Is Muhammad A True Prophet? -- By: Marc Dickmann
CAJ 3:1 (Spring 2004) p. 1
Is Muhammad A True Prophet?
Prophets never die, do they? Whether it is Nostradamus making bold predictions of future events, Brigham Young assuming “infallible prophetic authority” from Joseph Smith,1 the late NBC Sports broadcaster Pete Axthelm deftly pegging the outcome of an NFL playoff game, or Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan foreseeing a continued economic upturn, “prophets” show up on the radar of popular culture every year.
A brief gander at the World Book Encyclopedia Dictionary will serve to illustrate the point. As it turns out, in today’s usage a prophet can refer to a person who merely “tells what will happen.” In a more religious context, a prophet is defined as “a person who preaches what he thinks has been revealed to him, especially any of the biblical figures who taught and preached in the name of God, such as Isaiah or Jeremiah.” In a figurative sense, a prophet can simply refer to “a spokesman, as of some cause or doctrine.”2 When one approaches the study
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of Islam, prophets are inextricably woven into the fiber of this growing religious system.
Since the infamous “9/11” there has naturally been a huge upsurge in the national interest in the religion of Islam. Pick up a newspaper today and chances are there will be some feature on Islam and its place in American culture. While Islam continues to spread rapidly around the world—one Islamic scholar asserts that thousands of children each day are born into Islam3 —it is crucial to note that this religion owes its legacy to a prophet, or in Muslim terms, “the prophet.”
Though Muslims believe their prophet is the prophet, it is necessary to ask the question, “What is a true prophet?” In other words, “Who truly speaks for God?” It is the goal of this article to find out.
This is no small matter. The crux of the dilemma between Christians and Muslims falls on the understanding of the term “prophet.” After all, even though Islam claims to have existed before Judaism and Christianity,4 the Qur’an today exists because Muhammad—born around A.D. 5705 —claimed to have received the deciding word from God himself. As such, the implications of his claims are serious for Christians and Muslims alike. After all, if Muhammad is a true prophet—true in the biblical sense—his words must be heard and obeyed by all. However, if Muhamma...
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