There is a strangely arranged prophecy regarding the Prophet of Islam in a pseudepigraphical book attributed to Moses named 'The Assumption of Moses'. It was introduced to me by a worthy friend, Mr. Muh~ammad Farooq Kamal. 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 palimpsest of the sixth century. The editor has observed:
It is 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.].
The 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.'; 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.].' The author was not a Sadducee, or a Zealot, or an Essene; but was a Pharisaic Quietist.
The 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.
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.
It is 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'. It would be pertinent to study very briefly the outlines of the contents of each chapter to understand the development of the theme.
In chapter 2 Moses tells Joshua, 'thou shalt bless and give to them individually and confirm unto them their inheritance in me.' He also informs him briefly about the salient features of the history of Israel until the conquest of Nebuchadnezzer 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. 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.
With 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' persecution.' The editor has further observed here in his footnote, 'Thus we have a clear case of transposition by the final editor.' 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. 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:
Then in 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.
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 Muh~ammad (sws). That's why Moses has told it to Joshua.
Now 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:
And He will appear to punish the Gentiles,
And He will destroy all their idols.
And do thou, Joshua (the son of) Nun, keep these words and this book;
And 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.
In 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.
As can 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.
Oxford 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:
The oppression of Israel and the exodus from Egypt took place most probably under Rameses II (1290-24),
New Bible Atlas concludes on the basis of archaeological research that the event of exodus related to ca. 1230/20 BC:
Among 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 BC.
Now if this Pharaoh Rameses II (1290-24 BC) 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:
When 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 Zephon.
As 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 still.
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." (….).
Then 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.
The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh's horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. (…).
Then 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.
It 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.
Now the 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:
In this 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.
It is 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 years.
It 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 1184=1180).
It is 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.
Michael 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.
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.