As I mentioned in part 1 of this series, Muslim apologists use every imaginable tactic they can devise in an attempt to find verses in the Bible which, purportedly, speak about Muhammad as a coming prophet. They must find these verses because Muslims believe the Qur'an to be the infallible, absolute word of God. The Qur'an says:
"And remember, Jesus, son of Mary, said: "O children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah sent to you, confirming the law which came before me, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be called Ahmad." - Sura 61:6
Here we find Jesus himself making a prediction of a man whose name is Ahmad, the same root word from which Muhammad derives his name. In part 1 we looked at a verse in the Old Testament: Song of Solomon 5:16. Here we will examine a claim from the New Testament.
Islamic scholars believe they have found the root word for Muhammad's name - Ahmad - in John 14:26, which reads:
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
The word translated 'helper' is the Greek word parakletos (παρακλητος) which is defined in most Greek lexicons as:
1. one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant; an advocate
2. universally, one who pleads another’s cause with one, an intercessor
3. in the widest sense, a helper, succorer, aider, assistant; so of the Holy Spirit destined to take the place of Christ with the apostles (after his ascension to the Father), to lead them to a deeper knowledge of gospel truth, and to give them the divine strength needed to enable them to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the divine kingdom
Islamic scholars take the position of corruption of scripture and apply it liberally to this particualr verse. According to them, the proper Greek word in the original text would have been periklutos (περικλυτος). This word fits perfectly with the notion that this verse speaks about Muhammad, because the definition of periklutos is "one worthy of praise." The word 'Ahmad' in Sura 61:6 also means 'one worthy of praise.' Muslim apologists assert that at some point, the original word periklutos (praised one) was substituted by Christians with the word parakletos or comforter. Christians intentionally changed this verse so that it no longer pointed to Muhammad. So the story goes.
There are several problems with this assumption.
1. The same Greek word is used in John 14:16, John 15:26, John 16:7, and 1 John 2:1. We will examine John 14:16 in detail in a bit, but let's take a look at these other verses where the word parakletos appears.
John 15:26 - "But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me."
Jesus is speaking here. Notice what he says about this parakletos: 1) Jesus sends him, 2) he comes from The Father, 3) he is called the Spirit of Truth, and 4) he bears witness about Jesus. Muslims do not believe Muhammad was sent by Jesus; they believe Muhammad was sent by God alone and they deny explicitly that Jesus and God are the same person. Moreover, this paracletos is called The Spirit (το πνευμα). The definite article 'The' appears in the Greek, indicating this is a definite person, not a nickname for someone else. His name is The Spirit, not Muhammad. Finally, the parakletos proceeds from The Father. Muhammad proceeded from natural parents like all other men did. His father was Abdullah and his mother Amina.
John 16:7 - "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you."
Here again, it is Jesus that is sending the Helper. Muslims do not believe Jesus sent Muhammad, but God sent him.
1 John 2:1 - "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
Clearly the word 'paracletos' here does not imply Muhammad or Ahmad. If it did, the verse would read; "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Muhammad with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." This is simply nonsense; yet if we assume the Muslim assumption that 'paracletos' in John 14:26 is speaking of Muhammad, then the argument must be applied here also and clearly it does injustice to the scripture.
2. The word 'periklutos' never appears anywhere in the Bible. It is not to be found in the earliest Greek manuscripts and for Muslims to try and force it to fit is nothing more than an attempt to make the original language fit their presupposition of what the word should be.
3. Periklutos was used by Homer when he wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey in the classical Greek of the 10th century B.C., but there is not one instance where this word, or any of the other members of its word group, are used in the Koine Greek of the New Testament or the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament.
4. Periklutos does not fit the context of chapter 14 of John.
- John 14 is about Jesus comforting his disciples. John 14:1-3 - "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." Jesus is preparing the disciples for his departure, and to comfort them, he announces in 14:26 that he will not leave them alone, but will leave with them "the helper" who will be with them. The context does not lend itself to replacing the word for "helper" with "praised one."
Paracletos, or comforter, is also used in John 14:16-17: And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever- 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. If the word paracletos is to be translated 'praised one' in verse 26 as Muslims claim, then it also must fit the translation for verse 16. Yet, to insert "Muhammad" here clearly would not fit, for it speaks of this one as one "who will abide forever", and "whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him. Also, he will 'dwell in you.' Muhammad did not live forever, the world did see him and knows him, and I know of no Muslim who claims Muhammad dwells within him.
- I will give YOU another comforter. Jesus is promising the comforter to his disciples, not later Meccans, Arabs, or any other people group. Although the Holy Spirit is promised to all true believers, the first to receive Him were those at Pentecost, not the followers of Muhammad some 600 years later!
- I will give you ANOTHER comforter. If we assume the Muslim position that the word means "praised one" then who was the first "praised one?" This is not a title Jesus ever assumed for himself and is found nowhere in the Bible. To press the Muslim point further, we would be required to understand the verse to mean "He will give you another Muhammad." Clearly, this idea is insane.
Thus, the claim for Ahmad, or Muhammad, as being the object that God would send after Jesus is unsubstantiated and is nothing more than a distortion. It is Islam, not Christianity, which is corrupting the scripture and trying to change it from the original language.
These objections pose a tremendous problem for Muslims, since the Qur'an supposedly announces prophecies concerning Muhammad to be found in both the Old and New Testaments. As a prophet, Muhammad claimed he was spoken of through prophecies in the prior scripture (Old and New Testaments), so to the Muslim mind they must be there. Yet after fourteen centuries of looking, no Muslim yet has produced a credible prophecy of Muhammad in the Bible. The problem for Muslims can be seen from the following syllogism:
- If Muhammad is a true prophet, the Bible must contain numerous, clear predictions of him as required by Sura 7:157 and Sura 61:6.
- There are no clear and convincing predictions of Muhammad in the Bible.
- Therefore, Muhammad is not a true prophet.