Did Jesus Promise Muhammad's Coming?

By Steven Masood on 07/26/2023
Did Jesus promise Muhammad's coming?

Muslims believe that one of the important features of Jesus’ mission was to give the ‘glad tidings’ of the coming of the Prophet Muhammad. 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 Ahmed’ (Surah 61:6).

To make room that the passage from the Qur’an refers to Muhammad being prophesied by Jesus, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, in his revised commentary, has this to say:

‘Ahmad,’ or ‘Muhammad,’ the Praised one, is almost the 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 correct reading for periclytos, and that in their original saying of Jesus, there was a prophecy of our holy Prophet Ahmad by name.’ (The Holy Qur’an, English translation of the meanings and commentary, page 1738, published under the auspices of the ministry of Hajj and Endowments, Saudi Arabia, n.d.)

Ali seems to have ignored or forgotten that if Muhammed is accepted as Paracletos, it will contradict the Qur’an. Advocate in Arabic is ‘wakil.’ The Qur’an denies Muhammad being a Wakil. In fact, according to the Qur’an, God asked Muhammad to tell people that he was not a ‘Wakil’ for them (Sura 6:66, 10:108). Like several other Muslims without any proof, Ali states that there was a prophecy about Muhammad in the original sayings of Jesus. There is no such documentary evidence exists to support this claim.

A Christian response

The promise is not about Muhammad but about the Holy Spirit, who, as the comforter, was to descend upon the disciples on the Day of the Pentecost (Acts 2), witness to Christ, lead them into the whole truth, and be with the believers forever. The promise was fulfilled in the lives of the first disciples. The idea of fulfillment 600 years later in Muhammad would make it too late for them.

Secondly, the comforter or the Spirit of truth was going to live forever while the Prophet of Islam only lived on this earth for about 63 years.

Thirdly, the Holy Spirit's message was to be from Jesus. Thus, we find that Jesus said, “he will take it from me and will give it to you.” If Christians are to agree with the claim made by Muslims that the promise was fulfilled in the coming of Muhammad, then Muslims would have to admit that the Qur’an came from Jesus and Jesus is God because Muslims claim that Muhammad received the words of the Qur’an from God.

Fourthly, no Muslims believe Muhammad was sent in Jesus’ name. Yet, the Holy Spirit, the counselor, was sent by God in Jesus’ name (John 14:26). Jesus said that the Spirit would glorify him (John 16: 14). Instead of glorifying Jesus, Muhammad made himself the seal of the prophets and the leader of them all, including Jesus. By doing so, he made Jesus an inferior prophet. The prime purpose of sending the Paraclete was to convict and draw people to Jesus. He was not to speak of himself but about Jesus. Muhammad, however, drew people from Jesus to himself, and thus he cannot be the promised Paraclete, “You know him.” According to Jesus, the disciples knew the Spirit of Truth. How did they know him? They knew because the Spirit of Truth was already with them, not someone who came five hundred years later. As the Spirit of God was with Jesus and in him (John 1:32), he told his disciples that the spirit ‘will be in you.’ The Greek word here is ‘en’ and means right inside. Therefore, it is quite clear that the promise was to be fulfilled in the life of these disciples.

Jesus repeated his promise before his ascension. He told them to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came, and some days later, as the disciples were gathered praying, it happened (Acts 2:3-4). The promise was fulfilled several centuries before Muhammad (Acts 2:1-4, 33,38; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13,14; 5:18; Romans 8:9-11, 13-16).

The disciples of Jesus knew that the promise of the Holy Spirit, the counselor, and the comforter was fulfilled while many of them were still alive. The Holy Spirit transformed them and gave them invincible courage to stand up and be counted on Jesus’ side. They, from then on, proclaimed in public what they believed. The Holy Spirit gave them the willpower, the dynamism they had previously lacked to go forth now and preach the reason, Jesus:

“God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Resulted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear” (Acts 2:32-33).

Since that time down the centuries and even nowadays, the Holy Spirit has continually empowered believers in Jesus.