Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) is found in the fifth Book of Moses. Though much has been written about it, always useful to mention it whenever the subject occurs. The prophecy (in the words of New International Version) reads as follows:
"I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brothers: I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the Prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account." (Devt. 18:18-19)
The following points of the prophecy are worth elaborations with the point of view of comparative religious study, as the Christian brethren are led to be believe that the above prophecy was for Jesus Christ.
I will raise for them: Raising up "is the exact terminology Qur'an has repeatedly used for a prophet: The Arabic equivalent is 'Ba-asa'. Nowhere in the new Testament these words have been used for 'Jesus Christ'.
A Prophet: although the Christ was an esteemed prophet of God, I have shown in detail in the previous column, the Christians hesitation in calling him a prophet. The Christ neither abrogated the law or the prophethood nor claimed the finality of the prophethood. He had come to fulfil the law (Mat. 5:17) and he also prophesied of a future Prophet of God (which will be discussed later in detail). Qur'an has used two words for the representatives of God. 'Nabi' and 'Rasool', which is 'Doot' in Vedas and is translated as 'messenger' of (God). Jesus Christ has at a number of places in N.T called himself a messenger.
The above noted prophecy, upto this point makes no distinction about the identity of the prophet but the words following leave no room for doubt.
Like you (i.e. like Moses): Moses birth, his matrimonial status, the abundance of his followers in his life time, the law he preached, his mode of preaching and his death has no resemblance in the Christ's life. Instead Prophet Muhammad's (Pbuh) likeness with Prophet Musa (Moses) was very apparent in many respects. Qur'an makes mention of this likeness when Allah says:
"We have sent forth to you an apostle to testify against you, just like We sent one (Moses) to Pharaoh (Firaun) before you." (73:15)
At yet another place, Qur'an seems to have exactly reminded the above prophecy of the Bible.
"Say: I am not innovation among the messengers... Say: Think if that Prophet is indeed from Allah and you reject him and a witness (Moses) from the children of Israel has vouched for like of him a believed and you still show arrogance (how unjust you are). Truly Allah does not guide the unjust" (46-9:10).
From among their brothers: That is from among the children of Ismael, not from among them or the children of Israel. The two races are the progeny of two real brothers.
I will put my words in his mouth: The first revelation to Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) started with the word, 'Iqra' (96:1) which means 'Read', while he was unlettered (7:157)
Archangel Gabriel read to him and he repeated and memorised and conveyed to people. The words literally put into his mouth. This is more clearly elucidated at another place in Qur'an when the Lord says to the Prophet.
" Do not move your tongue (with the revelation) so that you may hasten (committing) it (to memory). We ourself shall see to its collection and recital. When we read it, follow its words attentively." (75:16-18).
And he will tell everything I command him: The Qur'an has clarified it at a number of places. The Prophet preached nothing from his own side except what was revealed to him to convey: " He does not speak out of his own fancy. This is nothing but an inspired revelation. He is taught by One who is Mighty in Power and Vigorous." (53:3-6).
The Prophet speaks in my name: The very first revelation which the Prophet (Pbuh) received testified to it.
" Read in the name of your Lord who created." (96:1)
Besides the holy Qur'an starts with a phrase which is repeated before every chapter of Qur'an." In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful".
And if anyone does not listen to my word, that Prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account: This warning has been repeated in Qur'an quite a number of times. For example:
"Therefore you remained (then). Your duty is only to remind than You are not their keeper. As for those who turn their back and disbelieve Allah will inflict on them the supreme chastisement. To Us they shall return and We will call them to account. (88:21-26)
Immediately after the above prophecy and warning, the Book of Moses in the Bible suggests to the believers a test for the prophesied prophet. "All his prophecies will come true."
"You say to yourselves: How can we know when a messenger has not been spoken by the Lord? If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not takes place or come true, that is the message the Lord has not spoken." (18:21-22)
In a living test that whatever was revealed in Qur'an through Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), not an IotA of it could be proved wrong. The stages of creation of man in his mother's womb and astronomical and geological statements of the Qur'an bears witness to it. What ever from the unknown history of mankind Qur'an revealed also could not be contradicted. The latest most striking example in Qur'anic statement about a past civilization, of 5000 B.C. which was unearthed recently in the desert of Amman. The American excavators, found that the details of the structure of the lost city matched amazingly with the Quranic descriptions. 'The People of Aad' or 'the City of Iram' has been described in Qur'an at more than a dozen places. Interestingly the Bible makes no mention of the civilization of the Orientalists, till its discovery in 1992, scoffed at its mention in Qur'an. But the truthfulness of the Prophet of the Messenger of God was yet again confirmed.