Prophecy regarding the Holy Prophet of Islam (S.A.W.) in ‘Assumption of
Abdus Sattar Ghauri
is a strangely arranged prophecy regarding the Prophet of Islam in a
pseudepigraphical book attributed to Moses named ‘The Assumption of Moses’.1
It was introduced to me by a worthy friend, Mr. Muhammad Farooq Kamal.2 The
book consisted originally of 1,100 stichoi [lines], about half of which had
been discovered. This book has been included in R. H. Charles’ compilation,
‘The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English’.
According to the Introduction of this book by the editor, it was originally
written in Hebrew, between AD 7 and 29. A Greek version of it appeared in
the first century AD. The Greek version was translated into Latin not later
than the fifth century. Of this version a large fragment was discovered by
Ceriani in the form of a sixth-century MS in the Ambrosian Library in Milan
and published by him in his Mon. sacr. Et prof. I. i. 55-64 in 1861. This MS
is a palimpsest3 of the sixth century.4 The editor has observed:
not, as scholars have supposed, the actual work of the original Latin
translator, but only a fragmentary copy of that version [stress added]; for
our text contains duplicate renderings and attempts at a better translation,
which were primarily marginal glosses, but afterwards introduced by a
copyist into the text [stress added. And it is a common practice with most
of the Bible texts.].5
present book is the English translation of the Latin Version, which was
translated from the Greek Version. But the Greek Version is not its original
form. It may have been translated from the Hebrew original. That’s why the
editor has observed, ‘In some cases we must translate, not the Latin, but
the Hebrew presupposed by it.’6; and, ‘Frequently it is only through
retranslation that we can understand the source of the corruptions in the
text [stress added. Note the existence of the corruptions in its text.].’7
The author was not a Sadducee, or a Zealot, or an Essene; but was a
present treatise, ‘The Assumption of Moses’, consists of 12 chapters, rather
paragraphs, of an average of about twenty lines each. At the very outset, in
chapter 1, Moses calls to him Joshua the son of Nun and tells him:
The time of the years
of my life is fulfilled and I am passing away to sleep with my fathers even
in the presence of all the people. And receive thou this writing that thou
mayst know how to preserve the books which I shall deliver unto thee.9
He also tells him:
He might be the minister of the people (…), and that he might bring the
people into the land given to their fathers, that it should be given to them
according to the covenant and the oath.10
evinced from these lines that this treatise consists of some information
which is very important according to Moses. That’s why he is putting it
forward at the end of his ‘years of life’ as his last will or ‘testament’.11
It would be pertinent to study very briefly the outlines of the contents of
each chapter to understand the development of the theme.
chapter 2 Moses tells Joshua, ‘thou shalt bless and give to them
individually and confirm unto them their inheritance in me.’12 He also
informs him briefly about the salient features of the history of Israel
until the conquest of Nebuchadnezzer13 in a symbolic manner. In chapter 3
Moses gives a brief account of the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of
Nebuchadnezzer. In chapter 4 Moses informs about the coming of Daniel and
his praying for the Jews and their deliverance from the captivity and return
from the exile of Babylon to their homeland, Jerusalem.14 Chapter 5 states
the occupation of the Seleucidae and the Greek kings and generals. Later, in
the person of Antiochus, they punished the apostate Jewish nation. Chapter 6
relates to the Maccabees without mentioning their names.
the end of chapter 6 the author’s own lifetime starts. He can now no more
state the events of the past as the predictions of the future. He can now
state only some obscure predictions and enigmatical symbols. The treacherous
men, self-pleasers, gluttons, and deceitful people of chapter 7 can be
interpreted in terms of the Sadducees. According to the editor the ‘second
visitation [and wrath of chapter 8] is too accurate an account of Antiochus
Epiphanes’15 persecution.’16 The editor has further observed here in his
footnote, ‘Thus we have a clear case of transposition by the final
editor.’17 It shows that at every stage of its compilation the redactors of
the treatise had been liberally modifying the text to their taste or
intelligence. As regards chapter 9, Moses, or whosoever of the inspired
saints or scribes be the author, foretells the incident of taking refuge of
the ‘Seven Sleepers’ in a cave to spare themselves from the persecution of
the Roman Emperor, Decius.18 The incident has been recorded in the Qu’an in
chapter XVIII (al-Kahf, i.e., The Cave). Although the editor attaches
chapter 9 to some other irrelevant person Eleazar of 2 Macc. vi. 18 (whose
name has been mentioned here as ‘Taxo’), who was one of the chief scribes,
and, according to 4 Macc. v. 3, a priest; its application to the event of
the ‘Seven Sleepers’ of Ephesus is more significant. Some of its excerpts
would illustrate it:
that day there shall be a man of the tribe of Levi, whose name shall be Taxo,
who having seven sons shall speak to them exhorting (them): ‘Observe, my
sons, behold a second ruthless (and) unclean visitation has come upon the
people, and a punishment far exceeding the first. (…). Now, therefore, my
sons, hear me (…). Let us fast for the space of three days and on the fourth
let us go into a cave which is in the field, and let us die rather than
transgress he commands of the Lord of Lords, the God of our fathers. For if
we do this and die, our blood shall be avenged before the Lord.19
It may be noted here that the event of the ‘Seven Sleepers of Ephesus’ is
the main and significant event of the domain of religion between the period
of Jesus Christ and the Prophet Muhammad (sws). That’s why Moses has told it
comes the most conspicuous chapter 10 of the ‘Testament’, which indicates
its main and central theme. It relates the advent of the Prophet of Islam.
Some of its lines are reproduced below:
then His kingdom20 shall appear throughout all His creation,21(…)
will appear to punish the Gentiles,22
will destroy all their idols.23(…).24
thou, Joshua (the son of) Nun, keep these words and this book; For from my
death [assumption] until His advent25
shall be CCL times [stress added].26
this is the course of the times which they shall pursue till they are
consummated. And I shall go to sleep with my fathers. Wherefore, Joshua thou
(son of) Nun, (be strong and) be of good courage; (for) God hath chosen
(thee) to be minister in the same covenant.27
chapter 11 Moses reminds Joshua his assignments emphatically. Joshua is
aggrieved upon and afraid of the heavy task before him. Finally, in chapter
12 Moses Consoles and encourages Joshua. He affirms that the will of God
shall be fulfilled and shall prevail and He shall help him in the
accomplishment of his assignment. And with this our present treatise comes
to the end.
be easily appreciated, chapter 10 is the most conspicuous part of the book,
because it foretells the advent of the ‘kingdom of God’ which is to be
established 1750 years after the death of Moses. To appreciate the exact
personality which was to establish the foretold ‘kingdom of God’, first of
all we have to find out the point of time in the world history which falls
1750 years after the death of Moses. Although the time of Moses’ death
cannot be exactly pin pointed, the scholars have made all out efforts to
reach as near to the exact point of time of the event as possible with the
help of the available data of the annals of the world history.
Bible Atlas asserts that the Exodus of the Israelites under Moses from Egypt
took place during the period of Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses II of the 19th
dynasty, who ruled Egypt from 1290 to 1224 BC:
oppression of Israel and the exodus from Egypt took place most probably
under Rameses II (1290-24),28
Bernhard W. Anderson29 and John Bright30 have also assigned Ramesus II the
Bible Atlas concludes on the basis of archaeological research that the event
of exodus related to ca. 1230/20 BC:
the L. B. [Late Bronze Age: 1550-1200 BC] towns destroyed at the end of the
period are some listed among Israel’s conquest: Lachish (Tell ed-Duweir),
Eglon (Tell el-Hesi), Debir (Tell el-Beit Mirsim) and Hazor. Many scholars
have therefore interpreted these destructions as the archaeological evidence
for Israel’s entry into Canaan, dating the event c. 1230/20 BC. The
relatively poor Iron Age I [1200-330 BC] culture which followed has
therefore been labelled ‘Israelite’.(….). It appears from the latest
evidence that Lachish was also destroyed c. 1175 BC rather than 1230/20
this Pharaoh Rameses II (1290-24 BC)32 be, as is generally accepted by the
scholars of the Bible, the same Pharaoh, during whose reign the Israelites
migrated from Egypt with Moses, he must have drowned in the sea while
chasing Israelites. The Bible has recorded the event fairly in detail:
the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his
officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We
have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!” So he [this ‘he’,
obviously, here means none other than ‘Pharaoh’] had his chariot made ready
and took his army with him. He took six hundred of the best chariots, along
with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. The
Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the
Israelites, who were marching out boldly. The Egyptians — all Pharaoh’s
horses and chariots, horsemen and troops — pursued the Israelites and
overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal
Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians,
marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They
said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you
brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out
of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the
Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to
die in the desert!”
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see
the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today
you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the
Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the
sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry
ground. I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in
after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through
his chariots and his horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord
when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.” (….).
Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove
the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters
were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a
wall of water on their right and on their left.
Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen
followed them into the sea. (…).
the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the
waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.”
Moses stretched his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to
its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it and the Lord swept them into
the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the
entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not
one of them survived.33
shows that the Pharaoh, who followed the Israelites in the dried seabed, had
been drowned and was not spared. Consequently the Israelites entered into
Sinai. Thus the Exodus took place in 1224 BC, which is also the same year in
which Pharaoh Rameses II died of drowning in his hot pursuit of the fleeing
Israelites along with Moses wandered for forty years in Sinai before
entering into the land of Canaan. Moses died at the end of this forty-year
wandering in the wilderness before the entry of the Israelites into the
Promised Land of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua son of Nun. It shows
that Moses died in the year 1184 BC (1224-40=1184). That the Israelites had
wandered in Sinai for forty years after the announcement of this punishment
for their misbehavior in Sinai and before their entry into the Promised Land
of Canaan, can be appreciated from the following excerpt of the Bible:
desert your bodies will fall — every one of you twenty years old or more who
was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. Not one of you
will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home except
Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. As for your children that you
said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you
have rejected. But you — your bodies will fall in this desert. Your children
will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness,
until the last of your bodies lies in the desert. For forty years — one year
for each of the forty days you explored the land — you will suffer for your
sins and know what it is like to have me against you. I, the Lord, have
spoken, and I will surely do these things to this whole wicked community,
which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this
desert; here they will die.34
to be noted that there is an error in counting the years of the common
Christian era. Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible has recorded:
The date of his birth was most probably in December, B.C. 5, four years
before the era from which we count our years. That era was not used till
several hundred years after Christ. The calculations were made by a learned
monk, Dionysius Exiguus, in the sixth century, who made an error of four
means that the number of years after the death of Moses till the birth of
Jesus Christ, which have became 1184 years, is not right. Jesus had born
four years prior to what is generally stated. So the actual gap between the
death of Moses and the birth of Jesus is 1180 years (4 years earlier than
almost unanimously held that the Prophet of Islam was born in AD 570. In his
article ‘Mohammed, Mohammedanism’ Geo. W. Gilmore observes:
Mohammed, ‘The Praised’, the posthumous son of Abdu Allah, a member of the
Koraish tribe, by Aminah, was born at Mecca Aug. 20, 570, and died at Medina
June 8, 632.36
H. Hart writes:
The majority of the persons in this book had the advantage of being born and
raised in centers of civilization, highly cultured or politically pivotal
nations. Muhammad, however, was born in the year 570, in the city of Mecca,
in southern Arabia, at that time a backward area of the world, far from the
centers of trade, art, and learning.37
It can thus be appreciated that the number of years from the death of Moses
till the birth of Jesus is 1180 years; and the number of years from the
birth of Jesus till the birth of the Prophet of Islam is 570. Now 1180+570
make nothing else than 1750 years. It reveals that Moses foretold about none
other than the Prophet of Islam in his prophecy recorded in the “Assumption
of Moses”. It should also be born in mind that it is only the Prophet of
Islam, and none other than he, who came after 1750 years from the death of
Moses. And as such, there remains no justifiable reason for denying the
sincerity of the claim to the apostolate of the Prophet of Islam for an
honest, impartial, and unbiased person.
1. Included in ‘The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in
English’, edited in conjunction with many scholars by R. H. Charles, the
Oxford University Press, Vol. II, 1979, pp. 414-24, with an Introduction,
pp. 407-13. It was first published in 1913.
Muhammad Faruq Kamal is a renowned scholar. He is the author of a number of
books. Some of his titles are: (i) Vindication of the Crescent, (ii)
Crescent Versus the Cross, (iii) Islam for the West, (iv) Muhammad,
Rasulullah (Urdu). These can be had from: ‘Defenders of Islam Trust,
28-Empress Road, Lahore.’ He has reproduced this prophecy in some of his
works for the first time. As far as my study is concerned I did not find
this prophecy quoted by any of the Muslim scholars previously.
means ‘a piece of writing-material or manuscript on which the original
writing has been effaced to make room for other writing.’ (The Oxford
Dictionary & Thesaurus, Ed Sara Tulloch, Oxford University Press, 1997, p.
Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT, Ed. RH Charles, Oxford, 1979, p.
Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT, op.cit., p. 409.
Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT, op.cit., p. 410.
Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT, op.cit., p. 410.
Quietism is a religious system which teaches that one should give up all
desires, and gain peace by thinking quietly about God and His things.
Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT, op.cit., p. 415.
Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT, op.cit., p. 414.
name of this treatise, in fact, is ‘Testament of Moses’, and not ‘the
Assumption of Moses’. The editor points it out in his introduction under § 2
as its caption, ‘The present book in reality a Testament of Moses—not the
Assumption, which is preserved only in a few Greek quotations.’
Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT, op.cit., pp. 415 f.
Nebuchadnezzer was the king of Babylonia for 605-562 BC. His father was
Nabupolassar, who was a Chaldean chieftain appointed by the Assyrians the
governor of ‘the Sea lands’, the extreme S of Mesopotamia. The weakness of
Assyria, then in its decline, made it possible for Nabupolassar to revolt
and proclaim himself king of Babylon in 626 BC. His son, Nebuchadnezzer,
conquered and destroyed Jerusalem after a bitter siege in 587-6 BC.
Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT, op.cit., p. 417.
King of Syria from 175 to 163 BC. ‘Epiphanes’ means distinguished or great.
His policy of attaining political unity by propagating Greek culture met
with violent resistance from the Jews. In 169 BC he attacked Jerusalem and
spoiled the Temple, and in 167 BC made a renewed and fiercer onslaught in a
determination to exterminate Judaism. Jewish customs were forbidden under
penalty of death, the Temple defiled and pagan cults instituted. This led to
the Maccabean Revolt, after which Antiochus retired to Persia, where he
Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT, op.cit., p. 420.
Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT, op.cit., p. 420.
Messius Quintus Decius had been the Roman Emperor for 249-251. ‘After Emp.
Philip’s defeat and death near Verona, Decius was accepted by the Senate. In
the next year he undertook the first systematic persecution of the
Christians, beginning with the execution of Fabian, Bp. Of Rome, in Jan.
250. In June all citizens were required to furnish proof of having offered
sacrifice to the Emperor; and, though many gave way or escaped through
bribery, thousands were put to death. (…) The persecution, which was
probably initiated to combat the allegedly fissiparous [reproducing with
fission] influence of Christianity, was ended by the death of Decius in June
251.’ (F. L. Cross, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 2nd ed.,
London, Oxf. Univ. Press, 1974, p. 384.)
Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT, op.cit., p. 421.
‘His kingdom’ obviously means the Law of God, revealed through His
far as the Israelites are concerned, the ‘Kingdom of God’ has never
‘appeared throughout all His creation’ at their hands. They had never been
able to establish the ‘Law of God’, in whatsoever form, outside Canaan, and
upon the people other than the Israelites (Gentiles), throughout their
history. It is only through the Prophet of Islam that the Kingdom of God
‘appeared throughout all His creation’ irrespective of their Geographic or
This prediction of Moses is also true of the Prophet of Islam that only
through him ‘He [God] will appear to punish the Gentiles’.
is also true of the Prophet of Islam only that ‘He will destroy all their
idols.’ A. Guillaume has recorded in ‘The Life of Muhammad’, Oxford
University Press, Karachi-2, 1974, p. 552,
apostle entered Mecca on the day of the conquest and it contained 360 idols
which Iblis had strengthened with lead. The apostle was standing by them
with a stick in his hand, saying, ‘The truth has come and falsehood has
passed away; verily falsehood is sure to pass away’ (Sura 17.82). Then he
pointed at them with his stick and they collapsed on their backs one after
the apostle prayed the noon prayer on the day of the conquest he ordered
that all the idols which were round the Ka’ba should be collected and burned
with fire and broken up. Fadala b. al-Mulawwih al-Laythi, a poet said
commemorating the day of the conquest:
seen Muhammad and his troops The day the idols were smashed when he entered,
You would have seen God’s light become manifest And darkness covering the
face of idolatry.
William Muir, in ‘The Life of Muhammad’, Edinburgh: John Grant 31 George IV
Bridge, 1923, p. 408, records the event in the following words:
The abused, rejected, exiled Prophet now had the rebellious city at his
feet. Mohammad was Lord of Mecca. (…). Then, pointing with his staff to the
idols one by one that stood around, he commanded them to be hewn down.
‘Truth hath come,’ he cried in the words of the Kor’an, as the great image
of Hubal, reared in front of the Ka’ba, fell with a crash;—‘Truth hath come,
and falsehood gone; for falsehood verily vanisheth away.’
regards the Israelites, not to say of ‘destroying all their idols’, they
themselves started to worship the idols for a number of times during their
history, which has even been recorded in the Bible for many a time in so
many words regretfully.
author, or some later redactor, has inserted some lines regarding the
Israelites; but they are so glaringly irrelevant to the text that every
unprejudiced reader will appreciate that they have nothing to do with the
theme and must have been interpolated.
words, ‘from my death [assumption] until His advent’, make it clear that all
the events indicated here are related to the person whose advent has been
the sentence, ‘For from my death [assumption] until His advent there shall
be CCL times’, the key words are the ‘CCL times’. The editor of the
“Assumption of Moses” has explained in his footnote, ‘CCL times, i.e. 250
year weeks, or 1,750 years. (…), which gives the same date for the Messiah’s
coming.’ But, firstly, there is no mention of any Messiah’s coming in this
chapter of the “Assumption”, there is rather ‘the kingdom of God’, and,
secondly, if the Messiah be Jesus Christ, the calculations are quite wrong.
Jesus came some twelve centuries after Moses, whereas Moses has remarked
that between his (Moses’) death and His (whosoever is to come; be it Jesus
or someone else) advent there shall be 1750 years. Now it is a historical
fact that it is only the Prophet of Islam who happened to come about the CCL
times after the death of Moses. Now the CCL times, according to the editor =
250 year weeks = 1750 years. We know that according to the Roman numerals
‘C’ stands for one hundred and ‘CC’ would stand for two times a hundred,
i.e. 200. Similarly ‘L’ stands for fifty. If ‘L’ be inserted after a letter
of larger value, it is added to it. Thus ‘CCL’ becomes 100+100+50, which
obviously makes 250. The meanings of the original Hebrew word (according to
its idiomatic usage in that context), which has been translated here in
English as ‘times’, are ‘year weeks’ as explained by the editor. The ‘year
week’ stands for ‘seven years’, in the same way as the ‘day week’ stands for
‘seven days’. Consequently ‘250 week years’ will mean ‘ 250 x 7 years, i.e.
Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT, op.cit., pp. 421-3.
Oxford Bible Atlas, Ed Herbert G. May, Oxford University Press, NY, 3rd Ed,
Bernhard W. Anderson, Understanding the OT, Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood
Cliffs, New Jersey, 3rd Ed, 1975, p.602.
John Bright, A History of Israel, SCM Press Ltd, Bloomsbury Street, London,
1967, p. 465.
Bible Atlas, Ed. J.J. Bimson, B.A., Ph.D., Trinity College, Bristol; J.P.
Kane, Ph.D., University of Manchester, Inter-Versity Press, Leicester, 1985,
David Van Biema, in ‘Time’, December 14, 1998, in his research article ‘In
Search of Moses’ (p. 38), assigns 1279-1213 BC as his reigning period. He
asserts, ‘A Pharaoh, traditionally assigned the identity of Rameses II
(reign: 1279-1213 B.C.), was threatened by a growing Israelite population.
And so the Egyptians ‘made life bitter for them with harsh labor at mortar
and bricks’. When they continued to multiply, he ordered all newborn males
thrown into the Nile. Moses’ mother kept him hidden for three months and
then set him adrift.’
K.A.Kitchen and T.C.Mitchell in their article, ‘Chronology of the OT’ in the
New Bible Dictionary, Inter-Versity Press, Leicester, Second Edn. 1982, p.
195 have assigned 1290-1224 BC as the period of Ramses II. They have also
mentioned 1279-1213 BC as an alternative probability.
Learning Bible, Contemporary English Version, American Bible Society, NY,
2000, p. 107 writes, ‘Rameses II, 1279-1212 B.C. followed Sety I [or Sethos,
1291-1279 B.C.] and may have been the Pharaoh at the time of Hebrew’s exodus
Seventh Day Adventist B.D., Ed. Don F. Neufeld, Review & Herald Pblg.
Association, Washington DC, 1979, p. 219, assigns Ramses II 1304-1238 BC.
Exodus xiv: 5-18, 21-3, 26-8 in The NIV Study Bible, Ed Kenneth Barker,
Zondervan Pblg. House, Grand Rapids, 1995, pp. 105,07.
Numbers xiv: 29-35, in the NIV Study Bible, op.cit., p. 209.
William Smith, A Dictionary of the Bible, Regency Reference Library,
Zondervan Pblg. House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1967, p. 307.
New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia (12 volumes), Ed. Samuel Macauley Jackson,
Funk & Wagnalls Company, NY, 1910, p. 436
Michael H. Hart, The 100, A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in
History, Hart Pblg. Co, Inc., NY, p. 34.