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Why the Hebrew Prophets say ‘I’ and Prophet Muhammad says ‘We’

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21.11.2020

In the last dozen years I have written over 100 articles about Islam and Judaism for Islamic magazines and web sites. Recently I have placed a few of them on my blog in the Times of Israel. This is one of my recent articles that appeared in the English edition of the Arabic Islamic magazine Al-Jumuah.

The Qur’an teaches:

Say, [O believers], “We believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us [the Qur’an] and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants [of Jacob] and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah, 2:136]

While Christians, Jews and Muslims should make no disrespectful distinction between any of their prophets or their sacred scriptures, we cannot help but notice that the circumstances and style of each of the three written revelations are very distinct.

The Hebrew Sacred Scriptures are a vast collection of books (305,358 Hebrew words) written over a period of almost a thousand years, by more than two dozen different named Jewish Prophets, plus many more anonymous inspired Historians, Poets, and Philosophers.

The Greek New Testament is much shorter (a total of 138,162 Greek words) and was written over a period of less than 70 years, by four biographers plus maybe a half dozen other writers whose writings exist in a language (Greek) that Prophet Jesus and Prophet John never spoke.

The Arabic Qur’an is still shorter (a total of 77,934 Arabic words) recited by Prophet Muhammad during a period of less than only two dozen years and written down by his own disciples/scribes.

The most shocking thing that a rabbi notices when reading the Qur’an is that Allah continually refers to himself as “We.” This reiteration of the pronoun “We” referring to God occurs over 2100 times in the Qur’an.

In the Hebrew Scriptures the “Royal We”(or, the Plural of Majesty”) is very rarely used for God, except most noticeably in the creation narrative, where God says, “Let us make…”

And God said, “Let us make a human, in our image, according to our likeness, and …And God created the human in His image. He created it in the image of God; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27)

All the Jewish Prophets declare God’s words using “I.” Of course, I know that “we” in the Qur’an never means that God is plural or trinitarian. It is a matter of style that might also be meant as an important correction to the error that many of Prophet Jesus’ disciples entered into.

Many disciples of Jesus took Prophet Jesus’ use of “my father in heaven” literally when........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)


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