ADVENT OF THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD (PBUH)

INTRODUCTION

This section looks at the prophecy of the coming of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as is found in various different religious scriptures.

Firstly to summarise, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the last Prophet and Messenger of Allah who was born in Arabia in the year 570 CE and who started preaching the religion of Truth, Islam (Submission to Allah) at the age of 40 (which is when the angel Gabriel first appeared to him, which the first few verses of the Quran), and then later died at the age of 63. So his Prophethood was only a short period of 23 years, and yet during this period, the greater part of the Arabian peninsula turned from paganism and idolatory to the worship of the One True God - Allah.

Muhammad (PBUH) led a perfect life leaving no wealth or property behind except for his white riding mule, his arms, and a piece of land which he left to charity. He set an example for all human beings. His biography illustrates in real life, the meaning and implications of the Quranic teachings. Once Aisha, the Prophet's (PBUH) wife, in late years was asked about how he lived his life. She replied,'His manners were the Quran'. That is why when we talk about Islam we refer to the Quran and the Sunnah (which are the examples or teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)).

Also, it would be worth mentioning that in terms of how successful he was, a Christian scholar named Michael H. Hart has given a list of what he considers to be the hundred most influential men in history, from Adam to the present time, along with a list of reasons for his ranking, in his book 'The 100 - a Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History'. This unbiased Christian scholar placed Muhammad (PBUH) on top of the list. He concluded the biography with the words, "It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history".

THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK - CHRISTIANITY AND JUDAISM

Neither Judaism nor Christianity recognise Muhammad (PBUH) as a Messenger of Allah. But the Bible, despite its fabrications and distortions does throw some light on the issue of a Prophet to come after Jesus (PBUH).

JUDAISM

Refering to the belief of the Jews, if we look in the Torah (the Old Testament), in Deuteronomy 18:18, it is written that Allah spoke to Moses (PBUH) saying that He would send another Prophet from among the brethren of the Jews, who would be similar to Moses (PBUH), "I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him." Christians take this prophecy to refer to Jesus (PBUH), but the verse clearly states that the Prophet to be sent would have three unique features:-

1) He would be from among the brethren (brothers) of the Jews
2) He would be similar to Moses (PBUH) and
3) God will put His words into the mouth of this prophet and he will declare what God commands him.

The first condition rules out the Prophet Jesus (PBUH), since Jesus (PBUH) was not from among the brethren of the Jews but was of Jewish origin himself.

On the other hand, the Arabs and the Jews are nations that are both descended from Abraham (PBUH) - the Jews tracing their lineage to him through his younger son Isaac (PBUH), and the Arabs being descendants of his older son, Ishmael(PBUH). Muhammad (PBUH) was an Arab and therefore a descendant of Ishmael (PBUH). Therefore, He fulfils the first condition of the prophecy.

Regarding the second condition, this is also greatly met and the similarities between Moses (PBUH) and Muhammad (PBUH) is as clear as the dissimilarities between them and Jesus (PBUH) is clear. These similarities are listed below:-

  • They were both born of two parents
  • Got married
  • Had children
  • Were both statesman
  • Both encountered their enemies and were victorious in miraculous ways
  • They both migrated
  • People accepted their mission
  • They brought new laws
  • They both died a natural death
  • They both lie buried in a grave

    Regarding the third condition, the words of God (The Quran) were truly put into Muhammad's (PBUH) mouth. God sent the Angel Gabriel to teach Muhammad (PBUH) the exact words of God (the Quran) and asked him to dictate them to the people as he heard them. The words are therefore not his own. They did not come from his own thoughts. During the lifetime of Muhammad (PBUH), and under his supervision, these words were memorized and written down by his companions.

    Note that the bible states that God has said in the prophecy of Deuteronomy: "If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account." (Deuteronomy 18:19). This means that whoever believes in the Bible must believe in what this prophet says, and this prophet is Muhammad (PBUH).

    CHRISTIANITY

    It is reported in the Gospel according to John 14:15-16, that Jesus (PBUH) said, "If you love me, keep my commandments, and I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter that he may abide with you forever." Regarding the phrase "he may abide with you forever", it did not mean that this person would have eternal life, since everything living on earth must die. What the statement simply means is that the message brought by this person (there is no god worthy of worship except the One True God) is an eternal message which will remain intact until the end of the world.

    Allah promises in the Quran, to protect the Quran from any changes:-

    "Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur'an) and surely We will guard it (from corruption)." (Al-Hijr 15:9).

    Regarding 'the Comforter', the original word in Greek used for 'Comforter' is 'Paracleetos'. This word is sometimes translated as the 'Spirit of Truth' and at other times as the 'Holy Spirit'. However, from the context of the verse (John 14:15-16), the 'Comforter' could not be the 'Holy Spirit' since according to another passage in the Bible, the 'Holy Spirit' was already present during the time of Jesus (PBUH), helping him and guiding him. The Gospel according to Luke 3:22, states: "And the Holy Spirit descended on him."

    If the word 'Paracleetos' is taken to mean 'Comforter', then the awaiting one whose coming Jesus (PBUH) was said to have foretold in the Bible, must be Muhammad (PBUH), since he is described as a 'mercy' from Allah in the Quran:-

    "We sent you (Muhammad) not, but as a Mercy for all creatures." (Al-Anbiyaa 21:107).

    Mercy implies comfort. Humans find comfort in mercy shown to them on all occasions in their lives. Some scholars have proposed that the word 'Paracleetos' was a corruption of 'Periclytos', which meant 'the one who people praise exceedingly'. The literal translation of the Arabic name Muhammad in English is 'the one who is much praised'.

    In the Gospel according to John 16:12-13, Jesus (PBUH) is also reported to have said, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but you 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 he shall speak, and he will show you things to come". Regarding the statement, "he shall not speak of himself but whatsoever he shall hear, that he shall speak.." is very similar in meaning to the following verse of the Quran:-

    "Nor does he (Muhammad) speak of (his own) desire. It is only a Revelation revealed."
    (An-Najm 53:3-4)

    That said, it is well known that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) declared that the Quran was not his words, but was revealed to him by God via the angel Gabriel.

    OTHER RELIGIONS

    If we examine other religious scriptures, we can still find some sparse remnants of truth in them. The prophecy about the coming of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is an example of this.

    HINDUISM

    In a book called the Bhavishya Purana it reads:-

    'Just then an illiterate man with the epithet of teacher, Muhammad by name, came along with his companions. Raja (Bhoja in a vision) to that Great Deva, the denizen of Arabia, purifying with the Ganges water with the five things of cow offered sandalwood and paid worship to him. O denizen of Arabia and lord of the holies to thee is my adoration. O thou who has found many ways and means to destroy all the devils of the world! O pure one from among the illiterates, O sinless one, the spirit of truth and absolute master, to thee is my adoration! Accept me at thy feet." (BHAVISHYA PURANA PARV 3, KHAND 3, ADHYA 3, SHALOK 5-81).

    From this passage we can deduce that Muhammad (PBUH) is mentioned by name, he will come from Arabia which he did and he will be illiterate, which he was as he could neither read nor write. And to add to this, he is termed as the 'spirit of truth' which is how he is described in the Bible as mentioned in the 'Christianity' section above.

    BUDDHISM

    Buddhists have scriptures in more than one language, the following is an extract from the Ceylon:-

    "Ananda said to the Blessed One, 'Who shall teach us when thou are gone?' And the Blessed One replied,'I am not the first Buddha who came upon the Earth, nor shall I be the last, in due time another Buddha will arise in the world, a holy one, a supremely enlightened one, endowed with wisdom in conduct, auspicious, knowing the universe, an incomparable leader of men, a master of angels and mortals. He will reveal to you the same eternal truth that I have taught you. He will preach his religion, glorious in it's origin, glorious at the climax and glorious at the goal. He will proclaim a religious way of life, wholly perfect and pure such as I now proclaim. His disciples will number many thousands, while mine number many hundreds.' Ananda said, 'How shall we know him?' The Blessed One replied, 'He will be known as Maitreya..."

    From this passage we can deduce that there are many Prophets sent by the Creator (there are said to be about 124,000 Prophets before the last Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)), his followers will number many - Islam is now considered the largest religion in the world (when Catholicism is considered as a separate religion) and that he will be known as Maitreya, which literally means a Mercy and The Blessed One. Muhammad (PBUH) is mentioned in the Quran as a Mercy unto mankind:-

    "We sent you (Muhammad) not, but as a Mercy for all creatures." (Al-Anbiyaa 21:107).