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.
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.
According to the Qur’an, everyone except Allah are His servants.
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.
In the Qur’an Allah quotes Jesus, peace be upon him, as saying:
Again, in the Qur’an Allah tells us about the situation on the Day of Judgement:
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:
They also forget the declaration of Peter:
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.
Tag Archives: Isa
||“Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter, he is of those nearest to Allah”;
By: Sadullah Khan
Islamic Center of Irvine* –
“Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter, he is of those nearest to Allah”; [Qur’an 3:45]
Belief in Prophets (May Allah’s Peace be upon all of them)
Islam emphasizes the universality of the institution of prophethood. According to the Qur’an, there is not a single nation in the world to which a prophet has not appeared sometime in history: “There is not a people but a warner has gone among them” [Q35:24]. And again: “For every nation there is a messenger” [Q10:47]
The Qur’an mentions about 25 of the Biblical Prophets by name [Q4:163] and we are further told that there have been prophets besides those mentioned in the Qur’an: “And We sent messengers We have mentioned to thee before, and messengers We have not mentioned to thee” [Q4:164] .
It is an Islamic article of Faith to believe …
in all Prophets; from Adam through Abraham, Moses, Jesus to Muhammad (peace be upon them) [Q2:184]
all Prophets were models of excellence who were commissioned to guide humankind [Q2:213]
the mission of Prophets was to establish justice for all [Q57:25]
that Prophets were the embodiments of Righteousness;
“And Zachariah, John, Jesus and Elijah;
all of these were of the most Righteous.” [Q6:85]
It is an accepted fact in Islam that the struggle and legacy of the prophets (peace be upon them) serve as universal guides, excellent examples and as sources of hope and inspiration.
Status of Maryam/Mary
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a prominent figure in Islam and the only woman mentioned by name in the Qur’an. The Qur’an upholds Mary as one of the four perfect examples of womanhood [Q66:12] . Mary is mentioned more times and more biographical information about her is contained in the Qur’an than in the entire New Testament.
The birth of Jesus Christ is described in twice in the Qur’an – chapter 3 and chapter 19. Reading from the beginning of his birth, we come across the story of Mary, and the esteemed position which she occupies in the House of Islam, before the actual annunciation of the birth of Jesus is made.
The Qur’anic account of Mary includes the pregnancy of her mother, Mary’s birth and the annunciations of the coming birth of Jesus: “Remember how she preserved her chastity, into whom We breathed a life from Us, and made her and her son a token for humankind” [Q21:91]. The Qur’an teaches that Mary is to be revered because she completely submitted herself to God’s will, even though it meant that her own family would accuse her of unchastity when it was discovered that she was pregnant [Q19:16-21] .
The mother of Jesus (peace be upon them) is accorded highest respect and considered as among the most noble in the estimation of Allah. [Q3:33] Behold! the angels said: O Mary! Allah has chosen you and purified you, chosen you above the women of all nations.” [Q3:42]
The entire chapter 19 titled Maryam/Mary in the Qur’an and another (chapter 3) is titled Al-‘Imran after the family of Mary.
Jesus /’Isa referred to 9 times in the Qur’an as ‘Isa and 16 times as ‘Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus son of Mary)
Mary is considered chaste, virtuous, receiver of God’s spirit, a testimony to the veracity of God’s message and piously obedient [Q66:11]
Jesus (pbuh) himself is recorded as saying about his respected mother,
Uniqueness of Jesus (pbuh)
Virgin birth -The Qur’an gives an account of the birth of Jesus in chapter 3. Mary is described as being a virgin, chosen by God, and considered with great honor. “Behold! the angels said: O Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary.” [Q3:45] . Verse 47 relates the response of and to Mary, “She said: O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me? He said: ‘Even so: Allah creates what He wills: When He has decreed a plan, He merely says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is!” The Qur’an thus affirms and Muslims believe that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. The birth is seen as a sign (ayah) of Allah’s power and as a miraculous event. And Muslims have a high regard also for Mary. However, the Qur’an presents Jesus as the son of Mary and not as the Son of God, a significant point particularly emphasized.
Like Adam (pbuh) -Though the unique birth of Jesus with one parent is no indication of divinity just as Adam’s creation was without any parentage [Q3:59] .
Messiah -It is obvious that Jesus holds an exalted place within Islam. Some of the honorable epithets of Jesus (pbuh) mentioned in the Qur’an are … prophet / nabi, messenger of God / rasul, of the Righteous / min-as-salihin, word of Allah / kalimatu-Llah), spirit from God / ruhun mina’ Llah, positive sign/symbol for humanity / aayatun lin- naas, mercy from God / rahmatan minna, the son of Mary / ibne Maryam, eminent in this world and the next / wajihan fid-dunya wal-aakhirah, and most unique of all… the Messiah / masih.
Miracles -The Qur’an speaks of Jesus possessing intellect and eloquence in childhood [Q19:30] and documents some of Jesus’ miracles, including curing the sick, restoring the sight of the blind and reviving the dead, with God’s permission [Q5:110] .
The Qur’an specifically mentions two miracles which the Bible does not contain;
1. The Qur’an records Jesus as an infant verbally defending Mary’s innocence [Q19:27-35]. In Surah 19:27-34, Jesus speaks from the cradle to state his mission. Jesus said, “I am indeed a servant of Allah Who has given me revelation and made me a prophet.”
2. The Qur’an [Q5:110] also reports that Jesus formed a bird out of clay, and blew into it, and it came to life and flew away.
This last miracle is not recorded in the canonical New Testament but does appear in the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas.
It must be remembered that all miracles / mu’jizah performed by prophets (pbuh) are done through the agency of the prophets but by the power and authority of God. Jesus’ miracles too are considered basically in the line of his being a prophet and in God’s enabling and permitting him to do so. The Qur’an thus stresses the fact that the miracles of Jesus were performed by the permission and power of God [Q5:110] .
No Easter Commemoration
Millions of Christians commemorate the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus (pbuh), and this begs the question that if Jesus is important to Muslims, why do Muslims then not commemorate Easter. Though Muslims accept Jesus (pbuh) as a great prophet, revere his exemplary mother Mary, and believe that Jesus is the Messiah; Muslims do not accept the major concepts that are central to the commemoration of the Easter weekend. Among these concepts are…
Divine Incarnation and Trinity [Q4:171][Q112:1-4] -Allah is ONE in an absolute sense, no one shares in His Lordship nor in His divinity; nothing is equal or comparable to God. This is in keeping with the command, “and Jesus answered him, the first of all the commandment is, Hear, O Israel; The LORD our God is One LORD.” [Mark 12:29]. In promoting a great human such as Jesus (pbuh) to divinity, does not elevate Jesus as much as it minimizes the concept of the divine; is not making the finite infinite as much as making the perfect imperfect; not an elevation of Jesus, but rather a devaluation of the Divine.
Crucifixion -Christ, according to Muslim belief, did NOT die on a cross [Q4:157] but was rather elevated by Allah and saved from being killed [Q4:158].
Resurrection -Not having died, Jesus could NOT have been resurrected [Q4:156].
Inherited Sinfulness [Q2:285] -Babies are born pure and no one is born bearing the sin of any one and no one bears the burden of another [Q17:15] .
Redemption / Atonement -Muslims do not believe in the doctrine of Original Sin, so there is no theological need for the all-atoning sacrifice of Jesus through his crucifixion and resurrection. Muslims further believe that each person will be held accountable before God for his/her own actions and thus responsible for their own salvation. Therefore, we will not be able to rely upon anyone else, not even Jesus or Muhammad, to save us from our sins. Sins are those acts we deliberately incur by our choice of actions, we are responsible and hence personally accountable. In Islam there is no notion of redemption for one’s sin by another. Each one is accountable for himself/herself [Q99:7-8] and for each person according to his/her personal striving [Q2:286] .
Jesus is …
Jesus denied by some as a fictional character, accused of being an illegitimate child by some, misconceived as divine by many; considered as a Prophet and Messiah in Islam. People do have differing perspectives on Jesus’ life and teachings, but his spiritual legacy, as a righteous and principled guide, his mission as a Prince of Peace offers an alternative opportunity for people of faith to recognize their shared religious heritage.
Allah bears testimony to the truthfulness of Jesus; his mission, character, status and his very being. “Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: a statement of truth, about which people dispute.” [Q19:34].
All sincere ones would do well to reflect on the verse in the Quran reaffirming Islam’s eternal message of spiritual unity: “Say: ‘We believe in God and the revelation given to us and to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and message given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to all Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and it is unto Him that we surrender ourselves.” [Q2:136]