Hard Questions

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Who is The Teacher of Righteousness mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

with 12 comments

by Rasheed,

The Teacher of Righteousness is an ecstalogical (End of Time) figure from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Scholars and researchers are baffled about his identity. Geza Vermes, a prominent scholar who was one of the few scholars working on the Dead Sea Scrolls said: “Unfortunately, as the most vital topic of all, the question of the identity of the Teacher of Righteousness, we can be nothing like as clear”. Most western scholars assume the Teacher to be a Jewish person. Not enough thought is given to the possibility that the Teacher could be a reference to somebody outside the Jewish nation.

The Quran and Muslim tradition have maintained that prophet Muhammad was foretold in the Torah and other Jewish and Christian scripture, and that, a great effort was made by centrers of power to conceal his identity as the final prophet sent by GOD.

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls was a promising development, but the scrolls were suppressed for almost 60 years, and were made available only to a small number of scholars (Read the excellent investigation by Michael Baigen in his book “The Dead Sea Scroll Deception“) .

As a Muslim, I do expect to find some references to prophet Muhammad in the Torah. I will not be surprised if there were prophecies about Jesus in the Torah, for he was a prophet too as far as I am concerned. However I find some prophecies in the Torah are easier to understand if they were taken as a reference to Muhammad than is the case with Jesus. Amongst the later, are prophecies about The Teacher of Righteousness.

This article, by biblical researcher Sarah Klitenic, illustrates the problems surrounding the identification of the T.o.R.I will put here a few pointers to explain why I believe the Teacher of Righteousness is quite possibly a reference to prophet Muhammad pbuh.

In the article, the author states her belief that the Teacher is a prophet, she wrote:

1-“He [The Teacher] is never explicitly referred to as prophet, but descriptions, context, and tradition lead one to believe that the Teacher is in fact a prophet”.

2-The well is the Law, and those who dug it were the converts of Israel who went out of the land of Judah to sojourn in the land of Damascus….The Staff is the Interpreter of the Law of whom Isaiah said, He makes a tool for His work; and the nobles of the peoples are those who come to dig the well with the staffs with which the staff ordained that they should walk in all age of wickedness- and without them they shall find nothing- #until he comes who shall teach righteousness at the end of days”

quote 2 above, is from the text of Scroll [1 QH IV, 8-10], which the author uses and summarises as:

3- “The Teacher himself is in no way a messianic figure. He will not return at the endtime, but he does anticipate the arrival of his eschatological counterpart.”

Now it is a well known fact that prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has anticipated the second coming of Jesus (pbuh), and that when comes he will reveal to his followers that Muhammad (pbuh was indeed the Final Messenger and Seal of the prophets of GOD.) In the Book of Bukhari, which is the highest authority in documenting the Sayings [Hadith] of the Prophet (pbuh), it is written:Allah’s Messenger said “How will you be when the son of Mariam (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you and he will judge people by the Law of the Quran and not by the law of Gospel”

The author then proceeds to confirm that:

4- “It should also be made clear in the initial stages of this inquiry what the Teacher of Righteousness is not: he is not John the Baptist, he is not Jesus Christ.”

The author, next, quotes from the Scrolls again, Pesher (4QpPs 1-10 iii 15):

5- “he steps of the man are confirmed by the Lord and He delights in all his ways; though [he stumbles, he shall not fall, for the Lord shall support his hand]”

6- “The Teacher is similar to the other prophets both in his manner of interpretation and the reasons behind his revelation. In the following passage, the Teacher is similar to the prophets in a number of ways: And they, teachers of lies and seers of falsehood,have schemed against me a devilish scheme,to exchange the Law engraved on my hear to Theefor the smooth things (which they speak) to Thy people.And they withhold from the thirsty the drink of Knowledge, and assuage their thirst with vinegar…(1 QH IV, 8-10)Like the Staff, the Teacher is needed by those thirsty for knowledge. In this passage, we also see that the Teacher’s righteousness is not fully human; because the Law is engraved on his heart by God, his interpretation of the Law is a divine interpretation.41 God has given the Teacher the power to ‘interpret all the words of his servants the prophets’42 and then God feeds the Teacher His words by which to prophesy.Here, the relationship between God and the Teacher is inextricably close; like the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel, the Teacher cannot escape his righteousness, despite the distress it causes him

How does these attributes of the Teacher compare with what is known about Muhammad (pbuh). The following verses from the Quran may provide answers:

{87:06-07}: “WE shall make you recite so you shalt not forget * Except what Allah please. Surely HE knows the manifest, and what is hidden” {87 Al-A’laa}


سورة الأعلى: سَنُقْرِؤُكَ فَلَا تَنسَى 6 إِلَّا مَا شَاء اللَّهُ إِنَّهُ يَعْلَمُ الْجَهْرَ وَمَا يَخْفَى 7


{26:192-194}: ” And lo! it is a revelation of the Lord of the Worlds * Which the True Spirit has brought down * Upon your heart, that you may be (one) of the warners” {26: Al-Shu’raa (Poets)}


سورة الشعراء : وَإِنَّهُ لَتَنزِيلُ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ 192 نَزَلَ بِهِ الرُّوحُ الْأَمِينُ 193 عَلَى قَلْبِكَ لِتَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُنذِرِينَ 194


{53:1-5} : “By the star when it sets * Your companion (Muhammad) errs not, nor does he deviate. * Nor does he speak out of desire * It is naught but revelation that is revealed * One Mighty in Power has taught him” {53: Al-Najm (The Star)}


سورة النجم 1-5وَالنَّجْمِ إِذَا هَوَى {1} مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُكُمْ وَمَا غَوَى {2}وَمَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَى {3}إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَى {4} عَلَّمَهُ شَدِيدُ ْالقُوَى 5


{15: 97-99}: “And WE know indeed that your breast straitens at what they say * glorify the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him) * And serve thy Lord, until there comes to you that which is certain” {15: AL-Hijr}


سورة الحجر : وَلَقَدْ نَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ يَضِيقُ صَدْرُكَ بِمَا يَقُولُونَ 97فَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ وَكُن مِّنَ السَّاجِدِينَ 98وَاعْبُدْ رَبَّكَ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَكَ الْيَقِينُ 99


{3:69-71}: “A party of the People of the Scripture long to make you go astray; and they make none to go astray except themselves, but they perceive not. * People of the Scripture! Why disbelieve ye in the revelations of Allah, when ye (yourselves) bear witness (to their truth)? * O People of the Scripture! Why confound ye truth with falsehood and knowingly conceal the truth?” {3: Aal-Imran (Family of Imran)}


آل عمران 69 -71: وَدَّت طَّآئِفَةٌ مِّنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ لَوْ يُضِلُّونَكُمْ وَمَا يُضِلُّونَ إِلاَّ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لِمَ تَكْفُرُونَ بِآيَاتِ اللّهِ وَأَنتُمْ تَشْهَدُونَ *يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لِمَ تَلْبِسُونَ الْحَقَّ بِالْبَاطِلِ وَتَكْتُمُونَ الْحَقَّ وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُون

َ *

It is clear that Muhammad pbuh, satisfies all of the attributes of the Teacher described by the author in 6 above, except her assertion that the Teacher is not fully human.

I found nothing in the text of the Pesher quoted by the author, to indicate that the Teacher is not fully human !The book known as ‘2 Esdras’ from the Jewish Apocrypha, found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls has two prophecies which clearly speak of GOD’s favour moving from Israel to another nation, please see my post on the subject

Written by Rasheed Gadir

November 6, 2007 at 4:29 pm

12 Responses

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  1. Assalamualaikum.

    I’m very impressed by your analysis. It’s quite intensive for me. I wonder what your profession is.

    Please let me introduce my self. My name is Rahman (23), Indonesian. Eventhough I was born in muslim family, I still need to learn a lot about this great religion. (That’s why West strive very hard to handle Islam’s undeniable devine-power). Coincidently, I started with comparison of religion. Especially between the Abrahamic faiths. I wouldn’t give any comment about the other religion besides those.

    I also don’t feel having such capasity to contribute such information, yet. So, I will follow your writing (insyaAllah). Please keep to continue what you are doing now. Hopefully, it’ll useful for the others. And no doubt, the greatest reward from Allah, is waiting. May Allah Bless You my dear Brother.



    November 6, 2007 at 3:14 am

  2. Assalam Alaikum brother Rahman, and thank you for your very kind comments.

    It is the duty of all of us to learn about our great religion, and try our best, to explain it to others, in a mutually respectful manner.

    I would welcome contributions from you, so, please feel free to write and we can have a real discussion/ conversation here.

    May Allah bless you, and accept from us what we do and forgive our mistakes and sins.


    November 6, 2007 at 3:45 am

  3. Jesus is prophesied over and over in the Torah. From the time of his birth in Daniel to the place of his birth in Bethlehem, the City of David. His death was predicted in Isaiah even to the detail that none of his bones would be broken. Usually crucifixion victims’ legs were broken to speed their death, but when the soldiers went to break his legs, Jesus had already died. There is no reference to Muhammad. The Torah and its prophets were all Jewish. Muhammad is immediately disqualified by being a Gentile.

    The Muslim belief in Jesus as a prophet of Islam is a blind ignorance of who Jesus claimed to be. Jesus said that he was the only way to God and no one could come to God except through Him. He was extremely exclusive. Either he was right or wrong in his claims. There is no middle road. You cannot claim Jesus as a prophet and then call him a liar when he says he is the only way. Muhammad and all the works required of a Muslim don’t fit with what Jesus taught about grace and faith. Either Jesus was the Son of God and the promised Messiah the Jews were waiting for, or he was a fraud and either a lunatic or a liar. You can’t logically look at it any other way. If I claim to be God I’m either telling the truth or I’m lying!



    November 6, 2007 at 6:36 pm

  4. Thank you Andrew for a putting forward some interesting arguments.

    Regarding your assertion that Jesus said that he is the only way to God, this is actually something that EVERY prophet rightly said to his people. It has always been understood to be true only for the duration of the prophet’s ministry. (ministry is not necessarily confined to his life).

    I will post an article to discuss this, and other points raised in your comments.


    November 8, 2007 at 1:53 am

  5. Jewish prophets NEVER claimed to be the only way or even a way to God. The Jewish prophet called for repentance and turning back to God. And Jesus’ ministry continues today. So either he’s the only way or he isn’t. If he isn’t, he’s a liar or a lunatic. You can’t have your cake and eat it too on this one. 🙂


    November 8, 2007 at 4:16 am

  6. Andrew, I have to disagree, and have a go at my cake!

    Korah son of Izhar, rose up against Moses and lost the favour of God as a result, and was punished. His story is detailed in the Bible, Numbers: 16.
    The people who rejected Noah were also punished
    The people of Sodom rejected Lot, and were punished

    In the Book of Jeremiah: 26, God commands the prophet Jeremiah to gather the people and:
    “4 Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD says: If you do not listen to me and follow my law, which I have set before you, 5 and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened), 6 then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city an object of cursing among all the nations of the earth.’ ”

    As I understand it, God has clearly obliged the people of Israel to listen to the words of his servants, the prophets, and warned them of losing his favour if they don’t.

    For any people who receive a prophet and a messenger from God, that messenger is their only way to God. They are obliged to obey their prophet, and he is their Only way to God


    November 9, 2007 at 2:39 am

  7. Rasheed, You misinterpret those stories…

    Korah was punished because he directly disobeyed a commandment that God gave the people through Moses.

    Noah was not a prophet. He built the boat. The flood was coming and the Lord called Noah to build a boat. He was never sent out to preach. He may have invited people to join, but they refused. These people were wicked in the eyes of the Lord and were destroyed for their sin, but their sin was not a rejection of Noah.

    The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were likewise punished for their wickedness. It had little to do with Lot. Lot just happened to live in the city and the Lord rescued him.

    In the case of Jeremiah God says “listen to me.” He gives warnings through the prophets that saved the people, but the prophets were only messengers. All the prophets did was to remind people of the laws God had given. The prophets were sent during the times when the people had turned from God.

    Christ was different. He said he was the Son of God, and he was one with the Father. As Christians understand, God exists in three persons. This is not to say we have three gods. The easiest way for me to express it is this:

    There is God the Father who could be likened unto what Muslims believe as Allah. There is God the Son who is Jesus Christ. Jesus was God who took on human flesh. He came down to live among us and to die for us as the perfect sacrifice for our sin. The third person is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives inside of believers and is a teacher and guide. The Holy Spirit shows us how to interpret the Word of God (the Bible) and how to apply it. Jesus said that the Word of God is foolishness to the unbeliever because he lacks the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament guided the words of the prophets when the spoke to the people.

    You are right in saying “God has clearly obliged the people of Israel to listen to the words of his servants, the prophets, and warned them of losing his favour if they don’t.” The majority of the nation of Israel rejected Jesus and the prophets. As Jesus predicted, they killed him just as they had the prophets. The difference was, Jesus did not stay dead. He rose again and appeared to hundreds of people over a period of 40 days. He then ascended into Heaven to return to God.

    What makes Jesus’ death so amazing is that he was God in human flesh. God loved mankind so much that He came down and became one of us. He humbled Himself to the point of death on a Cross for a crime He didn’t commit. He took on the punishment for the sinful nature of mankind in death and was the final sacrificial lamb. The Israelites had been making sacrifices of lambs for thousands of years, but would always have to make another sacrifice each time they sinned. With Jesus’ death, one sacrifice was enough that all men might be saved from their sin. Rather than waiting until we die or having to become martyr, we are given assurance of our salvation and a hope for an amazing life in the meantime. This is the Gospel (which means good news) that Jesus preached and why he was so different from the prophets.

    Jesus is the way!


    November 9, 2007 at 4:48 pm

  8. Andrew, The definition of a ” Prophet” is someone who receives revelations from God and is commanded by God to deliver a message to people. This definition makes Abraham, Noah and Lot prophets.

    You might have a different definition of prophets, If that is the case, then I am genuinely interested to know it.

    The verse in Jeremiah specifically warns against not listening to the Messengers as well as not listening to God’s words. (“if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again”).

    For all those people, It is a case of, you do not follow the prophet, you are out of favour with God. In other words, your prophet is your only way to God


    November 9, 2007 at 7:27 pm

  9. I wouldn’t disagree with your stated definition of a prophet. Lot was not a prophet, but Abraham and Noah would be considered such.

    The message of the Jewish prophets was simple. Return to following the way of the Lord. However, they added nothing new and rarely had followers of their own. The people were to follow someone who was following God. These prophets were not a way of salvation.

    The rest of the story is that Jesus taught that the law did not bring about salvation. The law brought death! The law was a means of showing us that we sin. It was purposely set as a standard we couldn’t live up to. This placed us at a point where mankind needed God.

    The book of Hebrews has a lot to say about this. It tells us that Abraham was not considered in right standing (righteous) with God because he followed the law that had not yet been given. Abraham was considered righteous, and thus given salvation, because God told him and he believed. He had faith in things unseen because He knew the source.

    It is this same faith, placed in the person and work of Christ (his death and resurrection) that is the source of salvation. Jesus said: “Now this is eternal life (salvation): that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”


    November 9, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    • Now, Andrew, it is rather funny that you quote this verse, saying “Now this is eternal life (salvation): that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”, because it clearly shows that the way to salvation is to know The Only True God (to recognize The Only True God) and his messenger, the one He – sent – Jesus Christ. It actually reminds me of the Shahada (testimony of faith) in the Islamic religion, where Christians are also supposed to say that “I bear witness that there is no deity except The Only True God (Allah-Elohim-however you may call Him), and I bear witness that Isa (Jesus) is the messenger and servant of The Only True God (Allah)”.

      You remember the verse where Jesus (aleyhi salam) said that “I don’t speak from myself, but only what He who sent me commanded me to” (or something of that effect)?
      There are numerous verses like these, which agree 100% with Islamic and Jewish theology. Look into it, it’s a very interesting topic indeed.

      Friendly greetings,

      Amir Abdullah

      May 26, 2009 at 3:33 am

  10. Amir,

    You have to discard much of the New Testament to take your view. Jesus was not just a prophet. He was much more. He claimed again and again to be God. The book of John alone asserts this at least 25 times in one form or another. Jesus receives worship reserved for God, forgives sins (which only God can do), and claims for himself the name of God (I AM). I have looked into this, and your conclusion does not come even close to the remarkable evidence to the divinity of Jesus Christ.



    May 28, 2009 at 3:57 am

  11. I guess the arguents will be over when he shows up.

    I am amused at arguments that are put forth. It is a very personal understanding that we develope concerning our interpretations of scripture.

    Why is there such a push to convince others of our personal beliefs. If what You believe comes to pass then good for you.

    If what I believe comes to pass then Good for me.


    November 26, 2010 at 4:41 am

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