Isaiah vision

Isaiah-muhammad-shine

Isaiah’s vision of Jesus riding a donkey and Muhammad riding a camel, al-Biruni, al-Athar al-Baqiyya ‘an al-Qurun al-Khaliyya (Chronology of Ancient Nations), Tabriz, Iran, 1307-8. Edinburgh University Library.

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For thus my Lord said to me: “Go, set up a watchman; Let him announce what he sees. And he saw  mounted men, two horsemen  a rider of donkey, a rider of camel — and he will listen closely, Most attentively” –Isaiah 21:6-7

For muslims, upon reading this passage of Isaiah 21:6-7, in which Isaiah saw a vision of two riders, one would see powerful prophecy of two prophets of God :  JesusIsa Al-Masih and Muhammad Al-Mustafā the chosen one, (peace be upon them all) and that they are the closest to each other of all people both in this world and in the Hereafter (¹). Both are God’s greatest messengers, there are no distinctions between prophet Muhammad messages and the one that was taught by Jesus, the jewish messiah. They are both warrior prophets whose role is for liberating the their people, to fight God’s wars in order to set people to worship the One and true God who sent them (²).

Notes

  1. Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “I am the closest of the people to Jesus the son of Mary in this life and in the Hereafter.” It was said, “How is that, O Messenger of Allah?” The Prophet said, “The prophets are brothers from one father with different mothers. They have one religion and there was no other prophet between us.” —(Sahih Bukhari 3258, Sahih Muslim 2365)

    عن أبي هريرة قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ‏‏ أَنَا أَوْلَى النَّاسِ بِعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ فِي الْأُولَى وَالْآخِرَةِ قَالُوا كَيْفَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ الْأَنْبِيَاءُ إِخْوَةٌ مِنْ عَلَّاتٍ وَأُمَّهَاتُهُمْ شَتَّى وَدِينُهُمْ وَاحِدٌ وَلَيْسَ بَيْنَنَا نَبِيٌّ

  2. ..and he fights the God’s wars. Then, he is assumed to be the Messiah. If he fights and is victorious and defeats all of the surrounding nations, and builds The Temple in its place, and gathers all the scattered remnants of Israel, then he is definitely the Messiah. And he will restore the entire world to worship (true) God alone…  —(Maimonides/Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Kings and Wars Chapter 11:4)

    וְיִלָּחֵם מִלְחֲמוֹת ה’. הֲרֵי זֶה בְּחֶזְקַת שֶׁהוּא מָשִׁיחַ. אִם עָשָׂה וְהִצְלִיחַ וּבָנָה מִקְדָּשׁ בִּמְקוֹמוֹ וְקִבֵּץ נִדְחֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הֲרֵי זֶה מָשִׁיחַ בְּוַדַּאי. וִיתַקֵּן אֶת הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ לַעֲבֹד אֶת ה’ בְּיַחַד

I will of course admit there is notable difference between the jewish and Islamic view regarding the messiah-ship of Jesus and the messianic age. Judaism hold the belief that the messiah is a future one while the Qur’an told us that Jesus *was* the Messiah for the jews. However the role of the messiah in Islamic tradition is similar to the jewish eschatology regarding the messianic age as described by Rambam, here Jesus will eventually return for the second time to Earth to wage God’s wars and defeat the Antichrist and unify the Muslim Ummah to restore and purify the entire world for a common purpose of worshipping God alone, thereby ending divisions and deviations by adherents.

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Categories: Bible, Islam

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54 replies

  1. The stars covering the faces are not in the original picture, are they?

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    • No they are not. I make it that way out of respect for the proscription of images of prophets some of us may hold.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Please don’t. Have some respect for the original artist? Why should a Muslim have problems with Islamic tradition? My opinion.

      Like

    • I understand your reservation, Forgive me maybe it is just me having brought up a tradition which disapprove such practice.

      But yes it might be disrespectful for the original artist, I am interested to hear some opinion from other knowledgeable brothers whether or not I should cover human face of traditional islamic arts depicting prophets of God. I may restore the picture.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I have done some googling on it and it seems majority of the view is that it is haraam to depict the prophets.

      I think even painting/drawing living things in general is forbidden.

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    • It’s indeed forbidden. It’s not only the majority, rather It’s the consensus by Islamic scholars.

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    • The “Golden Age” of Islamic Civilization at the height of intellectual and spiritual strength didn’t think that way it seems.
      BTW I’m not a “knowledgeable brother” and it’s not a big deal. Humanity faces bigger problems than the specifics of what is haram/halal. But that’s off topic.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe, they probably didn’t mind others doing it, but i don’t think it means they thought it was fine. Anyways, i think it’s more sensible to just cover their faces, no one would be offended that way.

      Coincidentally, i just saw a picture in a christian group on facebook that were posting very nasty drawings of the prophet(pbuh). It’s good that no one actually ever painted him in his lifetime, God knows what people would have been doing with it.

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    • Hi Eric

      Thanks for the interesting article, although i would say that quoting prophecies as proof is a difficult one due to how often vague they are (just look at the discussion over Is. 53), but it is important to point out the core similarity between Prophet Muhammad and Jesus and that is their shared mission of revealing God to their respective audience as well as their shared faith in God.

      As far as the discussion about art, I think there should be some respect for the artist and what they were attempting to express since it seems to be a positive message of brotherhood. If it were something disrespectful or inappropriate I would understand the desire to cover it up as art is not just about expression of the artist but as its best is also to distill timeless truths.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment Patrice,

      My first intention was to remind fellow muslims that there were indeed early witness who had anticipated the advent of the holy prophets by parsing of biblical oracle. This particular passage one amazing example and it also beautifully illustrates how akin these great prophets of God as brothers. Of course this particular passage is one key truth-claim “battleground” among the three branches of the Abrahamic religions and there are fierce narrative and contra narrative as a result however I find the muslim reading is linguistically and contextually the most compelling of all.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I am a great lover of art, both modern and ancient. However, I agree with Eric that Prophets should not be depicted, out of respect, and specifically because as mentioned above it is considered haraam by majority opinion. Otherwise, there is a chance that the pictures of the prophets may be abused, disrespected and desecrated.

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    • The stars are awful, sorry.

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    • I know Im a terrible artist.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Burhannudin1,
      I respect your opinion. But I think the stars look fine, and are a nice way of symbolizing the light that emanates from the Prophets who transmit the divine message of God. What would be awful is to see the image of the Prophets misused, and dishonored, and desecrated as is often unfortunately done with the image of Jesus (as) in western media.

      I am sure that you can search on the web and find the original picture to admire if you choose, and if Eric prefers abide by traditional opinion and consensus, in order to avoid any unnecessary offense, then we should respect his choice as well.

      Like

    • You mean censor?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, very nice Eric. Thanks. Alhamdullilah.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Barak Allah Feek, brother Eric.
    I believe (not sure) that Ibn Taymiyyah or his student ,Ibn Qayyim said that he had read that in some Gospel’s versions of Matthew. I’ll try to find it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Assalamu Alaykum,

    There is an interesting point about this verse.

    The Masoretic vocalisation of the text renders it in such a way that the riders appear to be plural. So the translation becomes chariots of donkeys and chariot of camels.

    However, if we consider the texts that were before the Masoretic text of the 9th century we get the singular “rider”.

    These texts include-
    1) Sepuagint
    2) Dead Sea scrolls
    3) Targum
    4) Secrets(Nistarot) of Simon Ben Yuhai

    The last reference is to a Jewish apocalypse written shortly after the time of the Prophet. The author uses this text to argue that the Prophet Muhammad’s mission is aligned with that of the Messiah.

    Medieval Christian scholars who accepted Islam also cited this passage.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Didn’t know about this, jazakallah br Eric

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am reminded of a comment made by brother Avi on a previous recent post:

    “Christians utilize far-fetched arguments to prove that Jesus is the Messiah, but then deny the most obvious evidence for Muhammad as a Prophet; whilst elevating Jesus to the status of God. They superimpose Jesus on Isaiah 53, even though it is talking about the Nation of Israel, not Jesus, yet deny the obvious similarities between Muhammad and Moses” in Deut 18:18.

    Likewise, Christians overlook or deny other prophecies and verses like the one above, highlighted by Eric bin Kisam, which points to the Prophethood of Muhammad (sws). The Christian mission to evangelize prevents them from seeing the scripture from a different point of view, or from honestly admitting the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You mean we overlook translations that are fabrications? Of course!

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    • You force your theology into the text, and over look the obvious verses that contradict, or lead elsewhere.

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    • What theology do I have to force into a text about chariots of horses, camels and asses? Honestly?

      Whereas Eric *provides* a translation not found anywhere else, apart from this post, and uses it as affirmation to support a critical Islamic theological point.

      Hmm, I wonder who is following conjecture here…

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    • Im sorry but your over reliance on translations by others have prevented you to understand the true message the passages convey. Perhaps you did not guilty of forcing your theology into translations but we must question the motivation of those translations you are referring to.

      Like I said earlier I translate the passages myself from the original Hebrew which btw I provides for all to check. And I try to be as truthful to the original text as I possibly can, and by the way even my translation agree with some other christian translations like the Young’s literal and the Catholic Douay-Rheims so claiming it is “a translation not found anywhere else” is foolish.

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    • Paulus,
      You are clearly obtuse.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Very insulting. I thought you never insult people?

      Or is this another case of just “poking fun”?

      Hypocrite

      Like

    • Yes I could not agree more brother, if christians exhausted the same modus operandi they use to prove that Jesus is the messiah in the TaNaKH (which btw muslims believe), they surely find plentiful of evidences on the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him). Alas, their worldy desires preventing them from honestly admitting the truth.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. That translation Eric cited doesn’t even exist as far as I can see. It’s conjecture, again

    The Jews were exiles in Babylon. This verse is a reference to the Medes and Persians who used all animals mentioned to draw carts.

    “And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with much heed.”

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    • I assume it is his own translation – so it does ‘exist’ lol

      Liked by 1 person

    • Right. So one Muslim polemicist against every single translation available. And not even a qualified polemicist at that!

      When you base your argument on a translation that you need to provide, which contradicts every other translation we have, you know your argument is forced and conjecture

      Like

    • Translation is just a translation by definition. I translate the passages myself from the original Hebrew which btw I provides for all to check. And I try to be as truthful to the original text as I possibly can and there are christian translations which agree with me so your criticism is unwarranted.

      Young’s Literal Translation
      And he hath seen a chariot — a couple of horsemen, The rider of an ass, the rider of a camel, And he hath given attention — He hath increased attention!

      Douay-Rheims Bible
      And he saw a chariot with two horsemen, a rider upon an ass, and a rider upon a camel: and he beheld them diligently with much heed.

      Liked by 1 person

    • YLT was compiled by one man, Robert Young.

      Douay-Rheims Bible is an English translation based on the Latin Vulgate, not the original Hebrew

      Compare that to the teams of scholars that work on the NIV, ESV, etc, cross checking each others work, basing the translation off the original, and you begin to see how ridiculous this sounds Eric.

      Also, you’ve disregarded the literary and historical context of the verse.

      Like

    • I dont rely those on those xtian translations, I don’t really care who they are nor their methodology, one thing for sure any other translation you are referring are not based on the true lexical value of the passages (perhaps there are theological reasons I don’t know) moreover it demolish your previous claim that my translation don’t exists.

      //Also, you’ve disregarded the literary and historical context of the verse.//

      Whose literary and historical context? You know very well that we are not obliged to believe xtian narrative for this passages.

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    • BTW Eric, what qualifications in Hebrew linguistics do you hold?

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    • I have knowledge in biblical Hebrew rule and grammar as well as proficiency in reading the TaNaKH in Hebrew.

      Liked by 1 person

    • From what university did you graduate with Hebrew linguistics? Because to dismiss hundreds of experts in the field based on your “proficiency” which I assume is self taught or from a masjid would be rather ridiculous.

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    • if you think to be able to acquire classical hebrew can only by done by getting a university degree and dismissing hundred of hours of study of the TaNaKH some of them under supervision by a university hebrew linguist a ridiculous , so be it.. but to me appealing to hundred of so called experts without a clue of the correct lexical value of the passages is even more ludicrous.

      Btw Robert Young himself whose work became standard to this day for those english speaker who are interested to study of the Biblical text was himself a self-taught.

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  8. “I don’t really care who they are nor their methodology, one thing for sure any other translation you are referring are not based on the true lexical value of the passages”

    A single Muslims apologist, unqualified in Hebrew linguistics, doesn’t care about other translations, and thinks that the scholars that help create these translations, don’t do so on the true lexical values of the passages. Yet, this single, unqualified, Muslims apologist, who seemingly manages to *find* Muhammad in obscure passages, doesn’t have any type of agenda? Man, they should make a movie about this.

    One example- the ESV. Compare the difference…

    “The ESV publishing team includes more than a hundred people. The fourteen-member Translation Oversight Committee has benefited from the work of fifty biblical experts serving as Translation Review Scholars and from the comments of the more than fifty members of the Advisory Council, all of which has been carried out under the auspices of the Good News Publishers Board of Directors.”

    Here are just 10 randomly selected scholars from the Translation Review team.

    Dr. T. D. Alexander. Director of the Christian Training Centre, Union Theological College Belfast; B.A., The Queen’s University of Belfast; Ph.D., The Queen’s University of Belfast.
    Dr. Clinton E. Arnold. Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Talbot School of Theology; B.A., Biola University; M.Div., Talbot Theological Seminary; Ph.D., University of Aberdeen.
    Dr. William D. Barrick. Professor of Old Testament, The Master’s Seminary; B.A., Denver Baptist Bible College; M.Div., San Francisco Theological Seminary; Th.M., San Francisco Theological Seminary; Th.D., Grace Theological Seminary.
    Dr. Hans F. Bayer. Associate Professor of New Testament, Covenant Seminary; M.A., Ashland Theological Seminary; M.Div., Ashland Theological Seminary; Ph.D., University of Aberdeen.
    Dr. Gregory Beale. Professor of New Testament, Wheaton College; B.A., Southern Methodist University; M.A., Southern Methodist University; Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary; Ph.D., Cambridge University.
    Dr. Ronald Bergey. Professeur d’Hébreu et d’Ancient Testament, Faculté libre de Théologie réformée Aix-en-Provence, France; B.S., Philadelphia College of Bible; M.A., Jerusalem University; Ph.D., Dropsie University.
    Dr. Daniel I. Block. John R. Sampey Professor of Old Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; B.Ed., University of Saskatchewan; B.A., University of Saskatchewan; M.A., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; Ph.D., University of Liverpool.
    Dr. Craig L. Blomberg. Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary; B.A., Augustana College; M.A., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; Ph.D., University of Aberdeen.
    Dr. Darrell L. Bock. Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary; B.A., University of Texas at Austin; Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary; Ph.D., University of Aberdeen.
    Dr. Irvin A. Busenitz. Vice President for Academic Administration, Professor of Bible Exposition and Old Testament, The Master’s Seminary; B.A., Grace College of the Bible; M.Div., Talbot Theological Seminary; Th.M., Talbot Theological Seminary; Th.D., Grace Theological Seminary.

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    • I am not impressed with the list. Instead I will be more interested if you engage specifically the reason why linguistically my translation as well those YLT and Douay-Rheims and some other translations are wrong?

      Like

    • Also the Septuagint -the oldest translation available has “rider”.

      As does the Jewish apocalypse “Secrets of Simon Ben Yuhai” where the rider on the camel is identified as the Prophet Muhammad.

      Furthermore, the last segment of Isaiah 21 is about Arabia and was fulfilled by the Prophet’s migration to Madina and the battle of Badr.

      Liked by 1 person

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