Isaiah 42:11

Isaiah 42 is sometimes quoted as containing a prediction of Muhammad. 20 The first verse runs thus, ‘Behold my servant, whom I uphold;  my chosen, in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgement to the Gentiles. 21 We shall not waste the reader's time with a long comment upon this passage. It will be sufficient to refer him to the Injil, where it is distinctly stated that the prophecy finds its fulfilment in the Lord Jesus Christ. This being God's own interpretation of His word, it is needless for us to discuss in detail the imaginations of men. The passage referred to runs as follows, ‘And he (Jesus) charged them that they should not make him known: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall show judgement to the Gentiles’ (Matthew 12:16-18).

But Muslims sometimes, whilst admitting the truth of what has been written above, affirm that in the latter part of the forty-second chapter of Isaiah another person, whom they assert to be Muhammad, is clearly foretold. They especially refer to the eleventh verse, which runs as follows, ‘Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit; let the inhabitants of the Sela sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.’ (Isaiah 42:11).  The word ‘Kedar’ in this verse, we are told, has a distinct reference to the Arabs, and so, by implication, to Muhammad.

The passage in question, we reply, has no reference whatever to Muhammad. It simply reminds us, when describing the spread of the Messiah's kingdom, that one day, in the providence of God, the people of Kedar would share in the blessings of that kingdom. 22  It cannot possibly have any reference to Muhammad, because he was not of the tribe of Kedar at all, but of the Quraish, as every Muslim well knows. Moreover in the tenth verse we read, ‘Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth’ (Isaiah 42:10); but singing is prohibited in the worship of Islam, so that the passage cannot possibly refer to it. There is a well-known saying of Muhammad that,

الْغِنَاءُ يُنْبِتُ النِّفَاقَ فِي الْقَلْبِ كَمَا يُنْبِتُ الْمَاءُ الزَّرْعَ

‘As water causes the grain to spring forth, so singing causes hypocrisy to spring up in the heart.’ 23 How then can it be urged that a prophecy concerning a people who should delight in singing the praises of their Redeemer can have any reference to Muslims?

20. See Pracharak, A.H. 1308, No. 9, p, 264.

21. Isaiah 42:1 The InjiI quotes the passage as a prophecy of Jesus Christ.

22. The passage refers to the spread of the Messiah's kingdom.