The Sharing Group Discussion: Did the Bible Predict the Advent of Muhammad (s.a.w.)?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following was posted by me, on behalf of another member, on The Sharing Group, on the 02nd May 2016: “Is there a competent argument in the books of the Bible that predicted the advent of Muhammad (s.a.w.)?”

Brother Shabaz Michael Amaddeo: All depends on how they are interpreted, methinks.  I would say the predictions are there but there is 1,000+ year old traditional interpretations that demonstrate otherwise.  In my opinion, Jesus (a.s.) praying that the Father Send a helper after him is a clear reference to Habibullah (s.a.w.).

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I believe you are referring to this section:

John 14:15-20
15 “If you have any love for me, you must keep the commandments which I give you; 16 and then I will ask the Father, and He will Give you a Paraclete, one who is to dwell continually with you for ever.  17 It is the truth-giving Spirit, for whom the world can find no room, because it cannot see him, cannot recognise him.  But you are to recognise him; he will be continually at your side, nay, he will be in you.  18 I will not leave you friendless; I am coming to you.  19 It is only a little while now, before the world is to see me no more; but you can see me, because I live on, and you too will have life.  20 When that day comes, you will learn for yourselves that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”

This is a difficult passage to understand and it can be read in many ways.  A “paraclete” is an advocate, an intercessor, to defend you in an action of law.  Here, it is used in a general sense, and is not in reference to any single person.

Brother Shabaz Michael Amaddeo: Which version is this?

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: The closest translation I can think of.

Brother Ismail Barton: I have heard it said that John 14:26 & John 16:7 refer to the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  I do not know if that counts as a competent argument.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: These are the verses mentioned:

John 14:25-26
25 “So much converse I have held with you, still at your side.  26 He who is to befriend you, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will Send on my account, will in his turn make everything plain, and recall to your minds everything I have said to you.”

John 16:7
7 “And yet I can say truly that it is better for you I should go away; he who is to befriend you will not come to you unless I do go, but if only I make my way there, I will send him to you.”

There are some possibilities here.

Brother Mohammad Roslan:  Brother Terence, I just saw this post.  Off hand, you may want to look at Isaiah, 29:12.  It almost literally describes the incident of the first Revelation to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) in Jabal Nur.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Wa as-Salaam brother, this is the passage in question:

Isaiah 29:11-12
11 What is Revelation to you, but a sealed book, offered as vainly to a scholar that finds it sealed, 12 as to yonder simpleton, that vows he never learned his letters?

I doubt so.  The entire passage is about people not understanding Revelation.

Brother Mohammad Roslan: The New American Standard Version and King James’ Version, which use almost similar verbiage, from the Biblehub site says, “Then the book will be given to the one who is illiterate, saying, ‘Please read this.’  And he will say, ‘I cannot read.’”

Here is a screenshot brother:

I believe there is another verse that describes the Opening of Makkah in Deuteronomy.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Their translations are inadequate.  The KJV is taken from older translations, and not from the earliest extent texts.  It was then referenced to Mesoretic text and the Vulgate for the Old and New Testament respectively at a later date.  The translations were undertaken by clergymen of the Church of England and adjustments were made to the text to support their theological positions.  The point I am making here is that a serious look at the hermeneutics would show that it is not a simple task to prove Muslim theological positions on the basis of translations of the Bible.

This is the same passage in Koine Greek:

11 καὶ ἔσονται ὑμῖν πάντα τὰ ῥήματα ταῦτα ὡς οἱ λόγοι τοῦ βιβλίου τοῦ ἐσφραγισμένου τούτου ὃ ἐὰν δῶσιν αὐτὸ ἀνθρώπῳ ἐπισταμένῳ γράμματα λέγοντες ἀνάγνωθι ταῦτα καὶ ἐρεῖ οὐ δύναμαι ἀναγνῶναι ἐσφράγισται γάρ 12 καὶ δοθήσεται τὸ βιβλίον τοῦτο εἰς χεῖρας ἀνθρώπου μὴ ἐπισταμένου γράμματα καὶ ἐρεῖ αὐτῷ ἀνάγνωθι τοῦτο καὶ ἐρεῖ οὐκ ἐπίσταμαι γράμματα

And the same passage in Latin:

11 Et erit vobis visio omnium sicut verba libri signati, quem cum dederint scienti litteras, dicent: Lege istum: et respondebit: Non possum, signatus est enim. 12 Et dabitur liber nescienti litteras, diceturque ei: Lege; et respondebit: Nescio litteras.

We could translate it to “I cannot read,” but that is a literal translation which ignores the context of the text, where it would be better translated as “I never learned,” or “I never studied.”  It is not about ability but effort here.

Brother Mohammad Roslan: There are several translations including the Douay-Rheims, Young Literals Translation and American Standard Version that borders around “I am not learned”, “I know no letters”, “I know not the books”.  But I was just trying to help.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: No issues.  I was hoping we could all learn something new, and understand that translations can be tricky, particularly with dead languages.

Brother Steven P. Holloway: Those could be attributed to Jesus (a.s.), Muhammad (s.a.w.), nearly anybody that claims a prophetic tradition.

Sister Florence Monique Hilgers: My children asked me just this week if the Bible talks about Muhammad (s.a.w.).  My youngest was allegedly laughed at in school when she mentioned that “Muhammad came after Jesus.”

Brother Llewellynn Hamza: Shame children are not allowed to ask these things in school.  But American schools, sad to say, do not like outside-the-box learning and inquiry; only institutional and standardised thinking.

Brother Bilal Cleland: This is extracted and adapted from “The Prophecy Revealed to Jesus (a.s.)”: In the Gospel according to John, there is an account of the last discussion between Jesus (a.s.) and his disciples.  It takes place just before his arrest. Jesus (a.s.) explained that his mission was coming to an end but that the Revelations of God to humanity had not ended.  Another would come.  He said:

John 14:16-17
16 “And then I will ask the Father, and He will Give you a Paraclete, one who is to dwell continually with you for ever.  17 It is the truth-giving Spirit ...”

Jesus (a.s.) is reported to have said:

John 16:12-13
12 “I have still much to say to you, but it is beyond your reach as yet.  13 It will be for him, the truth-giving Spirit, when he comes, to guide you into all truth.  He will not utter a message of his own; he will utter the message that has been given to him; and he will make plain to you what is still to come.”

This means that Jesus (a.s.) did not claim to be the last of the prophets.  He knew another would follow him who would have “the complete truth.  As in the prophecy revealed to Moses (a.s.), the prophet to come “will not be speaking of his own accord but will say only what he has been told.”

The suggestion is that the Paraclete would come a long time after Jesus (a.s.) had finished his mission.  That is because Jesus (a.s.) said the one who would come was going to revive his real teachings.  This suggests that a long enough time would have passed for people to forget his real teachings.  Jesus (a.s.) also said the Spirit of Truth would complete the Revelation from God:

John 14: 26
26 “He who is to befriend you, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will Send on my account, will in his turn make everything plain, and recall to your minds everything I have said to you.”

It is repeated again, in the Gospel according to John, that the Paraclete would continue the teachings of Jesus (a.s.) and would remove any misunderstandings about his mission, created by those who claimed to follow him.

John 16:14
14 And he will bring honour to me, because it is from me that he will derive what he makes plain to you.

The Paraclete would also do this:

John 16:8-9
8 “He will come, and it will be for him to prove the world wrong, about sin, and about rightness of heart, and about judging.  9 About sin; they have not found belief in me.”

Muslims find this promise of Jesus (a.s.) realised in the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  He brought the Final Revelation of God, to remain with us until the end of the world.  He did not speak of himself but only spoke what God had Put in his mouth.  He restored the teachings of Jesus (a.s.), the servant of God, about the Oneness of God and about the importance of submission to Him.  He introduced a new path, reviving the original religion of Ibrahim (a.s.), which showed the world how wrong it had been about sin and about judgement.

This is extracted and adapted from “The Paraclete as Ahmad”: The Bible was of great interest to Father David Benjamin Keldani (r.a.).  He became a Roman Catholic priest of the Uniate-Chaldean rite in 1895.  In 1900, he resigned as a priest and on a trip to Britain, in 1903, became a Unitarian Christian.  Unitarians believe that God is One.  They do not believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as the triune God.

In 1904, on his way back from Europe to his native Iran, Shaykh David Keldani (r.a.) visited Istanbul.  After several interviews with Shaykh al-Islam, Imam Jamal ad-Din (r.a.) he accepted Islam.  He was a serious scholar of the Christian Scriptures and, unusual for these times, he knew the language that Jesus (a.s.) spoke, Aramaic.

He wrote on the prophecy of Jesus (a.s.) about the Paraclete in the Gospel according to John.  Also known as the “Comforter” or “Advocate”, words used by different translators of the Bible, the person who was to come after Jesus (a.s.) has been associated with the Holy Spirit.  Many Christians think that God is three Persons in One, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  However, Muslims have a different understanding of the Holy Spirit.  Muslims believe it is a spirit from God.

In the Gospel according to John, Jesus (a.s.) is reported as stating:

John 16:7
7 “And yet I can say truly that it is better for you I should go away; he who is to befriend you will not come to you unless I do go, but if only I make my way there, I will send him to you.”

This verse clearly tells us that the coming of the Paraclete could not happen until after Jesus (a.s.) departed.  This Paraclete could not have been the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit was already present.  According to the Bible, it was in existence from the day of the Creation and was hovering upon the surface of the earth:

Genesis 1:2
2 Earth was still an empty waste, and darkness hung over the deep; but already, over its waters, Stirred the Breath of God.

It was also present with the prophets of the Old Testament.  The Holy Spirit was present, according to the New Testament, at the River Jordan when Jesus Christ (a.s.) was being baptised by John the Baptist, in the early part of his ministry. So, how could Jesus (a.s.) mean; “but if I go, I will send the Holy Spirit”?

Jesus (a.s.) is also reported to have said:

John 15:26
26 “Well, when the truth-giving Spirit, who proceeds from the Father, has come to befriend you, he whom I will send to you from the Father’s Side, he will bear witness of what I was.”

We can see here that the Paraclete is called the “Spirit of Truth” and not the “Holy Spirit”.  These are two separate terms and two independent entities.  The Spirit of Truth takes the pronoun “he”, being a male figure, whereas, the second one, the Holy Spirit, takes the pronoun “It”.

Shaykh David Keldani (r.a.), in a book “Muhammad in the Bible”, written under his Muslim name, “‘Abd al-Ahad Dawud”, argued that the word “Paraclete” or “Paraclytos” is not a classical Greek word at all.  The correct term for “comforter” or “consoler” is “paracalon”.  Rather, he said, it is a corrupted form, perhaps due to some sloppy copying by a monk of centuries ago, of the word, “Periqlytos”.  The meaning of “Periqlytos” is “the most illustrious, renowned and praiseworthy”.  This is the exact meaning of “Ahmad” in Arabic.

It is Written, in the Holy Qur’an, that Jesus (a.s.) foretold of the coming of someone of this name:

And remember Jesus, the 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 ‘Ahmad.’”  But when he came to them with Clear Signs they said, “This is evident sorcery!” (Surah asw-Swaff:6)

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Father David Benjamin Keldani or Dawud Benyamin was a Catholic priest of the Chaldean rite who converted to Islam and adopted the name “‘Abd al-Ahad Dawud”.  His appellate, “Keldani”, was a nod to his Chaldean Christian heritage.  He was a strict monotheist even before his conversion to Islam, and his academic credentials in theology, philosophy and Church history was impressive.  In addition to Koine Greek, and Latin, he also knew Arabic, Aramaic and Syriac.  He was a noted authority on Biblical studies and that was how he came to Islam.

On his conversion, he said, “My conversion to Islam cannot be attributed to any cause other than the Gracious Direction of the Almighty Allah.  Without this Divine Guidance, all learning, search and other efforts to find the Truth may even lead one astray.  The moment I believed in the Absolute Unity of God, His Holy Apostle Muhammad became the pattern of my conduct and behaviour.”

He was the author of “Muhammad in the Bible”, which was a compilation of his articles from “The Islamic Review”, published in 1928.  He also wrote, “Prophet Muhammad is the Son of Man”, published in 1923.  In this book, he reinterpreted the “Kingdom of God” to refer to the coming of Islam, and the “Paraclete” to refer to the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  This was almost 80 years before I came to the same conclusion.

In his address to the Christians, he wrote, “I must remind the Christians that unless they believe in the absolute unity of God, and renounce the belief in the three persons, they are certainly unbelievers in the True God.”  He continued, “The Old Testament and the Qur’an Condemn the doctrine of three persons in God; the New Testament does not expressly hold or defend it, but even if it contains hints and traces concerning the Trinity, it is no authority at all, because it was neither seen nor written by Christ himself, nor in the language he spoke, nor did it exist in its present form and contents for - at least - the first two centuries after him.”

He passed away in 1940 at age 73.

Brother Steven P. Holloway: The prophetic tradition, or should I say, “My prophet is better than your prophet” tradition.

Brother Shabaz Michael Amaddeo: The prophetic tradition is climaxed and summed up in the Seal of the Prophets (s.a.w.), after all.

Brother Bilal Cleland: The prophets are of a brotherhood.  As recorded in Swahih al-Bukhari, Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Both in this world and in the hereafter, I am the nearest of all people to Jesus, the son of Mary.  The prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one.”

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: The prophetic tradition is the belief that there is only one prophethood, meaning one fundamentally consistent message, and 124,000 prophets.

Brother Steven P. Holloway: Tell that to the Christians who are in the Levant.

Brother Bilal Cleland: The following is extracted and adapted from Dr. John Andrew Morrow’s “The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with Christians of the World”.  In it, he asked, “If Muslims are prohibited from belittling the People of the Book and destroying their property, what are we to make then, of so-called Islamists who insult and abuse them and destroy, not only their material belongings, but their lives as well?”

His answer is no revelation: “Many thinkers have come to the very same conclusion about such people: “They are in most instances, conscious or unconscious agents of the enemies, not only of Islam, but of religion as a whole.  If the imperialists used Islamic extremists for their own ends during the colonialist period, spreading Salafism and concocting Arab nationalism in order to undermine the Ottoman Empire, it would be naive to believe that neo-imperialists of the 20th and 21st century are not doing the same.  While most of their rank and file are unaware of the reality, many if not most of the world’s militant Muslim movements were created and remain under the control of US, British, French and Israeli secret services.”

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: The heart of the Levant is Palestine and Lebanon.  The Palestinian Christians, who make up 20% of Palestinians, are not doing very well under Zionist occupation, that same apartheid genocide that American Evangelical Christians fund and support.  Lebanese Christians have significant political power, with the President always being a Maronite,

If you are referring to Greater Syro-Palestine, Muslims, Yazidis and Christians are all suffering in that sectarian conflict, the one that began when NATO decided to bomb much of them into the Stone Age, and directly fund extremist groups like ISIS.

Islam does not have a “serious image problem”.  It does face discrimination in places like the US, that country that was built upon the genocide of 100 million natives and millions of African slaves.  The United States is far from an arbiter of justice, or a paragon of any sort of virtue.  If anything, the US has a serious image problem.


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