What Deuteronomy 18 Really Tells Us about the Prophethood of Muhammad

If you take a moment to assess the average arguments for the prophethood of Muhammad, you will almost certainly find arguments for "Muhammad in the Bible". One of the favorites is Deuteronomy 18:18. It is often alleged, as in this example, that "if this verse does not apply to the Prophet Muhammad, the prophecy in this verse will be unfulfilled."

The purpose of this blog post is not to respond to this argument. That has been done quite adequately in multiple places. Rather, I wish to briefly address what we can really find out from Deuteronomy 18 about the Prophethood of Muhammad.

In verse 20, God identifies who ought to be considered a false prophet:

1: "the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak,"
2: "or (he) who speaks in the name of other gods"

Muhammad did both of these things. When proclaiming to the Muslims and the Meccans that they could turn to the goddesses Lat, Uzza, and Manat for intercession, he essentially spoke in their name (reason #2 to consider someone a false prophet). When he initially proclaimed this, he did so in the name of Allah, since he announced it as part of the Qur'an. Later he recanted, saying it was Satan who placed these verses in his mouth. Thus, he admitted to speaking a word in God's name that God did not command him to speak (reason #1 to consider him a false prophet).

Now one may argue, as many of my Muslim friends do, that the episode of the Satanic Verses is fictitious. Unfortunately, the weight of the historical evidence is against that position; over 30 references to the Satanic Verses incident can be found in early Islamic sources, and it is unlikely that Muslims fabricated this event. This is why some Muslim scholars who have focused on this issue as their field of expertise (such as Dr. Shahab Ahmad from Harvard) agree that the event actually occurred.

The are three main reasons that one might conclude against the authenticity of the Satanic Verses, and none of these hold water.
1: The first is that Islam is a thoroughly monotheistic religion, and therefore Muhammad would never have preached intercession at the hands of Meccan goddesses. The fairly obvious problem with this view is that it is circular; it presupposes that Muhammad never contradicted monotheism in order to conclude that Muhammad preached contradicted monotheism. In reality, there is no reason to preclude some ambivalence on Muhammad's part in the early years of Islam. Truly, that is what the records indicate.
2: The second reason is that the incident is not found in the Sahih collections of hadith. The problem here, however, is that it assumes Imam Bukhari or Imam Muslim would not be biased against the account. I heartily believe that they would be. Which leads me to #3.
3: The third reason a person might conclude against the authenticity of the Satanic Verses is because he already believes Muhammad is a prophet of God, and that Muhammad would therefore never succumb to Satanic deceit. Aside from being a non sequitur position, such a person has arrived at a conclusion on the prophethood of Muhammad even before looking at the evidence; their a priori presuppositions invalidate their conclusions. Certainly, importing this presupposition while assessing Deuteronomy 18:20 would lead to an inadequate conclusion.

In short, if we actually take Biblical injunctions seriously, and we take the historical Muhammad seriously, we are forced to come to the conclusion that Muhammad meets both criteria for a false prophet as enumerated in Deuteronomy 18:20.

To learn more about the Satanic verses, visit these links:
1 - A comprehensive article by Silas on Answering Islam
2 - A short article by Dr. Ernest Hahn
3 - A debate between Adnan Rashid and David Wood on the authenticity of the Satanic Verses


  1. This is legit Nabeel. Tell me when you make a video on Christianity or Islam!!!!!

  2. Hey Nabeel. How about 1John 2:22

    "who is the liar? It is the man who denies Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the anti-christ, he denies the Father and the Son. No-one who denies the Son has the Father, whoever acknowledges the Son has the father also."

    This passage also confirms that God couldnt have gave Muhammad the q'uran as the q'uran denies the Son, thus is anti-christ.


    If you have time Nabeel could you please address my comment and question in the last blog concerning luke22:36.

    Thanks. and God Bless in Jesus name.

  3. Nabeel, If you could create a lesson about Hadiths I would be appreciative. I'm having a dialogue with a Muslim and he keeps saying that the Hadiths I use are weak.

    Could you please explain what is meant by this phrase? I haven't found a website that dumbs it down enough for my understanding, and I am trying to understand it from Muslim websites.

  4. www.scribd.com/doc/227601578/Servant-of-God-From-the-East

    If we read Isaiah 42:1. God said "I have put my spirit UPON/AGAINST/OVER him (the hebrew word being used does not indicate my spirit WITHIN/BORN WITH him NOR does it say TO CREATE FLESH of him):... he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.."

    the nature of the verse mentioned Holy Spirit can never be inside that particular servant of God. But Christian apologetic tried really hard to connect it to Jesus by proclaiming 'anointment' act where Holy Spirit gets out from the body of Jesus for a while then falls down back onto the shoulder in a form of a dove, then they need put in details about ministry preaching to gentiles, or they will simply say after Crucifixion event, Paul was sent to the gentiles.

    After mentioning all of these stories, only then they can relate relate the prophecy about Jesus bringing justice to gentiles. Which would not be fitting at all for prophecy as the verses itself did not indicate ministry or appointment of second person to bring justice to gentiles NOR does it say prophecy in Isaiah 42 shall stop somehow stop for about 2000years before it can be fulfilled.

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