Torah’s Hidden Message: Muhammad ﷺ and Jesus (ع) in the Light of Gematria (Part I)

Chumas

Where do we find the Torah’s hidden messages? Arba’ah Turim is the basis of the Sulchan Aruch; but Ba’al ha-Turim is the basis of the hidden messages of Torah. Ba’al ha-Turim found them in gematria (number patterns), acrostics, formations of letters, and Scriptural word patterns.

The gematria is the famous Rabbinic interpretative technique which it depends on the numerical value of Hebrew letters. Therefore, Gematria is a computation of the numeric value of letters, secret alphabets, or substitution of letters for other letters. Sefer Bereshit (Genesis) 12:6 also represents a computation of the numeric value of letters which so-called the gematria, especially on the use of the Hebrew term אז (az) literally meaning “at that time. ”

ויעבר אברם בארץ עד מקום שכם עד אלון מורה והכנעני אז בארץ

Vay-ya’avor Avram ba aretz ‘ad meqom Shechem ‘ad elon Moreh ve ha-Kana’ani az ba aretz (Sefer Bereshit 12:6).

“Abraham passed into the land as far as the site of Shechem until the plain of Moreh, the Canaanites were then in the land.”

Midrash ha-Gadol notes that the gematria (numerical value) of the Hebrew term אז (az) literally means “at that time” it equals 8, the intimation being that the Canaanites would be in the land until Abraham’s eighth generation when the land would be conquered by his descendants, Abraham – Isaac – Jacob – Levi – Kehath – Amram – and Moses equal 7 generations. Joshua, the eighth generation would conquer the land [1] .

After that, G-d also said to Abraham in the Sefer Bereshit (Genesis 17:5-6).

ולא יקרא עוד את שמך אברם והיה שמך אברהם כי אב המון גוים נתתיך. והפרתי אתך במאד מאד ונתתיך לגוים ומלכים ממך יצאו.

Ve lo yiqqare ‘od et shimcha Avram ve hayah shimcha Avraham ki av hamon goyim netatticha. Ve hifreti ot’cha be-meod meod u-netatticha le goyim u-melachim mim-mecha yetzeu.

“You shall no longer be called by your name Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you most exceedingly fruitful, and make nations of you and kings shall descend from you.”

There are 2 key-phrases in the Sefer Bereshit 17:5-6, God said to Abraham about a heavenly covenant.

  1. The phrase אב המון (av hamon) literally means “father of a multitude” and the gematria of this phrase is 208, the same as that of יצחק (Yitzhaq), lit. name of Isaac.  [2]. Interestingly, there is a phrase ותהר רבקה אשתו (ve tahar Rivkah ishto), lit. “and his wife, Rebecca conceived” in the Sefer Bereshit 25:21. The gematria of אשתו (ishto), “his wife” is really refering to the wife of Isaac, and the Hebrew word אשתו (ishto) is also equal to that of קש ואש (qesh ve esh), lit. “straw and fire”, 707. Both Hebrew terms refer to Esau and Jacob about whom it is written: והיה בית יעקב אש (ve hayah beyt Ya’akov esh) lit. “and the house of Jacob shall be a fire”, ובית עשו לקש (u-beyt Esau le qesh) lit. “and the house of Esau for straw” (Obadiah 1:18). Obviously, the gematria of this word אשתו (ishto) is 707, the same as that of קש ואש (qesh ve esh), 707 [3].
  2. The phrase במאד מאד (be-meod meod) literally means “exceedingly fruitful”, and the gematria of this phrase is 92, the same as that of מחמד (Mahammad), lit. name of the prophet Muhammad SAW. The numeric value of both במאד מאד and מחמד is equal, 92.

This verse consistently presents itself as fulfilling a propecy and a promise made by God in the Sefer Bereshit, in the Torah. It also proves that the genealogy of the prophet Muhammad ﷺ through his grandmother, Salma binti Amr, the daughter of Exilarch, the Resh Geluta, the house of King David. Obviously, the prophet is really the son of Isaac through the prophet’s grandmother, Salma binti Amr, the wife of Hashim bin Abd Manaf. Al-Mutthalib bin Abd Manaf himself had children from a Jewish woman of the people of Khaybar – wulida min Ahl Khaybar (Ibn Habib’s kitab al-Munammaq). He married this woman, namely Asma’ binti Abdullah. Hashim married Salma binti Amr an-Najjar clans, the noble woman, and this marriage became by far his most important one since Salma gave birth to Abd al-Mutthalib, the grandfather of the prophet. [4]

Not only the prophet Muhammad SAW as the son of Isaac through his grandmother; Jesus is also the son of Isaac because the genealogy of Jesus through his mother, Mary. Muhammad SAW and Jesus are similar, but not exatcly the same. The phrase אב המון (av hamon), “father of a multitude” represents to Abraham, see Sefer Bereshit 17:4 “You shall be a father of a multitude of nations.” The gematria of the phrase is 208, the same as that of the name of יצחק, Isaac; so also the phrase of במאד מאד (be-meod meod), “exceedingly fruitful” represents to Abraham [5].  The gematria of the phrase is 92, the same as that of the name of Muhammad SAW; not to Jesus (Yeshu). The gematria of ישו (Yeshu) is 316. Therefore the gematria of the promise במאד מאד (be-meod meod) lit. “exceedingly fruitful” is not equal to that of ישו (Yeshu).

Obviously, according to the Jewish Law (Halacha), Muhammad ﷺ and Jesus are Jews through a grandmother or a mother. Similar but not exactly the same. Muhammad ﷺ is a legitimate child, but Jesus is an illegitimate child. RAMBAM in his Iggeret ha-Teyman wrote:

ותחלת מי שמצא זה הדעד היה ישו הנוצרי שחוק עצמות. והוא מישראל, ואף על פי שהיה אביו גוי ואמו ישראלית, העיקר בידינו גוי ועבד הבא על בת ישראל הולד כשר. וזה נקרא אצלנו ממזר להפליג בחרפתו.

u-techillat mi shemmatza za hadda’at – hayah Yeshu han-Notzri shechuq ‘etzmot. Ve hu mi Yisrael, ve af ‘al phi shehayah aviv goy ve immo Yisraelit – ha’aqqar be yadenu goy ra’eved habba ‘al bet Yisrael havvelad kosher, ve za niqra tezlanu mamzer le haflig be cherphato.

“The first one who devised this plan was Yeshu of Nazareth may his bones be crushed. He was a Jew because his mother was Jewish, although his father was a gentile. Our Law states that a child born of a Jewish woman and a gentile, or of a Jewess and a slave is a kosher Jew (Yebamot 45a). We only call Jesus a mamzer – illegitimate child in a manner of speaking”. [6]

Meanwhile, in other verse, the Sefer Bereshit (Genesis) 17:20 there is a key-verse as follows:

ולישמעאל שמעתיך הנה ברחתי אתו והרביתי אתו במאד מאד שנים עשר נשיאם יוליד ונתתיו לגי גדול.

Ve le Yishmael shema’ticha hinneh berachti oto ve hifreiti oto ve hirbeiti oto be-meod meod sheneim ashar Nesi’im yolid u-netattiv le goy gadol.

“But regarding Ishmael I have heard you, I have blessed him, made him fruitful and will increase him most exceedingly; he will beget 12 princes and I will make him into a great nation.”

This verse also proves that HASHEM also made a heavenly covenant to Abraham through the use of Hebrew term במאד מאד (be-meod meod), literally means “exceedingly fruitful” with reference to the descendant of Ishmael himself. Similarly, the gematria of the promise במאד מאד (be-meod meod) to the Ishmaelite one of the verse is equal to that of מהמד (Muhammad). And the numeric value of both terms is equal, 92. The verses indicate that the prophet Muhammad ﷺ is also the son of Ishmael through his grandfathers.

Meanwhile, there is also the use of gematria in the Gospel of Matthew. St. Matthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus in order to show that he meets the requirements set by the TaNaKH (Torah Nevi’im ve Khetuvim) for who Jesus must be a descendant of David through the Jewish interpretative technique which depended on the numerical value of Hebrew letters, דוד (David). The name David, the 14th name in the list consists of 3 Hebrew consonants, דוד (Dalet-Vav-Dalet), the numerical value of which are respectively 4, 6, and 4; giving a total of 14, and 14 is thus the symbolic number of דוד (David). For a reader of Matthew’s Greek gospel to recognize any such numerical symbolism would have to depend on quite a sophisticated awareness of Hebrew numeroloy. There is certainly evidence for gematria in Jewish and early Christian writings, sometimes involving Hebrew letters, sometimes Greek, but usually it is signaled by an explicit link drawn between the letters and their numerical value. St. Matthew has made no such explicit connection, and it can be at best a matter of conjecture whether he intended or would have recognized it [7].

St. Matthew makes a list of Jesus’ genealogy with many omitted Biblical names (Matthew 1:1-17). St. Matthew marginalizes many names to prove the link with the gematria of the name דוד (David) which it is 14. For him, all the generations from Abraham to David are 14 generations; and from David untill the carrying away into Babylon are 14 generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Jesus are 14 generations, but this is really a broken gematria. Also, the gematria of דוד (David), 14 is not equal to that of ישו (Yeshu), 316.

Footnotes:

  1. See Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz. Sefer Bereshit: A New Translation with A Commentary Anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic and Rabbinic Sources (New York: Mesorah Publications, ltd., 2009), p. 438.
  2. See Rabbi Nosson Scherman. Ba’al ha-Turim Chumash (New York: Mesorah Pulications, Ltd.), p. 128.
  3. See Rabbi Nosson Scherman. Ba’al ha-Turim Chumash (New York: Masorah Publications, Ltd., 2013), p. 209.
  4. See Michael Lecker. A Note on Early Marriage Links between Quraishis and Jewish Women. Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam. JSAI 10 (Jerusalem: the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1987), pp. 24-29
  5. See Sefer Bereshit 17:6 “I will make you most exceedingly fruitful.”
  6. See Abraham S. Halkin. Moses Maimonides’ Epistle to Yemen: the Arabic Original and the Three Hebrew Versions. Edited from Manuscripts with Introduction and Notes (New York: American Academy for Jewish Research, 1952), p. 13.
  7. See R.T. France. The Gospel of Matthew. The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007), p. 31
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