Muslims often like to assert the genuineness of Muhammad’s role as a prophet by appealing to the Biblical text that Muhammad is the prophet like unto Moses: “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” (Deuteronomy 18:18)
They deny emphatically that this text refers to Jesus Christ and list, by the method of analogy, the following reasons to imply that ‘Jesus is not like Moses, but Muhammad is like Moses.’
The method of Analogy
Most formal lists would include the following:
Moses had a father and mother but Jesus only had a mother and not a human father therefore, Jesus is not like Moses, but Muhammad is like Moses.
Moses and Muhammad were born by natural means but Jesus had a miraculous birth therefore, Jesus is not like Moses, but Muhammad is like Moses.
Moses and Muhammad married and begat children but Jesus remained a bachelor therefore, Jesus is not like Moses but Muhammad is like Moses.
Moses and Muhammad were accepted as prophets by their people in their own lifetime but the Jews rejected Jesus therefore, Jesus is not like Moses but Muhammad is like Moses.
Moses and Muhammad brought new laws and new regulations for their people Jesus came only to fulfil the old laws therefore, Jesus is not like Moses but Muhammad is like Moses.
Both Moses and Muhammad had natural deaths while Jesus was violently killed on a cross therefore, Jesus is not like Moses but Muhammad is like Moses.
This method of analogy can of course work against the desired affect of the Muslim apologist by showing how unlike Muhammad and Moses were as the following list details:
Muhammad became an orphan therefore, He is not like Moses.
He was not of the Jewish nation therefore, He is not like Moses.
Moses parents were godly Levites, Muhammad’s parents were polytheists therefore, He is not like Moses.
Moses was highly educated, Muhammad was the unlettered prophet therefore, He is not like Moses.
Moses was the meekest man (Numbers 12:3) not an obvious quality in Muhammad therefore, He is not like Moses
Moses wrought miracles but Muhammad was only a warner (Al-Isra 17:61) therefore, He is not like Moses.
Moses was instructed by God to institute the Levitical priesthood but Muhammad was opposed to all forms of priestly functions therefore, he is not like Moses.
The method of analogy can be used to show that Muhammad was closer aligned to the Pagan priests of Arabia rather than to the Prophets of the Old Testament
a) In pre-Islamic Arabia, as local shrines rose in importance, there was not only an oracle but a soothsayer or priest (kahin) who was custodian of the shrine. Muhammad acted as a kahin, a guardian or custodian of a sacred shrine.
b) Muhammad gave out oracles in rhymed prose similar to that of the kahin of pagan days. The earliest chapters of the Quran are said to be very similar in form and content.
c) Muhammad produced imprecations and benedictions similar to those of the kahin which were supernaturally effective. It was Muhammad’s curse on an Arabian tribe guilty of injuring his camels, that was the origin of the qanut or brief imprecatory prayer. One type of dua-e-qunut is usually recited at the Fajr prayers.
d) Muhammad taught a special prayer and ritual for rain-making (istisqa) by turning his garment inside out and lifting his hands. This was also the practise of the kahin who would offer a special prayer for rain and bring it down from heaven in dry and thirsty Arabia.
e) Muhammad’s miracles are recorded in the ahadith and as in the case of pagan kahins, his garments, hair, saliva and touch had healing power.
f) God’s prophets when they received revelation did not sweat or hear the ringing of bells or wonder whether the revelation was from God or Satan theirs was a different revelation.
This method of analogy leads us into obscure pathways but the best way of interpreting the above text is by comparing scripture with scripture. When we do this it is clear that the New Testament understood that Jesus was this long awaited prophet and not Muhammad: “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you” (Acts 3:20-22).