by Ali Unal and Harun GultekinThe authors argue that numerous prophecies of the coming of the blessed Prophet are found in the New and Old Testaments, the Zoroastrian, Hindu and Buddhist Scriptures. He then closely examines these prophecies through a comparative and verse-by-verse analysis and explains the rationale for his conclusions. For readers who are not familiar with the Islamic view of Prophethood, the book first explains the essentials of Prophethood and the characteristics of Prophets, outlines the Divine purpose for sending Prophets, and finally introduces Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. The author starts his analysis of world scriptures under five broad headings, starting with the Old Testament. Here he first examines the books of major Prophets starting from Adam, Noah, Abraham to Moses, David and Solomon. He then conveys the glad tidings made by other Prophets such as Daniel, Jonah and Zechariah, all proclaiming the arrival of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. He then examines the New Testament, the Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Hindu Scriptures respectively, emphasizing on the central notion that Prophet Muhammad is clearly and directly mentioned in all the World Scriptures as the final Prophet sent to humankind and the very person declared by all the Prophets from Adam to Jesus, peace be upon them all. This book will appeal to readers from all faiths and backgrounds that have an interest in major world religions and their sacred scriptures.
The Prophet Promised in World Scripturesby Ali Unal
- PAPERBACK : 2013-08-16 • 558 Pages • 6 x 9 inches • ISBN 9781597842716
- CATEGORIES Interfaith Dialogue, Backlist, Forthcoming
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PROPHETHOOD AND WHY MUHAMMAD WAS UNIVERSALLY PROMISEDGod Almighty has created every community of beings with a purpose and a guide or a leader. It is inconceivable that God Almighty, Who has given bees a queen, ants a leader, and birds and fish each a guide, would leave us without Prophets to guide us to spiritual, intellectual, and material perfection.Although we can find God Almighty by reflecting upon natural phenomena, we need a Prophet to learn why we were created, where we came from, where we are going, and how to worship our Creator properly. The ultimate purpose for the creation of human beings is that they know and worship God Almighty with all the dimensions of their existence. And thus, “belief in God is creation’s highest aim and most sublime result; humanity’s most exalted rank is knowledge of Him that is contained in this belief. The greatest happiness of humanity lies in love of God contained within knowledge of God. The purest joy of the human spirit and heart is the spiritual happiness and pleasure contained within the love of God. All true happiness, pure joy, and unclouded pleasures are contained within knowledge and love of God.” Thus, God sent Prophets to teach people the meaning of creation, leading them to knowledge of and belief in God and worship of Him. He also sent them to teach people the truth of things, to unveil the mysteries behind historical and natural events, and to inform us of our relationship, and that of Divine Scriptures, with the universe.Without Prophets, we could not have made any scientific progress. While those who adopt evolutionary approaches to explain historical events tend to attribute everything to chance and deterministic evolution, Prophets guided humanity in intellectual—and thus scientific—illumination. Thus, farmers traditionally accept Prophet Adam as their first master, tailors accept Prophet Enoch, shipmakers and sailors accept Prophet Noah, and clock makers accept Prophet Joseph. Also, the Prophets’ miracles marked the final points in scientific and technological advances, and urged people to accomplish them.Prophets guided people, through personal conduct and the heavenly religions and Scriptures they conveyed, to develop their inborn capacities and directed them toward the purpose of their creation. Had it not been for them, humanity (the fruit of the ‘tree of creation’) would have been left to decay. As humanity needs social justice as much as it needs private inner peace, Prophets taught the laws of life and established the rules for a perfect social life based on justice.Whenever people fell into darkness after a Prophet, God sent another one to enlighten them again. This continued until the coming of the Last Prophet. The reason for sending the Prophets Moses and Jesus required that Prophet Muhammad should be sent. As his message was for everyone, regardless of time or place, Prophethood ended with him.Due to certain sociological and historical facts, which require a lengthy explanation, Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, was sent as “a mercy for all the worlds, all the creatures.” For this reason, Muslims believe in all of the Prophets and make no distinction among them:The Messenger believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and so do the believers; each one believes in God, and His angels, and His Books, and His Messengers: “We make no distinction between any of His Messengers (in believing in them).” And they say: “We have heard (the call to faith in God) and obeyed. Our Lord, grant us Your forgiveness, and to You is the homecoming.” (al-Baqara, 2:285)That is why Islam, revealed by God and conveyed to humanity by Prophet Muhammad, is universal and eternal.A Prophet inculcates the Creator’s grandeur in the minds and spirits of human beings. The Divinely revealed Religion he communicates requires regular worship, which enables people to continuously and increasingly feel the Creator’s grandeur and omnipresence. Worship directs thoughts and feelings to the Creator, which, in turn, lead to obedience to Him. Obedience to the Creator, Who is also the Supreme Author of the universal, magnificent order, secures the perfect public order in human life. This perfect public order is based on God’s Wisdom. The essence of God’s Wisdom is that nothing in the universe is purposeless and meaningless. The universal order, beauty, and harmony bear witness to this Wisdom. The Universally-promised ProphetThe Qur’an says:And when God took compact with the Prophets (and people through them): “That I have given you a Book and Wisdom; then there will come to you a Messenger confirming what (of the Divine Revelations) you already possess—you shall certainly believe in him and you shall certainly help him.” So saying, He asked: “Have you affirmed this and agreed to take up My burden (that I lay upon you) in this matter?” They answered: “We have affirmed (it).” He said: “Then bear witness (you and your communities), and I will be with you among the witnesses.” (Al-‘Imran, 3:81)A covenant was taken from all peoples of the world through their respective Prophets, that when a Messenger (ar-rasul) who would confirm their truth and corroborate what (of the Divine Revelations) they already possessed came to them, they should believe in him and help him. In a general sense, a Prophet (an-nabiyy) is one who receives Revelation from God and has the duty of communicating it to people. In this sense, Messengership (ar-Risala) is included in the meaning of Prophethood (an- Nubuwwa). In a more particular sense, a Prophet is one who receives Divine Revelation, and follows the Book and the Law that the Messenger prior to him brought, or follows a contemporary Messenger, without himself having received a separate Book. What is meant by the Book in the verse must be the Book, or the part of it, to which a Prophet becomes heir. Every Messenger is also a Prophet, but not vice versa.Prior to Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, in former communities, there used to be several Prophets at the same time, xx The Prophet Promised in World Scriptures Introduction xxi even in the same place. When circumstances required a Messenger to come with a new Book, or Law, or some amendment, God sent one. Since Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, there has been no need for a new Messenger and Book because the Qur’an has been preserved intact and meticulous, pure scholars and great spiritual masters have carried on the mission of the Prophets, without, of course, receiving Revelation, and great “revivers,” who have combined both scholarship and spiritual mastery, have become heirs to the mission of Messengership. The saying, “The scholars of my community are like the Prophets of the Children of Israel,” attributed to Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, expresses this reality. That is, great Muslim scholars and spiritual masters have done what the previous Prophets and Messengers did, with the exception that there is no longer any need for a new Book to be sent and that they do not receive Revelation. No scholar or spiritual master, however great and virtuous he or she may be, can be on the same level as a Prophet in virtue.The Qur’anic verse whose translation has been given above, also clearly indicates that since Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, is the final Prophet and Messenger and therefore heir to all the previous Prophets (and Messengers) as he was sent to all peoples with a universal Message, one who confirmed all the previous Revelations, Prophets and Messengers as the two of the pillars of belief in his Message, and declared the absolute freedom of all the previous Prophets and Messengers from the blames that their peoples charged on them later, God had taken covenant from all the previous Prophets (and Messengers) and their peoples through their agency that they would give the glad tidings of his advent and confirm him when he appeared. This covenant was in all the previous Divine Scriptures.The condition in which the previous sacred Scriptures of the world are found today is not pleasing. No Scripture of any religion was found in its original form and pristine purity at the time of the holy Prophet’s advent, nor is one found today. Such Books, therefore, cannot prove the truth of the Religion, nay, their own Prophets stand in need of vindication. So many suspicions and misgivings have sprung up about the figures of Zoroaster, Buddha, Abraham, Krishna and Christ that many look upon them as mere fictitious persons. So many differences are found regarding the name, place, and period of the ancient Prophets that their very existence is being doubted. Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, has, thus, put all the Prophets under obligation by testifying to their truth. Indeed he had done for them what their own present-day Books or followers could not do. In this way, by the collective evidence of them all, he has also established and evinced the truth of the Religion.Although the previous Divine Scriptures have suffered alterations and interpolations during history, in the present interpolated form of the Old Testament, for example, scores of prophecies about the holy Prophet can be found. The Divine purpose must have preserved these so that the great World Prophet or the universal Prophet, who is the testifier of all foregoing Prophets and Scriptures, may also have corresponding confirmation of his truthfulness from the lips of those Prophets. Just as the Divine Being is a common factor and central point among all the nations of the world on which the unity of the various world religions can be founded, likewise among the world Prophets, the personality of Prophet Muhammad occupies a position in which the diverse religions of the world find a common converging point. Every great Prophet of the world has foretold his advent and exhorted his followers to rally around this “mercy for all the nations.” There may be numerous points of difference among the various religions of the world, but they are all agreed on the advent of this World Teacher, who has been mentioned by various epithets by various Prophets, such as “the Lord with ten thousand saints” by Enoch, Moses and the Rishis of the Vedas, as “the saviour of the barque” in time of the Flood by Noah, as “a Prophet like himself” by Moses, as “a beloved” by David, as “Mahamaddim” by Solomon and as “Paraclete” by Jesus.4The words of the present Torah, Gospels, and Psalms do not have the Qur’an’s miraculous perfection. Moreover, many alien terms and ideas have entered them because the translations became removed from the original texts. Furthermore, the sayings and mistakes, whether intentional or not, of their many interpreters have been confused with the original verses, and the distortions of ignorant people and various enemies have been incorporated. However even now, after so many alterations, the celebrated nineteenth–century Ottoman scholar Allama Husayn Jisri still could extract from them many pieces of evidence concerning Muhammad’s Prophethood, which he included in his Risala al-Hamidiya.Many Jewish and Christian scholars acknowledge that Muhammad’s characteristics are recorded in their Scriptures. In his own time, the famous Roman emperor Heraclius and the high priest with him admitted: “I agree that Jesus predicted Muhammad’s advent.” Another Roman ruler named Muqawqis, the governor of Egypt, and such well-known Jewish scholars as Ibn Suriya, Ibn Akhtab and his brother Ka‘b ibn Asad, and Zubayr ibn Batiya, although remaining non-Muslims, admitted: “Our books mention him and his qualities.”On the other hand, many famous Jewish scholars and Christian monks have converted after seeing that Muhammad had the attributes mentioned in their Scriptures concerning the Last Prophet. They silenced some of their former co-religionist scholars by showing them the references in the Torah and the Gospels. Among them were the famous ‘Abdullah ibn Salam, Wahb ibn Munabbih, Ibn Bunyamin, Mukhayriq, Ka‘b al- Akhbar Abu Yasir, Shamul, and Asid and Tha‘laba (the two sons of Sa‘ya). Shamul lived during the reign of Tubba, ruler of Yemen, and both believed in Muhammad’s Prophethood even though his birth was still some time in the future.Ibn Hayaban, a Jewish scholar, once visited the Bani Nadir tribe in Madina before the proclamation of Muhammad’s Prophethood. He told them: “The emergence of a Prophet is close, and he will emigrate here.” Ibn Hayaban died there. Later, when that tribe fought God’s Messenger, Asid and Tha‘laba publicly called out to their tribe: “By God, he is the one whose coming was promised by Ibn Hayaban.” But they ignored the call, and so earned what they earned.Some Nestorians in Abyssinia as well as Negus (the Abyssinian ruler) embraced Islam together after they found the Prophet described in their Scripture.9 The famous Christian scholar Daghatr also found the Prophet described in the Christians’ books and accepted Islam. When he openly declared his conversion to the Byzantines, he was martyred.A few other examples of such conversions are Harith ibn Abi Shumar al-Ghassani (a Christian leader), Ibn Natur and al-Jarud (prominent religious leaders of Damascus), the ruler of Ilia (in present-day Greece) and Heraclius (Emperor of Byzantium). Heraclius concealed his conversion for the sake of the worldly kingdom. Salman al-Farisi, a Christian, set out to search for the Prophet after hearing his description. He found him in Madina and became a Muslim.In this book we have tried to introduce Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, with some aspects of his character and Prophethood. However, much of the study has been assigned to his being promised in the previous Scriptures. With a meticulous study Maulana Abdul-Haq Vidyarthi (1888–1977), who was an Indian scholar of Hebrew, Sanskrit, and other ancient languages, and a writer and researcher on Islam and comparative religion, in his book Muhammad in World Scriptures, brought to light prophecies from all major world Scriptures relating to the coming of Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings. In addition, Allama Husayn Jisri (1845–1909), an Ottoman scholar, also found in the Bible numerous pieces of evidence concerning Muhammad’s Prophethood and included them in his Risala al-Hamidiya. In this humble study of us, we have revised this important subject both based on such studies and in light of new researches and discussions.Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, is the pride of humanity. For the past fourteen centuries, hundreds and thousands of Muslim thinkers, philosophers, scientists, statesmen, and scholars, each a radiant star in the intellectual world of humanity, have stood behind him in respect and admiration and taken pride in belonging to his community, while a further thousand people from among the non-Muslims have studied his unparalleled personality, character and achievement. It is enough to appreciate and understand his greatness that even after so many attacks on him and his Religion, and setbacks of his Community, we still hear the words “I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God” from minarets five times a day together with the proclamation of the absolute Oneness of God. We hope by the grace of God Almighty that this humble study can be a contribution to the cognizance of him.— Writers