by Luke Wayne
“His mouth is full of sweetness.
And he is wholly desirable.
This is my beloved and this is my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem,” (Song of Solomon 5:16).
The word translated here "wholly desirable" is the word "machamadim". The word sounds a lot like "Muhammad", though it is in the plural form. Some Muslims argue that this should be understood as the name Muhammad. They contend that the small differences in pronunciation are irrelevant and that it is in the plural form as a sign of respect. Therefore, they say, this is a plain prophecy of Muhammad. Jews and Christians translate it as "wholly desirable" or "altogether lovely" to hide this clear reference to the Muslim prophet. "His mouth is full of sweetness" is said to be a reference to the giving of the Quran.
To any Christian remotely familiar with Song of Solomon, the first appropriate response to this argument is honestly a hearty laugh. This is obviously a love song between Solomon and his bride, and to put Muhammad in the place of the bride's beloved turns the book into nonsense. The context is clearly about the passionate love of a marriage and is sometimes rather descriptive. It could not possibly be about some future prophet bringing a new book.
Additionally, the argument hinges on the idea that, in the original Hebrew, the personal name of Muhammad is there. It plainly is not. The Hebrew word "machmad" means "desirable" or, when used as a noun, "desirable thing" or "lovely thing". The plural form used here, "machamadim", is an emphatic form and so is translated "wholly desirable" or "altogether lovely". The fact that it sounds kind of like a name in another language from a different time period is obviously irrelevant to the meaning of the word. This word is used throughout the Old Testament. It is not a unique word. If the word secretly means the personal name "Muhammad", then in places like Hosea 9:16 where God pronounces judgment on Ephraim and promises to slay even "your beloved" (machamadim) we should read this as a promise by God that He would slay Muhammad in judgment, right? No Muslim would want to say that, of course. And they don't need to, because the word quite obviously doesn't mean Muhammad. If it did, why would ancient translations from before the time of Muhammad consistently translate it just as we do today? They would have no reason to try and hide Muhammad's name when the man had not yet even been born and so obviously could not yet be rejected by any of them. The Greek Septuagint translation of Song of Solomon was completed some time around the first century B.C., hundreds of years before Muhammad. It reads: "he is altogether an object of desire." The old Latin text of the 5th century AD, still well before Muhammad, reads: "he is all lovely." The translation here is not controversial. No one is hiding anything. An eager bride finds her husband-to-be wholly desirable. She does not consider her future husband to actually be a prophet who will come a thousand years after she is dead. Since there is no personal name "Muhammad" in this text, there is absolutely no reason to think that this passage has anything to do with the future Muslim leader.
Much more could be said, as this argument is so absurd, but it is worth at least pointing out lastly that the same chapter in which these Muslims attempt to show that the beloved groom of Song of Solomon is actually Muhammad opens with this beloved groom drinking wine with his milk and urging all his friends to imbibe with him. As alcohol is strictly forbidden in Islam, it is clear that this beloved groom not only is not Muhammad, but does not even share the moral convictions that Muhammad would later promote. He urges people to do what Muhammad would call a sin. Thus, on every level, this argument simply doesn't hold water.