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Monday, November 03, 2008

Blogging the Qur'an: Suras 61, "Battle Array," and 62, "The Congregation"

Robert Spencer has the installment here.

One topic is a verse 6:

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!" [Yusufali translation]

Spencer reports Islamic claims that this is actually a prophecy of the arrival of Mohammed:

"Ahmad" means "the Most Praised One," and it is etymologically related to Muhammad, which means "Praised One." Pickthall drives the connection home by translating "Ahmad" simply as "Praised One." And Muslims universally understand the verse as depicting Jesus predicting the coming of Muhammad.

Muslims contend that this prophecy is the uncorrupted version of the words of Jesus that survive in corrupted form in John 14:16-17, where Jesus says: "And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you."

"Counselor" here is παρακλητος, Paracletos or Paraclete. Some Islamic apologists have claimed that this is a corruption of περικλυτος, Periclytos, which means "famous" or "renowned," i.e., "Praised One." However, there is no textual evidence whatsoever for this: no manuscripts of the New Testament exist that use the word περικλυτος in this place. Nor is it likely that the two words might have been confused. That kind of confusion may be theoretically possible in Arabic, which does not write vowels and hence would present two words with identical consonant structures. But Greek does write vowels, and so the words would never in Greek have appeared as even close to identical.

Click the "Koran" label to see all my posts on this series.

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