Christianity, Judaism, and Islam share many of the same traditions and UCLA graduate student Hisham Mahmood lectured Thursday night to the Muslim Student Association on what he argues is one of the most important: the prophet Mohammed in the Bible.
Mahmood, a second-year graduate student in Islamic studies, tried to prove Mohammed’s existence in the Bible using sources such as the Bible and a common dictionary.
“You cannot just take one verse and say this is who Mohammed is,” Mahmood said. “He was prophesized … to come with a new law and a new song.”
According to the Islamic faith, Mohammed was the chosen one who would bring justice to the people. He established a Muslim community in Medina using a black stone from heaven.
“People come to kiss that stone of worship not because you worship the stone, but because it is a symbol of kissing the hand of God the way you kiss the hand of a king,” he said.
Mahmood compared Mohammed’s influence over his 10,000 followers to Jesus’ influence. He said that while Jesus had spiritual power, Mohammed maintained a kingly power while he lived.
“The Dead Sea scrolls say read of the coming of two messiahs: Jesus and another messiah of martial power on earth,” he said. “Mohammad was sent as a mercy to all creation, to the birds and all space. Jesus didn’t have power over his people in the way Mohammed did with 10,000 followers. Jesus said he had not been sent except to the lawship of the house of Israel.”
Mahmood cited a Biblical story about Abraham to explain why he believed Jews were chosen by God. Muslims usually accept this belief, he said. Mohammed is thought to be a direct descendent of Abraham’s oldest son, Ishmael.
Ishmael, Mahmood said, was excluded from Abraham’s inheritance, but in Islam Isaac, Abraham’s son by his wife Sarah, and Ishmael are still accepted on the same level.
“There is Koranic evidence that Ishmael was the sacrifice and not Isaac, making the Jews the chosen people,” he said. “While Muslims believe Jews were the chosen ones that doesn’t mean they are superior, but that they were honored by God.”
Former UCSB religious studies major Tanya Kadan said the presentation cleared up a lot of misconceptions about the Islamic faith while showing similarities between Islam, Judaism and Christianity.
“The common misconception there is about Muslims is that we hate Americans and Christians,” she said. “Muslims don’t dislike Americans, but the American foreign policy that gives weapons to Israeli soldiers.”