Did Islam precede Judaism?

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Question: I keep hearing that the Bible references Islam before it split from Judaism in the Old Testament. Is that for real, and, where can I find it? It seems like there’s a chance to heal that breach, and the answer is in the Bible somewhere. Just like witnessing to Jews, only more difficult.

Answer: Islam did not start until roughly 600 A.D. You’re probably thinking about how Ishmael and Isaac were separated in a sense as they each fathered separate nations. Ishmael was removed from Abraham’s family when Isaac was identified as the child of promise from God to Abraham and Sarah. Muslims argue that Ishmael was the favored child and meant for the greater destiny, i.e., Islam. In fact, they teach that it was Ishmael and not Isaac who was offered as a sacrifice before God provided a substitute animal. But check out Genesis 21 and 22.

Randall Johnson

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2 thoughts on “Did Islam precede Judaism?

  1. Though Bible might have not used the word Islam or Qura’an or Muhammad, but we do find references of both Moses and Jesus foretelling the coming of a Prophet with complete guidance, the law bearer, the comforter.

    Jesus said that he was sent to the world only to give as much guidance as the people of his own time could bear. As for complete teaching which would stay forever with mankind, he said:

    But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom 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)

    Only the prophet of Islam could have fulfilled this prophecy of Jesus. Muhammad was truly sent in his name because he bore testimony to his truth. The Holy Quran says:

    The Messiah, son of Mary, was a messenger, “surely messengers like unto him had passed away before him” (The Holy Quran 5:76)

    The Holy Quran reports that the angels told Mary:

    Surely Allah gives you good news with a word from Him of whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, worthy of regard in this world and hereafter. (The Holy Quran 3:46)

    The Holy Prophet testified to the truth of Jesus as a divine and honored Teacher and Prophet, and declared them mistaken and misguided who thought him accursed. The Holy Quran described his teachings as “guidance and light .”Further elaborating the same prophecy, Jesus said:

    Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will sent him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. … I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. How be it when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak.. and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. (John 16:7-14)

    This prophecy clearly lays down that:

    1. The Comforter will come after the departure of Jesus.
    2. When the Comforter comes, he will reprove the world of sin, truth and justice.
    3. He will guide the world into all truth.
    4. The book revealed to him will contain no human word.
    5. He will foretell things to come.
    6. He will glorify Jesus and clear him of all charges.
    Now when we take this prophecy point by point, it is unmistakably proven that it applies to none else but the Holy Prophet Muhammad. He came after Jesus. The Comforter was supposed to reprove the followers of Jesus. Obviously, he could not be a Christian or a Jew .The prophecy must relate to one who would belong to another people but should respect Jesus and promote reverence for him. The Holy Prophet was neither Jew nor a Christian. He was an Ishmaelite. But he defended the honor of Jesus.

    The fact is that before Jesus, Moses had also foretold of a great prophet in clear and precise words. When Moses went to Mount Horeb under the command of God he addressed the Israelites saying:

    The Lord thy God will raise unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me, unto him ye shall hearken. (Deuteronomy 18:15)

    And again, God’s words to Moses:

    I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass that, whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. (Deuteronomy 18:18-19)

    It is evident from these verses that Moses foretold a Law-giving Prophet who was to appear after him, and who was to be from among the brethren of Israel.That he was to be a Law-giver and not an ordinary Prophet is obvious from the words “like unto Moses”, since Moses was also a Law-giver. The promulgation of “a new Law” means the initiation of a new movement, a new nation. A prophet with a new Law is obviously no ordinary teacher or reformer. He has to present a comprehensive teaching, incorporating fundamental principles as well as detailed rules.

    Was Jesus such a prophet? Was he a Law-giver? Did he bring a new Law into the world to replace an old one? The answer, in his own words:

    Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto You, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled. (Matthew 5:17-18)

    And the followers of Jesus went so far as to declare:

    And the Law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law. (Galatians 3:12-13)

    Jesus laid no claim to a new Law; his disciples regarded the Law as a curse. The prophecy also said that the Promised One was to be raised not from among Israel but from their brethren. Muhammad was from the brethren of the Israelites, the Ishmaelites.

    The prophecies of the Bible had even led its followers to that part of the world where the great Prophet was to appear. Thus it was said:

    And he said, the Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; and shined forth from Mount Paran and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. (Deuteronomy 33:2)

    In this verse Moses is promised three manifestations of the glory of God. The first of these appeared on Sinai in the time of Moses. Time passed. The second manifestation promised in the prophecy was to take place at Seir, a part of the world near where the miracles of Jesus took place. “Rising up from Seir,” therefore, meant the advent of Jesus.

    The third manifestation of divine glory was to take its rise from Paran, and Paran (Arabic Faran) is the name of the hills which lie between Mecca, the birth place of Muhammad, and Medina, the town where he died. According to the Old Testament, Ishmael, the ancestor of Muhammad, lived in this part. Thus we have in the Bible:

    And God was with the lad (Ishmael): and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran. (Genesis 21:20-21)

    Historical and geographical evidence shows that the descendants of Abraham lived in Arabia. All of them held Mecca and Kaaba, the house of worship built by Abraham, in great reverence. His son Ishmael first settled in Mecca.

    Genesis gives the names of twelve sons of Ishmael including two named Tema and Kedar. (Genesis 25:13-16) This is further supported by the testimony of Isaiah where we read:

    The burden of Arabia. In the forest of Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye traveling companies of Dedanim.The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they provided with their bread him that fled. For they fled from the swords, from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war. For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail: And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the Lord God of Israel hath spoken it. (Isaiah 21:13-16)

    This prophetic passage is a picture of the Battle of Badr which took place about a year after the Holy Prophet’s migration from Mecca to Medina. In this battle the sons of Kedar , the people of Mecca and the territories around, unable to withstand the fierceness of Muslim swordsmen and archers, sustained disastrous defeat. God made a handful of men, poorly armed and without provisions, the means of inflicting this humiliation on an army led by experienced generals.

    The battles with the Meccans continued against heavy odds until such time that the Prophet Muhammad entered Mecca after a struggle of several years. This was the time when ten thousands of saints accompanied him. The Holy Prophet declared that the message of God had been completed in the form of the Holy Quran. Thus the prophecy of Moses was fulfilled that the Lord would shine forth from Paran with ten thousands of saints, with a fiery Law in his right hand. Thus also the prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled that the spirit of Truth “will guide you into all truth.” His fiery Law, the Holy Quran, consumed all impurities of flesh and turned the grossest hearts into pure gold.

    Could Jesus have fulfilled this wonderful prophecy? He did not rise from Paran. He had only twelve disciples and not ten thousand saints. Isaiah had spoken of one that fled; the flight of Muhammad is such an important part of Muslim history that the Islamic calendar starts from the very year of migration.

    • Hasan, thank you for commenting on my blogpost. Sura Al An’am 6:115 says, “Perfected is the word of the Lord in truth and justice. There is nothing that can change His words. He is the hearer and the knower.” And since the New Testament is God’s word it cannot be changed and that is why I assume you have quoted it as a source for your beliefs. Isa said in Sura Al Imran 3:50, “I have come to you to attest the Tawrat which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you; I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So fear Allah and obey me.”

      So in order to obey Jesus (Isa) and heed Allah’s unchanging words, we must look carefully at the New and Old Testaments to see what they are actually saying. When Jesus says that the Comforter will come to lead us into all the truth, the Spirit of Truth, He calls Him, this is the same Holy Spirit mentioned in the Old Testament as the One who does God’s bidding and who will give God’s people the ability to prophesy (Joel 2:28). He is the one who will give us hearts of flesh to replace our hearts of stone (Ezekiel 36:26,27). And He is the one Jesus told His disciples to wait for in Jerusalem and who came on the Day of Pentecost and filled them (Acts 2:1-4). So to be true to the unchanging words of God, we must identify the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, the way God’s word identifies him in Acts 2, who came 600 years before Muhammad.

      And we must not add to the prophecy of Isa (Jesus) in John 14-16 and say that He will make a book without human words (Jesus does not say that), or that He could not be a Christian or a Jew (Jesus doesn’t say that). In fact, the Holy Spirit is elsewhere identified in God’s unchanging words as God Himself (Acts 5:3-4). The coming Comforter was not to be a human at all, but that spiritual being who is characterized by truth, holiness and unlimited power.

      In the same way, we must not put in the words of the prophet Moses things he did not say. He says the one coming after him will be like him. This alone could argue that this coming prophet might be Jewish like Moses.

      I would love to talk with you further about what the Old and New Testaments teach. If you would like, you might try reading Isaiah 53 as a starter. The New Testament makes it clear that this is talking about Isa some 700 years before he was born (Acts 8:26-35). This passage makes it very clear that Isa died at God’s hand as a means of paying for our transgression.

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