Questions and Answers > Muhammad > Bible

What does the Bible say about Muhammad?

Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570 A.D. He claimed to be the messenger (rasul) of Allah and belonged to the Quarish tribe in Arabia [1]. As a child he did not join any school, but he was highly intelligent and became a professional businessman. On his business trips he met many Jews and Christians. After the death of his wife he did spiritual exercises. The set of revelations he had received was published in the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam. Muhammad’s leadership skills and personality enabled him to attract other strong leaders to create the religion of Islam and a powerful Muslim community [2].

1. Muslim claims

Motivation

Qur’an

Muslims claim that Muhammad is in the Bible, because it is mentioned in the Qur’an: "Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (scriptures) in the law and the Gospel" (Qur’an 7:157). Also other verses (Qur’an 2:127-129, 3:81, 46:10, 61:6), mention that the coming of Muhammad is described in the Bible. Therefore we can find Muslim claims about the coming of Muhammad in the Bible since its early history.

Muslim claims and Biblical authority

Muslims who try to invite Christians to become a Muslim should first claim that the Bible is God’s Word. When a Muslim fails to rely that the Bible is accurate record of God’s Word, he cannot make any reference to the coming of the prophet Muhammad in the Bible, because such a claim will miss authority. In case a Muslim tries to convince a Christian that there are prophecies about Muhammad in the Bible, a Christian is able to convince a Muslim about the truth of faith in Jesus Christ, because the Muslim has accepted the Biblical authority.

Old Testament

Genesis 49:10

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” (Genesis 49:10) Muslims claim that Shiloh is a reference to Muhammad. Shiloh is an untranslated Hebrew word. Shiloh means “one to whom it belongs”, not a name of a person. There is no indication that Shiloh is a not a Jew or a prophet. Therefore Shiloh cannot be Muhammad.

Deuteronomy 18:18

“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him.” (Deuteronomy 18:18) “Among their fellow Israelites” refers to the Jews not to Muslims. “Fellow Israelites”: Muhammad is no descendent of Isaac . “A prophet like you” means that the new prophet must be like Moses. Muhammad doesn’t fulfil the prophecy.

Deuteronomy 33:2

“He said: "The LORD came from Sinai and dawned over them from Seir; he shone forth from Mount Paran. He came with myriads of holy ones from the south, from his mountain slopes.” (Deuteronomy 33:2) “He” is not Muhammad, because Paran is in the Sinai peninsula, not near [3]. There is no evidence that Muhammad was in the Sinai peninsula.

Isaiah 29:12

“And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray you: and he says, I am not learned.” (Isaiah 29:12) This verse is a condemnation, because Isaiah chapter 29 is about the condemnation of God to people who resist God’s will. “I am not learned” is a punishment of God. That means that making a connection of this verse with Muhammad, he will be condemned.

Isaiah 42:1

“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.” (Isaiah 42:1) The rest of Isaiah 42 is about Kedar. But “My Servant” is not from Kedar. It is therefore not a prophecy about Muhammad. It is a prophecy about the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, also the Qur’an confirms that Jesus is the Spirit of God in the flesh (4:171, 5:110).

Solomon 5:16

“His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.” (Song of Solomon 5:16). “Beloved” is in Hebrew מַחֲמַדִּ֑ים. Although this word sounds a little bit like Muhammad, the meaning is “beloved” or desirable”, something else than “praised one” as Muslims claim. The “Beloved” lived in king Solomon’s time (Song of Solomon 3:11), has red hair (Song of Solomon 5:10) and has a relation with a Shulamite (Song of Solomon 6:13). Muhammad cannot meet any of the mentioned conditions, so he cannot be the mentioned person in Song of Solomon 5:16. The verse is about a lover relation between man and woman, not about Muhammad.

New Testament

Matthew 21:42

“Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’?” (Matthew 21:42) According to the parable the son of the king was murdered. Therefore it is about Jesus Christ and not Muhammad. “The stone which the builders rejected” can be compared with, “Coming to Him as to a living stone” (1 Peter 2:4) and “the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.” (Acts 4:11). Jesus Christ is the stone that is rejected, not Muhammad [4].

John 14:16

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever” (John 14:16). “Another Comforter” is in Greek: παράκλητος (Paraclete). Muslims say that the word should be “Periklytos “, in Arabic: Ahmad, a name for Muhammad. However, there is no evidence that the name Ahmad existed before the time of Muhammad [5]. The true meaning of this verse can be found in John 14:26: “But the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26). The Comforter is the Holy Spirit, not Muhammad.

John 15:26

“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (John 15:26). “The Helper” as Paraclete is not Muhammad as in John 14:16. “whom I shall send to you” means that the verse cannot be a reference to Muhammad, because Allah sent Muhammad according to Qur’an 7:158 and 34:28.

John 16:7

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7) “The Helper” is the Holy Spirit according to John 14:25, so “the Helper” cannot be Muhammad.

John 16:12-14

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:12-14) “the Spirit of truth” is part of the spiritual world and it is not a human being like Muhammad. “He will glorify Me” means praising Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Muhammad never did (Qur’an 43:81).

2. Gospel of Barnabas

The Gospel of Barnabas mentions Muhammad and some Muslims use this book as evidence for the prediction of Muhammad. However according to scholars and most Muslims it is a false document, because it was written by a writer from Spain in 16th century [6].

3. Bible verses about Muhammad’s identity

Muhammad was an intelligent businessman, who had his wisdom from other informants, such as Jews, Christians and pagan Arabs, and proclaimed it in Arabic language (Qur’an 12:1, 41:44, 43:3). He had a hunger for power and behaved like an immoral power politician by breaking promises and speaking with a double tongue. Because Muhammad proclaimed human ideas as the revelation of God, he can be called a deceiver, heretic and false prophet. The life of Muhammad can be criticized by the Old and New Testaments. The only new elements Muhammad brought were evil and inhuman, including the command to spread by the sword the faith Muhammad preached [7] and many Bible verses mention such a deceiver with Muhammad’s character.

Muhammad was a false prophet: Matthew 7:15-20

The original meaning of the word prophet is someone who predicts future events. When the predictions fail or the doctrines lead to destruction, such a man can be called a false prophet and we can draw the conclusion that he had no divine inspiration. Jesus warns against heretics with a destructive message: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15).

Muhammad was a promoter of violence: Matthew 24:9-11

Muhammad promoted hate against mankind. The Qur´an is telling us: “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves” (Quran 48:29). Again, a big difference with Jesus Christ: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44).

Muhammad was immoral: Matthew 7:16-20

Muhammad can be accused of sectarianism, robbery (Meccan caravans), genocide (about 800 Jews were killed), indiscriminate warfare and whoring (13 wives). Muhammad did not perform any miracle (Qur´an 29:50). A sharp contrast with Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, promoter of the highest moral standard and greatest miracle worker: “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:16-20).

Muhammad was a false teacher: 2 Peter 2:1

“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.” (2 Peter 2:1). The denial that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God and the Savior of mankind is from a false teacher. Muhammad denied this in Qur’an 43:81. Therefore Muhammad was a false teacher.

Notes

1. Ibrahimkhan O. Deshmukh, The Gospel and Islam. GLS Publishing, Mumbai, 2011, p. 27-28.
2. Trude Ehlert, Muhammad, in: C.E. Bosworth (ed.), The Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition, Volume VII, MIF-NAZ, Brill, Leiden, 1993, p. 360.
3. Norman L. Geisler, Abdul Saleeb, Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross, Baker, Grand Rapids, 2002, p. 154.
4. W.F. Albright, C.S. Mann, The Anchor Bible, Matthew, Doubleday & Company, New York, 1971, p. 265.
5. W. Montgomery Watt, ‘His Name is Ahmad’, in: The Muslim World, 1953, p. 43.
6. Sidney H. Griffith, Gospel, in: Jane Dammen McAuliffe (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Qur"an, Volume Two, E-I, Brill, Leiden, 2002, p. 343.
7. John Ishmael , Chosen World - Our War on Islam and Our Own Freedoms, Xlibris, 2007, p. 218.