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Teaching All Nations

Answering Common Muslim Claims: "Muhammad Is Prophesied About in the Bible #3"

According to the Quran:

Those who follow the messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (scriptures),- in the law and the Gospel;- for he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure); He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe in him, honour him, help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him,- it is they who will prosper. (Quran 7:157, Yusuf Ali)

According to the Quran, the Old Testament and the New both mention the name of Muhammad. We have yet to find him mentioned in the previous discussion of Deuteronomy 18 and the book of John. So, maybe we can find him mentioned elsewhere. According to Muslim sources, one such assertion is that Muhammad is mentioned in the Song of Solomon 5:16

The Passage: Song of Solomon 5:16

His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

The Immediate Context

This is a passage in the middle of a love story between a husband and his wife. It is written by a married couple in love with each other, and recorded as an example for those who are married to know how to properly view their spouses.

In the first part of the chapter, we see Solomon’s wife describing what happens when her husband approaches her. It tends to be fairly graphic, and so I will leave you to read the first 8 verses for yourself.

In verse 9, the daughters of Jerusalem (Jewish ladies) ask her, why her husband is better than other husbands.

In verse 10 she begins to explain and describe her husband in very flattering, and flowery language.

She describes his hair, and his eyes. His cheeks, are as a bed of spices. His lips like lilies and his breath is sweet. (v13)

She goes on to explain his hands, and his physique, his legs, his face. Then coming to verse 16 she begins to explain his mouth, and says it is sweet. She then concludes by stating that her husband is “altogether lovely.”

That is, all of the parts combined. When you put him all together, every piece is lovely, and the total package is lovely. So she concludes, “he is altogether lovely.”

The Plural Usage ofHe is altogether lovely

This is the word/phrase in question. Once Solomon’s wife is finished telling the women about how great her husband is.

This phrase is a single word in Hebrew (Machmadim) the plural of the word Machmad. If the word were singular, then it might be argued that she was referencing only ONE of a certain “thing.” But, since the word is in the plural, we know that she is referencing two or more “things.”

 

The Phrase/Word Idea

 “He is altogether lovely” – is the Hebrew Word (“Machmadim.”- from Machmad)

So their argument goes like so: Since the Hebrew word “Machmadim” is in the phrase, and when we read it in English you might hear the word Muhammad, then it must be talking about Muhammad. (Though they completely miss the plural usage of the word, so if this was talking about Muhammad, it would have to be talking about at least 2 Muhammads.)

Also, the fact is, the Hebrew word is not pronounced Muhammadim, (as Muh-om-ad-im) as we are told when we ask about this claim. But rather the word is pronounced Mach (with a hard breathing mark, making a guttural ‘k’ sound) Mach-madeem” It sounds nothing like “Muhammadim.”

This same word can be found 13 times in scripture. The meaning of this word, according to Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon is:

  1. Desire, the object of desire.
  2. Grace, beauty,
  3. Something precious

For instance:

When Benhadad was threatening Ahab before battle, he had said that he would come and take Ahab’s wife, children, servants and everything. Notice:

Yet I will send my servants unto thee tomorrow about this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes, they shall put it in their hand, and take it away. 1Ki 20:6

The word Pleasant in this passage is the word Machmad. Whatsoever is beautiful, and precious, this is what will be taken away. Are we to assume that the thing that was taken away, was the prophet Muhammad? Would Benhadad search Ahab’s home, find Muhammad, and take him away? Of course not!

The fact is, this passage (and the passage in Song of Solomon) has nothing to do with Muhammad.

Similar to the Song of Solomon chapter 5, where the bride is discussing her spouse. She says he was beautiful in her sight. There is another passage that this word (Machmad) is used in discussing someone’s spouse.

In the book of Ezekiel, God says that Ezekiel’s wife will soon be taken from him.

Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down. Eze 24:16

The word ‘desire’ is the word machmad. Are we to make the same gross assumption about this passage that some followers of Islam teach about Song of Solomon 5? Should we assume that God was going to take the prophet Muhammad away from Ezekiel? Should we assume from the context of this verse, that Ezekiel and Muhammad were homosexuals in a Marriage bond? Absolutely not!

In the end analysis, such a conclusion would seem silly except for the fact that it borders on blasphemy.  

If one were to be honest when they read the context of the passage, it would be clear that this passage is simply a love letter/story between a husband and his wife. To try to bring up Muhammad at this point, is wholly without any contextual or historical support.

The Phonetic Similarity Argument

The whole argument hinges on the pronunciation of a single word, a word that is not translated “Muhammad” but rather “Altogether lovely.”

Yet this word, or its form is found 13 times in Hebrew scripture and is never translated as Muhammad!

Yet, many scholars in Islam comment on this, that since the Hebrew word translated as "altogether lovely" (machmadim) sounds like "Muhammad," the word should actually be translated as "Muhammad."

But this reasoning is flawed. Just because two words sound alike, has nothing to do with whether or not they are related. The word Holly, sounds similar to Ali – so should we then conclude that we should use the words interchangeably?

At Christmas time, should we ‘deck the halls with boughs of Ali?’ Would any of Islam’s scholars want to refer to Muhammad Ali as Muhammad Holly? Of course not! But if their reasoning is true, there should be no difference.

But it gets worse, because we are discussing two words, in two different languages.

To properly understand this logic, let us see what their argument looks like.

  • 2 words from 2 different languages happen to sound similar, therefore they are to be used interchangeably.
  • Machmad (Hebrew) sounds similar to Muhammad (Arabic)
  • Therefore, Machmad is to be used interchangeably with Muhammad.

As stated before, this fails, because other passages of scripture would be absolutely ridiculous if the name ‘Muhammad’ were placed in the context of the passages. (see Ezek 24:16; 1 Kings 20:6 etc)

However, if we test the consistency of their own logic we find other ideas that Islam would never subscribe to.

For instance:

These also shall be unclean unto you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind, (Lev 11:29)

Again from Isaiah we read.

They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the Lord. (Isa 66:17)

The word “mouse” is the Hebrew word “Akbar”

Yet, Akbar- in Arabic means ‘greatest’

Of course Allah is the Arabic word for God.

So when a Muslim chants “Allahu Akbar” – is he saying “Allah is greatest!”?

But, if we apply their own ‘logic’ to these words, one could just as easily conclude that Allah is a mouse. Now, of course, we would never say that Allah is a mouse, and we would likely be offended if someone did so.

However, the logic is exactly the same.

Remember how their argument lays out: 

  • 2 words from 2 different languages happen to sound similar, therefore they are to be used interchangeably.
  • Machmad (Hebrew) sounds similar to Muhammad (Arabic)
  • Therefore, Machmad is to be used interchangeably with Muhammad.

Now let us apply the exact same logic with two words (Akbar) from different languages.

  • 2 words from 2 different languages happen to sound similar, therefore they are to be used interchangeably.
  • Akbar (Hebrew) sounds similar to Akbar (Arabic)
  • Therefore, Akbar (Hebrew) is to be used interchangeably with Akbar (Arabic).

If the logic plays out, then Akbar (greatest), and Akbar (mouse) may be used interchangeably. By following their own logic, Muslims should conclude one of two things.

  1. Using the “Machmad/Muhammad phonetics” argument is not appropriate and is not a viable argument. And therefore, Muhammad is not mentioned in the Song of Solomon 5.

Or:

  1. Admit that the exact logic that puts Muhammad into the Song of Solomon, also has Muslims chanting “Allah is a mouse.” Every time they chant “Allahu Akbar.”

 

Conclusion:

Again let me state, I don’t believe Allah is a mouse, I am not questioning who Allah is. All I am stating is that if the logic is true and correct in the first scenario, it must also be true and correct in the second.

The fact is, this is simply not a good way to understand and interpret scripture. So, it is clear, that it is simply not the case that Muhammad can be found in Song of Solomon 5:16. 

Comments (1)

  1. Timothy Mukosayi:
    Jun 22, 2017 at 01:22 PM

    Good teaching


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