Jesus Christ in the Quran

According to the Quran, Prophet Jesus (Isa) was one of the five ulu’l azm prophets, that is the greatest prophets. His name, or an attributive reference to him, appears in 15 surahs (chapters) and 93 verses; the most frequent references to Prophet Jesus are made in the Al-Imraan, Maida and Maryam surahs, with information being given about the glad tidings of his birth, his coming to the world, the revelation, miracles, the end of his life in this world and his elevation to Allah.

In the Quran Jesus is mentioned as Isa (Jesus), Ibn Maryam (son of Mary) and the Messiah (Mesih), as well as with other names, and he is also given a number of titles; twenty-five times the name Isa appears, twenty-three times Ibn Maryam is used, sixteen of which are used along with the name Isa. The title Messiah appears in eleven places, either on its own or as Messiah Ibn Maryam or Messiah Isa b. Maryam. However, the word for Messiah (Mesih) does not have the same meaning that it is given by Christians. Isa Mesih (Jesus Christ) was created as the other prophets were, and is a servant of Allah. According to Islam, the attribution of divinity to Prophet Jesus, making him into a god, is definitely not correct.

The mother of Prophet Jesus, Maryam, was a member of one of the four distinguished families which are stated as being above all people in the Quran (GOD has chosen Adam, Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of Imraan (as messengers) to the people : Al-Imraan, 3/33). Again, in the Quran there is information about Maryam, the mother of Prophet Jesus, in connection with the glad tidings of his birth. According to the Quran, Maryam left her family and while living in the place that was allocated for her Allah’s soul (Archangel Gabriel) appeared before her as a perfect human; in fear, she sought shelter with Allah and did not want Gabriel to touch her. The angel told her that he was an envoy sent by Allah with the gift of a pure baby son. When Maryam asked how she could possibly have a child as no male hand had ever touched her and as she was a virgin, the angel told her this was easy for Allah (Mention in the scripture Mary. She isolated herself from her family, into an eastern location. While a barrier separated her from them, we sent to her our Spirit. He went to her in the form of a human being. She said, “I seek refuge in the Most Gracious, that you may be righteous.” He said, “I am the messenger of your Lord, to grant you a pure son.” She said, “How can I have a son, when no man has touched me; I have never been unchaste.” He said, “Thus said your Lord, `It is easy for Me. We will render him a sign for the people, and mercy from us. This is a predestined matter.'”: Maryam 19/16-21). Finally, Maryam became pregnant with Jesus, although no male hand had ever touched her (When she bore him, she isolated herself to a faraway place. : Maryam 19/22).

The information given about the glad tidings of Prophet Jesus’ birth in the Bible is both similar and different than that in the Quran. Both accounts state that Maryam was a virgin, but according to the Gospels, she was engaged to someone called Joseph. In Luke (1/26-35) the angel Gabriel, who gives Maryam the glad tidings that she is pregnant, is not the same as the Ruhul-kudus (Holy Soul) by whom she becomes pregnant. In the Quran, Allah Almighty speaks of “our soul” being with the angel He sent and generally this is accepted as being Gabriel. The angel gives Maryam the glad tidings, and then blows Allah’s soul into her and Maryam becomes pregnant with Jesus. As Jesus was born into this world without a father, a comparison is made to the creation of Adam (The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, “Be,” and he was :Al-Imraan 3/59).

After Maryam gives birth to Jesus, she returns to her family. When the members of the tribe see the baby in Virgin Mary’s arms they think that he is the product of an illegitimate relationship and say “O Maryam! This is a horrific thing that you have done. O sister of Aaron! Your father was not a bad man, your mother was chaste.” In response to this Jesus, who is in his cradle, speaks: “I am the servant of Allah. He gave me a book and has made me a prophet. Wherever I am, I will be; He created me blessed; He ordered me to pray and to give alms throughout my life. He made me respectful towards my mother; he did not make me an unfortunate despot. Salvation is mine on the day I was born, on the day I will die and on the day I will be lifted alive from my grave.” In the Quran, the only thing related about Jesus’ life from his birth to the period when he starts to teach the revelation is that Maryam and her son were settled in a fertile area on a hill with water (And We made the son of Maryam and his mother a sign, and We gave them a shelter on a lofty ground having meadows and springs :Al-Muminun 23/50).

According to the Quran, Allah gave Jesus a book and made him blessed. He was a prophet who was sent to the Israelites. He called them to the servant hood of Allah, confirmed the Torah, abrogated some matters, and ordered the nation to pray and pay charitable alms.

The Quran speaks of Jesus’ birth, death and also says that he will return to life (And peace be upon me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I get resurrected: Maryam 19/33). However, from the general Islamic point of view this resurrection did not occur after the crucifixion, but rather will occur after the Day of Judgment. In fact, according to the Quran Jesus was not crucified. The Jews were displeased by the message Jesus was teaching and set up a trap to kill him (They plotted and schemed, but so did GOD, and GOD is the best schemer :Al-Imraan 3/54). (“That they said (in boast), ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Apostle of God’; But they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety, they killed him not: Nay God raised him up unto Himself; and God is exalted in Power, Wise” :An-Nisa 4/157-58). Thus Islam does not accept the event of Jesus’ crucifixion, which is an important belief in the Christian religion and is seen as expiation for people’s sins.

According to Islam, Jesus was not a god or the son of God, as claimed by the Christians, nor was he an ordinary person as the Jews claimed; he was a prophet and a messenger sent by Allah, he was the prophet sent to the Israelites, and he was given the Bible (the Gospels). He confirmed the Torah, but some matters were abrogated by him. Jesus said “Certainly Allah is my Lord and He is your Lord. Thus, let us be his servants. This is the correct path,” and invited the Israelites to servant hood of Allah, stating that he was the servant of Allah. He performed many miracles. He was concerned with worshipping in temples, obedience and worship; he was given sustenance by Allah and brought into the world by Maryam, who was a symbol of chastity. He was raised without a father, and thus both mother and son were signs of Divine power.

According to the Quran, despite all the superior characteristics of Jesus, he was human and a servant (For reference, see: An-Nisa 4/172; Al-Maida 5/17, 75, Al-Maryam 19/30, Az-Zuhruf 43/59). At no time did Jesus claim that he should be deified and only advised servitude to Allah (Al-Maida 5/116-117). The Quran clearly refutes the Trinity, bringing forward the basic principle of unity (monotheism).

Jesus is also mentioned in the hadiths (sayings of Prophet Muhammad). Prophet Muhammad said that everyone who is born will certainly be touched by Satan, but Satan could only touch Prophet Jesus through a curtain/veil, not directly; it is also stated that Jesus was one of three people who was able to speak in his cradle and Prophet Muhammad encountered him on the second level of heaven during the Mi’raj (Prophet Muhammad’s miraculous ascent to Heaven). It is also stated that on the Day of Judgment those who come to Jesus for intercession will be sent to Prophet Muhammad. In the hadiths we are told that those who have faith that there is no god other than Allah, that Muhammad is his servant and messenger, that Jesus was Allah’s servant and envoy, that he was inseminated in Maryam by Allah’s command and that Jesus is a soul from Allah will enter Heaven, and we are told that Prophet Muhammad is the person closest to Prophet Jesus, the son of Maryam. Moreover, Prophet Muhammad forbade his being worshiped in the way that Jesus, the son of Maryam, is worshipped by the Christians. We can also find a physical description of Prophet Jesus in the hadiths. According to this, Jesus had a ruddy complexion, curly hair and a broad chest.

Prophet Jesus, as he is presented in the Quran and the Hadiths, is different from the man in the Gospels and in Christian theology. The components of basic Christian belief, that he was the embodiment of divinity and that due to his crucifixion Christians will be saved, are not accepted by the Qur’an. These differences have been reasons for arguments between Muslims and Christians from the earliest times. As early as the Era of Happiness, the Christians of Nejran visited Prophet Muhammad and discussed the basic Christian beliefs. It is reported that the first eighty verses of Surah Al-Imraan were revealed in connection with the discussions about Jesus that were held between the committee from Nejran and Prophet Muhammad in Medina.

Jesus Christ in Islam

Introduction
Jesus is known to the Muslims as ‘Isa – this is the name for Jesus that we have been given in our scriptures.
To Muslims, Jesus – or ‘Isa – is a savior, a reformist, the Messiah (the anointed one), the “Word of God”. He was elevated to heaven. He could cure the ill, raise the dead, fashion inanimate objects and blow life into them, all by the Will of God.

We believe that the one who disbelieves in Jesus is not a Muslim, because the person who disbelieves in one the prophets disbelieves in all of them. So Muslims believe in Jesus and in his message. His message was one with all the other messengers. In the Qur’an, it is said that God never sent a messenger to mankind except that he was sent with one warning: Worship Allah alone.

Muhammad (pbuh) said: “I am the most worthy of ‘Isa bin Maryam in this life and in the hereafter.” They (the companions) asked: “Why is that O Messenger of Allah (pbuh)?” He (pbuh) replied: “The Prophets are paternal (bloodline) brethren (from fathers side). Their mothers may be different (races, peoples, bloodlines) yet their religion is always one (Islam).” Reported by Bukhari and Muslim.

Therefore this necessitates that he who disputes the validity of one of the true Prophets and Messengers has in fact reviled and disputed all of them. One cannot believe in Muhammad (pbuh) and not believe in ‘Isa (Upon him be peace). Equally, one cannot truly believe in ‘Isa and not believe in Muhammad (pbuh). To truly accept one Prophet or Messenger necessitates the acceptance of all those who came before him and all who will come after him, ending with Muhammad (pbuh).

Four main points will be covered in this article:
1. who was Mary – because before looking at Jesus in Islam, we must first recognize the status of Mary in Islam.
2. The Immaculate Conception.
3. The special traits sent to Jesus by Allah as a way of proving to all humanity of the truth of the essential divine
message.
4. The Muslim perspective on the crucifixion, and what came after.

1. Maryam (Mary) the daughter of ’Imraan
Of the most poignant and telling mother-son relationships in the Quran is that of ‘Isa bin Maryam (Upon them be peace). For the first and last time in history a Prophet would not be addressed by his father’s name. Rather, he is referred to as Jesus the son of Mary.
To assess and grasp the true virtue of ‘Isa (Upon him be peace) it is necessary to learn about his mother Maryam bint Imraan (Upon them be peace).

Mary’s mother grew to be of an old age, and became barren. She prayed to God for one final child, whom she would dedicate in God’s service. When she conceived in old age, she said as a record to us in the Quran says:  “Allah chose Adam, Nuh (Noah), and the family of Ibrahim and the family of Imraan above the creations. Offspring, one of the other and Allah is the All-Hearer, All-Knowing. (Remember) when the wife of Imraan said: ‘O my Lord! I have vowed to You what (the child that) is in my womb to be dedicated for your services (free from all worldly work and obligations; solely for your worship) so accept this from me. Verily you are the All-Hearer (You hear my Du‘a) and the All-Knowing (and you know my sincere intention in fulfilling this vow).’  Then when she gave birth to her (Maryam), she said ‘O my Lord! I have given birth to a female child.’ – And Allah knew better what she brought forth (He is the Creator), – ‘And the male is not like the female, and I have named her Maryam (literally = pure maidservant of Allah), and I seek refuge with You (Allah) for her and her offspring from the Satan, the outcast.’  So her Lord (Allah) accepted her with goodly acceptance. He made her grow in a good manner and put her under the care of Zakariyya (Prophet Zachary).” Ali-‘Imraan 3:33-37

When Mary’s mother gave birth to Mary, she was saddened that the child was a girl. This was because, in Jewish tradition, there are very few religious acts of devotion that could be performed by a female. Of 514 daily acts of devotion, only 4 required of a Jewish woman.

She named her child Maryam, which means “the pure one”, or “the one who is purified”. Allah accepted the young female child into His service, and chose Zakariyyah – or Zacchariah – to be her caregiver. Zakariyyah was one of the prophets of Islam. He was chosen out of all of the scribes of his time, who were gathered together and instructed to throw their pens into a stream. They were told that whoever’s pen flowed against the current would be the child’s guardian. Zakariyyah’s pen was the one that flowed against the current.

Of Maryam, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Of men, many have attained completion with their Lord. But of women, there were four – Maryam the daughter of ‘Imraan, Asiyah the wife of Pharaoh, Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid and Fatimah the daughter of Muhammad.” (Agreed Upon)

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) also said of Maryam, that when every child is born, the devil pricks the child at the time of its birth, and the child cries out, except for Maryam and her son.
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) mentions: “No new born escapes the prick (touch) of the Satan at the time of their birth. (The touch is what) causes them to begin to scream. Only Maryam and her son (escaped being molested by the Satan).” Reported through authentic narrations in the Musnad of al-Imam Ahmed and the Sahih of al-Imam Muslim.

Allah said in the Qur’an:  “And (remember) when the angels said: “O Maryam! Verily, Allah has chosen you, purified you (from polytheism and disbelief), and chosen you above the women of the worlds.” Qur’an – Surat al-Imraan 3: 41

Thus, Maryam was chosen above all of humanity to bear ‘Isa.
Chapter 19 of the Qur’an is titled “Maryam”, and is dedicated to her story and the Immaculate Conception.

2. Immaculate conception
In the Qur’an, Muhammad is told to recite the story of Maryam: “And mention in the Book (the Qur’an, O Muhammad, the story of) Maryam, when she withdrew in seclusion from her family to a place facing east. She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent to her Our Ruh (the angel Gabriel), and he appeared before her in the form of a man in all respects. She said: ‘Verily, I seek refuge with the Most Gracious (Allah) from you, if you do fear Allah.’ (The angel) said: ‘I am only a messenger from your Lord, (to announce) to you the gift of a righteous son.’ She said: ‘How can I have a son, when no man hath touched me, nor am I unchaste?’ He said: ‘So (it will be), your Lord said “That is easy for Me (Allah): And (We wish) to appoint him as a sign to mankind and a mercy from Us (Allah), and it is a matter (already) decreed (by Allah).” ‘ ” Qur’an – Surat Maryam 19: 16-21

Jesus was named the “Word of God”, because Allah said “Be” and he was. Allah sets forth a parable between Jesus and Adam: Adam was taken from the earth, not born from the womb of a woman. Allah says:  “Verily the likeness of ‘Isa (Jesus) before Allah is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: ‘Be’ – and he was.” Qur’an – Surat al-Imraan 3: 59

Jesus did not have a father. But this does not mean that Jesus is divine and worthy of worship, because Adam’s existence was more miraculous than that of Jesus.Allah also says in the Qur’an that Jesus and his mother would become tired, and would need sustenance. Therefore, they could not be divine.

The story of the Immaculate Conception is continued in the Qur’an:  “So she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a far place. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a date palm. She said: ‘Would that I had died before this, and had been forgotten and out of sight!’ Then [the baby ‘Isa] cried unto her from below her, saying: ‘Grieve not: your Lord has provided a water stream under you.’ “ Qur’an – Surat Maryam 19: 22-24
Jesus spoke to Maryam as a miracle from God, to tell her that she should not be fearful and she should not be in sorrow. Maryam was instructed that when she returned to her family, she was not to answer any of their questions. So when they confronted her, she pointed to the child. They said, “How can we ask this child in the cradle?” Then the baby Jesus spoke, and said:
” ‘Verily I am a slave of Allah, He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet; and He has made me blessed wheresoever I be, and has enjoined on me Salaat (prayer) and Zakaat (alms-giving or charity), as long as I live. And to be dutiful to my mother, and made me not arrogant, unblest. And peace be upon me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!’ Such is ‘Isa, son of Maryam. (It is) a statement of truth, about which they doubt.” Qur’an – Surat Maryam 19: 30-34
That is the story of the immaculate conception as it is related to us in the Qur’an.

3. Special attributes of Jesus
The Immaculate Conception was one of the many miracles that Allah gave to Jesus.

In Islamic sources, Jesus began as a shepherd, as were all of the prophets of God before they received their Message. Jesus knew the Torah, and could read and write from the time of infancy.

He was among the greatest 5 Propphets of Islam, the others being: Noah, Abraham, Moses and Muhammad (peace be upon them all)

Jesus grew up knowing his cousin Yahya (John the Baptist). Both of them would together call to the worship of God.
Jesus never once said: “Worship me” – this was not befitting for any of the Messengers of God.

Jesus lived a full life, but he was fought against and hated and reviled by different enemies, including the evil rabbis of the time, who wished for power and status.
The scholars state that every Prophet and Messenger was sent with the type of evidence, signs, and proofs that their respective nations would respond to. During the time of Musa (Upon him be peace), magic and illusions were widespread and falsely attributed to false deities. So Allah sent Musa with what would eclipse Pharaoh’s magicians. During the time of ‘Isa (Upon him be peace) curing the ill was seen as a divine power. Allah therefore sent ‘Isa and granted him unique abilities.

Allah will remind ‘Isa of these abilities on the Day of Judgment as Allah describes them to us in Surah al-Ma’idah (5:110-115):  “(Remember) when Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection), ‘O ‘Isa son of Maryam! Remember My Favor to you and to your mother when I supported you with Ruh ul-Qudus (Jibreel) so that you spoke to the people in the (from the) cradle (at a young age) and (while) in maturity. Jibreel aided you in ordering the people to work good deeds and to submit themselves to Allah while staying away from evil deeds throughout the whole of your time with them (people).  And when I taught you writing, al-Hikmah (the power of reasoning, logic, understanding. Putting everything in its proper place at the proper time for the proper reason), and the Torah and the Injeel (Gospel). Allah granted ‘Isa all of these intellectual capabilities from his inception as some of the people of Tafseer have stated. We do not establish this claim as truth, nor do we deny it as falsehood.
And when you made out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My Permission, and you breathed into it, and it became a bird by My Permission.
And you healed those who were born blind (not just those who happened to have lost their sight), the lepers by My Permission.
And when you brought forth the dead by My Permission.
And when I restrained the Children of Israel from you (when they resolved to kill you) since you came unto them with clear proofs, and the disbelievers among them said, ‘This is nothing but evident magic.’ This was the greatest miracle granted by Allah to ‘Isa. We will shortly begin discussing the intricacies of how ‘Isa was saved from the Jews and the Romans. This ayah also shows that those who sought the death of ‘Isa were the Jews and not the Romans per-say. The ayah also shows that there were Jews who believed (Hawarieen or Disciples) and those who disbelieved.
And when I (Allah) put in the hearts of al-Hawarieen (the Disciples of ‘Isa) to believe in Me and My Messenger (you O ‘Isa), they said: ‘We believe. And bear witness that we are Muslims.’
This ayah shows clearly that Allah places guidance in the hearts of individuals. There were many that rejected the truth although they also witnessed the aforementioned miraculous occurrences. Guidance is solely from Allah, as is the misguidance of those whom were destined to reject the truth and Light of Tawheed.
(Remember) when the disciples said: ‘O ‘Isa, son of Maryam! Is your Lord able to send down to us a table spread (with food) from heaven?’ ‘Isa said, ‘Fear Allah, if you are indeed believers!’ Although they have seen clay birds being brought to life, the blind and lepers alleviated of their illness, the raising of the dead and many other miracles, they still say, “Is your Lord able!” The syntax of their question implies that if your Lord does not furnish us this table spread then He is UNABLE, not unwilling!
They said, ‘We wish to eat thereof and to be stronger in Faith, and to know that you have indeed told us the truth and that we ourselves be its witnesses.’

Once again the weakness of their faith is apparent. The syntax in their statement indirectly implies that if you have told us the truth and you really are a Prophet and a Messenger then your Lord will bring down the table spread that we request. Otherwise you have not spoken the truth. They admit that their faith is weak. ‘Isa (Upon him be peace) therefore invokes Allah for the table spread.

‘Isa, son of Maryam, said, ‘O Allah, Our Lord! Send us from Heaven a table spread (with food) that there may be for us – for the first and the last of us – a festival and a sign from You; and provide us Sustenance, for You are the Best to Sustain.’ The request although seemingly simple enough in comparison with the other miracles performed by ‘Isa is of a different nature. The request of the Disciples is a challenge to Allah. Sufyan ath-Thawri (radiya Allahu ‘Anhu) states: A day of festivity means a day that we can mark with your worship.
Salman al-Farisi (radiya Allahu ‘Anhu) said: A day for us to mark by remembering you.

Allah said, ‘I am going to send it down unto you, but if any of you after that disbelieves, then I will punish him a torment such as I have not inflicted on anyone among (all) the ‘Alamin (all that exist, mankind and Jinn).’

‘Abullah bin ‘Amr bin al ‘Aws (radiya Allahu ‘Anhu) states: “The three most punished peoples on the Day of Ressurrection shall be: The Hypocrites (at time of Rasool ul Allah), those who disbelieved after the Table spread was brought down, and Pharaoh and his legions.  Ma’idah (5:110-115)  [NOTE: everything in purple is commentry and not a part of the translation of the Quran. The Quran translation is in blue color]


4. The Muslim perspective on the crucifixion

Jesus was saved by God for the end of times. Allah said in the Qur’an: “And because of their (the Jews) disbelief and uttering against Maryam a grave false charge (that she has committed illegal sexual intercourse); And because of their (the Jews) saying (in boast), ‘We killed the Messiah ‘Isa, son of Maryam, the Messenger of Allah (they say this in mockery),’ – but they killed him not, nor crucify him, but the resemblance of a ‘Isa was put over another man (and they killed that man). And (surely) those who differ therein are full of doubts (amongst themselves). They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture (speculation). For surely they killed him not. But Allah raised him (Rafa‘ahu) up (‘Isa’s body and soul together) unto Himself. And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise.” Qur’an – Surat An-Nis?’ 4: 157

The Jews and the Romans proclaimed in joy: “We have killed the Messiah!” But they did not kill him or crucify him; but he was saved by God and raised to heaven.

Allah says in Surati Ali-‘Imran (3:54-58): “And they (the disbelievers from the Jews and Romans) plotted (to kill ‘Isa), and Allah Planned too. And Allah is the Best of Planners.  And (remember) when Allah said: ‘O ‘Isa! I will take you (Mutawaafeek) and raise you to Myself and clear you (of the forged statements) of those who disbelieve, and I will make those who follow you (Monotheists) superior to those who disbelieve (in the Oneness of Allah) till the day of Resurrection. Then you will return to Me and I will Judge between you in the matters in which you used to dispute.’”

We Muslims believe that one day the Antichrist will come, and then Jesus will descend from the heavens and slay him, and will live among the Muslims and rule them. During those times the earth shall be filled with justice and blessing.

Mohammad (pbuh) said: “The earth would be told to bring forth its fruit and restore its blessing and, as a result thereof, there would grow (such a big) pomegranate that a group of persons would be able to eat that, and seek shelter under its skin. A cow would give so much milk that a whole party would be able to drink it. And the camel would give such (a large quantity of) milk that the whole tribe would be able to drink out of that. And the sheep would give so much milks that the whole family would be able to drink out of that. At that time, Allah would send a pleasant wind, which would soothe (people), even under their armpits, and would take the life of every Muslim and only the wicked would survive who would commit adultery like asses and the Last Hour would come to them.” Reported by Imam Muslim.”

Muhammed (pbuh): “How glorious will be the time when Jesus lives among you, and you will plant a seed on a barren rock and it will sprout; there will be no drought; vegetation will cover the earth, and a man will be able to sit next to a lion and feel no harm.” Authentic – reported by Ad-Dailamee.

Jesus will come again, and will marry and have children, and live for 40 years among us. And soon after he dies, the Day of Judgment will come.

Conclusion:

This is the empirical belief of the Muslims as regards Jesus.

Allah (subhanhu wa Ta‘aala) said: “And they say: ‘The Most Gracious (Allah) has begotten a son (or offspring or children).’ Indeed you have brought forth (said) a most terrible, evil thing. Whereby the heavens are almost torn, and the earth is split asunder, and the mountains fall in ruins, that they ascribe a son (or offspring) to the Most Gracious! But it is not befitting (the Majesty) of the Most Gracious (Allah) that He should beget a son (or offspring). There is none in the heavens and the earth but comes unto the Most Gracious as a slave.” Maryam (19:88-93)

Allah (Subhanhu wa Ta‘aala) says: “No son (or offspring or children) did Allah beget, nor is there any god along with Him. (If there had been other gods or rivals or sons), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some (gods) would have tried to overcome other (gods)! Glorified is Allah above all that they attribute to Him!” Al-Mu’minoon 23:91

There are more similarities than differences between Muslims and Christians. In Islamic law, we have special rules for “the People of the Scripture”, who are similar to us except for some minor differences in major areas of dogma.

We conclude by saying:

“O people of the Book (Jews and Christians): Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none by Allah (alone), and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allah.” Qur’an – Surat Al-Imran 3: 6

Did Jesus die for our sins?

Praise be to Allah.  

The doctrine of redemption, and the basis of this doctrine which is their belief that the Messiah (peace be upon him) was crucified, is one of the basic doctrines of Christianity, so much so that they would gamble the entire religion on this doctrine. The English cardinal Manning says in his book “Eternal Priesthood”: “The importance of this confusing topic is obvious, for if the death of Christ on the cross is not real, then the basis of the church’s doctrine will crumble from its foundations, because if Christ did not die on the cross, then there is no sacrifice, no salvation, and no trinity… Paul, the Apostles and all the churches say that, i.e., if Christ did not die then there was no resurrection either.” 

This is what Paul said:  “And if Christ has not been raised, then preaching is useless and so is your faith.” I Corinthians 15:14 – New International Version (NIV) 

Just as they struggle with their belief in trinity and what it means, and how they can reconcile it with the belief in monotheism which is affirmed in the Old Testament (See the question: 12682), and just as they also struggle with everything that has to do with the crucifixion and its details, which is the basis of their belief in redemption which they believe is the reason for the crucifixion (see also no. 12615), we say: as confusion is inevitable for everyone who turns away from the light of revelation that came down from Allah, similarly they are confused about the doctrine of redemption. 

Does redemption mean saving all of mankind, as John says:  “…Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” I John 2:1-2 (NIV)? 

Or is it only for those who believe and are baptized:  “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” Mark 16:16 (NIV)? 

The one who studies the life and sayings of the Messiah will see clearly that the call of the Messiah was addressed to the Children of Israel and that throughout his mission he forbade his disciples to call anyone else. So salvation must have been only for them. This is what we see in the story of the Canaanite woman who said to him:  “… ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.’ Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, ‘Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.’ He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.’ The woman came and knelt before him. ‘Lord, help me!’ she said. He replied, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.’” Matthew 15:22-26 – NIV 

The Messiah did not heal the daughter of the Canaanite woman, although he was able to do so, so how could he redeem all of mankind? 

Was this salvation from the “original sin” of Adam only, or does it include all of our sins? 

But no one can bear the sin of anyone else, or redeem him with his own self, as Allah tells us in His Holy Book (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And no bearer of burdens shall bear another’s burden; and if one heavily laden calls another to (bear) his load, nothing of it will be lifted even though he be near of kin. You (O Muhammad) can warn only those who fear their Lord unseen and perform As‑Salaah (Iqaamat‑as‑Salaah). And he who purifies himself (from all kinds of sins), then he purifies only for the benefit of his own self. And to Allah is the (final) Return (of all)” [Faatir 35:18] 

This is what the texts of their Bible also say:  “The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him” Ezekiel 18:20-21– NIV  

There is no inherited sin (“original sin”):  “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father” John 15:22-24 – NIV  

When there is sin – whether a person has committed it himself or inherited it from Adam or from another of his forefathers – can this sin not be erased through repentance? 

The people of heaven rejoice over the one who repents like the shepherd rejoices when he finds his lost sheep, and the women rejoices over her lost penny when she finds it, and a father rejoices over his prodigal son when he returns:  “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:7 

God promises those who repent that their repentance will be accepted:  “But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live.” Ezekiel 18:21-23 – NIV. See also Isaiah 55:7 

Putting one’s trust in one’s lineage without repenting or doing righteous deeds is a kind of madness; if a person’s deeds slow him down, his lineage will not help him to speed up, as our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said. (Saheeh Muslim, 2699) 

John the Baptist (Yahya – peace be upon him) taught you the same things:  “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” Matthew 3:7-10 – NIV 

Forgiveness of sins through the sinner’s repentance is what befits the kind and merciful God – not sacrifice and crucifixion and the shedding of blood. This is what the Bible says:  “I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners (to repentance)” Matthew 9:13 – NIV (the words “to repentance” do not appear in the NIV but are present in the “King James” or “Authorized” translation of the Bible). 

Hence Paul says:  “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” Romans 4:7-8 – NIV 

We believe that if Allah had commanded some of His slaves to kill themselves in repentance from their sins, that would not be too much for them to do, and that would not contradict His being kind and merciful. He commanded the Children of Israel to do that when they asked to see God directly, but even then no one was to be killed for anyone else, rather a person was to be killed for his own sins, not for the sins of another. That was the heavy burden and fetters that were upon them (cf. al-A’raaf 7:157), from which Allah has spared this ummah. 

Another matter that disproves the belief in original sin is the texts which mean that each person is responsible for his own actions, as Allah says in His holy Book (interpretation of the meaning):  “Whosoever does righteous good deed, it is for (the benefit of) his own self; and whosoever does evil, it is against his own self. And your Lord is not at all unjust to (His) slaves” [Fussilat 41:46] 

“Every person is a pledge for what he has earned” [Al-Muddaththir 74:38] 

Similarly it says in your Bible:  “Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” Matthew 7:1-2 – NIV  

“For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done” Matthew 16:27 – NIV

The Messiah affirmed the importance of righteous deeds, and said to his disciples: 

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Matthew 7:21-22 – NIV  

Similarly, he said:  “The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth Matthew 13:41-42 – NIV  

He did not tell them of redemption by which they would be saved from the reckoning. 

Those who do righteous deeds are the only ones who will be saved on the Day of Resurrection from the reckoning, whilst those who did evil deeds will be carried off to Hell, with no salvation by the Messiah or by anyone else:  “… for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out–those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” John 5:28-29 – NIV  

 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory… Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels’” Matthew 25:31-42 – NIV  

The Messiah said to them:  “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” Matthew 23:33 – NIV  

Adolf Hernck noted that the epistles of the Apostles did not include the idea of salvation by redemption, rather they suggested that salvation is attained by good deeds, as it says in the Epistle of James:  “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? … faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. … faith without deeds is useless (or dead).” James 2:14 – NIV 

And Peter says:  “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right” Acts 10:34-35 

There are many similar examples in the words of the Messiah and the disciples. 

Allah the Almighty has spoken the truth (interpretation of the meaning): 

“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At‑Taqwa [i.e. he is one of the Muttaqoon (the pious)]. Verily, Allah is All-knowing, All Aware” [al-Hujuraat 49:13] 

What is strange is that Paul himself, who abolished this teaching and said that deeds were to no avail, and that salvation is only by faith, affirmed the importance of righteous deeds on other occasions, such as when he said:  “A man reaps what he sows … Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” Galatians 6:7 – NIV  

“and each will be rewarded according to his own labor” I Corinthians 3:8 – NIV   (For more information on this matter see: Dr Mundhir al-Saqqaar: Hal aftadaana al-Maseeh ‘ala al-Saleeb) 

So you have no way of resolving this contradiction unless you ignore your common sense and reasoning, and delude yourself with false wishes, as you do in the case of the doctrine of trinity and unity, which is what John R Stott advises you to do in his book Basic Christianity: I do not dare to deal with this subject, before I admit frankly that a great deal of it must remain a hidden mystery… I wonder how our weak minds cannot comprehend it fully, but there will inevitably come a day when the veil will be lifted and all mysteries will be resolved, and we will see the Messiah as he really is! 

… How is it possible that God was incarnated in Christ, whilst making Christ a sacrifice for our sin? I cannot answer this, but the Apostle himself places these two truths side by side and I accept the idea completely, just as I accept that Jesus the Nazarene is human and divine in one person… If we cannot resolve this contradiction or solve this mystery, we should accept the truth as proclaimed by Christ and his disciples, that he bore our sins.”  Basic Christianity, p. 110, 121, quoting from Dr Sa’ood al-Khalaf, al-Yahoodiyyah wa’l-Nasraaniyyah, p. 238. 

Yes, you and we will see the Messiah as he really is, one of the slaves of Allah who are close to Him, and one of His Prophets who were sent, on that Day when the veil will be lifted and he will disavow himself of all those who took him as a god besides Allah, or who attributed to him words that he did not say. At that time there were no mysteries or puzzles: 

“And (remember) when Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection): ‘O ‘Eesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)! Did you say unto men: Worship me and my mother as two gods besides Allah?’ He will say: ‘Glory be to You! It was not for me to say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, You would surely have known it. You know what is in my inner self though I do not know what is in Yours; truly, You, only You, are the All Knower of all that is hidden (and unseen). ‘Never did I say to them aught except what You (Allah) did command me to say: Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them while I dwelt amongst them, but when You took me up, You were the Watcher over them; and You are a Witness to all things. (This is a great admonition and warning to the Christians of the whole world). ‘If You punish them, they are Your slaves, and if You forgive them, verily, You, only You, are the Almighty, the All Wise.’ Allah will say: ‘This is a Day on which the truthful will profit from their truth: theirs are Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise) — they shall abide therein forever. Allah is pleased with them and they with Him. That is the great success (Paradise). To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is therein, and He is Able to do all things” [al-Maa’idah 5:116-120] 

Will you think about it before it is too late? 

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians): Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allah (Alone), and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allah.’ Then, if they turn away, say: ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims’” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:64].

Source: Islam Q&A