We all know and it is true that Bible, both Old and New testaments include many predictions and prophecies. If we ask our Christian fathers and friends, pastors and priests about disintegration of Soviet Union, or 9/11 or Iraq War, we might probably get the answer that it was foretold in Bible. I am not sure if Bible prophecies go to that extent or not, even though I am aware of their talent in stretching and shrinking the interpretation of Biblical verses to fit their whims and vested interests. What bewilders me is not the eloquence on such vague and far-fetched prophecies but silence on other explicit and unequivocal prophecies. How come a book of prophecies which foretells even the disintegration of Soviet Union becomes silent on the greatest leader of history, according to Michael H. Hart, and who is still influencing our day to day life? How can a book which includes prophecies to the extent of American occupation of Iraq be mum on the most successful leader of history who triggered the collapse of both Roman (Byzentian) and Persian empires and whose teachings still make frequent interventions in the human life and redirects the course of history? Is it possible Bible ignored such a person whom history has become incapable of leaving him behind? Does Bible say anything about him?
Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) claimed to be the final prophet and said repeatedly that his coming was foretold by both Old and New Testaments. Historically, the first person to believe in his prophethood was Waraqat bin Naufal, an erudite Christian pundit and priest. The first king to believe in the prophethood of Mohammad was Nagus, the then King of Ethiopia. One of the early tribes who entered into Islam and believed in the prophethood of Mohammad was a Christian tribe from Najran, east of modern day Saudi Arabia. The Glorious Quran repeatedly mentions that coming of Prophet Mohammad was foretold in both Old and New Testaments. Though genealogically Arabs as an ethnic society is descendants of Ishamel and Jurhum, most of the original descendants of both Ishmael and Ishaque who constitute the modern Middle Eastern society, the background of Bible’s narration of human history supported this claim by embracing Mohammad as the final prophet. Let me quote some verses from the Glorious Quran in this regard which I hope a truth seeker cannot ignore taking into consideration of the current and historical background mentioned above. “Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write (i.e. Mohammad) whom they find written with them in the Torah and the Gospel ..” (7: 157). “Those to whom We gave the Scripture (Jews and Christians) recognize him (Mohammad) as they recognize their sons (from the crowd). But verily, a party of them conceal the truth while they know it (2:146). “And, remember when Jesus, son of Mary, said: ‘O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah unto you confirming the Torah (which came) before me and giving a glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me whose name shall be Ahmed”. (61:6)
Out of many verses in both Old and New Testaments (like Deut. 18:15, 18:18, 21:21 Isa 42:1-13, Habakuk: 3: 3-4, Mathew 21:42-43, Jn 14: 12-17, 26-28, 16:7-14 etc.) and out of fear of length of this article, I would like to quote only three verses from the Old Testament which I think support and corroborate each other and deals with subject of Hjra and Battle of Bader and Conquest of Mecca which were the most historically important events in the life of Prophet Mohammad.
The Oracle about Arabia
In the thickets of Arabia you must spend the night, O caravans of Dedanites, Bring water for the thirsty, O inhabitants of the land of Tema, Meet the fugitive with bread.
For they have fled from the swords, From the drawn sword, and from the bent bow. And from the press of battle.
For thus the Lord said to me, “In a year, as a hired man would count it, all the splendor of Kedar will terminate; and the remainder of the number of bowmen, the mighty men of the sons of Kedar, will be few; for the Lord God of Israel has spoken.” (Isaia 21:13-16)
The most explicit facts of the above prophecy are the following:
This prophecy takes place in Arabia since the title of the prophecy itself is “The Oracle about Arabia” Or “Burden upon Arabia.” So, we have to reconcile this prophecy with the history of Arabs.
This verse includes two time bound predictions of Migration and a battle that takes place within or after one year from the date of migration. (Please refer to Commentary by Dake even though he does not reconcile the predictions historically or geographically)
Caravans of Dedanites means descendants of Ishmael. (For this also please refer to the commentary by Dake)
The battle that will be taking place after one year will be between the people migrated to Tema and the people from where they had migrated (Kedar).
Kedar, though stronger than Tema before the battle from where the people migrated to Tema, will be defeated by Tema.
Kedar is a name of place in Arabia from where people had migrated to Tema which also is in Arabia. Kedar as a name of place originated from the name of Ishmael’s second son as per Bible. (Genesis: 25:13, 1 Chronicles 1:29, Ezekiel 27:21)
Ishmael as per Arab history settled in Mecca (in Arabia) and Arabs are ethnically known as descendants of Ishmael.
We will get the implicit fact of this prophecy when we reconcile both time bound predictions of migration and the battle that follows it after a year with the history of Arabia. Then we will know where the places of Kedar and Tema are exactly in Arabia and what are their current names.
In Arab and Islamic history only one mass migration is historically recorded which turned out to be the turning point of the modern history. That is known as Hijra from Mecca to Medina. According to Muslim historians and the western historians it was the turning point of modern history. The fact that Islamic calendar started based on Hijra also denotes its importance. As the above mentioned verses from the Old Testament clearly mentioned the migrants (Muhajirs in Islamic history) were forced to flee from the drawn sword and bent bows. The inhabitants of Tema (Medina) known as Ansars (Helpers) in Islamic history welcomed those migrants with bread, water and shelter. As the above mentioned same Biblical verse clearly had mentioned about a battle that followed after a year from Migration, the Battle of Bader took place during the second year of Hijra on 17th of Ramadan. In this battle, Meccans from whose land the believers had migrated to Medina were defeated by them. So the second prediction relates to the Battle of Bader which was forced upon Islam by its pompous enemies one year after the migration of Prophet Mohammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina and Islam’s victory in defending its existence. This battle also is considered as another turning point in Islamic history. I know and understand there are so many scholars in Biblical studies. I am eager to know how they will reconcile those verses historically other than the way mentioned above. Dake, the well-known Bible commentator, puts this verse under the star which means it includes a prediction. And moreover, he says this verse includes two time bound predictions (It really includes three predictions i.e. Migration, Battle after a year and the victory of migrated people also). I don’t know why Dake has left this prediction without reconciling both historically and geographically. Was it a deliberate mum since he understood reconciliation of those three prediction will directly relate to Mohammad, his followers, pagan believers of Mecca, Helpers in Medina and Hijra and Battle of Bader. Is it possible we become afraid of truth! Can we imagine the deliberate efforts by the vested parties in hiding of truth from their followers and readers? Quran repeatedly says, “Verily, a party of them conceal the truth while they know it.”(2:146)
We can see the same kind of prediction in Habakuk also but in a different way with detailed explanation of historical impact the prophethood of Mohammad and Hijra will make. Read the following verse:
God comes from Tema, And the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His splendor covers the heavens, And the earth is full of His praise.
His radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays flashing from His hand, And there is the hiding of His power. Before Him goes pestilence, And plague comes after Him.
He stood and surveyed the earth; He looked and startled the nations. Yes, the perpetual mountains were shattered, The ancient hills collapsed. His ways are everlasting. (Habakuk 3:3-6)
Since we understood from verses of Isaia 21:13 that Tema is a place in Arabia ( Medina), here in this verse coming of God from Tema means the divine help that was given to Prophet Mohammad and his followers by giving them refuge in Medina which facilitated the establishment of the Islamic state and spread of Islam thereof. In order to understand “The Holy one who came from Mount Paran,” we have to locate the place Paran, geographically and historically. A special consideration has to be given why it is mentioned “from Mount Paran.”
As far as Prophet Mohammad is concerned, he got the revelation from the cave of Hira in Mount of Light. Secondly, while migrating from Mecca to Medina, he hid in the mount of Sur in Mecca in order to escape from the enemies who were following him and his disciples, and the last sermon that he had given was from the Mount of Mercy in Arafa. Prophet Mohammad’s life is closely associated with mountains and Mecca as a city also is surrounded by mountains. So, the Holy One who comes from Mount Paran is definitely Prophet Mohammad. In addition to that, as per Genesis 21:21 Ishmael, the father of Arabs ethnically and the first born son of Prophet Abraham from Hager lived in the wilderness of Paran. As per the history of Arab, it was in Mecca. So, Paran is Mecca. There is another incontrovertible Biblical proof to support that Paran is Mecca. In Genesis 21:17-19, Bible says about a well that was created miraculously for Ishmael while he and his mother Hager were left in the wilderness of Paran.
“God heard the lad crying; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, What is the matter with you, Hagar Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.”
“Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him.”
Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the skin with water and gave the lad a drink.” (Genesis 21:17-19)
Arab and Islamic history also speaks about this. The running between Safa and Marwa during Hajj and Umra is in commemoration of this historical event. The well of water mentioned in the above verse is the inexhaustible Zamzam well in Mecca which can be seen with our naked eyes. The verses in Habakuk after this speak of pre and post Migration events. The earth is full of his praise. The meaning of the word Mohammad itself is “the praised one.” Even a second does not pass on this planet without being promulgated that Mohammad is the final prophet from God either through Calling for prayer or other way. Historically speaking prophet’s Hijra had the chain effect on history. It is still making ripples in our life. Before his coming, it was pestilence and ignorance. But after migration even the plagues who were bent to kill him followed him and became his disciples. The migration gave him the power. His teachings spread like sunlight all over the world after migration. Geography and cartography of the world changed after Hijra (He stood and surveyed the earth). All the ancient places of civilizations (the places like Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Sind) accepted him as the last prophet from God. The Persian and Roman empires which were looked upon as invincible (Perpetual Mountains) got shattered and the nations which were under their colonial power were liberated (hills collapsed). The last verse says that Prophet Mohammad did not bring anything new and the ways he taught will stay forever in this world since he is the final prophet (His ways are everlasting!).
Geographically and historically we understood that Paran, the place mentioned in Bible is Mecca in Arabia. The well of water (zamzam) mentioned in the above mentioned verse also support this fact. Let me quote another verse from the Old Testament which also makes reference to Paran.
Moses said: “The Lord came from Sinai, And dawned on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran, And He came from the midst of ten thousand holy ones; At His right hand there was flashing lightning for them. (Deuteronomy 33:2)
Here Moses gives a very clear indication of three prominent prophets in sequence and as continuation and completion to one another. First is about himself since he got revelation from Sinai. The second one is prophecy about the prophet Jesus from Palestine (Seir is a place in Palestine near Jerusalem). The third verse makes reference to another prophet from Mount Paran (a mountain in Mecca). Here also a special reference has been given to mount since Prophet Mohammad got his revelation from cave Hira in the Mountain of Light in Mecca. In addition to that there is a clear indication of completion of the message through him since it says God shines from there. Thirdly, there is indication about bloodless conquer of Mecca also when it said, “He came from the midst of Ten Thousand holy ones.” When Prophet Mohammad conquered Mecca without spilling even a drop of blood, in his expedition there were ten thousand holy ones! This was another important event in the life of Prophet Mohammad. Many decisive battles in Islamic history including of the most important ones of Battle of Bader and Conquering of Mecca took place during the month of Ramadan in which Glorious Quran also had started to reveal upon Prophet Mohammad.
In nutshell, the above three historically and geographically reconciled prophecies of Bible out of many like it clearly speak about the prophethood of Mohammad, his life and mission. Now, the question that we have to ponder over is if the teaching of Biblical prophets including of Jesus about God is different from Muhammad? Is it possible for God, the Almighty to speak differently and contradictorily about Himself and truth? If not, why and how these different and contradictory to one another beliefs and creeds originated among us? What are criteria to ascertain the truth from false and fact from fallacies? The previously written article on “Reasoning of Truth” sheds light on these dark areas of our life and belief.