Muhammad foretold in the Bible: An Introduction
Abdus Sattar Ghauri
There are so many predictions in the Bible regarding the Prophet of Islām that refer to him in unequivocal terms. It is not a common practice to predict about some future prophet by name. There are only some very exceptional places where some coming prophet has been foretold in the Bible by name. One of these rare predictions is King Solomon’s (sws) “Song of Songs” in the OT of the Bible regarding the Prophet of Islām (sws).
(10) My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.
(11) His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.
(12) His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.
(13) His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.
(14) His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.
(15) His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.
(16) His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.1
As to the authorship of this lyric idyll2, there are different opinions. However, some authorities categorically ascribe it to King Solomon.
Some of the Christian commentators of the Bible apply this prophecy to Jesus Christ (sws); but the contents of the passage do not endorse it.
To ascertain the real significance of the prediction, one is to trace the exact Hebrew words uttered by King Solomon and to explore their meanings.
After the preliminary discourse in the chapter I and II, the main discussion has been resumed in chapter III of the book. The first phrase “my beloved” of the passage has been dealt with in this chapter. This phrase clearly settles the intent and relevance of the prophecy. The actual Hebrew word for “beloved” is “dod”, which means “friend, esp. an uncle, father’s brother; lover, beloved (son of father’s brother as customary husband)”. It signifies that the “beloved” relates to the lineage of paternal uncle of the writer. There being no father of Jesus, the question of paternal uncle does not arise in his case. If some uncle may be ascribed to him, it can only be his uncle from maternal side, whereas it is lexicographically out of question. In this way Jesus can by no means be considered to be the “dod” of this verse. Isaac is King Solomon’s forefather in his direct lineage. Ishmael is the brother of his forefather Isaac. As such Ishmael is the “uncle” of the King, and the Prophet Solomon and Muhammad (sws) is from the offspring of Ishmael. As such Muhammad (sws) is the “dod” of the King and the Prophet Solomon.
After explaining the first phrase of the first clause “My beloved is white and ruddy”, the last two words “white” and “ruddy” have been explored in detail in chapter IV. Its salient points have been afforded here.
The word “white/radiant” does not signify some spiritless, morbid, or deadly whitish colour. It rather stands for brightness, brilliance, and beauty of the countenance and sound health. The word “ruddy” means “to show blood (in the face), i.e. flush or turn rosy: be red”. The combination of both these words, i.e. “white and ruddy” depicts a comely figure of healthiness, strength, beauty and brightness. It reflects the exact features of the Prophet of Islām. They cannot be physically applied to Jesus Christ by any stretch of sense. He was literally neither “radiant” nor “ruddy”. They apply to the Prophet of Islam in true sense of the word. It is a historical fact that he was perfectly “radiant and ruddy”. The Christian scholars have vainly attempted to relate these words to Jesus Christ.
Chapter V deals with the phrase “the chiefest among ten thousand”. The original Hebrew word for the first English word of the phrase “The chiefest”, (or choicest) is “דגל” (dagal). Strong’s Heb. BD explains it as: “a prim root; to flaunt, i.e. raise a flag; figuratively to be conspicuous: (set up with) banners, chiefest.” Matthew Henry has explained it as “the chiefest among ten thousand”, “fairest of ten thousand”, “a standard bearer among ten thousand”, “He is higher than the kings of the earth and has obtained a more excellent name than any of the principalities and the powers of upper or lower world.” At the same time it may also be noted that this commentator had previously stated that Christ was not exceedingly beautiful or attractive in the words: “It was never said of the child Jesus, as of the child Moses, when he was born, that he was exceedingly fair [Acts vii.20]; nay, he had no form nor comeliness, Isa. liii.2);”3 It can thus be appreciated that (i) the Christian commentators of the Bible take these lines as a prophecy; (ii) they apply it to Jesus Christ; and (iii) they do not stick to its literal, natural, and obviously direct meanings. They rather interpret it in accordance with their predetermined and desired aims quite arbitrarily. Whereas it is an historical fact that these words cannot aptly be applied to any man on earth except the Prophet of Islam, who was the Leader of the “Conquest of Makkah” at the head of an army of ten thousand. Michael Hart has rightly ranked him as number one of all the human history observing, “My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history [stress added] who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels. (…). Furthermore, Muhammad (unlike Jesus) was a secular as well as a religious leader. In fact, as the driving force behind the Arab conquests, he may well rank as the most influential political leader of all time [stress added]. (…). Nothing similar had occurred before Muhammad, and there is no reason to believe that the conquest would have been achieved without him. (…). We see, then, that the Arab conquests of the seventh century have continued to play an important role in human history, down to the present day. It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history [stress added].”4
Chapter VI of the book is “His Head and Hair”. It deals with verse 11 of the “Song of Solomon”, which is: “His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.” The first clause of the verse is “His head is as the most fine [NKJV: “finest”; NIV: “purest”] gold.” Matthew Henry has defined the “head” as “sovereignty”. Strong’s “The Hebrew Bible Dictionary” also endorses it. The Hebrew word for the “head” is “ראש” (Ra’sh) which means “The head, captain, chief, principal, ruler, top”. The second important word in the clause is “gold” for which the Hebrew word is “פז” (paz). Strong’s Heb. BD explains it as: “pure (gold); hence gold itself (as refined): fine pure gold”. Keeping in view the above meanings of the original Hebrew words of the Bible, the sentence would mean: “His excellent rule and authority and sovereignty is flawless, pure and refined, beautiful and powerful,” as the monarchy of Nebuchadnezzar has been analogized with the head of gold in the book of Daniel. The commentator’s remarks: “Christ’s head bespeaks his sovereign dominion over all (…). Christ’s sovereignty is both beautiful and powerful,” need no comments. Everyone who has studied the biography of Jesus Christ knows it of certain that he never achieved any sovereignty anywhere. According to the gospels he was humiliatingly taken to the place of crucifixion. On the other hand this sentence presents a literal fulfilment in the person of the “Conqueror of Makkah.”
Jesus (sws) never achieved power and authority (sovereignty) in his life whereas the Prophet of Islam enjoyed full power and authority of the state of Madinah and consequently the whole of the Arabian Peninsula (and full respect and love of the believers) and his decisions and commands in that position had always been pure, beautiful, and flawless. Now it is unto the reader to decide in whose person the words of the Bible find their exact and literal fulfilment.
The next sentence of the verse is: “His locks are bushy [or wavy], and black as a raven” (KJV). The original Hebrew word for this “wavy” is “תלתל” (taltal), which, according to the Strong’s Dictionary of the Heb B., means: “A trailing bough (as pendulous); bushy”. It means that his hair was like a drooping (hanging or bending down) bough of a tree.
The second clause of the sentence is “and black as a raven.” The Original Hebrew for its first main word “black” is “sahar (shachar)” (שחר). Strong’s Heb. BD has explained it as: “[identical with 7836 through the idea of the duskiness of early dawn]; to be dim or dark (in colour): be black”. 7836 is: “to dawn” i.e. (fig) be (up) early at any task (with the implication. of earnestness); seek (diligently) early, in the morning.). The second main word of this clause is “raven”. The word used for it in the Hebrew Bible is “ערב” (‘arab/‘areb etc). Strong’s Heb. BD explains it under entry No. 6158 as: “A raven (from its dusky hue)”.
It may be noted here that “raven” is not the literal meaning of the Hebrew word “ערב”. It is its figurative meaning in view of its “dusky hue”. It may also be noted here that Arabic and Hebrew are similar and sister languages of Semitic family of languages and have lot of commonalities. Their basic alphabet consists of twenty-two letters (א, ב, ג, ד, ה, ו, ז, ח, ט, י, ךor כ, ל, ם or מ, ן or נ, ס, ע, ף or פ, ץ or צ, ק, ר, ש, ת); In addition to these 22 letters the Arabs framed six more letters (th, kh, dh, d, z, gh) to accommodate their additional sounds, which do not exist in the Hebrew alphabet. The Arabic letter “ghayn” (gh) is one of those six letters which do not exist in the Hebrew language. Now, there are two words ‘orab/arab and ghurab in Arabic; the former for an Arabian person and the latter for a raven or crow. The Hebrew alphabet, having no letter for “gh” sound, has only one word for both: “Arabian” and “crow”. It has no separate and independent word for a “raven” and uses the same word for an Arabian and a raven or crow. As such they cannot ascertain for which sense the Hebrew word “orab/arab” stands here. The translators of the Bible take it in the sense of a raven in view of dark colour of the hair, whereas actually it stands for an Arabian. Here is a study of some more meanings of the word. According to entry No. 6150 the word “ערב” (‘arab) means: “[identical with 6148 through the idea of covering with a texture]; to grow dusky at sun down:- be darkened, (toward) evening”. The same word, “ערב” (‘arab), has been explained under entry No. 6152 as: “In the fig. sense of sterility; Arab (i.e. Arabia), a country E. of Palestine”. It can also be “ערבי” (‘arabiy), which, according to the same Dictionary, means: “An Arabian or inhabitant of Arab (i.e. Arabia)”.
A lexical study of the sentence “His locks are bushy, and black as a raven” has been undertaken in the above lines. The results of the study and some further relevant information is being presented hereunder:
1. Basically the word “ערב” (‘arab) means: “to grow dusky at sun down: be darkened, (toward) evening, an Arab, an Arabian, or an inhabitant of Arabia”, and not a crow.
2. It also bears the sense of “sterility”. “Arabia” was given this name because of being basically a barren, sterile, and inarable land. It also implies “an Arabian or an Arab”.
3. Being void of the Arabic sound “gh”, the Hebrew language has only one word for both “a raven” and “an Arab”.
4. As to the word bushy/wavy the Hebrew word is “תלתל” (taltal), which, according to the Strong’s Dictionary of the Heb. B., means: “a trailing bough (as pendulous)”. “Bushy” or “wavy” is not its proper translation. “A trailing bough” is not bushy or wavy. It rather has a curl only at its end.
5. The hair of the Prophet of Islam have been depicted by different authorities as: The hair of his head and beard was thick: neither intertwistingly curly like those of Negroes nor quite straight. It had rather a light touch of curl. Even in his last years hardly twenty hairs had grown white, and they too were visible only when he had not anointed (applied oil to) them, which was a very rare phenomenon. Sometimes the locks of his hair went to the middle of his ears, sometimes to their end and at times even longer.
6. The hair of the Prophet of Islam was extremely black and remained as such till the end of his life. In the hair of both his head and beard there were not more than twenty white hairs. Even those were visible only when he had not anointed them. On the other hand the head and hairs of Jesus were extremely white, as can be appreciated from: “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow.5” So this part of the prophecy cannot be applied to Jesus whereas it exactly applies to the Prophet of Islam.
7. The proper translation of “His locks are bushy, and black as a raven” is: “There is a slight bend in his locks and they are extremely black. He is an inhabitant of Arabia”.
It is, therefore, not difficult to ascertain whom do these words indicate: the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad of Arabia (sws) or Jesus Christ (sws)? But it is surprising to note how the Christian scholars interpret or, rather, manipulate this statement in favour of Jesus Christ. Matthew Henry asserts:
(…) black as raven, whose blackness is his beauty. Sometimes Christ’s hair is represented as white (Rev. i:14), denoting his eternity, that he is the ancient of days; but here as black and bushy, denoting that he is ever young and that there is in him no decay, nothing that waxes. Everything that belongs to Christ is amiable in the eyes of a believer, even his hair is so; (…).6
The reader can easily appreciate the trickery of translation and interpretation in the above passage. How adroitly “white” has been proven to be “black”! Objective study is considered basic precondition for a just and impartial research. It demands that some theme should be presented faithfully in its actual form, and it should be interpreted according to the requirement of the context and the intent of the writer without twisting or manipulating it to one’s own intent and purpose. But in the above passage the skill of interpreting a theme quite contrary to its actual sense, has been exercised freely and unhesitatingly. It is by no means a faithful interpretation. It is obviously an example of misinterpretation and corruption.
Chapter VII relates to verse 12 of the “Song of Solomon” which deals with the eyes of Solomon’s beloved. The verse 12 reads as: “His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set”.
The Pulpit Commentary has explained the verse as: “The eyes are not only pure and clear, but with a glancing moistness in them which expresses feeling and devotion. (….). The pureness of the white of the eye is represented in the bathing or washing in milk. They are full and large, “fine in their setting,” (…).” Matthew Henry explains this verse as: “His eyes are as the eyes of doves, fair and clear, and chaste and kind, (…). They are washed, to make them clean, washed with milk, to make them white, and fitly set, neither starting out nor sunk in.”.
Jesus Christ’s detailed features of the countenance are available neither in the Bible nor in any other book. There are only some brief, casual, and partial glimpses of his features scattered here and there, which are quite useless and irrelevant to the qualities stated in this stanza of the “Songs”. The Christian scholars attach the qualities, which Solomon is describing about his “Praised One”, to Jesus Christ without any proof or relevance.7
It would be quite pertinent to explore the meanings of the word “fitly” of this verse in the first place. The original Hebrew word for it is “םלאת” (millayth). The Strong’s Heb. BD explains it as: “From 4390; fullness, i.e. (concretely) a plump [fat in a pleasant looking way] socket (of the eye)= X fitly.” The Hebrew word under entry No. 4390 is “םלא”, (mala). It means: “To fill or be full of; consecrate”. As such, the words for the beloved’s eyes, “fitly set”, would mean: “The eyes have been set in the face and forehead of the beloved of King Solomon in such a proportionate manner that they look to be beautiful, big, well-filled up, plump, risen up, and attractive.”
The other important word in this verse is “dove”, for which the original Hebrew word is “יונה”, i.e. “yownah”. Strong’s Heb. BD explains it as: “Probably from the same as 3196; a dove”. The Hebrew word under entry No. 3196 is “יין”, i.e. “yayin”. It has been explained as: “From an unused root meaning to effervesce; wine (as fermented); by implication intoxication.”
Keeping in view various meanings and implications of all the significant words of the above verse, it can be explained as follows: “The eyes have been set in the face and forehead of the beloved of King Solomon in such a proportionate manner that they look to be beautiful, big, well-filled up, plump, risen up, and attractive. His eyes exhibit the warmth of love and happiness. There are light red filaments in his eyes as if from intoxication. The eyes are not only pure and clear, but with a glancing moistness in them which expresses feeling and devotion. They are full and large. His eyes are as the eyes of doves, fair and clear, and chaste and kind.”
The worthy commentators of the Bible have arbitrarily attributed these details and qualities to Jesus Christ, but they do not afford any grounds for their claim. What has allegorically been stated is only out of their wishful thinking and designed purpose. There is no substantial proof or objective relevance in favour of their assertion. As already stated, the details of the figures of Jesus Christ have nowhere been given in the Bible. On the other hand, the details of the figures and features of the Prophet of Islam have so meticulously been recorded in authentic traditions that we feel as if he himself is present among us. The features of king Solomon’s beloved related in the Bible apply to the prophet of Islam so exactly and accurately that there remains no doubt in their relevance.
The details of the eyes of the Prophet of Islam have been recorded by the eyewitnesses through reliable chain of narrators in the books of the traditions and the biography of the Prophet. A brief sketch is given below:
His eyes were intensely black. Eyelashes were long. (…). The pupils of the eyes were extremely black. Eyeballs were extremely white [washed with milk]. (…). His eyes were large and very beautiful. Even without antimony it seemed as if he had applied antimony to his eyes. There were light red threads in his eyes (which depict the intoxication of his eyes as stated by the Heb. B. Dictionary). Eyelashes were thick and long.
Only one conspicuous feature is being elaborated here. As to the “light red threads in his eyes” and their largeness, Jabir reports:
The Apostle of Allah (sws) was large-eyed having light red threads in them.
There is so conspicuous concordance in the statement of the verse of the “Song” and the features of the Prophet of Islam that the reader would easily appreciate that King Solomon is describing here the features of none other than the Prophet of Islam himself.
Chapter VIII of the book deals with the verse 13 of the “Song of Solomon” which is about “His Cheeks and Lips”. The wording of the verse is “His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.” Firstly, the study of its first half “His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers,” is being undertaken. The first main word of the verse is “cheeks”. The Hebrew word for this “cheek” is “לחי” (lehiy). Strong’s Heb. DB has recorded its meanings as: “From an unusual root meaning to be soft; the cheek (from its fleshiness)”. The next main word of the verse is “bed” for which the Hebrew word is “ערוגה” (“Aroojah). According to Strong’s Heb. BD it means: “Something piled up (as if [figuratively] raised by mental aspiration.), i.e. bed, furrow”. The third important word of the clause is “spices” for which the Hebrew word in the Bible is “בשם” (besem). Strong’s Heb. DB has recorded its meanings as: “Fragrance; by impl. spicery; also the balsam plant: smell, spice, sweet (odour)”. The fourth main word of the clause is “sweet”. The original Hebrew word for it is “םרקח”, i.e. “merqah”. Strong’s Heb. BD has recorded its meanings as: “From 7543; a spicy herb:- X sweet”. And the meanings of entry No. 7543 are: “A primary root; to perfume; make [ointment]”. The last main word of the clause is “flowers”. The Hebrew word for it is “םגדל”, (mijdal). Its meanings in Strong’s Heb. DB are: “From 1431; a tower (from its size or height); figuratively a (pyramidal) bed of flowers”.
Keeping in view the above lexical research, the correct translation of the original Hebrew clause, which has been rendered into English as: “His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers” will be as below:
His raised up fleshy and soft cheeks, and the thick beard thereupon, seem as if they are layers of perfumes or heaps of fragrances. They are like the beds of small fragrant herbs and the pyramids of sweet smelling flowers.
If someone tries to trace these qualities in the person of Jesus Christ, he is bound to face utter disappointment. On the other hand, if it be tried to trace these qualities in the life of the Prophet of Islam, the veracity of its application to the Prophet of Islam will be fully confirmed.
Matthew Henry has vainly applied this sentence of the “Song” to Jesus Christ. The worthy commentator is the king of the world of letters and the master of the realm of rhetoric. But the words of King Solomon cannot be applied to Christ through verbosity, eloquence, and credulity. It requires objective study and authentic references. Although the writer is an erudite scholar, it is impossible for him to afford some credible evidence in favour of his assertion; and how can he present it when there is none on the record whatsoever. He has adroitly endeavoured to cover the unavailability of the evidential data through his eloquence, but how can the lack of evidence be made up with the verbosity in the realm of historical presentations!
The second and the last clause of the verse is: “His lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh”. The first important word in the clause is “lips”. The original Hebrew word for it is “שפה” (shaphah), which means: “The lip; by implication, language, speech, talk, words”. The next important word is “lilies”. The original word for it is “שושן”, (shoshan). It means: “a primary root; to be bright, i.e. cheerful: be glad, X greatly, joy, make mirth, rejoice”. The next main word of this part of the verse is “dropping”. The original word for it is “נטף” (nataph). It means: “a primary root; to ooze, i.e. distill gradually; by impl to fall in drops; figuratively to speak by inspiration, prophesy”. The last word of the verse is “myrrh”. Its original Hebrew is “מר” or “מור” (more). It means: “From 4843 [which is “to be or make bitter”]; myrrh (as distilling in drops, and also as bitter)”.
After having explained the meanings of all the important original Hebrew words of this clause of the verse, its correct sense would be:
His lips are bright and beautiful like a lily flower. The rejoicing, greeting, and bright word that comes out of them, is altogether prophecy and inspiration. There is the fragrance and sweetness of lawful and clean acts and edibles in it as well as a limited and meagre quantity of the bitterness of unlawful and unclean ones and this bitterness ultimately results in fragrance which brings pleasant feelings. The implied brightness of “lilies” includes the brightness and light that radiated physically from the lips of the Prophet.
The qualities of the lips (and, by implication speech) of the Prophet of Islam (sws) have been reproduced in the text of the book from lucid traditions and a few selected verses of the Qur’an. Their concordance to the attributes described by Solomon does not depend on some allegory, symbolism, or figurativeness. But there is clearly a literal application in them. On the other hand, they can by no means be applied to Jesus Christ through any stretch of sense.
Chapter IX of the book deals with the verse 14 of the “Song of Solomon”, which is about “His Hands and Belly”. The wording of the verse is: “His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires”. There are two clauses in this verse. The first clause is: “His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl”. The original Hebrew word for “hand” is “יד”, i.e. “Yad”. According to Strong’s Hebrew DB its meanings are: “A hand (the open one) [indicating power, means, i.e. resources and money etc.], in distinction from 3709 (“כף”, i.e. “kaph”), the closed one; used in a great variety of applications, both literally and figuratively, both proximate and remote, dominion, force”. As such, it indicates open and stretched hands, which are the symbol of power, authority, and generosity. The next main word of this part of the verse is “gold”, which in Hebrew is “paz” (פז). It means: “From 6388 [which is, “פלג” (i.e. Falaj), meaning “river, stream”]; pure (gold); hence gold itself (as refined):- fine (pure) gold”. Then there is the word “ring”, for which the Hebrew word is “גליל”. Its pronunciation is “galiyl”. The meanings of this word and its roots have been explained in Strong’s Hebrew DB under entries No.1550, 59, 60 as: “A valve of a folding door; also a ring (as round); great”. According to the Heb. and Aramaic Lexicon of the OT the word, with reference to “Song 5:14” means: “a round rod or ring”. It is the same as the Arabic word “Jalil”; which has the same meanings, i.e., “great; significant etc.”
Keeping in view the literal meanings and real sense of the original Hebrew words of this clause of the verse, its translation would be:
His out-stretched hands are the symbol of his great power, authority, and generosity. Physically and apparently, they are clean bright, soft, smooth and precious like gold. He wears a ring in his finger wherein beryl and topaz have been inlaid properly.
The conditions and qualities of the hands of Jesus Christ have nowhere been recorded in history, but the holy and reliable companions of the Prophet of Islam did not show any negligence in making the history rich through recording the details of the features of even the hands of their beloved Prophet (sws). Hind bin Abi Halah states: “His wrists were long, his palms were large, and his fingers elongated to a suitable extent”. Anas states: “Any thick or thin silk cloth that I ever happened to touch, was not softer than the palms of the Prophet (sws)”.
As regards the power of his hands (outstretched hands) it implies both his physical power and his authority. As to the physical power of his limbs, it is interesting to note that he defeated Rukanah, the most powerful wrestler among the Qurayshites” who invited him to a bout. The Prophet threw him down and defeated him. Once, when Muhammad (sws) was still a boy, he was invited to a dinner at ‘Abdullah bin Jud’an’s house. Abu Jahl scrapped (quarrelled) with him. He was almost a boy of the same age. Muhammad (sws) lifted him up and threw him down so as his knee was wounded. Abu Jahl sustained its scar for the whole of his life.
As to the authority of the Prophet of Islam it is to be noted that he started his life as a penniless orphan, but when he left this world, he wielded sole authority over whole of the Arabian peninsula which was thriving and spilling over the boundaries of Arabia in all dimensions.
The third implication of the outstretched hands, as explained by Strong’s Hebrew BD, is generosity. It is clearly recorded that the Prophet of Islam was extremely generous and did not like to hoard money for his own self. He never said “No” to anyone who solicited him for something. Similarly, he was even more generous during the month of Ramadan.
The Christian scholars explain the verse of King Solomon’s prophecy in almost similar terms. Only one excerpt, from The Pulpit CB, is recorded: “Surely it is the outstretched hands that are meant. The form of the fingers is seen and admired; they are full round, fleshy like bars of gold”.
Obviously, the explanations of the worthy Christian scholars find their fulfilment only in the person of the Prophet of Islam. The search of these qualities in Jesus Christ or to apply these explanations to the person of Jesus Christ is merely a vain effort, which can be based on internal credulity and not on some solid, authentic, and objective reality.
The remaining part of the verse is: “His belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires”. The Pulpit Commentary has explained it as: “The comparison with ivory work refers to the glancing and perfect smoothness and symmetry as of a beautiful ivory statue, the work of the highest artistic excellence. The sapphire covering tempers the white. The beautiful blue veins appear through the skin and give a lovely tint to the body”.
No proof or reference can be afforded to attach these details in favour of the person of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, the details of the features of the Prophet of Islam have been completely recorded. “Ali reports: “The Prophet had no hair on his body except a thin line of hair from chest to navel”.
There is no need of any explanation or interpretation. The words speak of themselves who the “Beloved” and the “Praised One” of King Solomon had been. Obviously the words literally apply to the Prophet of Islam. They can in no sense be applied to Jesus Christ.
Chapter X of the book deals with the verse 15 of the “Song of Solomon”, which is about “His Legs and Countenance”. The wording of the verse is “His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.” This verse includes two independent descriptions. The first description relates to the legs of the “beloved” and the second one relates to his countenance. First sentence of the verse is: “His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold”. The Pulpit Commentary explains it as follows: “So in the description of the legs we have the combination of white and gold, the white marble setting forth greatness and purity, and the gold sublimity and nobleness; intended, no doubt, to suggest that in the royal bridegroom, there was personal beauty united with kingly majesty”. The commentator asserts that these words undoubtedly signify the combination of personal beauty and kingly majesty in the bridegroom. As far as “Personal Beauty” is concerned: “It was never said of the child Jesus, as of the child Moses, when he was born, that he was exceedingly fair [Acts vii.20]; nay, he had no form nor comeliness, Isa. liii.2)”. As to his “Kingly Majesty”, it is not a statement of fact, but is a grave mockery, to assign it to a person, about whom it is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew: “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium [governor’s residence] and gathered the whole garrison around Him. And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knees before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head”. When the description of the evangelists regarding the last days of Jesus Christ be studied, one comes across an unsteady, unstable, and wavering person. On the one hand, he wishes, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup [of death] pass from Me”. On the other hand, he seems to accept it half-heartedly saying, “nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Whereas the so-called last words claimed to have been uttered by Jesus, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?) reveal the belief in the Oneness and Omnipotence of God, at the same time they show his human limitations and complaint. Keeping in view the critical nature of the moment, they are not compatible with the ideals of perseverance and steadfastness. No doubt they are very apt and meaningful for supplication in solitude, but pronouncing these words openly in public at the time of suffering reveal lack of commitment, courage and confidence in one’s mission and ideals. “Stateliness”, “steadfastness”, and “magnificence” are quite irrelevant words for Jesus Christ. Such words can neither be applied literally nor figuratively to the life of Jesus Christ; on the other hand, they are quite relevant to the life of the Prophet of Islam. The unwavering steadfastness of the Prophet of Islam in extremely adverse circumstances of the battlefields of Badr and Hunayn is a rare phenomenon in the annals of the world history. Keeping in view these facts, one is forced to admit the adroitness of Matthew Henry to twist the facts in his favour. He asserts: This bespeaks his stability and steadfastness; where he sets his foot he will fix it; he is able to bear all the weight of government that is upon his shoulders [one is at a loss to find any substance to this blatant misstatement], and his legs will never fail under him. This sets forth the stateliness and magnificence of the going of our God, our King, in his sanctuary. When these words of King Solomon are compared to the facts and features of the Prophet of Islam, one is not to face any disappointment.
White colour is generally associated with silver and marble. The association of the legs in the “Song” with marble indicates their white and bright colour and it is an established fact that the Prophet of Islam was of white colour as has been explained in the text of the book. This association of the legs with marble indicates strength and beauty. The Prophet’s hands and feet were heavy, large and magnificent. It is a common phenomenon that the parts of the body which remain covered under the clothes are white whereas the colour of the parts of the body of even the white people which are open to sun (as the feet be), becomes brownish (golden), especially in hot countries. The slim shanks resembling white marble pillars on the brown, bulky, and beautiful feet (sockets of gold), present a true and exact picture of the beloved of King Solomon. Whoever compares King Solomon’s account of his beloved’s relevant features with the features of the Prophet of Islam, would face no difficulty in discovering the reality. It would be interesting to note that detailed account of even the commentators of the Bible tallies only with the Prophet of Islam, and the features of Jesus Christ have nothing to do with it.
The second part of verse 15 is: “His countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars”. Matthew Henry explains this sentence as: “His countenance (his port and mien) is as Lebanon, that stately hill; his aspect beautiful and charming, like the prospect of that pleasant forest or park, excellent as the cedars, which, in height and strength, excel other trees, and are of excellent use. Christ is a goodly person; the more we look upon him the more beauty we shall see in him”.
The Hebrew Bible word for “countenance” is “מראה”, i.e. “mar’eh”. It means: “From 7200 [ra’ah; a primary root; to see, literally or figuratively: advise, approve, appear, consider, perceive, think]; a view (the act of seeing); also an appearance (the thing seen), whether (real) a shape (esp. if handsome, comeliness; often plural, the looks), or (mental) a vision… countenance, fair, favoured.”
It can thus be interpreted as follows:
His apparent beauty and comeliness, his lovely appearance and attractive features, his comprehensive looks and lofty ideals, his deep thoughts and far-sightedness are like Lebanon.
The literal meanings of Lebanon are “heart, courage, intellect and understanding”. The cumulative sense of this simile can be interpreted as below:
The beloved of King Solomon is like beautiful snow-covered mountains of Lebanon in apparent beauty and comeliness. His eyes are replete with love and affection. On the one hand he is a huge and high mountain of courage and valour and on the other hand, he is great in his intellect, understanding, and right thinking.
It has been explained above that according to the account of the New Testament these qualities cannot be attributed to Jesus Christ. On the other hand, as far as the Prophet of Islam is concerned, it depicts his complete picture.
The second simile of the sentence is “excellent as the cedars.” The Hebrew word for this “excellent” is “בחר”, i.e. “bahar”. It means: “To try, i.e. (by impl.) select, acceptable, appoint, choose (choice), excellent, join, be rather, require”.
The beautiful colour and silk-like softness and smoothness of its wood, the beauty of the fabrication of its tissues, its tenacity and durability, its immunity and resistance against termite and corrosion, its soft and perpetual fragrance, the strength and firm ground grip of its roots, its long life, vast spreading of its branches and its soothing shade, its lofty stature make it matchless in value and quality. Thus the simile can be explained as follows:
This magnificent, choicest, and distinguished person of the tribe of Kedar and the impressive, invincible, and sweet word of Allah presented by him are beneficial and benevolent and the beauty and virtue incarnate like the cedar tree. He is esteemed and cherished as the fragrant, good-looking, strong, smooth, and soft cedar wood is. The grip of his root (base or foot) is firm. His branches (influence of his teachings) are stretched far and wide. He is extremely pleasant, agreeable and desirable.
Chapter XI, XII, XIII, XIV of the book deal with the next and the last verse (16) of this prophecy which is the most important one. In extreme love and devotion King Solomon pronounces even the name of his beloved, which is a rare phenomenon in the history of the Biblical prophecy. The wording of the verse is: “His mouth is most sweet, yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.” Its first clause, “His mouth is most sweet” has been explained in Chapter XI under the heading of the “Speech of His Mouth”.
This clause has been explained by the Pulpit Commentary as: “His mouth was all sweetness (the literal rendering), both his holy words and his gracious looks. (…). The very tones of that most sacred voice must have had an indescribable sweetness”. Thus it becomes clear that the word “mouth” of this clause stands for “speech”. It has not been used here in the literal sense of the physical “mouth” or “lips”. The word “mouth” has been used in the Bible a number of times in the same sense.
It may be noted here that the Prophet of Islam conveyed two things through his mouth: the Holy Qur”an and his own words regarding the Islamic culture.
As regards his own words, they are admitted to be very sweet and eloquent. Some of his sayings have been recorded in the text of the book.
The case of the Qur’an is the same. It is a masterpiece of its kind and style of literature. Some excerpts from the Holy Qur’an that exhibit its eloquence, sweetness and captivating force have been recorded in the text of the book.
A brief study of external evidence has also been afforded in the text of the book which shows that the Holy Qur’an is universally admitted to be sweetness in itself. Some of the non-Muslim scholars have also acknowledged it. A few instances have been afforded here:
Henry Stubbe asserts:
(…). The language, the stile [sic.], the numbers are all so exquisite and inimitable, that Mahomet himself doth frequently urge this as the grand authentic testimony of his Apostleship, that the Alcoran doth surpass all human wit and Fancy, and offered to be accounted an Imposter if any man could but write ten verses equal to any therein. (…). The Truth is I do not find any understanding Author who controverts the Elegancy of the Alcoran, it being generally esteemed as standard of the Arabic language and eloquence.10
George Sale is a renowned Orientalist. He has undertaken great labour to prove that the Qur’an is not the word of Allah, but is the work of Muhammad. He translated the Qur’an (with footnotes) into English and gave it the name of “alkoran of Muhammad”. In the beginning of it he wrote a detailed introduction under the heading of “The Preliminary Discourse”. In section “3” of this introduction he was forced to pay due compliments to the impressiveness and sweetness of the Qur’an. Here are some excerpts from this “Preliminary Discourse”:
The Koran is universally allowed to be written with the utmost elegance and purity of language, (…). It is confessedly the standard of the Arabic tongue, (.…). Mohammed himself chiefly appeal for the confirmation of his mission, publicly challenging the most eloquent men in Arabia, (…) to produce even a single chapter that might be compared with it. (…). A poem of Labid Ibn Rabia, one of the greatest wits in Arabia in Mohammed’s time, being fixed up on the gate of temple of Mecca, an honour allowed to none but the most esteemed performances, none of the other poets durst offer any thing of their own in competition with it. But the second chapter of the Koran being fixed up by it soon after, Labid himself (then an idolater) on reading the first verses only, was struck with admiration, and immediately professed the religion taught thereby, declaring that such words could proceed from an inspired person only. (…).Very extra-ordinary effects are related of the power of words well chosen and artfully placed, which are no less powerful either to ravish or amaze than music itself; wherefore as much has been ascribed by the best orators to this part of rhetoric as to any other. He must have a very bad ear who is not uncommonly moved with the very cadence of a well-turned sentence; and Mohammed seems not to have been ignorant of the enthusiastic operation of rhetoric on the minds of men; (…), and so strangely captivated the minds of his audience, that several of his opponents thought it the effect of witchcraft and enchantment, as he sometimes complains.11
Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Sa‘d have recorded the event of Tufayl b. ‘Amr Dawsi’s embracing Islam, which is a great evidence of the captivating force of the eloquence of the Qur’an. the same is the case of the Islam of ‘Umar Ibn Khattab.
There are a number of instances of the impressiveness of the beautiful style of the speech of the Prophet and the words of the Qur’an. This is rather the sole source of the expansion and diffusion of Islam. One more event regarding ‘Utbah Ibn Rabi‘ah (Abu Sufyan’s father-in-law) has been afforded in the text of the book to elaborate the theme further.
The book of Allah presented by the Prophet of Islam, the holy Qur’an, is a living miracle as to its matchless beauty of style, impressive words, rhetoric, revolutionaryness, and comprehensiveness, for all times to come. In addition to it, the easy, brief, and compact sayings of the holy Prophet are also unique in impressiveness, rhetoric, wisdom, and sweetness. On the other hand the words of Jesus Christ are not to be found on the face of earth that some one may reckon their sweetness, beauty of style or impressiveness. Whatever one finds in the N. T. of the Bible, is not the original Aramaic word of Jesus Christ. The original words of Jesus Christ were never recorded and published in black and white in the Aramaic language, in which he had delivered them. The Gospels that one finds in the New Testament of the Bible today, are the composition of some oral traditions regarding Jesus’ life by some almost unidentified persons. Moreover, they were written in the Greek language from the very beginning. They had never been recorded in the language in which they were originally delivered by Jesus Christ. As such it can be safely asserted that the words “his mouth is most sweet” can by no stretch of sense be applied to the words of Jesus Christ. It is only the Prophet of Islam on whom the words “his mouth is most sweet” pertinently apply.
Chapter XII of the book deals with the second clause of verse 16 of the “Song of Solomon”. The wording of the verse is “He is altogether lovely”. The heading of the chapter is: “He is Exactly Muhammad the Magnificent”.
The English word “altogether” stands for the Hebrew word “כל” (k+l, i.e. Kull), which means: “From 3634: the whole; (in) all manner, altogether, whatsoever”. Entry No. 3634 means: “To complete: (make) perfect”. The next word is “lovely” which, according to the Revised Standard Version, is “desirable”. In Hebrew it is “םחםדים” (M+H+M+D+I+M). Heb. DB records the meanings of m+h+m+d “םחםד” as: “From 2530; delightful; hence a delight, i.e. object of affection or desire: beloved, desire, goodly, lovely, pleasant”. 2530 is “(h+m+d): a prim. Root; to delight in; beauty, greatly beloved, covet (desire eagerly); delectable (delightful, pleasant) thing, desire, pleasant, precious”.
First of all, it is to be noted that it is the sole place in the whole of the Heb. Bible where this word “םחםדים” (M+H+M+D+I+M) has been used in its present form and has nowhere else been used in the Bible in this form.
Secondly, the Hebrew word consists of six letters (m-h-m-d-i-m). The last two letters (I,m) denote the plurality for majesty and honour. The word “Elohim” (the Lord, God) is a very pertinent and relevant example of it. The Jews are monotheist people and they believe in the unity of God. Still they generally use the plural form of the word “Eloha”, i.e. “Elohim” as a gesture of majesty and honour. There are other examples in the Bible as well where this suffix has been used for the words other than “God”. The preceding clause of this very verse (his mouth is “most sweet”) is a clear example of it. Here the Hebrew word for “most sweet” is “םםתקים” (mamittaqim), which is the plural of “mamittaq” and means “plural of sweet: sweets”. It has been rendered as “most sweet” by the translators of the Bible, which denotes the grandeur of quality and not the plurality of number. It indicates that “His utterance (mouth) bears every kind of sweetness and beauty in the most perfect form.” There are examples of a number of names of places which have been given in the Bible in the plural or dual form, whereas they stand for singular places, e. g. Mt. Gerizim, Mizraim, etc. Thirdly, the Heb. Dictionary states that its primary root is “hmd” under entry No. 2530. “Muhammad” is an adjectival passive participle from this root, which means “Object of love and praise and liking”. Of course it is a meaningful word, but here it has been used as a proper noun. It is a common practice in the Bible that most of its proper nouns are meaningful words as well. It is the context that ascertains whether the word has been used as a proper noun or as a meaningful word.
In the passage under study, Solomon describes attributes of his beloved: he is beautiful; he is powerful; he has such and such attributes; he belongs to Arabia; his speech or the utterance of his mouth is most sweet; etc. The listener would now naturally like to know his proper identity. That’s why Solomon tells them “he is by all means Muhammad the Excellent [about whom I have already told you that he is the inhabitant of Arabia].”
Fourthly, Muhammad being a meaningful word, the Prophet of Islam is out and out Muhammad in true sense of the word. Its meanings in Hebrew have been given above. In Arabic as well it has similar meanings. Edward W. Lane has given its meanings as: “To approve; to be such as is praised, commended, and approved”. He explains the word “Muhammad” as: “A man praised much, or repeatedly, or time after time: (L.K.) endowed with many praiseworthy qualities”.
Fifthly, some prominent Christian commentators of the Bible apply the words “He is altogether lovely/desirable” to Jesus Christ. The Pulpit Commentary asserts: Verse 16. “Altogether lovely [םחםדים וכלו (w+kull+u Mhmd+im)].” We apply these words to the Lord Jesus Christ, and affirm that they are true of him. (…), but Christ is the Beloved of all ages”.
You “apply these words to the Lord Jesus Christ, and affirm that they are true of him.” But on what ground? The words, spoken by Solomon in Hebrew, pronounce: “wa kullu Muhammadim [this is the correct pronunciation of the Hebrew words “םחםדים וכלו”]”. They mean: “He is altogether Muhammad the Great and Magnificent”. To whom an impartial listener would apply these words: to Muhammad or to Jesus Christ? It is, moreover, to be noted that Solomon had just narrated the attributes of his “praised one” in this passage in a fair detail which explicitly apply to Muhammad only and not to Jesus Christ in any way.
Sixthly, the word “Muhammadim” (in the plural form for majesty) has been used only once in the entire OT of the Bible. Besides this, it has been used in the Hebrew Bible for nine times as a derivative of “חםד” (h+m+d). At all these nine places it has been used in singular form and as a common noun. It has neither been used with the sign of plurality “im”; nor it indicates a proper noun at any of these places. At all those nine places the Hebrew spellings of the word are “םחםד” (M+H+M+D). It can be pronounced in three ways: “Mahmad”, or “Mahmud”, or “Muhammad”. The primary root of all these three words is “חםד” (h+m+d) and the meanings of all these three forms are similar: “lovely, desire/desired, object of praise, pleasant, delight, etc”. At all those nine places the Hebrew word “םחםד” had either been “Mahmad” or “Mahmud”, because here the context demands a meaningful word. Here it could certainly not have been “Muhammad”, which is an Arabic word used as a proper noun with the sign of “plurality for majesty”, i.e., “im”.
In the passage of the “Song” under discussion here, Solomon, after giving fairly detailed attributes of his beloved from his uncle ancestor (Ishmael)’s progeny, pronounces his actual proper name “Muhammad”, which, according to the unvocalized consonantal alphabet, was inevitably to be written as “M+H+M+D”. When there genuinely and physically exists an exact application of this word, which fitly suits the context, it is misleading to translate this proper noun or to apply it to Jesus Christ.
Chapter XIII of the book deals with the third clause of verse 16 of the “Song of Solomon”. The wording of this clause is “This is my beloved, and this is my friend”. The heading of the chapter is: “My Beloved My Friend”.
The Hebrew word which has been translated here as “beloved” is “דוד” (dod). The Dictionary of the Hebrew Bible has recorded its meanings as: “Lover, friend, spec. an uncle, beloved, father’s brother, uncle”. It shows that the “beloved Muhammadim”, whom King Solomon mentions here, does not belong to his real brothers, i. e. the Israelites. He rather belongs to Israel (Jacob)’s uncle Ishmael. The Israelites have applied it to Jesus Christ without any ground, because he can by no means be called an uncle from the paternal side, as he was not from the seed of any man. He was miraculously born without any father whatsoever. As to his maternal side as well he cannot be called Solomon’s dod (uncle or cousin): firstly, because his mother, the Virgin Mary, was not from the seed of any of Solomon’s uncles, but was from the direct lineage of King Solomon (see Mt, chapter i; Lk iii:23-38); and secondly, because the word can only be applied to “father’s brother” and cannot be applied to “mother’s brother”. In this way King Solomon made his statement more clear by saying that this “beloved” of mine is not a stranger to me, he is rather my cousin. If Solomon had intended to point to some of his friends, he should have used the word “אהב” (‘ahab), which means: “Love; beloved; lovely; friend”. But the more pertinent Hebrew word to be used should have been “ידיד” (yedeed), whose feminine is “ידידה” (yedeedeh), both of which are from the same primary root as “dod” and mean “loved, amiable, beloved, an Israelite or Israelitess”. Had Solomon’s “beloved” been from the Israelite lineage, he must have used the word “yedeed” and not “dod”. But he has scrupulously, cautiously, precisely, and intentionally used the proper word “dod”, which exclusively means a cousin from the line of father’s brother and not a brother from the real father’s side. Had Solomon intended to refer to some Israelite personality, he would definitely have used the word “ידיד” (yedeed).
The last word of this verse is “friend”, which is one of the most important and decisive words of this prophecy. The Hebrew word used for it by King Solomon is “רע or ריע” (rea’ or reya’). According to Strong’s Heb. BD it means: “7453. From 7462; an associate (more or less close); companion, fellow, lover, neighbour, another”. And the entry No. 7462 “רעה” (ra’ah) means: “A prim. Root, to tend a flock, gen. To rule, to associate with (as a friend), companion, herdman shepherd”. The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the OT has also recorded, inter alia, its meanings as: “Comrade, companion, neighbour, someone’s colleague, neighbour with a shared boundary, another”. In this way King Solomon makes this prophecy of his more clear. He explains that his this friend is:
i) His Comrade, companion, and colleague, i. e., he (Muhammadim) is an apostle, a prophet, and a king like him (Solomon). It may be borne in mind here that Jesus Christ had never been a king in worldly terms. Moreover the Christians believe him to be the Son of God, and not a prophet.
ii) He (Muhammadim) does not belong to his (Solomon’s) own land, Canaan, but he is from his neighbouring country with shared boundary (Arabia), which is the ground reality without any doubt. On the contrary, Jesus was his country-fellow and cannot be called his neighbour.
iii) He (Muhammadim) is his associate as a prophet (more or less close); but at the same time he is not from the lineage of Israel, because:
iv) He (Muhammadim) is from “another”, i.e. he is an Ishmaelite, whereas Jesus Christ was very much an Israelite and cannot be attributed as “another”.
v) He (Muhammadim) is a ruler, whereas Christ had never been a ruler in worldly terms.
vi) He (Muhammadim) had also remained a herd-man or shepherd (at his early age) whereas Jesus Christ had never been a shepherd or herdman. He can hardly be claimed to be other than a carpenter.12
All these qualities can truly be applied only to the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (sws).
Now there remains only the last phrase of the prophecy to be explored, which is: “O daughters of Jerusalem”. It has been explained in Chapter XIV of the book.
“Daughters” here obviously mean citizens or inhabitants; whether male or female. As regards the original Hebrew word for the next word “Jerusalem”, it is “yer-oo-shaw-lah-yim” (ירושלים). The Strong’s Heb. BD explains it as: “yer-oo-shaw-lah-yim A dual (in allusion to its two main hills); founded peaceful; Jerushalaim or Jerushalem, the capital city of Palestine, Jerusalem”. Hastings BD has recorded a scholarly research on this word. It says:
(…), Its meaning (as spelt U-ru-sa-lem and URU- sa-lim) is “city of Salim,” or “city of peace”, which agrees with the rendering by Jesenius, “abode of peace”. (…), and the word Sa-lem is elsewhere found in the Tel-el-Amerna letters with the meaning of peace. (…) The monumental spelling favours the view that the city may have been first called Salem only; but it is not doubtful that it was called Jerusalem as early as the time of Joshua.13
It thus becomes clear that Jerusalem stands for “city of peace” or “abode of peace”, which, in Arabic language is “al-Balad al-Amin” or “Dar al-Salam”. But it should be noted here that the word used in the Bible at this place is not Jerusalem, i.e. in singular number; it is rather “ירושלים” (yer-oo-shaw-lah-yim) in dual number, implying two Jerusalems, for which the Strong’s Heb. BD arbitrarily claims to be “in allusion to its two main hills”. It is as if to say that the phrase “two eggs” means only one egg in allusion to its two parts: its yoke and its white (albumen). It can thus be appreciated that as the phrase “two eggs” stands for two different eggs and not for two parts within one egg; in the same way the phrase “two Jerusalems” would mean two different Jerusalems or two different cities with the name Jerusalem; and not two hills in one Jerusalem. It thus signifies that King Solomon is telling the citizens of both the abodes or cities of Peace, bearing the same name of “Jerusalem”, that his beloved of the progeny of his uncle Ishmael belongs to his neighbouring country, Arabia, and he is none other than Muhammad the Magnificent.
Let us now consider what the phrase “two Jerusalems” actually signifies. The Israelites are well acquainted with the Jerusalem (city of peace) of Canaan, which relates to them, but where is the second Jerusalem (city of peace)? Its answer is unequivocally recorded in the New Testament of the Bible. It says:
Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.14
It means that, according to Paul, the “city of peace” of the Israelites is Jerusalem; whereas the “city of peace” of the Ishmaelites is Makkah, which, in Arabic, is called “al-Balad al-Amin15”
As far as the Jerusalem (“city of peace”) of the Ishmaelites (Makkah, which, in the Holy Qur’an, is named as “al-Balad al-Amin”) is concerned, students of history know it well that it has always remained a “city of peace”. Even Abraha al-Ashram of Yemen could not harm or desecrate it.
As far as the Jerusalem (“city of peace”) of the Israelites is concerned, a very brief account of its destructions is afforded hereunder from the Illustrated Bible Dictionary:
As early as the 5th year of Solomon’s successor Rehoboam, the Temple and royal palace were plundered by Egyptian troops (1Ki. 14:25f.). Philistine and Arab Marauders again plundered the palace in Jehoram’s reign. In Amaziah’s reign a quarrel with the king of the N kingdom, Jehoash, resulted in part of the city walls being broken down, and fresh looting of Temple and palace. (…). Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon captured Jerusalem in 597 and in 587 BC destroyed the city and the Temple. At the end of that century the Jews, now under Persian rule, were allowed to return to their land and city, and they rebuilt the Temple, but the city walls remained in ruins until Nehemiah restored them in the middle of the 5th century BC. (…). In about 168 BC, Antiochus IV entered Jerusalem, destroying its walls and plundering and desecrating the Temple; (…). Roman Generals forced their way into the city in 63 and 54; a Parthian army plundered in 40 [BC]; and three years after that Herod the Great had to fight his way into it, to take control. He first had to repair the damage created by these various incursions; then he launched a big building programme, erecting some notable towers. (…). The Jewish revolt against the Romans in AD 66 could have but one conclusion; in AD 70 the Roman General Titus systematically forced his way into Jerusalem, and destroyed the fortifications and the Temple.16
The calamities of Jerusalem were not without reason. The Israelites had worked hard to deserve it. Some of the relevant excerpts have been recorded in the body of the book which show that they rebelled against the Lord; they had forsaken Him, they had provoked to anger the Holy One of Israel, and they were sinful people.
The sanctity and peace of Jerusalem had been destroyed so many times that the application of the word Jerusalem (city of peace) to it becomes a joke. And they aptly deserved this destruction due to their wickedness, for which their prophets had been warning them.
This is the fate of the security of the so-called “city of peace”. Israel herself caused the desecration of the holy city. She could not guard the sanctity of her Jerusalem. But there is another Jerusalem (city of peace) of Arabia. It is Jerusalem (city of peace) in true sense of the word. Nobody was allowed to capture it for destruction and plunder. It remained a “city of peace” forever.
Solomon addresses the inhabitants of both these Jerusalems (the Israelites and the Ishmaelites) to be cautious, conscious, and alert to welcome the apostle of Allah who is his Ishmaelite cousin. There is a message in it for his Israelite brothers not to show callousness towards this apostle from the progeny of Ishmael and not to behave like the Israelite damsel who did not open to her beloved when he was calling her, but when he went away she repented.
The love, respect, and gratitude of King Solomon for his beloved Ishmaelite cousin was not without reason. His Israelite brothers had attached a lot of blasphemy, religious and moral turpitude and had indulged in his character assassination. Here is an excerpt from W. Smith’s DB:
And the King soon fell from the loftiest height of his religious life to the lowest depth. Before long the priests and prophets had to grieve over rival temples to Molech, Chemash, Ashtroth, and forms of ritual not idolatrous only, but cruel, dark, impure. This evil came as the penalty of another. 1Kings 11:1-8. He gave himself to “strange women.” He found himself involved in a fascination which led to the worship of strange gods. (…). With this there may have mingled political motives. He may have hoped, by a policy of toleration, to conciliate neighbouring princes, to attract a larger traffic. But probably also there was another influence less commonly taken into account. The widespread belief of the East in the magic arts of Solomon is not, it is believed, without its foundation of truth. Disasters followed before long as the natural consequence of what was politically a blunder as well as religiously a sin.17
King Solomon has been depicted here as a very wicked man. He has been shown as committing idolatry and witchcraft and other sins. It was through the Holy Qur’an revealed to the Prophet of Islam that Allah Almighty exonerated him from all such accusations. Not to speak of “giving himself to “strange women” and a fascination which led to the worship of strange gods mingled with political motives”, we find him beautifully preaching “Monotheism” even to Queen of Yemen, as a result of which she willingly embraced Islam, as stated in the Holy Qur’an.
قَالَتْ رَبِّ إِنِّي ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِي وَأَسْلَمْتُ مَعَ سُلَيْمَانَ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ18
She [the Queen of Yemen] said, “My Lord, surely I have wronged myself, and I submit with Solomon to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.”
As to King Solomon’s indulgence in magic and witchcraft, the Holy Qur’an explicitly announces:
وَمَا كَفَرَ سُلَيْمَانُ وَلَـكِنَّ الشَّيْاطِينَ كَفَرُواْ يُعَلِّمُونَ النَّاسَ السِّحْرَ19
Not that Sulayman disbelieved: it is the devils who disbelieved. They teach men witchcraft.20
After fifteen centuries of desecration and character assassination of the holy King Solomon, it was through the Prophet of Arabia that he was honourably acquitted by Allah Almighty of all false charges and his innocence was established. It was therefore a pleasant duty of King Solomon that he should pay homage to his real benefactor in advance in this way.
In the passage under discussion, Solomon, after giving fairly detailed attributes of his beloved from his uncle ancestor (Ishmael)’s progeny, pronounces his actual proper name “Muhammad”, which, according the unvocalized consonantal alphabet was inevitably to be written as “M+H +M+D”. When there genuinely exists an exact application of this word, it is misleading to translate this proper noun or to apply it to Jesus Christ.
1. The Bible, Authorized Version (also KJV, i.e. King James Version)– Song of Songs, V: 10-16.
2. A short pictorial poem, chiefly on pastoral subjects; a story, episode, or scene of happy innocence or rusticity; a work of art of like character (Chambers Eng Dict.1989, 708).
3. Matt. Henry, An Exposition of the O&NT, vol. 4 (NY: Robert Carter & Brothers, n.d), 851.
4. Michael H. Hart, The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, (NY City: Hart Publishing Co. Inc, n.d.), 33ff.
6. Matthew Henry, A Commentary to H. B., vol. 4, 851.
7. If the Christian scholars and commentators find it useful to their purpose to attach some prediction to Jesus Christ, they do it without any hesitation. If they do not find the requisite qualities in the NT of the Bible, they fill up this lacuna by snatching such quality, features, event, or beautiful details from some verse/verses of the OT of Bible, and then attach it to Christ.
8. E. W. Lane has explained the words أَشْكَلُ الْعَيْنِ in his ‘Arabic English Lexicon, 1588’ as follows:
(Qamus) A man is said to be أَشْكَلُ الْعَيْنِ meaning Having a redness, (‘Maghrib’ of El-Mutarrizee,) or the like of a redness, (‘Obab’ of Es-Saghanee,) in the white of the eye : (‘Maghrib’ of El-Mutarrizee, ‘Obab’ of Es-Saghanee:) the Prophet is said to have been أَشْكَلُ الْعَيْنِ: and it has been explained as meaning long in the slit of the eye: (Qamus:) but Ibn Seedeh, author of the ‘Muhkam’ says that this is extra-ordinary; and Mohammad Ibn-Et-Teiyib El-Fasee, author of ‘Annotations on the Qamus’, [says] that the leading authorities on the traditions consentaneously assert it to be pure mistake, and inapplicable to the Prophet, even if lexicologically correct.
9. Sahih Muslim, Kitab. al-fada’il, Bab fi Sifah fam al-Nabi wa ‘Aynayhi, No. 2339.
10. Dr. Henry Stubbe, ibid., 158.
11. George Sale, Alkoran of Mohamed (London, Fredrick Warn and Co., n.d.), The Preliminary Discourse, 47f.
12. W. Smith, A Dic. Of the B., 308 explains:
Jesus no doubt learned the carpenter’s trade of his reputed father Joseph, and, as Joseph probably died before Jesus began his public ministry, he may have contributed to the support of his mother.
13. C. R. Conder in J. Hasting’s Dic. of the B., Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 1903, vol. 2, 583.
14. The Bible-RSV, Galatians iv:24-26.
15. The Holy Qur’an xcv:3.
16. The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Ed. Mary Gladstone etc. (Inter-Varsity Press, 1980), part two 755, 56, 57.
17. W. Smith, A Dictionary of the B., (Michigan: Regency Reference Library, 1984), 644f.
18. The Qur’an, al-Naml, xxvii: 44.
19. The Qur’an, al-Baqarah ii:102.
20. N. J. Dawood’s Eng. Tr. Of the Qur’an, Revised by Mahmud Y. Zayid (Beirut, Dar al-Choura, 1980), 11.