Published: 00:00 GMT Standard Time - Wednesday 23 December 2009
The Muslim Jesus - ‘Isa in the Qur’an
‘Isa in the Qur’an...
‘Isa in the Qur’an2
The Qur’anic description of ‘Isa includes some Biblical elements but often directly contradicts or embellishes the Biblical story. Scholars trace the sources of some of the Qur’anic material on ‘Isa to extra-biblical sources such as Gnostic and apocryphal gospels.
While the Qur’an describes ‘Isa by various titles, such as Messiah, Apostle, a Word from God and a Spirit from God, it firmly denies his Deity, his divine Sonship and the concept of the Trinity. Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is One Allah: glory be to him: (for Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. (Q 4:171)
Believing in the deity of Christ and in the Trinity is the grave sin of shirk, of adding a partner to the One God, the greatest sin in Islam, for which there is no forgiveness.
In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary. Say: “Who then hath the least power against Allah if His Will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary his mother and all everyone that is on the earth?” (Q 5:17)
The Qur’an claims that Christians believe in a family of gods: God and Mary had a physical relationship from which their son ‘Isa was born. It denies this view:
To Him [Allah] is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth: how can He have a son when He hath no consort? He created all things and He hath full knowledge of all things. (Q 6:101)
According to the Qur’an, ‘Isa was a prophet in a long line of equal prophets of Islam whose main message was surrender to Allah (Islam). Muslims therefore see ‘Isa as equal to but not higher than all other prophets:
Say: “We believe in Allah and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes and in (Books) given to Moses, ‘Isa, and the Prophets, from their Lord; we make no distinction between one and another among them and to Allah do we bow our will (in Islam).” (Q 3:84)
‘Isa was like Adam, a created being formed out of the dust of the earth:
This similitude of ‘Isa before Allah is as that of Adam: He created him from dust then said to him: “Be” and he was. (Q 3: 59)
‘Isa was given a book (the injil, the Gospel) and a law for his time:
And in their footsteps We sent ‘Isa the son of Mary confirming the law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light and confirmation of the law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah. (Q 5: 46)
In the eyes of Muslims the injil has been corrupted, and it has now been abrogated and corrected by the more perfect revelation brought from God by Muhammad, the last and the best of the prophets.
Muslims believe that ‘Isa foretold the coming of Muhammad:
And remember ‘Isa the son of Mary said: “O Children of Israel! I am the apostle of Allah (sent) to you confirming the Law (which came) before me and giving glad Tidings of an Apostle to come after me whose name shall be Ahmad.” (Q 61:6)
They consider that ‘Isa’s original disciples were true Muslims (not Jews or Christians) who confessed:
We have faith and do thou bear witness that we bow to Allah as Muslims. (Q 5:111)