The lunar month of Rabi ul Awwal is the month in which Muslims commemorate the birth of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Astrophysicist and author Michael Hart who, in his well-documented research, ranked the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as the most influential person in human history. For example, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the only person in human history who has removed alcoholism effectively from society.
Playwright George Bernard Shaw and Russian author Leo Tolstoy are amongst many luminaries that have praised the impact of Prophet Muhammad on modern society. Muslim belief is that the final Prophet was sent as a mercy not only to Muslims but to the entire creation. It follows then that all communities should develop an appreciation of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). In the featured article, Muslim scholar and translator of the Quran, Muhammad Asad argues that Jesus (pbuh) prophesied the coming of Prophet Muhammad in the Gospel of St. John.
“And [this happened, too,] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said: “O children of Israel! Behold, I am an apostle of God unto you, [sent] to confirm the truth of whatever there still remains of the Torah, and to give [you] the glad tiding of an apostle who shall come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.”
But when he [whose coming Jesus had foretold] came unto them with all evidence of the truth, they said: “This [alleged message of his] is [nothing but] spellbinding eloquence!”
– Quran Chapter 61 Verse 6
This prediction is supported by several references in the Gospel of St. John to the Paráklētos (usually rendered as “Comforter”) who was to come after Jesus. This designation is almost certainly a corruption of Períklytos (“the Much-Praised”), an exact Greek translation of the Aramaic term or name Mawhamana. (It is to be borne in mind that Aramaic was the language used in Palestine at the time of, and for some centuries after, Jesus, and was thus undoubtedly the language in which the original -now lost- texts of the Gospels were composed.)
In view of the phonetic closeness of Períklytos and Paráklētos it is easy to understand how the translator- or, more probably, a later scribe- confused these two expressions. It is significant that both the Aramaic Mawhamana and the Greek Períklytos have the same meaning as the two names of the Last Prophet, Muhammad and Ahmad, both of which are derived from the verb hamida (“he praised”) and the noun hamd (“praise”). An even more unequivocal prediction of the advent of the Prophet Muhammad- mentioned by name, in its Arabic form- is said to be forthcoming from the so-called Gospel of St. Barnabas, which, though now regarded as apocryphal, was accepted as authentic and was read in the churches until the year 496 of the Christian era, when it was banned as “heretical” by a decree of Pope Gelasius. However, since the original text of that Gospel is not available (having come down to us only in an Italian translation dating from the late sixteenth century), its authenticity cannot be established with certainty.
Source: The Message of the Quran by Muhammad Asad