Rays from the Same Lamp
A natural question to ask someone who believes
in any prophet is: ‘What are the criteria for your belief in him?’ Reasonable
criteria would be:
(i) evidence for his claim.
(ii) consistency in his teachings
(about God, afterlife, and similar issues of belief)
(iii) similarity to the teachings of
(iv) integrity: he must be a man of
The Bible lends support to our criteria. The
Old Testament says of a false prophet:
1. Pretends to be sent by God.
2. Described as covetous,
drunken, immoral and
by evil spirits.
3. Prophesizes falsely,
lies in the name of the Lord, out of his
own heart, in the name
of false gods.
4. Often practices divination and
5. Leads people into error
makes to forget God’s name, teaches
profaneness and sin, and oppresses.
The New Testament says of Jesus’ criteria to
identify false prophets:
“Beware of false prophets, which come to
you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know
them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even
so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth
We learn the following:
(i) prophecy will continue after Jesus.
(ii) beware of false prophets.
(iii) the criteria to identify a false
prophet is his fruits, that is his works or deeds.
As stated earlier, Muhammad claimed
unequivocally, ‘I am God’s Messenger.’ If a person evaluates his claim on the
above criteria, he will find it meets the criteria completely.
In Islamic doctrine, all prophets constitute a
spiritual fraternity of brothers with a single ‘father,’ but different
‘mothers.’ The ‘father’ is prophethood and unity of God, the ‘mothers’ are the
different Laws they brought. Emphasizing the spiritual fraternity of all
prophets, Prophet Muhammad said:
“I am the closest of all people to the son
of Mary (Jesus). The prophets are paternal brothers, their mothers are
different, but their religion is one.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim)
All prophets are ‘rays’ from the same ‘Lamp’:
the central message of all prophets throughout ages was to dedicate worship to
God only. That’s why Islam views denying a single prophet as equivalent to
denying them all. The Quran states:
“Indeed, those who deny God and His messengers, and
wish to separate God from His messengers, saying: ‘We believe in some but
reject others’ and want to pursue a path in-between - it is they, they who are
truly denying the truth: and for those who deny the truth We have readied
shameful suffering. But as for those who believe in God and His messengers and
make no distinction between any of them - unto them, in time, will He grant
their rewards [in full]. And God is indeed much-forgiving, a dispenser of
grace.” (Quran 4:150-152)
Denying the prophethood of Muhammad is
tantamount to denying all prophets. The prophethood of Muhammad is known just
like the prophethood of Moses and Jesus is known: the numerous reports of their
miracles that have reached us. The Book brought by Muhammad (the Quran) is
fully preserved, and His Law is complete and applicable to today’s world.
Moses brought the Law and justice, Jesus brought grace and flexibility.
Muhammad combined between the Law of Moses and the grace of Jesus.
If someone were to say, ‘he was an imposter,’
others are more fit to be charged with this accusation. Hence, denying
Muhammad is denying one’s own prophets. If a reasonable person looks at two
bright stars, he must acknowledge both are stars, he cannot say to one, ‘Yes,
this one is a bright star,’ but deny the other! Doing so would be denying
reality and a lie.
Make a table of all the prophets you believe
in. Start from the first one to the last one you believe in. Answer the
What is the evidence I believe he was a true
What was the mission of the prophet in his own
Did he bring a Law? Is his Law applicable
What scripture did he bring? How is its content
Is the scripture preserved in the original
language it was revealed in? Is it considered a literary authority, free of
What do you know of his morals and integrity?
Compare all the prophets you have listed and
then answer the same questions about Muhammad. Then ask yourself, ‘Can I
honestly take Muhammad out of my list because he does not meet the criteria as
other prophets?’ It will not take too much effort to discover that the
evidence for Muhammad’s prophethood is stronger and more convincing.
A skeptic need consider what is so unusual about
Muhammad’s claim to be a prophet? When did God declare an end to prophecy
before him? Who decided that there would not be any more divine communication
with human beings? With no evidence to block divine revelation, it is natural
to accept a continuity of revelation:
“Indeed, We have sent you with the truth, as a bearer
of glad tidings and a Warner: for there never was any community but a Warner has
[lived and] passed away in its midst.” (Quran 35:24)
“And We sent forth Our messengers, one after another:
[and] every time their messenger came to a community, they gave him the lie:
and so We caused them to follow one another [into the grave], and let them
become [mere] tales: and so - away with the folk who would not believe!” (Quran
This is true especially when the truth was
perverted by Jews and Christians, the Christians claiming Jesus was the son of
God and Jews calling him an illegitimate son of Joseph the Carpenter. Muhammad
brought the truth: Jesus was God’s noble prophet born of a miraculous virgin
birth. As a result, Muslims believe in Jesus and love him, neither going to
the extreme like the Christians, nor disparaging him like the Jews.