When I first read the complete chapter from Mr. Al-Kadhi's book, I was immediately strucked by his first paragraph :
Many of the fundamental beliefs of Christianity which have been for many centuries accepted on blind faith (those which differ from the beliefs of Muslims) are now beginning to be challenged by some of the foremost scholars and religious leaders of Christianity today.His allegation of blind faith of Christians is transparent, but I was immediately drawn to his words in parenthesis. Why the qualification? Do Christian beliefs that happen to conform to Islam automatically qualifies not to be of blind faith? How can he allege Christians to believe in blind faith when he made this kind of qualifications (without any qualifications)?
Towards the end of the chapter, the author wrote :
A brief study of other ancient scriptures available today has lead me to the conclusion that it is indeed the case that many of these religions, no matter their current state, appear to have at one point in time began their life with a true messenger of God and that this messenger of God prophesied the coming of Muhammad (pbuh). Although I have not yet had sufficient opportunity to research this matter appropriately, still, the initial indications appear to support this assertion.
We note that after the author made "a brief study of other ancient scriptures," he was able to state that "many of these religions, no matter their current state, appear to have ..." That typifies his cursory methodology towards the Dead Sea Scrolls -- an approach that starts with the conclusion and try and find evidences to fit the conclusions, even when the evidences that are against it are overwhelmingly more than the evidences that support it. In his effort to find data to support his thesis, we will see that he used fraudulent manuscripts like the Gospel of Barnabas, 19th century Bhavishya Purana of Hinduism, distorted Haggai 2:7 in the Bible and distorted the manuscript data from the Dead Sea Scrolls. For a person who alleged Christians to believe in blind faith, one would expect that he holds himself to a higher standard.
He then went on to say that a survey of Anglican bishops believe that it was not necessary for Christians to "believe that Jesus (pbuh) is God, but only His supreme agent (his messenger)," and soon followed by saying : "With every passing day, the learned among Christendom are drawing ever closer to Islam."
Again, I was quickly drawn to his words in parenthesis. Without explanation, he equated "supreme agent" with "his messenger", thereby demoting Jesus to be an ordinary messenger. But if the author's and my English are not distorted, we both know that "supreme" is in the superlative. Thus, the author simply skirted around the issue of Jesus' supreme position. Needless to say, I was rather distressed by such bending of words (read: Arabic raina). we will see that there are many more instances of such bending.
Are the Anglicans really drawing closer to Islam? The following quote from the AWAKE magazine of the Jehovah Witnesses (the same magazine that the author quoted about the Anglican bishops) definitely contradict one of the article of faith of Islam (Sura 2:177):
A Church of England report has rejected the traditional view that hell is a place of fire and eternal torment.... However, they say that each person still faces a day of judgment and that those who fail the test will be cast into a state of annihilation, or nonbeing. States the New York Herald Tribune: "The report made clear there was no chance of all people of all faiths automatically being saved." (AWAKE, Jan 22, 1997, p. 28-29).
The author quoted from the Qur'an:
They are not all alike. Of the people of the book are a portion whom stand (for that which is right), who recite the revelations of Allah throughout the night while prostrate (before Him) The noble Quran, A'al-Umran(3):113.But again, I was amazed. According to the author's previous few chapters, the canon of the scriptures was determined at the Council of Nicea, and by the time of Muhammad's time, all existing "true" gospels like the Gospel of Barnabas have been kept out of public view! So, at the time of Muhammad, the Qur'an in 3:113 was testifying that the righteous people of the book are reciting corrupted scriptures. Faith or blind faith?
The quotes were from the Manual of Discipline and the Zadokite Document among the Dead Sea manuscripts all right (his citations betrays that his main, perhaps only, source was Prof. Lawrence Schiffman, who preferred the obsolete names of the manuscripts), The author's inclusion of "and Gospel of Barnabas" in the citations gave the false idea that the quote also came from the Gospel of Barnabas. But of course, this was not true, and the author did not give the exact place (ie. section/chapter) in the GOB these were supposed to occur. Such a careless attitude towards citations is a reflection of the careless way the author handled both Schiffman's quotations and the Dead Sea Scrolls. The author did not seem to put his graduate training into use in this chapter.
So, remembering that we are henceforth quoting from texts that have been carbon dated at about 100 years or more before the coming of Jesus (pbuh), and that this dating is confirmed by literary analysis, and that the authors were a sect of very religious and devout Jews, considering all of this let us see what they have to say....along the lines of Schiffman's beliefs (Note: I believe the author made a mistake with "literary analysis". It probably was "paleographic analysis" that he meant), and then went on to say in another part of the chapter that:
The Dead sea scrolls, however, coincide historically with the time of John the Baptist. They were quickly dated from the 2nd century BC through the 1st century C.E.apparently in line with Eisenman-Wise's theory. If the manuscripts contain clear prophecy, as the author intended to use them, then it could not coincide with John the Baptist's (and Jesus') ministry, and if it did, then it could not be prophecy. Paleographic dating claims an accuracy of 25 years (many have disputed this accuracy, and argued that its accuracy is 50 years or more), and carbon dating to about half a century. Thus, if the author believes in the second quote and he wants to use manuscripts as prophecies, then he must also justify that those he used were clearly written before the turn of the era. But the author completely ignored this issue, synthesizing views as he saw fit without regard to the premises those viewes rested upon. We shall see that he made this same mistake also in the case of the Purana.
It is significant in this respect that for the Bible, the inter-testamental period (i.e. the historical period between the last of the Old Testament book and the earliest of the New Testament) is at least 400 years. No matter how one wants to date the books, a prophecy of Jesus will be clear and unambiguous.
Thus, the dating that the author already accepted must in most cases preclude Eisenman and Wise's theory (who also among other things identify the Teacher as James the Just. The Arizona Daily Star contained an article reporting on the carbon dating). Interestingly, Eisenman says that he used "glasses" that were "Islamic" (Eisenman in Wise, Michael O., Golb, Norman, Collins, John J. and Pardee, Dennis, G. ed. Methods of Investigation of the Dead Sea Scrolls and The Khirbet Qumran Site - Present Realities and Future Prospects, 1994, p. 368). Eisenman did his PhD at Columbia in Islamic law, although I have no idea if he is a Muslim.
Since the author believed the Dead Sea Scrolls to be prophecies, it seems reasonable to assume that he probably also believed the majority opinion that the writings were dated to 1st century B.C. and earlier.
Here, I quote James Kiefer, who said in a newsgroup posting :
He [the editor of the copy of Gospel of Barnabas that Mr. Keifer possess] says that Irenaeus (130-200 AD) opposed Paul and quoted extensively from the Gospel of Barnabas. On the contrary, Irenaeus argues explicitly that the faith taught by Paul is identical with that of the original Apostles, which is identical with the teaching of Christ. He also says that there are four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and that it is impossible that there should be more. This makes it impossible that he should quote from any other Gospel, and I think the editor is confusing GOB with EOB [Epistle of Barnabas] again. (James Kiefer, in an article to soc.religion.christian, Subject: the (moslem) Gospel of Barnabas, Date: Wed, 02 Aug 1995 19:31:20 -0400, Message-Id: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Email: email@example.com. Words within [....] are mine. )
To put it simply, there are the Epistle of (pseudo) Barnabas listed as No. 18 in the Decretum Gelasianum (Gelasian Decree of Pope Gelasius, A.D. 492-95), the Gospel of Barnabas, first mentioned and listed as No. 24 in the same decree, and the Gospel of Barnabas, ms. Vienna, the Italian manuscript translated into English by Lonsdale and Laura Ragg and quoted by the author. The author mentioned that GOB no. 24 was listed in a number of earlier decrees, but didn't give us documentary evidence. That the statement "famous Vulgate Bible appears to have been based upon this Gospel [GOB ms. Vienna]" is of course factually wrong since the Vulgate Bible is available for him to inspect, and Muslim defenders like Muhammad ur-Rahim admit that they have no manuscripts of GOB before the 1500s. Worse, the GOB quoted from the Latin Vulgate of Jerome (4th century), who translated from Hebrew and Greek. Remember that the author said the GOB disappeared after the Council of Nicea, so how did Jerome, translating many decades after Nicea, had access to GOB?
The internal evidence conclusively showed that the Gospel of Barnabas, ms. Vienna had a medieval origin and thus was not the same as the Gospel of Barnabas, no. 24. Ireneaus has already mentioned that the authentic gospel accounts did not include the Gospel of Barnabas, no. 24. While we have no idea what this manuscript was, the evidence that none of the early Church Fathers quoted from it showed that it was a late forgery.
Lonsdale and Laura Ragg have also written a critical introduction to their translation in their Oxford edition, where they concluded that "the true date lies ... nearer to the sixteenth century than to the first" (Longsdale and Luara Ragg, The Gospel of Barnabas, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1907, p. xxxvii, quoted by Norman L. Geisler and Abdul Saleeb, The Gospel of Barnabas). This introduction is missing from the copy that I have in my possession, published in Pakistan.
It is thus clear that the GOB (i.e. ms. Vienna) has no bearing whatsoever on the Dead Sea Scrolls.
For this reason, when we read the Gospel of Barnabas we find that when the Jews ask Jesus (pbuh) whether he is the messiah he responds to them that he is not the messiah that they are expecting. (emphasis mine)This is far from the truth. The Gospel of Barnabas had Jesus saying emphatically that he was not the Messiah, PERIOD (GOB 42 (two times), 43, 82, 96 (two times), 97, 112, 142, 191, 198, 206, 208). It also has Jesus calling down curses on himself. The author's addition is not in the text of GOB.
the church of St. Paul (The Trinitarian Church) selected out of the over three hundred Gospels in their possession the four that most closely conformed to their doctrines. All others, including the Gospel of Barnabas, were ordered completely destroyed. They also ruled that all Gospels written in Hebrew were to be destroyed. This practice continued until at least the year 1616 C.E.But of course, did the author really think about the above in historical terms, and the immense amount of work the church had to do to accomplish that feat?
In an effort to defend the teachings of the current Greek gospels, Mr. F.F. Bruce has the following to say in his book The New Testament documents. Are they reliable?:It is worth mentioning here that striking affinities of thought and language have been recognized between the Gospel and the Qumran texts. These affinities must not be exaggerated; the Qumran literature comes no where near presenting us with such a figure as the Jesus of this Gospel (John).Even with his staunch defense of the text the New and Old Testament, even with that, we find him saying It is worth mentioning here that striking affinities of thought and language have been recognized between the Gospel and the Qumran texts. These affinities must not be exaggerated; the Qumran literature comes no where near presenting us with such a figure as the Jesus of this Gospel (John).
I was rather puzzled by the author's quoting on two occassions. What actually does the author intend to prove wrong or right about F.F. Bruce's statement (cf. the author's "Even with his staunch defense...")? There is no doubt that there are many parallels between the Qumran sect and the Gospels. But, more significant, also, is that there are many more differences that the author did not show us. F.F. Bruce was correct in cautioning his readers about the parallelism. The author committed the typical parallelomania, and the Qumran scholar Barrera put things in perspective :
The certain fact is that the New Testament texts show many parallels and points of contact with the texts from Qumran. As the Essene writings are more ancient than the Christian writings it is logical to assume that the former could influence the latter. Undoubtedly, just as two parallel lines never actually meet, a Qumran text and a gospel text can run parallel without it meaning that the first has influenced the second directly. Study of comparative literature and comparative religion has often fallen into "parallelomania" (Sandmel), which confuses parallel with tangents and similarities of form or content with direct contacts or influences. In this respect it is a really surprising fact that the gospel of Mark, the most ancient and most Semitic of the gospels, offers very few parallels with the texts from Qumran, whereas the gospels of Matthew and John and the epistles of Paul provide, as we will see, many points of contact....Barrera cautioned :
Although they do offer no direct evidence about the Christian origins, the importance of the texts from Qumran for study of the New Testament is absolutely conclusive. They provide much rich and valuable information about the Judaism of the period and as a consequence allow us to know what has been called the Jewish matrix of Christianity (Kasemann). (Barrera in Florentino Garcia Martinez and Julio Trebolle Barrera, The People of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Their Writings, Beliefs and Practices, tr. Wilfred G.E. Watson, Leiden, 1995, pp. 203-204)
If only the points of contact between the New Testament texts and those from Qumran are noticed, a distorted view of them both results. It is important not to forget the points of disagreement, which we have not considered here but turn out to be more numerous and, in general, more significant. So, for example, the concepts of "Law" and "Covenant" are fundamental in the texts from Qumran. In the message of Jesus, however, the concept of "the Kingdom of God" is predominant, but is very marginal in texts from Qumran....Mr. Al-Kadhi will do well to heed Barrera's advice. An earlier article explores the relationship between the Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity.
In line with texts from the Old Testament, especially the prophet Ezekiel, the writings from Qumran stress divine transcendence and present the figure of a God who unleashes his wrath against successive generations of men. In each generation, God does not allow more than a small remnant to remain. (Damascus Document III 13). These texts comprise a link between the Old Testament and the Pauline doctrine in Rom 9-11, but on the other hand they offer a strong contrast with gospel texts which speak of God the Father, "who makes his sun rise upon evil and good and rains over just and unjust" (Matt 5:45), or of the Father who orders the fatted calf to be killed on the return of the prodigal son (Lk 15:23). Ultimately, the overall image of the message and figure of Jesus presented in the gospel text contrasts with the extremely rigoristic attitudes expressed in the texts of the Qumran sect. (Forentino Garcia Martinez and Julio Trebolle Barrera, The People of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Their Writings, Beliefs and Practices, tr. Wilfred G.E. Watson, Leiden, 1995)
The Pesher texts are strings of interpretations of Biblical verses compiled by the most knowledgeable among the Jews.Now, of course, the pesher strings among the Dead Sea Scrolls reflect a halakhic development among Judaism. And the peshers were very sectarian in nature, interpreting scripture and presenting the beliefs (some very unique) of the sect. However, by what right (and knowledge) can the author say that they were the most knowledgeable among the Jews? In a simple stroke, the author dismissed all other strands of Judaism, strands that were active right through the ministry of our Lord Jesus the Messiah. Was it because the author believes that the Dea Sea Scrolls confirm Islam? If they are most knowledgeable, how does one deal with its blatant contradiction to Islam, as we shall see later. The author's judgment a priori was certainly tainted, and represents a built-in bias. The author's bias was dealt a blow by the USC site for West Semitic Research Project, which says :
This kind of commentary is not an attempt to explain what the Bible meant when it was originally written, but rather what it means in the day and age of the commentator, particularly for his own community.
The second thesis the author made was that the Gospel of Barnabas was the hypothetical Q document that the synoptic gospels of the Bible relied upon. This thesis, although original, was not believed by any reputable scholar. We will assume that the GOB is indeed authentic, then show that this is incoherent with the Q theory.
In the last part of the chapter, the author went on to talk about "prophesies" in Haggai 2:7, Parsiism and Hinduism fulfilled by Muhammad in order to justify his belief that Allah has sent messengers to all peoples, in order to prop up his theory that all cultures/religions have been sent prophets and have been introduced to Islam.
However, all theory must fall on the hard evidence of the scrolls
themselves, for the scrolls are the internal evidence to the beliefs
of the Qumran sect.
We will examine each piece of the author's
thesis in detail
and refer to the scrolls in question. We will also examine the words
of Schiffman against that of the author and see how he departed from
The first thesis that the author
made was that Jesus was the Teacher
of Righteousness mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and was synonymous
with the Messiah-priest, Muhammad was the Messiah-king, Judas Ischariot the
Wicked Priest, the Spouter of Lies the chief-priest or Pharisees or
Paul. We shall see why this is not possible from the scrolls themselves.
PROBLEMS WITH IDENTIFYING JESUS WITH THE TEACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS :
In the fragment called 4Q171, the Teacher of Righteousness was described as the founder of the sect (commonly called congregation or community, yahad in the manuscripts):
"Its prediction refers to the Priest, the Teacher of Righteousness, whom God chose to stand in front of him, for he installed him to found the congregation of his chosen ones for him, and straightened out his path, in truth." (4Q171 III 15-17)
In the Damascus Document, the history of the Qumran sect was traced. It described the beginning of the sect in a place called "Damascus", hence the name of this manuscript. A medieval copy of this manuscript was found in the genizah of a Cairo synagogue.
In the Age of Wrath, 390 years after he [God] put them [Israel] into the power of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, he visited them and made to grow from Israel and from Aaron a root of planting to inherit his land to grow fat on the goodness of the soil. And they discerned their iniquity and they knew that they were guilty men. They were as blind men and as those who grope for the way for 20 years. Then God discerned their deeds, that they had sought him with a whole heart; so he raised up for them a Teacher of Righteousness to guide them in the way of his heart. (Damascus Document I 5-11)
Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar in the year 586 B.C. Add to this 390 and 20 gives us the year 176 B.C., coming within 16 years of the reign of the Hasmonean king and priest Jonathan Macabbeaus. Thus, if Jesus was the Teacher of Righteousness, then Jesus must have lived in the year 176 B.C.!
From the Damascus Document :
And thus, all the men who entered the new covenant in the land of Damascus and turned and betrayed and departed from the well of living waters, shall not be counted in the assembly of the people and shall not be inscribed in their [lis]ts, from the day of the session of the unique Teacher until there arises the messiah of Aaron and Israel. [blank] (CD XIX 33 - XX 1).
Thus, there was a period of time between the Teacher and the Messiah of Aaron (the Messiah-priest) and Israel (the Messiah-king), where the community will be in existence and where those betrayers will be excommunited from the community. The author's identification of Jesus as the Teacher and Messiah-priest is problematic, even as we look at the next problem :
There is not one shred of evidence in the whole vast library of the Qumran manuscripts that equates the Teacher, who was the founder of the sect, with the Messiah to come in the Last Days.
"I am a clay pot, compounded of water, a shameful secret, a fountain of filth, a caldron of iniquity, a figure of sin, an erring and perverse spirit, without understanding, fearful of righteous judgment." (Thanksgiving Scroll I 21-23)
Such a description of sin in the Teacher is completely alien to the description of Jesus in the Bible or in the Qur'an. Christians and Muslims alike believe that Jesus was completely sinless, thus the author's thesis contradicted Islam. Moreover, this description of sin disqualifies the Teacher from being a prophet in Islam.
In discussing the date of composition of the Damascus Document, Michael A. Knibb explained :
The Damascus Document twice refers to the death of the teacher of righteousness, apparently as a fairly recent event (see XIX, 35 b - XX, 1a; XX, 13b - 15a), and these sections occur in a section (XIX, 33b - XX, 22a) which seem to belong to the latest layer within the work. However little we know about the teacher, it is clear that he belongs in the second century B.C.E., and this suggests a date of composition at the end of the second century or the beginning of the following era. (in Wise, Michael O., Golb, Norman, Collins, John J. and Pardee, Dennis, G. ed. Methods of Investigation of the Dead Sea Scrolls and The Khirbet Qumran Site - Present Realities and Future Prospects, 1994, p. 150)Of course, this clearly goes against traditional Islamic teaching, unless the author is an Ahmadiyya.
Another problem relates to the priestly origin of the Teacher, who was clearly a Zadokite (ie. sons of Zadok). Only the descendents of Zadok were eligible to become the Chief Priest at the Temple. Although the Qumran community do not view the Temple priests as legitimate, there was no evidence in all the manuscripts that the Qumran community separated from the Temple group because of this matter. Instead, the difference was in the interpretation of several matters of law, as was clear from the letter the Teacher wrote to the Wicked Priest (elaborated later). The importance of the Priesthood in the Qumran community cannot be overstated : the whole community was to be led by priests, and priests will teach the Messiah-king in the last days. Their title very clearly implied that the Teacher of the sect must be a Zadokite.
The human ancestry of Jesus did not lie in the Levitic line (let alone a Zadokite), but from the line of Judah through David. Moreover, there was no evidence that Jesus was actually a priest in the Old Testament sense.
Christians interpret the human geneology in Luke 3:23-37 as being that of Mary. Yet, this list clearly showed Mary to a descendent of David, thus a descendent of Judah, not Levi. The list in Matthew 1 also showed that Joseph was not a Levite. Thus, the Bible clearly showed that Jesus cannot be a Zadokite.
Some Muslims might say that Mary was a Levite, where in the Qur'an she was given the title "sister of Aaron" (Sura 19:28), and that her cousin's husband, Zechariah, served in the temple. The tile "sister of Aaron" was a rather puzzling title involving two persons separated by around 2,000 years. Al-Baidhawi, for example, believed that this meant that Mary was a Levite. Some Muslim writers said that "Mary the sister of Moses was miraculously preserved alive from his time till that of Jesus Christ, purposely to become the mother of Jesus" (Koran, p.34, note x on 'Imran'", quoted by Abdul-Haqq). Husain maintained that the Aaron in Surah 19:28 was not the same as brother of Moses (quoted by Hughe's Dictionary, p.328). In the Sahih of Muslim, chapter Kitab al-Adab, it was recorded that Christians of Najran pointed out to Al-Mughairah this mistaken identity. He consulted Muhammd and his answer was the Jews have many names, totally unable to explain what that title meant. I have also heard other Muslims say that this was because they were both believers, but that certainly don't make all the prophets or Muslims Levites. The fact that Zechariah was a Levite does not mean that Zechariah's wife was also a Levite, much less a cousin of his wife. Indeed, the Qur'an cannot tell us if Mary was a Levite, and we have to conclude that that was simply a conjecture, that was contradicted by the Bible, and not supported anywhere else.
Furthermore, even if Mary is a Levite, Joseph was still not one, and Jesus still cannot be a Levite. A recent discovery (UPI Science News, Jan 1st, 1997; Reuter Jan 1st, 1997) by Karl Skorecki and his colleagues at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa discovered that members of the priesthood have an uncommon Y chromosome that is remarkably similar to each other, but remarkably dissimilar to lay Jewish members, again clearly supporting the Bible that said that priesthood passed from the males only.
The importance of the priesthood in the Qumran community cannot be overstated. The Community was led by priests, and in the Last Days, the Community will also be led by the Messiah-priest (and the Messiah-king) who will teach the whole Community and the Messiah-king (see below).
Islam, on the other hand, does not have a concept of priesthood. The priest in Judaism stands between God and man, atoning the sins of the latter with sacrifices. Such a sacrificial and ecclesiastical system is totally alien to Islam. Does Islam believe that the Madhi and Jesus, who are coming in the Last Days, are priests?
The author quoted Schiffman on the Rule of the Community 9:11-12 :
"this text unquestionably refers to two messiahs, Dual Messiah prophesy who will be announced by an eschatological prophet. Based on a the cave 4 manuscripts of Rule of the Community, the original publication team argued that this passage was added to the text later in the history of the sect. However, the evidence in these manuscripts does not sufficiently support such an assertion. As far as we can tell, the two-messiah concept was part of Rule of the Community from the time it was composed".
But what was missed out of the picture was that the two Messiahs expected by the Qumranians are to appear together in the End Days. The author ignored what Schiffman said :
"According to the dominant view in the sectarian texts from Qumran, two messiahs were to lead the congregation in the End of Days, one priestly, and the other lay" (Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, pp. 321-322).
which the author also quoted (the DSS manuscripts are Manual of Discipline VI 2-8 and Rule of the Congregation II 11-16 (quoted later)). But this definitely contradicts Islamic eschatological beliefs. We know that many Muslims believe that Jesus will come again in the Last Days, some Muslims identifying Him with the Madhi, but most Muslims believing the Madhi is not Jesus, but no where in Islamic eschatology do we find the claim that Muhammad is to come again with Jesus in the Last Days, and be able to participate in the communal meal together.
If we accept that Jesus was the Messiah-priest, as the author mentioned, if we are to be consistent, then either Muhammad was not the Messiah-king (because Jesus was the Messiah-priest and the Messiah-king has to appear with Him), or that Muhammad will come in the Last Days (with Jesus) or that Muhamamd was the Madhi (since he appears with Jesus). I know of no such doctrine among Muslims. The more we looked at the details, the harder it is getting for this theory to stick.
Coupled with the above problem is the appearance of an eschatological prophet which the author quoted :
"Some texts also speak about an eschatological prophet who will announce the coming of the messiah, a figure similar to Elijah in the rabinnic tradition" (Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 323)
The relevant text from the Dead Sea Scrolls read :
"They should not depart from any counsel of the law in order to walk in complete stubbornness of their heart, but instead shall be ruled by the first directives which the men of the Community begun to be taught until the prophet comes, and the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel. [blank] (Rule of the Community, 1QS IX 9-11)
This prophet is to come in the Last Days heralding the coming of the Messiah-priest and the Messiah-king. But again, this is a contradiction to Islam, for Islam believes that Muhammad is the Last (Seal) of the Prophets and no other prophet is to come after him (ie. Last Days). Thus, the appearance of an eschatological prophet presents a theological problem to the author's thesis.
At various places, the Messiah-king was also called the Branch/Shoot of David (eg. 4Q285), ie. a person arising out of the line from David. Was Muhammad a descendent of David? If not, how did he relate to this distinctively Jewish title? On the other hand, the Bible said :
"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." (Revelation 22:16)
As seen from 1QS IX 9-11, the Messiah-priest was also called the Messiah of Aaron and the Messiah-king the Messiah of Israel. Was Muhammad an Israelite? How was he the Messiah of Israel, who was supposed to come and establish the Kingdom of Israel again, back to the former glorious days of David? Can the modern nation of Israel use 1QS IX 9-11 to stake their claim of Palestine, to the chagrin of Muslims around the world? The author clearly cannot understand the enormity of the implications of his theory.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE MESSIAH-PRIEST AND MESSIAH-KING
The Manual of Discipline 6:2-8 ordains a communal meal which begins with a priest's blessing over the bread and wine. Likewise, the Rule of the Community 2:11-12 legislates the same meal where the members, led by the priest who is followed by the "messiah of Israel", sit according to rank. The blessing of the bread and wine is done again in the identical order or rank: the priest, the messiah of Israel, and the remainder of the congregation." (Neil S. Fujita, A Crack in the Jar, 1986, p. 150-151).
Going by the interpretation of the author, Jesus the Messiah-priest has higher rank than Muhammad the Messiah-king.
[The interpretation of the word concerns the shoot] of David which will sprout [in the final days, since with the breath of his lips he will execute] his enemies and God will support him with [the spirit of] courage [...] throne of glory, [holy] crown and hemmed vestments [...] in his hand. He will rule over all the peoples and Magog [...] his sword will judge all the peoples. And as for what he says: "He will not [judge by appearances] or give verdicts on hearsay," its interpretation: [...] according to what they teach him, he will judge, and upon his mouth [...] with him will go out one of the priests of renown, holding clothes in his hand. (4QpIsaa III 18-25, also known as 4Q161)
If the Messiah-king is to be taught by the priests, then clearly he is also to be taught by the chief of priests, the Messiah-priest also called the Messiah of Aaron. Therefore, if Jesus was the Messiah-priest, and Muhammad the Messiah-king, then Jesus will teach Muhammad.
The Wicked Priest was most definitely a priest in the Old Testament sense, i.e. he served in the Temple and presided over the Old Testament feasts. If Judas was the Wicked Priest, then Judas must be a priest, but we have no evidence that Judas was a priest at all.
The most forceful piece of evidence that Judas cannot be the Wicked Priest was that he RULED OVER ISRAEL. The author quoted Schiffman :
"... The wicked priest is said to have begun his rule in truth but then to have abandoned the way of truth. He then persecutes the Teacher, confronting him on the holiest day of the year, the Day of Atonement." (Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 228)
The relevant portions of Habakkuk pesher described the Wicked Priest as being "called according to the name of truth at the beginning of his service, but when he had ruled in Israel, his heart became proud and he forsook God and betrayed the commandments for wealth." (1QpHab VIII 9-11).
But the fact of the Wicked Priest ruling over Israel has been glossed over by the author. If Judas was the Wicked Priest, then Judas must have been a ruler over Israel as VIII 9-11 tells us, and certainly no historical document gave us such evidence. We ask Mr. Al-Kadhi to please give use the evidence.
"[He] gathered the wealth of the violent men who had rebelled against God, taking the wealth of the Gentiles" (1QpHab VIII 11-12)The Bible tells us, and acknowledged by Muslims, that Judas was a treasurer among the disciples. How was it possible for him to generate wealth from gentiles, much less the kind of wealth described in the Dead Sea Scrolls? Also, how was he able to gather wealth from enemies of God?
"[he] polluted the temple of God." (1QpHab XII 8-9)
But, if Judas was not a priest, then how was it possible for him to have desecrated the Holy of Holies in the Temple. Or did he lead an army to force his way in?
As revenge for his persecution of the Teacher and the sect, the author quoted Schiffman on the sufferings of the Wicked Priest :
"... The sufferings of the Wicked Priest are even more graphically described in another passage: 'and all his enemies arose and abused him in order for his suffering to be fit punishment for his evil. And they inflicted upon him horrible diseases, and acts of vengeance in the flesh of his body'. The one who suffered was the Wicked Priest, not the Teacher of Righteousness. The enemies of the Wicked Priest, the nation against whom he had made war, are said to have tortured him, so that his life ended in mortal disease and affliction." (Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 234)
Again, the author failed to realize that the enemies of the Wicked Priest inflicted on him "horrible diseases"? If Judas was crucified by the Romans, as maintained by the author, what kind of diseases did the Roman soldiers inflicted on him?
In the same passage that the author quoted above, it is said that the "nation against whom he had made war" tortured and killed him. According to the author's thesis, Judas must have fought a war against the Romans. But how was that possible unless Judas had ruled over Israel and fought a war with the Romans?
In a conference in 1984, it was reported that a letter from the Teacher to the Wicked Priest was found. Six copies of this letter was found and in the letter, the Teacher told the Wicked Priest (who is a prominent public figure from the letter) the twenty points of the Law that the Wicked Priest has departed from. (Neil Fujita, A Crack in the Jar, p. 46). This resulted in a severance of the community from the Temple, and the reclusive community at Khirbet Qumran bore testimony to this withdrawal from public life.
If Jesus was the Teacher and Judas the Wicked Priest, one wonders how it was possible for Jesus and Judas to have been together all this while until the betrayal? There was no evidence at all of such a severance in the Gospels, nor even from the fraudulent Gospel of Barnabas that the author quoted from.
PROBLEMS WITH IDENTIFYING PAUL AS THE MAN OF LIES :
The Spouter of Lies was also called the Man of Lies, the Man of Mockery. the author quotes Schiffman :
"It (Pesher Habakkuk) describes the struggle between the Teacher of Righteousness and his opponents - the Man of Lies (also termed the Spouter or Preacher of Lies) and the Wicked Priest. The Spouter is pictured as heading a community. The dispute between the teacher and the Spouter is seems to have been based on matters of religious interpretation and law...." (Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, p. 228)
However, Muslims have always noted the fact that Paul was not in the list of early disciples, and were not a part of the earliest Christian community. In fact, as the Bible describes, Paul became a Christian some time after the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus (Acts 9). So, how was it possible for Paul to have led a community (of early Christians obviously) and disputed with Jesus? Again the author abused Schiffman's words.
According to the Habbakuk Pesher (1QpHab) which described the formative events of the Qumran sect, the Teacher of Righteous and the Man of Lies belonged to the same community:
Its interpretation concerns the House of Absalom and the members of his council who kept silent at the time of the rebuke of the Teacher of Righteousness, and did not help him against the Man of Lies who rejected the Law in the midst of their whole Community. (1QpHab V 9-12)
This passage described a certain Absalom and his house who did not help the Teacher during this schismatic dispute where the Man of Lies rejected "the Law in the midst of their whole Community" (V 11-12), resulting in a "rebuke of the Teacher of Righteousness" (V 10). The Man of Lies "did not listen to the Knowledgeable Interpreter" (Psalms Pesher I 18-19), another name for the Teacher. How was all that possible between Jesus and Paul?
The author believed that the scrolls were dated to about a hundred years before the time of Christ. The Damascus Document did not mention the Wicked Priest, but alluded bitterly to the "Man of Mockery" and the "congregation of traitors" (his followers) who caused a split that was perhaps early in the history of the sect. Thus, if we believe Mr. Kadhi, we must reject historical evidence that Jesus and Paul lived a hundred years or more after that, and that Paul caused a schism among the Christians even before he was born.
PROBLEMS WITH IDENTIFYING THE SPOUTER OF LIES WITH THE CHIEF PRIESTS OR PHARISEES :
Under the assumption that Jesus was the Teacher as the author proposed, we note the following problems :
The same problems that we have noted with identifying Paul as the Spouter of Lies surface again if we identify the Spouter of Lies as the chief priests (Sadducees) or the Pharisees. There is absolutely no evidence that Jesus belong to the same community (where Jesus is the founder and head) as the Sadducees (which means Jesus must be the Chief Priest) or the Pharisees. We note that scholars tells us that the Pharisees were already in full swing by Jesus' time, and so how can the split happened during Jesus' time? The Bible recorded so many incidences where Jesus criticized the Pharisees, that it was clear that Jesus and the Pharisees had long been in disagreement. And since this was the case, Jesus cannot have been a part of and leader of the Pharisaic movement. And if Jesus was never the leader of the Sadducees or the Pharisees, the author's identification cannot but be very problematic.
This was one of the reasons of the schism within the community, where the Man of Lies led a group of followers and opted for easier rules. But, as we know, the two groups, Sadducees and Pharisees were also very meticulous in observance with the law, with the latter even more so than the former, and thus, what kind of easier laws was meant in the Dead Sea Scrolls?
One of the groups of people scholars identified possibly as the Qumranians are the Essenes. Josephus noted that there were two groups of Essenes active in Palestine, one group totally withdrawn with a more ascetic life and another fully participating in the Jewish life. Josephus even listed the names of some of these people.
Putting all these pieces together, we see that the author's thesis did not find any support from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Each part of his identification of the main characters mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls was met with contradiction from the Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts. To accept his thesis, one has to twist both the words of Schiffman and the Dead Sea Scrolls, and be inconsistent at various places and contradict Islamic doctrines.
In Summer 1997, Schiffman contacted me about my article refuting Mr. Al-Kadhi's earlier article. I asked him if I had misrepresented him in the article and he said "You certainly did me no injustice and I enjoyed the articles. I also read the Moslem stuff." (10/10/97, private email with Lawrence H. Schiffman, Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University).
Having seen the various contradictions the author's hypothesis caused, we now look at some of the differences between Islam and the Qumran sect. Any Islamic claim to the Qumran sect will have to explain these differences.
The author repeated the oft-heard Muslim conjecture that when the Romans came to arrest Jesus, he was raised and Judas was transformed to look and speak like Jesus, being dragged away screaming. He claimed to find his support from the Gospel of Barnabas. Such a picture is totally alien to the Biblical description of the calm demeanor of Jesus who spoke calmly to the soldiers and even healed the slashed ear of a Roman soldier (Matthew 26:50-56, Mark 14:48, Luke 22:48-53, John 18:4-11). He asked the solders and temple guards in return :
"Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day, I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But all this has taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled." (Matthew 26:55-56).
Is it possible for Judas Ischariot the betrayer who had been tortured, to have said on the cross:
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34),or to tell the criminal crucified with him:
"I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43)?How could Judas have asked that God forgive the Jews for crucifying him the betrayer? The words of Luke 23:34 are clearly those of an innocent person sentenced to die for a crime he did not commit, not those of the deserving Judas.
Regarding the death of Judas depicted in the Bible, the author committed tahrif by adding in the detail not found in the Bible :
"However, in Acts 1:19 FAR FROM DISPLAYING REMORSE, Judas is depicted as having purchased a field with his ill gotten gains and then one day while HE WAS OUT WALKING HE TRIPPED, fell down, and his internal organs burst out."In this manner," says the author, "divine justice took vengeance against the traitor" Where, we ask the author, did those words in caps appear in the book of Acts? But, of course, the author cannot have his cake and eat it. He cannot make up his mind whether to believe the accounts in the Gospels and Acts, or his contradicting Islamic conjecture. It is interesting that he had no words of comment on why the the harmonizing account given by various "conservative scholars" is wrong, but simply an allegation :
In other words, they have taken two contradictory accounts, added in additional details found in neither one, and then come up with a completely new account supported by neitherand we have seen the author doing exactly what he alleged of the Christians.
The author made a serious error when he said :
''This turn of events appears to be supported by the New Testament where we find that whenever Jesus was asked, "art thou Jesus?" He would reply "Thou sayest" (Matthew 27:11, Mark 15:2). This would be a completely logical response if he was not Jesus but Judas and he had been abused, ridiculed and mocked to the point that he had given up all hope of being believed. In other words, what Judas meant by "thou sayest" was, "you will not believe me if I say otherwise, so why fight it any more." ''
The author had it all wrong, despite the many bibles and commentaries that he said (in the Preface) he consulted. Did he really read the Bible? In Matthew 27:11 and Mark 15:2 (and Luke 23:3), Jesus was not asked, as the author would want us to believe, the question, "art thou Jesus?" By twisting the question to the answer, readers are misled into thinking that the person under trial was hesitant about his identity. The Bible recorded no such question! Instead, the question was "Are you the king of the Jews?" Before the Sanhedrin, he was asked the question, "Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God?" (Matthew 26:63, also Mark 14:61, Luke 22:70). So, who was the one changing scripture?
Under the Romans, the Jews were governed by kings and priests. The Romans only demanded from the Jews their due of taxes (and of course, loyalty). The Hasmonean dynasty before the time of Jesus sometimes combined kingship and priesthood together. Upon the death of Herod the Great, his kingdom under the Romans was divided among his four sons, and Herod Antipas was the tetrarch ruling Galilee. Commonly, however, he was referred to as king (Mark 6:14). Pilate was the Roman governor in charge of Herod's domain, and their relationship had not been exceptionally cordial (Luke 23:12). Thus, the question Pilate asked of Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?" made a lot of sense as he sensed a possible power struggle for the leadership of the Jews with his enemy, who probably would be most interested in seeing him deposed.
Next, the author affirmed that the body (of the person crucified) disappeared from the tomb. But, if it was Judas who was crucified and buried but did not die, why would he not appear and tell everyone of the lie about the resurrection of Jesus which the disciples were trumpeting all over Jerusalem. What gain was there for Judas to aid in perpetrating such a grand lie? Or if he stumbled out of the tomb (by rolling that heavy rock himself?) and died along the way, his body would have been found easily and shown to the Jews. Or if he did die and his followers stole the body, why did his followers not show the dead body of Judas (who are supposedly the enemy of Judas according to the theory of Mr. Al-Kadhi) None of these happened, and the Church was able to build its foundation on the resurrection of Jesus from death, and His appearance to the disciples. The thesis of the author cannot explain the phenomenal transformation of the frightened disciples to fearless witnesses of Jesus' resurrection before the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:1-21), nor of the growth of the church in the face of fierce persecution (even at the hands of Paul).
The Ahamddiya explaination of a swoon where Jesus survived and showed himself to the disciples is without merit, for it accuses the disciples of perpetrating a lie. The Qur'an described the disciples as believers :
And when I inspired the disciples, (saying): Believe in Me and in My messenger, they said: We believe. Bear witness that we have surrendered (unto Thee) "we are muslims". (Surah 5:111, Pickthall's translation, The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, also 3:52, 61:14)
Further evidence in support of my assertion that Q may in fact be the Gospel of Barnabasis the fact that the final (Non-Synoptic) Gospel, that of John, contains no mention of the High Priest's question or Jesus' claimed reply. In the Johnine version (John 18:19-23), the questions and answers are quite different than the first three Gospels. The author of the Gospel of Mark appears to have modified the original response in order to depict Jesus as fearlessly answering their questions directly, and heroically standing his ground welcoming their persecution with open arms. On the other hand the other two (Matthew and Luke) still retain the original text reflecting Judas' frustration in the face of the persecution he had intended for his master.But in the second edition of the book, the author asserts :
As mentioned previously, it is quite possible that the elusive Q document which Christian scholars believe to be the source document for the first three Gospels, (Matthew, Mark and Luke) is indeed the Gospel of Barnabas. This Gospel, once again, appears to have had a strong influence on our current day New Testament.with no further evidence. What happened to his arguments?
There are a few problems with this thesis. The author obviously is not familiar with the Q document theory, which states that Mark used material from Q to write his gospel, and Matthew and Luke relied on the more primitive Gospel of Mark. Thus, the development, if it exists, is totally wrong in the author's case. It is interesting that if Judas was frustrated before the Sanhedrin as the author conjectured, then how does one make sense out of the statement "But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God" (Luke 22:69) in such a calm, matter of factly manner?
The author said that Luke gave the "thou sayest" answer to the question, by quoting Luke 22:67, "If I tell you, you will not believe me..." However, the author omitted the next few verses where Jesus' answer appeared in Luke 22:70, "You are right in saying I am", just as affirmative and bold as the answer given in Mark. In Matthew, the author omitted a small word but very important word, "yes", in Jesus' reply: "Yes, it is as you say" (Matthew 26:64), which is as affirmative and bold as Mark's or Luke's. Again, the author misquoted scripture to prove his point. Therefore, we find that the author's claim that Jesus did not make a bold claim to being "the Christ, the Son of God" in Matthew and Luke to be totally untrue, and his reliance on this to build the theory that the GOB was the Q document falls. The worst thing is, of course, that the GOB contains some many contradictions to the Gospel accounts that one have to ask how it was possible for GOB to be Q?
The author may want to object that the words of Jesus during the trials were not quite the same. But as any one watching court proceedings will quickly notice, questions are often repeated again and again, and answers sought in a manner that answers and supports the theory the lawyers are building. Therefore, it is totally credible that Jesus was subjected to many similarly worded questions and the answers recorded reflected slightly different answers to different questions.
The author quotes Mr. Yusseff :
"In sir Godfrey Higgins' notable work Anacalypsis, we are told that in the book of Haggi, the name of the Messiah who was to come after Jesus appears in chapter two, verse seven: 'And the desire of all nations shall come' Here the Hebrew word HMD* [translated as 'desire'], from the Hebrew text appears in Sir Higgins' work with the following explanation of the root word HMD. 'From this root,' (says Parkhurst,) 'The pretended prophet Mohammed, or Mahomet, had his name.' Sir Higgins says, 'Here Mohammed' is expressly foretold by Haggi, and by name; there is no interpolation here. There is no evading this clear text and it's meaning, as it appeared to the mind of the most unwilling of witnesses, Parkhurst, and a competent judge too when he happened to not be warped by prejudice. He does not suppress his opinion here, as he did in the Wisdom of the Jerusalem Targum, because he had no object to serve; he did not see to what this truth would lead." (M.A. Yusseff, The Dead Sea Scrolls, the Gospel of Barnabas, and the New Testament, pp. 110-111)When I first read this, I was certainly taken aback. I have seen many Muslims try to prove from the Bible that Muhammad has been prophecied about in the Bible, but not one have I seen from Haggai 2:7. Even the rather comprehensive book by Ali-Tabari, a Christian who became a Muslim, and who wrote The Book of Religion and Empire under the order of the Caliph Mutawakkil (A.D. 847-866), where he quoted many passages from the Bible to prove that Muhammad was indeed mentioned in the Bible, did not quote from this passage. I find it hard to believe that many learned Muslims have indeed missed such a "clear text and it's meaning."
I turned to the library to look up the references. This was a book written by Sir Godfrey Higgins (1773-1833), certainly an old book by today's standard. Now, of course, I was really curious how such a "clear" prophecy wasn't trumpeted often by Muslims in the century after that? Then, I saw another book by him : "Mr. Godfrey Higgins' Apology for Mohamed. /Higgins, Godfrey, 1773-1833 /Lahore 1974(1829)" and all of sudden, I understood his strong language against Parkhurst.
(for the Hebrew of this passage, I am indebted to Dave Washburn for his patient explanation).
There are a few problems with the liberty of the Hebrew that was made :
6 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it [is] a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry [land];The context clearly is about the rebuilt temple of God in Jerusalem, which stood after the Babylonian Exile till it was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70, so unless Muhammad went to the Second Temple ("this house") before it was destroyed, this passage cannot refer to him.
7 And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.
8 The silver [is] mine, and the gold [is] mine, saith the LORD of hosts.
9 The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.
Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire (chemdah) of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. (Daniel 11:37, KJV)But, why did Muslims not use this of Muhammad? Is it because this chemdah is idolatrous and scandalous. But certainly, it is inconsistent to change from looking for a "name" (i.e. word) form to "meaning" form.
"Those who follow the apostle, 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." (Surah 7:157, translated by Yusuf Ali)Surah 61:6 is the only mention of the name "Ahmad" in the Qur'an, and Sura 7:157 directs the Muslims to search for the prophecy in the Torah and the Injil. It is interesting that Muslims would search also among the Psalms and the Prophetic writings, even Songs, and then turn around and say that these are not the Torah, Zabur and Injil. Haggai is clearly the wrong place to search.
And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: "O Children of Israel! I am the apostle of God (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of an Apostle to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad." But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, "this is evident sorcery!" (Surah 61:6, translated by Yusuf Ali)
Yet what is interesting is that Ubayy b. Kab, one of the secretaries of Muhammad and who kept a personal codex of the Qur'an, tells us that Surah 61:6 reads :
O children of Israel, I am God's messenger to you, and I announce to you a prophet whose community will be the last community and by which God will put the seal on the prophets and messengers. (quoted by Abdul-Haqq, Sharing Your Faith With Muslims, p. 51)
This was a difficult one to respond to. Al-Kadhi refers to some ancient Persian text of Dasatir 14 (Sasan11) but does not give any hint where this text is published so that it can be properly evaluated.
Why should it be the reader's duty to research the sources? Al-Kadhi made the claim. If he wants his claims to be taken serious he should have provided the references. Questions that need to be asked are:
Where is this work published, the whole text, not just the particular snippet Al-Kadhi is interested in? What is its authenticity and age? We do know that many old texts have undergone changes regarding additions and subtractions over time. What is the dating and interpretation of this part of the text by the scholarly community? In particular, is it from before or after Muhammad's time, and the Islamic conquest of Persia?
Where are references to original and scholarly sources that discuss this text? Not references to another manuals of Muslim apologetics. Maybe al-Kadhi thinks that the statement at the end of his chapter: "For those who wish to see more, you are encouraged to obtain a copy of the book "The Bible's Last Prophet," by Faisal Siddiqui, Al-Saadawi Publications" is enough. But this is not so. A diligent author should always give references the original sources if possible. Otherwise, the interested reader might obtain the mentioned book only to realize that it is a dead end and this author has no different approach than Al-Kadhi himself. Claims and a lack of scholarly background and references. It might only be chasing after wind.
For the claim from the Hindu scriptures (below) I found relevant material only by accident, not because al-Kadhi provided sources as it would have been his obligation.
The author then quotes from the Hindu Bhavishya Purana to show that Muhammad was prophesied in there by name :
Just an illiterate man with the epithet Teacher, Muhammad by name, came along with his companions. Raja (Bhoja in a vision) to that Great Diva, that denizen of Arabia, purifying with the Ganges water and with the five things of cow offered sandal wood and pay worship to him. O denizen of Arabia and Lord of the holies, to thee is my adoration. O thou who hast found many ways and means to destroy the devils of the world. O pure one from among the illiterates, O sinless one, the spirit of the truth and absolute master, to thee is my adoration. Accept me at thy feet. (Bhavishya Purana Parv 3, Khand 3, Adhya 3, Shalok 5-8)
(For the following, I am indebted to Milind Saraph for pointing to Dr. Kumar's book in a newsgroup article.)
But of course, for a document that has seen revisions up till the 19th century and a country once governed by the Muslim Moghuls, one would be surprised if "Muhammad" is not mentioned by name. The Purana even contains modern words and names like "Queen Victoria", "Sunday", "February" and "Sixty". Dr. Raj Kumar Arora writes :
"The third Parvan viz., the Pratisarya of the Bhavisya Purana, contains historical material. It begins with the ascension on Manu to the throne and ends with the mention of the arrival of the British in India and the rule of "Queen Victavati" (Victoria). The historical material discussed in this part of the Purana is vague and haphazard. [...deleted...] Names of some Rajput kings have similarly been added in a most casual way. The chapters dealing with the fabricated myths of the births of Sankaracharya, Madhava, Jayadeva, Kabir, Nanak, Narsi and the references to Timur, Babur, Humayun, Shershah, Akbar, Salem, Aurangzeb, Shivaji, Mahadevaji Sindhia clearly prove that these chapters were incorporated in the Purana from time to time. The reference to English words like "Sunday," "February," and "Sixty" in the Bhavishya Purana, and to the coming of the British, their factories in Calcutta, and to Queen Victoria also show beyond doubt that these chapters or verses belong to the 19th century." (Raj K. Arora, Historical and Cultural Data from Bhavishya Purana", Sterling Publishers, Delhi, 1972, p. 18-19)
"However, as will be clear from a perusal of the present thesis, it appears well nigh certain that the Purana received its characteristic form and underwent a drastic revision in the first half of 1000 A.D." (Raj K. Arora, ibid, p. 21)
"The Bhavisya Purana in its extant form is a syncretic text. .... The result has been that the historical section of this work bristles with inconsistent assemblage of fiction and legend which makes the reader, at times sceptic to the veracity and authenticity of the whole text. The trustworthy account concerning the ancient period is scanty, references to episodes of medieval history are quite sketchy and no better than fairy tales; the allusions to the British period are equally jejune." (Raj K. Arora, ibid, p. vii)
Here, the author used late date documents to show that Muhammad was "prophesied" by name, documents that contained historical material but unfortunately are useless as prophecies. Moreover, one realizes that to the Hindus, the Bhagavad Gita is one of the most important and popular scriptures, but where is the reference to Muhammad there?
The author's examples of "fulfilled" prophecies from the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Book of Haggai in the Bible and Hinduism's Bhavishya Purana gave a very telling story of a desperate attempt to make sense of the Islamic teaching that "no matter their current state, [the various religions] appear to have at one point in time began their life with a true messenger of God and that this messenger of God prophesied the coming of Muhammad (pbuh)." But, as we have seen above, these examples contradicted very seriously with Islamic teaching, while the rest were written long after Muhammad, and were not prophecies at all.
Thus, faced with the question the author "wrestled with for some time" and was able to satisfy himself that indeed what the Qur'an said was true, but as we have seen above his thesis do not work. The author either have to wrestle with it again, or simply delude himself with the conclusions he like to hear and make up. Indeed, if he is not to believe in blind faith as he accused Christians of doing, he has to find prophecies of Muhammad in all existing people and religion, no matter how obscure. He will also have to show that the founders of these religions prophesied about Muhammad. It is significant that the author fails to provide us with evidences from large people groups like the Chinese (see the appendix on a Chinese word that is very interesting), the Buddhists, the Malays, the Africans, the native Americans, the pre-Christian Europeans, etc. He will have to look much harder among the Indians.
It is clear that the author started with a teaching of Islam, believed it in faith, and then set about to prove that it is correct. This clearly leads one to grasp at straws. If a Christian is to do this, the author will surely cry "blind faith!"
So why don't we study these scrolls in a little more detail and see what else we can learn ?and we have seen that the author did not hold himself to the same standard. We have seen how the author's thesis cannot find any support from the Dead Sea Scrolls. He accused :
"Many Christian scholars have snatched up these prophesies in order to prove the validity of their claim that Jesus (pbuh) was indeed sent by God and that the Jews are required to follow him. However, they have been thwarted in their attempts by one other quite amazing piece of evidence that the Jews continually manage to refute their claims with, specifically, that the Dead Sea Scrolls claim that the first messiah will be persecuted and that the Wicked Priest will try to kill him, but that the Wicked Priest will not be successful and that it is he who will receive the fate he wished for the messiah."
The author repeated exactly that same mistake by taking texts that have a little parallel with Islam, interpreted them loosely without regard to the context or with other texts, and forced an interpretation that is incoherent to the tone of the Dead Seas Scrolls and even contradicted Islam. Such a tahrif of the Qumran scriptures (scriptures to the Qumranians definitely) is certainly unworthy of one who accused the Jews and Christians of tahrif.
The acceptance of the fraudulent Gospel of Barnabas and the Purana also belies a shoddy scholarship, all of which are late date and useless in the scholarship. The twisting of words in Haggai 2:7 and the Dead Sea Scrolls also undermines the author's credibility.
The Qurmanians is evidence that there exist a religious group who, despite their carefully preserved, voluminous writings, did not have a prophecy of Muhamamd in their midst, unless one twisted their scriptures severely. The Dead Sea Scrolls therefore contradicts Islam.
The Rebuttal to "What Did Jesus Really Say?"
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