Who is the Awaited Prophet in the Bible ?
God will Put His Words in the Mouth of that Prophet:
Generally speaking, this description may apply to any messenger of God who is communicating God’s message to mankind. While that message may come in “written tablets” as is believed to have been the case with Moses, the specific wording of the above verses is a vivid description of the type of revelation received by Muhammad. Angel Gabriel used to come and dictate to him specific portions of the Qur’an which were then repeated by Prophet Muhammad exactly as he has heard them. Mohammed’s own thinking or authorship were not involved in any way in what he uttered. The words of God (The Qur’an) were “put into his mouth”. As the Qur’an itself described:
“He (Muhammad) does not speak of his own desire, it is no less than a revelation sent down to him.” (The Qur’an53: 3-4)
Numerous passages in the Qur’an command Muhammad in such terms as Qul (say), Thakkir (remind), Nabbi’ (inform). Other passages in the Qur’an start with such expressions as waqala Rabbokum (and your Lord said..) Still in other passages it reads wa yas’aloonaka... qul... (and they ask you (O Muhammad) … say…).
The above analysis fits not only Deuteronomy 18:18, but is also consistent with the subsequent verses. For example Deuteronomy 18:19 reads:
“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which he shall speak in My name, I will require it of him.”
It is interesting to note that 113 out the 114 Surahs (chapters) of the Qur’an starts with Bismillahir-rahmanir-raheem (in the name of Allah (God), Most Gracious, Most Merciful). The very first passage of the Qur’an revealed to Prophet Muhammad read:
“ Read in the name of your Lord who created…” (The Qur’an 96:1)
Following the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, there is no other community of believers who starts almost every action in their daily lives with this formula “In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful”. It should be noted here that the Arabic term “Allah” is not only the Arabic equivalent of “God”, but it is also the personal name of God. To say “in the Name of Allah” is a far clearer fulfillment of the prophecy”.. He shall speak in My name: (Deuteronomy 18:19), than other common expressions such as: In the name of God” or “In the name of the Father”.
A fair question at this point is this: Since virtually anyone can presume to speak “in the name of God”, what criterion should be used to distinguish between a genuine prophet and messenger of God and other false prophets who may also presume to speak in the name of God?
The answer to this question was clearly given in the concluding verses of Chapter 18 of the Book of Deuteronomy.
“And if thou say in thine heart, how shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously; thou shall not be afraid of him”(Deuteronomy 18:21-22)
It is a fact that not a single prophecy made by Prophet Muhammad proved to be inaccurate in the least degree. Every prophecy he made about the near future at his time did come to pass. Examples of these are:
The prophecy that Muslims were to conquer the two “superpowers” of their time; the Persian and Byzantine empires. This prophecy was made when Muslims were so few and weak that to prophecy their mere physical survival would have sounded too hopeful!
A prophecy that Suraqah (a man who was about to kill Prophet Muhammad during the later’s journey to Madinah (Medina) after the pagans plotted to kill him) would become a Muslim, participate in the Muslim army conquering the Persian Empire and would actually have access to the Emperor’s crown and place it over his head! Nor only did this prophecy appear to be a virtual impossibility when it was made, but its fulfillment was so perfect and complete as if the Prophet was looking eye-to-eye at the scene which took place years after his death. The fact that Suraqah did become a Muslim, lived long enough to participate in the conquest of Persia, that the Muslims came out victorious, that Suraqah had access to the Emperor’s crown and actually wore it, can hardly be regarded as a coincidence or a self fulfilling prophecy. Surely the chances are nil that numerous such prophecies, all in the minutest detail described by Prophet Muhammad, happened by accident! Nor can such 100% accuracy every time and at all times emanate from any other than a true and genuine prophet using the criterion stipulated in Deuteronomy (18:21-22).
Other Characteristics of “That Prophet”:
An equally interesting and most revealing profile of Prophet Muhammad is found in the 42nd chapter of the Book of Isaiah. Let us examine some of these characteristics:
The One in Whom God’s soul delights is called the servant of God (V.1), His elect (V.1) and His Messenger (V.19).
Translated into Arabic these titles read “Abduhu warasooluhu al-Mustapha”. Surely all prophets were indeed servants, messengers and elects of God. Yet no prophet in history is as universally called by these specific titles as is Muhammad. The testimony of faith by which the person enters into the fold of Islam reads:
“I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger”.
Virtually the same formula is repeated five times a day during the call to prayers, five times a day immediately before the beginning of prayers (iqamah), nine times a day during the minimum mandatory prayers, several more times if the Muslim performs additional recommended prayers (sunnah). The most common title of Prophet Muhammad since his mission until today is Rasoolullah (the messenger of God). The Qur’an gives him this title. During his lifetime he was addressed as such by his followers. The voluminous collections of hadith (Prophet Mohammed’s sayings) are narrated typically in these forms: “I heard the Messenger of Allah say..: “The Messenger of Allah said or replied..”.
He shall not fail nor be discouraged till he has set judgement in the earth (V.4), he shall prevail against his enemies (V.13) and shall bring judgment to the Gentiles (v.1).
In comparing the lives and missions of Jesus and Muhammad, it becomes readily clear that in the case of Jesus he expressed on more than one occasion how disappointed he was in the Israelites’ rejection of him. Nor did Jesus live long enough to prevail over his enemies (beyond the moral victory, which is a common victory for all prophets).
On the other hand, we find no trace of Prophet Muhammad’s discouragement even in the most critical moments of his mission. In one year his beloved and supporting wife Khadijah died following 25 years of successful marriage; his uncle Abu-Talib, who was instrumental in protecting him from the fury of the pagan Arabs also died. These two tragedies were combined with the fact that his followers constituted only a small persecuted and tortured group. Under such trying circumstances, Muhammad went to the city of at-Taif to invite people to Islam and seek their support in his struggle against paganism. He was rejected, mocked at and stoned to the point of bleeding. In spite of all this he was never “discouraged” to use Isaiah’s term (V.4); “O Allah! Forgive my people for they do not know what they’re doing” was his utterance. When Angel Gabriel offered him the chance to retaliate by destroying their city, he refused in the hope that out of the descendants of these wicked people would come those who would worship God, and come they did!
After this bitter struggle, Muhammad “prevailed against his enemies” established a strong community of believers who indeed “brought judgment to the Gentiles”, especially in the Persian and Byzantine Empires. Many such Gentiles were guided to Islam while others suffered defeats. As such he was truly “a light of the Gentiles” of the whole world.
“He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street” (V.2)
Not only was this a distinct characteristic and mark of decency of Muhammad’s, it was indeed the embodiment of the revelation given to him. In the words of the Qur’an:
“Be modest in thy bearing and subdue thy voice. Lo! The harshet of all voices is the voice of the ass.” (The Qur’an 31:19)
“Allah loveth not the utterqance of harsh speech save by one who has been wronged.” (The Qur’an 4:148)
“ The Isles shall wait for his law”. The only prophet who came, after this prophecy was made (Isaiah’s time) with a complete and comprehensive code of law was Prophet Muhammad. The law revealed to him spread to all corners of the earth, even in many remote isles and to the farthest deserts. He will be sent “ to open the bind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house” (V.7).
Many of those who were opposed to the truth and bitterly fought Muhammad ended up among the most devout believers. Their blindness to truth was cured. Those who lived in the darkness of an unholy life came to the light of truth completed through the mission of Muhammad.
No wonder the Qur’an describes itself as “Noram-mubeena” or light manifest. Describing the Qru’an, God addresses Prophet Muhammad:
“ A book which we revealed unto you, in order that you may lead mankind out of the depths of darkness unto light by the leave of their Lord to the way of Him, the exalted in power, worthy of all praise.” (The Qur’an 14:1 )
“God’s glory will not be given to another.” (V.8). The greatest glory a person receives from God is to be entrusted as His messenger to mankind and receive His glorious revelation. Not only did this apply to Prophet Muhammad, but it uniquely applied to him as the last messenger and prophet of God. Truly God’s glory (revelation of scriptures) was not given and will not be given to another prophet after Muhammad, as he is the “seal” of all prophets. It is already about 1400 years since Muhammad was sent and the Qur’an was revealed to him. Yet we hear of no genuine prophet of the magnitude and influence on humanity to be compared with such figures as Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. Nor do we hear about another post- Qur’anic (glory) or holy book that has influenced mankind to such a degree.
“Sing unto the Lord a new song and his praise from the end of the earth…” (V.10). A new song may be a reference to a new scripture in a language other that the language of the Israelite scriptures. This interpretation seems consistent with amore explicit mention of someone who will be speaking to people (including the Israelites) in “another tongue” (Isaiah 28:11).
This explanation seems to fit closely with the second half of he same verse (Isaiah 42:16) which speaks of the praise of God “from the ends of the earth”. Only in the case of Islam do we find this prophecy realized in amazing accuracy. In all ends of the earth, five times every day the praise of God and of His last messenger, Muhammad, is chanted from the minarets of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of mosques around the world. Additionally, frequent praise of God and Muhammad by millions of devout Muslims is made on daily basis. It is even a part of the required five daily prayers to include the praise of Abraham and his descendants and of Muhammad and his descendants. This is known as “As-Salatul-Ibrahimiyyah”. This person to come is connected with the Arabs, and specifically with the descendants of ishmael (who settled in Makkah and its environs). Verse 11 to the 42nd chapter of Isaiah leaves absolutely no doubt the identity of “that prophet”.
“Let the wilderness of and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Ke’dar does inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.” (Isaiah 42:11). According to the Book of Genesis, Ke’dar was the second son of Ismail (Gen.25: 13). The best prophet who came from Ismael’s descendants is Muhammad. His enemies (who were of his own clan!), who were misled by their leaders or mighty men (as described in Isaiah 21:17) ultimately embraced Islam and were embraced by it. Indeed they had reason to “lift up their voice”, to “sing” praise of God, and “shout from the top of the mountains”. Is that possibly a reference to the shouting of:
“Here I came (for your service) O Allah. Here I come. Here I come. There is nor a partner with you. Here I come. Verily yours is the Praise, the blessings and sovereignty. There is no partner besides you”. This “shouting” is chanted annually by multitudes of Muslims from all over the world from Mount ‘Arafat as part of the annual rites of hajj (pilgrimage).
The 42nd chapter of Isaiah is indeed a fascinating one. It is not a casual or ambiguous reference to that servant and messenger of God who was to come centuries later. It is rather a comprehensive profile, which not only fits Prophet Muhammad but fits no one else. After all, the chapter relates this profile to Ke’dar son of Ismail and no other descendants of Islamil fits these descriptions but Muhammad (Blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).