Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) in the Bible
Allama Husayn Ansariyan
The Holy Quran states that the signs and features of the Holy Prophet have been mentioned in the former scriptures especially the Torah and the Gospel. Knowing the Prophet by verses in the Torah and the Gospel, Jews and Christians were waiting for his advent before his ordainment so as to overcome their enemies under his rule and attain spirituality through following him: Those who follow the Apostle Prophet, the ummi whom they find written down with them in the Torah and the Gospel. (7:157)
In a Hadith reported from Amir al-Muminin, a Jew said to Allah’s Messenger, “I have read about your descriptions in the Torah as such - Muhammad son of Abdullah, born in Mecca, immigrates to Medina, is neither rough nor bad-tempered. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and you are His Messenger. Here is my wealth. Spend it as Allah orders.” (Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Saduq: 465, H. 6)
Speaking of the Holy Prophet, Jesus Christ (a.s) has said: And when Jesus son of Maryam said: O Children of Israel! Surely I am the apostle of Allah to you, verifying that which is before me of the torah and giving the good news of Apostle who will come after me, his name being Ahmad. (61:6)
Jesus Christ and Paraclete
The Gospel According to John
In the Chapters 14-16 of the Gospel according to John, Jesus (a.s.) gives the good news of a person coming after him by the name of Paraclete whom he calls master of the world and his religion existing forever. In 14:16 of the same, Jesus (a.s.) says: And I will beg the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever.
In verse 15:26, Jesus (a.s) says: But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes forth from with the Father, ‘he’ shall bear witness concerning me.
The word Paraclete in Syriac means praiseworthy which is translated into Arabic as Muhammad and Ahmad.
The Book of Enoch (Andreas)
In the Book of Enoch, good news have been given about the Holy Prophet of Islam by the name of Paraclete along with the manes of Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn called as the axis and the aim of universe. Enoch used to live in Babylon. One day while he was in the temple, he received revelation of God. He then told his companions the following story: One day, there was a dispute between the children and grand children of Adam as to who the superior creature is. Some of them said, “Our father Adam whom God created with His hand and blew His spirit into him, made all the angels prostrate before him, made him the teacher of angels, granted him the vicegerency on the earth and made other being obedient to him, was the superior creature.” Another group said, “Angels are superior to our father Adam for the former never rebelled against God whereas Adam disobeyed His command hence he and his wife were driven out of heaven. At most, God had mercy on them, accepted his repentance and promised heaven to his believing children.”
Some others said, “The superior creature is Archangel Gabriel who is the trustworthy of the Lord of the worlds.” The dispute was so hot that they brought it up with Adam. Addressing his children, Adam said, “Lend me your ears so that I will tell you who the superior creatures are. When God created me and blew into my body of His spirit so that I was settled, I saw the Divine Throne with five illuminated shadows whose light, glory, and beauty amazed me. I asked, “O Lord, who are these glorious lights?” God said, “These are My superior creatures as well as mediators between Me and My creatures. Were it not for their sake, I would not have created you, the heavens, the earth, Paradise, Hellfire, the sun, and the moon.”
I said, “O Lord! What are their names?” God answered, “Look at the shank of the Throne.” When I did, I saw these five holy names: Paraclete (Muhammad) Elia (Ali), Titeh (Fatimah), Sheppar (Hasan), and Shoppair (Husayn). There was also an inscription reading: O My creatures! Glorify Me for there is no god save Me and Muhammad is My Messenger.”
The Gospel of Barnabas
The verses 39:14-28 of the Gospel of Barnabas express a similar idea as follows: When Adam rose up, he saw on his steps an inscription shining like the sun that read: There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger. Then, Adam opened his mouth saying: O Lord! Praise to You for Your Grace in creating me. But I beseech you to tell me what is the meaning of ‘Muhammad, Allah’s Messenger’. Allah answered: Hail to you, my servant Adam. I truly tell you that you are the first human I have created. The one you saw is but your son. He will come to this world after many years. He will be My Messenger for whom I have created everything.
He will soon give light to the world; he is the one whose soul has been laid in the beauty of heaven sixty thousand years before I created anything. Then Adam beseechingly said: O Lord! Give this inscription to me on the nails of my fingers. So Allah gave him the inscription on his thumbs. On the nail of his right hand’s thumb was ‘there is no god but Allah’ and on the nail of his left hand’s thumb was ‘Muhammad, Allah’s Messenger’. Then, the first human kissed those words with a father’s love, touched his eyes saying: Auspicious will be the day you will come soon to the world.
Fakhr al-Islam, in his book, Anis al-Alam, says: A pre-Islamic manuscript of the Gospel on parchment was found in the library of Protestant Christians, as a part of Jesus’ last will and testament to Simon whose other name was Peter, it said: O Simon! God has advised you about the Master of the Messengers and His beloved, Ahmad, the owner of the red camel, the moon- faced, the pure-hearted, and the strong-bodied, who is a great man of Adam’s children, mercy for the people of the world, and an ummi (i.e. inhabitant of Umm al-Qura; Mecca), Arab Prophet. God said to me. O Jesus! Tell the children of Israel to acknowledge and believe in him. I said, O Lord! Who is that great man? God said: O Jesus! He is Muhammad, God’s Messenger for the universe. Happy is this prophet and happy are those who give ears to him. I will appoint him as prophet 610 years after you.
Allah’s Promise to Abraham
Allah’s promise to Prophet Abraham about Ishmael is the promise of mercy, glory, and abundance in the generation of Muhammad and the Twelve Imams from his issue. This promise has been expressly mentioned in 17:20 of the Book of Genesis: And for Ishmael I have heard thee: behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful, and will very greatly multiply him; twelve princes will he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
Actually, God has blessed Ishmael through Prophet Muhammad and the Twelve Imams from his issue.
In verses 42:13-20 of the Gospel of Barnabas, a reference has been made to the same promise: I truly tell you that every prophet who comes is for one nation and that is the Mercy of Allah. So his words are only for that nation. But when God’s Messenger comes, his mercy is for all the nations who accept his teachings. He will come soon to fight the oppressors and to put an end to the worship of idols to disgrace Satan, for God has promised Abraham as such. He said: Behold! I will bless all the nations on the earth through your generation. O Abraham, as you broke the idols, your generation will do the same.
In Chapter 208 of the same Book, we read: I truly tell you that the son of Abraham is Ishmael and from his issue will come Messiah as promised to Abraham and all the nations will be blessed due to him. When the chiefs of Jewish priests heard it, they became angry saying loudly: We must stone him to death, for he is from the issue of Ishmael. They denied the religion of Moses. So each of scribes and Pharisees took stones to put Jesus to death but he was hidden from their eyes and left the temple.
Allah’s promise about Ishmael is the same as the meaning of Ishmael (Allah heard you). Granting a son to Abraham was actually answering to his prayer in the same way that the Holy Prophet is reported as saying: I have been demanded by my father, Abraham. (Al-Manaqib: 232/1)
The Torah, the Gospel, and all the Prophets have given the good tidings of the advent of not only the Holy Prophet but also his successor, Imam Ali. They have also spoken of Ahl al-Bayt. The Prophets have even wept sadly over the calamities that befell Imam Husayn (a.s.).
A Very Important Event
Nasr ibn Muzahim, in his book of Waq’at Siffin (one of the oldest books that were written nearly in the age of the Holy Imams), has reported that Habbah al-Arani, a companion of Imam Ali, to say: When we landed in the region of al-Riqqah on our way of Siffin Battle, we camped near a monastery in which a Christian monk was engaged in worship. Seeing our soldiers, he came out of the monastery and headed for Amir al-Muminin, saying, “In this monastery, there is a book I have inherited from my ancestors; a book written by the disciples of Jesus during his lifelime. I would like to show the book to you.” The Imam said, “Go and bring it here.”
The monk fetched the book and asked the Imam to give him permission to read it. Then, he began to read, “In the Name of Allah; Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. It is recorded in the Preserved Tablet that God will appoint from among the people of Mecca a prophet who will teach them the Book and Wisdom and will guide them to the right path and one of his signs is that he is neither rough nor bad-tempered. He is a man who when walking among people does not raise his voice nor does he compensate sin by sin, rather he forgives all. As for the community of that prophet, they are very thankful to God, praising Him under all conditions. Their tongues are tamed for the professing grandeur and glory of God. Their eyes will be tearful from fear of God. God will give victory to that Prophet over the arrogant.
When he passes away, his community will be divided with rancor and enmity. They will have differences and then get together and keep on living as long as God wills. A man from his community will cross by the Euphrates. This man will invite people to good and forbid them from evil. His judgment among people will be just, never issuing an unjust order. The world to him is less in vlaue than the ashes blown away by wind on a stormy day. For him, death will be more pleasant than drinking of water by a thirsty person! He will fear God in hiding and give away in the path of Allah openly. He is not afraid of anyone who blames him on the straight path. Anyone who is living in these cities at that time and believes in that prophet will have heaven as his reward. And, everyone who understands this righteous servant crossing by the Euphrates must help him."
After reading from the book, the monk said, “You are that righteous servant of God. I will come with you and will not leave you so that what will happen to you will happen to me. If you are martyred, I will be with you to be martyred. Hearing this, Amir al-Muminin wept and said, “Thanks Allah; He has not forgotten me as He had my name among benefactors.” The monk accompanied the Imam and never left him until he was martyred in Siffin Battle.
After the end of the battle, Imam Ali ordered the martyrs to be buried. Some were missioned to find the body of the monk and when they found it, the Imam stood at his head saying, “He is from us, Ahl al-Bayt.” Then, the Imam himself dug a grave for him and buried him as a Muslim. (Waq’at Siffin: 147)