Is Muhammed The Prophet of Islam Prophesied In Song of Solomon 5:16?
Some Muslim apologists will make the claim that the Bible prophesied the coming of Muhammed, the prophet of Islam. The Qur'an asserts that Muhammed was foretold in the Bible (7:157; 61:6).
Surah 7:157: "Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find described in their Torah and Gospel - he will enjoin on them good and forbid them evil, he will make lawful for them all good things and prohibit for them what is foul, and he will relieve them of their burden and the fetters that were upon them - those that believe in him, honor him, support him, and follow the light which had been sent down with him: they are the successful."
Surah 61:6: "And [remember] Jesus, son of Mary, who said: "O Children of Israel; I am the messenger of Allah to you, confirming that which was before me in the Torah and bringing good news of a messenger who will come after me, whose name is Ahmad." Yet when he came to them with clear proofs, they said: "This is manifest magic."
One of the verses that is asserted that foretells the coming of Muhammed is Song of Solomon 5:16: " His mouth is most sweet, Yes, he is altogether lovely (ma-kha-madeem). This is my beloved, And this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!"
Muslim apologists will claim that this Hebrew word (ma-kha-madeem) actually mentions the name of Muhammed. This is not true for several reasons:
- Examine the context. When a person steps back to examine the context of these verses, it is romantic love poetry of the female who is in love with the male. She is giving a handsome description of the man. Song of Solomon was written sometime during the reign of king Solomon (early 900s B.C.) and is describing a present situation where two lovers talk about one another, not a prediction of a prophet far off into the future some fifteen hundred years later.
- Examine the content. The name "Muhammed" is derived from an Arabic root word that means "praise" (Al-Azîz). If we look at the Hebrew word, it refers to "grace, beauty" (Gesenius, 1847, p. 464), "a desirable thing, delightfulness" (Brown, et al., 1906, pp. 326-327), or "precious" (Holladay, 1988, p. 190). Notice that Song of Solomon uses the same word in 2:3, which is in reference to the male of the romantic poem. These are two different meanings.
- Examine closely how the word is used elsewhere in the Old Testament. The word ma-kha-madeem is used elsewhere in the Old Testament such as 1 Kings 20:6; 2 Chronicles 36:19; Lamentations 1:10,11; Ezekiel 24:16,21,25; Hosea 9:9,16; Joel 3:5. They obviously do not refer to Muhammed.
The coming of Muhammed is not foretold in the Song of Solomon.
Al-Azîz, Sheikh Abd (no date), "The Meaning of the Prophet's names ‘Muhammad' and ‘Ahmad,'" Islam Today, http://en.islamtoday.net/quesshow-14-738.htm.
Brown, Francis, S.R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs (1906), The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2000 reprint).
Gesenius, William (1847), Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1979 reprint).
Holladay, William (1988), A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
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