Q / A
17. Why did Muhammad come after Jesus?
This is a hard question to ask without sounding like
I'm trying to criticize, but here we go. Why should anyone believe that
Muhammad is a true prophet when Jesus Christ came about five hundred years
before him, preaching pretty much the same thing, and warning about false
prophets that would come after he had died?
Thank you for your question. No negative feelings, but loving pity for the widespread misconception and lack of information on what Islam and its prophet is all about.
Did Jesus and Muhammad teach the same thing?
* Yes and No. It is true that both Jesus and Muhammad, as well as all true prophets from Adam, Noah …etc, carried essentially the same message: Islam, i.e. monotheism and submission to the Will and Guidance of Allah. However, the details were not identical, but varied to cope with the time and nation addressed.
* While Jesus was sent specifically to the Israelites, Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent to all humanity. This was emphasized by Jesus as well:
“But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.“ (Matthews: 15:24)
In contrast, the Qur’an declares the universal message of Islam:
(Qur’an 7:158, 12:104, 21:107, 25:1, 34:28, 38:87-88), 68:52, 81:27)
* Also, while the original message of Jesus was distorted and deviated away from monotheism, the message of the final prophet Muhammad was to stay valid and preserved to the end of time:
* While Jesus emphasis was on the moral salvation and reform of the individual, with only few rulings on marriage and divorce … etc, the final message of Islam brought a detailed comprehensive code dealing with all aspects of human life: personal, family, social, economic, political and international. Jesus stressed purifying the soul, Muhammad was to build and maintain the model: individual, society and nation.
Why should Muhammad to come six centuries after Jesus?
Jesus, a human monotheist prophet, repeatedly called to Allah the One God and warned those who ascribed partners to Him:
“Jesus said to him, “Away from
me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and him only’.”
Jesus emphasized his humanity:
“As it is, you are determined
to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that
Jesus never claimed to be God, or part of a God. He never mentioned ‘Trinity’ nor did he appoint a ‘Church’ to entrust itself with reshaping the faith and re-invent the law. The deviation started with Paul and some others - leaders, clergy and philosophers – centuries after Jesus departure. Christianity as we know it today, was re-formulated with its concepts of:
- Trinity, centered around the prophet Jesus who was thenceforth called God, begotten son of God.
- The sacrosanct Church of Christ, talking and legislating in the name of God
- The story of crucifixion and rise from the dead.
- The concept of original sin and atonement …etc.
Read for example, according to Paul:
“And straightway ‘he (Paul) preached’ Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.” (Acts:9:20)
“Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to ‘my gospel’.” (2Timothy 2:8))
“Behold, ‘I Paul’ say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.” (Gal 5:2)
“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?” (Rom 3:1)
Most of these distortions were borrowed or coined from earlier pagan creeds. Close similarities can be identified by this Pauline / Church Christianity and each of: Mithrianism, Bhudism, and ancient Egyptian polytheist creeds.
During the seventh century CE when Muhammad (peace be upon him) there were only few groups of followers of the original message and teachings of Jesus. The Injeel revealed to him no longer existed in any form, as was the case of the Torah of Moses before him. They were replaced with the Old and New Testaments written by different human authors selected and sanctioned as holy by the Church ecumenical councils, several centuries after the departure of Jesus.
It was high time then to re-establish the eternal guidance of the Creator to all humanity, but this time in a final eternal form, through the Glorious Qur’an and the detailed teachings and living model of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Jesus has prophesized the coming Prophet, whose universal message will stay forever:
“He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.” (John 1:27)
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” (John 14: 16)
Plenty of other definitive descriptions that fit only Prophet Muhammad can be cited from both the Old and New Testaments (see suggested links).
True versus false prophets:
Here are some criteria for a true prophet:
A. Applying these criteria to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), we find that the main proof he presented is a living miracle, the eternal word of God: Qur’an. The Arabic text of the Qur’an challenged all generations to produce anything as perfect or even claimed to be matching its splendor. Even the Prophet’s own sayings are widely different.
Also, The scientific precision of Qur’anic references to natural phenomena, as well as the wisdom of its legislation are far beyond the human knowledge and culture at the time of revelation and for several centuries to follow (see suggested links).
B. That the message and text of the Qur’an did not emanate from within, but from outside, the prophet Muhammad can be proved by the way he was addressed in that extraordinary Book.
- The Holy Qur’an repeatedly reminded and drew the attention of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to his obligations towards Allah, the revelation, the believers, and the unbelievers: (Qur’an 75:16-18, 20:114, 87:6-7, 10:109, 10:15-16).
- He was also repeatedly exhorted and warned against yielding to the temptations and pressures that were surrounding him: (Qur’an: 17:73-75, 13:37-38, 5:49, 2:145, 2:120, 5:67, 6:14, 6:114, 11:112, 15:88, 68:48, 72: 21-22).
- In addition, the Holy Qur’an included admonitions that were directed to the noble Prophet (peace be upon him) in some situations: (Qur’an: 4:105-109, 9:43, 9:117, 9:113, 6:52, 8:67-68, 66: 1, 80:1-11), sometimes also revealing matters that he would have preferred to keep secret in the depths of his pure soul: (Qur’an: 33:37).
It is difficult for a sound mind to imagine that the noble Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would address himself with the aim of guidance, exhortation, warning, and admonishment, or would reveal things about himself that he would not like other people to know about. Also, it is difficult to believe that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would, after doing that, convey the Holy Qur’an, which would never be abrogated, deleted, or forgotten, to the people.
- Occasionally, the revelation was delayed for weeks or months, despite the urgent need of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to refute the hypocrites and the slanderers, e.g. (Qur’an: 24:11-17, 93:1-3)
- The Prophet used his own discretion in interpreting some verses, until revelation was sent down contradicting his opinion, e.g. (Qur’an: 9:80,84)
C. The prophet delivered the revealed message and fought for it, against all odds. His whole twenty-three years of prophethood were years of hardships. The first thirteen years he and his followers were persecuted, tortured and boycotted by the pagans of Mecca. He refused all offers of kingdom, wealth or reconciliating his message with their pagan beliefs. The following ten years (after Migration to Medina) witnessed a harsh continuous struggle to spread the faith, with incessant fight against the hostilities of Arab tribes and Madinah Jews, as well as the preludes to confrontation with the great Roman and Persian empires. His personal life was the simplest and most ascetic of his contemporaries.
D. Allah has supported him and his few early followers with unexpected victories in spite of their poverty, physical weakness and military and technical inexperience. His message was supported with universal spread and glory to every corner of the world in a brief time. No human being could have such a biography unless he is a true messenger of God, and truly he was. Allah rewards him for what he honestly delivered and for his striving for the salvation of all nations and generations.
Who are false prophets?
Coming now to false prophets, Jesus said, according to the Bible:
“But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthews 15:9)
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matthews 7:15, similarly in Matthews 24:24)
And: “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. (Mark 13:22, similarly in Matthews.” 13:22)
There are two categories of false prophets:
- Claimers following their own fancies and whims, seeking worldly gains of prestige, authority or wealth.
- Prominent personalities, over-magnified by their followers, raising them to the status of prophets or semi-gods.
Of the first category are those who invented or changed a creed without authority or supporting evidence from God. Examples are Paul and others, then followed by the Church who re-formulated Christianity against what Jesus came and stood for. Similarly in Islamic history, several claimants sought to ruin Islam from within, forming deviant sects like Qadianis, Baha’is and extreme Shiite sects e.g. Ismailis.
The second category include several philosophers, scientists, clergy and leaders … etc, who were considered almost inviolable prophets, to be believed and followed unquestionably. Examples are Greek philosophers, Marx and Lenin, Darwin, Saints, Roman emperors and their modern counterparts of the so-called ‘New World Order” … etc.
I hope that you have your puzzlements now resolved. Thanks