By Professor David Benjamin Keldani
“And when Jesus, the son of Mary said: “Children of Israel, I am sent to you by Allah to confirm the Torah that is before me, and to give news of a Messenger who will come after me whose name shall be Ahmad.” Yet when he came to them with clear proofs, they said: “This is clear sorcery” (Qur’an 61.6 ).And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Periqlytos, that he may stay with you for ever (John xiv. 16, etc.).
There is some incoherency in the words ascribed to Jesus by the Fourth Gospel. It reads as if several Periqlytes had already come and gone, and that “another Periqlytos” would be given only at the request of Jesus. These words also leave behind the impression that the Apostles were already made familiar with this name which the Greek text renders Periqlytos. The adjective “another” preceding a foreign noun for the first time announced seems very strange and totally superfluous. There is no doubt that the text has been tampered with and distorted. It pretends that the Father will send the Periqlyte at the request of Jesus, otherwise the Periqlyte would never have come! The word “ask,” too, seems superficial, and unjustly displays a touch of arrogance on the part of the Prophet of Nazareth. If we want to find out the real sense in these words we must correct the text and supply the stolen or corrupted words, thus: I shall go to the Father, and he shall send you another messenger whose name shall be Periqlytos, that he may remain with you for ever.Now with the additional italicized words, both the robbed modesty of Jesus is restored and the nature of the Periqlyte identified. We have already seen that the Periqlyte is not the Holy Spirit, that is to say, a divine person, Gabriel, or any other angel. It now remains to prove that the Periqlyte could not be a consoler nor an advocate between God and men.
1. The Periqlyte is not the “Consoler” nor the “Intercessor.” We have fully shown the material impossibility of discovering the least signification of “consolation” or of “intercession”. Christ does not use Paraqalon. Besides, even from a religious and moral point of view the idea of consolation and intercession is inadmissible.
(a) The belief that the death of Jesus upon the Cross redeemed the believers from the curse of original sin, and that his spirit, grace, and presence in the Eucharist would be for ever with them, left them in need of no consolation nor of the coming of a consoler at all. On the other hand, if they needed such a comforter, then all the Christian presumptions and pretensions concerning the sacrifice of
Calvary fall to the ground. In fact, the language of the Gospels and that of the Epistles explicitly indicates that the second coming Jesus upon the clouds was imminent (Matt. xvi. 28; Mark ix. 1; Luke ix. 27; 1 John ii. 18; 2 Tim. ii. 1; 2 Thess. ii. 3, etc.).
(b) Consolation can never make restitution of the loss. To console a man who has lost his sight, wealth, son, or situation, cannot restore any of those losses. The promise that a consoler would be sent by God after Jesus had gone would indicate the total collapse of all hope in the triumph of the Kingdom of God.
The promise of a consoler indicates mourning and lamentation and would naturally drive the Apostles into disappointment if not into despair. They needed, not a consoler in their distress and afflictions, but a victorious warrior to crush the devil and his power, one who would put an end to their troubles and persecutions.
(c) The idea of an “intercessor” between God and man is even more untenable than that of the “consoler.” There is no absolute mediator between the Creator and the creature. The Oneness of Allah alone is our absolute intercessor. The Christ who advised his audience to pray to God in secret, to enter the closet and shut the door and then to pray – for only under such a condition their heavenly “Father” would hear their prayer and grant them His grace and succor – could not promise them an intercessor. How to reconcile this contradiction! (d) All believers, in their prayers, intercede for each other, the prophets and angels do the same. It is our duty to invoke the Mercy of Allah, pardon, and help for ourselves as well as for others. But Allah is not bound or obliged to accept the intercession of anyone unless He pleases. If Allah had accepted the intercession of His Holy Prophet Muhammad, all men and women would have been converted to the religion of Islam. I would be duly grateful to the person through whose intercession I obtained pardon, and relief. But I shall always dread the judge or the despot who was delivering me into the hands of an executioner. How learned these Christians are, when they believe that Jesus at the right hand of his Father intercedes for them, and at the same time believe in another intercessor – inferior to himself – who sits on the throne of the Almighty! The Holy Qur’an strictly forbids the faith, the trust in a “shafi” or intercessor in this manner. Of course, we do not know for certain but it is quite conceivable that certain angels, the spirits of the prophets and those of the saints, are permitted by God to render help and guidance to those who are placed under their patronage. The idea of an advocate before the tribunal of God, pleading the cause of his clients, may be very admirable, but it is erroneous, because God is not a human judge subject to passion, ignorance, partiality, and all the rest of it. The Muslims, the believers, need only education and religious training; God knows the actions and the hearts of men infinitely better than the angels and prophets. Consequently there is no necessity for intercessors between the Deity and the creatures. It is worth noting that the intercession of any good person for others is limited to those who followed his prophet and those who accepted the succeeding prophet, but not for those who followed his prophet then rejected the suceeding prophet.
(e) The belief in intercessors emanates from the belief in sacrifices, burnt offerings, priesthood, and a massive edifice of superstition. This belief leads men into the worship of sepulchers and images of saints and martyrs; it helps to increase the influence and domination of the priest and monk; it keeps the people ignorant in the things divine; a dense cloud of the intermediary dead cover the spiritual atmosphere between God and the spirit of man. Then this belief prompts men who, for the pretended glory of God and the conversion of the people belonging to a different religion than theirs, raise immense sums of money, establish powerful and rich missions, and lordly mansions; but at heart those missionaries are political agents of their respective Governments. The real cause of the calamities which have befallen the Armenians, the Greeks, and the Chaldeo-Assyrians in
Persia ought to be sought in the treacherous and revolutionary instruction given by all the foreign missions in the East. Indeed, the belief in the intercessors has always been a source of abuse, fanaticism, persecution, ignorance, and of many other evils. Having proved that the “Paraclete” of
St. John’s Gospel does not and cannot mean either “consoler” or “advocate,” nor any other thing at all, and that it is a corrupted form of Periqlytos, we shall now proceed to discuss the real signification of it.
2. Periqlytos etymologically and literally means “the most illustrious, renowned, and praiseworthy.” I take for my authority Alexandre’s Dictionnaire Grec-Francais=Periqlytos, “Qu’on peut entendre de tous les cotes; qu’il est facile a entendre. Tres celebre,” etc. “= Periqleitos, tres celebre, illustre, glorieux; = Periqleys, tres celebre, illustre, glorieux,” from = Kleos, glorire, renommee, celebrite.” This compound noun is composed of the prefix “peri,” and “kleotis,” the latter derived from “to glorify, praise.” The noun, which I write in English characters Periqleitos or Periqlytos, means precisely what AHMAD means in Arabic, namely the most illustrious, glorious, and renowned. The only difficulty to be solved and overcome is to discover the original Semitic name used by Jesus Christ either in Hebrew or Aramaic.
(a) The Syriac Pshittha, while writing “Paraqleita,” does not even in a glossary give its meaning. But the Vulgate translates it into “consolator” or “consoler.” If I am not mistaken the Aramaic form must have been “Mhamda” or “Hamida”‘ to correspond with the Arabic “Muhammad” or “Ahmad” and the Greek ‘Periqlyte.” The interpretation of the Greek word in the sense of consolation does not imply that the name Periqlyte itself is the consoler, but the belief and the hope in the promise that he will come “to console the early Christians. The expectation that Jesus would come down again in glory before many of his auditors had “tasted the death” had disappointed them, and concentrated all their hopes in the coming of the Periqlyte.
(b) The Qur’anic revelation that Jesus, the son of Mary, declared unto the people of Israel that he was “bringing glad tidings of a messenger, who shall come after me and whose name shall be Ahmad,” is one of the strongest proofs that Prophet Muhammad was truly a Prophet and that the Qur’an is really a Divine Revelation. He could never have known that the Periqlyte meant Ahmad, unless through inspiration and Divine Revelation. The authority of the Qur’an is decisive and final; for the literal signification of the Greek name exactly and indisputably corresponds with Ahmad and Muhammad. Indeed, the Angel Gabriel, or the Holy Spirit, seems even to have distinguished the positive from the superlative form the former signifying precisely Muhammad and the latter Ahmad. It is marvellous that this unique name, never before given to any other person, was miraculously preserved for the most Illustrious and Praiseworthy Prophet of Allah! We never come across any Greek bearing the name Periqleitos (or Periqlytos), nor any Arab bearing the name of Ahmad. True, there was a famous Athenian called Periqleys which means “illustrious,” etc., but not in the superlative degree.
(c) It is quite clear from the description of the Fourth Gospel that Periqlyte is a definite person, a created holy spirit, who would come and dwell in a human body to perform and accomplish the prodigious work assigned to him by God, which no other man, including Moses, Jesus, and any other prophet, had ever accomplished. We, of course, do not deny that the disciples of Prophet Jesus did receive the Spirit of God, that the true converts to the faith of Jesus were hallowed with the Holy Spirit, and that there were numerous Unitarian Christians who led a saintly and righteous life. On the day of the Pentecost – that is, ten days after the Ascension of Jesus Christ – the Spirit of God descended upon the disciples and other believers numbering one hundred and twenty persons, in the form of tongues of fire (Acts ii.); and this number, which had received the Holy Spirit in the form of one hundred and twenty tongues of fire, was increased unto three thousand souls who were baptized, but were not visited by the flame of the Spirit. Surely one definite Spirit cannot be divided into six-score of individuals. By the Holy Spirit, unless definitely described as a personality, we may understand it to be God’s power, grace, gift, action, and inspiration. Jesus had promised this heavenly gift and power to sanctify, enlighten, strengthen, and teach his flock; but this Spirit was quite different from the Periqlyte who alone accomplished the great work which Jesus and after him the Apostles were not authorized and empowered to accomplish, as we shall see later.
(d) The early Christians of the first and second centuries relied more upon tradition than upon writings concerning the new religion. Papias and others belong to this category. Even in the lifetime of the Apostles several sects, pseudochrists, Antichrists, and false teachers, tore asunder the Church (I John ii. 18-26; 2 Thess. ii. 1-12; 2 Peter ii. iii. 1; John 7-13; 1 Tim. iv. 1-3; 2 Tim. iii. 1-13; etc.). The “believers” are advised and exhorted to stick to and abide by the Tradition, namely, the oral teaching of the Apostles. These so-called “heretical” sects, such as the Gnostics, Apollinarians, Docetae, and others, appear to have no faith in the fables, legends, and extravagant views about the sacrifice and the redemption of Jesus Christ as contained in many fabulous writings spoken of by Luke (i. 1-4).
One of the heresiarchs of a certain sect – whose name has escaped my memory – actually assumed “Periqleitos” as his name, pretending to be “the most praiseworthy” Prophet foretold by Jesus, and had many followers. If there were an authentic Gospel authorized by Jesus Christ or by all the Apostles, there could be no such numerous sects, all opposed to the contents of the books contained in or outside the existing New Testament. We can safely infer from the action of the pseudo-Periqlyte that the early Christians considered the promised “Spirit of Truth” to be a person and the final Prophet of God.
3. There is not the slightest doubt that by “Periqlyte,” Prophet Muhammad, i.e. Ahmad, is intended. The two names, one in Greek and the other in Arabic, have precisely the same signification, and both mean the “most Illustrious and Praised,” just as “Pneuma” and “Ruh.” mean nothing more or less than “Spirit” in both languages. We have seen that the translation of the word into “consoler” or “advocate” is absolutely untenable and wrong. The compound form of Paraqalon is derived from the verb composed of the prefix-Para-qalo, but the Periqlyte is derived from the Peri-qluo. The difference is as clear as anything could be. Let us examine, then, the marks of the Periqlyte which can only be found in Ahmad – Prophet Muhammad.
(a) Prophet Muhammad alone revealed the whole truth about God, His Oneness, religion, and corrected the impious libels and calumnies written and believed against Himself and many of His holy worshipers. Jesus is reported to have said about Periqlyte that he is “the Spirit of Truth,” that he “will give witness” concerning the true nature of Jesus and of his mission (John xiv. 17; xv. 26).
In his discourses and orations Jesus speaks of the pre-existence of his own spirit (John viii. 58 xvii. 5, etc.). In the Gospel of Barnabas, Jesus is reported to have often spoken of the glory and the splendor of Prophet Muhammad’s spirit whom he had seen. There is no doubt that the Spirit of the Last Prophet was created long before Adam. Therefore Jesus, in speaking about him, naturally would declare and describe him as “the Spirit of Truth.” It was this Spirit of Truth that reprimanded the Christians for dividing the Oneness of God into a trinity of persons; for their having raised Jesus to the dignity of God and son of God, and for their having invented all sorts of superstitions and innovations. It was this Spirit of Truth that exposed the frauds of both the Jews and Christians for having corrupted their Scriptures; that condemned the former for their libels against the chastity of the Blessed Virgin and against the birth of her son Jesus. It was this Spirit of Truth that demonstrated the birthright of Ishmael, the innocence of
Lot, Solomon, and many other prophets of old and cleared their name of the slur and infamy cast upon them by the Jewish forgers. It was this Spirit of Truth, too, that gave witness about the true Jesus, man, prophet, and worshiper of God; and has made it absolutely impossible for Muslims to become idolaters, magicians, and believers in more than the One and only Allah.
(b) Among the principal marks of Periqlyte, “the Spirit of Truth,” when he comes in the person of the “Son of Man” – Ahmad – is “he will chastise the world for sin” (John xvi. 8, 9). No other worshiper of Allah, whether a king like David and Solomon or a prophet like Abraham and Moses, did carry on this chastisement for sin to the extreme end, with resolution, fervor, and courage as Prophet Muhammad did. Every breach of the law is a sin, but idolatry is its mother and source. We sin against God when we love an object more than Him, but the worship of any other object or being besides God is idolatry, the evil and the total negligence of the Good – in short, sin in general. All the men of God chastised their neighbors and people for sin, but not “the world,” as Prophet Muhammad did. He not only rooted out idolatry in the peninsula of Arabia in his lifetime, but also he sent envoys to the Chosroes Parviz and to Heraclius, the sovereigns of the two greatest empires, Persia and Rome, and to the King of Ethiopia, the Governor of Egypt, and several other Kings and amirs, inviting them all to embrace the religion of Islam and to abandon idolatry and false faiths.
The chastisement by Prophet Muhammad began with the delivery of the Word of God as he received it, namely, the recital of the verses of the Qur’an; then with preaching, teaching, and practicing the true religion; but when the Power of Darkness, idolatry, opposed him with arms he drew the sword and punished the unbelieving enemy. This was in fulfillment of the decree of God (Dan. vii.). Prophet Muhammad was endowed by God with power and dominion to establish the Kingdom of
God, and to become the first Prince and Commander-in-Chief under the “King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.”
(c) The other characteristic feature of the exploits of Periqlyte – Ahmad – is that he will reprove the world of righteousness and justice (loc. cit.). The interpretation “of righteousness, because I am going to my Father” (John xvi. 10) put into the mouth of Jesus is obscure and ambiguous. The return of Jesus unto his God is given as one of the reasons for the chastisement of the world by the coming Periqlyte. Why so? And who did chastise the world on that account? The Jews believed that they crucified and killed Jesus, and did not believe that he was raised and taken up into heaven. It was Prophet Muhammad who chastised and punished them severely for their infidelity. “Rather, Allah raised him (Jesus) up to Him…” (Qur’an Ch.4 v158). The same chastisement was inflicted upon the Christians who believed and still believe that he was really crucified and killed upon the Cross, and imagine him to be God or the son of God. To these the Qur’an replied: “…They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but to them (the one crucified) was given the look (of Jesus). Those who differ concerning him (Jesus) surely are in doubt regarding him, they have no knowledge of him, except the following of supposition and they did not kill him – a certainty” (Ch.4 v157). Several believers in Jesus in the very beginning of Christianity denied that Christ himself suffered upon the Cross, but maintained that another among his followers, Judas Iscariot or another very like him, was seized and crucified in his stead. The Corinthians, the Basilidians, the Corpocratians and many other sectaries held the same view. I have fully discussed this question of the Crucifixion in my work entitled Injil wa Salib (“The Gospel and the Cross”) of which only one volume was published in Turkish just before the Great War. I shall devote an article to this subject. So the justice done to Jesus by Ahmad was to authoritatively declare that he was “Ruhu ‘l-Lah,” the Spirit of God that he was not himself crucified and killed, and that he was a human being but a beloved and Holy Messenger of God. This was what Jesus meant by justice concerning his person, mission, and transportation into heaven, and this was actually accomplished by the Prophet and Messenger of Allah, Muhammad.
(d) The most important mark of Periqlyte is that he would chastise the world on account of Judgment “because the prince of this world is to be judged” (John xvi. 11). The King or Prince of this world was Satan (John xii. 31, xiv. 30), because the world was subject to him. I must draw the kind attention of my readers to the seventh chapter of the Book of Daniel written in Aramaic or Babylonian dialect. There it illustrates how the “thrones” (“Kursawan”) and the “Judgment” (“dina”) were set up, and the “books” (“siphrin”) were opened. In Arabic, too, the word “dinu”, like the Aramaic “dina,” means judgment, but it is generally used to signify religion. That the Qur’an should make use of the “Dina” of Daniel as an expression of judgment and religion is more than significant. In my humble opinion this is a direct sign and evidence of the truth revealed by the same Holy Spirit or Gabriel to Prophets Daniel, Jesus, and Muhammad. Prophet Muhammad could not forge or fabricate this even if he were as learned a philosopher as Aristotle. The judgment described with all its majesty and glory was set up to judge the satan in the form of the fearful fourth Beast by the Supreme Judge, the Eternal. It was then that someone appeared “like a son of man” (“kbar inish”) or “barnasha,” who was presented to the Almighty, invested with power, honor, and kingdom for ever, and appointed to kill the Beast and to establish the Kingdom of the People of the Saints of the Most High. Jesus Christ was not appointed to destroy the Beast; he abstained from political affairs, paid tribute to Caesar, and fled away when they wanted to crown him King. He clearly declares that the Chief of this world is coming; for the Periqlyte will root out the abominable cult of idolatry. All this was accomplished by Prophet Muhammad in a few years. Islam is Kingdom and Judgment, or religion; it has the Book of Law, the Holy Al-Qur’an; it has Allah as its Supreme Judge and King, and Prophet Muhammad as its victorious hero of everlasting bliss and glory!
(e) “The last but not the least mark of the Periqlyte is that he will not speak anything of himself, but whatsoever he hears that will he speak, and he will show you the future things” (John xv. 13). There is not one iota, not a single word or comment of Prophet Muhammad or of his devoted and holy companions in the text of the glorious Qur’an. All its contents are the revealed Word of Allah. Prophet Muhammad recited, pronounced the Word of God as he heard it read to him by the Angel Gabriel, and then it was memorized and written by the faithful scribes. The words, sayings, and teachings of the Prophet, though sacred and edifying, are not the Word of God,. and they are called Hadith or Traditions. Is he not, then, even in this description, the true Periqlyte? Can you show us another person, besides Ahmad, to possess in himself all these material, moral, and practical qualities, marks, and distinctions of Periqlyte? You cannot. I think I have said enough on the Periqlyte and shall conclude with a sacred verse from the Qur’an: ” I follow only what is revealed to me, I am only a clear warner” Ch.46:9.