Islamic Philosophy and John 14:16

QUESTION: Islamic Philosophy – Is Muhammad the Counselor from John 14:16?

ANSWER:

Muslims also believe the promised Counselor or Comforter in the following New Testament verse is Muhammad rather than the Holy Spirit: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever” (John 14:16). Yusuf Ali makes the case in a footnote to Qur’an 3:81:
    That argument is: You (People of the Book) are bound by your own oaths, sworn solemnly in the presence of your own Prophets. In the Old Testament as it now exists, Muhammad is foretold in Deut. xviii. 18; and the rise of the Arab nation in Isaiah, xlii. 11, for Kedar was a son of Ismail and the name is used for the Arab nation: in the New Testament as it now exists, Muhammad is foretold in the Gospel of St. John, xiv. 16, xv. 26, and xvi.7: the future Comforter cannot be the Holy Spirit as understood by Christians, because the Holy Spirit already was present helping and guiding Jesus. The Greek word translated ‘Comforter’ is ‘Paracletos’, which is an easy corruption from ‘Periclytos’, which is almost a literal translation of ‘Muhammad’ or ‘Ahmad’. . . .1
Yusuf Ali goes further in a footnote to Qur’an 61:6:
    ‘Ahmad,’ or ‘Muhammad,’ the Praised One, is almost a translation of the Greek word Periclytos. In the present Gospel of John, xiv. 16, xv. 26, and xvi. 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.2


Islamic Philosophy – Another Counselor or Comforter?
Simply put, the argument is that in New Testament Greek manuscripts the word paracletos is a corruption of periclytos. But there is absolutely no manuscript evidence to support this claim. Of the over 5,000 manuscripts now available, not one witnesses to periclytos, making the charge of textual corruption in this example without historical or textual support.

Further, while Muslims claim that identifying the promised Counselor with the Holy Spirit is a misinterpretation, Jesus states this exact connection in the context of John 14:16: “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). Muslims can claim that this statement was made up by later Christians, but such an accusation would need at least some evidence.

Numerous other difficulties attend the Muslim attribution of John 14:16 to Muhammad. The Counselor was to be with Jesus’ early disciples “forever” (14:16), but Muhammad was never with them, nor is the answer that the message of Muhammad has continued to this day in the Qur’an a sufficient response. Jesus also said the Counselor would be “in you” (14:17), which harmonizes perfectly with the role of the Holy Spirit, but not Muhammad. The Counselor would also be sent in Jesus’ name (14:26), but Muhammad was not.

We hope that any Muslim who would seek to accredit the prophecy of John 14:16 to Muhammad would first read John 14–16 in its entirety. As these chapters clearly demonstrate, the qualities of the Counselor cannot be plausibly attributed to Muhammad.

Muslims use additional Bible passages to support their claim that the Bible prophesies the coming of Muhammad, but the same difficulties that accompany their attempts to use Deuteronomy 18:15, 18 and John 14:16 in this way trouble the other (less significant) passages.

Notes:

Rendered with permission from the book, Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews (Rev. 2nd ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry at Summit Ministries. All rights reserved in the original.

1 A. Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an, 144, n. 416.
2 Ibid., 1540, n. 5438.

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