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. Muhammad
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.].
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
The author was not a Sadducee, or a Zealot, or an Essene; but
was a Pharisaic Quietist.
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
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
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
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,
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
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 Qur’ān 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
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 Muhammad (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 then His kingdom
shall appear throughout all His creation,
And He will appear to punish the
And He will destroy all their idols.
And do thou, Joshua (the son of) Nun,
keep these words and this book;
For from my death [assumption]
there shall be CCL times [stress added].
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
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.
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
The oppression of Israel and the exodus
from Egypt took place most probably under Rameses II
and John Bright
have also assigned Ramesus II the same dates.
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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,
Michael H. Hart
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.