Jesus and the Coming of Muhammad

Muslims believe that one of the most important features of Jesus' mission was to give the glad tidings of the coming of Prophet Muhammad. During his short missionary career that lasted not more than three years and which was overshadowed by the hostile attitude of his own people, Jesus gave them the good news of Ahmad, the last messenger of God, who would perfect the divine teaching both in theory and in practice. According to the Qur'an, Jesus said, "O Children of Israel! I am the apostle of God (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving glad tidings of an apostle to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad." (Surah 61:6).

It is interesting to know that although the Qur'an gives the name as Ahmad but there was a variant reading in the mashaf (copy of the Qur'an) of Ubayy b. Ka'b, who was also one of Muhammad's secretaries appointed to write the Qur'an. This rendering referred to a prophet after Jesus but did not speak of Ahmad (A. Jeffrey, Materials for the history of the text of the Qur'an, p.170). Furthermore we do not find any mention of a name Ahmad in Ibn Ishaq or Ibn Hisham's Sirah Rasul, in their argument, dealing with the prophecy of the coming of a prophet after Jesus. (Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, pp. 103-104). W. M. Watt says that 'Muslim children were practically never called Ahmad before the year 125 A.H.' (As quoted by G. Parrinder, Jesus in the Qur'an, p.99).

Abdullah Yusaf Ali in his notes on the verse states:

"Ahmad or Muhammad, the Praised One is almost a translation of the Greek word Periclytos. In the present gospel of John 14:16, 15:26 and 16:7, the word comforter in the English version is for the Greek word Paracletos, which means Advocate, one called to the help of another, a kind friend, rather than Comforter. Our doctors contend that Paracletos is a corrupt reading for Periclytos, and that in their original saying of Jesus there was a prophecy of our Holy Prophet Ahmad by name. Even if we read Paracelete, it would apply to the Holy Prophet, who is a Mercy for all creatures (21:107) and most kind and merciful to the Believers (9:128)."

However, none of the manuscripts available to us have a variant reading of the word Paracletos. Neither is there any evidence to suggest that there ever was a variant reading. In the Gospel according to John, Jesus promised the Paraclete four times (John 14:16-17; 14:26; 15:26; 16:7-15). Christians believe that the promise is about the Holy Spirit, to descend upon the disciples, on the Day of the Pentecost, to witness of Christ and lead them into truth and to be with the believers forever. The promise clearly was to have its fulfilment with the first disciples, therefore the idea of its fulfilment 600 years later in Muhammad would be too late for them. Secondly, this Paraclete, comforter, or the Spirit of truth, was going to live for ever while the Prophet of Islam lived on this earth only for about 63 years. Thirdly, the message the Paraclete was to give was from Jesus; "He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you." (John 16:14). Therefore, if we agree with the claim that, 'Muhammad is the Paraclete', then we would have to conclude that the Qur'an came from Jesus.

Hearing this argument, Muslim friends state that the Bible is corrupt and this passage has been changed. However, see our main pages for the discussion on the reliability of the Bible.