Is Muhammad Mentioned by Name in the Hebrew Bible?
As I discussed in my article Myth: the Bible Foretold of the Coming of Mohammed, Muslims contend that the Holy Books of the Christians and Jews, as they presently exist, are corrupt while at the same time quoting from those very same "corrupted" works to prove that Mohammed's coming was foretold.
Their proof lies in Biblical texts that use words like "the honorable one," or "the glorified one," or "the admirable." Muslims argue that the name Mohammed in Arabic means those very same things and so the Bible must be referring to Mohammed himself.
I was born with the name Benzion; in Hebrew it means "son of Zion (Jerusalem or the Biblical Land of Israel)". May I assume then, that I am the personified reflection of Jerusalem and the Jewish people as foretold in the Old Testament? May I assume that wherever the word "Son" and the word "Zion" appear together in the Holy Texts that they are foretelling of the coming of my blog?
If you thought Muslims couldn't be sillier, a reader from Karachi, Pakistan calling himself Shahzeb left this bit of nonsense in response to my article My Atheist Heaven:
The name "Muhammad" has been discovered in the Bible in the original Hebrew language.
In the 5th chapter of the Shir haShirim ( שיר השירים ), which is one of the five megilot or Sacred Scrolls that are part of the Hebrew Bible or for short the "Song of Solomon" (also called "Song of Songs"). That chapter is giving a prophecy about an individual to come, a mystery man.
Song of Songs 5:10 says: "My beloved is white and ruddy, pre-eminent above ten thousand." This is a prophecy of Prophet Muhammad as he conquered Mecca. It is a well known historically documented fact that in the year 630 CE Muhammad entered Mecca as the leader of an army of "ten thousand men". This verse and the preceding verse (v. 11) also match Muhammad's physical description as found in Muslim sources (light skin and black hair).
In reading the English translation of Song of Songs 5:16 it finishes the description by saying: "He is altogether lovely" but what most people don't know is that the name of that man was given in the original megilot. Here is the name written in ancient Hebrew as it appears in verse sixteen: מחמד . It is read as : "Mahammad". According to Ben Yehuda's Hebrew-English Dictionary, it is correctly pronounced as "Mahammad".
This attempt to explain how Song of Songs 5:16 is speaking about Mohammed is truly pathetic. My non-Muslim readers may be wondering what difference does it make to Muslims whether Mohammed is or is not mentioned in the Torah or the Gospels? Why do they care?
The answer is simple, Muslims care because the Qur'an explicitly says that he is mentioned in both the law (the Torah) and the Gospels. Those Holy Works are used for authentication that Muhammad is indeed the true prophet from God because he's been foretold therein.
Here is Sura 7 verse 157:
those who follow the messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (scriptures),- in the law and the Gospel;- for he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure); He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe in him, honour him, help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him,- it is they who will prosper."
Let's analyze the Song of Songs "proof" piece by piece.
- First of all, the Song of Songs is neither in the Torah nor in the Gospels. Even if the Song of Songs actually came out and explicitly said there will one day be a man named Mohammed from Mecca who will be a great conqueror in the peninsula of the Arabians, this would not satisfy the Qur'anic claims.
- The Song of Songs is not a prediction of a future prophet. It is an erotic love poem.
- When verse 5:10 speaks of a person as being 'pre-eminent above ten thousand,' the phrase has exactly the same meaning as the modern phrase "one in a million." The beloved mentioned has nothing to do with the number ten thousand, the Hebrew word for ten thousand is just another way of saying beyond count, see my article Large Numbers in the Ancient World.
The word for ten thousand in the Old Testament is always used metaphorically, never arithmetically. It is not a specific number and therefore cannot be related to the ten thousand troops of Mohammed.
- In verse 5:16 we have:
English Hebrew his mouth is sweets Hkw mmtqym and all of him is delights wklw mHmdym this is my love zh dwdy and this is my darling wzh r`y daughters of Jerusalem bnwt yrwshlm
The person described is full of delights (mHmdym) not delight (mHmd). Unless one wants to posit multiple Mohammeds as future prophets. Muslims are trying to fool people who do not speak Hebrew. Coming to my blog to post this idiocy was certainly the wrong thing to do.
- the Hebrew root HMD used in forming words like MHMD delightful is also used in forming other words such as to covet or lust after. These words more accurately describe Mohammed than delightful. Who, after all, covets more of what the Jews have in the Torah and the Christians in their Gospels than Mohammed?
Edgar Allen Poe wrote a poem called The Bells in 1848 barely a year after Alexander Graham Bell was born. Was the poem a prediction that someone named Bell would be the inventor of the incessant ringing, ringing, ringing mentioned in the poem? Not really. But you can bet if Alexander Graham Bell were a Muslim prophet, then Muslims today would be making the idiotic argument that Poe's poem "foretold" of Bell's future genius in inventing the telephone. Want further proof? Each of the poem's stanzas end with Of the bells, bells, bells, bells, Bells, bells, bells...
See that? Seven Bells. This absolutely foretells the 1984 Bell System divestiture where Ma Bell was split into seven independent Regional Holding Companies, also known as Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs), or "Baby Bells". Isn't this proof that Poe's poem foretold the world of Alexendar Graham Bell?
No, actually this only proves that while in the real world square pegs won't fit into round holes, in the Muslim world the written word can be forced to fit any kind of nonsense. And so I say to Shahzeb, try something else - your argument fails.