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If there was ever a text that has been so brutally contorted beyond the limits it is Song of Solomon 5:16. The unsound reasoning in the Muslim interpretation of this text is an example of the phonetic fallacy, confusing the sound of one word for another and assuming they are the same. If I were to say the word “sun” and “son”, even though they both sound the same, they are by no means the same by definition and context.
Song of Solomon 5:16 reads,“His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my lover, this my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.”Muslims point out that the phrase “altogether lovely” in Hebrew is the word machmadim. This Hebrew wordmachmadimis a third person masculine plural noun and it comes from the root wordmachmad. They argue that the Hebrew wordmachmadactually refers to Muhammad! The first problem with this line of reasoning is that the wordmachmadis not a proper name like John, Tom, or even Muhammad. It rather functions in this case as an adjective even though it is a noun. The reason for this is that this word appears in an adjectival clause describing in the context of the Song of Solomon the love and desire that the woman feels for her husband.
The Song of Solomon is a poetic love poem addressing the delights of marital love between a husband and his wife. The context is explicitly clear on this point. The wordmachmadmeans “desirable”, “precious thing”, “pleasant thing” and its plural formmachmadimin Song of Solomon 5:16 is grammatically intended to heighten the sense of the word. Hebrew scholars refer to this as the plural of intensity’. In other words, this passage has to do with the description of the lover in the poem as being “altogether lovely” or “very desirable”. Muslims in this case engage in a form of eisegesis where they read into the text a foreign concept that was never part of the context. If we look at the other 12places in the Old Testament where the Hebrew wordmachmad also appears and we insert the name Muhammad in those places we will have awkward and completely senseless phrases. If Muslims are to be consistent then why do they not also interpretmachmad in the following passages as a reference to Muhammad? We encourage the reader to insert the name Muhammad in the following passages and see for themselves how absurd this would be. The passages are 1 Kings 20:6; 2 Chronicles 36:19; Isaiah 64:11; Lamentations 1:10,11;2:4, Ezekiel 24:16, 21, 25, Hosea 9:6, Hosea 9:16 and Joel 3:5.
Another problem and inconsistency with the Muslim concept that Muhammad is referred to in Song of Solomon 5:16 is the passage in Song of Solomon 5:1 where the husband or lover speaks the following words,“I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine”.The problem here is the fact that the drinking of wine is strictly forbidden in Islam,“O you who believe! Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divine arrows are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork. Leave it aside that you may succeed”(Qur’an 5:90). The idea that Muhammad would consume wine as a prophet would be inconceivable. However, drinking wine in Hebrew culture was wholly acceptable. What is surprising from an Islamic point of view, is that while wine is forbidden here on earth, it will be permitted in abundance in paradise,“A similitude of the Garden which those who keep their duty (to Allah) are promised: Therein are rivers of water unpolluted … and rivers of wine delicious to the drinkers”(Qur’an 47:15). All of these points considered, grammatical, cultural, and historical militate against the inconsistent view that Muslims impose on this text. This text says nothing about Muhammad at all.
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