(Jn. 14:16) Does this passage predict the prophet Muhammad as Muslim apologists claim?

CLAIM: The Quran claims that Muhammad was predicted in the NT (Surah 7:157). Thus Muslim apologists argue that this passage is predicting Muhammad as the future prophet that would come after Jesus. “Ahmad” in Greek is periclytos, and some Muslim interpreters hold that this is the proper translation of the Greek word paraclete here. Is this the case?

RESPONSE: There are a number of reasons why this interpretation is fallacious:

First, in John 14, Jesus clearly identifies the Helper with “the Holy Spirit” (v.26).

Second, Jesus states that the Helper will “bring to your remembrance all that” Jesus told them (v.26), and he will come “in [Jesus’] name” (v.26). Jesus also states that the Helper will “glorify” Jesus (16:14), but Muhammad definitely doesn’t glorify Jesus. In fact, Muhammad never directly quotes Jesus in the Quran. Islamic expert James White writes, “The few words that the Qur’an claims Jesus uttered are far, far removed in their spirit, content, and depth from that of the canonical Gospels and the Jesus of history.”[1]

Third, Jesus states that the Helper will be with us “forever” (v.16), which cannot apply to Muhammad, who died.

Fourth, Jesus says that the Helper will be “in you” (v.17), which was not true of Muhammad.

Fifth, if this passage refers to Muhammad, then it would be meaningless to Jesus’ original audience. That is, these words would mean nothing to the original disciples, because they wouldn’t be fulfilled for another 600 years.

Finally, Jesus claims that he will send the Helper (Jn. 15:26-27), but Muhammad never claims that he was sent by Jesus—only Allah (c.f. comments on Deuteronomy 18:15-18).

[1] White, James R. What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Qur’an. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2013. 209.