Song Of Songs 5:10-16

Another favourite passage of Muslim controversialists is that found in Solomon's Song 5:10-16. It is there written, ‘My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand. His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven. His eyes are like doves beside the water brooks; washed with milk, and fitly set. His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as banks of sweet herbs: his lips are as lilies, dropping liquid myrrh. His hands are as rings of gold set with beryl: his body is as ivory work overlaid with sapphires. His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his aspect is like Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.’

In the Bengali book Baibele Muhammad referred to above, the Muhammadan author comments thus upon the passage here quoted. ‘Although Hazrat Solomon the Wise, in the verses quoted above, has described the glories of the person referred to in the imagery of poetry, yet the whole description tallies with the form and beauty of the last ‘Prophet of Light’ (Nur Nabi). Not only so, but in the final clauses of the passage quoted, Hazrat Solomon, being moved by the Holy Ghost, has mentioned the name of “His” beloved as Muhammad. We know not whether to describe the translation of the Hebrew word “Muhammadim” in the Bible current to-day as based on ignorance or as the fruit of deceit. In the English translation the word “Muhammadim” (מַחֲמַדִּ֑ים) has been rendered by the word “lovely”, but this is clearly wrong. If the word be correctly translated it must be rendered in English by the words “Illustrious” or “the Praised”. In our opinion it would have been better not to have translated the word at all.’ 15

We need scarcely remark in reply to the extraordinary exhibition of ignorance presented in the comments we have quoted, that the passage in question contains no reference whatever to Muhammad. The Song of Solomon is admittedly written in figurative language. 16 It describes, with a wealth of imagery, the bond of love which unites God to His chosen people, and the passage quoted above is simply one portion of that description. The writer of the Bengali book Baibele Muhammad, however, has ignored the context in which his quotation is found, and has contented himself with affirming that the word ‘Muhammadim’ is a ‘proper noun’, 17 and that it means Muhammad!! The truth is that the word is not a proper noun at all, and it does not mean Muhammad. It is a common noun, as the use of the plural here shows, and is used frequently throughout the Bible both of persons and things. We need only refer to one or two of the passages where the word occurs in order to see the absurdity of the contention that the word is a proper noun, and means Muhammad. If the reader will turn to Ezekiel 24:16, he will find these words, ‘Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes (Muhammadim) with a stroke; yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down.’ The eighteenth verse of the same chapter makes it clear that the desire of the Prophet Ezekiel's eyes was none other than his wife, whom God caused to die. Will it be seriously contended, we ask, that because in the sixteenth verse quoted above the Hebrew word Muhammadim occurs, therefore it contains a prophecy of Muhammad!!

Again in 1 Kings 20:6, the word ‘Muhammadim’ is used of inanimate objects, viz. the goods of the children of Israel. Thus we read, ‘I will send my servants unto thee to-morrow about this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes (Muhammadim), they shall put it in their hand, and take it away.’ The context of this passage shows that it refers to Ben-hadad, the king of Syria, who sent messengers to the king of Israel, and threatened to despoil the houses of the Israelites of all their goods, even the things that were pleasant in their eyes. Again, we ask, can it be seriously contended even for a single moment, that because the Hebrew word ‘Muhammadim’ is used in this passage, that, therefore, we have in it a prediction of Muhammad? Apart from the context, which makes the meaning perfectly clear, can it be affirmed as a matter of history, that Muhammad was ever seized by a foreign king, and taken away captive to a foreign land? The whole thing is preposterous, and only serves to show how those who, without any knowledge of Hebrew, presume to argue from the meaning of certain Hebrew words, expose their own colossal ignorance. Indeed the whole argument is childish in the extreme, and unworthy of thoughtful men. If a superficial resemblance between the Hebrew word ‘Muharnmadim’ and the name of Muhammad is to be construed into a prophecy of the latter, why, it may well be asked, should not the Hindus find in the Qur'an a reference to their Avatar Ram, because, forsooth, the word Rum is found in the pages of that book!!

15. Baibele Muhammad, pp. 18, 19.

16. The passage describes the love which unites God to His people.

17. The term ‘Muhammadim’ is a common, and not a proper, noun.