Jesus and Allah



Of all the major religious leaders, only one claimed to be God...or did He? Islam insists that Jesus never claimed that He was God. Islam says of Jesus:

1. That he was the son of a woman, Mary, and therefore man;
2. But an apostle, a man with a mission from God, and therefore is entitled to honor.
3. A Word bestowed on Mary, for he was created by God's Word, and he was.
4. A spirit proceeding from God, but not God: his life and mission were more limited than in the case of some other apostles, though we must pay equal honor to him as a man of God?
(Please see http://www.islam101.com/religions/deedat/christ_in_islam1.htm, the Islamic site from which this was taken)


Yet the Bible says that Jesus was "the only begotten Son of God." Islam contends that Jesus never claimed deity. Is it true? The Jesus of Christianity and the Jesus of Islam are markedly different; only one of them actually existed. So, which of the two is the real Jesus? It is important that Muslims consider the biblical evidence concerning Jesus as well as the Qur'anic evidence, because the Qur'an itself says, "If you (a Muslim) are in doubt concerning that which We (God) have revealed and shown you (in the Qur'an), then ask those (Christians) who read the Scripture (Bible) before you."

JESUS' CLAIMS

The Jews said to Jesus, "Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?" (John 8:57) Jesus then replied, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM." (John 8:58) This is perhaps the most unmistakable claim to deity that Jesus made. When Moses asked God His name, he received the reply, "I AM THAT I AM", God told Moses to tell the pharaoh that "I AM" had sent him. By saying this, Jesus had thus told the Jews that He was the eternally existent One, the Creator and Sustainer of all things. The Jews "then...took up stones to cast at Him." (John 8:59)

If that were not enough, in John chapter 10, verse 30, Jesus said, "I and My Father are One." Many Muslims argue that Jesus was claiming only oneness in purpose in this case. But this is true neither in context nor in language. In verse 28, He says, "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand." In the next verse, He says, "...and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand." First, He claimed the authority to give His followers eternal life, "the prerogative of God alone" (See http://www.islam101.com/religions/deedat/christ_in_islam8.htm). Then, He says that He has the ability to keep His followers in His hand, later saying that God will keep His followers in His hand. After claiming an ability that He attributes to God, He then says, "I and the Father are One." The Jews, recognizing His claim, "took up stones again to stone Him." (John 10:31) If He was claiming oneness in purpose, the Jews had no basis on which to stone Him.

Muslims still insist in light of these passages that Jesus never claimed deity. But even if His statements are twisted and redefined, we are still left with the problem of His disciples' testimony. His disciples went everywhere with Him, and they loved Him. They heard His teachings more than anyone else, and His disciples certainly thought that He claimed deity.

John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God and the Word was God." It has been alleged that John did not say, "...the Word was God," but that he said, "...the Word was a god." (Please see http://www.islam101.com/religions/deedat/christ_in_islam7.htm) This was first alleged by Johannes Greber in 1937. This man personally admitted to being heavily involved in the occult. He believed in many gods, and thus needed Jesus to be only "a god." Since Greber, there have been others to translate the text as "a god." But all these sources for translating the word "God" as "a god" are unreliable at best, demonic at worst. Why not choose a translation from a reputable Greek scholar? Throughout the ages, countless Greek scholars have rendered the word as "God."

But John was not the only disciple who thought that Jesus was God. Thomas called Jesus "My Lord and my God." (John 20:28) Peter traveled with Paul, who repeatedly called Jesus God. If Peter was in disagreement, why did they journey together? This brings us to the last point. 600 years before Islam began, Christians everywhere believed that Jesus was God and were willing to die for their belief. For someone who never claimed to be God, Jesus certainly had a lot of followers who thought that He did.

THE TRINITY

Christianity holds that Jesus is God. In Islam, associating a partner with God is a sin, the sin of ishrak. Muslims say that the Christians worship three gods. The Bible assures us, however, that God is one. Jesus Himself said, "Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord." (Mark 12:29) Here He is quoting Deuteronomy 6:4. Christians cannot, therefore, believe in three gods.

It is not surprising that humans, as God's creatures, would not be able to fully understand the nature of our Creator. The difficulty of understanding and explaining the concept of the Trinity is actually evidence for its divine origin. It is unlikely that the concept would be invented by mere humans.

The Trinity, contrary to some Muslims' belief, is not God, Jesus, and Mary. This mistake is based on Surah 5:116 which says, "And when Allah will say: O Jesus, son of Mary, didst thou say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah?" The Trinity is God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

In the Bible, the Father is referred to as God: "it is My Father that honoreth me; of whom ye say, that He is your God." (John 8:54) Jesus is referred to as God; Thomas said to Jesus, "My Lord and my God." (John 20:28) And, the Holy Spirit is referred to as God: "Peter said, Annanias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost..thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." (Acts 5:3-4)

But the Muslims insist that "God has no sons." This is true. Jesus was not a son of God by God's union with Mary. Instead, Jesus is a figurative Son. In Arabic, there is an expression that says a traveler is a "son of the road." This does not mean that his father had sexual relations with the road. It is in this metaphorical sense that Jesus is understood as being the Son of God. When Jesus said that He was "the Son" and God was "the Father", He was not talking about His physical birth. Rather, He was claiming to have a special relationship with God that referred to His identity and equality. To be the Son of God meant that He was of the same order and had the same qualities as God.

The Jews understood His claims to mean this. They said, "He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God." (John 5:18)

But does the doctrine of the Trinity contradict itself? No. To contradict itself, the statement would have to confirm and deny the same thing in the same respect. The doctrine of the Trinity does not do this. God is one in essence and three in Person. Essence and personhood are different. God is three in Person in that each Person of the Trinity is distinct; God is one in that each Person of the Trinity shares the same self-existing essence and other qualities unique to God.

THE CRUCIFIXION

Finally, what about the crucifixion...was it Jesus on the cross? Muslims believe that the God of the Qur'an would not dishonor His chosen prophet by allowing him to be crucified. Instead, Muslims believe, Jesus was caught up into heaven and someone else took His place on the cross.

The following passage is what Muslims use to deny the crucifixion of Christ:

That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the messenger 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. (Surah 4:157-158)


A careful reading of this passage, however, shows that there is no denial of Christ's crucifixion, but instead denies that the Jews caused Jesus to be crucified. As a matter of fact, the Bible agrees and says that the Romans killed Jesus (John 18:31).

The Qur'an is very vague concerning the last days of Christ's life on earth. This opened the door for many differing and opposing opinions among Muslims including a legend of Christ casting His likeness upon someone else. But one Muslim scholar, the Imam Fakhred Din al-Razi refutes the Muslim stories completely. His comments on Surah 3:55 are as follows:

1) If it is perishable to assert that God casts the resemblance of one person on to another, then the door is open to calumny and in time to subtle reasoning and in the end invalidates prophecies.
2) God supported Him (Jesus) with His Holy Spirit. Was He in this case not able to do so? He (Jesus) was able to raise the dead, and so was He not able to protect Himself?
3) God was able to rescue Him by raising Him to heaven. So what use was it to cause another to bear His likeness?
4) By so doing - that is by causing another to resemble Him - they were made to believe this other was Jesus, although he was not. This was a deception and not in keeping with the wisdom of God.
5) The majority of Christians from East to West witnessed His being crucified with their intense love of Christ and extreme zeal for His cause. Therefore, if we deny this, we discredit the historicity of events and thus we discredit the prophecy of Muhammad and Jesus and the rest of the prophets.
6) The logical (normal) thing would be that the "other man" would be able to defend himself and say he was not Jesus and that is what he would have done.

Furthermore, Christ's death on the cross was predicted many times in the Old Testament. Even Jesus predicted His own death. In Matthew 12:40, Jesus says, "...the Son of Man shall be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." In Mark 9:31 He said, "The Son of Man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill Him; and after that He is killed, he shall rise the third day." He also predicts His death in Matthew 16:4,21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; 26:2; Mark 8:31; 10:33-34; Luke 9:22,44; John 10:11, 17-18; and 12:32-33. Jesus certainly thought that He would be crucified.

Ten out of twelve of Jesus' disciples were killed because they believed that He was God and that He was crucified and resurrected. They believed to the point that they were willing to die. One of His disciples betrayed Him, and the last died of old age, believing to his grave that Jesus was God become man.

There is also the testimony of history that Jesus was crucified. Lucien, (100 AD) a Greek historian, wrote of the crucifixion and of the early Christians. He was not a Christian, and in fact, looked on them as a deceived people. One of his writings states that "The Christians continue to worship that great man who was crucified in Palestine because he brought a new religion to the world."

Pilate sent a full report of the crucifixion of Christ and His burial to Tiberius Caesar, and this report is among the Roman records. It was one of the documents with which the Christian scholar Tertullian supported his famous work, Apologeticum (The Apology).

Finally, the Talmud, a Jewish holy book, says,

Jesus was crucified one day before the Passover. We warned him for 40 days that he would be killed because he was a magician and planned to deceive Israel with his delusions. Whoever wished to do so was asked to defend him, and when none did, he was crucified on the eve of the Passover. Does anyone dare to defend him? Was he not a stirrer up of evil? It is said in the prophets, Deuteronomy 13:8, "To a person such as this, do not listen, nor shall your eye pity him, not shall you conceal him, but you shall kill him."


The crucifixion of Christ was necessary in the Christian faith for God to be reconciled to man. It may have been necessary for the Islamic faith as well. Consider the following story from the Qur'an:

So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear. Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he [Abraham] said: "O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!" (The son) said: "O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me, if Allah so wills one practicing patience and constancy!" So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah) and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice), We called out to him, "O Abraham! Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!" - thus, indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial - and we ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice." (Surah 37:101-107)


If salvation is only a matter of rewarding those who do good, and if God's purpose was only to test Abraham's obedience, why then was there a need for "a momentous sacrifice"? Was it not sufficient that Abraham went as far as he did? Who provided the "momentous sacrifice"? And, finally, is a goat enough to "ransom" humanity for our sins?

Jesus said, "The Son of Man [Jesus] came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:28) Jesus is the great sacrifice, and God is the One who sent Him. Yes, Jesus claimed to be God, and yes, He is. To find out how Jesus Christ can become your personal Savior, please read The Five Facts of Life by Bob Burch.


If you would like a more detailed discussion of Jesus' significance to Islam and the question of His deity, please see http://www.the-good-way.com, they have an excellent page that includes articles in Arabic. Please also see http://www.answering-islam.org, a site that contains a very detailed discussion of the issues involved and has links to many Christian and Islamic sites.