Why Did Muhammad Come After Jesus?

Did Jesus and Muhammad Teach the Same Thing?

Yes and no. It is true that both Jesus and Muhammad, as well as all true prophets from Adam, Noah, etc. (peace be upon them all), carried essentially the same message: Islam, that is, monotheism and submission to the will and guidance of God. However, the details were not identical, but varied to cope with the time and nation addressed.

While Jesus (peace be upon him) was sent specifically to the Israelites, Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent to all humanity. This was emphasized by Jesus as well:

“But he answered and said, ‘I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’” (Matthew 15:24)

In contrast, the Qur’an declares the universal message of Islam. The Qur’an says what means:

{Say: “O people! surely I am the Messenger of Allah to you all, of Him Whose is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; there is no god but He; He brings to life and causes to die; therefore believe in Allah and His Messenger, the illiterate Prophet who believes in Allah and His words, and follow him so that you may walk in the right way.”} (Al-A`raf 7:158)

{And you do not ask them for a reward for this; it is nothing but a reminder for all mankind.} (Yusuf 12:104)

{And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.} (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:107)

{Blessed is He Who sent down the criterion to His servant, that it may be an admonition to all creatures } (Al-Furqan 25:1)

{And We have not sent you but to all the men as a bearer of good news and as a warner, but most men do not know.} (Saba’ 34:28)

{It is nothing but a reminder to the nations.} (Saad 38:87)

{And it is naught but a reminder to the nations.} (Al-Qalam 68:52)

{It is naught but a reminder for the nations.} (At-Takwir 81:27)

Also, while the original message of Jesus was distorted and deviated away from monotheism, the message of the final Prophet Muhammad was to stay valid and preserved to the end of time.

While Jesus’s emphasis was on moral salvation and reform of the individual, with only a few rulings on marriage and divorce, etc., the final message of Islam brought a detailed comprehensive code dealing with all aspects of human life: personal, family, social, economic, political, and international. Jesus stressed purifying the soul; Muhammad was to build and maintain the model: individual, society, and nation.

Why Should Muhammad Come Six Centuries after Jesus?

Jesus, a human monotheist prophet, repeatedly called to Allah the One God and warned those who ascribed partners to Him:

“Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and Him Only.’” (Matthew 4:10)

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord
our God, the Lord is One.’” (Mark 12:29)

Jesus emphasized his own humanity:

“As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.” (John 8:40)

“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear.” (John 5:30)

Jesus never claimed to be God, or part of a God. He never mentioned Trinity, nor did he appoint a church to entrust itself with reshaping the faith and re-inventing the law. The deviation started with Paul and some others—leaders, clergy, and philosophers—centuries after Jesus’s departure. Christianity as we know it today was re-formulated with its concepts of:

– Trinity, centered around the prophet Jesus who was thenceforth called God, begotten son of God

– The sacrosanct Church of Christ, talking and enacting laws in the name of God

– The story of crucifixion and resurrection from the dead

– Original sin and atonement

Read for example, according to Paul (NIV):

“At once he [Paul] began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.” (Acts 9:20)

“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel…” (2 Timothy 2:8)

“Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.” (Galatians 5:2)

“What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision?” (Romans 3:1)

Most of these distortions were borrowed or coined from earlier pagan creeds. Close similarities can be found between this Pauline Christianity and Mithraism, Buddhism, and ancient Egyptian polytheist creeds.

During the seventh century CE when Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent, there were only a few groups of followers of the original message and teachings of Jesus. The Injeel revealed to Jesus no longer existed in any form, as was the case of the Tawrah of Moses before him. They were replaced with the Old and New Testaments written by different human authors selected and sanctioned as holy by the Church ecumenical councils, several centuries after the departure of Jesus.

It was high time then to re-establish the eternal guidance of the Creator to all humanity, but this time in a final eternal form, through the Glorious Qur’an and the detailed teachings and living model of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Jesus prophesized the coming prophet whose universal message will stay forever:

“He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” (John 1:27)

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— ” (John 14:16)

Plenty of other definitive descriptions that fit only Prophet Muhammad can be cited from both the Old and New Testaments. Please see suggested links at the top of this answer.

True versus False Prophets

Here are some criteria for a true prophet:

1. He should bring signs or proofs that are far beyond human capacity.

2. His message should be shown to emanate from without himself.

3. He should carry his mission to the end in spite of all obstacles.

4. His message would be supported by God to victory over his enemies.

1. Applying these criteria to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), we find that the main proof he presented is a living miracle, the eternal word of God: the Qur’an. The Arabic text of the Qur’an challenges all generations to produce anything as perfect or splendorous. Even the Prophet’s own sayings (Hadith) are very different from the Qur’an. Also, the scientific precision of Qur’anic references to natural phenomena, as well as the wisdom of its decrees, are far beyond the human knowledge and culture at the time of revelation and for several centuries to follow. Please see suggested links at the bottom of this answer.

2. The message and text of the Qur’an did not emanate from within, but from outside, the Prophet Muhammad. This can be proved by the way he was addressed in that extraordinary Book.

The Qur’an repeatedly reminded and drew the attention of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to his obligations towards Allah, the revelation, the believers, and the unbelievers. Please read the Qur’an 75:16-18, 20:114, 87:6-7, 10:109 and 10:15-16.

He was also repeatedly exhorted and warned against yielding to the temptations and pressures that were surrounding him. Please read the Qur’an: 17:73-75, 13:37-38, 5:49, 2:145, 2:120, 5:67, 6:14, 6:114, 11:112, 15:88, 68:48 and 72: 21-22.

In addition, the Qur’an included admonitions that were directed to the noble Prophet (peace be upon him) in some situations. Please read the Qur’an: 4:105-109, 9:43, 9:117, 9:113, 6:52, 8:67-68, 66:1 and 80:1-11. Sometimes the Qur’an revealed matters that he would have preferred to keep secret in the depths of his pure soul. Please read the Qur’an: 33:37.

It is difficult for a sound mind to imagine that the noble Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would address himself with the aim of guidance, exhortation, warning, and admonishment, or would reveal things about himself that he would not like other people to know about. Also, it is difficult to believe that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would, after doing that, convey to the people the Qur’an, which would never be abrogated, deleted, or forgotten.

Occasionally, the revelation was delayed for weeks or months, despite the urgent need of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to refute the hypocrites and the slanderers. Examples for this are the Qur’anic verses 24:11-17 and 93:1-3.

The Prophet even used his own discretion in interpreting some verses, until revelation was sent down contradicting his opinion. An example of this is verses 9:80-84.

3. The Prophet delivered the revealed message and fought for it, against all odds. His whole twenty-three years of prophethood were years of hardships. The first thirteen years he and his followers were persecuted, tortured, and boycotted by the pagans of Makkah. He refused all offers of kingdom, wealth, or reconciling his message with their pagan beliefs. The following ten years, after immigration to Madinah, witnessed a harsh continuous struggle to spread the faith, with incessant fighting against the hostilities of Arab tribes and Madinah Jews, as well as the preludes to confrontation with the great Roman and Persian Empires. His personal life was the simplest and most ascetic of his contemporaries.

4. Allah supported him and his few early followers with unexpected victories in spite of their poverty, physical weakness, and military and technical inexperience. His message was supported and spread to every corner of the world in a brief time. No human being could have such a biography unless he is a true messenger of God, and truly he was. Allah rewards him for what he honestly delivered and for his striving for the salvation of all nations and generations.

Who Are False Prophets?

Coming now to false prophets, Jesus said, according to the Bible (NIV):

“They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” (Matthew 15:9)

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” (Matthew 7:15)

“For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.” (Matthew 24:24)

“For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible.” (Mark 13:22)

There are two categories of false prophets:

– Claimers following their own fancies and whims, seeking worldly gains of prestige, authority, or wealth
– Prominent personalities, over-magnified by their followers, who raise them to the status of prophets or semi-gods.

Of the first category are those who invented or changed a creed without authority or supporting evidence from God. Examples are Paul and others, then followed by the Church, which reformulated Christianity against what Jesus stood for. Similarly in Islamic history, several claimants sought to ruin Islam from within, forming deviant sects like Qadianis, Baha’is and extreme Shiite sects such as the Ismailis.

The second category includes several philosophers, scientists, clergy, and leaders, etc., who were considered almost inviolable prophets to be believed and followed unquestionably. Examples are Greek philosophers, Marx, Lenin, Darwin, Saints, Roman emperors and their modern counterparts of the so-called New World Order.

By Nabil Haroun

All articles published not necessarily the official points of view held by islamonline