Muhammad's False Prophecies
The Holy Bible gives us a test to determine a true prophet from a false one:
"But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death. You may say to yourselves, 'How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?' If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him." Deuteronomy 18:20-22
In light of what God says in the preceding passage, we will examine several predictions made by Muhammad in the Quran and Islamic traditions to see if whether he passes God's test.
On the Roman Conquest of Persia
"The Roman Empire has been defeated - in a land close by: But they, (even) after (this) defeat of theirs, will soon be victorious - within a few years."
As the prophecy stated the Byzantines did become victorious over the Persians who had at first defeated them. Yet there are fundamental problems with this alleged prophecy:
- According to Yusuf Ali the Arabic word for "a few years," Bidh'un, signifies a period of three to nine years; yet according to the historical records the victory did not come until nearly fourteen years later. The Persians defeated the Byzantines and captured Jerusalem at about A.D. 614 or 615. The Byzantine counter-offensive did not begin until A.D. 622 and the victory was not complete until A.D. 628, making it a period between thirteen to fourteen years, not "a few years" alluded to in the Quran.
Renowned historian and Muslim commentator, al-Tabari, places the Roman victory in 628 A.D. (6 A.H.), right after the signing of Hudaiybiya:
According to Ibn Humayd- Salamah- Muhammad b. Ishaq- Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri- 'Ubaydallah b. 'Abdullah b. 'Utbah b. Mas'ud- 'Abdullah b. 'Abbas- Abu Sufyan b. Harb, who said: We were merchant folk. The warfare between us and the Messenger of God had prevented us from journeying, so that our wealth became depleted. After the truce between us and the Messenger of God, we feared that we might not encounter security. I set out for Syria with a group of merchants of Quraysh. Our specific destination was Gaza, and we arrived at the time of Heraclius' VICTORY over the Persians who were in his land - he expelled them and regained from them his Great Cross, which they had carried off. Having accomplished this against them and having received word that his cross had been rescued from them (he was staying at Hims), he set out from there on foot in thanksgiving to God for restoring it to him, to pray in Jerusalem. Carpets were spread out for him, and fragrant herbs were strewn on them. When he reached Jerusalem and performed his worship - with him were his military commanders and the nobles of the Romans - he arose troubled one morning, turning his gaze to the sky ... (The History of Al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, translated by Michael Fishbein [State University of New York Press, Albany 1997], Volume VIII, pp. 100-101; bold and capital emphasis ours)
The translator's footnote reads:
436. "In 627 Heraclius invaded the Persian empire, and in December of that year won an important victory near ancient Ninevah, but had to retreat shortly afterwards. In February 628, however, the Persian emperor was assassinated, and the son who succeeded him desired peace. By about March 628 Heraclius could regard himself as victorious, but the negotiations for the evacuation of the Byzantine empire by the Persians were not completed until June 629. In September 629 Heraclius entered Constantinople AS VICTOR, and in March 630 restored the Holy Rood to Jerusalem." (Watt, Muhammad at Medina, 113-114). See also Ostrgorsky, History of the Byzantine State, 103-4. (Ibid., capital emphasis ours)
The hadith collection of al-Bukhari provides further corroboration that Abu Sufyan's visit with Heraclius occurred after the signing of Hudaiybiya:
Narrated ' Abdullah bin 'Abbas:
That Abu Sufyan bin Harb Informed him that Heraclius called him and the members of a caravan from Quraish who had gone to Sham as traders,during the truce which Allah's Apostle had concluded with Abu Sufyan and the Quraish infidels. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 53,Number 399)
Watt places Rome's complete victory at 630 A.D., fifteen to sixteen years after the so-called prophecy was given!
- The original Quranic text had no vowel marks. Thus, the Arabic word Sayaghlibuna, "they shall defeat," could easily have been rendered, with the change of two vowels, Sayughlabuna, "they (i.e. Romans) shall be defeated." Since vowel points were not added until some time after this event, it could have been quite possible for a scribe to deliberately tamper with the text, forcing it to become a prophetic statement.
This fact is solidified by Muslim commentator al-Baidawi. C.G. Pfander mentions Baidawi's comments on the variant readings surrounding this passage:
"But Al Baizawi shatters the whole argument of the Muslims by informing us of certain varied readings in these verses of Suratu'r Rum. He tells us that some read غَلَبَتِ instead of the usualغُلِبَتِ, and سَيُغْلَبُونَ instead of سَيَغْلُبُونَ. The rendering will then be: 'The Byzantines have conquered in the nearest part of the land, and they shall be defeated in a small number of years'. If this be the correct reading, the whole story about Abu Bakr's bet with Ubai must be a fable, since Ubai was dead long before the Muslims began to defeat the Byzantines, and even long before the victories which Heraclius won over the Persians. This shows how unreliable such Traditions are. The explanation which Al Baizawi gives is, that the Byzantines became conquerors of 'the well-watered land of Syria' (على ريف آلْشام), and that the passage predicted that the Muslims would soon overcome them. If this is the meaning, the Tradition which records the 'descent' of the verses about six years before the Hijrah must be wrong, and the passage must belong to A.H. 6 at earliest. It is clear that, as the vowel points were not used when the Qur-an was first written down in Cufic letters, no one can be certain which of the two readings is right. We have seen that there is so much uncertainty about (1) the date at which the verses were 'sent down', (2) the correct reading, and (3) the meaning, that it is quite impossible to show that the passage contains a prophecy which was fulfilled. Hence, it cannot be considered to be a proof of Muhammad's prophetic office." (C. G. Pfander, Mizan-ul-Haqq - The Balance of Truth, revised and enlarged by W. St. Clair Tisdall [Light of Life P.O. Box 18, A-9503, Villach Austria], pp. 279-280; emphasis ours)
This being the case, a Muslim cannot confidently tell us what the true reading of the text is and hence cannot insure us that this verse originally predicted the Byzantine victory over the Persians. Yet either rendering leaves us with a false prophecy within the Quran.
- It amazes us that a prophecy from God would not specify the exact time of the victory, seeing that God is all-knowing and all-wise, declaring the end from the beginning. When God specifies a time frame as an important part of a prophecy we would expect that it be precise, not a mere guess. For God to guess that the Byzantines would win at some time within "a few years" as opposed to specifying the exact year, is inconsistent with the belief in an Omniscient, Omnipotent Being. Hence, it is unlikely that the true God would actually make such a prophecy.
Interestingly, the phrase "a few years" serves to further discredit this alleged prophecy. Abu Bakr believed the term "a few years" meant that the Byzantines were going to win in three years:
"This passage refers to the defeat of the Byzantines in Syria by the Persians under Khusran Parvis. (A.D. 615 - 6 years before the Hegira). However, the defeat of the Persians should take place soon 'in a small number of years'. In the light of this prediction, Abu-Bakr undertook a bet with Ubai-ibn-Khalaf that this prediction would be fulfilled within three years, but he was corrected by Mohammed who stated that the 'small number' is between three and nine years (Al-Baizawi). Muslims tell us that the Byzantines overcame their enemies within seven years. The fact, however, is that the Byzantines defeated Persia in A.D. 628 (Al-Baizawi commentary).That was twelve years after the prediction of Mohammed. Consequently this passage does not qualify as a prophecy, particularly as the time between prophecy and fulfilment was far too short, and in addition the event was easily predictable." (Gerhard Nehls, Christians Ask Muslims [Life Challenge, SIM International; Africa, 1992], pp. 70-71)
On Entering Mecca
Sura 48:27 makes the following promise:
"Truly did Allah fulfill the vision for His Messenger. Ye shall enter the Sacred Mosque, IF ALLAH WILLS, with minds secure, heads shaved, hair cut short, and without fear. For He knew what ye knew not, and He granted, besides this, a speedy victory."
This verse was revealed in conjunction with the Muslims' failed attempt of entering Mecca to perform Tawaf (the ritual during Hajj of running between two mountains that was supposed to commemorate Hagar's fetching of water for Ishmael).
On their way to the Ka'bah, they were met with a Meccan deputation headed by Suhail b. Amr who forbade the Muslims from completing their journey. This meeting then led to the signing of the treaty of Hudaibiya.
Several problems arise from this whole incident. First, at the signing of the Hudaibiya treaty Muhammad agreed with the pagan Meccans to return to them those who had converted to Islam. At the same time Muhammad also bowed to their demands of replacing his signature of 'Muhammad, Messenger of God' with 'Muhammad, son of Abdullah' so that he might be allowed to make pilgrimage to Mecca the following year. The following is taken from Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 50, Number 891:
"When Suhail bin Amr came, the Prophet said, ‘Now the matter has become easy.' Suhail said to the Prophet 'Please conclude a peace treaty with us.' So, the Prophet called the clerk and said to him, 'Write: By the Name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful." Suhail said, 'As for "Beneficent," by Allah, I do not know what it means. So write: By Your Name O Allah, as you used to write previously.' The Muslims said, 'By Allah, we will not write except: By the Name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.' The Prophet said, 'Write: By Your Name O Allah.' Then he dictated, 'This is the peace treaty which Muhammad, Allah's Apostle has concluded.' Suhail said, 'By Allah, if we knew that you are Allah's Apostle we would not prevent you from visiting the Kaba, and would not fight with you. So, write: 'Muhammad bin Abdullah.' The Prophet said, 'By Allah! I am Apostle of Allah even if you people do not believe me. Write: Muhammad bin Abdullah.' (Az-Zuhri said, 'The Prophet accepted all those things, as he had already said that he would accept everything they would demand if it respects the ordinance of Allah, (i.e. by letting him and his companions perform 'Umra.)') The Prophet said to Suhail, 'On the condition that you allow us to visit the House (i.e. Ka'ba) so that we may perform Tawaf around it.' Suhail said, 'By Allah, we will not (allow you this year) so as not to give chance to the Arabs to say that we have yielded to you, but we will allow you next year.' SO, THE PROPHET GOT THAT WRITTEN.
"Then Suhail said, 'We also stipulate that you should return to us whoever comes to you from us, even if he embraced your religion.' The Muslims said, 'Glorified be Allah! How will such a person be returned to the pagans after he has become a Muslim?'" (bold emphasis ours)
One of those forced to return to Mecca with the pagans was Abu Jandal. In Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasulullah (The Life of Muhammad, trans. Alfred Guillaume, Oxford University Press), p. 505 we are told:
'When Suhayl (the Meccan representative and the treaty's compiler) saw Abu Jandal he got up and hit him in the face and took hold of his collar, saying, 'Muhammad, the agreement between us was concluded before this man came to you.' He replied, 'you are right.' He began to pull him roughly by his collar and to drag him away to return him to Quraysh, while Abu Jandal shrieked at the top of his voice, 'Am I to be returned to the polytheists that they may entice me from my religion O Muslims?' and that increased the people's dejection'" (bold and italic emphasis ours)
'While they were in this state Abu- Jandal bin Suhail bin 'Amr came from the valley of Mecca staggering with his fetters and fell down amongst the Muslims. Suhail said, 'O Muhammad! This is the very first term with which we make peace with you, i.e. you shall return Abu Jandal to me.' The Prophet said, 'The peace treaty has not been written yet.' Suhail said, 'I will never allow you to keep him.' The Prophet said, 'Yes, do.' He said, 'I won't do: Mikraz said, 'We allow you (to keep him).' Abu Jandal said, 'O Muslims! Will I be returned to the pagans though I have come as a Muslim? Don't you see how much I have suffered?'
Abu Jandal had been [previously] tortured severely for the cause of Allah' (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 50, Number 891)
We need to ask did Moses ever return a convert (especially one who was an Egyptian) back to the pagan Pharaoh in order to please the latter in obtaining what he wanted? Did Jesus ever compromise the truth of God by agreeing with the Pharisees in turning back all gentile seekers in order to be accepted by the Jewish ruling council? Would either Moses or Jesus go so far as to deny their apostleship in order to please the demands of pagans? Would these men refuse to glorify the true God in the manner commanded by the Creator and acquiesce to the request of addressing God in a manner pleasing to the unbelievers, much like Muhammad did?
As one would expect the Muslims were enraged, especially Umar b. al-Khattab who rebuked Muhammad:
'Umar bin al-Khattab said, 'I went to the Prophet and said, "Aren't you truly the messenger of Allah?" The Prophet said, "Yes, indeed." I said, "Isn't our cause just and the cause of the enemy unjust?" He said, "Yes." I said, "Then why should we be humble in our religion?" He said, "I am Allah's messenger and I do not disobey Him, and He will make me victorious"' (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 50, Number 891)
The anger of the Muslims is justifiable when we realize that Muhammad promised that his followers would have access to Mecca that very same year. When that did not occur, Muhammad attempted to justify his statement by stating, "Yes, did I tell you that we would go to Ka'ba this year?" (Ibid)
In other words, since he did not specify when they would enter Mecca this cannot be considered a false prophecy! This is simply erroneous since the Muslim contingent was on their way to Mecca when a deputation from the pagan Arabs stopped them. In fact, one of Muhammad's demands in signing the treaty was that the pagans permit the Muslims to complete their journey to Mecca in order to perform Tawaf. Suhail denied Muhammad's request and instead made an agreement that the Muslims could enter Mecca the following year. Ibn Kathir further supports this in his commentary on S. 48:27:
"In a dream, the Messenger of Allah saw himself entering Makkah and performing Tawaf around the House. He told his Companions about this dream when he was still in Al-Madinah. When they went to Makkah in the year of Al-Hudaybiyyah, none of them doubted that the Prophet's vision WOULD COME TRUE THAT YEAR. When the treaty of peace was conducted and they had to return to Al-Madinah that year, being allowed to return to Makkah the next year, SOME OF THE COMPANIONS DISLIKED WHAT HAPPENED. 'Umar bin Al-Khattab asked about THIS, saying, 'Haven't you told us that we will go to the House and perform Tawafaround it?'" (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Volume 9, Surat Al-Jathiyah to the end of Surat Al-Munafiqun, Abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, London, Lahore; first edition, September 2000], p. 171; bold and capital emphasis ours)
"While the Messenger of God was writing the document - he and Suhaly b. 'Amr - suddenly Abu Jandal, the son of Suhaly b. 'Amr, came walking with short steps in shackles. He had escaped to the Messenger of God. The companions of the Messenger of God had set out NOT DOUBTING that they would conquer, because of a vision the Messenger of God had seen. Therefore, when they saw what they saw - the peace, the retreat, and the obligations the Messenger of God had taken upon himself - the people felt so grieved about it that they were close to despair. When Suhayl saw Abu Jandal, he went up to him, struck him on the face, and grabbed him by the front of his garment. "Muhammad," he said, "the pact was ratified between me and you before this fellow came to you." "You are right," he replied. Suhayl began pulling and dragging [his son Abu Jandal] by the front of his garment to return him to Quraysh. Abu Jandal began screaming at the top of his voice, "People of the Muslims, shall I be returned to the polytheists for them to torment me for my religion?" This made the people feel even worse. The Messenger of God said: "Abu Jandal, count on a reward, for God will give you and those who are oppressed with you relief and a way out. We have made a treaty and peace between ourselves and these people; we have given them and they have given us a promise, and we will not act treacherously toward them." (The History of Al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, Volume VIII, pp. 86-87; bold and capital emphasis ours)
This proves that Muhammad actually believed he was going to enter into Mecca, a plan that never materialized. In order to save face he had to deny admitting that he actually implied that the Muslims would enter Mecca that same year.
Second, to make matters worse Muhammad broke the treaty with the Meccans by refusing to return a Muslim convert from the Quraysh. This refusal was in clear violation of things expressly stipulated in the very document that Muhammad had agreed to sign:
"Umm Kulthum Uqba b. Mu'ayt migrated to the apostle during this period. Her two brothers 'Umara and Walid sons of 'Uqba came and asked the apostle to return her to them in accordance with the agreement between him and Quraysh at Hudaybiyya, but he would not. God forbade it." (Sirat Rasulullah, p. 509; italic emphasis ours)
Hence, Muhammad justified the breaking of his oath by claiming that it was God's will to do so. Unfortunately for Muslims, this would prove that Muhammad's God is not the God of the Holy Bible since breaking one's oath is strictly forbidden. (Cf. Numbers 30:1-2)
In light of all these considerations we are again compelled to ask the following questions. Did Moses ever bow down to Pharaoh's requests in order to bring Israel out of bondage from Egypt? Did Jesus ever deny his Messiahship to gain access to the Temple? Did any true prophet of God ever compromise with the unbelievers in order to fulfill the will of God? Did these men proceed to break their oaths and promises in order to gain an unfair advantage over the unbelievers?
One final problem with all this is that Muslims claim that every single word in the Quran was revealed directly by God to Muhammad through Gabriel. Based on this assumption Muslims further reason that one will not find Muhammad's words intermingled with the words of God. This being the case, how do Muslims explain the fact that S. 48:27 has Allah saying insha' Allah, i.e. "If Allah wills"? Does God not know what his will is? If so, is he uncertain whether his purpose shall come to pass necessitating him to then qualify his statement with the phrase, insha' Allah?
One can understand how fallible humans who are unaware of God's purpose can qualify their statements with the expression "If God wills" (Cf. James 4:13-15). But for God to make such a qualification is beyond reasoning.
Furthermore, if God is in fact speaking then whom is he referring to when he says "If Allah wills"? Is he addressing himself or someone else? If he is addressing someone else, than how many Gods are there? Or perhaps Allah is also a multi-personal Being seeing that there is more than one Person that make up the unity of Allah?
This leads us to conclude that Muhammad's prediction not only failed to materialize, but that his motives in concocting revelation were power, money and fame. This verse also proves that God cannot be the author of the Quran.
On the Appearance of the Antichrist and the End of the World
Muhammad allegedly claimed that the Antichrist (called the Dajjal) was to appear shortly after the Muslim conquest of Constantinople. The following traditions are taken from the Sunan Abu Dawud:
Narrated Mu'adh ibn Jabal:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: The flourishing state of Jerusalem will be when Yathrib is in ruins, the ruined state of Yathrib will be when the great war comes, the outbreak of the great war will be at the conquest of Constantinople and the conquest of Constantinople when the Dajjal (Antichrist) comes forth. He (the Prophet) struck his thigh or his shoulder with his hand and said: This is as true as you are here or as you are sitting (meaning Mu'adh ibn Jabal).
Narrated Mu'adh ibn Jabal:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: The greatest war, the conquest of Constantinople and the coming forth of the Dajjal (Antichrist) will take place within a period of seven months.
Narrated Abdullah ibn Busr:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: The time between the great war and the conquest of the city (Constantinople) will be six years, and the Dajjal (Antichrist) will come forth in the seventh.
Accordingly, Muslims conquered Jerusalem in 636 AD. Constantinople was taken over by Muslims in May 1453 AD. Yet the prophecy regarding Yathrib (Medina) being in ruins and Antichrist's advent to take place seven months after the conquest of Constantinople did not materialize. Based on the preceding traditions Antichrist was to appear in November 1453.
Some may wish to argue that these events refer to future conquests. For instance some may wish to say that Constantinople is used as a synonym for the Roman Christian Empire. This would therefore be predicting that Muslims are to takeover Rome before Antichrist appears.
The problem with this is that if Muhammad was speaking of Rome he could have simply used the word Romans (Arabic: Ar-Rum). In fact, Romans/Ar-Rumis the name given to chapter 30 of the Quran. To call Rome either Constantinople or even Byzantium would be rather anachronistic. See above.
Hence, in light of the preceding factors we are forced to conclude that Muhammad's predictions failed to materialize, thus disqualifying him regarding his claim to prophethood.
Muhammad also believed in a young earth and that the world was about to end shortly after his advent. The following citations are taken from The History of al-Tabari, Volume 1 - General Introduction and from the Creation to the Flood (trans. Franz Rosenthal, State University of New York Press, Albany 1989), with all bold emphasis being ours:
"According to Ibn Humayd- Yahya b. Wadih- Yahya b. Ya'qub- Hammad- Sa'id b. Jubayr- Ibn Abbas: This world is one of the weeks of the other world - seven thousand years. Six thousand two hundred years have already passed. (The world) will surely experience hundreds of years, during which there will be no believer in the oneness of God there. Others said that the total extent of time is six thousand years." (Tabari, pp. 172-173; emphasis ours)
"According to Abu Hisham- Mu'awiyah b. Hisham- Sufyan- al-A'mash- Abu Salih- Ka'b: This world is six thousand years." (Ibid.)
"According to Muhammad b. Sahl b. 'Askar- Isma'il b. 'Abd al-Karim- 'Abd al-Samad b. Ma'qil I- Wahb: Five thousand six hundred years of this world have elapsed. I do not know which kings and prophets lived in every period (zaman) of those years. I aksed Wahb b. Munabbih: How long is (the total duration of) this world? He replied: Six thousand years." (Tabari, pp. 173-174; emphasis ours)
According to at-Tabari Muhammad believed that the end of the world was to occur 500 years after his coming:
"According to Hannad b. al-Sari and Abu Hisham al-Rifa'i- Abu Bakr b. 'Ayyash- Abu Hasin- Abu Salih- Abu Hurayrah: The Messenger of God said: When I was sent (to transmit the divine message), I and the Hour were like these two, pointing at his index and middle fingers." (Tabari, p. 176; emphasis ours, see also pp. 175-181)
Similar traditions are found in Sahih Muslim:
This hadith has been reported by Sahl b. Sa'd that he heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: I and the Last Hour are (close to each other) like this (and he, in order to explain it) pointed (by joining his) forefinger, (one) next to the thumb and the middle finger (together).
Shu'ba reported: I heard Qatada and Abu Tayyab narrating that both of them heard Anas as narrating that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: I and the Last Hour have been sent like this, and Shu'ba drew his forefinger and middle finger near each other while narrating it.
Anas reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: I and the Last Hour have been sent like this and (he while doing it) joined the forefinger with the middle finger.
At-Tabari comments on the meaning of the Hour being as close as Muhammad's index and middle fingers:
"Thus, (the evidence permitting) a conclusion is as follows: The beginning of the day is the rise of the dawn, and its end is the setting of the sun. Further, the reported tradition on the authority of the Prophet is sound.As we have mentioned earlier, he said after having prayed the afternoon prayer: What remains of this world as compared to what has passed of it is just like what remains of this day as compared to what has passed of it. He also said: When I was sent, I and the Hour were like these two- holding index finger and middle finger together; I preceded it to the same extent as this one- meaning the middle finger- preceded that one- meaning the index finger. Further, the extent (of time) between the mean time of the afternoon prayer- that is, when the shadow of everything is twice its size, according to the best assumption ('ala al-taharri)- (to sunset) is the extent of time of one-half of one-seventh of the day, give or take a little. Likewise, the excess of the length of the middle finger over the index finger is something about that or close to it. There is also a sound tradition on the authority of the Messenger of God, as I was told by Ahmad b. 'Abd al-Rahman b. Wahb- his paternal uncle 'Abd-allah b. Wahb- Mu'awiyah b. Salih- 'Abd al-Rahman b. Jubayr b. Nufayr- his father Jubayr b. Nufayr- the companion of the Prophet, Abu Tha'labah al-Khushani: The Messenger of God said: Indeed, God will not make this nation incapable of (lasting) half a day- referring to the day of a thousand years.
"All these facts taken together make it clear that of the two statements I have mentioned concerning the total extent of time, the one from Ibn Abbas, and the other from Ka'b, the one more likely to be correct in accordance with the information coming from the Messenger of God is that of Ibn 'Abbas transmitted here by us on his authority: The world is one of the weeks of the other world - seven thousand years.
"Consequently, because this is so and the report on the authority of the Messenger of God is sound- namely, that he reported that what remained of the time of this world during his lifetime was half a day, or five hundred years, since five hundred years are half a day of the days, of which one is a thousand years- the conclusion is that the time of this world that had elapsed to the moment of the Prophet's statement corresponds to what we have transmitted on the authority of Abu Tha'labah al-Khushani from the Prophet, and is 6,500 years or approximately 6,500 years. God knows best!" (Tabari, pp. 182-183, bold emphasis ours)
Hence, according to these traditions Muhammad believed that not only was the world less than 7,000 years old but it was to end on the seventh day, or seven thousand years from the time it was created.
Accordingly, the world should have ended sometime between 1070-1132 AD, approximately 500 years after the birth and death of Muhammad. This is based on the fact that according to at-Tabari and others, the advent of Muhammad took place approximately 6,500 years from the time of creation. This is clearly a false prophecy.
Yet this date contradicts the one approximated by Abu Dawood in his Sunan. There, we saw that Antichrist was to appear seven months after the conquest of Constantinople, an event that took place in 1453 AD. This being the case, how could Muhammad have claimed elsewhere that the world was to end 500 years after his own birth and death? To make matters worse, the Islamic traditions claim that Antichrist was actually present during Muhammad's lifetime. In fact, according to the traditions Antichrist was a man named Ibn Saiyad:
Narrated Ibn 'Umar:
'Umar set out along with the Prophet (p.b.u.h) with a group of people to Ibn Saiyad till they saw him playing with the boys near the hillocks of Bani Mughala. Ibn Saiyad at that time was nearing his puberty and did not notice (us) until the Prophet stroked him with his hand and said to him, "Do you testify that I am Allah's Apostle?" Ibn Saiyad looked at him and said, "I testify that you are the Messenger of illiterates." Then Ibn Saiyad asked the Prophet (p.b.u.h), "Do you testify that I am Allah's Apostle?" The Prophet (p.b.u.h) refuted it and said, "I believe in Allah and His Apostles." Then he said (to Ibn Saiyad), "What do you think?" Ibn Saiyad answered, "True people and liars visit me." The Prophet said, "You have been confused as to this matter." Then the Prophet said to him, "I have kept something (in my mind) for you, (can you tell me that?)" Ibn Saiyad said, "It is Al-Dukh (the smoke)." (2) The Prophet said, "Let you be in ignominy. You cannot cross your limits." On that 'Umar, said, "O Allah's Apostle! Allow me to chop his head off." The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, "If he is he (i.e. Dajjal), then you cannot over-power him, and if he is not, then there is no use of murdering him." (Ibn 'Umar added): Later on Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) once again went along with Ubai bin Ka'b to the date-palm trees (garden) where Ibn Saiyad was staying. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) wanted to hear something from Ibn Saiyad before Ibn Saiyad could see him, and the Prophet (p.b.u.h) saw him lying covered with a sheet and from where his murmurs were heard. Ibn Saiyad's mother saw Allah's Apostle while he was hiding himself behind the trunks of the date-palm trees. She addressed Ibn Saiyad, "O Saf! (and this was the name of Ibn Saiyad) Here is Muhammad." And with that Ibn Saiyad got up. The Prophet said, "Had this woman left him (Had she not disturbed him), then Ibn Saiyad would have revealed the reality of his case."
The traditions go on to positively identify Ibn Saiyad as Antichrist:
Narrated Muhammad bin Al-Munkadir:
I saw Jabir bin 'Abdullah swearing by Allah that Ibn Sayyad was the Dajjal. I said to Jabir, "How can you swear by Allah?" Jabir said, "I have heard 'Umar swearing by Allah regarding this matter in the presence of the Prophet and the Prophet did not disapprove of it."
Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah:
Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir told that he saw Jabir ibn Abdullah swearing by Allah that Ibn as-Sa'id was the Dajjal (Antichrist). I expressed my surprise by saying: You swear by Allah! He said: I heard Umar swearing to that in the presence of the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him), but the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) did not make any objection to it.
Yet these traditions contradict the following traditions where Antichrist is described as being one eyed and as being locked up in chains:
Narrated Ibn Umar:
Once Allah's Apostle stood amongst the people, glorified and praised Allah as He deserved and then mentioned the Dajjal saying, "I warn you against him (i.e. the Dajjal) and there was no prophet but warned his nation against him. No doubt, Noah warned his nation against him but I tell you about him something of which no prophet told his nation before me. You should know that he is one-eyed, and Allah is not one-eyed."
Narrated Ubadah ibn as-Samit: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: I have told you so much about the Dajjal (Antichrist) that I am afraid you may not understand. The Antichrist is short, hen-toed, woolly-haired, one-eyed, an eye-sightless, and neither protruding nor deep-seated. If you are confused about him, know that your Lord is not one-eyed.
Narrated Fatimah, daughter of Qays:
The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) once delayed the congregational night prayer.
He came out and said: The talk of Tamim ad-Dari detained me. He transmitted it to me from a man who was of the islands of the sea. All of a sudden he found a woman who was trailing her hair. He asked: Who are you?
She said: I am the Jassasah. Go to that castle. So I came to it and found a man who was trailing his hair, chained in iron collars, and leaping between Heaven and Earth.
I asked: Who are you? He replied: I am the Dajjal (Antichrist). Has the Prophet of the unlettered people come forth now? I replied: Yes. He said: Have they obeyed him or disobeyed him? I said: No, they have obeyed him. He said: That is better for them.
Someone might interject here and claim that the traditions make mention of 30 Antichrists to come into the world:
Narrated Abu Hurayrah:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: The Last Hour will not come before there come forth thirty Dajjals (fraudulents), everyone presuming himself that he is an apostle of Allah. (see also Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 88, Number 237)
This implies that Ibn Saiyad was just one of the thirty antichrists, and not THE Antichrist that was to come right before the end of the world.
There are several problems with this assertion. First, none of the traditions claim that Ibn Saiyad is one of the thirty antichrists that were to appear. Rather, the traditions imply that he is THE Dajjal or Antichrist. Second, if we take either of the dates proposed by at-Tabari or Abu Dawood all thirty Dajjals needed to have appeared before either 1070-1132 or 1453 AD. Finally, according to the New Testament Muhammad is actually one of these Antichrists:
"Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour… Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist-he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also." 1 John 2:18, 22-23
Since Muhammad denied that Jesus is God's Son he is therefore one of the many antichrists that was to come according to the apostle John.
As if the preceding weren't bad enough, other traditions have Muhammad predicting that the end was to come within the lifetime of his followers:
'A'isha reported that when the desert Arabs came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) they asked about the Last Hour as to when that would come. And he looked towards the youngest amongst them and said: If he lives he would not grow very old that he would find your Last Hour coming to you he would see you dying.
Anas reported that a person asked Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as to when the Last Hour would come. He had in his presence a young boy of the Ansar who was called Mahammad. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: If this young boy lives, he may not grow very old till (he would see) the Last Hour coming to you.
Anas b. Malik reported that a person asked Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him): When would the Last Hour come? Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) kept quiet for a while, then looked at a young boy in his presence belonging to the tribe of Azd Shanilwa and he said: If this boy lives he would not grow very old till the Last Hour would come to you. Anas said that this young boy was of our age during those days.
Anas reported: A young boy of Mughira b. Shu'ba happened to pass by (the Holy Prophet) and he was of my age. Thereupon Allah's Apostle (may peace be apon him) said: If he lives long he would not grow very old till the Last Hour would come (to the old People of this generation).
Muhammad clearly said that the young boy wouldn't have grown very old before the Last Hour came upon the people. Now let us be generous and suppose that the young boy was ten and lived to be hundred and ten years old, implying that the Last Hour was to take place a hundred years after Muhammad made these statements. Yet, centuries have passed and the Last Hour still hasn't come upon us.
But wait, there is more! According to the narratives of al-Bukhari, Muhammad announced that everyone would be dead within a hundred years:
Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar:
Once the Prophet led us in the 'Isha' prayer during the last days of his life and after finishing it (the prayer) (with Taslim) he said: "Do you realize (the importance of) this night? Nobody present on the surface of the earth tonight will be living after the completion of one hundred years from this night."
"One night Allah's Apostle led us in the 'Isha' prayer and that is the one called Al-'Atma by the people. After the completion of the prayer, he faced us and said, ‘Do you know the importance of this night? Nobody present on the surface of the earth tonight will be living after one hundred years from this night.’" (See Hadith No. 575).
Nearly fourteen centuries have gone by and there continue to be human beings alive all around the earth! This particular hadith was so troubling that another narration tries to explain it away by arguing that Muhammad really meant that none of his generation would be alive in a hundred years:
Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar:
The Prophet prayed one of the 'lsha' prayer in his last days and after finishing it with Taslim, he stood up and said, "Do you realize (the importance of) this night? Nobody present on the surface of the earth tonight would be living after the completion of one hundred years from this night."
The people made a mistake in grasping the meaning of this statement of Allah's Apostle and they indulged in those things which are said about these narrators (i.e. some said that the Day of Resurrection will be established after 100 years etc.) But the Prophet said, "Nobody present on the surface of earth tonight would be living after the completion of 100 years from this night"; he meant, "When that century (people of that century) would pass away."
There are several points to note from this specific report. First, note the candid admission of the narrator that Muslims understood from Muhammad’s words that the world was going to end in a hundred years. This provides corroborating evidence that the plain meaning of Muhammad’s so-called prophecy was that the last day would occur within a hundred years.
Second, notice just how irrational this ad hoc explanation is. The hadith compiler really expects his readers to believe that what Muhammad meant was that no one of his generation would be alive within a hundred years when there is nothing amazing about such a claim. To say that one’s generation would all be dead within a hundred years doesn’t require supernatural knowledge. The only thing required to make such a claim is common sense since life expectancy was low in those days. Hardly anyone lived beyond the age of a hundred years. If it was supposed to be a statement ("prophecy") about the life expectancy of the people living around him, then it was trivial. What is the point?
Even though trivial, it would almost certainly be wrong. Muhammad said "on the surface of the earth" – that is a large place. Although centenarians are rare, they probably existed at all times. Even in the life of Muhammad there was at least one such person. Abu Afak is reported to have lived to the age of 120:
SARIYYAH OF SALIM IBN ‘UMAYR
Then occurred the sariyyah of Salim Ibn ‘Umayr al-‘Amri against Abu ‘Afak, the Jew, in Shawwal in the beginning of the twentieth month from the hijrah of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him. Abu ‘Afak, was from Banu ‘Amr Ibn ‘Awf, and was an old man who had attained the age of one hundred and twenty years. He was a Jew, and used to instigate the people against the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, and composed (satirical) verses. Salim Ibn ‘Umayr who was one of the great weepers and who had participated in Badr, said: I take a vow that I shall either kill Abu ‘Afak or die before him. He waited for an opportunity until a hot night came, and Abu ‘Afak slept in an open place. Salim Ibn ‘Umayr knew it, so he placed the sword on his liver and pressed it till it reached his bed. The enemy of Allah screamed and the people, who were his followers rushed to him, took him to his house and interred him. (Ibn Sa'ad's Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir, English translation by S. Moinul Haq, M.A., PH.D assisted by H.K. Ghazanfar M.A. [Kitab Bhavan Exporters & Importers, 1784 Kalan Mahal, Daryaganj, New Delhi - 110 002 India), Volume II, p. 31; bold and underline emphasis ours)
Did Muhammad really want to say: in a hundred years from now, there will be no more people who are older than a hundred years? Again: what would be the point of such an announcement? What has that to do with the message of Islam?
Moreover, Muhammad introduced his announcement with these words: "Do you know the importance of this night?" For that main reason, the alternative interpretation supplied by the narrator makes little sense. After all, in what sense would the observation that a time will come when nobody will be older than a hundred years be important for Muslims or Islam? It is simply irrelevant, and irrelevant is the opposite of important.
On the other hand, the proclamation of the Day of Resurrection and Allah’s judgment of all people is an essential part of Islam. If it had been revealed to Muhammad in his prayer that the world would end in exactly one hundred years, such a revelation would mark this night without question as being very important.
Only this interpretation really makes sense of the statement. The problem is, however, that the only meaningful interpretation of it has the consequence that Muhammad made a false prophecy. Muslims have tried to avert this by putting instead an utterly trivial, irrelevant – and most probably still incorrect – statement into Muhammad’s mouth.
Finally, it must be kept in mind that imam al-Bukhari collected these traditions roughly 250 years after Muhammad’s migration to Medina (c. 622/623 AD), long after the time that Muhammad said the world was going to end. In light of this, it is not surprising that he or someone else would provide an explanation in order to avoid having to admit that Muhammad was a false prophet for falsely claiming that the Day of Resurrection would take place a hundred years after his time.
Therefore, no matter from what angle one looks at it we are still left with irreconcilable contradictions and false predictions.
We have examined both the Quran and the Islamic traditions and found that both sources contain false predictions. In light of the prophetic criteria given by God in Deuteronomy 18 we discover that Muhammad fails this test. This means that Muhammad is neither a true prophet nor is he the prophet like Moses.
In the service of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, our risen Lord forever. Amen. Come Lord Jesus. We love you always.
Several Muslims have reacted to this paper in different ways. These responses are linked from within Sam Shamoun's answers to Hesham Azmy, Moiz Amjad, and Osama Abdallah.