The Antichrist in Muhammad: Blaspheming Against the Holy Spirit
house" (Bait ul-Lah). Oftentimes it is used to refer to the created soul, as, for example, in Qur'an 32:9 "But He fashioned him [man] in due proportion, and breathed into him something of His Spirit. And He gave you (the faculties of) hearing and sight and feeling (and understanding): little thanks do ye give!" (see also Qur'an 15:29, 21:91, 38:72, 66:12).
Finally, the term "spirit" (ar-Ruh) is used within the context of command. For example, in Qur'an 40:15: "Raised high above ranks (or degrees). (He is) the Lord of the Throne (of Authority): by His Command does He send the Spirit of His command (ar-ruha min amrihi) to any of his servants he pleases, to warn (men) of the Day of the Meeting." Indeed, this is the definition clearly given in Qur'an 17:85 ("They ask thee concerning the Spirit (ar-ruhi) (of inspiration). Say: "The Spirit (cometh) by command (ar-ruhu min amri) of my Lord: of knowledge it is only a little that is communicated to you, (O men!)."
In short, the "Spirit" is never equated with Allah or God in Islam. We can therefore conclude that Muhammad, in his supposed revelations, rejected any notion of the divine personhood of the Holy Spirit.
While Muhammad rejected the divine personality of the Holy Spirit, his followers have not scrupled to attribute to Muhammad one of the titles of the Holy Spirit: the Paraclete.
The efforts of his followers stem from the problems arising out of Muhammad's declaration (in Qur'an 7:157) that the Gospels supposedly prophesied of the coming of an illiterate prophet: "Those who follow the messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (scriptures),--in the law and the Gospel;--for he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil . . . ."
In Qur'an 61:6, it is supposedly Jesus who promises such a thing: "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 [a variant of the name Muhammad, meaning "praiseworthy one"] . . . .'"
The problem for Muslim scholars is that the Gospel nowhere predicts the coming of a prophet whose name means "praiseworthy one," much less an illiterate prophet with that name. The absence of such a prophecy in the Gospels (which is quite damaging to the authenticity of the Qur'an and its claim regarding Muhammad) has led to a desperate dual strategy on the part of Muslim apologists.
First, Muslim apologists implausibly suggest that Muhammad was the promised "Paraclete" of the Gospel of John. (See John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7; 1 John 2:1) Second, because the word "paraclete" (in Greek, parakletos) does not mean "praiseworthy one," but counselor or advocate, they argue that the Greek term parakletos was corrupted by the Christians, and that the original word was periklytos, supposedly a Greek word that means "praiseworthy one."
The argument is, in a word, nonsense. Not only does it fly in the face of the unchanging Tradition of the Church which understood the "Paraclete" to refer to the Holy Spirit, it is unsupportable contextually, historically, and textually.
First, the context expressly ties in the "Paraclete" to the Holy Spirit, and not a prophet. "But the Paraclete, 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) Contextually, the claim is hogwash.
This sense that the Holy Spirit--the Paraclete--was the soul of the Church and not any prophet to come is found beautifully expressed by St. Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement (paraklesis), who encourages (parakaleo) us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage (parakaleo) those who are in any affliction with the encouragement (paraklesis) with which we ourselves are encouraged (parakaleo) by God." (2 Cor. 1:3-4).
These verses from St. Paul's epistle literally drip with the notion of the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete, the Helper, the Encourager, the Comforter, the Advocate. This is how the Church understood it from the beginning. It is disingenuous in the extreme to construe Christ's promise of the Paraclete as referring to a prophet coming hundreds of years hence.
Second, there is no historical evidence that the word parakletos was ever anything but parakletos. The earliest extant manuscripts of the Gospel of John show "parakletos." There is no variant of any surviving manuscript of John's Gospel that uses the term "periklytos." There is no Apostolic or Church Father that ever read "periklytos" instead of "parakletos" or that understood this reference in John's Gospel to refer to an illiterate prophet. Rather, monolithically and unanimously, the promised Paraclete is always regarded as a reference to the gift of the Holy Spirit enjoyed by the Church and her members, and which was received by the Apostles after Christ's Ascension on the Jewish feast of Pentecost.
Third, the word periklytos (which is used nowhere in the Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint, but is used in classical Greek) does not mean "praiseworthy one," but rather it means famous or renowned. The word for praised one in Greek is epainos, not periklytos.
One cannot help but wonder whether Muhammad's denial of the divinity of the Holy Spirit and the arrogation of the Holy Spirit's office as Paraclete--this "speaking against the Holy Spirit"--is not that "fearful thing written in the Gospel," in the words of St. Cyril of Jerusalem in his Catechetical Lectures, known as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 12:30-32; Mark 3:29; Luke 12:8-10)
"But if any one should deny the dignity, majesty, and eternal power of the Holy Spirit," says St. Ambrose in his treatise on the Holy Spirit (I.3.54) (which is exactly what Muhammad does in his supposed revelations), "there is fullness of sacrilege," ubi sacrilegi plenitudo est.
An authentic prophet would not be guilty of sacrilege, much less the fullness of sacrilege, though one moved by the spirit of antichrist would. Muhammad's teachings which impugn the divinity of the Holy Spirit, and his assumption of the Holy Spirit's title and office, is just another brick in the wall of evidence that supports the thesis of this series of articles that the spirit of antichrist is in Muhammad.
In our next article, we will address the Qur'anic rejection of the Blessed Trinity. We will then turn from God to God's interaction with humanity, specifically addressing issues relating to the Christian doctrine of salvation--the heart of the Good News of Jesus Christ--sadly rejected by Muhammad along with the God as revealed in Jesus and the New Testament.
Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is married with three children. He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum. You can contact Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Muhammad, antichrist, false prophet, Andrew M. Greenwell, Holy Spirit, Paraclete, Parakletos
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