The Tidings of the Prophets Regarding
the Holy Prophet of Islam(S.A.W.)
In the previous chapters we discussed that the grand messages of the prophets invited mankind towards the Universal Religion called Islam; which means submission and surrender to the commands of the Creator, Allah. Islam, which guided humanity in its stages of development and promises salvation in the hereafter. Islam which was preached by such great prophets as Abraham, Moses, Jesus (peace be upon them) and several others, scattered across the face of the earth, reached its climax with its final and most scientific message, the Holy Qur'an , which was revealed to its greatest Prophet, Muhammad (s.a.w.).
This last final call or set of legislations was to supersede all previous messages, since it is the most advanced version, equipped to serve mankind and its scientific and technological progress till Doomsday. In other words the previous messages were preparatory steps and paving measures to groom mankind intellectually for the great task of shouldering this perfect message, and believing sincerely in it.
Therefore it was natural for the carriers of previous messages, Moses and Jesus (a.s.), to direct their followers to await this great revelation, and whole-heartedly accept its invitation by believing in the Seal of~, the prophets, Muhammad (s.a.w); as after him neither there will be a messenger nor a message. The sacred scriptures which contained many passages, indicating the coming of this great Prophet, exhorted their followers to await the auspicious event and gather under Muhammad's (s.a.w.) banner when he appears.
Despite the havoc wrought on the Torah and the Gospel by the rabbis and the priests, fragments remained in these very books, heralding the great Reformer. The Jews eagerly awaited the coming of a prophet promised by God to deliver and guide mankind. They even wrote books describing the signs of his appearance. Jews living in Yathreb' and other parts of Arabia and constantly embroiled with the idol worshipping pagan Arab tribes of Aws and the Khazraj , used to declare that as soon as the promised one will appear in this very land, he will put an end to the evil practices of these Arabs.
The following verses of the holy Qur'an beautifully describe these facts:
"And certainly We gave Moses the Book (Torah) and after him We sent (many) apostles one after another, and We gave Jesus, son of Mary, clear proofs (of Allah's sovereignty) and we strengthened him with the holy spirit (angel Gabriel). What! whenever then an apostle came to you with that (teachings) which your souls did not desire, you were insolent, so you called some (apostles) liars and some (apostles) you slew. And they (Jews) say: Our hearts are covered. Nay, Allah has cursed them on account of their unbelief; so little it is that they believe. And when there came to them a Book (Qur'an) from Allah, verifying that which they have (Torah), although before that they used to pray for victory over those who disbelieved, but when there came to them that (Prophet) which they did recognize, (to be the truth) they disbelieved in him; so Allah's curse is on the unbelievers. ”
Holy Qur’an (2:87-89)
The events which were foretold to the Jews in their books and which they were awaiting as manifest signs of the great Reformer's appearance did take place before the coming of Muhammad (s.a.w.), a fact towards which the Qur'an points:
".... although before that they used to pray for victory over those who disbelieved, but when there came to them that (Prophet) which they did recognize (to be the truth) they disbelieved in him... .”
Holy Qur’an (2:89)
Commenting on the revelation of the above verse, the Prophet's cousin, Abdullah Ibn Abbas who was a renowned exegete says: The Jews used to invoke Allah, in the name of the awaited Prophet (before declaration of Muhammad's (s.a.w.) prophethood) against the Arab tribes of Aws and Khazraj But when Allah commanded Muhammad (s.a.w.) to publicly announce his prophethood they disbelieved in him and went back on their words; on the pretext that he was not from the Israelites but was an Arab and thus they shamelessly denied what they used to say in his praise.
Upon this, three of the Arabs; Muadh ibn Jubail, Bishr ibn Bara and Dawud ibn Salamah, who had renounced idolatory and accepted Islam, reminded them in the following words: "0 Jews; Fear Allah and accept Islam; because you yourself used to pray for victory over us by the right of Muhammad (s.a.w.), while we were idolators, remember you used to praise him and foretell his prophethood and describe his attributes to us' To this Salam ibn Mushkim; the Jew, replied that Muhammad (s.a.w) brought nothing to them they knew and he is not the prophet, which they were telling about. To refute these Jewish denials the above verse was revealed.
Al-Aiyashi, in his famous exegesis on the holy Qur'an has recorded Imam Ja'afar As-Sadeq's (a.s.) narration to Abu Basir. The Imam says that the Jews had been informed in their books, that the migration (Hejira) route of the last Prophet would pass through somewhere between the places called Ayr' and Ohud'. in the Hejaz Keen to locate the place the Jews migrated to the Hejaz to await the eventual coming of the last Reformer.
Passing along Mount Hadad, they thought it rhymed perfectly with the predicted Ohud and they dispersed along the valley, making settlements in Taima', Fadak' and Khaiber'. After some time a group of Taima Jews longing to see their brethren, hired the services of a Bedouin and his camels, who promised to show them the predicted lands, called Ayr and Ohud. When the party reached the city of Yathreb (Medina) the Bedouin told them that this is Ayr and that is Ohud .
Immediately the Jews dismounted and informed the Bedouin that they no longer required either his services or his camels, because they had reached their avowed goal and intend to settle there. They wrote to their brethren in Fadak and Khaiber about their discovery of the promised place and invited them to join them in Yathreb. The Khaiber and Fadak Jews, as they had grown roots in those places showed reluctance in deserting their settlements, but however assured the Yathreb Jews, that since it is in close proximity to their places, when it happens (the appearance of the awaited Prophet), they will rush to Yathreb.
Gradually as time passed the Jews, profiting in trade and commerce amassed considerable wealth and bought large properties in and around Yathreb. Their new found wealth and prosperity attracted the Covetous eyes of Tubba', King of Yemen, who raided them. The Jews fortified themselves and after a long siege, the conflicting parties came to terms. King Tubba revealed his intentions of permanently settling in Yathreb, to which the Jews objected, saying that Yathreb being the future migration place of the expected Prophet, it is sacred to them and no one else may reside there until then. The King of Yemen persuaded them that in that case he will leave two of his near relatives from the Aws and Khazraj tribes in Yathreb , so that they may also support the promised Reformer when he appears.
In course of time the numbers of the Aws and Khazraj who were Arabs greatly increased and soon they started vying with the Jews for supremacy and laid their hands on Jewish lands and properties. It was during these conflicts against the idol-worshipping Arabs (the Aws and Khazraj tribes) that the Jews who were expecting the last Prophet and had migrated to Arabia solely for this purpose, used to rebuke the pagan Arabs by saying:
"When Muhammad (s.a.w.) finally appears, we shall drive you from our lands and properties.
But when Muhammad (s.a.w.) did finally appear and declared his prophethood, it were these very same Jews - who generations ago had come in his search - who rejected him saying that he was an Arab and not of the Israelites. Whereas the pagan Arabs of the tribes of Aws and Khazraj renounced idolatory, accepted Islam and rallied to his cause, for which ironically the Jews had waited so long, only to deviate at the last moment. Thus it is towards this fact that the Holy Qur'an draws attention.
"... although before that they used to pray for victory over those who disbelieved...” Holy Qur’an (2:89)
It will not be out of context to cite the following passages from the Old Testament, which to any discernible and rational mind are a pointer to the prophethood of Muhammad (s.a.w.)
"I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.”
"And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will requite it of him.”
"And as for Ishmael I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall be beget and I will make him a great nation.”
Genesis (17: 20)
"Here is My servant, whom I uphold, My chosen on in whom I delight, I have bestowed My spirit upon him and he will make justice shine on the nations. He will not call out or lift his voice high, or make himself heard in the open market. He will not break a bruised reed, or snuff out a smouldering wick; he will make justice shine on ever race, never faltering, never breaking down, he will plan justice on earth, while coasts and islands wait for hi teaching. Thus speaks the Lord Who is God, He Who created the skies and stretched them out, Who fashioned the earth and all that grows in it, Who gave breath to it people, the breath of life to all who walk upon it: I, the Lord, have called you with righteous purpose and taken you by the hand; I have formed you and appointed you to b a light to all peoples, a beacon for the nations... Let the wilderness and its towns rejoice, and the villages of the tribe of Kedar (Qaydarl.”
These prophesies could apply to none of the Hebrew prophets. Even Jesus (a.s.) made it plain that his mission was far from being universal, saying:
"I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”.
( Mathew 15:24)
His calling was limited and it was the later non Jewish converts, not Jesus (a.s.) who gave Christianity its inclusive nature. Nor was Jesus (a.s) or any of the Hebrew prophets related in any way to Kedar (Qaydar). In promising a great prophet from the Arabs, Isaiah (a.s) was merely amplifying the prophecy made previously by Moses (a.s). God revealed to Moses (Deuteronomy 18:18, 19) that a prophet would arise from the brothers of the Hebrews - the Arabs, who were children of the brother of Isaac, Ishmael (peace be upon them)- who would command world wide attention and obedience.
Ishmael's (a.s) descendants came to be known as Arabs, a term which in Hebrew, meant those who inhabited the Arabah' (desert). Further, of all the sons of Ishmael (a.s) the one mentioned most prominently in the Old Testament is Kedar. In some verses Kedar is synonymous with the Arabs in general. This is an important indication that the line of Kedar was marked by God for a unique purpose for it was from this line Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) sprang.