God and Jesus – According to the Quran, New and Old Testament
The True Concept of God
The True Status of Jesus (peace be upon him)
Quotations from the Quran, New Testament and Old Testament
The God (Allah, in the Arabic language) is only One, not three in One, nor One in three!
Say: ‘People of the Book, let us come to a common word between us and you that we will worship none except Allah, that we will associate none with Him, and that none of us take others for lords besides Allah.’ If they turn away, say: ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims.’ (Quran 3:64)
They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them. Why turn they not to Allah, and seek His forgiveness? For Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth! (Quran 5:73-75)
Torah: “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! (Deuteronomy 6:4)
Bible: Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; (Mark 12:29)
Quran: And your God is one God. There is no deity [worthy of worship] except Him, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. (Quran 2:163)
‘I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. ‘You shall have no other gods before Me. (Deuteronomy 5:6-7) – There is only 1 God(Allah), not 3 in 1, or 1 in 3.
“Do not think that I(Jesus) came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17:19) – Jesus did not come to abolish the law of The Old Testament of the Bible.
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3) – This verse clearly shows that there is only 1 true God(Allah), not 3, and that Jesus Christ is the Prophet, whom this only true God(Allah) send.
Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'” (Luke 4:8) – Don’t worship Prophet Jesus who was a man, worship the only true God(Allah), just like Muslims.
Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'” (John 20:17)
They do blaspheme who say: “Allah is Christ the son of Mary.” But said Christ: “O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help. (Quran 5:72)
It is not (possible) for any human being unto whom Allah had given the Scripture and wisdom and the prophethood that he should afterwards have said unto mankind: Be slaves of me instead of Allah; but (what he said was): Be ye faithful servants of the Lord by virtue of your constant teaching of the Scripture and of your constant study thereof. (Quran 3:79)
Man was never, is never and will be never God(Allah), because man and God(Allah) have different qualities, attributes. Prophet Jesus was a man, not God(Allah).
“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? “Behold, I have received a command to bless; When He has blessed, then I cannot revoke it. (Numbers 23:19-20) – God is not a man, but Jesus was a man, therefore Jesus is not God. God is not the son of man, but Jesus was the son of man, therefore Jesus is not God, according to the Bible.
The word of the LORD came again to me, saying, “Son of man, say to the leader of Tyre, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Because your heart is lifted up And you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods In the heart of the seas’; Yet you are a man and not God, Although you make your heart like the heart of God– Behold, you are wiser than Daniel; There is no secret that is a match for you. (Ezekiel 28:1-3) – Man is not God!
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29) – We must obey God(Allah) rather than men(Jesus), according to the Bible.
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, (1 Timothy 2:5) – Jesus is a man, but God cannot be a man, therefore Jesus is not God, according to the Bible.
But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. (Romans 5:15)
“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know- (ACT 2:22) – The man Jesus didn’t preformed miracles by himself, but the one and only God(Allah) preformed miracles through him. Jesus is not Almighty.
Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless. (Genesis 17:1) – Only God is Almighty, according to the Bible.
So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. (John 8:28) – Jesus is the son of man, therefore Jesus is not God, because God is not the son of man, according to the Bible(Numbers 23:19). The man Jesus can do nothing on his own initiative, because he’s not almighty. Only God(Allah) is almighty.
Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.” (John 9:35-37)
Some more discussion on the Concept of God – By Dr. Zakir Naik
“Some people argue that God can do everything, then why cannot He take human form? If God wishes He can become a human being. But then He no longer remains God, because the qualities of God and human beings in many respects are completely incompatible.”
“God does not have a beginning while human beings have a beginning. You cannot have a person not having a beginning and at the same time having a beginning. Human beings have an end. You cannot have a being, which has no end and an end at the same time. It is meaningless.”
“Moreover if God takes human form, the same human cannot later become God, since human beings, by definition, do not possess the power to become God. The worship of God in a human form is therefore a logical fallacy and should be abhorred in all its forms.”
“There is nothing whatever like create him” (Qur’an 42:11)
God does not perform ungodly acts:
Hence we cannot imagine God telling a lie, being unjust, making a mistake, forgetting things and such other human failings. Similarly God can do injustice if he wants, but He will never do it, because being unjust is an ungodly act.
“Allah in never unjust In the least degree” (Qur’an 4:40)
“Allah is the doer of all He intends” (Qur’an 85:16)
“We must keep in mind that Allah intends only Godly acts and not ungodly acts.”
God(Allah) never intended and will never intend to become a human, because human beings and God have different qualities, attributes. If God would be a human and a God at the same time, then it would be a contradiction. God does not make any contradictions, because He’s not stupid by going against His own laws and by making errors, but He’s all wise, without faults. God(Allah) is the Truth.
“WORSHIP THE CREATOR (Allah), NOT HIS CREATION(for example: human beings)!”
Jesus was tempted by the evil Devil, but God can not be tempted by the evil, therefore Jesus is not God.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. (James 1:13-15) – Devil is evil. God cannot be tempted by evil.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’” Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU’; and ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’” Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’” Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’” Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him. (Matthew 4:1-11) – Jesus was tempted by evil, by devil. That means Jesus is not God, because God cannot be tempted by evil, by devil.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry. (Luke 4:1-2)
A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. (Luke 18:18-19) – Jesus denied being good, by addressing not himself as being good, but by addressing only God alone as being good.
Is Jesus the only son of God according to the Bible? (NO)
Does God have any children? (NO)
God creates, not fertilizes(begets)! He didn’t fertilize(beget) anyone, He created everyone(beside Himself)!
Having children is an act of God’s creation(it’s an animal, human act), obviously not an act of God, because God is not like His own creation(for example: humans). He is perfect(without limitations, needs, faults).
If one has a child, then the child has to have similar qualities to the one who has fertilize(beget) it. Jesus has totally different qualities than God. God does not have any children.
God gave life to Jesus just like to other human beings.
Only one perfect God(Allah) is the creator and sustainer of everything, everyone and He gave life to everyone, that’s why only He deserves to be worshiped and served.
The important Christian prayer: The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate, …
Most Christians teach that Jesus is the only son of God, but Bible teaches that God has much more children than only one! In the reality both of those teachings are false. ________________________________________________________________________
When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:1-9) – So if Jesus would be the only son of God, would he said, that the people for being peacemakers would be called the sons of God? No, because that would be a lie, if Jesus would be the only son of God. We know that Jesus wouldn’t lie, because lying is a sin according to the Bible. In reality God doesn’t have children.
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (Romans 8:14) – God has more than one son, according to the Bible.
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26) –According to the Bible, we’re all sons of God by faith in Prophet Jesus.
The LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Israel is My son, My firstborn. (Exodus 4:21-22)
“I have found David My servant; With My holy oil I have anointed him, With whom My hand will be established; My arm also will strengthen him. “The enemy will not deceive him, Nor the son of wickedness afflict him. “But I shall crush his adversaries before him, And strike those who hate him. “My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him, And in My name his horn will be exalted. “I shall also set his hand on the sea And his right hand on the rivers. “He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ “I also shall make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth. (Psalm 89:20-27) – God promised to make Prophet David His son, according to the Bible.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. (Job 1:6)
“You are the sons of the LORD your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave your forehead for the sake of the dead. (Deuteronomy 14:1) – According to the Bible, God does not have only one son.
And (both) the Jews and the Christians say: “We are the children of Allah and His loved ones.” Say: “Why then does He punish you for your sins?” Nay, you are but human beings, of those He has created, He forgives whom He wills and He punishes whom He wills. And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, and to Him is the return (of all). (Quran 5:18)
Say: He is Allah, the One; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him. (Quran 112:1-4)
It is He Who gives Life and Death; and when He decides upon an affair, He says to it, “Be”, and it is. (Quran 40:68)
The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: “Be”. And he was. The Truth (comes) from thy Lord alone; so be not of those who doubt. (Quran 3:59-60) – “God(Allah) explains that Jesus, who was created without a father, is no different than Adam, who was created without a mother or a father” (quotation from QIslam.com)
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. (Quran 19:35)
He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. How can He have children when He has no wife? He created all things and He is the All-Knower of everything. That is Allah, your Lord! there is no god but He, the Creator of all things: then worship ye Him: and He hath power to dispose of all affairs. (Quran 6:101-102)
How Did Jesus’ People Know Him?
Did the followers of Jesus consider him as God or just a Prophet?
“And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet” [Matthew 14:5 (compare with Matthew 21:26)]
“And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.” [Matthew 21:11]
“But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet” [Matthew 21:46]
“And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:” [Luke 24:19]
“The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet” [John 4:19]
“Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.” [John 6:14]
“Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the prophet” [John 7:40]
How did Jesus describe himself?
“Nevertheless I (Jesus) must walk to day, and to morrow, and the [day] following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.” [Luke 13:33]
“And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house” [Matthew 13:57]
What does the Quran say about Jesus?
“And when Jesus son of Mary said: O Children of Israel! Verily! I am the messenger of Allah unto you, confirming that which was [revealed] before me in the Torah
Who was Jesus?
There are many questions that come to mind when the name Jesus is mentioned. Some people say he was a prophet, others call him a god, while others say he was a very wise man. But whatever your idea is, one thing remains certain: he was not your ordinary man. So if there is something special about him, why all the confusion?
Just who was Jesus anyway?
Jesus lived about 2,000 years ago in ancient Palestine when the Roman Empire was at its zenith. He was not conceived in the usual way, but was implanted in the womb of a young woman named Mary. God simply commanded, “Be” and he was. In this sense, he was “a word” of God and a special sign for humanity. In fact, he was the last in a long line of religious guides sent to the Jews.
MARY, THE BLESSED
Mary was a righteous woman. Her mother dedicated her to God’s service even before she was born. As a child, she lived a life marked by health and righteousness, which others pointed to in admiration. She was raised by the wise Zechariah, who instilled in her, a beautiful sense of faith in God. When she had become a young woman, Mary sought to purify herself further before her Lord. Knowing that the hustle of life in the towns was distracting, she withdrew from her people to a sanctuary in the East. There she could meditate in seclusion and peace. Suddenly, on a day that seemed no different from the rest, an angel of God visited her, disguised in the likeness of a human. Afraid of so strange a sight, Mary prayed for protection, but the strange being reassured her and declared that he was a messenger from the Lord to announce the glad-tidings of a faultless son. Mary, astounded, asked how this was possible seeing that no man had ever touched her. But the angel replied, “Your Lord says, it is easy for Me …”. But when she felt the little child within her, she fled her sanctuary out of fear of what her family would do or say when they heard the news. Mary, however, was not to face hardship. When in her despair she cried out to God for oblivion, a voice soothed her and she found shade and a cool spring. Under a date-palm in the warmth of late summer, she made her dwelling and there bore the child unlike any other in human history.
Shortly thereafter, Mary returned to her community carrying the child who was to be called Messiah, Jesus, and son of Mary. When her people saw her with the baby in her arms they couldn’t believe their eyes, let alone accept her word. They refused to believe when she told of an angel who came and told her she was chosen above all other women to carry this burden. They accused her of infidelity and implied that she had ruined the family name. Mary, being overwhelmed, simply motioned towards the child meekly.
Now the child was the product of a miracle and consequently, miraculous things began to happen. In defense of his mother and of the truth, the infant Jesus spoke saying, “I am a servant of God. He has given me Scripture and has made me a Prophet. He has blessed me wherever I may be and has made prayer and charity my duty as long as I live.” This put the detractors to rest.
Throughout his youth, Jesus remained dutiful to his mother and developed quickly in intelligence, wisdom, and piety. He dumfounded the learned and was greatly admired by those around him who appreciated his talents. He claimed to be a sign of God and a Messenger to the Israelites.
His people had strayed from the spirit of truth and placed their trust in legalism, thereby burying their sense of mercy beneath dusty scrolls and rituals. Finally, when he came of age, Jesus began to travel and preach throughout the land of Palestine about a return to the truth of the old revelations and a rejection of all that man had added. In his task he was supported by the spirit of truth, the angel Gabriel.
THE GOSPEL, HIS MESSAGE
He taught that love and mercy overcome hate and anger and that only a true and sincere faith in the Creator and obedience to His will can bring a person salvation in this life as well as in the next. To reinforce his message, which was called “Injeel” (Good News), God granted him the performance of miracles. He healed the sick, uplifted the distressed and revived the dead. All these things he did with the permission of God, never taking credit for them himself.
He led a simple and pious life. Soon he attracted an inner-circle of devoted followers who listened to his teachings with fervor and humility. These disciples, among them Peter, Barnabas, and John helped him carry the message of Divine Love to the people. They helped him in his mission.
A TEST OF WILLS
But no righteous man of God is without trial and tribulation. As the message of Jesus began to gain wider acceptance, a small clique of hypocrites and evil men began to plot against him. They were the priests and leaders of the Jews whose position and wealth depended upon their place as the sole interpreters of religion to the masses. They pursued him and his followers and eventually captured him. Though they abused him, he never renounced his faith in the one God. So in their anger they plotted to crucify him on a Roman cross. But Jesus slipped from their grip at the last moment, and all the while they thought they had succeeded. They were sure they had killed him but God answered Jesus’ prayer and saved him from their schemes. Confusion overtook the mob and they might have killed the man who betrayed Jesus instead. In any case, Jesus escaped from their grasp. Then God removed Jesus from this world into another dimension, to a place with Him, not to return until a later time.
With their teacher gone, the devoted followers of Jesus tried to maintain the purity and simplicity of his teachings. But they were soon besieged and overtaken by a flood of Roman and Greek influences, which eventually so buried and distorted the message of Jesus that only a little of its truth now remains. Strange doctrines of Jesus being a man-god, of God dying, of saint worship and of God being made up of different parts came into vogue and were accepted by many of those who took the name “Christians” centuries after Jesus.
The only records that have come down to us concerning Jesus are some sketchy biographical material, poorly researched and compiled, which can in no way be representative of the full and accurate Message of Jesus, the Son of Mary. The time of the final and incorruptible Message was not yet at hand. It would be left to the last prophet of God, Muhammad (peace be upon him), to clarify the truth from man’s additions and deletions.
Jesus taught the same eternal message that was taught by all the Messengers of God, from Adam, on through Noah, Abraham, Moses and ending with the mission of God’s last Guidepost to humanity, Muhammad (peace be on them all), whose coming was foretold by Jesus himself.
Every nation and every people, from the Aztecs to the Greeks, have received a Prophet or a Messenger from God. Jesus was the last of a series of Messengers sent to the Israelites, but they consistently strayed from the path of surrender to God. Each of the many Messengers spoke a different language and followed varied customs. Yet the core faith taught by each was the same: surrender your imperfect and fickle will to the perfect will of the Power that is greater than you. You will then find the peace and freedom that only the Creator of all things can provide. Then you must do what is right and good to your fellow creatures. This way of life is called Islam (surrender to God and find peace).
Dr. Maneh Al-Johani
Quotations from the Holy Qur’an
GLAD TIDINGS AND JESUS’S BIRTH
NOT THE SON OF GOD
JESUS RAISED TO HEAVEN
POINTS TO BE CONSIDERED
THE POPE CONTRADICTS THE BIBLE
RELIGION VS. SCIENCE
EVIDENCES FOR THE QUR’ANIC ACCOUNT
REASONS HOLDING PEOPLE FROM ISLAM
ISLAM: THE NATURAL CALL
FURTHER READINGS ON ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY
A LETTER FROM AN ENGLISH MUSLIM
WHY DO CHRISTIANS CLAIM THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD?
· Say: ‘O People of the Book, come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but God; that we associate not aught with Him; and do not some of us take others as Lords, apart from God. And if they turn their backs, say: ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims’. (3:64)
· They say, ‘God taken to Him a son.’ Glory be to Him. He is all-sufficient; to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth; you have no authority for this. Do you say concerning God what you do not know? (10:68)
· People of the Book! why do you disbelieve in God’s signs, which you yourselves witness? (3:70)
· People of the Book! why do you confound the truth with falsehood and conceal the truth knowingly? (3:71)
Quotations from Hadith:
· Abu Hurairah reported Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) as saying, “I am the nearest of kin to Jesus, son of Mary, in this world and the next. The prophets are brothers, sons of one father by co-wives. Their mothers are different but their religion is one. There has been no prophet between us”. (Bukhari and Muslim).
· Abu Hurairah reported Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) as saying,” By Him in whose hand my soul is, the son of Mary will soon descend among you as a just judge. He will break crosses, kill swine and abolish the jizya (a tax payable by a community which accepts the protection of a Muslim ruler but whose members do not embrace Islam), and wealth will pour forth to such an extent that no one will accept it, and one sajda (the position in Muslim’s prayer where the forehead is placed on the ground), will be better than the world and what it contains”. (Bukahri and Muslim).
The controversy about the personality of Jesus Christ is the major difference between Islam and Christianity. This difference keeps the followers of the two religions apart. Muslims look at Jesus Christ as a great Prophet of God and love and respect him as much as they love and respect Abraham, Moses and Muhammad. Christians on the other hand consider Jesus as God or son of God, a concept that Muslims cannot accept. Islam teaches that Jesus never made such a claim for himself. As a matter of fact all the cardinal doctrines of Christianity that are rejected by Islam center around the personality of Jesus. Specifically these are:
1. The Trinity
2. The Divinity of Jesus
3. The Divine Sonship of Christ
4. Original Sin, and
It is clear that all these dogmas are the result of over-exhalting Jesus Christ above what God wants him to be. These differences focusing on the personality of Jesus have overshadowed the many similarities between Christianity and Islam. Some examples are the moral system and the emphasis on human principles. They have even over shadowed the beliefs that Muslims associate with Jesus Christ such as the Virgin Birth of Jesus, being able to speak in the cradle, performing miracles, and the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The following two articles aim at presenting a true picture of Jesus in Islam and explaining why the Christians deviated from his original teachings. The first article also indicates that many scholars and thinkers, who are still within the fold of Christianity, are gradually coming to agree with the Islamic points of view about Jesus, in many cases without realizing it. This corresponds to my conviction that the more scientific and biblical studies advance, the more they will agree with Islam. In other words, the Islamic truth is more evident with the passage of time. God in the Holy Quran hints to this in the following verse:
We shall show them our signs in the horizons and in themselves, till it is clear to them that it is the truth. (41:53)
The Islamic view of Jesus lies between two extremes. The Jews, who rejected Jesus as a Prophet of God, called him an impostor. The Christians on the other hand, consider him to be the son of God and worship him as such. Islam considers Jesus as one of the great Prophets of God and respects him as much as Abraham, Moses and Muhammad. This is in conformity with the Islamic point of view of the oneness of God, the oneness of Divine guidance, and the complimentary role of the subsequent messages of God’s messengers. The essence of Islam, which is the willing submission to the will of God, was revealed to Adam who passed it on to his children. All following revelations to Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and finally Muhammad were in conformity with that message in addition to some elaboration to define the relation between Man and God, man and man, man and his environment, and to live according to God’s instructions. Thus, any contradiction among revealed religions is viewed by Islam as a man-made element introduced into these religions. The position of Jesus in the three major religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, should not be an exception.
Although the Qur’an does not present a detailed life-account of Jesus, it highlights the important aspects of his birth, his mission, his ascension to heaven and passes judgements on the Christian beliefs concerning him.
The Qur’anic account of Jesus starts with the conception of his mother, Mary. The wife of Imran, Mary’s mother, vowed to dedicate her child to the service of God in the temple. Zacharia, who took charge of Mary, used to find food with Mary. When he asked her how she got it she answered that it was from God. The Quranic verses read:
When the wife of Imran said, ‘Lord, I have vowed to you, in dedication, what is within my womb. Please accept it from me. you are the Hearer and knower’. And when she gave birthto her she said, ‘Lord, I have given birth to her, a female… And I have named her Mary end commend her to you with her seed, to protect them from the accursed Satan.’ Her Lord received the child with gracious favor, and by His goodness she grew up comely, Zacheria taking charge of her. Whenever Zacharia went to her in the Sanctuery, he found her provisioned. ‘Mary’, he said, ‘how comes this to you? ”From God’, she answered. Truly God provisions for whomsoever He will without reckoning. (3:95-7)
When Mary became a woman, the Holy Spirit (the Archangel Gabriel) appeared to her as a man bringing her the news of a son. We read the following dialogue in the Qur’an between Mary and the angels:
When the angels said, ‘Mary. God gives you good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah Jesus, son of Mary; high honored shall he be in this world and the next, near stationed to God. He shall speak to men in the cradle, and of age, and righteous she shall be.’ ‘Lord’, said Mary, ‘how shall I have a son seeing no mortal has touched me? ‘Even so’ he said, ‘God creates what He will.’ When He decrees a thing He does but say to it, “Be”, and it is.’ (3:45-7)
Mary conceived the child miraculously and retired to a distant place where she awaited her delivery. The Qur’an in a chapter entitled ‘Mary’ tells us how Mary felt and what the Jews told her when she brought the child home:
She conceived him and withdrew with him to a distant place. And the birth pangs surprised her by the trunk of the palm-tree. She said, ‘would I had died before this. and become a thing forgotten.’ The one from below her called to her, ‘Do not grieve; see, your Lord has set below you a rivulet. Shake also toward you the palm trunk. and there shall come tumbling upon you dates fresh and ripe. Eat therefore, and drink, and be comforted; and if you should see any mortal, say. “I have vowed to the All-Merciful a fast, and today I will not speak to any man.” Then she brought the child to her folk carrying him; and they said, ‘Mary, you have surely committed a monstrous thing. Sister of Aaron, your father was not a wicked man, nor was your mother a woman unchaste.’ Mary pointed to the child. but they said, ‘How shall we speak to one who is still in the cradle, a little child?’ He said, ‘Lo, I am God’s servant; God has given me the Book and made me a Prophet. Blessed he has made me, wherever I may be; and he has enjoined me to pray. and to give the alms, so long as I live, and likewise to cherish my mother; he has not made me arrogant or wicked. Peace be upon me, the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I am raised up alive.’ (19:22-23)
In the same chapter, following the above quotation, God assured Muhammad and the whole world that what was mentioned above is the truth about Jesus although the Christians might not believe it. Jesus is not the son of God. He was, obviously enough, the son of Mary. The verses continue:
That is Jesus, son of Mary, in word of truth, concerning which they are doubting. It is not for God to take a son unto Him. Glory be to Him! When He decrees a thing. He but says to it “Be”. and it is. (19:34-5)
After this strong statement about the nature of Jesus, God directed Muhammad to call the Christians to a fair deal: to worship the one God:
Surely God is my Lord, and your Lord, so serve Him. This is the straight path. (19:38).
The rejection of the idea of God having a son is reported later in the same chapter with even stronger words:
And they say, ‘The All-merciful has taken unto Himself a son.’ You have indeed advanced something hideous. The heavens are well nigh rent of it and the earth split asunder, and the mountains well nigh fall down crashing for that they have attributed to the All-merciful a son; and it behooves not the All-merciful to take a son. None is there in the heavens and earth but he comes to the All-merciful as a servant. (19:88-93)
The Qur’an recognizes the fact that Jesus had no human father but this does not make him the son of God or God Himself. By this criterion Adam would have been more entitled to be the son of God because he had neither a father nor a mother. So the Qur’an draws attention to the miraculous creation of both in the following verse:
Truly the likeness of Jesus, in God’s sight, is as Adam’s likeness; He created him of dust. then said He unto him, “Be”, and he was. (3:59)
The Qur’an rejects the concept of the Trinity as strongly as it rejects the Sonship of Jesus. This is because God is One. This is the essence of all monotheistic revelations. Three, by reason and by simple arithmetic, are not one. The Qur’an addresses the Christians in the following verses in the chapter entitled “Women”.
People of the Book, go not beyond the bounds in your religion, and say not as to God but the Truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His Word that He committed to Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in God and His Messengers, and say not, ‘Three’. Refrain. better is it for you. God is only One God. Glory be to Him — that He should have a son! To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth, God suffices for a guardian.
The Messiah will not disdain to be a servant of God, neither the angels who are close to Him. Whosoever disdains to serve Him and waxes proud. He will assuredly muster them to Him, all of them.
As for the believers, who do deeds of righteousness, He will pay them their rewards in full, and He will give them more, of His bounty; as for them who disdain and wax proud, them He will punish with a severe punishment, and they shall not find for them, apart from God, a friend or helper. (4:171-3)
The verses continue to draw the attention of people, all people, to the proof which Muhammad brought. God knows that people frequently inherit certain ideas and beliefs which include, among other things, the mistakes and interpretations of previous generations. They have no way of discovering such mistakes for themselves. Thus God presents the Qur’an as a proof to such people. He says:
O men, a manifest proof has now come to you from your Lord; we have sent down to you a clear light. As for those who believe in God, and hold fast to Him, He will surely admit them to mercy from Him, and bounty, and will guide them to Him on a straight path. (4:173-5)
The denial of Jesus’ divinity (and for that matter Mary’s divinity) is presented in the Qur’an as a topic of dialogue at the Day of Judgement between God Almighty and Jesus. All the messengers and the nations will be gathered in front of God and He will ask the messengers how they were received by their peoples and what they said to them. Among those who are going to be questioned is Jesus:
And when God said, ‘O Jesus son of Mary, did you say unto men, “Take me and my mother as gods. apart from God?” He said, ‘To you be glory! It is not mine to say what I have no right to. If I indeed said it, you knew it, knowing what is within my soul, and I do not know what is within your soul. you know the things unseen. I only said to them what you did command me: “serve God, my Lord and your Lord.” And I was a witness over them, while I remained among them; but when you did take me to yourself, you were yourself the watcher over them; you are the witness of everything. If you punish them, they are your servants, if you forgive them, you are the Almighty, the All-wise.’ God said, ‘This is the day the truthful shall be profited by their truthfulness. For them await gardens underneath which rivers flow therein dwelling forever, God being well-pleased with them end they well-pleased with Him; That is the mighty triumph’.
Now one might ask: If the Qur’an denies the Trinity and the Sonship of Jesus, what was the real mission of Jesus according to the Qur’an?
Jesus was a link in a long chain of prophets and messengers sent by God to various societies and nations whenever they needed guidance or deviated from the teachings of God. Jesus was especially prepared by God to be sent to the Jews who had deviated from the teachings of Moses and other Messengers. As he was miraculously supported by God in conception, birth and childhood, he was also supported by numerous miracles to prove that he was a messenger from God. However, the majority of the Jews rejected his ministry. The Qur’an tells us about Jesus’ mission in the following verses which are a continuation of the verses quoted earlier in which the glad tiding was brought to Mary:
And He will teach him the Book, the wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel and make him a Messenger to the children of Israel saying, “I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird; then I will breathe into It, and it will be a bird, by the power of God. I will also heal the blind and the leper and bring to life the dead, by the power of God. I will inform you too of the things you eat, and what you treasure up in your houses. Surely in that is a sign for you if you are believers. Likewise I will confirm the truth of the Torah that is before me, and to make lawful to you certain things that before were forbidden unto you. I have come to you with a sign from your Lord; so fear God, and obey me. Surely God is my Lord and your Lord; so serve Him. This is a straight path”. (3:45-51)
In another verse of the Qur’an, Jesus confirmed the validity of the Torah which was revealed to Moses and he also brought the glad tidings of the coming of a final messenger after him. This is clearly indicated in the following verse:
And when Jesus son of Mary said. ‘children of Israel. I am indeed the Messenger to you, confirming the Torah that is before me, and giving good tidings of a Messenger who shall come after me, whose name shall be the praised one (note that this is translation of Ahmad which is Prophet Muhammad’s name). (61:6)
The messenger of whom Jesus gave glad tidings is referred to in both the old and new testaments of the Bible. The old testament contains several prophecies that apply only to the Prophet Muhammad. I quote only one of those which applies to none except Prophet Muhammad. This prophecy which was addressed to Moses said that God will send among the ‘brethren’ of the Israelites, a prophet like Moses who will be a founder, a leader, and an exemplar of a community of believers. We read this in the following verses of Deut. Ch. 18:
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not give heed to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. (Deut. 18:18-20)
Any one who is familiar with Prophet Muhammad’s life, can easily see that no one fits the above description better than Prophet Muhammad. It was Prophet Muhammad, not Jesus, who like Moses was born from ordinary parents, got married, founded a faithful community, established a great law and died a natural death.
Careful study of the New Testament shows that this same prophet is referred to by Jesus in John 14:16,17:
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth.
Later in John specific description of this Spirit of Truth and his role is given as we read in John 16:13,14.:
When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify Me…
The terms of the prophecy do not warrant the conclusion usually attributed to this prophecy, namely that it refers to the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost explanation is excluded by a previous verse in John which reads:
Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantages that I go away, for if I do not go away, the counselor will not come to you.
It is clear from the Bible that the Holy Ghost used to visit men before and during the life-time of Jesus. John was filled with the Holy Ghost before he was born and Jesus himself received the Holy Ghost in the shape of a dove.
The characteristics of this counselor, as can be derived from the prophecy,
are the following:
1. He will not come until Jesus leaves.
2. He will stay forever, with the believers.
3. He will glorify Jesus.
4. He will speak what he hears from God.
These characteristics are applicable only to Prophet Muhammad, as the
following brief remarks show:
- Prophet Muhammad was the only messenger that came after Jesus. There
was a period of six centuries between them. Jesus’ mission was limited to
the “lost sheep of the children of Israel”, but Muhammad’s was a universal message. This explains the second characteristic.
- Only Prophet Muhammad’s message was intended by God to be a universal and everlasting message. This agrees with the statement that the counselor will stay forever with the faithful.
- No other prophet glorified Jesus as much as Prophet Muhammad did. The Jews called him an impostor and accused his mother of immorality. They tried to crucify him. Prophet Muhammad considered Jesus as great Prophet and the “Word of God”. The Qur’an attributed to him miracles that are not mentioned in the Bible. Mary is considered the most chaste woman and the best of all women in paradise. Thus did Muhammad really glorify Jesus.
- The fourth characteristic also applies neatly to Prophet Muhammad. The Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. When the angel finished reciting the Qur’an, Prophet Muhammad used to convey verbatim to his companions what he heard from the angel without adding, changing or forgetting anything. The Qur’an also describes Prophet Muhammad saying “He does not speak out of his own fancy. He utters what is revealed to him.” (53:4,5). If we compare this with, “He will not speak on his own authority”, we see the striking similarity between the characteristics of the counselor and those of Prophet Muhammad. These and other prophecies in the old and new testaments predict in unequivocal terms the advent of Prophet Muhammad who is rejected by the Jews and Christians on the basis of misunderstanding and bias rather than on the basis of careful study of the Bible, the Qur’an and modern findings in the field of comparative religion.
It is a sad fact of history that not many follow “the straight path”, to which people were called by Jesus. He was followed by a few disciples who were inspired by God to support him. Not only that, but the non-believers plotted (as they did to Muhammad six centuries later) to kill Jesus, but God had a better plan for him and his followers as the Qur’an tells us in the following verses:
And when Jesus perceived their unbelief, he said, ‘who will be my helpers in the cause of God? The Apostles said, ‘we will be helpers of God.’ We believe in God; be witness of our submission. Lord, we believe in that you have sent down, and we follow the Messenger. Inscribe us therefore with those who bear witness.’ And they devised, and God devised, and God is the best of devisers. When God said, ‘Jesus, I will take you to me and will raise you to Me, and I will purify you of those who do not believe. I will set your followers above the unbelievers till the Resurrection Day. Then unto Me shall you return, and I will decide between you, as to what you were at variance on. As for the unbelievers, I will punish them with a terrible punishment in this world and the next; they shall have no helpers.’ (3:52-6)
As the above verses indicate, Jesus was raised to heaven before he died.
This means that according to the Qur’an he was not crucified. It was the plan of
the enemies of Jesus to put him to death on the cross, but God saved him and
somebody else was crucified. This plot and the false accusation of Mary are
considered by the Qur’an to be some of the sins of the non-believing Jews. All
this is clear in the following quotation:
And for their unbelief, and their uttering against Mary a mighty calumny, and for their saying, ‘We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God’… yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them. Those who are at variance concerning him surely are in doubt regarding him, they have no knowledge of him, except the following of surmise; and they did not slay him of certainty… no indeed; God raised him up to Him; God is Almighty, All-wise. There is not one of the people of the Book but will assuredly believe in him before his death, and on the Resurrection Day he will be a witness against them. (4:156-9).
Who was the person crucified instead of Jesus? The Qur’an does not elaborate on this point nor does it give any answer to this question. The interpreters of the Qur’an have suggested a few names. But all these are individual guesses not supported by the Qur’an or the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.
This means that Jesus will come back before the Day of Judgement. Again the Second Coming is not clearly mentioned in the Qur’an. However, the explain of the Qur’an understood the last verse of the above quotation: there is not one of the people of the Book but will assuredly believe in him before his death, and on the Resurrection Day he will be a witness against them, to mean that Jesus will come back and all the Christians and the Jews will believe in him before he dies. This understanding is supported by authentic sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.
After reading this presentation a believing Christian might say “This is what the Muslims, whom we always considered as heathens or infidels, say about Jesus.” But the point of view which the Qur’an presents deserves serious consideration, to say the least, by those who are really concerned about God, faith and even Christianity itself for the following reasons:
- The Qur’an is the last version of God’s revelation and what it says is the ultimate truth. This might not mean much for those who do not believe in the Qur’an as such. However, the history of the Qur’an, modern textual criticism and scientific research of the content of this scripture leave no doubt about the truth it contains. The frequently made statements that the Qur’an is the word of Muhammad who copied his information from Jewish and Christian sources is made by people who do not know the history of the world, the Qur’an or Muhammad. The first Arabic translation of the Bible appeared two centuries after Muhammad’s mission. If we add to this Muhammad’s illiteracy and the scarcity of religious books in any language outside churches and temples in the sixth century we can understand the absurdity of this allegation.
- The oneness and universality of God’s message requires that people accept all the messengers of God. Rejecting one of them amounts to rejecting them all. The Jews reject Jesus’s mission and Muhammad’s mission; the Christians reject Muhammad’s mission; whereas the Muslims accept them all, but reject incorrect historical interpretations and human elements in these missions.
- Because of the Qur’an, Muslims love and respect Jesus as they love and respect the Prophet Muhammad. Moreover, the Qur’an reports some of Jesus’s miracles which are not reported in the present gospel. For example, the Qur’an tells that Jesus spoke in the cradle and was able to tell people what they ate or treasured in their houses, to mention just a few.
- It is common knowledge that the divinity of Jesus was introduced by Saint Paul and his followers and was established on the dead bodies of millions of Christians through history which evoked the Castillo’s well-known remark “To burn a man is not to prove a doctrine.”
- The choice of the present four gospels was imposed in the conference of Nicea 325 C.E. under the auspices of the pagan Emperor Constantine for political purposes. Literally, hundreds of gospels and religious writings were considered apocrypha, i.e. books of doubtful authenticity. Some of those books were written by Jesus’s disciples. If they were not more authentic than the four gospels they were of equal authenticity. Some of them still are available such as the Gospel of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas which agree with the Qur’an.
- The Unitarian concept and the humanness of Jesus is not only held by Muslims but also by Jews and by some early groups of Christianity such as the Ebionites, the Cerinthians, the Basilidians, the Capocratians and the Hypisistarians to name several early sects. The Arians, Paulicians and Goths also accepted Jesus as a prophet of God. Even in the modern age there are churches in Asia, in Africa, the Unitarian church, and Jehova Witnesses who do not worship Jesus as God.
- Most serious studies of the Bible have shown that it contains a large portion of additions which neither Jesus nor the writers of the gospels said. The church, as Heinz Zahrnt said, “put words into the mouth of Jesus which he never spoke and attributed actions to him which he never performed.” Those conclusions were arrived at by some members of the church. However, they are kept secret or available only to the specialists. One of those, who has shown that most of what the church says about Jesus is baseless is Rudolf Augustein in his bookJesus Son of Man, (published in Germany 1972 and translated into English 1977).
- The problem with present Christianity is the personality of Jesus which is completely misunderstood. Jesus’ nature, mission and claimed death and resurrection, are all challenged by studies in the field. One of those is a book entitled The Myth of God Incarnate which appeared 1977 (edited by John Hick) and written by seven theologian scholars in England. Their conclusion is that Jesus was “a man approved by God, for special role within the divine purpose, and … the later conception of him as God incarnate … is a mythological or poetic way of expressing his significance for us.” The best George Carey could say in his attempt to refute the findings of those theologians is that unless one takes Jesus as God Incarnate one won’t be able to understand Jesus’ mission or explain its impact on people. This definitely is a very weak argument because all great prophets such as Abraham, Moses, and Muhammad have had a tremendous impact on people and none of them claimed that he was God or a son of God.
- The concept of the Trinity is not, of course, available even in the present Bible. There are statements which negate it such as “The Lord our God is one Lord (Math. 12:29) and many others.
- It is worth noting that Jesus never claims divinity even in the present text of the Bible. The expression “Son of God” cannot be said to have come from Jesus himself. Hasting in The Dictionary of the Bible says “Whether Jesus used it of himself is doubtful.” In my reading of the Bible, I found only two instances in John Chapter 5 and 11 where Jesus uses “son of God” to refer to himself. Other instances were used by others. Even those are very limited. However, even if the title “son of God” was used by Jesus himself one should remember the following points:
- As a biblical scholar said, “Semitic usage would never have allowed literal sense even though such an expression would be interpreted literally in the Hellenistic world of Jesus followers”.
- The New Testament Greek words used for “son” are pias and paida, which means ‘servant’ or ‘son in the sense of servant, are translated son in reference to Jesus and servant in reference to others in some translations of the Bible (Mufassir, P. 15).
- The title “son of man” which is a self-designation of Jesus and occurs 81 times in the gospels is the clearest description and emphasis by Jesus on his humanity. The classical interpretation given to this title is that it is used to emphasize the human side of Jesus. Now the question which suggests itself is: Do contemporary Christians emphasize this aspect of Jesus?
The traditional Biblical account of Jesus’ crucifixion is that he was arrested and crucified by the orders and plans of the chief priest and Jewish elders. This account was denied in the 1960’s by the highest Catholic Christian authority, the Pope. He issued a statement in which he said the Jews had nothing to do with Jesus’ crucifixion. This definitely does contradict the Biblical account. You might say: This is a political decree. This agrees with what Muslims are saying: the church had introduced many elements into Christianity and was influenced by many factors which made its view of Christianity not only changeable but, by and large, contradict the early forms of Christianity.
The religious views concerning God, the Bible, and Man s relation to God which the church presented forced people into an unfortunate choice: either science or God. Most educated people have come to the conclusion that one can’t be a scientist or an educated person and be a Christian. Thus many philosophers, scientists and the majority of the people lost hope of reconciling religion and science. This unfortunate understanding later on was generalized to include every religion as a result of the influence of western civilization, which was mainly Christian. This whole issue would not have rise in the first place if the teachings of Jesus were not distorted or tampered with. This is because, as Islam views the matter, there is no contradiction whatsoever between religion and science. Scientific facts are just one source of our knowledge of God. The other source is revelation as it is contained in the original teachings of Jesus and in the present text of the Qur’an. Both religion and true scientific knowledge are from the same source: God. So He won’t contradict Himself.
Thus, concepts like the Trinity, The Son of God, Original Sin, the Atonement etc.. which were the product of distortion and miss-understanding in the history of Christianity drove people away not only from Christianity but also from other religions, including Islam, which is not affected by these problems. This is due to the fact that many people think that because Islam is a religion (the meaning of the very word is limited in western languages) it must be similar to Christianity. Very few people will have the interest and the ability to discover the falsehood of this assumption.
This implicit assumption is one of the causes of hesitation and unwillingness of many people to accept the Qur’anic view of Jesus. This is in spite of the fact that this point of view is supported by:
- The early history of Christianity which continued for three decades after Jesus’s disappearance as a sect within Judaism.
- The practice of many Christian sects and scholars throughout the history of Christianity.
- The findings of many Biblical scholars and scientific research which was applied to the Bible.
- The instinct of many people (some of whom think they are Christians) who believe in the One God, but can’t accept Jesus as God or The Son of God.
It is worth noting that the main differences between the Qur’anic account and what modern research and scholars have found is that the Qur’an said what it says now about Jesus and his mission fourteen centuries ago and never changed its stand.
Some of the other reasons which might account for the rejection of the Qur’anic account include:
- The time-honored bias against Islam which was partly the product of the Crusades and partly the product of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East.
- Confusion. Many people although they do not accept Christianity, do not know where the truth is.
- Social Pressure and Academic Reputation. Many people were afraid to accept Islam because they felt they would be mocked, alienated from their relatives and peers if they openly rejected Christianity and accepted Islam. At the academic level, especially among orientalists, if one writes favorably about Islam and the Qur’an no body will review his work, quote from it or even consider it a scholarly work. He could be even destroyed professionally. The Washington Post (January 5, 1978) reported that a University of Richmond Professor, Dr. Robert Alley lost the chairmanship of the Department of Religion there because he holds the view that Jesus never claimed to be the son of God. After considerable research into newly found ancient documents, Dr. Alley concluded that:
The (Bible) passages where Jesus talks about the son of God are later additions….. what the church said about him. Such a claim of deity for himself would not have been consistent with his entire lifestyle as we can reconstruct. For the first three decades after Jesus’ death Christianity continued as a sect within Judaism. The first three decades of its existence of the church were within the synagogue. That would have been beyond belief if they (the followers) had boldly proclaimed the deity of Jesus.
Despite these factors, and some others which I did not mention, there have been many people who have submitted to truth. The Islamic point of view about Jesus and other major issues strikes those who get introduced to it as something which makes a lot of sense and something which they hold implicitly without knowing it. This, and other characteristics made Islam the fastest growing religion in the world throughout history. It appeals even to faithful Christians because they discover that:
- Islam does not abolish Jesus, it rather puts him in the right position in the long line of men who brought real salvation to humanity. In reality they are adding a new dimension to their understanding of God, prophet-hood, and revelation.
- When Christianity and Judaism (or for that matter any religion) are looked at from the Islamic perspective they fit in neatly in the universal framework of the oneness of God and His plans for mankind. Moreover, one will understand clearly why there are some gaps or discrepancies in the Biblical account about certain issues.
- Islam does consider itself the final link in the long chain of revelation. It promises the followers of previous faiths great rewards if they add belief in Islam to their belief in their previous faith. The Prophet Muhammad said, “He who has believed in his religion then believed in what is revealed to me will be rewarded twice (by God).” That is once for believing in his faith and the other for recognizing truth and believing in Islam.
To sum up, Islam considers Jesus as one of God’s great prophets. His mission was to preach the Oneness of God and to lead man to his Lord. He never claimed to be other than a servant and a Messenger of God. The Qur’anic account of his life and mission is supported by overwhelming evidence. The Muslims do believe in and are awaiting the Second Coming of Jesus. He will come back not as God to judge the non-Christians, but as Jesus, God’s servant. His coming is to correct the misconception which people have developed about his personality and his mission. According to a saying of the Prophet Muhammad, he will stay for forty years which is going to be the happiest years of life on this earth. At that time everybody will believe in him as the messenger, not the Son of God. However, what about those who will not be able to live till his second coming? They better do it now!
- M. M. Pickthall, The Meaning of the Glorious Qur’an T. B.
- Irving, et al., The Qur’an: Basic Teachings
- Hamuda Abdulati, Islam in Focus
- M. Qutb, /slam: The Misunderstood Religion
- B. A. Bawany, Islam: The First and Final Religion
- Maurice Bucaille, The Bible, The Qur’an and Science
- Maurice Bucaille, The Origin of Man
- Lordsale and Laura Ragg, The Gospel of Barnabas
- Muhammad Ata-ur-Rahman, Jesus: A Prophet of Islam
- Rudolf Augustein, Jesus Son of Man
- John Hick (ed), The Myth of God Incarnate
- S. S. Mufassir, Jesus in the Qur’an.
Some of these books and others about Islam can be obtained from:
World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY)
P. O. Box 10845
Riyadh 11443, Saudi Arabia
Or the nearest Islamic Center in your part of the world.
The Islamic account of Jesus’s life and mission is quite reasonable and puts Jesus in his right place among the great messengers of God to humanity. Although the Islamic view of Jesus agrees with what many people instinctively think, it is sometimes rejected because this is what Islam says about him. However, those who come to Islam with an open mind and free from bias will submit to the logic and believability of the Islamic account of Jesus. The Islamic position is especially appreciated by those who have struggled with the various Christian dogmas that are centered around the personality of Jesus Christ.
The following is a letter which I received from one of the viewers who follow my program: ISLAM IN PERSPECTIVE, televised by the Saudi Arabian Television, Second Channel. It is a response to a two-episode discussion of Jesus called: JESUS IN ISLAM. I include this letter here for the following reasons:
- The writer is an expert on this topic as a student of religion and an objective seeker of truth.
- The writer was a believing Christian who knows Christians’ feelings and belief concerning Jesus Christ.
- The writer’s explanation of how the Christians deviated from Jesus’ instructions and mission is quite plausible and account for the present Christian belief about Jesus.
.I would like to thank the writer for her kind permission to include her letter in this publication.
Assalamo Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah
OPINION REGARDING THE DISCUSSION ON YOUR PROGRAM
I was very interested in your discussion on TV since this is a topic which I have discussed many times, both as student of religion, and outside the learning environment, in many parts of the world.
As an English Muslim convert, now living in Saudi Arabia, I find the sharp contrast between societies, thought-provoking from many new points.
Focusing upon the nature of Jesus and Mary as explained in the Koran, and in the Gospel of the New Testament, we see two opposing views — that of Christian teaching that Jesus is ‘Son of God’ and that of the Koran neglecting all such claims. It then, becomes necessary to ask the question WHY was it necessary for the early Christians to make such a claim about Jesus, when after all he never made any such claim himself?
It is my opinion that answer becomes clear if we study the basis for the religions of Islam and Christianity. As Muslims we base our faith upon God and upon Him alone, and upon the Koran — God’s word to His Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in whom we also believe — as a true Prophet of the one God. Muhammad (PBUH) is God’s servant, — faithful and obedient and totally human — he remains the instrument of God’s purpose to lead His people back to Him again.
Now, as a total contrast we turn to Christianity — a religion built not around God, or His book — for there was no ‘book’ until 150 years after Jesus’ death. Christianity became built around the personality of Jesus himself. By laying more and more stress upon the magnetic and wonderful personality of Jesus and unable and un-willing to describe the Prophet’s effect upon all who came to him in everyday terms — more and more attributes are added to his reputation — a man who could perform miracles, bring back the dead to life, heal the leper, cure the blind — all by God’s will, is indeed a wonderful man — blessed by God — born by God’s will to do His service. But after his death, the ‘magical’ personality must be kept alive and ‘Son of God’ appears to suitably qualify all his actions.
Living in a society, strongly flavored by the Greco-Roman gods, all ‘super
human,’ the educated early Christians must surely also have been influenced in
thought by their surroundings. Paul himself, one of the great teachers of Christianity, was a Hellenized Jew, who never saw or met Jesus during his lifetime. Yet many of his reported sayings show the influence of the times in which he lived. ‘The Living Lord’ was very real to him.
The miraculous nature of Jesus’ birth, also could help to give credence to the idea of Jesus identity as son of God. But it is child-like in its 1 + 1 = 2 type philosophy, i.e., God blew into the womb of Mary — Mary had Jesus, therefore God is Jesus’ father and Jesus is His son.
What Christians fail to see, and to understand is that in Jesus’ birth and conception we see a touching and wonderful revelation of the Kindness of God.
We are told by both Koran and Christian writings that Mary was a young woman of exceptional purity of both mind and body, brought into the world already pledged as God’s servant, blessed by God, while in His service in the synagogue so that she herself could produce small ‘miraculous’ occurrences by God’s will. How natural then, that God, having chosen her to be the vehicle by which His new, Prophet should be born on earth — chooses a means by which none of her blessed purity is touched. She serves her God, but in so doing He in His infinite kindness preserves her precious purity. Surely this needs no embellishment — no claims to ‘Sonship’ of God. God’s creation yes, but not Son by Paternity. That is obviously not the intention.
The fact that so much time elapsed before any of the sayings of Jesus or his teachings were written, also allows for the “Oral tradition’, by which they were passed on, to have substantially changed the original. And yet through the three synoptic gospels (John being written last and obviously full of religious dogma) Mathew, Luke and Mark despite any alteration — a picture of Jesus as a quiet, yet magnetic personality — a Prophet inspired by God, with a great love of all humanity, sent to sharpen out awareness of God, in all the aspects of life; Jesus tries to open our eyes and our hearts to a greater awareness of God — an unselfish appraisal of ourselves from our thoughts, to our actions, and to enlarge Faith and Trust in God. Only by so doing by the simple Faith and Trust of a child is God’s Kingdom to come on Earth — this idea is repeated many times in many of his reported sayings. His closeness to God was evident from the strength that he drew from prayers, and the power he was given by God, to perform miracles. Yet in all this power and in the performance of God’s wonders NEVER does he proclaim himself Son of God. In Jesus sense of the word ‘Son” we are all children of God, His sons and daughters, here on earth, and as such Jesus taught the people to pray to ‘Our Father, which art in Heaven’.
Of the actual volume of words he spoke or must have spoken in his teachings only a pitiable few, and not all reliable, have been recorded. Jesus seemed to be primarily concerned with the poor, the oppressed, the outcast, the sick — and not tolerant of the sanctimonious and meaningless religious ‘cant’ of the so-called “pious.” His call was to the hearts of men, and his theme was humanity and love. Did he mean to establish a church? I believe he did — but not in the sense we see the church today — Jesus was practical as well as spiritual. I believe he wanted to create a society of people whose Faith in God bound them to one another regardless of race or creed, in a family-type caring relationship under God’s guidance. It is not really evident from his teachings that he saw himself as a great shining light in this process. He tended more to regard himself as a tool in the hands of God.
By raising him up to unbelievable heights, the early Christian followers brought upon themselves the endless problems of theoretically explaining the crucifixion — and from this comes the doctrine of the suffering servants, raised from the Jewish ancient texts — spoken of in Isaiah, the doctrine of Sacrifice for the sins of man, and the consequential exclusiveness of Jesus — which is very important to the early Christians. A pagan could be equally faithful to many ‘gods’ — but in Christianity this could not be — ONLY by faith in Jesus can the Christian hope to gain salvation — ONLY by accepting his death for the sake of man’s sin — and ONLY by belief in his resurrection (for as son of God, God must lift him up again) can the Christian hope to gain Paradise. Any other path is death — although this places Jesus absolutely between God and His people — a position he never occupied in his life on Earth.
Doctrine on doctrine becomes intertwined, and we find in the history of the church, endless meetings, theories and arguments as to the Nature of Jesus — he has become now, in fact, less a tangible reality, and more an unearthly semi-spiritual being, wrapped in endless doctrine and dogma — far indeed from the simple, gentle personality, in whom God placed so much power, in order that he could bring awareness to His people. Has not the church then defeated Jesus’ own objective — simplicity?
We find in the “Trinity” — Father — Son — and Holy Ghost, perhaps the culmination of the efforts of people struggling for a ‘Supremacy’ in religious expression and achieving an enigma, few Christians can adequately explain today,
God’s spirit is as real in the days of Moses and Abraham as it is in the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It does not need to be held in the confines of a “man-made” triangle. Nor did Jesus associate himself with any theory of this kind.
It is sad, that in the coming of Islam, Christians felt they saw the coming of the ‘fake prophet’ or Anti-Christ told of in the Book of Revelation to John (New Tes). It is even sadder that the noble who organized the 2nd Crusade against the Muslims was offered a copy of a translated Koran to read — and cast it aside. It is sad because it reflects an attitude to Islam seen even until today kept alive in the history of the Crusades, and founded on a total ignorance. It is for Muslims, now to assert their faith and for Christians to at least be willing to be made aware of the meaning of Islam. I am sure that to many Islam and its teachings will be as a mountain stream in the desert, to the parched souls of many searching for truth.
ZAHRA AZIZ (Mrs.)
The Bible Denies the Divinity of Jesus
|This article has been taken from the web site of Br. Shabir Ally, Islam Answers Back, with some editing. It contains the following seven arguments which prove that the Bible denies the divinity of Jesus:|
Christians and Muslims both believe in Jesus, love him, and honor him. They are, however, divided over the question of his divinity.
Fortunately, this difference can be resolved if we refer the question to both the Bible and the Quran, because, both the Bible and the Quran teach that Jesus is not God.
It is clear enough to everyone that the Quran denies the divinity of Jesus, so we do not need to spend much time explaining that.
On the other hand, many people misunderstand the Bible; they feel that the belief in Jesus as God is so widespread that it must have come from the Bible. This article shows quite conclusively that the Bible does not teach that.
The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is not God. In the Bible God is always someone else other than Jesus.
Some will say that something Jesus said or something he did while on the earth proves that he is God. We will show that the disciples never came to the conclusion that Jesus is God. And those are people who lived and walked with Jesus and thus knew first hand what he said and did. Furthermore, we are told in the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible that the disciples were being guided by the Holy Spirit. If Jesus is God, surely they should know it. But they did not. They kept worshipping the one true God who was worshipped by Abraham, Moses, and Jesus (see Acts 3:13).
All of the writers of the Bible believed that God was not Jesus. The idea that Jesus is God did not become part of Christian belief until after the Bible was written, and took many centuries to become part of the faith of Christians.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke, authors of the first three Gospels, believed that Jesus was not God (see Mark 10:18 and Matthew 19:17). They believed that he was the son of God in the sense of a righteous person. Many others too, are similarly called sons of God (see Matthew 23:1-9).
Paul, believed to be the author of some thirteen or fourteen letters in the Bible, also believed that Jesus is not God. For Paul, God first created Jesus, then used Jesus as the agent by which to create the rest of creation (see Colossians 1:15 and 1 Corinthians 8:6). Similar ideas are found in the letter to the Hebrews, and also in the Gospel and Letters of John composed some seventy years after Jesus. In all of these writings, however, Jesus is still a creature of God and is therefore forever subservient to God (see 1 Corinthians 15:28).
Now, because Paul, John, and the author of Hebrews believed that Jesus was God’s first creature, some of what they wrote clearly show that Jesus was a pre-existent powerful being. This is often misunderstood to mean that he must have been God. But to say that Jesus was God is to go against what these very authors wrote. Although these authors had this later belief that Jesus is greater than all creatures, they also believed that he was still lesser than God. In fact, John quotes Jesus as saying: “…the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28). And Paul declares that the head of every woman is her husband, the head of every man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God (see 1 Corinthians 11:3).
Therefore, to find something in these writings and claim that these teach that Jesus is God is to misuse and misquote what those authors are saying. What they wrote must be understood in the context of their belief that Jesus is a creature of God as they have already clearly said.
So we see then, that some of the later writers had a higher view of Jesus, but none of the writers of the Bible believed that Jesus is God. The Bible clearly teaches that there is only one true God, the one whom Jesus worshipped (see John 17: 3).
In the rest of this article we will explore the Bible in more depth, and deal with the passages which are most often misquoted as proofs of Jesus’ divinity. We will show, with God’s help, that these do not mean what they are so often used to prove.
Jesus performed many miraculous wonders, and he without doubt said a lot of wonderful things about himself. Some people use what he said and did as a proof that he was God. But his original disciples who lived and walked with him, and were eyewitnesses to what he said and did, never reached this conclusion.
The Acts of the Apostles in the Bible details the activity of the disciples over a period of thirty years after Jesus was lifted up to heaven. Throughout this period they never refer to Jesus as God. They continually and consistently use the title God to refer to someone else other than Jesus.
Peter stood up with the eleven disciples and addressed the crowd saying: “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.” (Acts 2:22).
It was God, therefore, who did the miracles through Jesus to convince people that Jesus was backed by God. Peter did not see the miracles as proof that Jesus is God.
In fact, the way Peter refers to God and to Jesus makes it clear that Jesus is not God. For he always turns the title God away from Jesus. Take the following references for example:
“God has raised this Jesus…” (Acts 2:32)
“God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36)
In both passages, the title God is turned away from Jesus. So why he did this, if Jesus was God?
For Peter, Jesus was a servant of God. Peter said: “God raised up his servant…” (Acts 3:26). The title servant refers to Jesus. This is clear from a previous passage where Peter declared: “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus.”(Acts 3:13).
Peter must have known that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob never spoke of a Triune God. They always spoke of God as the only God. Here, as in Matthew 12:18, Jesus is the servant of God. Matthew tells us that Jesus was the same servant of God spoken of in Isaiah 42:1. So, according to Matthew and Peter, Jesus is not God, but God’s servant. The Old Testament repeatedly says that God is alone (e.g. Isaiah 45:5).
All of the disciples of Jesus held this view. In Acts 4:24 we are told that the believers prayed to God saying: “…they raised their voices together in prayer to God. ‘Sovereign Lord,’ they said, ‘you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.’” It is clear that the one they were praying to was not Jesus, because, two verses later, they referred to Jesus as “…your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.” (Acts 4:27).
If Jesus was God, his disciples should have said this clearly. Instead, they kept preaching that Jesus was God’s Christ. We are told in Acts: “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” (Acts 5:42).
The Greek word “Christ” is a human title. It means “Anointed.” If Jesus was God, why would the disciples continually refer to him with human titles like servant and Christ of God, and consistently use the title God for the one who raised Jesus? Did they fear men? No! They boldly preached the truth fearing neither imprisonment nor death. When they faced opposition from the authorities, Peter declared: “We must obey God rather than men! The God of our fathers raised Jesus…” (Acts 5:29-30).
Were they lacking the Holy Spirit? No! They were supported by the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:3, 4:8, and 5:32). They were simply teaching what they had learnt from Jesus — that Jesus was not God but, rather, God’s servant and Christ.
3) Jesus is Not All-Powerful, and Not All-Knowing:
Christians and Muslims agree that God is all-powerful and all-knowing. The Gospels show that Jesus was not all-powerful, and not all-knowing, since he had some limitations.
Mark tells us in his gospel that Jesus was unable to do any powerful work in his hometown except few things: “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.” (Mark 6:5). Mark also tells us that when Jesus tried to heal a certain blind man, the man was not healed after the first attempt, and Jesus had to try a second time (see Mark 8:22-26).
Therefore, although we hold a great love and respect for Jesus, we need to understand that he is not the all-powerful God.
Mark’s Gospel also reveals that Jesus had limitations in his knowledge. In Mark 13:32, Jesus declared that he himself does not know when the last day will occur, but the Father alone knows that (see also Matthew 24:36).
Therefore, Jesus could not have been the all-knowing God. Some will say that Jesus knew when the last day will occur, but he chose not to tell. But that complicates matters further. Jesus could have said that he knows but he does not wish to tell. Instead, he said that he does not know. We must believe him. Jesus does not lie at all.
The Gospel of Luke also reveals that Jesus had limited knowledge. Luke says that Jesus increased in wisdom (Luke 2:52). In Hebrews too (Hebrews 5:8) we read that Jesus learned obedience. But God’s knowledge and wisdom is always perfect, and God does not learn new things. He knows everything always. So, if Jesus learned something new, that proves that he did not know everything before that, and thus he was not God.
Another example for the limited knowledge of Jesus is the fig tree episode in the Gospels. Mark tells us as follows:“The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs.” (Mark 11:12-13).
It is clear from these verses that the knowledge of Jesus was limited on two counts. First, he did not know that the tree had no fruit until he came to it. Second, he did not know that it was not the right season to expect figs on trees.
Can he become God later? No! Because there is only one God, and He is God from everlasting to everlasting (see Psalms 90:2).
Someone may say that Jesus was God but he took the form of a servant and therefore became limited. Well, that would mean that God changed. But God does not change. God said so according to Malachi 3:6.
Jesus never was God, and never will be. In the Bible, God declares: “Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.” (Isaiah 43:10).
The Bible clearly shows that Jesus was not all-powerful and all-knowing as the true God should be.
Some will say that this whole discussion over the divinity of Jesus is unnecessary. They say, the important thing is to accept Jesus as your personal savior. On the contrary, the Bible’s writers stressed that, in order to be saved, it is necessary to understand who exactly is God. Failure to understand this would be to violate the first and greatest of all the commandments in the Bible. This commandment was emphasized by Jesus, on whom be peace, when a teacher of the Law of Moses asked him: “‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’ ‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” (Mark 12:28-30).
Notice that Jesus was quoting the first commandment from the book of Deuteronomy 6:4-5. Jesus confirmed not only that this commandment is still valid, but also that it is the most important of all the commandments. If Jesus thought that he himself is God, why did not he say so? Instead, he stressed that God is one. The man who questioned Jesus understood this, and what the man says next makes it clear that God is not Jesus, for he said to Jesus: “‘Well said, teacher,’ the man replied. ‘You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him.’” (Mark 12:32).
Now if Jesus was God, he would have told the man so. Instead, he let the man refer to God as someone other than Jesus, and he even saw that the man had spoken wisely:“When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’”(Mark 12:34). If Jesus knew that God is a trinity, why did not he say so? Why did not he say that God is one in three, or three in one? Instead, he declared that God is one. True imitators of Jesus will imitate him also in this declaration of God’s oneness. They will not add the word three where Jesus never said it.
Does salvation depend on this commandment? Yes, says the Bible! Jesus made this clear when another man approached Jesus to learn from him (see Mark 10:17-29). The man fell on his knees and said to Jesus: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied: “Why do you call me good? No one is good — except God alone.” (Mark 10:17-18).
By so saying, Jesus made a clear distinction between himself and God. Then he proceeded with the answer to the man’s question about how to get salvation. Jesus told him: “If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” (Matthew 19:17, also see Mark 10:19).
Remember that the most important of all the commandments, according to Jesus, is to know God as the only God. Jesus further emphasized this in the Gospel According to John. In John 17:1, Jesus lifted his eyes to heaven and prayed, addressing God as Father. Then in verse three, he said to God as follows: “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3).
This proves beyond doubt that if people want to get eternal life they must know that the One, whom Jesus was praying to, is the only true God, and they must know that Jesus was sent by the true God. Some say that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. But Jesus said that the Father alone is the only true God. True followers of Jesus will follow him in this too. Jesus had said that his true followers are those who hold to his teachings. He said: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” (John 8:31). His teaching is that people must continue to keep the commandments, especially the first commandment which emphasizes that God is alone, and that God should be loved with all our hearts and all our strengths.
We love Jesus, but we must not love him as God. Today many love Jesus more than they love God. This is because they see God as a vengeful person who wanted to exact a penalty from them, and they see Jesus as the savior who rescued them from the wrath of God. Yet God is our only savior. According to Isaiah 43:11, God said: “I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.” Also God said according to Isaiah 45:21-22: “Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”
The Quran confirms the first commandment and addresses it to all humankind (see the Holy Quran 2:163). And God declares that true believers love Him more than anyone else or anything else (Quran 2:165).
Many people use Paul’s writings as proof that Jesus is God. But this is not fair to Paul, because Paul clearly believed that Jesus is not God. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul wrote: “I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions…” (1 Timothy 5:21).
It is clear from this that the title God applies not to Christ Jesus, but to someone else. In the following chapter, he again differentiates between God and Jesus when he says:“In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession…” (1 Timothy 6:13).
Paul then went on to speak of the second appearance of Jesus: “the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time.” (1 Timothy 6:14-15).
Again, the title God is deliberately turned away from Jesus. Incidentally, many people think that when Jesus is called “Lord” in the Bible that this means “God.” But in the Bible this title means master or teacher, and it can be used for addressing humans (see 1 Peter 3:6).
What is more important, however, is to notice what Paul said about God in the following passage, which clearly shows that Jesus is not God: “God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever.” (1 Timothy 6:15-16).
Paul said that God alone is immortal. Immortal means he does not die. Check any dictionary. Now, anyone who believes that Jesus died cannot believe that Jesus is God. Such a belief would contradict what Paul said here. Furthermore, to say that God died is a blasphemy against God. Who would run the world if God died? Paul believed that God does not die.
Paul also said in that passage that God dwells in unapproachable light — that no one has seen God or can see him. Paul knew that many thousands of people had seen Jesus. Yet Paul said that no one has seen God, because Paul was sure that Jesus is not God. This is why Paul went on teaching that Jesus was not God, but that he was the Christ (see Acts 9:22 and 18:5).
When he was in Athens, Paul spoke of God as “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.” (Acts 17:24). Then he identified Jesus as“the man he (i.e. God) has appointed.” (Acts 17:31).
Clearly, for Paul, Jesus was not God, and he would be shocked to see his writings used for proving the opposite of what he believed. Paul even testified in court saying: “I admit that I worship the God of our fathers…” (Acts 24:14).
He also said that Jesus is the servant of that God, for we read in Acts: “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus.”(Acts 3:13).
For Paul, the Father alone is God. Paul said that there is“one God and Father of all…” (Ephesians 4:6). Paul said again: “…for us there is but one God, the Father . . . and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ…” (1 Corinthians 8:6).
Paul’s letter to the Philippians (Philippians 2:6-11) is often quoted as a proof that Jesus is God. But the very passage shows that Jesus is not God. This passage has to agree with Isaiah 45:22-24 where God said that every knee should bow to God, and every tongue should confess that righteousness and strength are in God alone. Paul was aware of this passage, for he quoted it in Romans 14:11. Knowing this, Paul declared: “I kneel before the Father.”(Ephesians 3:14).
The letter to the Hebrews (Hebrews 1:6) says that the angels of God should worship the Son. But this passage depends on Deuteronomy 32:43, in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament. This phrase cannot be found in the Old Testament used by Christians today, and the Septuagint version is no longer considered valid by Christians. However, even the Septuagint version, does not say worship the Son. It says let the Angels of God worship God. The Bible insists that God alone is to be worshipped:“When the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites, he commanded them: ‘Do not worship any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them. But the LORD, who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm, is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices. You must always be careful to keep the decrees and ordinances, the laws and commands he wrote for you. Do not worship other gods. Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods. Rather, worship the LORD your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.’” (2 Kings 17:35-39).
Jesus, on whom be peace, believed in this, for he also stressed it in Luke 4:8. And Jesus too fell on his face and worshipped God (see Matthew 26:39). Paul knew that Jesus worshipped God (see Hebrews 5:7). Paul taught that Jesus will remain forever subservient to God (see 1 Corinthians 15:28).
The Gospel of John, the fourth Gospel, was completed to its present form some seventy years after Jesus was raised up to heaven. This Gospel in its final form says one more thing about Jesus that was unknown from the previous three Gospels — that Jesus was the Word of God. John means that Jesus was God’s agent through whom God created everything else. This is often misunderstood to mean that Jesus was God Himself. But John was saying, as Paul had already said, that Jesus was God’s first creature. In the Book of Revelation in the Bible, we find that Jesus is: “the beginning of God’s creation” (Revelation 3:14, also see 1 Corinthians 8:6 and Colossians 1:15).
Anyone who says that the Word of God is a person distinct from God must also admit that the Word was created, for the Word speaks in the Bible saying: “The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works…”(Proverbs 8:22).
This Gospel, nevertheless, clearly teaches that Jesus is not God. If it did not continue this teaching, then it would contradict the other three Gospels and also the letters of Paul from which it is clearly established that Jesus is not God. We find here that Jesus was not co-equal with the Father, for Jesus said: “…the Father is greater than I.”(John 14:28).
People forget this and they say that Jesus is equal to the Father. Whom should we believe — Jesus or the people? Muslims and Christians agree that God is self-existent. This means that He does not derive his existence from anyone. Yet John tells us that Jesus’ existence is caused by the Father. Jesus said in this Gospel: “…I live because of the Father…” (John 6:57).
John tells us that Jesus cannot do anything by his own when he quotes Jesus as saying: “By myself I can do nothing…” (John 5:30). This agrees with what we learn about Jesus from other Gospels. In Mark, for example, we learn that Jesus performed miracles by a power which was not within his control. This is especially clear from an episode in which a woman is healed of her incurable bleeding. The woman came up behind him and touched his cloak, and she was immediately healed. But Jesus had no idea who touched him. Mark describes Jesus’ actions thus:“At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’” (Mark 5:30). His disciples could not provide a satisfactory answer, so Mark tells us: “Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.” (Mark 5:32). This shows that the power that healed the woman was not within Jesus’ control. He knew that the power had gone out of him, but he did not know where it went. Some other intelligent being had to guide that power to the woman who needed to be healed. God was that intelligent being.
It is no wonder, then, that in Acts of the Apostles we read that it was God who did the miracles through Jesus (Acts 2:22).
God did extraordinary miracles through others too, but that does not make the others God (see Acts 19:11). Why, then, is Jesus taken for God? Even when Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead, he had to ask God to do it. Lazarus’ sister, Martha, knew this, for she said to Jesus: “I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” (John 11:22).
Martha knew that Jesus was not God, and John who reported this with approval knew it also. Jesus had a God, for when he was about to ascend to heaven, he said: “I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” (John 20:17).
John was sure that no one had seen God, although he knew that many people had seen Jesus (see John 1:18 and 1 John 4:12). In fact Jesus himself told the crowds, that they have never seen the Father, nor have they heard the Father’s voice (John 5:37). Notice that if Jesus was the Father, his statement here would be false. Who is the only God in John’s Gospel? The Father alone.
Jesus testified this when he declared that the God of the Jews is the Father (John 8:54). Jesus too confirmed that the Father alone is the only true God (see John 17:1-3). And Jesus said to his enemies: “…you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.” (John 8:40). According to John, therefore, Jesus was not God, and nothing John wrote should be taken as proof that he was God — unless one wishes to disagree with John.
Many people use certain verses of the Bible as proof that Jesus is God. However, all of these verses, when understood in context, prove the opposite!
For example, in Matthew 9:2, Jesus said to a certain man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Because of this, some say that Jesus must be God since only God can forgive sins. However, if you are willing to read just a few verses further, you will find that the people “…praised God, who had given such authority to men.” (Matthew 9:8). This shows that the people knew, and Matthew agrees, that Jesus is not the only man to receive such authority from God.
Jesus himself emphasized that he does not speak on his own authority (John 14:10) and he does nothing on his own authority, but he speaks only what the Father has taught him (John 8:28). What Jesus did here was as follows. Jesus announced to the man the knowledge Jesus received from God that God had forgiven the man.
Notice that Jesus did not say, “I forgive your sins,” but rather, “your sins are forgiven,” implying, as this would to his Jewish listeners, that God had forgiven the man. Jesus, then, did not have the power to forgive sins, and in that very episode he called himself “the Son of Man”(Matthew 9:6).
John 10:30 is often used as proof that Jesus is God because Jesus said, “I and the father are one.” But, if you read the next six verses, you will find Jesus explaining that his enemies were wrong to think that he was claiming to be God. What Jesus obviously means here is that he is one with the Father in purpose. Jesus also prayed that his disciples should be one just as Jesus and the Father are one. Obviously, he was not praying that all his disciples should somehow merge into one individual (see John 17:11 and 22). And when Luke reports that the disciples were all one, Luke does not mean that they became one single human being, but that they shared a common purpose although they were separate beings (see Acts 4:32). In terms of essence, Jesus and the Father are two, for Jesus said they are two witnesses (John 8:14-18). They have to be two, since one is greater than the other (see John 14:28). When Jesus prayed to be saved from the cross, he said: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42).
This shows that they had two separate wills, although Jesus submitted his will to the will of the Father. Two wills mean two separate individuals.
Furthermore, Jesus is reported to have said: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). If one of them forsook the other, then they must be two separate entities.
Again, Jesus is reported to have said: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46). If the spirit of one can be placed into the hands of another, they must be two separate beings.
In all of these instances, Jesus is clearly subordinate to the Father. When Jesus knelt down and prayed he obviously was not praying to himself (see Luke 22:41). He was praying to his God.
Throughout the New Testament, the Father alone is called God. In fact, the titles “Father” and “God” are used to designate one individual, not three, and never Jesus. This is also clear from the fact that Matthew substituted the title “Father” in the place of the title “God” in at least two places in his Gospel (compare Matthew 10:29 with Luke 12:6, and Matthew 12:50 with Mark 3:35). If Matthew is right in doing so, then the Father alone is God.
Was Jesus the Father? No! Because Jesus said: “And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9). So Jesus is not the Father, since Jesus was standing on the earth when he said this.
The Quran seeks to bring people back to the true faith that was taught by Jesus, and by his true disciples who continued in his teaching. That teaching emphasized a continued commitment to the first commandment that God is alone. In the Quran, God directs Muslims to call readers of the Bible back to that true faith. God have said in the Quran:
Say: “O people of the Book (Christians and Jews)! Come to a word that is just between us and you: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords beside God.” (Quran, 3:64)
Was Jesus Perfect God and Perfect Man at the Same Time?
According to Orthodox Christian belief, Jesus was perfect man and perfect God at the same time. This belief is necessary for salvation according to the Athanasian creed held dear by most Christians. Modern Christian scholars reject this idea not because it is difficult to understand but because it cannot be meaningfully expressed. The doctrine cannot be stated in any way that is free from contradictions. It is impossible for Jesus to have been perfect man and perfect God at the same time, for this would mean that he was finite and infinite at the same time, that he was fallible and infallible at the same time. This cannot be.
What the creed denies is also quite significant. The creed was formulated in response to the claims of various early Christian groups, and so includes clauses that deny the beliefs of those groups. In response to the Arians who believed that Jesus was not God, the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.) decreed that he was fully God. In response to the Apollinarians who believed Jesus was God but not fully human, the council of Constantinople (381 A.D.) decreed that Jesus was fully human.
Then there was Nestorianism: the belief that started when Nestorius denied that Mary could be called “Mother of God.” To him, Mary was mother of the human Jesus only. This implied that there were two Christs: one divine, the other human. Against Nestorius, the council of Ephesus (431 A.D.) decreed that the two natures of Jesus cannot be separated. Everything Jesus does is done by both the humanity and divinity in him. Likewise, everything that happened to him happened to both the man and God that he is. Therefore Mary gave birth to both, both died on the cross, etc.
At yet another council, the council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.) the creed received some finishing touches and the Athanasian creed was declared official church teaching. Most Christians are not familiar with the detailed implications of the creed and in their own minds conceive of Jesus in the very ways the creed was formulated to deny. This tendency results from the fact that the creed’s definition of Jesus is impossible for any human mind to comprehend. One can only repeat the words, but cannot grasp the meaning of the required belief. Therefore most just repeat the creed with their lips but in their minds turn to views of Jesus that are less taxing on the intellect, even though those views were declared by the Church to be heretical.
The orthodox doctrine is logically impossible. As Huston Smith, scholar of comparative religion, points out, it would not have been logically impossible if the creed said that Jesus was somewhat divine and somewhat human. But this is expressly what the creed denies. For orthodox Christians, Jesus cannot possess only some human qualities; he must possess all. He must be fully human. At the same time, he cannot possess only some divine qualities; he must have all. He must be fully divine. This is impossible because to be fully divine means one has to be free of human limitations. If he has only one human limitation then he is not God. But according to creed he has every human limitation. How, then, can he be God? Huston Smith calls this a blatant contradiction. In his book The World’s Religions, he writes:
We may begin with the doctrine of the Incarnation, which took several centuries to fix into place. Holding as it does that in Christ God assumed a human body, it affirms that Christ was God-Man; simultaneously both fully God and fully man. To say that such a contention is paradoxical seems a charitable way to put the matter — it looks more like a blatant contradiction. If the doctrine held that Christ was half human and half divine, or that he was divine in certain respects, while being human in others, our minds would not balk. (The World’s Religions, p. 340).
If it was said that Jesus was partly human and partly divine that would not be logically impossible but only scripturally impossible. The Bible nowhere teaches that Jesus was divine in any way. Furthermore, if he was only partly divine then he was not the One True God of the Old and New Testaments. God is All-Powerful, not somewhat all-powerful; God is All-Knowing, not somewhat all-knowing.
C. Randolph Ross is a Christian. In his book Common Sense Christianity he debunks the orthodox view “not because it is difficult to understand,” he says, but because “it cannot meaningfully be said.” He rejects it because “it is impossible,” he says. (Common Sense Christianity, p. 79). His arguments are so persuasive that I can do little better than just repeat them. To be human means to be limited, lacking in knowledge, prone to mistakes, imperfect. To be God means just the opposite: unlimited, complete in knowledge, infallible, perfect. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot say of one person that he was both. Either he was one or the other.
THIS IS NO PARADOX
To those who say this is a paradox, Ross answers nicely. It is important to understand first of all what is a paradox. A paradox is something that seems impossible but can be demonstrated to be true. On the other hand, the creedal statement may seem true to some people but logic demonstrates it to be false. Ross argues with an example that makes the point succinct:
“Ah!” some will say. “That’s the paradox!” No, it isn’t a paradox. This is a very important point, so please take special note: a paradox is something which seems impossible but which is demonstrably true. Thus, it was a paradox when some scientist carefully analyzed bumblebees and concluded that according to the laws of physics they couldn’t fly. There was contradiction and apparent impossibility, but bumblebees kept on flying.
However, for an individual to be both perfect and imperfect is the reverse of this: it may seem true to some, but it is demonstrably impossible. And not just impossible according to our understanding of the laws of nature, which can be wrong (as with the bumblebee), but impossible according to the rules of logic upon which all our reasoning is based. (p. 82)
Let me elaborate this last point. Human observation and analysis can turn out to be incorrect. This was the case with the scientist who figured that according to the laws of Physics bumblebees could not fly. The flaw in his procedure is that our understanding of the laws of nature is always improving. New knowledge often declare old to be false. But with the rules of logic things are different. What is true by definition will always remain true unless we start redefining things. For example, 2+2=4. This equation will always remain true. The only way this can ever become false is if we decide to change the definitions of the component parts. Now, by definition, a thing cannot be the opposite of itself. A thing cannot be perfect and imperfect at the same time. The presence of one of these qualities implies the absence of the other. Jesus was either one or the other. He cannot logically be both. Ross is very eloquent on this:
To say someone is perfect and imperfect is like saying that you saw a square circle. This is an impossibility. Are you saying the circle was not round, in which case it was not a circle? Or are you saying the square was circular? This is not a paradox; this is meaningless nonsense, however imaginative it might be. (p. 82)
To develop this point further, I tried to relate it to what can and cannot be said about Jesus according to the creed. In the diagram we see a figure that is somewhat round and somewhat square. It is unorthodox to say that Jesus was somewhat man and somewhat God. Even the models that combine a circle and a square one inside the other do not work, for in each case you have two objects clearly separable. Orthodoxy does not allow this for the two natures of Jesus. To satisfy the requirements of orthodoxy we must find an object which is at once a circle and a square. By definition, such an object cannot exist (see accompanying diagram, next page).
The difficulty is not with believing what the creed says. The problem is that the creed in effect says nothing. When we are told two opposites what then are we to believe? Ross puts it nicely:
To say that someone is perfect and imperfect at the same time is to say that “X” and “not-X” can both be true. This is either to abandon the meaning of these words or else to abandon logic, and in either case this means we are speaking nonsense that can have no meaning for us. (p. 82)
The orthodox say that Jesus was imperfect with regards to his human nature but perfect with regards to his divine nature. The problem with this position is that it implies the existence of two persons occupying the one body of Jesus: one perfect, the other imperfect. You need for this two minds, two wills, two characters. But the creed does not allow this necessary conclusion and insists that Jesus was not two persons but one only. Now, this one person had to be either perfect or not, infallible or not, unlimited in knowledge or not. You cannot say of the same person that he was both.
When Jesus faced death on the cross according to Christian belief, either he faced it with the human belief that he would be raised on the third day, or he faced death with the infallible knowledge that he would be so raised. If he believed with human faith in God’s power to raise him then he himself was not God. If, on the other hand, he faced death with infallible divine knowledge that he would be resurrected, then he was not taking any real risk in letting himself die. If the divine nature in him knew he would be raised, but he did not know this, then it was not his divine nature. If the divine nature knew something he did not, we are back to two persons.
This could get more difficult to explain as we look at the deeds reported of Jesus in the gospels and ask whether the divine or human nature or both performed those deeds. Let us consider the episode where Jesus curses the fig tree. First, the account as it appears in Mark:
Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. The he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” (Mark 11:12-14, NIV)
As a result, the tree withered from the roots (v. 20). Now, a few things are clear from this episode.
Jesus did not know the tree had no fruit until he went up to the tree and found nothing but leaves.
When Jesus saw leaves from a distance he hoped to find fruit on the tree.
It was not fig season, and this is why the tree had no figs. This comment from Mark clearly, implies that it was a perfectly good tree. If the tree was barren, Mark’s comment about the season would have been pointless and misleading.
Jesus did not know it was not fig season. If he had known this, he would not have expected the tree to have fruit, and he would not have cursed the tree for having no fruit.
The whole thing began when Jesus felt hungry.
Now it is easy to understand that the human Jesus felt hunger, and that the human Jesus did not know it was not fig season and so mistakenly expected the tree to have fruit. A divine Jesus would have known all these, and would not have to go to the tree to discover it had no fruit; he would not have been hungry in the first place.
Now the cursing of the tree is a little more difficult for those who assert the divinity of Jesus. His miracles, they say, are performed by his divine nature. Okay, so the divine Jesus cursed the tree. But why? Why ruin a tree which in Mark’s view was a perfectly good tree? Come fig season this tree would have had fruit and others could have eaten from it. The reason was that the human Jesus made a mistake. But why did the divine Jesus act upon the mistake of the human Jesus? Does the human mind in Jesus guide the divine nature in him? Actually, there is no warrant for all this speculation, for scripture nowhere says that Jesus has two natures. Those who want to believe contrary to scripture that Jesus was fully human yet fully divine can go on speculating.
Some will say that everything is possible with God, and that we are using words here with their human meanings. This is true. Everything is possible with God. We believe that. If you tell me God did such and such and He is such and such I cannot say it is impossible. But what if you say “God did and did not,” or “He is and is not?” Your statements are meaningless. When you say that Jesus is perfect God and perfect man at the same time you are saying two opposite things. Therefore, I reply, “Impossible!”
So what we need here is to hear it said with meaning. If you think that the words have a different or deeper meaning, when applied to God I cannot help agreeing with you. But I would like to know with what meaning you are using those words. Ross explains:
If you wish to redefine some of these words, that’s fine, as long as you can tell us the new meanings that you are using. The usual practice, however, seems to be to say that while one cannot say precisely what these new meanings are, one is nevertheless sure that they fit together in a way that makes sense. This, of course, is simply an effort to duck the requirements of logic. But if you do not know the meanings of the words which you are applying to Jesus, then you are simply saying “Jesus is X” and “Jesus is Y,” X and Y being unknowns. This, of course, is to say nothing at all. (p. 83)
As a result of this confusion, many Christians revert to the idea that Jesus had two natures that are separable. Sometimes he acts as a human and sometimes he acts as God. This, of course, is not supported by scripture, and it would have been wiser to move to the scriptural position that Jesus was a man and a servant of God (See Matthew 12:18, Acts 3:13, Acts 4:27 in the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version).
William Ellery Channing is one of many Christians who have moved to that scriptural position. He wrote thus:
Where do you meet, in the New Testament, the phraseology which abounds in Trinitarian books and which necessarily grows from the doctrine of two natures in Jesus? Where does this divine teacher say, “this I speak as God, and this as man; this is true only of my human mind, this only of my divine?” Where do we find in the Epistles a trace of this strange phraseology? Nowhere. It was not needed in that day. It was demanded by the errors of a later age.
We believe, then that Christ is one mind, one being, and, I add, a being distinct from the one God. That Christ is not the one God, not the same being with the father, is a necessary inference from our former head, in which we saw that the doctrine of three persons in God is a fiction . . . . Jesus, in his preaching, continually spoke of God. The word was always in his mouth. We ask, does he by this word ever mean himself? We say, never. On the contrary, he most plainly distinguishes between God and himself, and so do his disciples. (William Ellery Channing, Unitarian Christianity and Other Essays, edited by Irving H. Bartlett (U.S.: Liberal Arts Press, 1957) pp. 17-18)
Channing contends that since the doctrine of the two natures is “so strange, so difficult, so remote from all the previous conceptions of men,” it would have been taught with utmost clarity in the Bible had it been a necessary belief for Christians. But no such teaching can be found in the Bible. Some Christians say, however, that some passages ascribe divine qualities to Jesus and others human qualities. To reconcile all these necessitates the said doctrine. Channing replies that those passages that seem to ascribe divine qualities to Jesus can be easily explained without resorting to the doctrine. He regards with disdain what he understands to be the solution proposed by other Christians:
In other words, for the purpose of reconciling certain difficult passages, which a just criticism can in a great degree, if not wholly, explain, we must invent a hypothesis vastly more difficult, and involving gross absurdity. We are to find our way out of a labyrinth by a clue which conducts us into mazes infinitely more inextricable. (p. 17)
Many, like Channing, after thorough study have concluded that Jesus was simply a man chosen by God to deliver His message. The mighty works he did were by the permission and aid of God. Jesus of his own could do nothing. The book The Myth of God Incarnate, edited by John Hick, is a collection of essays written by practicing Christian theologians and clergymen. Anyone who still has a doubt about this matter should read that book.
Finally, we must turn to God for His guidance. He sent His final book, the Qur’an to rescue mankind from the theological traps of humanly invented dogmas. The Qur’an addresses Christians and Jews:
O people of the Scripture! Now hath Our Messenger come unto you, expounding unto you much of that which ye used to hide of the Scripture, and forgiving much. Now hath come unto you light from Allah and a plain Scripture, whereby Allah guideth him who seeketh His good pleasure unto paths of peace. He bringeth them out of darkness into light by His decree, and guideth them unto a straight path. (Qur’an 5:14-15)
Say: O People of the Scripture! Stress not in your religion other than the truth, and follow not the vain desires of the folk who erred of old and led many astray, and erred from the plain road. (Qur’an 5:77)
Let us pray to Allah for His help. Nothing is possible without His help. O Allah! Guide us and guide all of humankind on the straight path.
Jesus in the Glorious Qur’an
The Qur’an tells us a lot of wonderful things about Jesus. As a result, believers in the Qur’an love Jesus, honour him, and believe in him. In fact, no Muslim can be a Muslim unless he or she believes in Jesus, on whom be peace.
The Qur’an says that Jesus was born of a virgin, that he spoke while he was still only a baby, that he healed the blind and the leper by God’s leave, and that he raised the dead by God’s leave.
What then is the significance of these miracles? First, the virgin birth. God demonstrates his power to create in every way. God created everyone we know from a man and a woman. But how about Adam, on whom be peace? God created him from neither a man nor a woman. And Eve from only a man, but not a woman. And, finally, to complete the picture, God created Jesus from a woman, but not a man.
What about the other miracles? These were to show that Jesus was not acting on his own behalf, but that he was backed by God. The Qur’an specifies that these miracles were performed by God’s leave. This may be compared to the Book of Acts in the Bible, chapter 2, verse 22, where it says that the miracles were done by God to show that he approved of Jesus. Also, note that Jesus himself is recorded in the Gospel of John to have said, “I can do nothing of my own authority” (5:30). The miracles, therefore, were done not by his own authority, but by God’s authority.
What did Jesus teach? The Qur’an tells us that Jesus came to teach the same basic message which was taught by previous prophets from God—that we must shun every false god and worship only the one true God. Jesus taught that he is the servant and messenger of that one true God, the God of Abraham. These Quranic teachings can be compared with the Bible ( Mark 10:18; Matthew 26:39; John 14:28, 17:3, and 20:17) where Jesus teaches that the one he worshipped is the only true God. See also Matthew 12:18; Acts 3:13, and 4:27 where we find that his disciples knew him as Servant of God.
The Qur’an tells us that some of the Israelites rejected Jesus, and conspired to kill him, but Allah (God) rescued Jesus and raised him to Himself. Allah will cause Jesus to descend again, at which time Jesus will confirm his true teachings and everyone will believe in him as he is and as the Qur’an teaches about him.
Jesus is the Messiah. He is a word from Allah, and a spirit from Him. He is honoured in this world and in the hereafter, and he is one of those brought nearest to Allah.
Jesus was a man who spoke the truth which he heard from God. This can be compared with the Gospel According to John where Jesus says to the Israelites: “You are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God” (John 8:40).
The Virgin Birth of Jesus
Muslims believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. When the angels announced to Mary (peace be upon her) about Allah’s promise that she will have a son, she was surprised, since she was a virgin. “How can this be?” she thought. She was reminded that it is easy for Allah to create whatever he wills.
She said: My Lord! How can I have a child when no mortal hath touched me? He said: So (it will be). Allah createth what He will. If He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is (Qur’an 3:47).
It is not difficult for Allah to do anything he wants. He can create a child with both human parents or only one. No miracle is beyond His power. After all, He had created Adam (peace be upon him) from neither a man nor a woman. He created the rest of us from both man and woman. What is so hard if Allah decides to create a human being from a woman only? He only commands “Be!” and it occurs.
Some people think that since Jesus, peace be upon him, had no human father then God must be his father. The Qur’an rejects this view. The position of Jesus with Allah is comparable to the position of Adam with Allah. Just because Adam had no human parent does not mean we should call him the Son of God.
Lo! the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is. (Qur’an 3:59).
According to the Qur’an, everyone except Allah are His servants.
And they say: the Beneficent hath taken unto Himself a Son. Assuredly ye utter a disastrous thing, whereby almost the heavens are torn, and the earth is split asunder and the mountains fall to ruins, that ye ascribe to the Beneficent a son, when it is not meet for (the Majesty of) the Beneficent that He should chose a son. There is none in the heavens and the earth but cometh unto the Beneficent as a slave. (Qur’an 19:88-93)
The Miracles of Jesus
According to the Qur’an, Jesus, on whom be peace, performed the following miracles by Allah’s leave:
1. Spoke while he was only a baby.
2. Healed those born blind.
3. Healed the lepers.
4. Revived the dead.
5. Breathed life into a bird made of clay.
In the Qur’an Allah quotes Jesus, peace be upon him, as saying:
Lo! I come unto you with a sign from your Lord. Lo! I fashion for you out of clay the likeness of a bird, and I breathe into it and it is a bird by Allah’s leave. I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I raise the dead, by Allah’s leave. And I announce to you what you eat and what you store up in your houses. Lo! herein verily is a portent for you if you are to be believers.
And (I come) confirming that which was before me of the Torah, and to make lawful some of that which was forbidden unto you. I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to Allah and obey me. Lo! Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path. (Qur’an 3: 49-51).
Again, in the Qur’an Allah tells us about the situation on the Day of Judgement:
In the day when Allah gathers together the messengers and says: What was your response (from mankind)? they say: We have no knowledge. Lo! Thou, only Thou art the Knower of Things Hidden.
When Allah says: O Jesus, son of Mary! Remember My favour unto you and unto your mother; how I strengthened you with the holy Spirit, so that you spoke unto mankind in the cradle as in maturity; and how I taught you the Scripture and Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and how you did shape of clay as it were the likeness of a bird by My permission, and did blow upon it and it was a bird by My permission, and you did heal him who was born blind and the leper by My permission . . . (Qur’an 5:109-110)
Not all of these miracles are recorded in the canonical gospels, the four gospels contained in the Christian Bible.
The fact that Jesus spoke while he was yet a baby is not written anywhere in the Bible. This should not be surprising, because none of the Gospels can claim to recover every single event in the life of Jesus. Instead, the gospel According to John seeks to emphasize that the events were too many to record.
Similarly, the miracle of breathing life into a bird made of clay is not attested by the Christian Bible. This too should not make us wonder. It is obvious that the writers of the gospels could write down only the tradition that was available to them. Furthermore, they could not write down everything they knew about Jesus for they were writing on papyrus material that were very limited in length.
What is worthy to notice here is that the Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, was honest enough to promulgate this information about Jesus. The religion taught by God through Muhammad would deny the divinity of Jesus. Any human being, therefore, who wished to deny the divinity of Jesus would have tried to belittle Jesus. Since Christians looked upon the miracles of Jesus as a proof of his divinity, we might expect that any human being who tries to deny the divinity of Jesus would not have informed people of miracles not previously known to them. He might have even tried to deny some of the miracles recorded in the canonical gospels. On the other hand, the prophet Muhammad honestly conveyed the message delivered to him from Allah. (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.)
Allah tells us the truth without fear. Human beings trying to win followers tell us only what is conducive to winning us over. They usually withhold information that could lead to opposite conclusions. On the other hand, Allah informs us about the miracles of Jesus even if people use this information to support their prior commitment to the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus. Allah does not need to win worshippers. Those who worship Allah does so for their own good. And those who worship false gods do so to their own detriment.
What Allah emphasizes, though, is that the miracles of Jesus do not prove he was divine. The miracles he performed were a sign, a proof, that he was God’s messenger. He performed them with God’s help and permission. Those who use his miracles as proof of his divinity would choose to forget the following sayings of Jesus:
I can of my own authority do nothing. (John 5:30)
They also forget the declaration of Peter:
Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves know. (Acts 2:22 KJV).
These passages suggest that Jesus did not do miracles on his own. These, rather were accomplished by God’s leave. Allah reminds us of this. Jesus also constantly repeated to his audience that the miracles he performed were by God’s leave.