The "Paraclete" Is Not The Holy Spirit
In this article we can now discuss the famous "Paraclete" of the Fourth Gospel. Jesus Christ, like John the Baptist, announced the advent of the Kingdom of God, invited the people to repentance, and baptized them for the remission of their sins. He honorably accomplished his mission, and faithfully delivered the message of God to the people of Israel. He was not himself the founder of the Kingdom of God, but only its herald, and that is why he wrote nothing and authorized no one to write the Holy Gospel that was inscribed in his mind. He revealed the Gospel which meant the "good news" concerning the "Kingdom of God" and the "Pereiklitos" to his followers, not in writing, but in oral discourses, and in public sermons. These discourses sermons, and parables were transmitted by those who had heard them to those who had not. Later on it was that the sayings and teachings of the Master were reduced to writing. Jesus was no longer the Rabbi, but the Logos - the Divine Word; no longer the Forerunner of the Paraclete but his very Lord and Superior. His pure and true words were adulterated and mixed with myth and legend. For a time he was expected at any moment to come down from the clouds with legions of angels. The Apostles had all passed away; the second coming of Jesus Christ was delayed. His person and doctrine gave rise to a variety of religious and philosophical speculations. Sects succeeded one another; Gospels and Epistles under different names and titles appeared in many centers; and a multitude of the Christian scholars and apologists combated and criticized each other's theory. If there had been written a Gospel during the lifetime of Jesus, or even a book authorized by the College of the Apostles, the teachings of the Prophet of Nazareth would have preserved their purity and integrity until the appearance of the Periqlit - Ahmad. But such was not the case. Each writer took a different view about the Master and his religion, and described him in his book - which he named Gospel or Epistle - according to his own imagination. The high-soaring flight of thought concerning the Word; the prophecy about the Periqlit; the inexplicable discourse of Jesus upon his flesh and blood; and a series of several miracles, events, and sayings recorded in the Fourth Gospel were unknown to the Synoptics and consequently to a great majority of the Christians who had not seen it at least for a couple of centuries.
The Fourth Gospel, too, like every other book of the New Testament, was written in Greek and not in Aramaic, which was the mother-tongue of Jesus and his disciples. Consequently, we are again confronted with the same difficulty which we met with when we were discussing the "Eudokia" of St. Luke, namely: What word or name was it that Jesus used in his native tongue to express that which the Fourth Gospel has translated as "the Paraclete" and which has been converted into "comforter" in all the versions of that Gospel?
Before discussing the etymology and the true signification of this unclassical or rather corrupt form of the Paraclete it is necessary to make a brief observation upon one particular feature of St. John's Gospel. The authorship and authenticity of this Gospel are questions which concern the Higher Biblical Criticism; but it is impossible to believe that the Apostle could have written this book as we have it in its present shape and contents. The author, whether Yohannan (John) the son of Zebedee, or someone else under that name, seems to be familiar with the doctrine of the celebrated Jewish scholar and philosopher Philon concerning the Logos (Word). It is well known that the conquest of Palestine and the foundation of Alexandria by Alexander the Great opened up, for the first time, a new epoch for culture and civilization. It was then that the disciples of Moses met with those of Epicurus, and the mighty impact of the spiritual doctrines of the Bible on the materialism of the Greek paganism took place. The Greek art and philosophy began to be admired and studied by the Jewish doctors of the law both in Palestine and in Egypt, where they had a very numerous community. The penetration of the Greek thought and belles-lettres into the Jewish schools alarmed their priests and learned men. In fact, Hebrew was so much neglected that the Scriptures were read in the Alexandrian Synagogues in the Septuagint Version. This invasion by a foreign knowledge, however, moved the Jews to make a better study of their own law, and to defend it against the inauspicious new spirit. They endeavored, therefore, to find a new method for the interpretation of the Bible in order to enable the possibility of a "rapprochement" and reconciliation of the Biblical truths with the Hellenic thought. For their former method of a literal interpretation of the law was felt to be unworkable and too weak to stand against the fine reasoning of Plato and Aristotle. At the same time the solid activities of the Jews and their profound devotion to their religion often aroused against themselves the jealousy and hatred of the Greeks. Already, under Alexander the Great, an Egyptian priest, Manetho, had written libels or calumnies against Judaism. Under Tiberius, too, the great orator Apion had resuscitated and envenomed the insults of Manetho. So that this literature poisoned the people who, later on, cruelly persecuted the believers in the One true God.
The new method was accordingly found and adopted. It was an allegorical interpretation of every law, precept, narration and even the names of great personages were considered to conceal in them a secret idea which it attempted to bring to light. This allegorical interpretation soon arrogated to itself the place of the Bible, and was like an envelope enclosing in itself a system of religious philosophy.
Now the most prominent man who personified this science was Philon, who was born of a rich Jewish family in Alexandria in the year 25 before the Christian Era. Well versed in the philosophy of Plato, he wrote his allegorical work in a pure and harmonious Greek style. He believed that the doctrines of the Revelation could agree with the highest human knowledge and wisdom. What preoccupied his mind most was the phenomenon of the dealings of God, the pure Spirit, with the earthly beings. Following Plato's theory of the "Ideas," he invented a series of intermediary ideas called "the Emanations of the Divinity," which he transformed into angles who unite God with the world. The fundamental substance of these ideas, the Logos (Word), constituted the supreme wisdom created in the world and the highest expression of the Providential action.
The Alexandrian School followed the triumph of Judaism over Paganism. "But," as rightly remarks the Grand-Rabin Paul Haguenauer in his interesting little book Manuel de Litterature luive (p. 24). "mais d'elle surgirent, plus tard, des systemes nuisibles Li l'hebraisme" indeed noxious systems, not only to Judaism but to Christendom too!
The origin of the doctrine of the Logos is to be traced, therefore, to the theology of Philon. The Apostle John - or the author of the Fourth Gospel, whoever he be - only dogmatized the theory of the "ideas" which had sprung up first from the golden brain of Plato. As remarked in the first article of this series, the Divine Word means the Word of God, and not God the Word. The word is an attribute of a rational being; it belongs to any speaker, but it is not the rational being, the speaker.
The Divine Word is not eternal, it has an origin, a beginning; it did not exist before the beginning except potentially. The Word is not the essence. It is a serious error to substantialize any attribute (i.e. the Word). If it be permitted to say "God the Word," why should it be prohibited to say, God the Mercy, God the Love, God the Vengeance, God the Life, God the Power, and so forth? I can well understand and accept the appellation of Jesus "the Spirit of Allah" ("Ruhu l-Lah"), of Moses "the Word of Allah" ("Kalamu 'I-Lah"), of Muhammad "the Messenger of Allah" ("Rasul Allah"), meaning the Spirit of God, the Word of God, the Messenger of God respectively. But I can never understand nor accept that the Spirit, or the Word, or the Messenger, is a Divine Person having divine and human natures.
Now, we will proceed to expose and confute the Christian error about the Paraclete. In this article I shall try to prove that the Paraclete is not, as the Christian Churches believe, the Holy Ghost, nor does it at all mean the "comforter" or the "intercessor;" and in the following article, please God, I shall clearly show that it is not "Paraclete", but "Periclyte" which precisely signifies "Ahmad" in the sense of "the most Illustrious, Praised, and Celebrated."
1. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS DESCRIBED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT AS OTHERWISE THAN A PERSONALITY
A careful examination of the following passages in the New Testament will convince the readers that the Holy Spirit, not only is it not the third person of the Trinity, but is not even a distinct person. The "Paraclete" foretold by Jesus Christ is a distinct person. This fundamental difference between the two is, therefore, a decisive argument against the hypothesis of their being one and the same person.
(a) In Luke xi. 13 the Holy Spirit is declared to be a "gift" of God. The contrast between the "good gifts" which are given by wicked parents and the Holy Spirit which is bestowed upon the believers by God entirely excludes the idea of any personality of the Spirit. Can we conscientiously and positively affirm that Jesus Christ, when he made the above contrast, meant to teach his hearers that "God the Father" makes a gift of "God the Holy Spirit" to His earthly "children"? Did he ever insinuate that he believed the third person of the Trinity to be a gift of the first person of the Trinity? Can we conscientiously admit that the Apostles believed this "gift" to be God the Almighty offered by God the Almighty to mortals? The very idea of such a belief makes a Muslim shudder.
(b) In 1 Cor. ii. 12 this Holy Spirit is described in the neuter gender "the Spirit from God". Paul clearly states that as the Spirit which is in man makes him know the things that appertain to him so the Spirit of God makes a man know the things divine (1 Cor. 11). Consequently, the Holy Spirit here is not God but a divine issue, channel, or medium through which God teaches, enlightens, and inspire those whom He pleases. It is simply an action of God upon human soul and mind.
Just as the philosophy of Plato is not the Plato, and the Platonist Philon not the creator of that specific wisdom, so Peter was not God because of his enlightenment by the Spirit of God. Paul clearly sets forth, in the passage just quoted, that the human soul cannot discern the truths concerning God but only through His Spirit, inspiration, and direction.
(c) Again, in 1 Cor. vi. 19 we read that the righteous worshipers of God are called "the temple of the Holy Spirit" which they "received from God." Here again the Spirit of God is not indicated to be a person or an angel, but His virtue, word, or power and religion. Both the body and the soul of a righteous believer are compared with a temple dedicated to the worship of the Eternal.
(d) In the Epistle to the Romans (viii. 9) this same spirit that "lives" within the believers is called alternately "the Spirit of God" and the "Spirit of Christ." In this passage "the Spirit" means simply the faith and the true religion of God which Jesus proclaimed. Surely this spirit cannot mean to be the Christian ideal of the Holy Ghost, viz. another third of the three. We Muslims always wish and intend to regulate our lives and conduct ourselves in accordance with the spirit of Prophet Muhammad, meaning thereby that we are resolved to be faithful to the religion of Allah in much the same way as the Last Prophet was. For the holy Spirit in Prophet Muhammad, in Prophet Jesus, and in every other prophet was no other than the Spirit of Allah - praised be His Holy Name! This spirit is called "holy" to distinguish it from the impure and wicked spirit of the devil and his companions. This spirit is not a divine person, but a divine ray that enlightens and sanctifies the people of God.
(e) The Gospel formula, "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," even if authentic and truly prescribed by Christ, may be legitimately accepted as a formula of faith before the formal establishment of Islam, which is the real Kingdom of God upon earth. God Almighty in His quality of Creator is the Father of all beings, things, and intelligences, but not the Father of one particular son. The Orientalists know that the Semitic word "abb" or "abba," which is translated as "father," means "one who brings forth, or bears fruit" ("ibba" = fruit). This sense of the word is quite intelligible and its use legitimate enough. The Bible frequently makes use of the appellation "Father." God, somewhere in the Bible, says: "Israel is my first-born son"; and elsewhere in the book of Job He is called "the father of the rain." It is because of the abuse of this Divine Appellation of the Creator by Christendom that the Qur'an refrains from using it. From a purely Muslim point of belief the Christian dogma concerning the eternal birth or generation of the Son is a blasphemy.
Whether the Christian baptismal formula is authentic or spurious I believe there is a hidden truth in it. For it must be admitted that the Evangelists never authorize the use of it in any other ritual, prayer, or creed other than that of Baptism. This point is extremely important. St. John had foretold the Baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire by the Prophet Muhammad, as we saw in the preceding articles. The immediate Baptizer being God Himself, and the mediate the Son of Man or the Barnasha of the vision of Daniel, it was perfectly just and legitimate to mention those two names as the first and second efficient causes; and the name of the Holy Spirit, too, as the causa materialis of the Sibghatullah! Now the Divine Appellation "Father," before its abuse by the Church, was rightly invoked. In fact, the Sibghatullah is a new birth, a nativity into the Kingdom of God which is Islam. The Baptizer who causes this regeneration is directly Allah. To be born in the religion if Islam, to be endowed with the faith in the true God, is the greatest favor and gift of the "Heavenly Father" - to use the evangelistic expression. In this respect God is infinitely more beneficent than an earthly father.
As regards the second name in the formula, "the Son," one is at a loss to know who or what this "son" is? Whose son? If God is rightly addressed "Father," then one is curious, inquisitive, and anxious to know which of His innumerable "sons" is intended in the baptismal formula. Jesus taught us to pray "Our Father who art in heaven." If we are all His sons in the sense of His creatures, then the mention of the word "son" in the formula becomes somehow senseless and even ridiculous. We know that the name "the Son of Man" - or "Barnasha" - is mentioned eighty-three times in the discourses of Jesus. The Qur'an never calls Jesus "the son of man" but always "the son of Mary." He could not call himself "the son of man" because he was only "the son of woman." There is no getting away from the fact. You may make him "the son of God" as you do, but you can't make him "the son of man" unless you believe him to be the offspring of Joseph or someone else, and consequently fasten on to him the taint of illegitimacy.
I don't know exactly how, whether through intuition, inspiration, or dream, I am taught and convinced that the second name in the formula is an ill-fated corruption of "the Son of Man," viz. the Barnasha of Daniel (vii.), and therefore Ahmad "the Periqlytos" (Paraclete) of St. John's Gospel.
As to the Holy Spirit in the formula, it is not a person or an individual spirit, but an agency, force, energy of God with which a man is born or converted into the religion and knowledge of the One God.
2. - WHAT THE EARLY FATHERS OF THE NASARA (CHRISTIANITY) SAY ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT.
(a) Hermas (Similitude v. 5, 6) understands, by the "Holy Spirit," the divine element in Christ, namely the Son created before all things. Without entering into the useless or rather meaningless discussion whether Hermas confounds the Holy Spirit with the Word, or if it is a distinct element belonging to Christ, it is admitted that the latter was created before all things - that is to say, in the beginning - and that the Spirit in Hermas' belief is not a person.
(b) Justin - called the "Martyr" (100?-167? A.C.) - and Theophilus (120?-180? A.C.) understand by the Holy Spirit sometimes a peculiar form of the manifestation of the Word and sometimes a divine attribute, but never a divine person. It must be remembered that these two Greek fathers and writers of the second century A.C. had no definite knowledge and belief about the Holy Ghost of the Trinitarians of the fourth and the succeeding centuries.
(c) Athenagoras (110-180 A.C.) says the Holy Spirit is an emanation of God proceeding from and returning to Him like the rays of the sun (Deprecatio pro Christiarus, ix, x). Irenaeus (130?-202? A.C.) says that the Holy Spirit and the Son are two worshipers of God and that the angels submit to them. The wide difference between the belief and the conceptions of these two early fathers about the Holy Spirit is too obvious to need any further comment. It is surprising that the two worshipers of God, according to the declaration of such an authority as Irenaeus, should, two centuries afterwards, be raised to the dignity of God and proclaimed two divine persons in company with the one true God by whom they were created.
(d) The most illustrious and learned of all the ante-Nicene fathers and the Christian apologists was Origen (185-254 A C.). The author of the Hexepla ascribes personality to the Holy Spirit, but makes it a creature of the Son. The creation of the Holy Spirit by the Son cannot be even in the beginning when the Word - or the Son - was created by God.
The doctrine concerning this Holy Spirit was not sufficiently developed in 325 A.C., and therefore was not defined by the Council of Nicea. It was only in 386 A.C. at the second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople that it was declared to be the Third Person of the Trinity, consubstantial and coeval with the Father and the Son.
3. - The "Paraclete" does not signify either "consoler" or "advocate"; in truth, it is not a classical word at all. The Greek orthography of the word is Paraklytos which in ecclesiastical literature is made to mean "one called to aid, advocate, intercessor" (Dict. Grec.-Francais, by Alexandre). One need not profess to be a Greek scholar to know that the Greek word for "comforter or consoler" is not "Paraclytos" but "Paracalon". I have no Greek version of the Septuagint with me, but I remember perfectly well that the Hebrew word for "comforter" ("mnahem") in the Lamentations of Jeremiah (i. 2, 9, 16, 17, 21, etc.) is translated into Parakaloon, from the verb Parakaloo, which means to call to, invite, exhort, console, pray, invoke. It should be noticed that there is a long alpha vowel after the consonant kappa in the "Paracalon" which does not exist in the "Paraclytos." In the phrase (He who consoles us in all our afflictions") "paracalon" and not "paraclytos" is used. ("I exhort, or invite, thee to work"). Many other examples can be cited here.
There is another Greek word for comforter and consoler, i.e. "Parygorytys" from "I console."
As to the other meaning of "intercessor or advocate" which is given in the ecclesiastical word "Paraclete," I again insist that "Paracalon" and not "Paraclytos" can convey in itself a similar sense. The proper Greek term for "advocate" is Sunegorus and for "intercessor" or "mediator" Meditea.
In my next article I shall give the true Greek form of which Paraklytos is a corruption. En passant, I wish to correct an error into which the French savant Ernest Renan has also fallen. If I recollect well, Monsieur Renan, in his famous The Life of Christ, interprets the "Paraclete" of St John (xiv. 16, 26; xv. 7; 1 John ii. 1) as an "advocate." He cites the Syro-Chaldean form "Peraklit" as opposed to "Ktighra" "the accuser" from Kategorus. The Syrian name for mediator or intercessor is "mis'aaya," but in law courts the "Snighra" (from the Greek Sunegorus) is used for an advocate. Many Syrians unfamiliar with the Greek language consider the "Paraqlita" to be really the Aramaic or the Syriac form of the "Paraclete" in the Pshittha Version and to be composed of "Paraq," "to save from, to deliver from," and "lita" "the accursed." The idea that Christ is the "Savior from the curse of the law," and therefore he is himself too "Paraqlita" (1 John ii. 1), may have led some to think that the Greek word is originally an Aramaic word, just as the Greek sentence "Maran atha" in Aramaic is "Maran Athi," i.e. "our Lord is coming" (1 John xvi. 22), which seems to be an expression among the believers regarding the coming of the Last Great Prophet. This 'Maran Athi," as well as, especially, the baptismal formula, contains points too important to be neglected. They both deserve a special study and a valuable exposition. They both embody in themselves marks and indications otherwise than favorable to Christianity.
I think I have sufficiently proved that the "Paraclytos," from a linguistic and etymological point of view, does not mean "advocate, consoler, or comforter." For centuries the ignorant Latins and Europeans have been writing the name of Prophet Muhammad "Mahomet," that of Mushi "Moses." Is it, therefore, small wonder that some sturdy Christian monk or scribe should have written the true name in the corrupted form of Paraklytos? The former means the "most Illustrious, Praiseworthy," but the corrupted form means nothing at all except a standing shame to those who have for eighteen centuries understood it to signify an advocate or a consoler.
"Periqlytos" Means "Ahmad"
The Holy Qur'an (ch.61:6 ) declares that Jesus announced unto the people of Israel the coming of Ahmad: "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.'"
"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 succeeding 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 Turkey and 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 significance, 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 Judgement "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 (Muhammad), 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.