Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Is Muhammad in the Bible?

In any debate between Muslims and Christians the subject of Muhammad in the Christian scripture will inevitably come up. Muslims contend that Muhammad is mentioned in several places in scripture. Christians maintain that Muhammad is not mentioned in the Bible, and is therefore a null. Both sides are incorrect.

The Islamic apologist normally bases his assertion on several passages: The Song of Solomon 5:16, Deuteronomy 18:18 and John 14:16. The apocryphal Gospel of Barnabas also makes several mentions of Muhammad, but the overwhelming evidence is that this was a work of fiction, written much later than the canonical Gospels, probably after the Moorish conquest of Spain, and carries as much liturgical weight as your average Dan Brown novel.

There are several fundamental mistakes that Muslims make when referring to the Bible to support their arguments. The first is that Muslims themselves dismiss the Bible as corrupt. In their canon, the Bible simply cannot be authentic, because the Quran disagrees with it so egregiously. In this they violate the rule of authority of precedence in scripture, i.e. in the event of a contradiction, the earlier work is considered authoritative. This rule is not just broken by the Quran, it’s shattered into a myriad of pieces, thrown on the floor and trampled on and fed to the pigs. The Quran says in more than three dozen places that the Judeo-Christian scripture (identified as the “Torah” and the "injeel" or Gospel. Muhammad was unfamiliar with much of the Old Testament except for the Pentateuch, and knew nothing of the New Testament except for the Gospels) is to be read, respected and followed (Surahs 10:37, 10:94, 12:111, 21:7, 16:43, 53:33-37 , 87:17-19, just to name a few). Then it turns around and completely denies one of the most fundamental tenets of Christianity, the crucifixion and by implication the resurrection of Jesus (4:157). There are many accounts of Biblical figures in the Quran that amount to mere flights of fantasy, Arabian folklore retold with Biblical figures in the leading roles, with absolutely no connection to the Bible.

A second mistake that Muslims make in quoting the Bible is to quote verses out of context. This is generally acceptable in the Quran, because for the most part Muhammad couldn’t hold onto a topic for more than a few verses anyway. There simply is no narrative context in the Quran to lend understanding to the reader. It has no narrative beginning or end, and it’s a coin toss whether a given verse will have any logical connection to another ten verses away.

The Song of Solomon
The Song of Solomon 5:16; “His mouth is full of sweetness. And he is wholly desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.” In the original Hebrew, the word for “altogether lovely” (KJV) or “wholly desirable” (NASB77) is מַחמָד, or "machmad", which the Muslims feel is transliterated to “Muhammad.”

The first problem with this is literary. As used this is a predicate, describing the subject of the poem, which in this case is the voice of the bride describing her new husband. But the Muslims would have us believe it should be read as a proper noun, naming the subject, thus: “His mouth is full of sweetness. And he is Muhammad. This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.”

This removes the intended meaning and awkwardly inserts a foreign name into a love poem without any introduction or frame of reference for the reader. It makes as little sense as saying “His mouth is full of sweetness. And he is Ralph. This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.”

The second problem demonstrates the inherent silliness of the lengths Muslims will go to in order to claim a point. Arab names are commonly descriptive. Humam is “generous.” Nasim is “fresh air.” This pattern is repeated over and over. Muhammad means “praised,” and was not an uncommon name even in 7th century Arabia. Hebrew and Arabic are both Semitic languages, with a great deal of common structures, phrases and similar sounds and words. Of course some of these predicate nouns will appear in Hebrew literature. Is it the Muslim position that any time that the Hebrew scripture uses a predicate noun that doubles as a proper name in Arabic that it’s actually referring to a person, and not the original meaning?

Muslims also like to claim that Deuteronomy 18:18 speaks of Muhammad: “I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.”

The Muslim discussion of this seeks to obfuscate the issue, with claims that Muhammad is more like Moses than was Jesus, who most Christians accept is the one to which this verse refers. This is irrelevant, because any similarity between Moses and Muhammad is completely negated by two glaring disqualifications.

The Muslim position is that Muhammad is supposedly descended from Ishmael, and therefore is a “brother” to the Israelites based on the Abrahamic connection. This is preposterous. Aside from Ishmael and Isaac themselves, the Ishmaelites are never referred to as brethren, nor are any of the other tribes that can trace Abrahamic descent, such as the Midianites. Joseph the son of Jacob was sold to Ishmaelites who took him to Egypt, and Ishmaelites are counted among the enemies of Israel in Psalm 83. The entire book of Deuteronomy is Moses’ farewell address to the Israelites, no one else, and should be interpreted in that context. An Ishmaelite is not an Israelite.

If Muslims are going to rely on scripture to support their claims, then they need to be careful about what that scripture says. Just a couple of verses after the verse that the Muslims are all heated up about, it says, ‘But the prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I refer you to the Quran, surah 53:19-20: Have ye thought upon Al-Lat and Al-'Uzza And Manat, the third, the other?

This verse refers to three of the Gods of the Meccan Pantheon, sister goddesses of Allah, and was “revealed” in response to a deal the Meccans offered Muhammad, where they would give him a cut of the proceeds from the ka’aba if he would dial down the monotheistic rhetoric a bit. When his faithful followers heard of this, they were incensed and called BS, which prompted the following verse to be revealed in 22:52: Never sent We a messenger or a prophet before you but when He recited (the message) Satan proposed (opposition) in respect of that which he recited thereof. But Allah abolishes that which Satan proposes. Then Allah establishes His revelations. Allah is Knower, Wise;

Nice out, Muhammad, but by the definition given in Deuteronomy 18:20, you spoke a word in God’s name which he did not command you, and your life is therefore forfeit. Muhammad is no prophet of God.

The prophet Moses referred to is thought to be Jesus. It could just as easily been Elijah or John the Baptist, the two greatest prophets between Jesus and Moses. Peter quotes this verse verbatim in Acts 3, intimating that Jesus is the prophet. Jesus also stated quite clearly in Luke 16:16 that the last prophet was John the Baptist; after that the Kingdom of God is preached.

The Paraclete
Muslims claim that the Paraclete that John spoke of in 14:16 was no other than Muhammad: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter [or helper], that he may abide with you for ever;”

Taken in isolation, this is adequate proof for most Muslims. Unfortunately, there’s a little problem in the form of the Acts of the Apostles that gets in the way of this idea. Most Muslims are abysmally ignorant of the Acts of the Apostles, thinking that the New Testament consists entirely of the four Gospels.

The word for “comforter” or “helper” is the Greek “Paraclete.” John uses it in the same context a couple more times. In 15:26 he states, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me,” A key thing to know is that the word used for spirit here is “pneuma,” the very same word used throughout the New Testament to refer to the Holy Spirit.

The Pentecost story is one that Most Muslims are unfamiliar with. To the Christian, Pentecost is a feast day that rivals Easter or Christmas in importance. This event sets the tone for the rest of the Acts of the Apostles, where the early church was guided by the Holy Spirit. From Acts, Chapter 2:

And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were bewildered, because they were each one hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and marveled, saying, “ Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? “And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs–we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”

The Holy Spirit filled the faithful, and guided the early church.  It ensured that the traditions and written words were established according to God’s plan.  It was literally the manifestation of God in the hearts of the Faithful, and is understood by all to be the paraclete of whom Jesus spoke.

Muhammad, by contrast, is a self-proclaimed prophet from a tribe barely related to Israel, separated by a thousand miles and five hundred years. He preached a Quran that in many respects was a hollow, meaningless imitation of the Judeo-Christian scripture, when it did not directly contradict that scripture. The “help” and “comfort” he gave the followers of Jesus was subjugation, slavery, forced conversion, death and perpetual warfare.  Like most everything else in Islam, it only makes sense if you drink the Kool-aid.  It has no redeeming argument to attract anyone but the ignorant.

But this is not to say that Muhammad has no role in the Bible, or that Islam isn’t mentioned.  Islam plays a prominent role in many of the prophecies and Muhammad is referred to almost explicitly in Isaiah.

To understand this, you have to first be familiar with Muhammad’s first encounter with “Gabriel.” In the Bukhari hadith vol 1, Book 1, number 3, Aisha tells us about Muhammad’s recounting of the event:

"The angel caught me  (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could  not bear it any more. He then released me and  again asked me to read and I replied, 'I do not  know how to read.' Thereupon he caught me  again and pressed me a second time till I could  not bear it any more. He then released me and  again asked me to read but again I replied, 'I do  not know how to read (or what shall I read)?'  Thereupon he caught me for the third time and  pressed me, and then released me and said,  'Read in the name of your Lord, who has created  (all that exists) has created man from a clot.  Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous."

Yeah, that makes sense.  The omniscient Author of the universe brutalizes one of his terrified creations to make him do something he’s patently incapable of doing.  Muhammad quite correctly thought he was demon-possessed from this encounter, but was talked out of this idea by his wife Khadija.

Now take a look at this passage from Isaiah, written a thousand years before Muhammad started hearing voices.  This is from a description of the state of mind of the enemies of Jerusalem (Israel):

And the entire vision shall be to you like the words of a sealed book, which when they give it to the one who is literate, saying, “Please read this,” he will say, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” Then the book will be given to the one who is illiterate, saying, “Please read this.” And he will say, “I cannot read.
– Isaiah 29:11-12

It might not sound like much to you, but to a Muslim this is definitive.  This was actually pointed out to me by a Muslim as evidence that Muhammad is in the Bible, and I cannot dispute it.  The triumphant Muslims should pay heed to what the rest of the chapter says about the enemies of Israel, though:

But the multitude of your enemies shall become like fine dust,
And the multitude of the ruthless ones like the chaff which blows away;
And it shall happen instantly, suddenly.
From the LORD of hosts you will be punished with thunder and earthquake and loud noise,
With whirlwind and tempest and the flame of a consuming fire.
And the multitude of all the nations who wage war against Ariel [Jerusalem],
Even all who wage war against her and her stronghold, and who distress her,
Shall be like a dream, a vision of the night. – Isaiah 29:5-7

If this doesn’t sound like a battlefield nuclear weapon, I don’t know what does. Muslims are further described:

Then the Lord said,
“Because this people draw near with their words
And honor Me with their lip service,
But they remove their hearts far from Me,
And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,
Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous;
And the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
And the discernment of their discerning men shall be concealed.”
Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the LORD,
And whose deeds are done in a dark place,
And they say, “Who sees us?” or “Who knows us?”
You turn things around!
Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay,
That what is made should say to its maker, “He did not make me”;
Or what is formed say to him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?
– Isaiah 29:13-16

Muslims learn their Quran by rote, and to them its recital is prayer, even though they often don’t understand the words they are reciting, because it’s in a foreign language.  They make a great show of reverence, but by their actions only demonstrate intolerance, hatred, and jealousy.  They dispute the power of God, placing limitations on God according to their plebeian understanding. They say God cannot take the form of a man.  They say God cannot have a son, that god cannot be crucified in an earthly body, die and be resurrected.  After awhile one gets confused if God created the Muslims, or if the Muslims are in the process of creating God.

Isaiah caps this chapter with the triumph of Israel:

Therefore thus says the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob,
“Jacob shall not now be ashamed, nor shall his face now turn pale;
But when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst,
They will sanctify My name;
Indeed, they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob,
And will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
“And those who err in mind will know the truth,
And those who criticize will accept instruction. – Isaiah 29:22-24

This one should cause Muslims to tremble. One of the fundamental tenets of Islam, and the thing that identifies Islam as the religion of Satan, is its underlying hatred of Israel.  Yet right here we are told that the house of Jacob shall triumph, and that Muslims will know the truth and (presumably the survivors) will accept instruction.  Muhammad is not of the house of Jacob, whose name was also Israel; only a Jew can claim that title.

Jesus gave clear warning of the dangers of Islam:

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’” - Matt 7:13-23

Look at the world today, the countries where the majority of the people are Muslim.  What are the fruits of these countries?  There are few contributions to science or the arts, there are scant numbers of Nobel laureates.  The main product of these countries are poorly educated young people who are radicalized by the religious schools of their upbringing.  These countries are characterized by high unemployment, illiteracy, staggering poverty, capricious judicial systems, and frequently interminable violence on the edge of outright war. There is a veneer of wealth in prosperity overlaying the rot, thanks to the usurious profits that come from oil sales, but this wealth is concentrated in the hands of a fortunate few.

There are many other places that are clearly referring to Islam.  All of the countries identified as being arrayed against – and inevitably destroyed by – Israel in the end-times prophecies are all Muslim countries today.

Muslims would do well to follow the advice of Muhammad -study the Bible and learn the books from which Muhammad plagiarized his theology without understanding what it was he was stealing.

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