Chapter 9: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Several weeks ago I invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White.

Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered:

Chapter 9: Prophecies of Muhammad in the Bible

In chapter 9, Dr. White deals with the alleged prophecies of Muhammad the Qur’an claims are in the Bible. This chapter contains lots of quotes which, of course, is too much to cover in a blog post. This chapter gives readers another tool to help understand Islam and gives another reason to get this book as an apologetic aid.

“The Unlettered Prophet”

The first text White addresses is Surah Al-Araf, 7: 157 pointing out the underlined phrase, “Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find described in their Torah and Gospel.” He then provides more than six English translations of the same verse which seem to imply a partial loss of the Bible.

The next verse (7:158) is a charge to follow Muhammad, the “unlettered Prophet.” The Qur’an is attempting to find Muhammad in the Gospel and Torah in order to move Christians to belief in Allah.

“Whose Name Is Ahmad”

Ahmad is one of Muhammad’s names meaning “highly praised.” White focuses (though gives other examples) on verses 61:5-6 which imply that Jesus, Mary, and Moses were messengers of Allah pointing to Muhammad’s coming. He explains the Qur’an offers no explanation of these assertions about Jesus, Mary, or Moses. Nor is there any historical precedence for said claims.

Among some of the inconsistencies White notes, he addresses Surah 10:94 of the Hilali-Khan translation. This Surah directs Muhammad to Jews and Christians to confirm is prophetic calling. Muhammad did not do this, but would have been found wanting had he made the inquiry.

Testimony Outside the Qur’an

The hadith writings do not say much about testimony of Muhammad outside of the Qur’an. This section is very short. I will leave you with a quote from White to summarize.

Islamic writers of this period commonly assert that Jews and Christians were awaiting a prophet out of Arabia. They do not provide contemporary evidence from Jewish or Christian sources, only hearsay stories from Islamic sources(Kindle Locations 2609-2611).

Biblical Texts Cited

White examines the most commonly used biblical texts in Islamic writings in this section. He does so with the following questions in mind.

Would anyone in Muhammad’s time (or today) find in them a description of a coming prophet from Arabia that can find fulfillment only in Muhammad? Could a dying Jewish boy possibly have recognized Muhammad from reading his own Scriptures? If we find Muhammad is not described in the Bible, what impact does this have on our examination of the Qur’an’s claims? And if the claim truly finds its basis in Muhammad’s self-understanding of his role as a prophet, what does this tell us? (Kindle Locations 2622-2626).

The text addressed – the most cited – is Deuteronomy 18:15-19. Again, this is another chapter Christians would do well to study to become familiar with the arguments.

Is Muhammad the “Exalted One” of John 14 Through 16?

In this section, White analyzes the second most used biblical texts to claim Muhammad is a prophet: the gospel of John chapters 14 – 16. The Islamic claims are that the “Advocate or Helper” mentioned in John 14-16 refer to Muhammad in opposition to the Christian belief that those titles point to the Holy Spirit.

Specifically, many believe that instead of paracletos (the Paraclete, Helper, or Advocate), the original had periklutos, “the exalted or honored one.” As most Muslims have accepted the idea that the biblical text as a whole has been corrupted and changed, it is easy to posit such a theoretical change and therefore “find” Muhammad in the text. Combine this with the argument that Jesus could not be talking about the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit had not yet been given, and you have the understanding of most Muslims “on the street.” (Kindle Locations 2688-2692).

Over the next several pages White explains textually and historically why these Muslim claims ring hollow. Further Muslims claims are addressed of lesser cited texts such as Isaiah 9:6, Psalm 118:22-23, Matthew 21:42-44, and, possibly the third most cited text, Song of Solomon 5:16.

A Major Problem for the Qur’an

The problem with the Qur’an, White states, is its “most central claims about Muhammad is without foundation.” For example, the Torah and Gospel are alleged to point to Muhammad as a prophet. However, we know the content of the Torah and Gospel available to Muhammad showing they do not support Qur’anic claims that Muhammad was a prophet.

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