The Prophet Promised Through Moses(as), Jesus(as) or Muhammad(sa)?

57The Review of Religions – March 2004 Contents of the Prophecy Now that we have examined the context of that prophecy of Moses(as), we can study its contents and try to find out, once again, who out of Jesus(as) and Muhammad(sa) really answers the description of that prophet mentioned in the prophecy. (i) First of all, we are told in the prophecy that the prophet to be raised will be a prophet ‘like Moses’. It is clear that for any prophet to be called ‘like Moses’ he must of necessity possess something particular as a prophet in common with Moses ( a s ). We know that M o s e s( a s ) was not an ordinary prophet. He was a prophet with a d i fference; and the only thing special about Moses(as) was that he was sent with a new Law while all the other prophets who followed him were sent to obey and re- establish his Law. So, when it was said that another prophet ‘like Moses’ would be raised by God, it could only mean that a prophet with a new Law would be raised as Moses( a s ) had been. As far as Jesus(as) is concerned he did not come with any new Law as he had been sent only to preach and propagate the same old Law of M o s e s( a s ) which all the other prophets of Israel had been preaching before him, (Matt. 5:17). J e s u s( a s ), therefore, had nothing particular in him as a prophet that could make him a prophet ‘like Moses’. On the other hand, Muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam(sa), was a prophet who had been sent with a new Law, replacing the old Law of Moses(as). He, therefore, is the only The Prophet Promised Through Moses(as); Jesus(as) or Muhammad(sa)? – part II by Dr. A.R. Bhutta, published in The Truth, Nigeria, August 1986 An examination of the prophecy of prophet Moses(as) regarding the advent of a great future prophet. The first part of this article was featured in last month’s edition of The Review of Religions. 58 The Prophet Promised Through Moses(as); Jesus(as) or Muhammad(sa) The Review of Religions – March 2004 prophet who can be called a prophet ‘like Moses’ and who has actually been called so in the Holy Qur’an (Ch.73: v.16). Another very outstanding feature common between Moses( a s ) a n d Muhammad(sa), that further makes them resemble each other as prophets, is that God manifested His mighty signs and powerful glory through both of them when God made them victorious over their very strong enemies, defeating and destroying the enemy completely in the process. No such power and might of God was manifested through Jesus (as). On the c o n t r a r y, it was the enemies of J e s u s( a s ), according to the New Testament, who over-powered him and put him on the Cross. How can Jesus ( a s ), therefore, be called a prophet ‘like Moses’ when every thing about him was unlike Moses(as)? (ii) The second feature of that prophet, mentioned in the prophecy, is that he shall be raised from the ‘brethren of Israel’. (Deut. 18: 18) Now it has already been discussed and concluded from the background of the prophecy that ‘that prophet’ could in no case be raised from the Israelites and that he could only come out of Gentiles. Here in this verse, our conclusion about the Gentiles has been confirmed and narrowed down to one particular nation. We are told that out of Gentile nations, that prophet will be raised from that particular nation which can be called the ‘brethren of I s r a e l ’ . Israel is not an ordinary nation. They are regarded as the chosen people of God; for any nation to be regarded as their ‘brethren’ that nation must of necessity share and inherit something particular in common with Israel. ‘Brethren’ is a very specific and significant word and God would not have used it for any people if He did not really mean it. We know that the people of Israel are the descendants of Isaac(as) and that they had been promised great blessings of God through their forefather Abraham( a s ). It is a historical fact that the only people who can be regarded as the physical as well as the spiritual counterparts of Israelites, are the descendants of Ishmael or Ismail( a s ), the elder 59 The Prophet Promised Through Moses (as); Jesus(as) or Muhammad(sa) The Review of Religions – March 2004 brother of Isaac( a s ). There is no nation on the face of this earth, other than the descendants of Ismail(as), that can claim to be the ‘brethren’ of Israel and that at the same time can boast of having flourished under the divine promise made to Abraham(as). Even the Bible confirms that Ismail(as) and Isaac(as) were not only brothers in flesh but also brothers in promise. (Genesis 16:16; 17:20) Since Muhammad( s a ), the Holy Prophet of Islam, was a descendant of Ismael(as), he was actually and literally raised from these ‘brethren of Israel’, and the prophecy of Moses(as) was fulfilled in his person and not in the person of Jesus(as) who was raised from the Israelites and for the Israelites. It may be argued that Jesus(as) had no earthly father; he, therefore, should not be regarded as a prophet from Israel. This argument has no weight at all because Jesus(as) at least had a mother who belonged to Israel. So, if he had no father, then he would wholly and solely belong to his m o t h e r’s family. Moreover, not having a father from Israel, does not fulfil the condition mentioned in the prophecy; it must also be proved that he came from the ‘brethren of Israel.’ So, for Jesus(as) to be ‘that prophet’, his father must be found and found from the ‘brethren of Israel’. Otherwise he will hold his mother’s nationality. It may be said that Jesus(as) was a ‘son of God’ and he, therefore, can be considered to have come from, the ‘brethren of Israel’. This argument looks ridiculous on the very face of it, unless we are also ready to consider that God had not a son, but many sons and daughters who multiplied somewhere in the heavens and developed into a community called the ‘brethren of Israel’. (iii) The third characteristic of that prophet, mentioned in the prophecy is that God will ‘put His words in his mouth and he shall speak all that God shall command him’. This is a very special feature of that prophet. It not only proves that ‘that prophet’ will be a Lawgiver but also explains that the Law given through that prophet will be in the form of pure and precise words of God, and that he shall speak out these words 60 The Prophet Promised Through Moses (as); Jesus(as) or Muhammad(sa) The Review of Religions – March 2004 of God only under the control and command of God, without any contribution on his part. This is exactly how the Holy Qur’an was revealed to the Holy Prophet(sa) of Islam. The ‘words of God’ were actually put in his mouth when, under the divine control, verses of the Holy Qur’an issued forth from his holy mouth without his personal effort or desire. (Ch.53: Vs.4,5) As far as Jesus is concerned, he was neither given any Law nor is there any record of verbal revelation that was ‘put in his mouth’. He, therefore, cannot answer this description of that prophet. Another interesting and important point mentioned in this connection, is that ‘that prophet will speak the word of God in the name of God’. It is indeed very inspiring to note that every chapter of the Holy Q u r’an, except one, starts with the verse, ‘In the name of Allah, the Gracious and Merciful’; and all Muslims are required to recite this verse before reciting any portion of the Holy Qur’ a n . There is no such example reported in the Gospels where Jesus( a s ) c o n v e y e d any exact words of God in the name of God. On the contrary he clearly declared that someone else will come after him who will hear from God and convey us all the truth (John 16:13). So we see that Jesus( a s ) could not be the ‘prophet’ mentioned in the prophecy of Moses( a s ). (iv) Finally, God is reported to have said in that prophecy ‘whoever will not pay heed to my word, which that prophet will speak in my name, I will myself require it of him’; and then God went on to say: ‘but the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, that same prophet shall die’. (Deut. 18:20) Now here in these verses, God has not only sounded a very serious note of warning for both, the prophet and the people, but also has provided a criterion for judging the truth of that prophet. We are told that God will punish the enemies of that prophet. On the other hand, any false claimant pretending to be that prophet, shall also be punished, and punished with death. 61 The Prophet Promised Through Moses (as); Jesus(as) or Muhammad(sa) The Review of Religions – March 2004 Let us now compare Muhammad( s a ) and Jesus( a s ) and see how they faired in this test set by God. Muhammad(sa) has been declared to be a prophet who came according to the prophecies of the Holy Bible and in particular, he has been called a prophet like Moses (as). After his claim to the prophethood, he was rejected, opposed and persecuted by his people. Repeated attempts were planned and made on his life and he had to participate personally in many bloody wars. On many such occasions, he received serious injuries and at times even had close brushes with death; nevertheless, he not only survived all these dangerous situations but also succeeded in completing his divine mission against all odds. On the other hand, his enemies, despite their strength and superiority in men and materials, were defeated disgrace- fully and destroyed eventually, making Muhammad ( s a ) the most successful prophet that ever came into this world. However, Jesus(as) too, claimed to be a prophet; he too, was rejected and persecuted by his people; and his enemies too, planned to kill him. But, unfortunately for the Christians, (and in accordance with Christian belief) they are of the view that his enemies succeeded in their very first attempt on his life and most of his followers ran away for their lives and went u n d e rground. Evidently, the ene- mies of Jesus (as) not only succeeded in defeating him and his budding community, but also they seem to have escaped any punishment from his God. If that warning and criterion, mentioned by God in that prophecy of Moses(as) has anything to go by, then nobody with a fair sense of judgement, can say that Jesus(as), and not Muhammad(sa), could be the prophet mentioned in that prophecy. The achievements of Jesus(as) and M u h a m m a d( s a ) are diagonally opposed to each other in that particular field. If Jesus ( a s ) w e r e really that prophet promised by M o s e s( a s ), his enemies could not have defeated him, they could not (as Christians believe) have prosecuted and executed him; nor could they have escaped their own defeat and destruction. Conversely, if Muhammad( s a ) had falsely claimed to be that prophet, he could not have succeeded in his mission, the way 62 The Prophet Promised Through Moses(as); Jesus(as) or Muhammad(sa) The Review of Religions – March 2004 he did; and his enemies could not have been punished and destroyed, the way they were. Consequently, there is no escape from the obvious conclusion that the prophecy of Moses(as) was fulfilled, not in the person of Jesus(as), the Christ, but with the advent of Muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa). An Important Clarification It seems necessary to clarify in the above-mentioned context that we do not mean to say that every prophet that fails to defeat his enemies and is killed by them, must necessarily be a false prophet. Firstly, if a person claiming to be a prophet of God, is captured and killed by his enemies, no doubt he could still be a true prophet of God but what he can never be is that particular prophet mentioned in that prophecy of Moses, because the penalty of death has been fixed as a sign for the false claimant to that particular post. This makes it necessary that a true claimant to that particular prophethood should never suffer that penalty and his life should be saved and protected. Now, Jesus(as), as believed by the Christians, was captured and killed by his enemies. As such, he could still be a true prophet, no doubt; but he could be the Christ, Elijah or any other prophet, new or old, but he could never be that particular prophet who was destined to be saved and successful and whose enemies were doomed to be defeated and destroyed. Secondly, it has been said in the prophecy that anybody pretending to be that particular prophet and preaching a false word of God shall be punished with death. That automatically means that any prophet who preaches the words in the name of God all his life and is still not caught and killed by God, that prophet must necessarily be true in his claim to be that particular prophet. This makes the case of M u h a m m a d(sa) very simple and straightforward. He claimed to be that particular prophet and preached the words in the name of God all his life; and in spite of all this, he received no such punishment fixed for a false prophet but proved himself to be most successful of all the prophets. Muhammad( s a ), therefore, must be accepted as absolutely true in what he claimed 63 The Prophet Promised Through Moses (as); Jesus(as) or Muhammad(sa) The Review of Religions – March 2004 to be, otherwise we would have to believe that something must be wrong with that prophecy. If he were false, he could not have made himself above the Law of God and escaped His punishment. So, let it be known to all lovers of the truth that the greatest promise to Abraham(as) was that the nations of the earth shall be blessed through his descendants; the greatest promise given to Moses(as) was that a great prophet like him shall be raised from the descendants of Abraham(as), other than the Israel; the greatest prayer and desire of all the Biblical prophets was to see the fulfilment of that promise made to A b r a h a m( a s ) and Moses( a s ); the greatest mission of Jesus(as) and his disciples was to preach and proclaim the forthcoming fulfilment of that promise. The greatest thing that ever happened on this earth was the fulfilment of that promise with the advent of Muhammad(sa), the Holy Prophet of Islam. [Editor’s Note: It is sometimes argued that the prophecy in Ch.18 of Deuteronomy refers to the tribe of Levi who had no part of the inheritance, an a rgument sometimes also incorrectly advanced against Ismail (as) as being the rejected one of Abraham. But it is very obvious from the words of this prophecy that the prophet who was to come had to come from some bre t h ren other than from the tribes of Israel. Secondly, with reference to Jesus, John refers to the Comforter as the Holy Ghost and the Spirit of the Truth, and the Law introduced by Muhammad(sa) was nothing but the Truth and he himself was known as the Siddiq i.e. the Truthful one. (Ed)] We hope you have enjoyed reading this edition of the magazine. 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