Read the previous part first: “Miracles of Jesus (PBUH)“
Jesus is the Messiah
Masih Ibn Maryam (Messiah son of Mary) is the most common name with which Jesus is addressed in Qur’an.
Here is one example:
[And mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah ].
Jesus is messenger of Allah
Jesus is one of the most respected and honorable prophets from God almighty:
The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of truth. They both used to eat food. Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded. (5.75)
Indeed, We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him. And we revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the Descendants, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the book [of Psalms]. (4.163)
Who Jesus is NOT?
We will now detail what Islam denies about Jesus. To re-emphasise, we are detailing below the points on which Islam and Christianity diverges, but the purpose here is education rather than scoring any points.
Gospels as we have today aren’t same taught by Jesus
To begin, it is our belief that Jesus was given Injeel (gospels) by God almighty like Moses was given Torah and Muhammad was given the Qur’an. However, Muslims also believe that current books which are present in NT and known as the “four gospels” (Anajeel arba’a) aren’t the exact same as the Gospel that Jesus taught. There is textual evidence in Qur’an which teaches that the scripture of Jews and Christians have undergone corruption. Since, this short booklet is written by Muslims to inform our Christians colleagues Muslim point of view, we will refer to some verses of Qur’an in this matter:
So woe to those who write the “scripture” with their own hands, then say, “This is from Allah ,” in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn. (al baqarah 2:79)
This verse is referring to the children of Israel; the entire section starting from verse 25 onwards is about the children of Israel. So hence here we see a clear verse speaking of Bible corruption; some of the children of Israel wrote their own books and said it is from God. Tthis means that they made copies, added their own ideas and desires, and said this is from God. When this is done over a long period of time, the original book gets lost or is gone, and that is what happened. So they wrote books with their own hands and claimed it is from God i.e. the Torah:
And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. (An Nisa 4:157)
The above verse is explicit in stating that the basis Christian uses to derive his belief system, such as crucifixion, is at best a guess. The Qur’an states that if anyone believes that Jesus died and was crucified they then follow nothing but an ASSUMPTION (the Arabic word used is “dhann” which means ASSUMPTION, CONJECTURE, GUESS etc) which is another word for corruption:
In the following passage, Qur’an further says the Jews and Christians have lost (at least a portion) of their books and they have also misinterpreted them.
And Allah had already taken a covenant from the Children of Israel, and We delegated from among them twelve leaders. And Allah said, “I am with you. If you establish prayer and give charity and believe in My messengers and support them and loan Allah a goodly loan, I will surely remove from you your misdeeds and admit you to gardens beneath which rivers flow. But whoever of you disbelieves after that has certainly strayed from the soundness of the way.” (12)
So for their breaking of the covenant We cursed them and made their hearts hard. They distort words from their [proper] usages and have forgotten a portion of that of which they were reminded. And you will still observe deceit among them, except a few of them. But pardon them and overlook [their misdeeds]. Indeed, Allah loves the doers of good. (13)
And from those who say, “We are Christians” We took their covenant; but they forgot a portion of that of which they were reminded. So We caused among them animosity and hatred until the Day of Resurrection. And Allah is going to inform them about what they used to do. (14)
O People of the Scripture, there has come to you Our Messenger making clear to you much of what you used to conceal of the Scripture and overlooking much. There has come to you from Allah a light and a clear Book. (Al Maida Chapter 5 v 12-15)
In the above verses, the Qur’an is telling us that the Jews forgot (lost) a portion of what was given to them and similarly Christians forgot (lost) what was given to them. So the Qur’an does teach that Bible of today is not 100% reliable. However it must be emphasized that even though Muslims don’t take biblical narrative with 100% accuracy, Muslim scholars are of the view that Muslims may accept evidence from these books so long as they don’t contradict Qur’an or Sunnah.
If it is of benefit we may like to mention that the idea that Bible is not in original form as taught by Jesus, is something majority of Christians in academia have already come to agreement on. Here we are not just talking about Jesus seminar or secular scholars only, but all major branches of Christianity e.g catholic, orthodox or protestant have come to this same conclusion. “Inerrancy” doctrine is not adhered to anymore outside of a small group of evangelical scholars. A detailed discussion on this subject is outside the scope of our current booklet.
Jesus is not God
The way Muslims interpret teachings of any prophet is to look comprehensively at their words and their practices, and only then can they gain understanding of their religion at any specific topic. Our view is that while interpreting Jesus’ words, Christians don’t pay serious attention to his practices as he lived throughout his life, rather they focus on certain passages and interpret it in the light of teaching of St Paul, interpolating other explicit teachings and practices of Jesus to suit that specific interpretation. We believe if they focus primarily on teachings of Jesus as contained in four Gospels (even though from Muslims point of view they aren’t 100% reliable), they will come to the same conclusion as Muslims on most matters.
For example, while elective verses from Gospels can be put together to make a case for divinity of Jesus, there are also verses that can be used to deny divinity of Jesus. As a matter of fact, one doesn’t need to go any further than referring material from Jehovah’s Witnesses to come to this conclusion. Our purpose here is not get into arguments or score points, but rather to make our case on how and why Muslims understand Jesus (PBUH) the way we do.
We know that Jesus commanded people to worship one God, and throughout his life and he only worshiped one God whom he called “the father”. Christians say that while God is only one, HE manifests himself in three persons. God the father, God the Son and the God the Holy Ghost.
This doctrine is detailed in proceedings of 1st Council of Constantinople and to the best of our knowledge most branches of Christianity agree on it.
Our point is that while Jesus worshipped God the Father, whom Christian consider the1st person of Trinity, we never see him ever worship the 2nd or 3rd person of trinity. So even if one were to accept that the two other persons of trinity are indeed God, how can one justify worshipping those two other persons when Jesus himself never worshipped them.
The Qur’an calls this Kufr (disbelief):
“They have certainly disbelieved who say that Allah is Christ, the son of Mary. Say, “Then who could prevent Allah at all if He had intended to destroy Christ, the son of Mary, or his mother or everyone on the earth?” And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them. He creates what He wills, and Allah is over all things competent”. (Al Maida Chapter 5:17)
The Qur’an goes on to tell us:
“They have certainly disbelieved who say, “Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary” while the Messiah has said, “O Children of Israel, worship Allah , my Lord and your Lord.” Indeed, he who associates others with Allah – Allah has forbidden him Paradise, and his refuge is the Fire. And there are not for the wrongdoers any helpers”. (Al Maida Chapter 5.72)
Jesus is not the Son of God, nor is he divine in anyway
Christians believe that Jesus (PBUH) is the begotten son of God for all eternity. The word begotten appears in the creedal formula popularly known as Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. This word also appears in KJV (John 3.16), however, it is not present in most modern translations. It was determined that this vocabulary became part of that verse only much later in Christian history.
The issue for Muslims is not just the term begotten, but rather the whole concept of God having a son, be it begotten, adopted, relational or any other. Second, we find numerous references to other people being son of God or children of God. So what is so special about Jesus being Son of God?
The Qur’an, on other hand, clearly teaches that God doesn’t have any kind of son, or child, be they begotten or adopted as He is by himself everlasting, the first and the last and not in need of any family.
It is not [befitting] for Allah to take a son; exalted is He! When He decrees an affair, He only says to it, “Be,” and it is. [Jesus said], “And indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path.” (Mary, Chapter 19:35-36)
Say, [O Muhammad], “If the Most Merciful had a son, then I would be the first of [his] worshippers.” (Az Zukhruf Chapter 43:81)
Say, “He is Allah , [who is] One, Allah , the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, Nor is there to Him any equivalent.” ( Al Ikhlas, Chapter 112)
*This article is part of a series on Muslim view on Jesus; read the next part: “A critical review of Trinity, Sin, & Salvation in Christianity“
This article is part 4 of 6 in a series on Muslim view on Jesus. Read part 5: Trinity, Sin, & Salvation in Christianity: A critical review.
- Jesus from a Muslim perspective: Who is Jesus?
- Virgin Birth and Prophethood of Jesus
- Miracles of Jesus (PBUH)
- Who is not Jesus?
- Trinity, Sin, & Salvation in Christianity: A critical review
- Did Jesus die on Cross?
Article Courtesy: American Herald Tribune