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Isaiah 42 in the Old Testament, describes Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

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قَالَ عَذَابِي أُصِيبُ بِهِ مَنْ أَشَاءُ ۖ وَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ ۚ فَسَأَكْتُبُهَا لِلَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ بِآيَاتِنَا يُؤْمِنُونَ – الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ الرَّسُولَ النَّبِيَّ الْأُمِّيَّ الَّذِي يَجِدُونَهُ مَكْتُوبًا عِنْدَهُمْ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالْإِنْجِيلِ يَأْمُرُهُمْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَاهُمْ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَائِثَ وَيَضَعُ عَنْهُمْ إِصْرَهُمْ وَالْأَغْلَالَ الَّتِي كَانَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ فَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِهِ وَعَزَّرُوهُ وَنَصَرُوهُ وَاتَّبَعُوا النُّورَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ مَعَهُ ۙ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

“…[Allah] answered: “With My chastisement do I afflict whom I will – but My Mercy extends over everything: and so I shall confer it on those who are conscious of Me and spend in charity, and who believe in Our messages – those who shall follow the Apostle, The Ummi Prophet whom they shall find described in the Torah that is with them, and [later on] in the Gospel: [the Prophet] who enjoins upon them the doing of what is right and forbids them the doing of what is wrong, and makes lawful to them the good things of life and forbids them the bad things, and lifts from them their burdens and the shackles that are  upon them. Then those who believe in him, and honour him, and help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him – it is they that shall prosper.” [Noble Qur'an, Surah al-A'raf 7: Aayaat 156-157]

The above is one of the many verses in the Noble Qur’an which points out that previous scriptures viz. the Torah and the Injeel, have foretold the coming of Prophet Muhammad (sws). Much has been written to establish this claim and it is established, accepted even by the unbiased scholars of the Judeo-Christian tradition.  But there is always a space to add something more or to see things from another perspective. I am personally intrigued by one particular prophecy on which I decided to work. Additional emphasis to this prophecy was provided by the fact that the early generation of Muslims (the Companions of Prophet Muhammad) have hinted at it. This would be my foundation on which I would construct my edifice. The prophecy I am referring to is mentioned in the Old Testament book of Isaiah and its 42nd chapter. Let me first share with you the narratives from Muslims traditions of how early Muslims saw the mention of Prophet Muhammad (sws) in the Torah.

عن عطاء بن يسار قال لقيت عبد الله بن عمرو بن العاص رضي الله عنهما قلت أخبرني عن صفة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في التوراة قال أجل والله إنه لموصوف في التوراة ببعض صفته في القرآن يا أيها النبي إنا أرسلناك شاهدا ومبشرا ونذيرا وحرزا للأميين أنت عبدي ورسولي سميتك المتوكل ليس بفظ ولا غليظ ولا سخاب في الأسواق ولا يدفع السيئة بالسيئة ولكن يعفو ويغفر ولن يقبضه الله حتى يقيم به الملة العوجاء بأن يقولوا لا إله إلا الله ويفتح بها أعينا عميا وآذانا صما وقلوبا غلفا- تابعه عبد العزيز بن أبي سلمة عن هلال وقال سعيد عن هلال عن عطاء عن ابن سلام غلف كل شيء في غلاف سيف أغلف وقوس غلفاء ورجل أغلف إذا لم يكن مختونا  [صحيح البخاري » كتاب البيوع » باب كراهية السخب في السوق]

Narrated Ata bin Yasar:

I met Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-’As and asked him, “Tell me about the description of Allah’s Apostle which is mentioned in Torah (i.e. Old Testament). He replied, ‘Yes. By Allah, he is described in Torah with some of the qualities attributed to him in the Quran such as: “O Prophet ! We have sent you as a witness  and a giver of glad tidings, and a warner (Qur’an 48:8) and guardian of the Ummiyyeen. You are My Servant and My messenger (i.e. Apostle). I have named you “Al-Mutawakkil” (who depends upon Allah). You are neither discourteous, harsh nor a noise-maker in the markets And you do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness. Allah will not let him (the Prophet) die till he makes straight the crooked people by making them say: “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,” with which will be opened blind eyes and deaf ears and enveloped hearts.”
[Bukhari Kitaab al-Buyu' (Book of Sales and Trade) Chapter 50 (The dislike of raising voices in the market)]

A similar hadith is mention at another place in Bukhari as follows,

Narrated Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-As:

This Verse: ‘Verily We have sent you (O Muhammad) as a witness, as a bringer of glad tidings and as a warner.’ (48.8)

Which is in the Qur’an, appears in the Torah thus: ‘Verily We have sent you (O Muhammad) as a witness, as a bringer of glad tidings and as a warner, and as a protector for the Ummiyyeen (i.e., the Arabs.) You are My Servant and My Apostle, and I have named you Al-Mutawakkil (one who depends upon Allah). You are neither hard-hearted nor of fierce character, nor one who shouts in the markets. You do not return evil for evil, but excuse and forgive. Allah will not take you unto Him till He guides through you a crocked (curved) nation on the right path by causing them to say: “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.” With such a statement He will cause to open blind eyes, deaf ears and hardened hearts.’
[Bukhari Kitaab at-Tafseer' (Commentary of the Qur'an) Surah 48 (Fath), Chapter 3 (Verily We have sent you  as a witness, as a bringer of glad tidings and as a warner)]

Read the above ahadith carefully and you cannot help but notice and remarkable resemblance to Isaiah 42. Even the early Muslims were aware of this prophecy, at least in its overall meaning, if not verbatim. How would early Muslims have come to know of this prophecy from the Torah is a question. The most probable answer is that they came to know of this prophecy from the Jewish converts to Islam, especially Rabbis such as Abdullah ibn Salaam (ra) who was a leading Jewish scholar of the Torah. The concluding words of  the hadith prove this تابعه عبد العزيز بن أبي سلمة عن هلال وقال سعيد عن هلال عن عطاء عن ابن سلام غلف كل شيء في غلاف سيف أغلف وقوس غلفاء ورجل أغلف إذا لم يكن مختونا . These honest and upright people from the Jews converted after recognizing Prophet Muhammad (sws) as being THAT PROPHET whose coming was foretold in the Torah. Let me also share with you the incident of the conversion of Abdullah ibn Salaam (ra) to Islam.

… فَقِيلَ فِي الْمَدِينَةِ جَاءَ نَبِيُّ اللَّهِ جَاءَ نَبِيُّ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَأَشْرَفُوا يَنْظُرُونَ وَيَقُولُونَ جَاءَ نَبِيُّ اللَّهِ جَاءَ نَبِيُّ اللَّهِ فَأَقْبَلَ يَسِيرُ حَتَّى نَزَلَ جَانِبَ دَارِ أَبِي أَيُّوبَ فَإِنَّهُ لَيُحَدِّثُ أَهْلَهُ إِذْ سَمِعَ بِهِ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ سَلَامٍ وَهُوَ فِي نَخْلٍ لِأَهْلِهِ يَخْتَرِفُ لَهُمْ فَعَجِلَ أَنْ يَضَعَ الَّذِي يَخْتَرِفُ لَهُمْ فِيهَا فَجَاءَ وَهِيَ مَعَهُ فَسَمِعَ مِنْ نَبِيِّ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ثُمَّ رَجَعَ إِلَى أَهْلِهِ فَقَالَ نَبِيُّ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَيُّ بُيُوتِ أَهْلِنَا أَقْرَبُ فَقَالَ أَبُو أَيُّوبَ أَنَا يَا نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ هَذِهِ دَارِي وَهَذَا بَابِي قَالَ فَانْطَلِقْ فَهَيِّئْ لَنَا مَقِيلًا قَالَ قُومَا عَلَى بَرَكَةِ اللَّهِ فَلَمَّا جَاءَ نَبِيُّ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ جَاءَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ سَلَامٍ فَقَالَ أَشْهَدُ أَنَّكَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَأَنَّكَ جِئْتَ بِحَقٍّ وَقَدْ عَلِمَتْ يَهُودُ أَنِّي سَيِّدُهُمْ وَابْنُ سَيِّدِهِمْ وَأَعْلَمُهُمْ وَابْنُ أَعْلَمِهِمْ فَادْعُهُمْ فَاسْأَلْهُمْ عَنِّي قَبْلَ أَنْ يَعْلَمُوا أَنِّي قَدْ أَسْلَمْتُ فَإِنَّهُمْ إِنْ يَعْلَمُوا أَنِّي قَدْ أَسْلَمْتُ قَالُوا فِيَّ مَا لَيْسَ فِيَّ فَأَرْسَلَ نَبِيُّ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَأَقْبَلُوا فَدَخَلُوا عَلَيْهِ فَقَالَ لَهُمْ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَا مَعْشَرَ الْيَهُودِ وَيْلَكُمْ اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ فَوَاللَّهِ الَّذِي لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ إِنَّكُمْ لَتَعْلَمُونَ أَنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ حَقًّا وَأَنِّي جِئْتُكُمْ بِحَقٍّ فَأَسْلِمُوا قَالُوا مَا نَعْلَمُهُ قَالُوا لِلنَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَهَا ثَلَاثَ مِرَارٍ قَالَ فَأَيُّ رَجُلٍ فِيكُمْ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ سَلَامٍ قَالُوا ذَاكَ سَيِّدُنَا وَابْنُ سَيِّدِنَا وَأَعْلَمُنَا وَابْنُ أَعْلَمِنَا قَالَ أَفَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَسْلَمَ قَالُوا حَاشَى لِلَّهِ مَا كَانَ لِيُسْلِمَ قَالَ أَفَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَسْلَمَ قَالُوا حَاشَى لِلَّهِ مَا كَانَ لِيُسْلِمَ قَالَ أَفَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَسْلَمَ قَالُوا حَاشَى لِلَّهِ مَا كَانَ لِيُسْلِمَ قَالَ يَا ابْنَ سَلَامٍ اخْرُجْ عَلَيْهِمْ فَخَرَجَ فَقَالَ يَا مَعْشَرَ الْيَهُودِ اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ فَوَاللَّهِ الَّذِي لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ إِنَّكُمْ لَتَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَأَنَّهُ جَاءَ بِحَقٍّ فَقَالُوا كَذَبْتَ فَأَخْرَجَهُمْ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ [صحيح البخاري - كِتَاب مَنَاقِبِ الْأَنْصَارِ - باب هجرة النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وأصحابه إلى المدينة]

“…The news that Allah’s Prophet had come circulated in Medina. The people came out and were eagerly looking and saying “Allah’s Prophet has come! Allah’s Prophet has come! So the Prophet went on till he alighted near the house of Abu Aiyub. While the Prophet was speaking with the family members of Abu Aiyub, ‘Abdullah bin Salaam heard the news of his arrival while he himself was picking the dates for his family from his family garden. He hurried to the Prophet carrying the dates which he had collected for his family from the garden. He listened to Allah’s Prophet and then went home.

Then Allah’s Prophet said, “Which is the nearest of the houses of our Kith and kin?” Abu Aiyub replied, “Mine, O Allah’s Prophet! This is my house and this is my gate.” The Prophet said, “Go and prepare a place for our midday rest.” Abu Aiyub said, “Get up (both of you) with Allah’s Blessings.” So when Allah’s Prophet went into the house, ‘Abdullah bin Salaam came and said “I testify that you (i.e. Muhammad) are Apostle of Allah and that you have come with the Truth. The Jews know well that I am their chief and the son of their chief and the most learned amongst them and the son of the most learned amongst them. So send for them (i.e. Jews) and ask them about me before they know that I have embraced Islam, for if they know that they will say about me things which are not correct.” So Allah’s Apostle sent for them, and they came and entered. Allah’s Apostle said to them, “O (the group of) Jews! Woe to you: be afraid of Allah. By Allah except Whom none has the right to be worshipped, you people know for certain, that I am Apostle of Allah and that I have come to you with the Truth, so embrace Islam.” The Jews replied, “We do not know this.” So they said this to the Prophet and he repeated it thrice. Then he said, “What sort of a man is ‘Abdullah bin Salaam amongst you?” They said, “He is our chief and the son of our chief and the most learned man, and the son of the most learned amongst us.” He said, “What would you think if he should embrace Islam?” They said, “Allah forbid! He can not embrace Islam.” He said, ” What would you think if he should embrace Islam?” They said, “Allah forbid! He can not embrace Islam.” He said, “What would you think if he should embrace Islam?” They said, “Allah forbid! He can not embrace Islam.” He said, “O Ibn Salaim! Come out to them.” He came out and said, “O (the group of) Jews! 8e afraid of Allah except Whom none has the right to be worshipped. You know for certain that he is Apostle of Allah and that he has brought a True Religion!’ They said, “You tell a lie.” On that Allah’s Apostle turned them out.”
[Bukhari Kitab Manaqib al-Ansaar (Merits of the Helpers in Madinah), Chapter 45 (The emigration of the Prophet and his Companions to Al-Madina)

So if Abdullah bin Salaam did let the Muslims know of a prophecy or some prophecies from the Torah fulfilled in the person of Prophet Muhammad (sws), it carries a lot of significance.

Now what does Isaiah 42 say after all? Let us deal with each verse and see their echo is the ahadith quoted above from Ata ibn Yasar.

Verse 1.

Hebrew Text

‏הֵ֤ן עַבְדִּי֙ אֶתְמָךְ־בּ֔וֹ בְּחִירִ֖י רָצְתָ֣ה נַפְשִׁ֑י נָתַ֤תִּי רוּחִי֙ עָלָ֔יו מִשְׁפָּ֖ט לַגּוֹיִ֥ם יוֹצִֽיא׃

Transliteration

hēn ‘aḇədî ’eṯəmāḵə-bwō bəḥîrî rāṣəṯâ nafəšî nāṯatî rûḥî ‘ālāyw mišəpāṭ lagwōyim ywōṣî’:

English Translation (New King James Version)

Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.

Fulfillment

"Behold! My Servant whom I uphold", is rendered in the hadith as  أنت عبدي "You are My Servant". The hebrew text also uses the word aḇədî.  Prophet Muhammad (sws) asked people to address him as Allah's Servant, as is mentioned in the following hadith

 سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ لَا تُطْرُونِي كَمَا أَطْرَتْ النَّصَارَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ فَإِنَّمَا أَنَا عَبْدُهُ فَقُولُوا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولُهُ

Narrated 'Umar: I heard the Prophet saying, "Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians praised the son of Mary, for I am only a Servant (abd). So, call me the Servant of Allah and His Apostle." [Bukhari Kitab Ahadees al-Ambiyaa (Prophets) 60,  Chapter 48, Hadith 654]

“My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him”. This is rendered in the hadith as أنت رسولي “You are My Messenger”.  The Spirit means inspiration and a message as the Qur’an confirms it as follows,

وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ رُوحًا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا ۚ مَا كُنْتَ تَدْرِي مَا الْكِتَابُ وَلَا الْإِيمَانُ وَلَٰكِنْ جَعَلْنَاهُ نُورًا نَهْدِي بِهِ مَنْ نَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا ۚ وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِي إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ

“We have thus revealed a Spirit to you [Prophet] by Our command: you knew neither the Scripture nor the faith, but We made it a light, guiding with it whoever We will of Our servants. You are indeed guiding to the straight path” [Qur'an 42:52]

“He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles” again echoes in the hadith as وحرزا للأميين “guardian of the Ummiyyeen”. The Qur’an says

النَّبِيَّ الْأُمِّيَّ The Ummi Prophet (7:157)

As a matter of fact, Ummy in Arabic also carries the meaning of Gentile or non-Jewish.  Renowned Arabic-English lexicon of William Edward Lane gives ‘Gentile’ as one of the meanings of the word ‘Ummi’, on the authority of Baidawi.

ummi-lane-lexicon ummi-lane-lexicon2

That he brought justice to the Gentiles is known to all. I will deliberate on it later.

Verse 2.

Hebrew Text

לא יצעק ולא ישא ולא־ישמיע בחוץ קולו׃

Transliteration

la yitz·’ak ve·la yis·sa ve·la-yash·mi·a’ ba·chutz ko·v·lov.

English Translation (New King James Version)

He will not cry out, nor raise His voice,
Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.

Fulfillment

The hadith says ولا سخاب في الأسواق “nor one who shouts in the markets”. The believers found this quality fulfilled in the person of Prophet Muhamamd (sws) and they bore witness to it. In fact the title of the chapter in which this hadith occurs is The dislike of raising voices in the market. The Prophet (sws) taught through his example that it is not good manners to shout or raise your voice in the streets.

Verse 3.

Hebrew Text

קנה רצוץ לא ישבור ופשתה כהה לא יכבנה לאמת יוציא משפט׃

Transliteration

qā·neh  rā·ṣūṣ  la  yiš·bō·wr,  ū·p̄iš·tāh  ḵê·hāh  la  yə·ḵab·ben·nāh;  le·’ĕ·meṯ  yō·w·ṣî  miš·pāṭ.

English Translation (New King James Version)

A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.

Fulfillment

The hadith confirms these noble qualities of Prophet Muhammad (sws), ليس بفظ ولا غليظ ولا يدفع السيئة بالسيئة ولكن يعفو ويغفر “You are neither hard-hearted nor of fierce character and you do not return evil for evil, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness.” Several incidents from the life of Prophet Muhammad (sws) verify this statement. For example, one hadith records,

Narrated Ibn Abi Mulaika:

‘Aisha said, “The Jews came to the Prophet and said to him, “As-Samu ‘Alaika (i.e., Death be upon you).” He replied, ‘The same on you.’ ” ‘Aisha said to them, “Death be upon you, and may Allah curse you and shower His wrath upon you!” Allah’s Apostle I said, “Be gentle and calm, O ‘Aisha! Be gentle and beware of being harsh and of saying evil things.” She said, “Didn’t you hear what they said?” He said, “Didn’t you hear what I replied (to them)? I have returned their statement to them, and my invocation against them will be accepted but theirs against me will not be accepted.” [Bukhari, Kitab ad-Dawaat (Book of Invocations) 80; Chapter 63; Hadith 410]

The Qur’an also echoes the same noble manners,

وَلَا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ وَلَا السَّيِّئَةُ ۚ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ

Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend [Qur'an 41:34]

Verse 4.

Hebrew Text

לא יכהה ולא ירוץ עד־ישים בארץ משפט ולתורתו איים ייחילו׃

Transliteration

la  yiḵ·heh  wə·la  yā·rūṣ,  ‘aḏ-  yā·śîm  bā·’ā·reṣ  miš·pāṭ;  ū·lə·ṯō·w·rā·ṯōw  ’î·yîm  yə·ya·ḥê·lū.  p̄

English Translation (New King James Version)

He will not fail nor be discouraged,
till He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands shall wait for His law.”

Fulfillment

The hadith confrims this with the words ولن يقبضه الله حتى يقيم به الملة العوجاء بأن يقولوا لا إله إلا الله ويفتح “Allah will not let him (the Prophet) die till he makes straight the crooked people by making them say: “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,” The Prophet was given a detailed Law (Shariah) by Allah, which is based on supreme justice, a Law similar to the Law of Moses in its comprehensiveness. Prior to the advent of Prophet Muhammad (sws), total anarchy had gripped Arabia, lewdness was rampant; slavery, usury, bloodshed, and tribal feuds was the order of the day. When the Noble Prophet commenced his mission of reforming his society based on the message of monotheism, he faced stiff opposition from the Pagans. When all the lucrative offers made to him to abandon his preaching did not work, the pagans of Makka resorted to torture and severe persecution. In the face of this stiff opposition an ordinary man might be discouraged, but the Noble Prophet (sws) struggled on. His mesage of equality of all humans was attractive for the slaves and the downtrodden. Many such as Bilal, Khabbab ibn al-Aratt, Yasir and Sumayya embraced Islam. These new converts suffered the most. But I only want to point out the grand prophecy which Prophet Muhammad (sws) made in these testing times. Following is the account given in Bukhari,

سمعت خبابا يقول أتيت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو متوسد بردة وهو في ظل الكعبة وقد لقينا من المشركين شدة فقلت يا رسول الله ألا تدعو الله فقعد وهو محمر وجهه فقال لقد كان من قبلكم ليمشط بمشاط الحديد ما دون عظامه من لحم أو عصب ما يصرفه ذلك عن دينه ويوضع المنشار على مفرق رأسه فيشق باثنين ما يصرفه ذلك عن دينه وليتمن الله هذا الأمر حتى يسير الراكب من صنعاء إلى حضرموت ما يخاف إلا الله زاد بيان والذئب على غنمه

Narrated Khabbab:

I came to the Prophet while he was leaning against his sheet cloak in the shade of the Ka’ba. We were suffering greatly from the pagans in those days. I said (to him). “Will you invoke Allah (to help us)?” He sat down with a red face and said, “(A believer among) those who were before you used to be combed with iron combs so that nothing of his flesh or nerves would remain on his bones; yet that would never make him desert his religion. A saw might be put over the parting of his head which would be split into two parts, yet all that would never make him abandon his religion. Allah will surely complete this religion (i.e. Islam) so that a traveler from Sana’a to Hadramawt will not be afraid of anybody except Allah.” [Bukhari, Kitab Manaqib al-Ansar (Merits of the Helpers in Madinah) 63, Chapter 29, Hadith 191]

Notice the underlined words. The Prophet is predicting this at a time when there were hardly 150 Muslims in the whole of Arabia. Khabbab (ra) saw these words fulfilled in his lifetime. Is this not the fulfillment of the words “He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth”?

Verse 5.

Hebrew Text

כה־אמר האל ׀ יהוה בורא השמים ונוטיהם רקע הארץ וצאצאיה נתן נשמה לעם עליה ורוח להלכים בה׃

Transliteration

kōh-  ’ā·mar  hā·’êl  Yah·weh  bō·w·rê  haš·šā·ma·yim  wə·nō·w·ṭê·hem,  rō·qa‘  hā·’ā·reṣ  wə·ṣe·’ĕ·ṣā·’e·hā;  nō·ṯên  nə·šā·māh  lā·‘ām  ‘ā·le·hā,  wə·rū·aḥ  la·hō·lə·ḵîm  bāh

English Translation (New King James Version)

Thus says God the Lord,
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it,
Who gives breath to the people on it,
And spirit to those who walk on it:

This verse is simple to understand. Let us go to the next verse

Verse 6.

Hebrew Text

אני יהוה קראתיך בצדק ואחזק בידך ואצרך ואתנך לברית עם לאור גוים׃

Transliteration

’ă·nî  Yah·weh  qə·rā·ṯî·ḵā  ḇə·ṣe·ḏeq  wə·’aḥ·zêq  bə·yā·ḏe·ḵā;  wə·’eṣ·ṣā·rə·ḵā,  wə·’et·ten·ḵā  liḇ·rîṯ  ‘ām  lə·’ō·wr  gō·w·yim

English Translation (New King James Version)

I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness,
And will hold Your hand;
I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the Gentiles,

Fulfillment

The righteous mission of establishing justice on earth, will require a special help from God, which is conveyed by the figurative words “And will hold Your hand”. Once “God holds the hand of anyone”, it is impossible to defeat that person. God uses that person as an instrument to wipe out evil and manifest His judgment on evil doers. Let us see how the Qur’an confirms this in the battlefield of Badr where 313 ill-armed Muslims faced a thousand strong army of the pagans. Allah says,

فَلَمْ تَقْتُلُوهُمْ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ قَتَلَهُمْ ۚ وَمَا رَمَيْتَ إِذْ رَمَيْتَ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ رَمَىٰ ۚ وَلِيُبْلِيَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْهُ بَلَاءً حَسَنًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ ﴿١٧﴾ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ مُوهِنُ كَيْدِ الْكَافِرِينَ ﴿١٨﴾ إِنْ تَسْتَفْتِحُوا فَقَدْ جَاءَكُمُ الْفَتْحُ ۖ وَإِنْ تَنْتَهُوا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ ۖ وَإِنْ تَعُودُوا نَعُدْ وَلَنْ تُغْنِيَ عَنْكُمْ فِئَتُكُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَوْ كَثُرَتْ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ﴿١٩

You did not kill them; it was God who killed them; and when you [O Prophet] threw at them what you threw it was not you, but God who threw it so that He might confer on the believers a great favour from Himself. Surely, God is all hearing, all-knowing, (17) that is what happened, and God will surely undermine the design of those who deny the truth. (18) If you were seeking a judgement, a judgement has now come to you. If you desist, it will be the better for you. But if you return [to hostility] We too will return. And your host will avail you naught, however numerous it may be, and [know] that surely God is with the believers. (19) [Qur'an 8:17-19]

The expression “I will keep you” means I will protect you. Several assassination attempts made on the life of the Holy Prophet (sws) ended in failure due to the the special protection of God. God used a fragile spiders web at the cave of Thaur to protect His Prophet from the bloodthirsty enemies, who were after him. How wonderful the ways of God!

“I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles” means that God renewed the covenant through Prophet Muhammad (sws) with the descendants of Abraham, and this time the Ishmaelite branch. The Qur’an confirms and explains this covenant precisely as follows,

وَإِذْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِيثَاقَ النَّبِيِّينَ لَمَا آتَيْتُكُمْ مِنْ كِتَابٍ وَحِكْمَةٍ ثُمَّ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مُصَدِّقٌ لِمَا مَعَكُمْ لَتُؤْمِنُنَّ بِهِ وَلَتَنْصُرُنَّهُ ۚ قَالَ أَأَقْرَرْتُمْ وَأَخَذْتُمْ عَلَىٰ ذَٰلِكُمْ إِصْرِي ۖ قَالُوا أَقْرَرْنَا ۚ قَالَ فَاشْهَدُوا وَأَنَا مَعَكُمْ مِنَ الشَّاهِدِينَ ﴿٨١﴾ فَمَنْ تَوَلَّىٰ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ ﴿٨٢﴾ أَفَغَيْرَ دِينِ اللَّهِ يَبْغُونَ وَلَهُ أَسْلَمَ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ طَوْعًا وَكَرْهًا وَإِلَيْهِ يُرْجَعُونَ ﴿٨٣﴾ قُلْ آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ عَلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنْزِلَ عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالْأَسْبَاطِ وَمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَالنَّبِيُّونَ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ ﴿٨٤﴾ وَمَنْ يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الْإِسْلَامِ دِينًا فَلَنْ يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ وَهُوَ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ ﴿٨٥

And [recall, O People of the Scripture], when Allah took the covenant of the prophets, [saying], “Whatever I give you of the Scripture and wisdom and then there comes to you a messenger confirming what is with you, you [must] believe in him and support him.” [Allah] said, “Do ye agree, and take this my Covenant as binding on you?” They said, “We agree.” He said, “Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.” (81) And whoever turned away after that – they were the defiantly disobedient. (82) So is it other than the religion of Allah they desire, while to Him have submitted [all] those within the heavens and earth, willingly or by compulsion, and to Him they will be returned? (83) Say, “We have believed in Allah and in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Descendants, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [submitting] to Him.” (84) And whoever desires other than Islam as religion – never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers. (85) [Qur'an 3:81-85]

All the prophets predicted the coming of Prophet Muhammad (sws) and made it binding on their followers to believe in him when he appears and support him. Thus God gave Prophet Muhammad as a covenant to the people for ever.

“As a light to the Gentiles” refers to the light of guidance which was sent with him. The Quranic Aayah with which I began this article points to this, when it says,

وَاتَّبَعُوا النُّورَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ مَعَهُ

and follow the light which is sent down with him [7:57]

The Holy Prophet (sws) was himself addressed as a light in the Qur’an, such as

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا وَدَاعِيًا إِلَى اللَّهِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَسِرَاجًا مُنِيرًا

O Prophet! Truly We have sent thee as a Witness, a Bearer of Glad Tidings, and Warner,- And as one who invites to Allah  by His leave, and as a lamp spreading light.  [Qur'an 33:45-46]

Verse 7.

Hebrew Text

לפקח עינים עורות להוציא ממסגר אסיר מבית כלא ישבי חשך׃

Transliteration

lip̄·qō·aḥ  ‘ê·na·yim  ‘iw·rō·wṯ;  lə·hō·w·ṣî  mim·mas·gêr  ’as·sîr,  mib·bêṯ  ke·le  yō·šə·ḇê  ḥō·šeḵ

English Translation (New King James Version)

To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the prison,
Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.

Fulfillment

By the light and the Divine Law which Allah provided him, the spiritually blind people saw the truth. The hadith explains it in the words ويفتح بها أعينا عميا وآذانا صما وقلوبا غلفا “with which will be opened blind eyes and deaf ears and enveloped hearts.” With his noble character the Prophet (sws) attracted the hearts of sincere and noble people around him. I would share some lovely couplets of a Muslim poet Ibn Rawaha (Companion) about the beloved Prophet Muhammad (sws) which are narrated in Bukhari,

فينا رسول الله يتلو كتابه
كما انشق معروف من الفجر ساطع
أرانا الهدى بعد العمى فقلوبنا
به موقنات أن ما قال واقع
يبيت يجافي جنبه من فراشه
إذا استثقلت بالكافرين المضاجع

Poetic Rendering in English

The Mesenger who recites The Book
who at night his bed forsook
awake to invoke the Lord
when the heathens were having their nod
we were lost and without sight
he gave us guidance and light
our hearts are certain
what he says’ll happen

Translation in Prose

‘We have Allah’s Apostle with us who recites the Holy Qur’an in the early morning time.  He gave us guidance and light while we were blind and astray, so our hearts are sure that whatever he says, will certainly happen.  He does not touch his bed at night, being busy in worshipping Allah while the pagans are sound asleep in their beds.’
[Bukhari Kitab al-Adab (Book of Good Manners) 78, Chapter 91, Hadith 172]

Verse 8.

Hebrew Text

אני יהוה הוא שמי וכבודי לאחר לא־אתן ותהלתי לפסילים׃

Transliteration

’ă·nî  Yah·weh  hū  šə·mî;  ū·ḵə·ḇō·w·ḏî  lə·’a·ḥêr  lō-  ’et·tên,  ū·ṯə·hil·lā·ṯî  lap·pə·sî·lîm

English Translation (New King James Version)

I am the Lord, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another,
Nor My praise to carved images.

Fulfillment

This verse speaks of pure monotheism and a strong negation of idolatory. This means that the Prophet who is foretold will have to primarily deal with idolatory and he will preach the message of pure and uncompromising monoethism. No one can find a better candidate than Prophet Muhammad (sws) who fulfills this. Tha hadith of Ata bin Yasar also mentions this crucial aspect in the words ولن يقبضه الله حتى يقيم به الملة العوجاء بأن يقولوا لا إله إلا الله Allah will not let him (the Prophet) die till he makes straight the crooked people by making them say: “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,” This uncompromising monotheism is the echo of the monotheism of the Old Testament as opposed to the Christian concept of Trinity. Here I share with you portion of a conversation between Prophet Muhamamd (sws) and Amr b. ‘Abasa Sulami whilst the Prophet was still in Makkah.

Amr b. ‘Abasa Sulami reported, …I asked him: Who are you? He said: I am a Prophet (of Allah). I again said: Who is a Prophet? He said: (I am a Prophet in the sense that) I have been sent by Allah. I said: What is that which you have been sent with? He said: I have been sent to join ties of relationship (with kindness and affection), to break the Idols, and to proclaim the oneness of Allah (in a manner that) nothing is to be associated with Him. [Muslim Kitab as-Salaat (Book of Prayers) 4, Hadith 1812]

Verse 9.

Hebrew Text

הראשנות הנה־באו וחדשות אני מגיד בטרם תצמחנה אשמיע אתכם׃

Transliteration

hā·ri·šō·nō·wṯ  hin·nêh-  ḇā·’ū;  wa·ḥă·ḏā·šō·wṯ  ’ă·nî  mag·gîḏ,  bə·ṭe·rem  tiṣ·maḥ·nāh  ’aš·mî‘  ’eṯ·ḵem

English Translation (New King James Version)

Behold, the former things have come to pass,
And new things I declare;
Before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

Fulfillment

That this is a prophecy about the future is made clear.

Verse 10.

Hebrew Text

שירו ליהוה שיר חדש תהלתו מקצה הארץ יורדי הים ומלאו איים וישביהם׃

Transliteration

šî·rū  Yah·weh  šîr  ḥā·ḏāš,  tə·hil·lā·ṯōw  miq·ṣêh  hā·’ā·reṣ;  yō·wr·ḏê  hay·yām  ū·mə·lō·’ōw,  ’î·yîm  wə·yō·šə·ḇê·hem

English Translation (New King James Version)

Sing to the Lord a new song,
And His praise from the ends of the earth,
You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,
You coastlands and you inhabitants of them!

Fulfillment

The universal mission of the coming Prophet is emphasized here, as against the localized mission of the Israelite Prophets. The Qur’an says of Prophet Muhammad (sws),

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا كَافَّةً لِلنَّاسِ بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

We have sent you [O Prophet] as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner for the whole of mankind, but most people have no knowledge. [Qur'an 34:28]

By “a new song” is meant new ways of worship.

Verses 11 and 12.

Hebrew Text

ישאו מדבר ועריו חצרים תשב קדר ירנו ישבי סלע מראש הרים יצוחו׃ – ישימו ליהוה כבוד ותהלתו באיים יגידו׃

Transliteration

yiś·’ū  miḏ·bār  wə·‘ā·rāw,  ḥă·ṣê·rîm  tê·šêḇ  qê·ḏār;  yā·rōn·nū  yō·šə·ḇê  se·la‘,  mê·rōš  hā·rîm  yiṣ·wā·ḥū | yā·śî·mū  Yah·weh  kā·ḇō·wḏ;  ū·ṯə·hil·lā·ṯōw  bā·’î·yîm  yag·gî·ḏū.

English Translation (New King James Version)

Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voice,
The villages that Kedar inhabits.
Let the inhabitants of Sela sing,
Let them shout from the top of the mountains.
Let them give glory to the Lord,
And declare His praise in the coastlands.

Fulfillment

This is a very significant verse in this whole chapter as it confirms the identity of the place of the coming Prophet’s advent. Two crucial words used in this verse are ‘Kedar’ and ‘Sela’. Let us ascertain their identity. Who is ‘Kedar’? Well according to the Bible, Kedar is the son of Prophet Ishmael. It reads,

Now this is the genealogy of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s maidservant, bore to Abraham. And these were the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: The firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; then Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam. [Genesis 25:12-13]

It is a known fact that Prophet Muhammad, a member of the Quraish tribe in Makka descended from Kedar. Some shameles Christian polemicists have tried to contest this claim and said that Kedar’s descendants never settled in Arabia, but all in vain. Here is not the appropriate place for me to enter into this debate. I will establish this ‘establish fact’ in another of my article. For now, I will quote a not so favourable witness, Rev. Charles Forster, who was one of the six preachers in the Cathedral of Cantebury, a fervent critic of Islam and author of Mahometanism Unveiled. He writes in his two volume work The Historical Geography of Arabia,

The presumption thus afforded by Isaiah, that the seats of Kedar should be sought in this last quarter, receives material confirmation from another place of the same prophet, his description, namely, of the land of Kedar; which every reader conversant with Arabian geography will recognize as a most accurate delineation of the district of Hedjaz, including its famous cities of Mekka and Medina. “Let the wilderness, and the cities thereof, lift up their voice ; the villages that Kedar doth inhabit. Let the inhabitants of the rock sing ; let them shout from the top of the mountains : Let them give glory unto the Lord ; and declare his praise in the islands” The agreement of this graphical description with the localities of the Hedjaz is almost too obvious for remark. For, while the voice of Kedar from his rocks and mountains,reaching to the neighbouring islands, plainly denotes his situation along the sea-coast, … a seacoast wilderness or desert, comprizing famous cities, together with rocky mountains interspersed with villages, presents a picture far too uniquely characteristic, to be transferred to any district of the Arabian peninsula, from that quarter, the Hedjaz, to which alone, and at every point, it applies. [The Historical Geography of Arabia, Volume I, Section III Settlements of Ishmael, pages 242-243, 1844 Edition]

He writes further,

Now it was the immemorial tradition of the Arabs themselves, that Kedar and his posterity originally settled in Hedjaz. From this patriarch, the tribe of Koreish in particular, the sovereigns of Mekka and guardians of the Caaba, always boasted their descent. And Mahomet himself, in the Koran, upheld his claims to the princely and priestly honours of his race on this very ground, as an Ishmaelite of the stock of Kedar. A national tradition like this rises into historical authority, when sustained, on the one hand, by those scriptural notices, which place Kedar in this very quarter of the peninsula, and, on the other hand, by the unquestioned and unquestionable fact of the existence of the Cedrei, Dame, Kedranitae, or Kadraitae, as a people of the Hedjaz, in the ages of Uranius, Ptolemy, and the elder Pliny. [The Historical Geography of Arabia, Volume I, Section III Settlements of Ishmael, pages 248-249, 1844 Edition]

This would suffice for now.

Please also see the image showing the lineage of Prophet Muhammad right upto Prophet Ishmael via Kedar. (Click Here)

Besides, the verse uses the word מדבר miḏ·bār‘ which stands for Arabia. But more importantly the word ‘Kedar’ used together with the word ‘Sela’ settles the point that what is being spoken of are the cities of Makkah and Madinah because ‘Sela’ is the name of a mountain in Madina. Hadith records mention this name clearly as the name of a mountain in Madinah. Following is a portion of one hadith I produce from the episode of Ka’b bin Malik (ra) and the battle of Tabouk,

فَبَيْنَا أَنَا جَالِسٌ عَلَى الْحَالِ الَّتِي ذَكَرَ اللَّهُ قَدْ ضَاقَتْ عَلَيَّ نَفْسِي وَضَاقَتْ عَلَيَّ الْأَرْضُ بِمَا رَحُبَتْ سَمِعْتُ صَوْتَ صَارِخٍ أَوْفَى عَلَى جَبَلِ سَلْعٍ بِأَعْلَى صَوْتِهِ يَا كَعْبُ بْنَ مَالِكٍ أَبْشِرْ قَالَ فَخَرَرْتُ سَاجِدًا وَعَرَفْتُ أَنْ قَدْ جَاءَ فَرَجٌ

“…while I was sitting in the condition which Allah described (in the Quran) i.e. my very soul seemed straitened to me and even the earth seemed narrow to me for all its spaciousness, there I heard the voice of one who had ascended the mountain of Sala’ calling with his loudest voice, ‘O Ka’b bin Malik! Be happy (by receiving good tidings).’ I fell down in prostration before Allah, realizing that relief has come…” [Bukhari Kitab al-Maghazi (Book of Expeditions led by the Prophet) Chapter 80, Hadith 702]

sela
Mount Sela in Madinah

From these it is clear that verses 11 and 12 are again fulfilled in the person of Prophet Muhammad (sws) and none else. Further it is a known fact that when the Holy Prophet (sws) migrated to Madinah from Makkah, after facing severe persecution in Makkah, he was welcomed with the lovely songs of the people of Madinah and the voices of God’s Glory. One of them is very famous and I produce it below

طلع البدر علينا
ṭala‘a ‘l-badru ‘alaynā
Oh the white moon rose over us

من ثنيات الوداع
min thaniyyāti ‘l-wadā‘
From the valley of al-Wadā‘
وجب الشكر علينا
wajaba ‘l-shukru ‘alaynā
And we owe it to show gratefulness

ما دعى لله داع
mā da‘ā li-l-lāhi dā‘
Where the call is to Allah.
أيها المبعوث فينا
’ayyuha ‘l-mab‘ūthu fīnā
Oh you who were raised among us

جئت بالأمر المطاع
ji’ta bi-l-’amri ‘l-muṭā‘
Coming with a word to be obeyed

جئت شرفت المدينة
ji’ta sharrafta ‘l-madīnah
You have brought to this city nobleness

مرحبا يا خير داع
marḥaban yā khayra dā‘
Welcome best caller to God’s way

Verse 13.

Hebrew Text

יהוה כגבור יצא כאיש מלחמות יעיר קנאה יריע אף־יצריח על־איביו יתגבר׃

Transliteration

Yah·weh  kag·gib·bō·wr  yê·ṣê,  kə·’îš  mil·ḥā·mō·wṯ  yā·‘îr  qin·’āh;  yā·rî·a‘  ’ap̄-  yaṣ·rî·aḥ,  ‘al-  ’ō·yə·ḇāw  yiṯ·gab·bār

English Translation (New King James Version)

The Lord shall go forth like a mighty man;
He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war.
He shall cry out, yes, shout aloud;
He shall prevail against His enemies.

Fulfillment

The Prophet is an instrument of manifesting God’s judgment and by the “going forth of The LORD” is meant the going forth of his Messenger. The coming Messenger will have to engage the evil people in war and will prevail against them. We all know that Prophet Muhammad (sws) had to engage in battles in the Madinan period of this ministry to manifest the judgment of God on the pagans for their disbelief coupled with the persecution of the non-violent believers in the Makkan period. Their oppression and tyranny had reached its climax such that ultimately God manifested His Judgment. Ironically, some shameless Christian polemicists assert that these battles of Prophet Muhammad (sws) were for his personal ambitions, to gain slaves, wealth, women etc ignoring the fact that Isaiah 42:13 predicts that the coming Prophet would have to engage in battles and would have the special help of God thereby prevailing over his enemies. History is witness that this prophecy was also fulfilled in a grand manner in the person of Prophet Muhammad (sws). Even the Noble Qur’an proclaims it loud and clear as follows,

 يُرِيدُونَ لِيُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَاللَّهُ مُتِمُّ نُورِهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ ﴿٨﴾ هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَىٰ وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ ﴿٩

Their intention is to extinguish Allah’s Light (by blowing) with their mouths: But Allah will complete (the revelation of) His Light, even though the Unbelievers may detest (it).  It is He Who has sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, that he may manifest it over all religion, even though the Pagans may detest (it). [Qur'an 61:8-9]

Christian polemicists would do well to look at the battles of Prophet Muhammad (sws) from this perspective and stop their malicious campaigns against this Noble Prophet at least, if they do not wish to believe in him and honour him.

Verses 14 and 15.

Hebrew Text

החשיתי מעולם אחריש אתאפק כיולדה אפעה אשם ואשאף יחד׃ – אחריב הרים וגבעות וכל־עשבם אוביש ושמתי נהרות לאיים ואגמים אוביש׃

Transliteration

he·ḥĕ·šê·ṯî  mê·‘ō·w·lām,  ’a·ḥă·rîš  ’eṯ·’ap·pāq;  kay·yō·w·lê·ḏāh  ’ep̄·‘eh,  ’eš·šōm  wə·’eš·’ap̄  yā·ḥaḏ.  15 ’a·ḥă·rîḇ  hā·rîm  ū·ḡə·ḇā·‘ō·wṯ,  wə·ḵāl  ‘eś·bām  ’ō·w·ḇîš;  wə·śam·tî  nə·hā·rō·wṯ  lā·’î·yîm,  wa·’ă·ḡam·mîm  ’ō·w·ḇîš.

English Translation (New King James Version)

I have held My peace a long time,
I have been still and restrained Myself.
Now I will cry like a woman in labor,
I will pant and gasp at once.
15 I will lay waste the mountains and hills,
And dry up all their vegetation;
I will make the rivers coastlands,
And I will dry up the pools.

Fulfillment

Here, God Almighty, is conveying His scheme in figurative language. It means, in general, that God would go forth with a fixed and settled purpose to destroy his foes, through His coming Great Prophet (sws). By “laying waste of mountains and hills” and “drying up all their vegetation”, the reference is probably to the great changes which God would make in the pagan world. All that flourished on Pagan ground; all that was nurtured by idolatry; all their temples, fanes, altars, shrines, should be overturned and demolished; and in all these things great and permanent changes would be produced.

Verse 16.

Hebrew Text

והולכתי עורים בדרך לא ידעו בנתיבות לא־ידעו אדריכם אשים מחשך לפניהם לאור ומעקשים למישור אלה הדברים עשיתם ולא עזבתים׃

Transliteration

wə·hō·w·laḵ·tî  ‘iw·rîm,  bə·ḏe·reḵ  lō  yā·ḏā·‘ū,  bin·ṯî·ḇō·wṯ  lō-  yā·ḏə·‘ū  ’aḏ·rî·ḵêm;  ’ā·śîm  maḥ·šāḵ  lip̄·nê·hem  lā·’ō·wr,  ū·ma·‘ă·qaš·šîm  lə·mî·šō·wr,  ’êl·leh  had·də·ḇā·rîm,  ‘ă·śî·ṯim  wə·lō  ‘ă·zaḇ·tîm

English Translation (New King James Version)

I will bring the blind by a way they did not know;
I will lead them in paths they have not known.
I will make darkness light before them,
And crooked places straight.
These things I will do for them,
And not forsake them.

Fulfillment

The pagan Arabs had not known the phenomenon of Revelation for a long time, nor had a Prophet been sent to them. Revelation and Prophethood were unfamiiar to them. But now they had been sent a Mighty Prophet (sws). The Qur’an bears witness to this as follows,

أَمْ يَقُولُونَ افْتَرَاهُ ۚ بَلْ هُوَ الْحَقُّ مِنْ رَبِّكَ لِتُنْذِرَ قَوْمًا مَا أَتَاهُمْ مِنْ نَذِيرٍ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَهْتَدُونَ

Or do they say, “He has forged it”? Nay, it is the Truth from thy Lord, that thou mayest admonish a people to whom no warner has come before thee: in order that they may receive guidance. [Qur'an 32:3]

and further,

 لِتُنْذِرَ قَوْمًا مَا أُنْذِرَ آبَاؤُهُمْ فَهُمْ غَافِلُونَ

In order that thou mayest admonish a people, whose fathers had received no admonition, and who therefore remain heedless (of the Signs of Allah). [Qur'an 36:6]

“I will make darkness light before them” – Darkness, in the Scriptures, is the emblem of ignorance, sin and adversity. All this would be turned topsy-turvy. Sin will be replaced by virtue, ignorance by knowledge and adversity by prosperity. Darkeness was turned into light as is even recorded in the Noble Qur’an as follows,

اللَّهُ وَلِيُّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يُخْرِجُهُمْ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ ۖ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَوْلِيَاؤُهُمُ الطَّاغُوتُ يُخْرِجُونَهُمْ مِنَ النُّورِ إِلَى الظُّلُمَاتِ ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ ۖ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

God is the patron of the faithful. He leads them from darknessess to the light. As for those who deny the truth, their supporter is Satan, who brings them out of light into darknessess. They are the heirs of the Fire, and there they will remain forever. [Qur'an 2:257]

and again,

رَسُولًا يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ مُبَيِّنَاتٍ لِيُخْرِجَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ ۚ وَمَنْ يُؤْمِنْ بِاللَّهِ وَيَعْمَلْ صَالِحًا يُدْخِلْهُ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۖ قَدْ أَحْسَنَ اللَّهُ لَهُ رِزْقًا

and a messenger who conveys to you God’s clear messages, so that he might lead those, who believe and do good deeds, out of darknessess into light. God will admit those who believe in Him and do good deeds into Gardens with rivers flowing through them, where they will remain forever. God has indeed made excellent provision for them. [Qur'an 65:11]

“And not forsake them.” means that God will not abandon them until they finish their mission. How great these words and how great their fulfillment in the words of Prophet Muhammad (sws). Listen to these very words from the blessed mouth of the blessed Prophet (sws) recorded in the Qur’an as follows,

إِلَّا تَنْصُرُوهُ فَقَدْ نَصَرَهُ اللَّهُ إِذْ أَخْرَجَهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ثَانِيَ اثْنَيْنِ إِذْ هُمَا فِي الْغَارِ إِذْ يَقُولُ لِصَاحِبِهِ لَا تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَنَا ۖ فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَيَّدَهُ بِجُنُودٍ لَمْ تَرَوْهَا وَجَعَلَ كَلِمَةَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا السُّفْلَىٰ ۗ وَكَلِمَةُ اللَّهِ هِيَ الْعُلْيَا ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

If you do not support him [i.e The Prophet] know that God did support him when those who denied the truth expelled him, when the two of them were in the cave, he [The Prophet] told his companion, “Do not worry; for God is with us.” So God sent His tranquillity down on him and aided him with forces invisible to you and placed the word of those who disbelieved lowest, while God’s word remained supreme. God is powerful and wise. [Qur'an 9:40]

Verse 17.

Hebrew Text

נסגו אחור יבשו בשת הבטחים בפסל האמרים למסכה אתם אלהינו׃

Transliteration

nā·sō·ḡū  ’ā·ḥō·wr  yê·ḇō·šū  ḇō·šeṯ,  hab·bō·ṭə·ḥîm  bap·pā·sel;  hā·’ō·mə·rîm  lə·mas·sê·ḵāh  ’at·tem  ’ĕ·lō·hê·nū

English Translation (New King James Version)

They shall be turned back,
They shall be greatly ashamed,
Who trust in carved images,
Who say to the molded images,
‘You are our gods.’

Fulfillment

How beautifully does this verse summaize the conclusion of Prophet Muhammad’s (sws) mission in the Arabian Penisnsula and most probabaly refers to the conquest of Makkah when all the gods in whom the Pagan’s trusted could not help them in any way. “They shall be greatly ashamed who trust in carved images”; as converted persons when they come to be convinced of the folly of their idolatrous practices are; and if not converted, yet are confounded when they find their idols cannot help and assist them, nor deliver them out of their trouble.

How this grand prophecy finds fulfillment in the person of Prophet Muhammad (sws) is now beyond doubt. Each and every verse fits perfectly on him and his noble mission. Who can be so blind to not believe in him after reading this?

This Prophecy does not refer to Prophet Jesus (pbuh)

There might still be one more hurdle for Christians to accept this as a prophecy of Prophet Muhammad (sws), because in the Gospel according to Matthew 12:17-21 an attempt has been made to fit this prophecy on the person of Jesus Christ (pbuh). Thus, it is essential for me to explain how this prophecy DOES NOT refer to Jesus (pbuh).

The first verse emphasizes that this Prophet will do his mission among the Gentiles. Jesus (pbuh) did his ministry within the Israelites, he even denied being sent to the non-Jews as in Matthew 15:24, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. Isaiah 42:4 says that this coming Prophet will establish justice on earth and not not falter or be discouraged. This certainly does not refer to Jesus (pbuh). He did no such thing and according to Christians, he was crucified by his enemies. Verse 6 says that God will hold his hand to specially help him mission and verse 16 says that God will not forsake him. Nothing of this sort happened with Jesus (pbuh) and according to the Christian Gospels, Jesus blamed God for forsaking him; Matthew 27:46 “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Same is repeated in Mark 15:34. Isaiah 42:8 and 42:17 explicitly mention that the coming Prophet will have to deal with the idol worshipers. Jesus (pbuh) dealt with his own people, the Israelites. Verse 11 tells us the location of the people among whom the Prophet will be raised as the peoeple of Kedar and Sela (Makkah and Madinah). Jesus (pbuh) had no relation to these places. Verse 13 clearly says that this coming Prophet will participate in battles against the pagans and overcome his enemies. Jesus (pbuh) did not have any opportunity to particpate in battles and as per Christian belief, it was his enemies who overcame him.

All these points prove conclusively that this prophecy is referring to Prophet Muhammad (sws) in each and every way, and not at all to Prophet Jesus (pbuh).

by Mushafiq Sultan 

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