I think the matter stands resolved if the various
connotations of the word ‘brother’ found in every language are taken into
consideration. Every one knows that besides its literal meaning, the word
brother may have two connotations,:
1. It is used for cousins.
2. It is used for people of the same
One must always deliberate on the context to determine and
select the sense in which a word is used. Only a lack of this deliberation
causes such problems.
The closing words of 17:15 clearly indicate that here the
word brother is used in its second connotation described above. It is neither
used in its literal sense nor in the sense of its above mentioned first
Similarly, in 18:18, it is used in its first connotation.
The reason is found in the context. It is evident from the preceding verses that
the progeny of Isaac (sws) are being addressed by Moses (sws). The underlined
portion clearly indicates this:
The nation you will dispossess listen to those who
practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not
permitted you to do so. The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like
me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. For this is what you
asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said,
‘Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore,
or we will die.’ (Deuteronomy 18:14-16)
Now if the progeny of Isaac (sws) is addressed and told:
‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers’, then
obviously here the word ‘brother’ cannot be used in its literal meaning. A
little deliberation shows that here the word is clearly used in its second
connotation. The brothers of the family of Isaac (sws) can only be the family of
Ishmael (sws). This would mean that the prediction is about someone who must be
among the progeny of Ishmael (sws).
As far as the likeness of the Prophet Moses (sws) with the
Prophet Muhammad (sws) is concerned, verses 34:10-12 certainly do not contradict
this in any way. They read:
Since then no Prophet has risen in Israel like Moses whom
the Lord knew face to face who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the
Lord sent him to do in Egypt…
Here the qualification of the word ‘Israel’ clearly
suggests that here the comparison is between Moses (sws) and other Prophets of
the Israelites. In other words, the verses say that Moses (sws) cannot be
compared to any of the subsequent Prophets who came to the Israelites.
Consequently, the comparison is not between Moses (sws) and Muhammad (sws), who
we all know was not a Prophet of the Israelites. He was sent to the Ishmaelites.