In this post, I am going to show how the Islamic tradition affirms that Jesus was prophesied in the scriptures entrusted to the Jews, and the dilemma this poses for Muslims.
The Old Testament Confirms Jesus’ Messiahship
According to Muslim expositors, this text,
And the Jews say, `The Christians stand on nothing’ and the Christians say, `The Jews stand on nothing;’ while they both read the same book. Even thus said those, who had no knowledge, like what they say. But ALLAH shall judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they disagree. S. 2:113 Sher Ali
Was composed to rebuke the Jews for rejecting Jesus even though he is prophesied in the Torah that is in their possession:
The Jews say ‘The Christians stand on nothing’ that can be used as support for their claims and they rejected Jesus; and the Christians say ‘The Jews stand on nothing’ that can be used as support for their claims and they rejected Moses; yet they both groups recite the Scripture revealed to them in the Scripture of the Jews there is the confirmation of Jesus and in that of the Christians there is the confirmation of Moses yatlūna’l-kitāba ‘they recite the Scripture’ the sentence is a circumstantial qualifier. Thus in the way that these have said the ignorant from among the Arabs and others say the like of what these say this last phrase mithla qawlihim ‘the like of what they say’ is the explication of dhālika ‘that way’ that is to say to every person of religion they would say ‘You have no basis’; God shall decide between them on the Day of Resurrection regarding their differences in religion and will admit the confirmer into Paradise and the falsifier into the Fire. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn https://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=2&tAyahNo=113&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2; bold and underline emphasis mine)
The Jews and Christians dispute among Themselves out of Disbelief and Stubbornness
(The Jews said that the Christians follow nothing (i.e. are not on the right religion); and the Christians said that the Jews follow nothing (i.e. are not on the right religion); though they both recite the Scripture.)
Allah explained the disputes, hatred and stubbornness that the People of the Book have towards each other. Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said, “When a delegation of Christians from Najran came to the Messenger of Allah, the Jewish rabbis came and began arguing with them before the Messenger of Allah. Rafi` bin Huraymilah said, ‘You do not follow anything,’ and he reiterated his disbelief in Jesus and the Injil. Then a Christian man from Najran’s delegation said to the Jews, `Rather, you do not follow anything,’ and he reiterated his rejection of Musa’s prophethood and his disbelief in the Torah. So Allah revealed the Ayah…
(The Jews said that the Christians follow nothing (i.e. are not on the right religion); and the Christians said that the Jews follow nothing (i.e. are not on the right religion); though they both recite the Scripture.)”
Allah made it clear that each party read the affirmation of what they claimed to reject in their Book. Consequently, the Jews disbelieve in Jesus, EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE THE TORAH in which Allah took their Covenant BY THE TONGUE OF MOSES TO BELIEVE IN JESUS. Also, the Gospel contains Jesus’ assertion that Moses’ prophethood and the Torah came from Allah. Yet, each party disbelieved in what the other party had. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/2/111)
This brings me to my next point. The Quran attests that Jesus was sent to confirm the Torah that was extant during his time:
And He will teach him the Book and the wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel… “attesting to WHAT IS BETWEEN MY HANDS (Wamusaddiqan lima bayna yadayya) OF THE TORAH, and to make lawful to you a part of that which is forbidden to you.” S. 3:48, 50
And in their footsteps (of Moses and the Jews) We sent Jesus the son of Mary, attesting to the Torah WHICH WAS BETWEEN HIS HANDS (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi); and We gave him the Gospel – therein is guidance and light and attesting to the Torah WHICH WAS BETWEEN HIS HANDS (wamusaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi): a guidance and an admonition to the righteous. S. 5:46
Then will God say, “O Jesus son of Mary! Recount my favor to you and to your mother when I strengthened you with the Holy Spirit, so that you spoke to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught you the Book and Wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel…” S. 5:110
And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: ‘Oh Children of Israel! I am the apostle of God to you, CONFIRMING THAT WHICH IS BETWEEN MY HANDS from the Torah (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayya mina al-tawrati)…” S. 61:6
Ibn Kathir explains that part of Jesus’ confirmation included fulfilling the prophecies made about him in the Torah:
“… The Tawrah is the Book THAT ALLAH SENT DOWN TO MUSA, son of Imran, while the Injil is what Allah sent down to Isa, son of Maryam, peace be upon them, AND ISA MEMORIZED BOTH BOOKS… affirming the Tawrah AND UPHOLDING IT,” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 3:48, 50 http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/3/48; capital emphasis mine)
“… meaning, he believed in it AND RULED BY IT… meaning, HE ADHERED TO THE TAWRAH, except for the few instances that clarified the truth where the Children of Israel differed. Allah states in another Ayah that ‘Isa said to the Children of Israel… So the scholars say that the Injil abrogated some of the rulings of the Tawrah…” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 5:46 http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/5/46; capital emphasis mine)
(And when `Isa, son of Maryam, said: “O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah unto you, confirming the Tawrah before me, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.”) ‘Isa said, “The Tawrah CONVEYED THE GLAD TIDINGS OF MY COMING, and my coming CONFIRMS THE TRUTH OF THE TAWRAH…” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 61:6 http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/61/5; capital emphasis mine)
Here is what Ibn Kathir wrote elsewhere:
In Book four[sic] of the existing Torah, there is a verse which says: <A prophet was set for them from their close relations, and brothers like you Musa (Moses), and I will put my word in his mouth.> It is clear to them and to everyone that Allah … did not send a prophet from the offspring of Isma’el except Muhammad… In fact, there was no prophet from the Children of Isra’el similar to Musa … EXCEPT ‘Issa… but the Jews do not accept his prophethood, and he is not the offspring of their brothers; instead, he is related to them through his mother, therefore, the meaning of the above verse focuses on Prophet Muhammad… (The Seerah of Prophet of Muhammad, abridged by Muhammad Ali Al-Halabi Al-Athari [Al-Firdous Ltd, London, 2001: First Edition], part II, p. 24; bold and capital emphasis mine)
And here is what another renowned Muslim commentator, Ar-Razi, wrote in respect to the Torah announcing the coming of Jesus:
Razi then raises the following question: ‘It may be argued that latter statement contradicts the one before it. This is because it clearly indicates that he came to make lawful some of the things which were unlawful in the Torah. This would mean that his legislation was contrary to that of the Torah, which would contradict his saying, “I shall confirm the Torah which was before me.”’ Razi, however, holds that ‘there is actually no contradiction between the two statements because confirming the Torah can only signify the belief that all that is in it is true and right. If, moreover, the second purpose [of Jesus’ apostleship] is not mentioned in the Torah, his making lawful some of the things which are unlawful in it would not contradict his having confirmed the Torah. Furthermore, SINCE THE TORAH CONTAINS PROPHECIES CONCERNING THE COMING OF JESUS, then neither his coming nor his law would be contrary to the Torah.’ (Mahmoud M Ayoub, The Quran and Its Interpreters: The House of Imran [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany, NY 1992], Volume II, p. 150; bold and capital emphasis mine)
Adhering to and Judging by the Gospel of Jesus
The Islamic scripture further exhorts Christians to live in accord with and judge by all the scriptural revelations given to them. This could only be referring to the four Gospels and all of the books of the New Testament, since these are the only revelations they have always possessed, especially at Muhammad’s time:
And how (do) they ask you to judge/rule, and at them (is) the Torah/OLD TESTAMENT, in it (is) God’s judgment/rule, then they turn away from after that, and those are not with the believing. That We descended the Torah/OLD TESTAMENT, in it (is) guidance and light, the prophets those who submitted/surrendered, judge/rule with it, to those who guided/Jews, and the knowledgeable Lord worshippers, and the religious scholars with what they memorized/safe kept (learned) from God’s Book, and they were not on it witnessing/present; so do not fear the people and fear Me, and do not buy/volunteer with My signs/verses a small price, and who does not judge/rule with what God descended, so those, they are the disbelievers. And We wrote/decreed on them in it, that the self (is) with the self, and the eye (is) with the eye, and the nose (is) with the nose, and the ear (is) with the ear, and the tooth (is) with the tooth, and the wounds/cuts (are) equal revenge/punishment equal to crime, so who gave charity (forgave) with it, so it is cover/substitution for him, and who does not judge/rule with what God descended, so those, those are the unjust/oppressors. And We sent after (following) on their tracks with Jesus, Mary’s son confirming for what (is) BETWEEN HIS HANDS from the Torah/OLD TESTAMENT (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi mina al-tawrati), and We gave him the NEW TESTAMENT/BIBLE in it (is) guidance and light, and confirming to what (is) BETWEEN HIS HANDS from the Torah/OLD TESTAMENT (wa musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi mina al-tawrati), and guidance and a sermon/advice/warning to the fearing and obeying. And the NEW TESTAMENT’S/BIBLE’S people should judge/rule with what God descended in it, and who does not judge/rule with what God descended, so those, they are the debauchers. S. 5:43-47 (Muhammad Ahmed – Samira https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/5/st19.htm)
And if that they took care of the Torah/Old Testament, and the Bible/New Testament and what was descended to them from their Lord, they would have eaten from above them and from below their feet; from them (is) a nation economizing/moderate , and many from them what they were making/doing became bad/evil/harmful… Say: “You The Book’s people, you are not on a thing, until you keep up the Torah/Old Testament and the Bible/New Testament , and what was descended to you from your (P) Lord.” And what was descended to you (S/M) from your Lord increases (E) many of them tyranny/arrogance, and disbelief, so do not grieve/sadden on the nation, the disbelieving. S. 5:66, 68 Ahmed – Samira
In fact, the oldest extant biography on Muhammad’s life explicitly mentions John’s Gospel as the written form of the very Gospel given to Jesus for his followers to adhere to:
“Among the things which have reached me about what Jesus the Son of Mary stated in the Gospel which he received from God for the followers of the Gospel, in applying a term to describe the apostle of God, is the following. It is extracted FROM WHAT JOHN THE APOSTLE SET DOWN FOR THEM WHEN HE WROTE THE GOSPEL FOR THEM FROM THE TESTAMENT OF JESUS SON OF MARY: ‘He that hateth me hateth the Lord. And if I had not done in their presence works which none other before me did, they had not sin: but from now they are puffed up with pride and think that they will overcome me and also the Lord. But the word that is in the law must be fulfilled, “They hated me without a cause” (i.e. without reason). But when the Comforter has come whom God will send to you from the Lord’s presence, and the spirit of truth which will have gone forth from the Lord’s presence he (shall bear) witness of me and ye also, because ye have been with me from the beginning. I have spoken unto you about this that ye should not be in doubt.’
“The Munahhemana (God bless and preserve him!) in Syriac is Muhammad; in Greek he is the paraclete. (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], pp. 103-104; capital emphasis mine)
Here we have the oldest extant Muslim biography on Muhammad’s life citing John 15:23-16:1, and claiming that this comes from the Gospel that God gave Jesus for his followers, which John the Apostle wrote down!
Pay close attention to the fact that this Muslim chronicler never once states that John’s Gospel is unreliable due to it being written anonymously or because it supposedly has a much higher and exalted view of Christ.
Moreover, both Muhammad and his early companions affirm that the genuine Torah and the Gospel are incorruptible and therefore will always be within the hands of the Jews and Christians:
(26) Chapter: The disappearance of the Quran and Knowledge
It was narrated that Ziyad bin Labid said:
“The Prophet mentioned something and said: ‘That will be at the time when knowledge (of Qur’an) disappears.’ I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, how will knowledge disappear when we read the Qur’an and teach it to our children, until the Day of Resurrection?’ He said: ‘May your mother be bereft of you, Ziyad! I thought that you were the wisest man in Al- Madinah. Is it not the case that these Jews and Christians READ THE TAWRAH AND THE INJIL, but they do not act upon anything of what is in them?’”
Grade: Da’if (Darussalam)
Reference: Sunan Ibn Majah 4048
In-book reference: Book 36, Hadith 123
English translation: Vol. 5, Book 36, Hadith 4048 (sunnah.com https://sunnah.com/ibnmajah/36/123; capital emphasis mine)
41 Chapters on Knowledge
(5) Chapter: What Has Been Related About Knowledge Leaving
Narrated Jubair bin Nufair:
from Abu Ad-Darda who said: “We were with the Prophet when he raised his sight to the sky, then he said: ‘This is the time when knowledge is to be taken from the people, until what remains of it shall not amount to anything.” So Ziyad bin Labid Al-Ansari said: ‘How will it be taken from us while we recite the Qur’an. By Allah we recite it, and our women and children recite it?’ He said: ‘May you be bereaved of your mother O Ziyad! I used to consider you among the Fuqaha of the people of Al-Madinah. The Tawrah and Injil ARE WITH THE JEWS AND CHRISTIANS, but what do they avail of them?‘” Jubair said: “So I met ‘Ubadah bin As-Samit and said to him: ‘Have you not heard what your brother Abu Ad-Darda said?’ Then I informed him of what Abu Ad-Darda said. He said: ‘Abu Ad-Darda spoke the truth. If you wish, we shall narrated to you about the first knowledge to be removed from the people: It is Khushu’, soon you will enter the congregational Masjid, but not see any man in it with Khushu’.’”
Grade: SAHIH (Darussalam)
Reference: Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2653
In Book Reference: Book 41, Hadith 9
English translation: Vol. 5, Book 39, Hadith 2653 (sunnah.com https://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/41/9; capital emphasis mine)
Mujahid, Ash-Sha’bi, Al-Hassan, Qatadah and Ar-Rabi’ bin Anas said that…
<who distort the Book with their tongues.> means, “They alter (Allah’s Words).”
Al-Bukhari reported that Ibn ‘Abbas said that the Ayah means they alter and add although none among Allah’s creation CAN REMOVE THE WORDS OF ALLAH FROM HIS BOOKS, THEY ALTER AND DISTORT THEIR APPARENT MEANINGS. Wahb bin Munabbih said, “The Tawrah and Injil REMAIN AS ALLAH REVEALED THEM, AND NO LETTER IN THEM WAS REMOVED. However, the people misguide others by addition and false interpretation, relying on books that they wrote themselves.” Then,
<they say: “This is from Allah,” but it is not from Allah;>… As for Allah’s books, THEY ARE STILL PRESERVED AND CANNOT BE CHANGED.” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded this statement… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 3:78 http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/3/78; bold and capital emphasis mine)
With the foregoing in perspective, our challenges to the Muslims are quite simple.
First, cite all of the messianic prophecies within the Hebrew Bible. Provide a list of every single prophecy of Jesus found in the Old Testament writings we possess today since these are the very books that the Jews and Christians have been reading from the time of Christ until the present moment.
Second, the New Testament writings quote and/or allude to dozens of OT texts which the inspired authors took to be prophecies of Jesus.
Therefore, since the Islamic sources command Christians to judge by their revelation this means that Muslims have no choice but to accept the fact that the NT application and interpretation of OT prophecies are validated by the witness of their own deity and prophet. And yet these are the same prophecies that affirm that Jesus is the unique divine Son of God and eternal King who came to offer his life as a vicarious sacrifice for the remission of sins, and whom all nations must serve and worship forever.
Muslims, you have serious problems!