By Their Moles Ye Shall Know Them

By Dr. Robert Morey

One obvious question that comes to the mind about Islam is why did the 7th century Arabs accept the prophethood of Muhammad? There were no biblical or pagan prophecies which foretold his coming. He was nearly illiterate and only of average intelligence. Why did they follow him?

The natural blood lust of the 7th century Arab was no doubt stirred by Muhammad’s call to kill, rape, and plunder in the name of Allah. Their quest for more slaves was no doubt satisfied by Muhammad’s proclaiming “open season” on all non-Muslims. Even the forced conversions at Mecca and elsewhere cannot explain everything.

The truth is found in pre-Islamic Arabia. The pagan Arabs, like many other barbaric peoples, believed in shamans or what we call today “witch doctors” or “medicine men.” These “prophets” were revered as having magical powers over the forces of nature and over the spirits which inhabited trees, rocks, ponds, and streams.

Muhammad presented himself to the pagan Arabs as a shaman. This is clear from both the Qur’an and the Hadith. As documented in Islamic Invasion, Muhammad claimed to control the jinn, i.e., the spirits who lived in the trees, rocks, ponds and streams. In the Hadith, Muhammad is pictured as being in control of the forces of nature, and he could supposedly make it rain or cause a drought by his prayers.

The pagan Arabs looked for certain physical defects on the body as a sign of prophethood. They believed that a “seal” of prophethood would be found on the body of someone called to be a shaman. This “seal” was a large hairy mole on the back of the shaman just below the neck. Just like a lump of wax seals a letter, the gods would place a lump of flesh on the back of someone called to be a shaman. What the pagan Arabs wanted to know was whether or not Muhammad had a large hairy mole on his back. Did he have the “seal” of prophethood?
In the Qur’an we read these words in Surah 33:40:

Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the apostle of Allah, and the Seal of the prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things.

What is the identity of this “seal” and what is its significance? There are two different ways of asking these questions. If you asked a modern Muslim what this “seal” was all about, the answer would depend on whether you were talking to a Sunni or a Shi’ite Muslim.

Sunni Muslims in opposition to Shi’ite Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last of the prophets and that there will be no prophets after him. (See Yusuf Ali’s comment in his translation of the Qur’an, n. 3731, pg. 1119, as an example of how the Sunnis interpret the significance of the “seal.”) The modern Muslim controversy over the significance of the seal is not really germane to our discussion.

We are not asking what Muslims are told today by their mullahs as to the identity and significance of the “seal” mentioned in the Qur’an. We have asked a simple historical question: What did the early Muslims believe concerning the “seal of the prophets?” In fact, we are asking: What did the most trusted and revered early Muslim historians and theologians say about this “seal” of the prophets mentioned in the Qur’an?

The early Hadith scholars are unanimous in their interpretation of the identity and significance of the “seal of the prophets” found in Surah 33:40. The greatest of all Hadith scholars, al-Bukhari, tells us:

Narrated As-Sa’ib bin Yazid: I stood behind him (i.e. Muhammad) and saw the seal of Prophethood between his shoulders, and it was like the ’Zir-al-Hijla (meaning the button of a small tent, but some say “egg of a partridge.”) (vol. 1, no. 189, vol. 4, no. 741).

The second greatest work on the Hadith is without a doubt the Sahih Muslim Hadith. It records the following:

THE FACT PERTAINING TO THE SEAL OF HIS PROPHETHOOD, ITS CHARACTERISTIC FEATURE AND ITS LOCATION ON HIS BODY. Jabir b. Sammura reported: I saw the seal on his back as it were a pigeon’s egg. This Hadith has been narrated on the authority of Simal with the same chain of transmitters. Abdullah b. Sarjis reported: I went in after him and saw the Seal of Prophethood between his shoulders on the left side of his shoulder having spots on it like moles (vol. IV, CMLXXIX, p. 1251).

The early Muslim scholars clearly held to the same view of the seal. It was a large hairy mole on Muhammad’s back which signified that he was a prophet.

A mole of an unusual size on the Prophet’s back, which is said to have been the divine seal which, according to the predictions of the Scriptures, marked Muhammad as the “Seal of the Prophets” (Khatimu ’n-Nabiyin).

It was the size of the knob of the bridal canopy. Others say it was even the size of a closed fist (Mishkatu ’I-Masabih, bk. iii, ch. 7.

It was a piece of flesh, very brilliant in appearance, and according to some traditions it had secretly inscribed within it, “Allah is one and has no associate” (Shaikh ’Abdu ’I-Hagq).
Muhammad said to Abu Ramsa, “Come hither and touch my back.” Which he did, drawing his fingers over the prophetical seal, and behold! There was a collection of hairs upon the spot. When Abu Ramsa offered to remove it, Muhammad said, “The Physician thereof is He who placed it where it is” (Muir, new edition, p. 542).

The Dictionary of Islam interprets the “Seal of Prophecy” as:

This, says one, was a protuberance on the Prophet’s back of the size and appearance of a pigeon’s egg. It is said to have been the divine seal which, according to the predictions of the Scriptures, marked Muhammad as the last of the Prophets… From the traditions it would seem to have been nothing more than a mole of unusual size (p. 389).

Ali Tabari, one of the most respected early apologists for Islam, interpreted the “seal of the Prophets” as a mole on Muhammad’s back. He desperately tried to find some biblical prophecy that would predict such a physical sign. He seized upon Isaiah 9:6 as a prophecy of Muhammad. He took the phrase, “and the government shall be upon his shoulders” and interpreted it as a prophecy concerning moles!

And he said in this chapter, “Unto us a child is born and unto us a child is given, whose government is on his shoulder” (Isaiah 9:6). He means by that “his prophecy is on his shoulder.” … In the Hebrew it is said: “The sign of prophecy is on his shoulder.” This is what the Muslims call “the sign of prophecy.” This is therefore, a clear allusion to the portraiture (i.e. physical characteristics) of the prophet—may Allah bless and save him—and a reference to his face and his moles (N.A. Newman, Early Christian-Muslim Dialogue, [13.111: Hatfield, PA, 1994] p. 628).

We could go on with many more references from early Muslim theologians and historians, but these citations are sufficient to prove that the “seal of prophecy” referred to in Surah 33:40 was a large hairy mole on Muhammad’s back. While such physical defects are often looked upon by pagans as a mystical sign, nowhere in the Bible is such a thing ever considered.

As to Isaiah 9:6, it refers to the Messiah whose title is “Mighty God.” Obviously, the word “government” does not mean a mole. I have not found a single modern Muslim scholar who views Isaiah 9:6 as a prophecy of Muhammad.

Now the truth can be told. The pagan Arabs were looking for a shaman who had a mole on his back. Muhammad had such a mole. Thus he was a pagan shaman. That is why he won over so many pagan Arabs.


Why am I not a Muslim? Simple. An ugly, hairy mole on someone’s back does not make him a prophet! Thus the Qur’an is wrong, the Hadiths are wrong. The Muslim theologians, historians and scholars are all wrong. Muhammad was a pagan shaman and thus was under the curse of God (Deuteronomy 18:9–12).