...CONTINUED

10) Sin, righteousness, and error

The coming Paraclete, we are told, will demonstrate the error of the world regarding sin, righteousness, and judgment "he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." This is indeed what Muhammad (pbuh) did. He came to the world to show them how they had been misguided in "sin" by believing that mankind can inherit sin (see last quarter of chapter one, and Ezekiel 18:19-20) and that someone's sin can be forgiven by the sacrifice of others. He also showed them how they had been misguided in "righteousness" by believing that a righteous person is one who has "faith" in the crucifixion and does nothing else (Romans 3:28), or who believes that another man's death will make him a righteous person (Romans 5:19). And they were misguided in "judgment" by believing that they will be judged by "faith" and other people's deeds and not their own deeds (Mark 16:16), or that God's "judgment" was to punish all mankind for the sin of one man (Romans 5:16, 5:18).

Muhammad (pbuh) taught that the unscrupulous had altered the words of Jesus (pbuh). He taught that no one will be held accountable by God for anyone else's sin. He emphasized that God has made this a life of work and the next life one of reward and no work. He also revealed that mankind will be judged individually according to their own individual faith and actions and no one else's.

11) That he may abide with you for ever:

In these verses, Jesus (pbuh) is quoted as saying that the coming Paraclete will "abide with you forever." What does he mean by this? In order to understand this statement, let us read

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? Jesus answered, If I honor myself, my honor is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying."

John 8:51-55

and also

"And I (Jesus) give unto them (the believers) eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."

John 10:28

and "and my servant David [shall be] their prince forever."

Ezekiel 37:25.

and "The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD ... He asked life of thee, [and] thou gavest [it] him, [even] length of days for ever and ever."

Psalm 21:1-4

... etc.

Jesus (pbuh) is quoted many times in the Bible as telling his followers that they will never taste death. However, there is not a single one of them alive to this day. Was he lying? Of course not! As seen above, Jesus' (pbuh) was not telling mankind that his followers would never grow old nor die, rather he was speaking about their second life in the hereafter. He was telling them that the life that we hold so dear and spend so much time fretting over and striving to improve is all but insignificant if compared to the true life, the afterlife. So much so that life and death on this earth is unworthy of consideration. Everything in his estimation revolved around an eternal striving for the reward of the afterlife and this was the yardstick by which all matters were to be measured.

In a similar manner, when king David is described as being a prince forever, this did not mean that he would never die but remain immortal for ever and ever as a prince to Israel. Rather, his teachings, name, and guidance shall remain as a shining beacon to mankind even after his death. In this manner, Jesus (pbuh) lives among us through his faith and teachings, prophet Abraham (pbuh) lives on among them and us through his faith and teachings, and so too, the coming Paraclete will live eternally with us through his faith and teachings.

The Paracletos will be the last prophet, because he will "abide with you forever" and "he will guide you into all truth" (Greek "into the whole truth") and "he shall teach you all things," so there will be no need for any further prophets. In the Qur'an we read:

"Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets; and Allah is Aware of all things."

The noble Qur'an, , al-Ahzab(33):40

And "This day have I (God) perfected your religion for you (mankind) and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as religion Islam(the submission)."

The noble Qur'an, al-Maidah(5):3

So the religion of Islam is the last message to mankind and it, as well as the Qur'an, will abide with them forever. To this day, Muhammad (pbuh) abides with us through his teachings. Muhammad (pbuh) indeed remains alive and well among us in the vast collection of over 9,500 quotations recorded from him during his lifetime in a broad range of topics. This collection of quotations is named the "Hadeeth." To this day, whenever a Muslims wishes to perform any action no matter how trivial, he does not advance a single step before first consulting Allah/God (in the Qur'an), and then prophet Muhammad (pbuh) (in the Hadeeth). Be it a question on how and what to eat or drink, how to perform marriages, how to pray, what sort of trade or commerce is permissible or prohibited, or what sort of clothes to wear, no Muslim presumes to undertake any action before first obtaining the approval of God then His prophet. Muhammad (pbuh) truly is alive and well among us.

Jesus (pbuh) had "the whole truth" and had many things he longed to teach his disciples but he could not give it to them because they "cannot bear them now." These matters would only be revealed six centuries later by God through the agency of Muhammad (pbuh). What new truths has the Holy Spirit guided us into after the departure of Jesus (pbuh) which Jesus (pbuh) had no say in?

12) He shall not speak of himself:

"For he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak:" This too is an interesting statement. It reminds us of the verses of Deuteronomy 18:18-19 which shall be discussed soon, specifically:

" I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require [it] of him."

It is also interesting to read the words of the Qur'an:

"Nor does he (Muhammad) speak of his own desire. It is but an Inspiration that is inspired [unto him]"

The noble Qur'an, Al-Najm(53):3-4

13) He shall bring all things into your remembrance:

The prophesy of this coming Paraclete requires that he shall remind mankind of the words of Jesus. Jesus is speaking here not to those who disbelieved, but to his own followers. He is telling his followers that the Paraclete shall "remind" them of the message of Jesus. However, if the followers of Jesus already know and remember all that Jesus taught then how shall the Paraclete "remind" them of something which they already remember? Obviously, the coming Paraclete shall come in a time when the teachings of Jesus have been forgotten and require one to "remind" Jesus' followers of them. Indeed, the Qur'an does in fact confirm this same situation. We read:

"And from those who said: "We are Christians," We took their covenant, but they forgot a good part of the message which was sent to them. Therefore We have stirred up enmity and hatred among them till the Day of Resurrection, and Allah will inform them of what they used to do. O people of the Scripture! Now has Our messenger (Muhammad) come to you, explaining to you much of that which you used to hide in the Scripture, and forgiving much. Indeed, there has come to you a light from Allah and a plain Scripture. Wherewith Allah guides him who seeks His good pleasure unto paths of peace. He brings them out of darkness by His will into light, and guides them to a straight path."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Maidah(5):14-16

It is further important to note that one of the names of the Qur'an is "Al-Thikr" (The Reminder). For example:

"Verily, it is We who have sent down 'The Reminder' and it is We who shall preserve it"

The noble Qur'an, Al-Hijr(15):9

(also see Al-Sajda(41):41, and Al-Qalam(68):51)

14) He will show you things to come:

There were many prophesies made in the Qur'an and in the Sunnah (tradition) of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself. For instance, in the opening verses of the chapter of al-Room (The Romans), we read:

"The Romans have been defeated. In the lowest/closest land, and they, after their defeat will be victorious. Within ten years. Allah's is the command in the former case and in the latter and in that day the believers will rejoice. In Allah's support to victory. He helps to victory whom He will. He is the Mighty, the Merciful. It is a promise of Allah. Allah fails not His promise, but most of mankind know not. They know only some appearance of the life of the world, and are heedless of the Hereafter"

The noble Qur'an, Al-Room(30):2-6

When Islam was still in its infancy and its followers were being severely persecuted, tortured, and killed by the pagan idol worshipers of Arabia (Quraish), there were two "Superpowers" near by. They were the Romans and the Persians. The pagans of Arabia used to like to see the Persians victorious against the Romans because the Persians were pagans like them. However, the Muslims liked to see the Romans victorious because they were "people of the book." About this time, the Romans suffered a resounding defeat to the Persians that seemed to signal the end of the Roman empire. The pagans of Arabia were ecstatic. They went out of their way to hold this defeat over the heads of every Muslim they would encounter. They said: "Just as the Christians in Rome have been crushed by the pagans of Persia, so shall we crush you." This was psychological warfare against the Muslims which they were adding to the physical torture they were subjecting the Muslims to. It was at this time that these verses were revealed to Muhammad (pbuh) consoling him and the Muslims in general that matters were not as they seemed, and that the Romans would come back and defeat the Persians within "Bidh'u" years. "Bidh'u" is an Arabic word that means "between three and nine." This prophesy did indeed come true and the Romans were once again victorious against the Persians, at the same time, the Muslims achieved their first strategic victory against the pagans of Arabia in the battle of Badr. Mr. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, in his commentary on the Qur'an narrates the following explanation of the above verses:

"The remarkable defeats of the Roman Empire under Heraclius and the straits to which it was reduced are reviewed in Appendix No. 6 (to follow this Sura). It was not merely isolated defeats; the Roman Empire lost most of its Asiatic territory and was hemmed in on all sides at its capital, Constantinople. The defeat, "in a land close by" must refer to Syria and Palestine, Jerusalem was lost in 614-15 AD, shortly before this Sura was revealed.

The Pagan Quraish of Makkah rejoiced at the overthrow of Rome by Persia. They were pro-Persian, and in their heart of hearts they hoped that the nascent movement of Islam, which at that time was, from a worldly point of view, very weak and helpless, would also collapse under their persecution. But they misread the true Signs of the times. They are told here that they would soon be disillusioned in both their calculations, and it actually so happened at the battle of Issus in 622 (the year of Hijrat) and in 624, when Heradius carried his campaign into the heart of Persia (see Appendix No: 6) and the Makkan Quraish were beaten off at Badr.

Bidh'un in the text means a short period-a period of from three to nine years. The period between the loss of Jerusalem (614-15) by the Romans and their victory at Issus (622) was seven years, and that to the penetration of Persia by Heraclius was nine years. See last note.

The battle of Badr (2 A.H. = 624 AD) was a real time of rejoicing for the Believers and a time of disillusionment for the arrogant Quraish, who thought that they could crush the whole movement of Islam in Madinah as they had tried to do in Makkah, but they were singly repulsed."

There were many other prophesies made by the Qur'an which, without exception, all came true. Some Christians whom I have the the pleasure of speaking to on this topic have attempted to trivialize this and other prophesies of prophet Muhammad (pbuh) which such words as:

"I want a list of [prophet Muhammad's] prophesies and I hope they are not easy prophesies such as a prediction of the outcome of a war which have almost 50-50 chances, but actual supernatural revelation which no man can predict unless he is told by God himself."

Such statements are a result of a general unfamiliarity with the details of these prophesies and the situation surrounding them. For example, regarding the above prophesy, when this verse was first revealed to Muhammad (pbuh) by the Almighty, the Roman Empire was at that time believed by everyone to be on the verge of utter collapse before the advancing Persian forces. After the Persian's final crippling moral and physical defeat of the Romans wherein they took from them the very capital of their faith, all onlookers believed it to be the beginning of the end for the Romans. It was at this time that this verse was revealed wherein the whole message of Islam and the truthfulness of prophet Muhammad (pbuh) were placed in the balance. Not only did this verse directly oppose what everyone else believed, however, it even specified the timeframe when this prophesy was to occur.

This was not the only prophesy made by the final messenger of God, Muhammad (pbuh), rather there were many more such as the time when 10,000 of the troops of the pagan army of Quraish were advancing upon his city to utterly destroy him and his followers (in 'The Battle of the Trench' ) and he and about 3000 of his followers were preparing as best they could to stave off this attack by digging a trench. While prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was digging with them he made a number of prophesies including the Muslim's capture of Al-Yemen, Al-Sham (Jerusalem, Iraq, etc.), Morrocco, Persia, and the Eastern countries. All of this was said by him while many of the Muslims were expecting to be totally destroyed at any minute by the advancing army which vastly outnumbered them and was much better armed.

Another example would be that of Al-Israa(17):7. Then there was also the prophesy made by Muhammad a couple of years before his death that before he would die Makkah, the capital of pagan Arabia, would be captured by the Muslims. This prophesy too came true. On another occation, the prophet was sitting in a garden. Uthmaan ibn Affan walked in and the prophet asked Abu Musa Al-Ashari to give him glad tidings that he shall be of the people of Paradise and to further inform him that the people would mutiny against him. This prophecy was fulfilled many years after the death of the prophet (pbuh) when Uthman became the third Caliph and was murdered shortly therafter when a party of the citizens rose against him and slew him.

Ali ibn Abi Talib, the fourth Caliph, had also been informed by the Prophet of his assassination in such detail that he knew the man who was going to kill him, and identified him pointing him out to the people. They asked Ali why he did not kill the man and he replied: "Then who will kill me?" The night preceding his assassination Ali came out, gazed at the sky and said: "By Allah the prophet (pbuh) never told a lie, nor was a lie ever told to him." The next day the same man killed Ali, as the prophet had predicted.

Safinah narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said: The Caliphate of Prophecy will last thirty years; then Allah will give the rule of His Kingdom to whomever He wills." (narrated by Abu-Dawood). This was indeed the length of the Caliphate after the death of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh). After that, the rule of monarchies replaced the rule of the Caliphate.

The Prophet also predicted the division of the Muslims into many sects, and how some people would do to Ali what the Christians did to Jesus. This clearly refers to the Shi'its, who exaggerate the love and praise of Ali to such a degree that one of their sects, Al-Nusaria, actually worship him as the manifestation of Allah.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) further predicted the capture of Egypt, and commanded his followers when this were to occur that they should treat the people well. He further prophesied that the Muslims would overthrow the Persian Empire and seize the treasures of the their Emperor Choseros. He also told one of the companions by the name of Suraqa bin Malik that he would be given the bracelets of Caesar. Many years after the death of the prophet, these bracelets fell into the possession of Umar ibn Al-Khattab and he called upon Suraqa and placed the bracelets on his arms, reminding him of the prophet's words.

Awf ibn Malik narrated in Sahih Al-Bukhari:

"I went to the Prophet (pbuh) during the battle of Tabuk while he was sitting in a leather tent. He said, 'Count six signs that indicate the approach of the [final] Hour: 1) My death; 2) The conquest of Jerusalem; 3) A plague that will afflict you (and kill you in great numbers) as the plague that afflicts sheep; 4) The increase of wealth to such an extent that even if one is given one-hundred Dinars, he will not be satisfied; 5) Then an affliction which no Arab house will escape; 6) And then a truce between you and Banu al-Asfar (i.e. the Byzantines, or Christians) who will betray you and attack you under eighty flags. Under each flag will be twelve thousand soldiers.'"

The prophesies are many and varied. Some of them deal with what the financial situation of the Muslims shall be after him, some deal with what their moral and religious situation shall be, some deal with upcoming battles, some deal with trials and the anti-Christ and the coming of Gog and Magog. Some deal with the second coming of Jesus (pbuh), and many other issues which can not be dealt with here. However, I shall leave it up to the interested student to research this topic in order to verify its authenticity. Two useful references on this topic are:

1.Ashrat Al-Sa'a (The signs of the hour), by Yusuf Al-Wabil, and

2.It'haf Al-Jama'ah Bima Ja'a fi Al-Fitan Wa Al-Malahim Wa Ashrat Al-Sa'a, By Humood Abdullah Al-Tuwaijiri