Tonight is the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal, Prophet Muhammed's (s.a.w.) birth and death dates. Some Muslims celebrate his birthday, some don't. For me, I'll use this as a time to recount how I started to see Prophet Muhammed (s.a.w) as Allah's Messenger and the Last of the Prophets.
I think for most converts like me who were once Catholic/Christian, the point of struggle we initially had was the second part of the shahada "and Muhammed (s.a.w) is His Messenger." Because the Bible stopped at the point of Jesus, Prophet Muhammed (s.a.w) was a foreign name. Who was he? What did he do? Did he perform miracles, like Jesus? I was made all the more skeptical and wary from these verses in the Bible,
"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits." (Matthew 7:15)
"For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." (Matthew 24:24)
So I started reading on the life of the Prophet. I must say that I had a real bias to my Bible, though. I'd chosen to believe almost everything that was said in the Bible up to the point of the Gospels, especially the parts which spoke about Jesus's miracles. (So arguments about the Bible being corrupted didn't quite work for me because it's hard to tell someone that what they'd been reading ever since young is wrong!). And I had much doubt to whatever I heard about the Prophet's (s.a.w) works and miracles, for example, the splitting of the moon, the multiplication of dates for a man in need, the calling for rain etc. I didn't want to base my beliefs on what other people had witnessed and said (at the same time I didn't realise that I was doing exactly just that to the Bible!).
Even as I read the English translated version of the Quran, there were still traces of doubt left. Yes, I believed a little bit more when I read the detailed stories that were identical to the Bible. Yes, I believed a little bit more when I read that Prophet Muhammed (s.a.w) could not read before the revelation occurred. And yes, I also believed a little bit more when I saw coherence in the rules of the Quran and the Old Testament. But I still didn't believe 100%.
"The Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you." (John 14:26)
You will know them by their fruits.
* Note: The Comforter, if you're curious, is the Holy Spirit from the Christian/Catholic viewpoint. So again, me being horribly biased, couldn't agree with the Islamic viewpoint that the Comforter could refer to Prophet Muhammed. Spirit of Truth, right? That means Holy Spirit, since the word Spirit is there. Simple! (Pardon me here, please don't judge me for my simple-mindedness).
The words in blue and underlined were what guided me to finally, without a doubt, embrace Prophet Muhammed (s.a.w) as the Last Prophet. I guess I could say it was because of the same fervent, wholehearted and doubtless anchoring belief I had in the Bible which brought me here.
Because, what did Jesus say?
- To follow God's rules. (Matthew 5:17-18)
- That he is not God- he could be son, but son ≠ God (whole list here)
Muhammed did exactly just that. He re-emphasized the rules that were sent in the Commandments to Moses. And he emphasized that there was no other God but God alone. Like Jesus, he advocated peace. He took no credit, nor claim power. How could we not recognize him when he and the other Prophets spoke of the same essence?
And what else speaks 'remembrance' more than this fact- in every part of the world, no matter the native language, Muslims recite by heart the verses of the Quran in its original form. God's word, undoubtedly in the Quran, memorized by heart.
If you can tell a true Prophet from a false one based on his fruits, I think Prophet Muhammed (s.a.w) has shown me enough fruits to prove that he has striven all his life to bring God's Word to people.
So as much as I love Jesus I have also learnt to embrace Prophet Muhammed (s.a.w). That is why I can say these words with utter confidence and true belief: "Muhammed is His Messenger".
P.S. This is the current book I'm reading to know more about the Prophet (s.a.w): Muhammed as if You Can See Him. Quite a good read for starters like me, I must say.