Similarly, “convert” Jewish and Christian scholars believed Muhammad fulfilled Old and New Testament prophecies of the final prophet. Some readers would object on the basis of never having found the name Muhammad in the Bible. On the other hand, how many times have they found the name Jesus in the Old Testament in reference to the promised messiah? The answer is none. The Old Testament contains numerous predictions of prophets to come, but none by their proper name.
Some of these predictions are thought to describe John the Baptist, others allegedly speak of Jesus, and still others appear to be unfulfilled by any biblical personage. The Bible informs us that the Jews expected three prophets to follow, for the Pharisees are recorded as having
questioned John the Baptist as follows:
Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and
Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and didnot deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What
then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And
he answered, “No.” (John 1:1921)
After John the Baptist identified himself in evasive terms, the Pharisees persisted by inquiring, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” (John 1:25).
So there we have it—“Elijah,” “the Christ,” and “the Prophet.” Not just once, but
twice. That was the short list of prophets the Jews expected according to their scripture.
Now, despite the fact that John the Baptist denied being Elijah in the above quote, Jesus identified him as Elijah twice (Matthew 11:1314, 17:1113).
Scriptural inconsistencies aside, let’s chalk up Elijah on the word of Jesus, not think too deeply over who “the Christ” refers to, and concentrate on what remains. Who is the third and last on
the Old Testament list of foretold prophets? Who is “the Prophet?”
Some Christians expect this final prophet to be Jesus returned, but others expect a different prophet entirely. Hence the reason why all Jews and many Christians are waiting for a final prophet, as predicted by their own scripture.
The Muslim believes this final prophet has already come, and his name was
Muhammad. Through him the Holy Qur’an was revealed by Almighty God (Allah).
Those who adhere to the Holy Qur’an as the revealed word of Allah, and to the teachings of the final prophet, Muhammad ibn Abdullah, are regarded to be Muslims both by literal definition and by ideology.