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If I understand correctly, according to Quran before Prophet Muhammad, there were other prophets such as Jesus, Moses and message delivered by them was time bound. Message of Prophet Muhammad is till Qayamat (till world's end: this is also a time bound ). If all these prophets were sent by same creator( God, Allah) then,

  1. Is there mention of life of Prophet Muhammad in earlier messages?

  2. Given that message of prophets are subject to change with time, can I assume that message of Prophet Muhammad may change?

  3. As said in Quran, Islam is the perfect religion. Why it took so long for creator (God, Allah) to perfect it?

EDIT:

4.. How should the message be interpreted "There is no God but Allah and Prophet Muhammad is his messenger" given that creator has not changed? Should it not be 'God and Allah are the same and Prophet Muhammad is his messenger'

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Every Prophet of Allah asked people to worship only one God without associating partners. If you contemplate upon this, there is no change in the message. The only changes have been salah, zakah and things like that. –  Abdullah Oct 8 '12 at 18:01
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Regarding to your added question, the massage is actually "There is no god but Allah and Prophet Muhammad is his messenger", you should distinguish between god and God (=the god), and the massage means "there is no god with Allah" (he is uniques in being god) also if you believe in Muhammad being the messenger you should automatically believe in all the previous prophets as well. What is the point here to question about. Can you clarify more what's ambiguous here to you? –  owari Oct 16 '12 at 16:21
    
The given rules and regulations will remain follow-able no matter how time changes. Islam was given to people when their knowledge reached to an extent where they could understand the Message. –  LifeH2O Dec 8 '12 at 14:13
    
When you update your question, just alert the answerers so they can update their answers. Otherwise there is no way the answerers get to know of your update. Anyway, updated my answer. –  Tabrez Ahmed Dec 8 '12 at 14:49

4 Answers 4

In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful

Is there mention of life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in earlier messages?

I know I would not be able to answer this question better than at the following articles by Dr. Zakir Naik.

  1. Muhammad in Christian scriptures.
  2. Muhammad in Jewish scriptures.
  3. Muhammad in Hindu scriptures
  4. Muhammad in Buddhist scriptures
  5. Further reading.

So the answer is 'yes'. Muhammad was mentioned in earlier messages of Allah.

Given that message of prophets are subject to change with time, can I assume that message of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) may change?

When you say the following,

Message of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is till Qiyamah (till world's end: this is also a time bound ).

you are failing to understand that after the qiyamah, the mankind will not need a Qur'an or the Torah or the Bible because the day of Qiyamah is the final Judgement Day and no one will be able to do anything out of his own will, let alone sinning or doing something to please Allah. So apparently since the man will not sin, there is no need of guidance for him. And since there is no need of guidance, the Holy Books cease to do their work of guidance on the day of Qiyamah and there will be no reason to re-perfect Allah's message again.

As said in Quran, Islam is the perfect religion. Why it took so long for creator (God, Allah) to perfect it?

Muhammad (pbuh) is Imaam-ul-Anbiyaa (Leader of prophets). So the perfect religion was perfected on Muhammad (pbuh) to signify his status.

Also, like others mention, it is a perfection over time. It would have been difficult for the people of previous Prophets (pbut) to follow a Message as perfect as the Holy Qur'an. A good example is the word of New Testament:

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. John 16:12.

Since the creator hasn't changed, shouldn't the invocation be "God and Allah are the same and Prophet Muhammad is his messenger"?

No doubt the Kalimah/invocation that you suggest implies that Allah is the same creator who had sent down Jesus(pbuh), Moses(pbuh) and other Messengers (pbut) and that He has not changed. But, it doesn't imply the Unity of God from any angle. Islam on the other hand requires us to believe in the Unity of Allah at the primary level. So the invocation has to be the one which says that there is no other God except Allah, ideally it is :

لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله

There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad (pbuh) is His Messenger]

and its variations like:

أشهدُ أنْ لا إلهَ إلاَّ الله. وأشهدُ أنَّ محمّدًا رسولُ الله

I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad (pbuh) is His Messenger.


ۚ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ (And Allah is the All-Knower, the Wise)

اللَّهُمَّ انْفَعْنِي بِمَا عَلَّمْـتَنِي وَ عَلِّمْنِي مَا يَنْفَعُنِي

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When we are children we are taught numbers from 1 to 10. This does not mean numbers beyond that do not exist. After a few years we learn 1 to 1000 but also learn 0. Then as more time goes by we learn negative numbers (-1,-2,-3 etc)....then further we learn decimals (0.1, 0.2, ... etc). So as time goes by, learning of religions has been based on their capacity to learn. –  islam101 Oct 8 '12 at 18:27
    
@satya The links we provided above are in a speech format here youtube.com/watch?v=Ktq_Nz_ABI8 . It is little long BUT is detailed. I BEG you to watch it. –  islam101 Oct 8 '12 at 19:03
    
Thanks a lot Tabrez for pointing out references. I am a Buddhist and find arguments related Buddhism pretty inconclusive (will soon ask separate question on this). While other religions have not accepted this claim. Christian refute this claim skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/9484/…, Hindu here - stephen-knapp.com/… and Jewish view here - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaism%27s_views_on_Muhammad. –  satya Oct 9 '12 at 3:42
    
@islam101, Thanks for the video. It was helpful as I learned many new things there. –  satya Oct 9 '12 at 3:44
    
@satya here on this site I dont think many people are well versed with buddhism, but I still encourage you to ask your questions, this way we can learn about buddhism while you learn about islam. One muslim scholar by the name of Hussain Yee is well versed with buddhism. There are a lots of lectures of his on youtube. –  islam101 Oct 9 '12 at 12:02

It is not change. but it is perfection over time.

1. Is there mention of life of Prophet Muhammad in earlier messages?

According to Islam Yes, all prophets mentioned but those who their benefits from being leaders of religious people falls in danger by admitting it, keep its evidences hided from public.

2. Given that message of prophets are subject to change with time, can I assume that message of Prophet Muhammad may change?

Only a prophet can bring a new religion. Quran clearly says Muhammad SAWW is final prophet and Islam was completed at Ghadeer day by adding Imamat.

3. As said in Quran, Islam is the perfect religion. Why it took so long for creator (God, Allah) to perfect it?

Perfect religion needs prefect people and capacity to understand it. it is like teaching PhD lessons to high school students.

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An interesting point regarding your last sentence is that Allah AJ says "O you who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, like it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard (against evil)" [2:183] and the stress is on "like" which means a fasting like the present Muslim's fasting even in Ramadan! But to whom before us it was prescribed? Hadith tells us for the previous prophets! Note that there are always some praying prescribed to prophets not prescribed also to their people, and to our prophet Night Salah was prescribed which is only encouraged for us! –  owari Oct 9 '12 at 5:55

@Satya, the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) has been mentioned in earlier scriptures including the Hindu Vedas where he is directly referred to by his name, viz., "Ahmed." And he is also mentioned in the biblical testaments, both old and new. Links to this have been provided above by other members who have also replied to this question. (Check @Tabrez Ahmed's reply above.)

Insofar as other prophets go, yes, each prophet who came before Muhammad (SAWS) came for a specific community or time. But Muhammad (SAWS) came for the whole of humanity. So the question you ask is very valid and begs to be answered: "Given that message of prophets are subject to change with time, can I assume that message of Prophet Muhammad may change?"

To this question I would ask you to look at history from 10,000 feet up. Earlier prophets came and went and you will still find mention of some of them in local scriptures of various religions. (However, as Muslims, we look to the Qur'an and the sayings of the Messenger (SAWS) for claiming with any level of surety that such-and-such was a prophet.) When these earlier prophets came, the whole of humanity was fragmented with each living in a separate section of the world and unaware of other civilizations that existed at their time. So, we can surmise that there may have been more than one prophet at one time in diametrically opposite sides of the world who were even unaware of each other or indeed if any civilization existed beyond the community where they were present.

However, the timing at which Muhammad (SAWS) was sent is key to understanding his finality. He came at the eve of the integration of the world, such that today, just 1400 years later which is like a blink of an eye in terms of history, we can communicate with each other in a fraction of a second. Within just a few centuries of his arrival, the Americas were inhabited by the "known world," as we refer to our own civilization that existed then. Today, there is not a single country in the world that does not have Muslims in it who would gladly share information about Islam with their neighbors.

Taking this timing into consideration, one can rightly arrive at the conclusion that prophet Muhammad (SAWS) came at a time when the entire world was starting to become a global village. To that end, the shareeah (or the specific set of laws) that were brought by the last messenger are applicable to every single human alive today.

Another interesting fact that most folks (including many Muslims) are unaware of is that the moment Muhammad (SAWS) made public his mission of being the messenger of God, all the other shareeahs automatically became obsoleted and all the people of the world since that time till the last day, regardless of their religious affiliations, will be considered on the day of Qiyamah (Judgement Day) to be his nation, regardless of whether they believe in him or not, and regardless of whether they keep following the old and outdated shareeahs of earlier prophets.

About Islam being the perfect religion, you may be referring to the verse of the Qur'an (5:3) "This day I have perfected your religion for you ..." We have to know the context in which it was revealed to understand what perfection it is referring to. The perfection mentioned here refers to the shareeah of Muhammad (SAWS) becoming perfect and complete for this nation of Muhammad (SAWS). It is interesting to note that when Umar, a very close and well-known companion of the Prophet (SAWS) heard this he cried... when asked about this, he replied that since the religion is perfect today, from now on it can only deteriorate,’ which essentially means that its adherents can only decrease in following it, but when it was being revealed, the early Muslims keenly followed every injunction and were ever-willing to fulfill it to the best possible extent.

Your last question about the kalimah, or the declaration of faith, "There is no god except Allah, and Muhammad (SAWS) is His Prophet," every single prophet before Muhammad (SAWS) came with the same principle, that is, there is no god except Allah. (You will find the same in the Hindu Vedas too.) Only the messenger was different for different times.

HTH.

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@Satya, people have answered most of your questions but just because I have been exposed to Buddhism to a certain extent, I will answer just one aspect of this one specifically:

Is there mention of life of Prophet Muhammad in earlier messages?

All I would like to add to the discussion is that one of the references of the Prophet (SAW) in the Quran is:

"And we have not sent you (O Muhammad) as anything except as Rahmah for all of the worlds." (21:107)

All the worlds is referring to the worlds of all beings whether we are aware of them or not, be they perceptible by humans in the human or animal or plant worlds, or otherwise, in other dimensions of existence like the Jinn or other worlds we do not know of.

Rahmah in Arabic is derived from the root R-H-M which denotes: love, kindness, affection, compassion, sympathy, empathy, and much more.

When my Buddhist friend told me about Buddha Maietrya being the Buddha of Loving Kindness to all sentient beings, this verse in the Quran hit my mind immediately.

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