Chapter 2

Prophetic Traditions

Contrary to most written histories on the subject, Islam did not begin in A.D. 570 with the birth of the Prophet Muhammad nor even with his revelatory call to be a prophet and bring forth the Quran in A.D. 610. To Muslims, the religion of Islam began with Adam and has continued with every prophet whom God has called to that office since then. This is because the word Islam is not a title of a religious group or belief. It is simply translated from Arabic as “submission”, meaning to submit one’s life to God. When you are living in obedience to God’s revealed laws through His prophets, you are in submission and therefore have become a Muslim or roughly translated, a submitter.

Throughout my years in various Middle Eastern countries and in conversing with many Muslims, I have been commonly asked if I have aslamti, or submitted. In other words, is my focus in life to follow the one true God and have I accepted the truths revealed to all the prophets through the ages up through and including the Prophet Muhammad? In thinking of baptismal and temple covenants made and the laws of the gospel that I strive to follow daily, my reply has always been a resounding yes. I consider myself to be living a life that is in total submission to God and therefore, in the Islamic sense, a “true believer” (saadaqua) and one of the righteous “People of the Book” (ahla al kitabi) to which the Quran refers.

As members of the LDS Church, we also believe that our Heavenly Father restores His truths afresh in every dispensation through His prophets- that it is the same gospel, unchanging in content and tenet since Adam’s time, because God and His laws are unchanging. We believe that all truth together makes one complete whole whether it is revealed in our day and time or it was recorded over 5000 years ago. The purpose of our lives is the same as our brothers and sisters in Islam- to submit to God’s will, be obedient to His commandments and strive to live worthy of someday returning to live in His presence.

When judgment day comes, the righteous from every generation will sit down with Father Abraham, Moses, Enoch, Noah, Adam, and every prophet who ever lived on this earth. It will not matter in which time period or place we lived, which language we spoke or which prophet taught us. The fact that we submitted our lives to God while on earth will be the determining factor and the common bond that will bring us all together as one. Any deficiencies of knowledge or ordinances and discrepancies in truth or method of worship will be rectified and we will finally be united once again as we were in the beginning in our pre-existent relationship, as children of our Heavenly Father.

Regarding the generations of different prophets, times and places, the Quran states in at least six separate passages that “An apostle is sent to every nation” (Surah 10:47) and “… every age has its scripture.” (Surah 13:38) This is so that all of God’s children may hear His truths in their own time and tongue. “Each apostle We have sent has spoken only in the language of his own people, so that he might make plain to them his message.” (Surah 14:4)

The Book of Mormon also contains the same rationale. “For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true.” (BM Alma 29: 8)

Additionally, within every set of scripture, God makes it clear that it is not the only scripture He has revealed. There have been many prophets, of some we are aware and of others we have never before heard. The Bible, Quran and Book of Mormon have similar verses regarding this point. “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (KJV John 10:16) “We have sent forth other apostles before you; of some you have already heard, of others We have told you nothing.” (Surah 40: 78)

“Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written. For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.” (BM 2 Nephi 29:10,11) This Book of Mormon scripture also mentions the important point that God will judge each group of people by their own scripture and prophet’s words.

Although the prophets’ teachings from any age contain the same basic truths, there are many specific revelations and laws given to individual groups of people depending on their situations, how much light they previously had, and what was expedient for them to know to progress “line upon line and precept upon precept”. (BM 2 Nephi 28:30) It makes sense, then, that each prophet will judge his own people according to their own revelations received and not in competition or comparison with other peoples, prophets or times. Mormons will be judged by the truths contained in our scriptures that we have received, by Jesus Christ and those whom we believe to be prophets. Muslims will be judged in the same way- by the prophets whose words and scriptures they have received.

Our LDS scriptures mention the twelve apostles judging the twelve tribes of Israel[1] and the twelve Nephite disciples judging the Nephites.[2] The Quran also confirms this teaching. “You shall see all the nations on their knees. Each nation shall be summoned to its book and a voice will say to them: ‘You shall this day be rewarded for your deeds. This book of Ours speaks with truth against you. We have recorded all your actions.’” (Surah 45:28,29)

It is the prophet’s recorded words that will act as the standard for people during judgment day. Whether people have believed the prophet to be from God or not, whether they have made fun of his prophecies, ignored his teachings or even killed him, the revealed word will be what matters g

So what proof exists that Muhammad, Moses, Joseph Smith or any of these messengers were really speaking God’s words?

One proof is the books themselves. When the Lord reveals His word directly to His prophets, He asks any who doubt to make another record like unto it. Both Joseph Smith and Muhammad had similar revelations containing this challenge. “Now seek ye out of the Book of Commandments, even the least that is among them, and appoint him that is the most wise among you; Or, if there be any among you that shall make one like unto it, then ye are justified in saying that ye do not know that they are true; But if ye cannot make one like unto it, ye are under condemnation if ye do not bear record that they are true.” (D&C 67:6-8)

“Do they say: ‘He has invented it (the Quran) himself? Indeed, they have no faith. Let him produce a scripture like it, if what they say be true.’” (Surah 52: 33,34) In the case of the Quran, the style and consistency of the language and not just the meaning and content are part of the test. Each Arabic verse ends in a perfect rhyme, so that the spoken word carries an additional impact to the reader that would be beyond possible duplication or invention of man.

Another proof is that the Lord has said that He will reveal His will only through His prophets.[3] In most instances, there is a special means of transmission that accompanies the message that allows it to remain intact. It is not important whether the words are received through angelic messengers, voices in the mind, dreams, visions or direct visitations. What is important is that the words are given in such a way as to be recorded verbatim when God speaks. “It is not vouchsafed to any mortal that Allah should speak to him except by revelation, or from behind a veil, or through a messenger sent and authorized by Him to make known His will.” (Surah 42:51)

Muslims believe that Muhammad received the Quran word for word through visits by the angel Gabriel. Mormons believe that Joseph Smith received the Doctrine and Covenants by the Word of the Lord directly to his mind and through direct visitations and that the Book of Mormon prophets had dreams and visions and spoke or recorded their messages through the Spirit’s inspiration. Prophets in the Bible had similar experiences and revelatory means by which to deliver God’s word to their people.

The Quran mentions that God spoke to Moses directly. It also tells of angels bearing witness to the revelation of the Quran as His word. “We have revealed Our will to you as We revealed it to Noah and to the prophets who came after him; as We revealed it to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the tribes; to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, Solomon, and David, to whom We gave the psalms. Of some apostles We have already told you (how Allah spoke directly to Moses); but there are others of whom We have not yet spoken; apostles who brought good news to mankind and admonished them, so that they might have no pleas against Allah after their coming. Allah is mighty and wise. Allah Himself bears witness by that which He has revealed to you that it has been revealed with His knowledge; and so do the angels. There is no better witness than Allah.” (Surah 4: 163-166)

Additionally, Islam does not differentiate between prophets of God. There are not some prophets who are more believable than others or whose words are more important. “Those that draw a line between Allah and His apostles, saying: ‘We believe in some, but deny others,’ - thus seeking a middle way - these indeed are the unbelievers.” (Surah 4:150,151) “Say: ‘We believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us; in what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes; to Moses and Jesus and the other prophets by their Lord. We make no distinction amongst any of them, and to Allah, we have surrendered ourselves.” (Surah 2: 136)

For Mormons, this goes along with our ninth Article of Faith[4] in that “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” to His children through His prophets. This is why every week, members of the Church spend time studying the prophets’ words in Sunday school classes and other LDS Church related meetings (Relief Society, Priesthood, Young Men’s and Young Women’s, Seminary, Institute, Church Education programs, etc.). It is important to know and understand all of God’s words that He has given to His children on earth, regardless of place or time.

Perhaps one of the most difficult challenges all people face on this earth in the search for revealed truth is whether we will accept the teachings of prophets that are not in our generation or who do not speak our language. We must accept the fact that God loves all His children equally and therefore gives all of us a chance to come to know Him through His chosen servants’ messages. There is no place for an attitude of superiority in regards to scriptures.

Having said this, it also takes a spirit of discernment while reading other records to understand the differences between the culture-specific situations and commandments meant only for that time or group of people and the principles of righteous truth that are meant for all who may read the record at a future time and place. A good example of this are cases in the Bible, Book of Mormon and Quran where God commands a people to be destroyed or allows wars and bloodshed in defense of the truth. Many extremists in different religions use such scriptures as justifications at times to wage wars or jihad against different groups of people today. Conversely, to discount the whole of a prophet’s words solely on the fact that he is not from our time or place or that we have not heard of him before is only a testament to our narrow-mindedness and becomes a great loss for us in the end.

So what do Muslims think of Joseph Smith as a prophet and conversely, how should Mormons view Muhammad?

The attitude that Islam takes toward Joseph Smith is somewhat similar to how Latter-Day Saints would react to accepting Muhammad as a prophet and the Quran as part of our standard works. From the Muslim side, there is no problem in recognizing the truth of the fact that God works through angelic visitations to accomplish His purposes. All Muslims have a strong testimony of angels in their roles as messengers to prophets to bring forth God’s word. The visitation of the angel Moroni[5] to Joseph Smith in bringing forth the Book of Mormon is a close parallel to the visits of the angel Gabriel to Muhammad in revealing the Quran.[6]

The obstacle to full acceptance lies in the belief among Muslims that Muhammad was the last prophet and there could not be any more after him. This comes from a passage in the Quran which declares that Muhammad is “the apostle of Allah and the seal of all the prophets” (Surah 33:40). This verse in combination with another one which states that “We have sent you forth to all mankind, so that you may give them good news and warn them.” (Surah 34:28) are interpreted as meaning that Muhammad’s teachings are the final seal of the prophets teachings to all mankind.

Through the years, I have discussed this concept many times with my Muslim friends and colleagues and in the end we usually agree to disagree. From my LDS point of view, given the numerous passages in the Quran quoted above that every nation and people has its prophet, it would make no logical sense for God to stop sending prophets with His message as of 632 CE. Additionally, there is no passage in the Quran which states in plain terms that Muhammad is the last prophet that God has sent to all the world. However, most editions of the Quran published today contain a commentary on these verses that include this interpretation as agreed upon by Muslim scholars. From the disciples and companions of the Muhammad in his time until today, all Muslims have understood this to be so. Muhammad’s message was to be preserved until the end of the world, which so far has been fulfilled, and with the advent of the Internet and modern technology, it can be spread to all people of the earth. So, why would there be a need for more prophets?

But from an LDS standpoint, every major prophet was the seal to his dispensation and to the prophets that proceeded him for the people to whom he was sent. Yet God continued to send more prophets in further dispensations as time went on. And although we could agree that Muhammad’s teachings are for all the world in the same way that all God’s words through his messengers and inspired leaders are for everyone, we would have to attest that there are still living prophets even now who continue to receive God’s word for people today.

The challenge that I have left with my Muslim friends is to see what Joseph Smith taught. The proof of a prophet’s words is also in the consistency of the teachings and principles with those previously revealed through other prophets. Also, many prophets are able to bring forth miracles through the use of God’s power. Muslims believe the main miracle wrought by God through Muhammad was the conveying of the Quran. Additionally, it is no coincidence that to Mormons, the translation of the Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith constitutes a miracle as it was done also through miraculous means.

And what should Latter-Day Saints think of Muhammad? In the early days of the Church, Islam was a topic of discussion by our early apostles. On September 23, 1855, two sermons on Islam were delivered by Elders Parley P. Pratt and George A. Smith to the Saints in the Bowery in Salt Lake City, Utah. Elder Pratt spoke about the beginnings of Islam and the call of Muhammad to be a prophet who was “no doubt raised up by God on purpose to scourge the world for their idolatry.”[7]

Elder Smith then followed with a wonderful statement still appropriate to our times. “I am aware it is not without a great deal of prejudice that we, as Europeans, Americans and Christians in religion and in our education, so called, have looked upon the history of Mahomet, or even the name; and even now we may think that Mahometanism [Islam], compared with Christianity as it exists in the world, is a kind of heathenism, or something dreadful, and the other we look upon as something very pretty, only a little crippled; and for my part, I hardly know which to call the idolatrous side of the question, unless we consider Mahometanism Christianity, in one sense, and that which has been called Christianity, heathenism.”[8]

Elder Smith went on to say that compared with the corruption of the Christian faith through time, Muhammad was on the side of truth on the subject of Deity and worship and that Islam taught and established the truth of the true and living God.[9] He also discussed the lack of the fullness of the gospel being revealed because those blessings pertained to another branch of Abraham’s family and that “All a nation could have, without the keys of the everlasting gospel, without the gifts and powers pertaining to those keys, and without the fulness of the gospel, the people of the East seemed to have been blessed with, so far as the Lord saw fit to bestow upon them blessings during those dark ages.”[10]

In modern times, our Church leaders have also come out in support of the righteous teachings found in Islam. In 1978, a First Presidency statement specifically mentions Muhammad as one of the great religious leaders of the world who “received a portion of God’s light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals.” [11] In 1992, another First Presidency statement read, “As the Church grows around the world, Latter-day Saints find themselves in increasingly frequent contact with members of the Islamic faith. Islam teaches much that is inspiring, noble, and worthy of the highest respect.”[12]

Regarding the issue of whether Muhammad was a true prophet, James Mayfield in his article “Ishmael, Our Brother” raises the point that although “many may reject some of the teachings of Muhammad because they seem so inconsistent with the fundamental teachings of the gospel. Yet there may be as much difference between what Muhammad taught in the seventh century and what the Islamic community teaches today as there is between what the apostles taught and what Christian churches teach today.”[13] Of course, Muslims would maintain that there is no difference between what is taught today and what was taught back in the 7th century and that the truths have remained intact and unaltered. They do acknowledge, however, that there have been variances in the cultural practice of their faith in varying countries and that errors do exist, though the original teachings are still very much accessible to straighten out any misconceptions.

The same challenge that I have offered to my Muslim friends I extend to all Latter-Day Saints as well- to look beyond the modern interpretations, deviations of practice or dogmatic commentary which surround Islam to the fundamental teachings of the Quran itself which is held to be the unaltered word of God. Assuming that the teachings are in line with our own revealed truth and complement the teachings of other scriptures, Muhammad would indeed qualify as a messenger of God in his time. And although there are many teachings in the Quran that are cultural and time specific, they in no way nullify the righteous and true gospel principles also contained therein. “What we have revealed to you in the Book [Quran] is the truth confirming previous scriptures.” (Surah 35:31)

One point to also consider is that the definition of the word “prophet” for Mormons and Muslims is very different. In Islam, a prophet is one who receives revelation from God to convey to those around him but who does not receive a new book of scripture- rather he revives or restores the truth that was given before but has since been distorted. The term ‘messenger” is used more frequently when referring to Muhammad and his role. A messenger in Islam is one who does receive a new book of revelation. Therefore every messenger is also considered a prophet, but not every prophet was a messenger.[14] The Prophet Muhammad stated that there were over 100,000 prophets sent, but only 315 were messengers who received books of revelation.[15]

For Latter-Day Saints, when we speak of a prophet today, we refer to a man who has been called and ordained of God, who holds the proper priesthood keys and authority to restore and administer the saving ordinances of the gospel[16] and to receive revelation for the Church and the world. Elder Bruce R. McConkie, in Mormon Doctrine further states that “A prophet is a person who knows by personal revelation from the Holy Ghost that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, ‘for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’ (KJV Revelations 19:10)”[17] Obviously, for us, Muhammad would not fit in with this definition of a prophet at all.

However, if we consider the definition and role of a Hebrew prophet from Biblical times, there may be more room for acceptance. Some of the Hebrew prophets acted more as voices of warning and messengers rather than in restoring or performing priesthood ordinances (or at least there is not any mention of such in the Biblical accounts). Not all the prophets in the Bible held the Melchizedek (or higher) priesthood or were able to perform the full ordinances of the gospel that we have today.

In our LDS Bible dictionaries, the entry under the word prophet states: “The work of a Hebrew prophet was to act as God’s messenger and make known God’s will… It was also the prophet’s duty to denounce sin and foretell its punishment…He was above all to be a preacher of righteousness. When the people had fallen away from a true faith in Jehovah, the prophets had to try to restore that faith and remove false views about the character of God and the nature of the Divine requirement.”[18] Nowhere in the entire definition does it mention that a prophet must hold the priesthood or administer ordinances. There is also the feminine form of the word, prophetess, such as in the cases of Deborah, Miriam, Huldah and Anna. Obviously, they did not either hold the priesthood or perform ordinances, yet they were addressed by that title, although the parallel between prophet and prophetess may not be exactly equal in meaning.

Here Muhammad certainly could qualify as a prophet in the sense of one who acted as a voice of warning, a preacher of righteousness and removed false views about the multiplicity of God. Elder Orson F. Whitney, speaking in a General Conference of the Church in 1921 said, “[God] is using not only his covenant people, but other peoples as well, to consummate a work, stupendous, magnificent, and altogether too arduous for this little handful of Saints to accomplish by and of themselves… All down the ages men bearing the authority of the Holy Priesthood- patriarchs, prophets, apostles and others, have officiated in the name of the Lord, doing the things that he required of them; and outside the pale of their activities other good and great men, not bearing the Priesthood, but possessing profundity of thought, great wisdom, and a desire to uplift their fellows, have been sent by the Almighty into many nations, to give them, not the fulness of the Gospel, but that portion of truth that they were able to receive and wisely use.”[19]

The people of Muhammad’s era certainly needed a messenger of God to lift them out of their erroneous ideas and worship practices. At the time of his calling, pre-Islamic Arabia was full of misconceptions about God and idolatry was rampant. As is seen in Biblical times, whenever people have strayed so far from the truth so as to not even recognize the existence of God, He has been very quick to send a prophet to straighten them out. The Arabs of the early seventh century living on the Arabian Peninsula were no exception.

In an area which covers almost a million square miles, many tribal societies lived along the main frankincense trade route that ran along the western edge of the peninsula between the southern tip of what is now Yemen, up through Mecca and Ma’an where it then split into two branches, one Northeast to Egypt and Palestine, the other Northwest to Syria.[20] Mecca was perhaps the most important city along the route both because of its position midway and because it contained one of the most holy shrines of the times- the Ka’bah. Abraham and Ishmael were said to have erected this shrine after the sacrifice and the Ka’bah became the center for the worshipping of all the various gods of the different tribes.[21]

The word Allah in Arabic is made from two words- Al meaning ‘the’ and ilah meaning God.[22] Although the word connotes that there is only one God, The God, and no other, the Pre-Islamic Arabs did not consider Him to be the main source of their worship. They were much more enamored by the lesser Gods who each had individual functions depending on what specific problem needed solving. There was a god for most occasions and many consisted of simply a rock, tree or some hand carved effigy. The pagan Arabs set up these idols in the Ka’bah and made offerings to them daily. They felt that these lesser gods would be more beneficial to them in their specific needs than praying to a general God like Allah.

The rulers of Mecca during this time were the Quraysh tribe and their central occupations centered around providing guide and protection services for the caravans that passed along the trade route (no doubt pocketing a goodly portion of the proceeds from the caravan for the services they offered along the way). In 570 CE, Muhammad was born into one of the clans of the Quraysh, the Benu Hashim, to his father Abdallah and his mother Aminah. Unfortunately, by the age of six, both parents had died and Muhammad was then raised by his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, then a prominent leader in Mecca.[23]

It was said that his grandfather loved him dearly and kept Muhammad with him during important business meetings. When asked by his other sons to take Muhammad out of the way, his grandfather replied “Let him be; my child will be leader of his people.”[24] Later, upon his grandfather’s death, Muhammad was under the guardianship of his uncle Abu-Talib who also cared deeply for him.

From his family, Muhammad learned the ways of trade and often traveled with caravans between Mecca and Syria. By the time he was in his mid-twenties, he was managing the caravans and was working for a rich widow by the name of Khadija to whom he was related. Muhammad was known for his integrity and wisdom and Khadija soon asked him to marry her. Khadija was fifteen years his senior at age forty, but the marriage was said to be prosperous and happy as they had four daughters and two sons from their union. Muhammad lived with Khadija for twenty-five years and did not take another wife until after her death. Of Khadija, Muhammad later said, “When I was poor, she enriched me; when they called me a liar, she alone remained true.”[25]

Muhammad, like Joseph Smith, was troubled by the inconsistencies and “tumult” of religious views during his time. Besides the pagan gods of the Ka’bah and the other main religions of the time, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Judaism, there was also a group of people in Mecca known as the hanifs who had rejected idolatry and set up a viewpoint of their own. They had an influence on Muhammad’s thinking and as confusing as it was, the one truth that he had sorted out prior to his call as a prophet was the concept of a singular God (monotheism). He rejected idolatry and from early years was against worshipping images or idols. One story is told that when Muhammad was asked to perform an act in the name of the pagan gods al-Lat and al-Uzza, he replied, “Do not ask me anything for the sake of these idols. I have never hated anything more.”[26]

It was in the year 610 CE at the age of forty that Muhammad received his calling as a prophet. He was in the habit of going to a cave near Mount Hira outside of Mecca to ponder these religious questions in prayerful solitude. It was during the month of Ramadhan (now considered a holy month of the Islamic calendar) on one such vigil that the Angel Gabriel spoke to Muhammad and said, “Recite.” Muhammad answered, “What shall I recite?” The angel replied, “Recite in the name of your Lord who created, created man from clots of blood. Recite! Your Lord is the Most Bountiful One, who by the pen taught man what he did not know.”[27]

Muhammad rushed back home to Khadija in a great state of agitation and related the experience to her. She comforted him and told him he had nothing to fear and that God would never let him down. After a short period of time he heard the voice again declaring, “You are the messenger of God, and I am Gabriel.” He ran into Khadija again and asked that she cover him with a cloak as he was exhausted. He then heard the voice a third time saying, “O you enveloped in your cloak, arise and warn! Your Lord magnify; your raiment purify, pollution shun! And show not favour, seeking worldly gain! For the sake of the Lord, be patient!”[28] Muhammad then realized that he had a mission to perform and that he was to be God’s messenger to his people.

Over the next twenty-two years, he received continuous revelations that when compiled constitute the entire Quran, containing 114 chapters (surahs). He did not write the verses down but recited them to professional scribes whose job it was to memorize poems, stories or any words verbatim. This was a common method of keeping records or histories at the time as written Arabic was in its infant stages as a literary language. Later in his lifetime, verses were written on palm-leaves, bones, animal skins or any material that would hold ink. After his death, the verses were collected and collated into an authorized version which Muslims believe has been carefully preserved and re-copied exactly without change through 1400 years until today.

In addition to revealing a book of scripture and declaring the true character of the One God, there are other parallels between Muhammad’s and Joseph Smith’s missions. There are verses in the Quran that speak of Muhammad’s duty to speak with a voice of warning. “I swear by the Wise Koran that you are sent upon a straight path. This is revealed by the Mighty One, the Merciful, so that you may warn a nation who, because their fathers were not warned before them, live in heedlessness.” (Surah 36:2-6) “Prophet, We have sent you forth as a witness, a bearer of good news, and a warner; one who shall call men to Allah by His leave and guide them like a shining light.” (Surah 33: 45,46) These are similar to those received by Joseph Smith that preface the Doctrine and Covenants in the first section. “And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days.” (D&C 1: 4)

Another comparison is found in their humble birth and lack of formal education. Of Muhammad, the Quran states: “Therefore have faith in Allah and His apostle, the Unlettered prophet, who believes in Allah and His word. Follow him so that you may be rightly guided.” (Surah 7:158) While the Book of Mormon refers to Joseph Smith as “him that is not learned.” (BM 2 Nephi 27:19)

Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith never shirked their responsibilities to proclaim the revealed truths each had received. For thirteen years, Muhammad struggled and preached in Mecca and eventually had to leave with his followers due to the persecution that ensued. Many times his life was in danger. Joseph and the early Saints were also forced into exodus for their beliefs time and time again and eventually, Joseph met his death at the hands of an angry mob.[29]

It was twenty years altogether before Muhammad could return in triumph with 10,000 followers to finally fulfill his mission of ridding his people of idolatry. As he came before the Ka’bah on the 10th day in Ramadthan, 630 CE, “Muhammad stood before the 360 idols and pointed to them with his staff saying, ‘Truth is come, and falsehood is fled away!’ and at these words his attendants hewed them down and all the idols and house-hold gods of Mecca and roundabout were destroyed.”[30]

Two years later in 632 CE, the Prophet Muhammad died, having accomplished his work and leaving behind him a thriving community where the truths he taught could continue to spread throughout the region and eventually to the world. Today, one fifth of the world’s population believe in his words and use the Quran as their guidebook for life. Another test of any truth is how its teachings cannot be outdated. All the major world religions have withstood the test of time in this regard because of the amount of truth that each contains, including Islam.

Of the impact of Mohammad’s mission and teachings on his people, one Muslim scholar wrote, “He was the messenger of God in the world, and idol worship in his tribe and homeland must come to an end. His new nation would have to divorce itself from idolatry, usury, immorality, alcoholism and vain and sanguine pride in tribalism, and above all it would have to become Muslim, that is, submissive to God, the almighty One, Who has no partners, and to Whom we will return to be judged for whatever they have been.”[31] It would indeed take a messenger of God to effect this kind of permanent change among such entrenched pagan idol worshippers.

As God revealed to Muhammad, “This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour to you. I have chosen Islam to be your faith.” (Surah 5:3) So should each of us accept the faith that has been given us and continue to seek out revealed truth from all sources available that will complement our righteous beliefs. As President Joseph F. Smith noted, “We believe in all truth, no matter to what subject it may refer. No sect or religious denomination in the world possesses a single principle of truth that we do not accept or that we will reject. We are willing to receive all truth, from whatever source it may come; for truth will stand, truth will endure.”[32]

[1] D&C 29:12

[2] BM 1 Nephi 12:9,10

[3] KJV Amos 3:7

[4] The Articles of Faith were written in 1842 by Joseph Smith and are published in the back of most editions of the Doctrine and Covenants. See for the complete text of all 13 articles.

[5] Moroni was a Book of Mormon prophet who appeared to Joseph Smith in 1823 and revealed the location of ancient records written on gold plates containing the account of the Book of Mormon peoples which Joseph later translated into English. See

[6] The Angel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad and recited verses of the Quran over the space of 22 years. Muhammad memorized the verses verbatim and spoke them to his followers who also memorized them. They were later compiled into the written Quran. 

[7] Young, Brigham, Journal of Discourses, 1888 (2006 edition) vol.3 pp.30,32.

[8] Ibid, vol 3, p. 38

[9] Ibid, vol 3, pp. 38-39

[10] Ibid, vol 3, p. 40

[11] First Presidency Statement of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 15 Feb 1978.

[12] First Presidency Statement published in Church News Bulletin, April 4, 1992. 

[13] Mayfield, James. “Ishmael, Our Brother”, Ensign, June 1979, p.30

[14] Abdal-Ati, Hammudah. Islam in Focus, World Assembly of Muslim Youth, 2000.

[15] Hadith as reported by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in Musnad, 5, 169.

[16] “priesthood keys” refers to God-given ecclesiastical authority; “saving ordinances” refers to a sacred act essential for salvation, such as baptism; “restoration” refers to a practice or act that was corrupted through time and revealed again in purity by God to a later prophet.

[17] McConkie, Bruce R. Mormon Doctrine, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1966, p.605.

[18] LDS Bible Dictionary is found in the King James Version of the Bible published by the Church as part of the LDS Scriptures. This entry is from p.754 in the print edition. Please see for the online edition.

[19] Ninety-First Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, 1921, pp.32,33

[20] See 

[21] See

[22] See

[23] See

[24] ‘Azzam, Abd Al-Rahman. The Life of the Prophet Muhammad, Islamic Foundation, U.K., 1987, p.8

[25] Ibid, p. 9

[26] Ibid, p. 9

[27] Dawood, N.J., trans. The Koran, Penguin, U.K., 1986, pp. 9, 10

[28] ‘Azzam, op. cit., p.10

[29] See

[30] Ibid, p.24

[31] Ibid, p.20

[32] Smith, Joseph F. Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1939, p.1