Finding Jesus and Truth in the Quran
The Quran is not about Mohammad,
for no Messenger or Prophet is sent to testify about themselves.
Jesus said: "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true." John 5:31
We struggle to know the real Mohammad since there are very few verses in the Quran that appear to refer to him and the Hadiths are considered by many to be inconsistent and unreliable. However, by combining the sources available, we do gain a reasonably consistent picture of who he was.
The name Muhammad appears to be a title meaning "blessed" or "praised" that was attributed to an Arab merchant who received a revelation from God.
We understand that he was born in 570 AD in Petra, and died in 632 AD at the age of 62. Arab tradition says that Mohammad led trade caravans across Syria and Arabia and that he lost his parents at an early age; his father died before he was born, and his mother died when he was about five.
Tradition also calls Mohammad a hanif, someone who seeks the true God. He was described a descendant of Ishmael's eldest son Nebaioth, and as a man of great character (Q 68:4). He is described as truthful in speech, trustworthy and generous. He humbly called himself Allah’s apostle and acquired little property and took nothing from the community treasury.
We might wonder why God would use Mohammad when he was not even a believer? The reason that God spoke to Mohammad and gave him the gift of prophecy may be because he was a trustworthy and truthful man.
The disciple John wrote:
".. whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God." John 3:21"
Mohammad was not born in Mecca in Saudi Arbaia. Instead, the Quran mentions a place called Makkah, an alternate name for the city of Petra in Jordon. Petra was described as the mother of cities and is the city that actually fits the description of Makkah in the Quran. Petra is also the only place that fits all the historical and archaeological evidence as the birthplace of Mohammad.
For further information about Petra, see the wealth of evidence presented by Dan Gibson in his books and numerous online videos.
Mohammad was not initially a believer, but at the age of 40, following the example set by Christian monks living throughout Syria and Arabia at the time, left the comforts of his home and sought God in prayer and meditation.
While alone in a cave, Mohammad received his first vision from God.
When Mohammad returned home, his wife Khadijah took him to her uncle Waraqah ibn Nawfal, a Christian elder. Nawfal confirmed Mohammad's revelation and declared Mohammad to be a prophet of God. Accoording to tradition, Nawfal advised Mohammad he would be called a liar and would be cast out of his community. Nawfal also identified the one who had spoken to Mohammad, not as the angel Gabriel, but as Namus, a word that means "The Law".
Mohammad was told to recite the words he had received, and in obedience, Mohammad began preaching. Mohammad preached the Gospel to the people of his home town for ten years, reminding them of the Gospel stories they had previously heard and warning them of the coming day of Judgement when Jesus will return.
Mohammad did not receive great wisdom or knowledge. He was not a teacher who could explain the Scriptures. He was a preacher who recited the words he received.
“Surely We have sent you as a witness and as a bearer of good news and as a warner, That you may believe in Allah and His Messenger [Jesus] and may aid him and revere him; and (that) you may declare His glory, morning and evening.” Q 48:8-9
Around 660 AD, Sebeos, an Armenian bishop wrote about Mohammad:
"At that time, a certain man from along those same sons of Ismael, whose name was Mahmet [Moḥammad], a merchant, as if by God’s command, appeared to them as a preacher - the Path of Truth. He taught them to recognize the God of Abraham, especially because he was learnt and informed in the history of Moses. Now because the command was from on high, at a single order, they all came together in unity of religion."
His Message remains
Unfortunately, few of Mohammad's supporters survived the battles and civil wars that followed Mohammad's death. Those that did remain loyal to Mohmmad and his message were persecuted and murdered when they did not support the Arab caliphate. The newly emerging Arab rulers used his name to legitimise and consolidate an empire, but cared little for its truth. The man and his message became distorted as his story was retold and rewritten in the centuries that followed his death. Fortunately, even though we struggle today to understand how his message could of become so changed, it appears that the Quran has been perserved.
Mohammad should be praised because he went searching for God and in obedience to what was revealed to him, he preached the words he received despite great persecution. He preached the words of the Gospels to the pagan Arabs and to the Jews of Arabia, reminding them of the truth that so many still ignore or reject today.
The story of Mohammad has been rewritten and continues to be rewritten, but his message remains. When we read the original text of the Quran we find that it does not challenge any Christian or New Testament teaching.
The Quran is simply a reminder of the truth.
Mohammad preached to the Arab Jews and pagans, telling them to remember the words of the Book (The Bible).
Mohmmad preached against the false teachings and beliefs that have entered the church in the centuries following the death of the apostles.
Reminding believers and unbelievers that Jesus never declared himself to be God. Reminding them that God is One, not three, or three persons or three in one.
Reminding believers that Jesus (the Son of God), was not the son of God by adoption, nor was he begotten as another God.
Like the early church, Mohammad's followers also suffered great persecution, and like the early church, much of what would have been common knowledge, has been lost.
Mohammad did not attempt to start a new religion, instead he called Believers to return to the word of God found in the Old Testaments scriptures, and in the New Testament Gospels. Mohammad could be best described as a reformer who attempted to restore faith and bring unity to the church.