Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Rise and Fall of Another Taqiyyist Pt. 4

Sam Shamoun

We now come to the final segment of our analysis of Hussein’s debate tactics.

Alleged Prophecies of Muhammad

Here we will briefly analyze three of the prophecies that Hussein raised in his debate, “Muhammad in the Bible,” to establish his premise that Muhammad was foretold to come by God’s true prophets.

Not surprisingly, Hussein used Deuteronomy 18:15-19 to establish that Muhammad was the prophet like Moses that would arise from the brethren of Moses, which he interpreted to mean from a nation related to Israel.

Needless to say, there are major problems with this argument.

First, Deuteronomy 34:10-12 provides the criteria which help us identify what the prophet like Moses shall be like:

“Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.”

As we can see, the prophet like Moses has to do miracles like he did and has to know God face to face, i.e. speak to God directly in time and space which is what God did for Moses:

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance, but Moses alone is to approach the Lord; the others must not come near. And the people may not come up with him.’… Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under HIS FEET was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank. The Lord said to Moses, ‘Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.’ Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God. He said to the elders, ‘Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them.’ When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses FROM WITHIN THE CLOUD. To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.” Exodus 24:1-2, 9-18

“Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the ‘tent of meeting.’ Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent… Then Moses said, ‘Now show me your glory.’ And the Lord said, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,’ he said, ‘you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.’ Then the Lord said, ‘There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.’” Exodus 33:7-11, 18-23

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain. No one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain.’ So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the Lord had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. Then the Lord came down in the cloud AND STOOD THERE WITH HIM and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’ Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshipedMoses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai. When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he ENTERED THE LORD'S PRESENCE to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the Lord.” Exodus 34:1-8, 28-35

“Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. ‘Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?’ they asked. ‘Hasn’t he also spoken through us?’ And the Lord heard this. (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) At once the Lord said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, ‘Come out to the tent of meeting, all three of you.’ So the three of them went out. Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud; HE STOOD AT THE ENTRANCE AT THE TENT and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When the two of them stepped forward, HE SAID, ‘Listen to my words: When there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; HE SEES THE FORM OF THE LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?’ The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he left them.” Numbers 12:1-9

Even the Quran agrees that Allah spoke to Moses directly:

And Messengers We have mentioned to you before, and Messengers We have not mentioned to you, – and to Musa (Moses) Allah spoke directly. S. 4:164 Hilali-Khan

It further confirms that Allah actually entered into creation itself in order to do so:

When he saw a fire, and said to his family, 'Tarry you here; I observe a fire. Perhaps I shall bring you a brand from it, or I shall find at the fire guidance.' When he came to IT, a voice cried, 'Moses, I am thy Lord; put off thy shoes; thou art in the holy valley, Towa. I Myself have chosen thee; therefore give thou ear to this revelation. S. 20:10-13 Arberry

When Moses said to his people 'I observe a fire, and will bring you news of it, or I will bring you a flaming brand, that haply you shall warm yourselves.' So, when he came to IT, he was called: 'Blessed is he who is IN the fire, and he who is ABOUT it. Glory be to God, the Lord of all Being! Moses, behold, it is I, God, the All-mighty, the All-wise. S. 27:7-9 Arberry

Then, when Musa (Moses) had fulfilled the term, and was travelling with his family, he saw a fire in the direction of Tur (Mount). He said to his family: "Wait, I have seen a fire; perhaps I may bring to you from there some information, or a burning fire-brand that you may warm yourselves." So when he reached IT (the fire), he was called from the right side of the valley, in the blessed place FROM the tree: "O Musa (Moses)! Verily! I am Allah, the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)!" S. 28:29-30 Hilali-Khan

In these examples, Allah appeared in fire in order to speak directly to Moses without any angelic mediation.

Muhammad fails both criteria since Q. 28:48 says he couldn't do any miracles like Moses:

But (now), when the Truth has come to them from Ourselves, they say, "Why are not (Signs) sent to him, like those which were sent to Moses?" Do they not then reject (the Signs) which were formerly sent to Moses? They say: "Two kinds of sorcery, each assisting the other!" And they say: "For us, we reject all (such things)!" Y. Ali

Moreover, Allah never entered into time and space in order to appear to Muhammad in a visible form like he did for Moses.

Second, a prophet like Moses must have the same theology Moses did, a point which Green briefly touched on, i.e. the necessity of vicarious sacrifices for atonement, the need of a priesthood to offer such sacrifices etc. (cf. Exodus 28-29; Numbers 3:5-10; Leviticus 16; 17:11).

But that’s not all. According to Deuteronomy, Moses proclaimed that Yahweh is a spiritual Father to Israel whom Yahweh spiritually or metaphorically gave birth to:

You are the children of the Lord your God. Do not cut yourselves or shave the front of your heads for the dead,” Deuteronomy 14:1

“Is this the way you repay the Lord, you foolish and unwise people? Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you?… ‘You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth. The Lord saw this and rejected them because he was angered by his sons and daughters. I will hide my face from them,’ he said, ‘and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful.’” Deuteronomy 32:6, 18-20

This is something which the Quran most emphatically denies since Muhammad’s god isn’t a father to anyone:

And (both) the Jews and the Christians say: "We are the children of Allah and His loved ones." Say: "Why then does He punish you for your sins?" Nay, you are but human beings, of those He has created, He forgives whom He wills and He punishes whom He wills. And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, and to Him is the return (of all). S. 5:18 Hilali-Khan – cf. Q. 9:30; 19:88-93; 21:26

As such, Muhammad stands condemned as a false prophet for contradicting the theology of Moses. Therefore, he cannot be the prophet like Moses.

Hussein also referenced John 1:19-22 and 24-25 to establish that the prophet to come was someone other than the Christ:

“Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, ‘I am not the Messiah.’ They asked him, ‘Then who are you? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the Prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ Finally they said, ‘Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’… Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, ‘Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, NOR the Prophet?’”

According to Hussein, the questions posed to the Baptist prove that the Jews during that time thought that the prophet like Moses and the Person of Christ were not the same individual.

Green quoted the disciples’ response to Jesus’ question concerning who the people thought he was,

“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’” Matthew 16:13-14

To show that the Jews were expecting a host of different prophets to come, especially OT ones, and therefore illustrates that appealing to such testimony to establish one’s position is desperate since these Jews weren’t necessarily experts in OT interpretation.

Hussein contested this by arguing that the Jews who came to John to ask whether he was the Christ or that specific Prophet like Moses were not common folk who may have been ignorant of their respective Scriptures. Rather, they were priests and Levites who were sent by the religious authorities, and would have therefore known their Bible.

It is rather unfortunate that Hussein doesn't see how his response refutes his entire argument. Seeing how he accepts these Jews as experts of the Law who correctly understood their Scriptures he has no choice but to also accept the fact that their asking John if he was that prophet to come conclusively proves that Muhammad was a false prophet, since this shows that the Jewish experts knew and believed that the Prophet like Moses would be an Israelite, not an Ishmaelite!

After all, these Jewish authorities asked John who was an Israelite if he was that prophet. Now why would they do so if Hussein is correct that Deuteronomy 18:15-19 implies that the prophet like Moses would be from another nation that was related to Israel?

The other problem that Hussein faces is that the Baptist's testimony provides further evidence that Muhammad was a false prophet. By reading the entirety of John 1 one discovers that the Baptist identifies himself as the voice mentioned in Isaiah 40:3, the one who would be sent to announce the coming of Yahweh God Almighty to his people, which would be the time when all flesh would see the glory of Yahweh:

“A voice of one calling: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’… You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, ‘HERE IS YOUR GOD!See, THE SOVEREIGN Lord COMES with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:3-5, 9-11

However, John clearly testifies that he was sent to prepare for Christ’s coming, which means that Jesus is the Lord God whom Isaiah said would come to dwell with his people in order save them!

John also proclaimed that the Christ existed before him and is greater than him, since the Baptist isn’t even worthy enough to stoop down and untie the thong of Jesus' sandal. The Baptist further states that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, the Son of God, and the One who will baptize people with the Holy Spirit:

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John testified concerning him. He CRIED out, saying, ‘This is the one I spoke about when I said, “He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.”’)… John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, ‘I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, “Make straight the way for the Lord.”… I baptize with water,’ John replied, ‘but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’ This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, “A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.” I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.’ Then John gave this testimony: ‘I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.’ The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’” John 1:14-15, 23, 26-36

Now the question we would like to ask Hussein is which of the above statements agree with Muhammad’s theology? And since these statements are all found within the very same context of the particular section that Hussein perverted in order to convince people that Muhammad is the prophet like Moses, he cannot turn around and call into question the textual veracity or the historical reliability of this specific portion of Holy Scripture. In other words, as unfortunate as it may be for Hussein, he cannot have his cake and eat it too at this point, since if John’s Gospel is good enough to prove his case then he has no choice but to accept the fact that it is also reliable enough to refute and expose his desperate polemics.

Hussein also mentioned the Paraclete passages in order to establish that Jesus predicted the coming of Muhammad. It is unfortunate that he does not see how this method of interpretation can be employed to actually prove that Jesus is Muhammad’s God, and that the Quran must have been corrupted. John 14:16-17, 26, 15:26, and 16:7-15 clearly say that the Father and the Son together send the Paraclete from the presence of the Father in the name of Christ in order to glorify Christ. Muslims say that Allah sent Muhammad in the name of Allah to glorify Allah. Therefore, if Muhammad is the Paraclete, then the Father and the Son must be Allah, the God that sent Muhammad! There is simply no way around this conclusion.

In light of this fact, Hussein must either accept that Muhammad is a deceiver and an antichrist,

“Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2:22-23

And therefore cannot be the Paraclete whom the Lord Jesus promised to send from the Father to guide his disciples.

Or he has no choice but to admit that the Quran must have been corrupted sometime after Muhammad’s death. Since Hussein believes that Muhammad is the Paraclete then Muhammad would have never denied that his God, Allah, is the Father and the Son. As the Paraclete, he would have definitely known and proclaimed that it was the Father and the Son who sent him to glorify their name. Therefore, all those Quranic statements denying that Allah is the Father and that Jesus is the Son who was crucified must have been added later on, after Muhammad was already dead. This indicates that some dishonest individual or group of Muslims changed the text and the message of the book which the Father and the Son sent down to Muhammad to proclaim to others.

Now which Muslim would dare accept such an explanation? None that we know of, not even Hussein!

The fact is that Hussein’s polemics only end up embarrassing Muslims since they not only prove that Muhammad was a false prophet, they also highlight just how intellectually bankrupt and deceptive Muslim apologetics truly are.

For more on the issue of John 1:19-25 we recommend the following rebuttals:

Sam Shamoun vs. Yahya Snow on the Implications of John 1:19-21
A Reply to Yahya Snow's Comments on John 1:19-21 - Part One
A Reply to Yahya Snow's Comments on John 1:19-21 - Part Two

And here are the links to Hussein's debates with James White and David Wood:

Zakir Hussein vs. James White: Is Muhammad Prophesied in the Bible?
Zakir Hussein vs. David Wood: Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, and the Covenant

Lord Jesus willing, we will have more responses to Hussein’s polemics in the future if need be.