Hazrat Ka’ab was one of the prominent Ribbi (Jewish religious scholar) who accepted Islam during the Sahaba (the companions) era. To question as which of the verses of Jewish scriptures refer to Prophet Muhammad, he related a relevant part in Arabic. Iman Bukahri has recorded his reply in Bukhari Kitab-ut-Tafsir(Surah Fateha) His narration is very similar to ‘Isaiah 42:1-8’ from the Bible. Before reproducing the two i.e. Ka’ab’s narration and the present day verses of the Isaiah, lit may be mentioned that Ka’ab’s narration is being translated from his Arabic version of the 7th century in English.
Such variation as shall be observed in the comparison below, is not extraordinary and is no different from the incongruency between the readings of various Bible versions of even the same age. Another point to remember is that Ka’ab was not reading from an open book. He related it in his own words from memory which accounts for the difference in the order of the verses. Now see the following comparison.
1. Ka’ab’s narration: In Torah, He said, O Prophet! We have sent you as witness and bearer of glad tiding,
Isaiah’s reading : Whom I uphold, My chosen, in whom My soul delights, he will bring froth justice to the nations.
2. Ka’ab : And the shelter of unlettered (who are unaware of the Divine law).
Isaiah : And the coast-lands wait for his law.
3. Ka’ab : You are my slave and My Prophet(Pbuh).
Isaiah : Behold my servant I have pout My spirit upon him.
4. Ka’ab : I have named you, ‘one who trusts in God’.
Isaiah : I have called you in righteousness. I have taken you by the hand and kept you.
5. Ka’ab : Neither pitiless nor harsh, he will not eliminate evil through evil but will forgive and forgoe.
Isaiah : A bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench, he will faithfully bring forth justice.
6. Ka’ab : Nor he will make noise in the streets.
Isaiah: He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street.
7. Ka’ab : And Allah will not give him death until through him, He gets the crooked people straightened.
Isaiah : He will not burn dimly or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth.
8. Ka’ab : Till the people proclaim there is none worshipable but one God.
Isaiah : I am The Lord that is My name, My glory I give to no other, nor My praise to graven images.
9. Ka’ab: Through him, He will open the blind eyes, deaf ears and veiled hearts.
Isaiah: I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.
Although some people think that the concerned prophecy of Isaiah is for Jesus Christ, the following words of Isaiah’s Prophecy do not support their contention.
(i) My servant (Isaiah 42:1): The original Hebrew word which is often translated as servant, may also be translated as ‘slave’ (see foot-note under Jn. 13:16) in RSV published by Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. The Arabic for slave is Ab’d and the Prophet Muhammad’s(Pbuh) title was ‘Abdullah’ (the slave of God). The Christians do not accept Master-Slave or even Master-Servant relationship between God and Christ.
ii) He will not dim lightly or be bruised till he has established justice in the earth.(42:4)
The Christ was bruised and could not establish justice on earth while he was on earth, but Prophet Muhammad(Pbuh) did establish justice in Arabia in his life time.
(iii) nor My praise to graven images.(42:8)
It indicates that the prophecied Prophet(Pbuh) will specifically eradicate idolatry. Jesus Christ did not preach to the pagan Romans but the Non-idolator sons of Israel, the Jews.