Many Christians are aware that Jesus is mentioned in the Quran and that there is some common ground between both faiths. However, despite certain parallels, the way the Quran portrays Jesus is quite contrary to Christian faith. What are the similarities and differences in the Islamic portrayal? Jesus is specifically named in the Quran. There are indeed some similarities between the Muslim and Christian belief about Jesus. When Muslims discuss Jesus with Christians, these shared beliefs are often highlighted. Muslims will readily profess love for Jesus and recognise Mary as the virgin mother of Jesus (Quran 19: 16-21). It is held in the Muslim faith that Jesus was conceived miraculously (Quran 3:47) and performed miracles (Quran 5:110). Healing of the blind and leprosy are specifically mentioned. It is further alluded to in the Quran and taught through Islamic tradition that Jesus will return in judgement (Quran 43:61). Muslims do indeed believe in Jesus and recognise a few key aspects of Jesus' miraculous birth and life and even that Jesus would return again. How then is the Muslim portrayal of Jesus, different? Before we continue, I must warn the Christian reader that some of what you are about to come across may be quite uncomfortable and somewhat confrontational. Christianity certainly does have rebuttals against Islam's perspective. However, I do not want to make this into an argumentative discourse and will just present Islam for what it is, trusting that a Christian is secure in the understanding of the faith. Muslims do not believe that Jesus is God While Islam recognises certain aspects about Jesus, the critical identity of Jesus as the Son of God and God is expressly denied. Although Muslims will readily say they love Jesus, it is no more than how they would love Noah (Nuh), Abraham (Ibrahim) or Moses (Musa) and certainly never above Muhammad. To Muslims, Jesus is only a messenger; a prophet in a long line of prophets. In Quran 4:171 it says - "O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an apostle of AllahÂ€" And in Quran 5:75 - "Christ the son of Mary was no more than an apostle; many were the apostles 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!" It should be noted here that Muslims will use the title of "Christ" interchangeably with "Jesus". However, "Christ" is not used with the normally ascribed Christian understanding of Jesus as Messiah and Saviour. Muslim understanding restricts the word "Christ" to being a title of honour only. Muslims would acknowledge "Christ" as meaning "messiah" but only in so far as the dictionary definition of the word permits with neither any attribution of Divinity nor the spiritual connotations held to by Christians. In the last entry we discussed the Muslim understanding of "Kufr" and the strict aversion towards anthropomorphising Allah. This same doctrine extends to Jesus also. Muslims think it is ridiculous that God would be birthed by a woman as a helpless crying baby and go through life subject to human frailties such as needing "to eat their (daily) food". To Muslims that would be contradicting to the all-powerful nature of Allah and hence Islam views Christians as not only being deluded but condemned by Allah to think that Jesus is God. The "People of the Book" is used often on the Quran to refer to Christians (and Jews). Muslims do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God and rejects the Trinity The Quran systematically denies everything tenet of Christian faith in Jesus and it denounces The Trinity, calling it blasphemy towards Allah. Muslims believe Allah to be supreme, sufficient on his own and having no need for any partners. In other words, Muslims believe that Allah is above having a son. It is again very explicit: Quran 4:171 -"Â€Say not 'Trinity' : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far 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 ". Quran 19:35 adds this: "It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! when He determines a matter, He only says to it, "Be", and it is". It is thought debasing towards Allah to think that he would beget a son since all Allah would have to do to get anything done would be to simply speak it. Muslims are specifically taught repugnance towards The Trinity from a very young age, growing up with a firmly entrenched opinion that Christianity is wrong. It is understood that to worship anyone or anything other than Allah is polytheism or "Shirk" - the most heinous and unforgivable sin. It says this in Quran 4:48 - "Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeed". Quran 5:73 is even plainer - "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." The Quran clearly equates Christianity to Shirk, the most heinous and unforgivable sin that leads only to damnation. In other words according to Islam, Christianity equals sin and Christians are transgressors simply by virtue of the Christian faith. Muslims do not believe in Jesus' atonement for our sins Christians believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation and that He was the promised redemption from the fall of man. However, there is no Original Sin in Islam's account of creation. Muslims believe that although both Adam and Eve were banished to earth for eating the forbidden fruit, they were simply forgiven by Allah after Adam repented for 40 days. Without Original Sin, the entire concept of the need for redemption, or for that matter - a Saviour - is completely thrown out of the window. There is simply no room in Islam for redemption or atonement as Christians understand it. Islam denies Jesus' role as Redeemer and rejects the notion of that need altogether. Muslims believe Allah's discretion as being absolute and that they will be judged according to a scale balancing their good versus bad deeds and should the scale tip in favour of the good, then Allah willing, they will be received into paradise. When we think about that however, we would realise that in effect, this means there is no assurance of salvation in Islam. This is significant. It would also explain why Muslims can be driven to performance to the extent of fanatical militant religiosity in the hope to please Allah and avoid hell. This is grim comparison to the Christian belief that salvation is through grace and not works (though works are an expression of faith). It should also serve as a reminder to Christians about the dangers of religiosity that rapidly approaches radical zealousness as our hold on grace diminishes. I don't think grace can ever be over emphasised. Muslims neither believe in Jesus' death on the Cross nor His subsequent resurrection Muslims think it simply nonsensical that Jesus had to die on the cross for mankind. They would question, "Why would God punish himself to save mankind from his own wrath?" Muslims will often confront a Christian with this challenge, throwing off balance many who are unprepared for this question. The basic tenet of Christian faith that Christ died and rose again is explicitly refuted by Islam. In Quran 4:157-158 it says, in reference to the Jews boasting to slaying prophets and messengers of Allah: "That they said (in boast), 'We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Apostle of Allah';- 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, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise;- If I may paraphrase to make the language clear, Islam denies Jesus was actually crucified believing it only appeared to have been so. "Those who differ therein" refer to Christians and Jews who believed in the claim of the crucifiers due to weak faith towards Allah, ignorance and inability to reason the truth that Jesus was not killed. Muslims are taught that Jesus did not die on the cross but was taken up into heaven by Allah even before Jesus was ever crucified (or died). The Quran does not offer further details but Islamic tradition teaches that Allah made someone else look like Jesus and contends that it was probably Judas Iscariot who took Jesus' place on the cross. At this point I am cringing to have had to repeat such lies but Christians ought to know what Islam teaches. Christianity is denied Most Christians with a basic appreciation of Islam know that Muslims reject Christianity. We tend to assume that the rejection is through implied reasoning. After all, we often reason that the monotheistic worship of one god would by default mean the exclusion of another. Not many of us are actually aware of how explicit the Quran is in its specific denial of Jesus Christ (and Judaism). The anti-Semitism of Islamists and their animosity towards Christians is not just a result of history but something also engendered in the religion of Islam itself. This may be uncomfortable to us but it is something we should not ignore. However, let us note here that not all Muslims are radical Islamists. The Bible on the other hand does not specifically denounce another religion by name but it does teach Christians to be wary of false worship, idolatry and false prophets. Islam however specifically denies the Trinity; Jesus Christ as Son of God and God; and further denies that Jesus died on the Cross and was resurrected. These denials are explicit. While writing this I could not help thinking of the following verses in the Bible. See for yourself - 1 John 2:22-23; 1 John 4:2-3 and John 8:44. The spirit behind Islam is a spirit that denies Jesus Christ. Who is the Muslim's Jesus? If there is something else that Christian's should know about the Muslim Jesus or rather "Isa", it is this - Isa is a fervent Muslim. Islamic tradition teaches that Isa will return to join a holy war against Jews and Christians. This war is said to be led by another Islamic eschatological figure known as The Mahdi who is believed will emerge after Jews have been hunted down and driven into hiding. The entire Islamic world shares the aspiration for the Mahdi's emergence. Hence there is a united desire across all sects of Islam to see Israel's destruction in order to usher in the Mahdi - who is regarded as Islam's champion or redeemer. Islamic eschatology explains that the Mahdi will establish Islam as the ruling religion of the world instituting a worldwide Caliphate. The goal of Islam, through the Mahdi, is worldwide domination. It is believed that even Isa will defer to the Mahdi's command, taking over only upon the Mahdi's death. Muslims also believe that Isa will marry, have children and then die and that during his lifetime, Isa will perform the Haj; visit Muhammad's grave, 'correct' and abolish Christianity; kill the Jews; and institute Islamic Sharia law throughout the earth. In Islam, Isa's return in 'judgement' is really to bring judgement against Non-Muslims and it is not the same as the Christian belief that Jesus' judgement is the final judgement for all who are living and the dead. In Islam, Isa is not the Saviour but rather Christianity's eradicator and exterminator of Jews. What about the Holy Spirit? Finally, for the sake of being complete here - with regards to the Holy Spirit, we should note that Muslims view the Christian standpoint as being in error and believe that the Holy Spirit is really only the Angel Gabriel. Certain Muslim scholars also argue that Jesus was really a precursor to Muhammad and assert that when Jesus spoke about the Holy Spirit's coming after His departure, He was really prophesying Muhammad coming as the 'comforter' and 'helper'. Sorry...Â€ I did a facepalm when I first came across thisÂ€... Conclusion There is much more about the Muslim "Jesus" that we have not gone into but I think enough has been discussed to establish that Islam's "Jesus" is not the Christian Jesus but rather someone else of a totally different nature. I will leave it to you, the Christian reader, to come to your own conclusion as to who this "other Jesus" or Isa is. I want to acknowledge that a risk in putting up something like this is in creating prejudices, fears and suspicions against Muslims. However, I think we would be forgetting our Christian values if we allow any such feelings foothold. This is not about Muslims because Muslims are people like you and me. People are God's creation and God deemed creation good. Rather, this is about the "spirit behind Islam". The Muslim person is not the enemy - no person is. We need to remember that we battle not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12) and that spiritual battles are fought with prayer. [sub]References (in no particular order) Online Quran "Basic Beliefs - Christian vs Muslim" (in Islam 101), Sami Zatari. "What did the followers of Jesus take him as? A great man or God?" (in Muslim Responses), Abdullah Smith. "The Suffering Servant of Isaiah" (In Answering Christianity), "The Blessed Jesus peace be upon him and Place of Jews and Christians in Islam" (in Answering Christianity), Joel Richardson. "Will Islam be Our Future: A Study of Biblical & Islamic Eschatology" (in Answering Islam), Harun Yahya, "The Return of Isa (as) After the Emergence of False Prophets", (In Signs of The Last Day), "Jesus in Islam" (in Wikipedia),
You covered really well the differences in how Islam views Jesus Christ, and how Christians view Jesus Christ. In the social, political environment, it is only a minor difference of view, there are many paths to God, in [b]that[/b] environment. Nuff said there.
We can not force Christianity on anyone. That was already tried I believe, don't wanna go there. Yet, we can not be forced into silence. Many are forced underground today, and that is the direction the world at large is going.
Thanks for putting this out there. God give the increase. God Bless, billy
Thank you Brother Doulos for this very informative blog! Also from the Quran-q5:73-Christians are wrong about the Trinity. For they will have painful doom. Yipes! May we be strong witnesses unto them with the love of Jesus in our hearts-and as you state-prayer!! God Bless you richly! Dave