As early as 1831, critics attacked Joseph Smith by comparing him to Muhammad. Over time, the comparison deepened as critics and scholars observed doctrinal and political similarities between Mormonism and Islam. Later, scholars compared Joseph Smith to Muhammad because both had generated a new religion and there seemed to be several similarities in the lives of Joseph Smith and Muhammad. These and other comparisons between the two men and their religions have been made from 1831 to the present, yet there have been few thorough, non-polemic examinations of Joseph Smith and Muhammad in the typology of prophethood. While notable similarities exist in the lives of many prophets, the unique similarities shared by these two has warranted further inquiry. I argue the comparison, though initially the result of anti-Mormonism, is justifiable and enlightening. It reveals unique commonalities that occur in the lives of restoration prophets as a result of the role they are divinely called to fulfill. While modern scholarship strongly tends to ignore the possibility of divine influence, I argue that prophetic similarities between Muhammad and Joseph Smith are best explained by divine influence acting in similar circumstances. While I approach the topic in the language of a scholar, this work is intended to contribute in the context of Mormon studies. For Latter-day Saint scholars, a better understanding of Muhammad's mission and role as a prophetic figure could allow us to see him in a different light, not as founder of a false tradition, but as a revelator to his people in his own right, providing the portion of God's knowledge that he was granted, even if incomplete from a Latter-day Saint perspective.
College and Department
Religious Education; Church History and Doctrine
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Harris, Todd J., "A Comparative Study of Muhammad and Joseph Smith in the Prophetic Pattern" (2007). Theses and Dissertations. 1176.
Muhammad, Joseph Smith, Prophetic Comparison, Prophetic Typology, Mormonism and Islam