Islam · Muslims · Prophet Muhammad · Religion

Hidden signs

Signs and prophecies about many prophets fill up the books of the O.T.
Many books have been written about those hidden signs. Many people have come to adopt different opinions about them. I believe that if we try to cooperate in interpreting and understanding a certain verse, we will reach a more correct result than if every one of us works alone. Of course, this will need true sincere intentions.  Today I’m going to tackle a sign I came across years ago in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah’s book is full of hidden prophecies about the future of that old era, as Isaiah approximately lived in the 8th century B.C. Many of these prophecies gave signs about prophets who would come in the future. Jesus P.B.U.H. was mentioned in many of them, but others couldn’t in any way match but Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H. Let’s take a look at one of these prophecies and analyze it. From the book of Isaiah chapter 21 we read:

{21:1} The burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass through, [so] it cometh from the desert, from a terrible land. {21:2} A grievous vision is declared unto me, the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media, all the sighing thereof have I made to cease. {21:3} Therefore are my loins filled with pain: pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth: I was bowed down at the hearing [of it,] I was dismayed at the seeing [of it]{21:4} My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me: the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me. {21:5} Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, [and] anoint the shield. {21:6} For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth. {21:7} And he saw a chariot [with] a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, [and] a chariot of camels, and he hearkened diligently with much heed: {21:8} And he cried, A lion: My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set in my ward whole nights: {21:9} And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, [with] a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground. {21:10} O my threshing, and the corn of my floor: that which I have heard of the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you. {21:11} The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? {21:12} The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come. {21:13} The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim. {21:14} The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled. {21:15} For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war. {21:16} For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail: {21:17} And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the LORD God of Israel hath spoken [it].

The above vision is talking about three chariots or riders connected with three places respectively at which important events were to take place. Verse (21:7) is more accurately translated as:

“And he saw a chariot with two horsemen, a rider upon an ass, and a rider upon a camel: and he beheld them diligently with much heed” (Douay Rheims Bible)

And translated as: “And he hath seen a chariot — a couple of horsemen, the rider of an ass, the rider of a camel, And he hath given attention — He hath increased attention!” (Youngs’ Literal Bible)

For the word “רכב” in the original Hebrew text, pronounced as “rakb”, could mean both “rider” or “chariot”, but the correct translation with the ass and the camel is “rider”, for chariots are a type of horse carriages known to be pulled by horses and not asses or camels. So the most accurate translations of this verse are those of Douay Rheims Bible and Young’s Literal Bible.

First is the chariot of horses which signifies war, followed by the fall of Babylon and the destruction of its idols and graven images, which are signs of polytheism and disbelief in Allah the one and only God. This fall took place in the reign of Cyrus the great back at 539 BC as the visions say latter in (Isaiah 45:1-4) and as explained by most Christian fathers as well as Jewish rabbis. It’s also well known historically that the Persians employed chariots in their army.

Second is the rider of an ass in connection with its synonymous mentioned place “Seir.” Seir is a landmark on the boundary of Judah (Josh 15:10) the place where Jesus lived and taught. Jesus entered Jerusalem riding an ass as testified for in Matthew (21:1-11). This is an obvious prophecy of Jesus’ coming P.B.U.H. that is described by the words “The morning cometh”, then the verse continues quickly as if warning the believers and stressing the fact that this ass rider won’t stay with them for long saying “and also the night” in reference to the betrayal of the Jews and their trial to kill him on the cross. This prevented him from completing the deliverance of his message, and consequently creates the need for another prophet after Jesus whose signs are explained in the next verses for those who would await his coming, and this is why the verse ends up saying “if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come”. May Allah reward Jesus and the prophets before him P.B.U.T.

Third is the rider of a camel who travels in Arabia escaping from the mighty persecutors of Kedar, coming from a certain place headed towards Tema (not to Tema) This part of the vision totally resembles Prophet Muhammad’s migration to Madinah. Let’s analyze this for details and clarification. Verses (13-14) have slight differences in their translations in the different bibles, this is why we will retranslate them both. Verse 13 says: “ The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim.

In the original Hebrew text it’s written:
משא  בערב  ביער  בערב  תלינו  ארחות  דדנים
Pronounced as: “Masha  ba-arab  by-yaar  ba-arab  talinu  aurhot  dedanim
Accurately Translated to: “The word  of Arabia.  In the forest  of Arabia  lodge  travelers  of Dedanim

In the above you will find 7 separate underlined words in Hebrew, followed by their pronunciation and their exact literal translation in English. Historically Arabia has been known of being the homeland of palm trees, palm trees are the most cultivated type of trees in Arabia, and back in history it was almost the only type the inhabitants cultivated for it suits the region’s environmental conditions. So the forest referred to in the verse is a place full of palm trees. This is an order for the travelers coming from Dedan to lodge at this place in Arabia full of palm trees.

Verse 14 says: “ The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled.

In the original Hebrew text it’s written:
לקראת  צמא  התיו  מים  ישבי  ארץ  תימא  בלחמו  קדמו  נדד
Pronounced as: “Lekrat  samè  hetayo  maym  yoshbe  ‘aretz  Tema  bèlahmu  keddemu  nodd.

Before translating this verse, we must note that most of the English translations made for this verse are inaccurate. They add too many words to the text, in order to make any sense, consequently, they end up changing the original meaning. Only a few examples of the variations between them are the following:

“Bring water for the thirsty, O inhabitants of the land of Tema, Meet the fugitive with bread.” (New American Standard Version (1995))
“Give water to him who is in need of water, give bread, O men of the land of Tema, to those in flight.” (Basic English Bible)
“To meet the thirsty brought water have Inhabitants of the land of Tema, With his bread they came before a fugitive.” (Young’s Literal Bible)
“Unto him that is thirsty bring ye water! The inhabitants of the land of Tema did meet the fugitive with his bread.” (Jewish Publication Society Bible)
“The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they met with their bread him that fled.” (Webster’s Bible)

From the above translations, two questions arise in the readers head:
1) Was that fugitive passing by Tema or is this an order for Tema’s inhabitants to go out and meet him at a certain place that was not mentioned? For the word “לקראת” literally means “Towards” and obviously the order is for the inhabitants of the land of Tema to bring water towards the fugitive.
2) Was the bread the fugitive’s bread or did it belong to the inhabitants of Tema? For the word בלחמו literally means “his bread” and not their bread which actually doesn’t make any sense as noted in Young’s literal bible translation.

This is why we will first rewrite the verse as it was found written in the Dead Sea scrolls for there is a slight variation in the letters of the 8th word. This produces a difference in the meaning, which clears up the dilemma:
לקראת  צמא  התיו  מים  ישבי  ארץ  תימא  נלחם  קדמו  נודד
Pronounced as: “Lekrat  samè  hetayo  maym  yoshbe  ‘aretz  Tema  nelahm  keddemu  nodd.
Accurately Translated to: “Towards thirsty bring water inhabitants of land TemaFighting  preceded by  migrant.

In the above, you will find 10 separate underlined words in Hebrew, followed by their pronunciation and their literal translation in English in the same order of the Hebrew words. The bold word is the ones that is different in the Dead Sea scrolls, it produces a new meaning for the verse. This new meaning is more consistent with the next verse and makes more sense. The verse is an order to the inhabitants of Tema to bring water towards the migrant whose coming is a sign on the approach of war and fighting.

Below is the complete photo of this scroll. The part under discussion is found at the left end of the second line from the bottom. It covers the last three words in the verse under discussion.


Then the verses go on to say: {21:15} For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war.

Verse 15 is describing the condition of this emigrant and those who escaped like him, it explains that they are escaping from people chasing them with weapons to kill them and that these fugitives didn’t fight back or wade any war against their persecutors who are identified in the next two verses that say: {21:16} For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail: {21:17} And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the LORD God of Israel hath spoken [it].

These two verses state clearly that the persecutors of the fugitive and those who escaped like him will be from Kedar tribe whose glory shall fail within a year, which is an indication that the fugitives will fight back and defend themselves after a year passes from their escape. After that, the power of the mighty men of Kedar shall diminish. Kedar was the second son of Ishmael (Gen. (25:13)), his offspring was known of living in tents as Bedouins and raising sheep, goats and camels. Smith’s dictionary says about them: “The tribe seems to have been one of the most conspicuous of all the Ishmaelite tribes, and hence the rabbins call the Arabians universally by this name.” (Smith’s dictionary of the bible 1901).


Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H. went out from Makkah headed north towards Madinah that is in the direction of Tema and Dedan. Madinah is about 400 Km north of Makkah and Tema is about 400 Km north of Madinah, while Dedan (‘um al-qura or Al-ula) is about 380 Km North West of Madinah (i.e. The places are indicated on the map of Arabia). Madinah has always been known of its abundant palm trees, so it’s among the forests of Arabia if not the largest of them all. Today, its production from dates is the largest that a city produces in the whole world even after removing hundreds of acres of palm trees through centuries of constructional expansion. After referring to Jesus, these verses of Isaiah were urging those who would seek the prophet coming after him to await his coming at a place in Arabia described as “the forest of Arabia”, and it further urged the inhabitants of Tema and Dedan to meet him, the reader here should think, why specially Tema and Dedan? Remember the verse of Deuteronomy that prophesized of the holy one from Paran: “God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran”, these are actually all signs for those who read and study Allah’s messages and are eager to support his prophets and make Allah’s word prevail above any other. Those who know their holy books well enough would absolutely seek to reach the place where this prophet would appear in order to support and learn from him if he appears during their lives. So again if Paran is Makkah in central Hejaz [see Locating Paran] and the prophet or the holy one from Arabia shall come from it, and he shall head towards Tema and Dedan, therefore the forest of Arabia in which those who seek him should lodge is some where between those three places, which only leaves us with Madinah.

After the imigration to Madinah by about eleven and a half months (one lunar year exactly), in August 623 the prophet started leading campaigns against the pagans of Makkah, for they continued threatening the Muslims even after they migrated, and they were instigating the Arabs against them. The campaigns were successful which drove the pagans crazy, they thought that Muslims would never fight for they were very few, inexperienced former slaves and shepherds led by a 54 years old man who never fought before. This eventually led to the battle of “Badr” which took place in March 624 between 313 on foot Muslims and about 1000 Makkan polytheists (including 200 horsemen). Among them were the mighty leaders who have tortured and killed many of the Muslims before their escape to Madinah. Those leaders were of high status, known of their great hatred to the prophet and his followers. They were all killed in the battle. This battle was literally the start of diminution in the numbers of the mighty polytheists of Makkah, the sons of Kedar. It was also the start of deepening the roots of the Islamic capital.

Many battles later on took place between Muslims and the Makkan pagans along side other Jewish tribes that inhabited Madinah, Tema, Dedan, Khaibar, and many other places all over Arabia. Many from the Jewish tribes had come to live in these places hoping to be the ones who would follow the awaited prophet and gain this honor, but when he came from among their Arabian brethren and not the Israelites, they declined and refused to follow him. All of the battles following Badr were won by Muslims except for one battle which was the battle of ‘Uhud in which the prophet was almost killed, but even those who fought against the Muslims at ‘Uhud, all embraced Islam later on; among them were the leader of the pagans’ Cavilary “Khaled Ibn Al-waleed” and army general “Abu Sufyan Ibn-Harb.” This greatly signified that Allah stands with this final messenger and shall make him victorious no matter what. He is the deliverer of the last message and he must live until he completes his mission. Regarding this protection, Allah says in the Qur’an:

 “O messenger! Proclaim the (message) which has been sent to you from your Lord. And if you do not, then you have not conveyed His message. Allah will protect you from mankind. Verily, Allah guides not those who reject Faith.” [The Qur’an (5:67)]

And here a very important question arises in the head of truthful thinkers, “If this man was a liar, a fabricator and he was claiming that these words were from Allah while they were his, would he have said this verse after which he forbade all of his companions from protecting him and exchanging shifts to protect his house out of fear for his life? Would he lie to himself?” I leave the answer for the intelligence of the reader.

We needn’t add more now for anyone to see the resemblance of these verses with Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H. Since that there hasn’t been any prophet from Arabia since Moses till Muhammad, nor has there been any one at all whose story matches these verses other than him, then logically they complete each other and are all describing Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H. The following picture is for the south entrance of Madinah showing thousands of palm trees at this location. The white building is Qubaa’ mosque, the first place at which the prophet arrived and the first mosque that was ever built by the prophet P.B.U.H. when he reached Madinah.


For complete understanding, read my relevant posts: Locating Paran,  The Prophecy of HabakkukThe Man In the “Song of Songs” & The Final Testament.

IMME, ISBN:9789779027395
Written by: Ehab Shawky

In Response To: Hidden


2 thoughts on “Hidden signs

  1. When I was in seminary I “argued” with my professor about the very lines in Isaiah that you speak of here. I was quite busy in another class with the translations of the dead sea scrolls and remarked that the word “nelahm” was of a different meaning and therefor the translations seemed to speak of Mohamad. After he finished laughing at me, he said (and I quote) “the scrolls are obviously a forgery by some semi-literate Muslim trying to promote Islam instead of the true faith”. I said something along the lines of “sir, you are an idiot” before being released from his class permanently. Thank you for this discussion and for validating my thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

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