Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) Promised in the Bible
One of the ways prophets were introduced to the people was by another prophet whose prophethood had been proved with logical reasoning. The previous prophet specifically introduced the future prophet, and this introduction should be to the extent that he had destroyed all doubts towards the upcoming prophet. The prophethood of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) was proven not only through clear logical reasoning, but also through the books of the previous prophets.
Furthermore, his name and characteristics have been clarified in the old and new testaments. Allah (SWT) in the Holy Quran narrates from Prophet Isa/Jesus (A.S.): "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."(2) When this verse and the like were revealed, Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) recited them for people, and amongst them certainly groups of Jews and Christians resided in the Arabian Peninsula. Certainly if this news did not exist in their books, the scholars of these two religions would have objected immensely to this matter. However according to authentic historical references, they not only remained silent to these words, but as a matter of fact many of them became Muslims.
The glad tidings to the final Prophet's appearance was present in Prophet Jesus' (A.S.) own Bible, and even if this news cannot be found in present-day Bibles, this does not necessarily refute the fact that this matter was included in Prophet Jesus' (A.S.) own Bible. This is simply because according to the present day Bibles, each of the disciples and non-disciples wrote down the words, actions, and commandments of Prophet Isa (A.S.) based on their own observations and guesses, and published them in the name of a Bible. Therefore none of these Bibles are Prophet Jesus' (A.S.) personal Bible. (3)
However, as Allah (SWT) has willed for the logical reasoning of the Quran and the Prophethood of Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) to shine in all eras, the glad tidings of a prophet after Prophet Jesus (A.S.) with name of Ahmad has been clearly stated in the Bible of John. Even though the interpreters of the bible are trying all they can to interpret the verses pertaining to this news in other ways, a closer look can help reveal the truth…
Bibles written in Syriac(4) give glad tidings of a person with the title of Farqilit who will come after Prophet Jesus (A.S.). Farghelit is a Syriac word from a language that the people of Syria used to speak in. Islamic and Christian scholars all agree to the fact that this Arabicized word is a Greek word, a language that the Bible of John is written in. However, there is a difference of opinion on the main root of this Greek word. Islamic scholars believe that the Greek root of this word is Periclytos meaning Muhammad and Ahmad; however Christian scholars define the word Paracletos as one who consoles and comforter, and for this reason most Bible interpreters interpret this word to be the Holy Spirit.
The following verses from the Bible of John chapters 15 and 16 clearly indicate this matter: " But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me " (John, 15:26) (5) "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you ... I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you." (John, 16:7-15) (6)
The verses indicate a clear analysis that Comforter or the Spirit of truth refers to a prophet that will come after Prophet Jesus (A.S.). According to historical references and Christian scholars before Islam, Farqilit refers to the promised Prophet. A group took advantage of this matter and introduced themselves as the promised Farqilit. For example Muntas a man from the second century, year 177 A.D in Asia Minor who practiced strict self-discipline, claimed to be the same Farqilit whom Jesus (A.S.) had given his glad tidings. And he was successful to gather a few followers. (7)
On the other hand the virtues and characteristics that Prophet Jesus (A.S.) gave to Farqilit prevents us from ascribing Farqilit to the Comforter, Holy Spirit or other things; rather this matter confirms the fact that Farqilit refers to no other than the promised Prophet. For example Prophet Jesus (A.S.) has said, "... if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you" (John, 15:7)
According to this matter, Prophet Jesus (A.S.) saw the arrival of Farqilit only to his departure. However if Farqilit was meant to be the Holy Spirit, its revelation on Prophet Jesus (A.S.) and on the disciples did not depend on Prophet Jesus' (A.S.) departure, because according Christian belief, when Jesus (A.S.) wanted to send the disciples to different areas to spread the message, the Holy Spirit descended upon them. (8) Therefore the descent of the Holy Spirit did not depend on Prophet Jesus' (A.S.) departure. However if we say Farqilit is a Prophet who is in charge of a global religion, his arrival would only happen with the departure of Prophet Jesus (A.S.). Paying close attention to these analyses can guide us to the truth the esteemed scholars of Islam have reached. It should be noted that this article did not mention all analyses, and there are many more reasoning and proofs to this matter. (9)
In the end we would like to bring a quote from the Encyclopedia of France in regards to this matter: "Muhammad is the founder of Islam, and the final prophet sent by God. The word 'Muhammad' means "highly praised" and it comes from the root word 'hamd' which means praise. Based on a coincidence there is another name from the same root word which is a synonym to the name of Muhammad, and that is the name Ahmad. Most likely the Christians of Arabia used that word to identify Farqilit. Ahmad (meaning highly praised and magnificent) is translation to the word Paraclytos, which was incorrectly worded as Paracletos. For this reason religious Islamic writers repeatedly note that this word is the glad tidings to the appearance of the Holy Messenger of Allah. This matter is also presented in the 61st chapter of the Quran."(10)
(Selection taken from the book "Ahmad, the Bible's Promised" by Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani)
1- What you will read in this article is only a small part and summary of the original version. If interested to learn more about this matter, we highly recommend you to refer to the original source.
2- "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!" (The Holy Quran, 61:6)
3- Even the authenticity of the fact that these four books have been written by its authors cannot be proved with certainty; and other than the Bible of Matthew, none of the others received their book directly from Prophet Jesus (A.S.). In truth the Bible of Mark is a summary of the words of Peter, and the condensed thoughts of Luke, and the narrations of Paul. For further information please refer to the original source.
4- Syriac is a language similar to Arabic, and its root can be found in the Semitic language. The Bible of Prophet Jesus (A.S.) although was in Hebrew, and although his own language was none other than Hebrew, however based on narrations his duty was to interpret his bible into the Syriac language for the Syrians.
5- All quotations of the Bible are taken from the King James Version. The rest of the verses have also been taken from this source. For further assurance we have compared this translation with other translations which were translated from Syriac and Chaldean.
6- Except chapter 15 and 16 from the Bible of John, 14:16-17, 14:25-26, and 14:29, has talked about the Comforter, and Spirit of Truth. The interested reader might refer to these verses.
7- Anis al-A'lam, vol. 2, p. 179, published 1848, narrating from History by William Myer.
8- Bible of Matthew, 10:29; Bible of Luke, 10:17
9- For further study in this regard, you may refer to "Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets" or "Anis al-A'lam" which is one of the references of this document.
10- Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets, vol. 1, p.504, narrated from the Encyclopedia of France, vol. 23, p. 4174