Monday, July 15, 2013
Ramadan 2013 – Day 5, the Quran and the Prophet Isa (Jesus)
Islam is an Abrahamic religion, and many of the people mentioned in the Bible are also mentioned in the Qur’an. I think many Christians in the West fail to understand that so are surprised to hear that the Qur’an discusses Moses (Musa in Arabic), Noah (Nuah), Abraham (Ibrahim) and so forth. And yes, there is a lot of discussion of the Prophet Isa, known in Christianity as Jesus.
Of course when it comes to the Prophet Isa there are some similarities to the Bible and some significant differences.
In Islam the Prophet Isa is a Messenger, like the Prophet Mohammed, who received the word of God. Like the other Prophets he was not divine, a key theological difference from Christianity. The concept of the Trinity is specifically refuted in the Qur’an:
4:159 And there is none of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) but must believe in him ['Îsa, son of Maryam (Mary), as only a Messenger of Allah and a human being] before his ['Îsa’s, or a Jew's or a Christian's] death (at the time of the appearance of the angel of death). And on the Day of Resurrection, he ['Îsa] will be a witness against them.
4:171 O people of the Scripture (Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allah aught but the truth. The Messiah 'Îsa, son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and His Word, which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a spirit (Ruh ) created by Him; so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not: "Three (trinity)!" Cease! (it is) better for you. For Allah is (the only) One Ilah (God), glory be to Him (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is All-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs.
5:75 The Messiah ['Îsa (Jesus)], son of Maryam (Mary), was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him. His mother [Maryam (Mary)] was a Siddiqah [i.e. she believed in the Words of Allah and His Books]. They both used to eat food (as any other human being, while Allah does not eat).
Because Isa is not divine he should not be worshipped
19:36 ['Îsa said]: "And verily Allah is my Lord and your Lord. So worship Him (Alone). That is the Straight Path. (Allah's religion of Islamic Monotheism which He did ordain for all of His Prophets)."
However, Islam does believe in the virgin birth.
3:47 She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me." He said: "So (it will be) for Allah creates what He wills. When He has decreed something, He says to it only: "Be!” -- and it is.
3:49 And I will make him (Isa) a Messenger to the Children of Israel . . .
Similar verses are repeated in Surah 19 (19-23).
It then continues to list some of the miracles of the Prophet Isa, some of which will be familiar.
. . . saying, "I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, that I design for you out of clay, a figure like that of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah's Leave; and I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I bring the dead to life by Allah's Leave. And I inform you of what you eat, and what you store in your houses. Surely, therein is a sign for you, if you believe.”
A key difference here is that the miracles are performed with the will of Allah. My understanding is that Muslims believe the Prophet Isa did not perform these miracles by his own ability but by beseeching God to make it occur. Surah 5:112-115 also gives an example where people ask Isa for the Lord to produce food for them as proof and Allah decides to do so.
What of the crucifixion? This is the most significant split from Christian belief:
4:157 And because of their saying (in boast), "We killed Messiah 'Îsa, son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allah," - but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but the resemblance of 'Îsa was put over another man (and they killed that man), and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not
4:158 But Allah raised him ['Îsa] up (with his body and soul) unto Himself (and he is in the heavens). And Allah is ever All-Powerful, All-Wise.
Yep, according to the Qur’an Jesus was not crucified. Instead Allah took him to Heaven before the crucifixion occurred.
An interesting thing about Isa was that he was able to talk as soon as he was born.
19:23 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!"
19:24 Then [the babe 'Îsa (Jesus) or Jibril (Gabriel)] cried unto her from below her, saying: "Grieve not: your Lord has provided a water stream under you. . . .
19:30 "He ['Îsa] said: "Verily I am a slave of Allah, He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet; "
And while it is only touched on here and there, Isa will return during the Day of Judgment. The lecture I attended on the Antichrist noted that the Prophet Isa would fight the Antichrist during the Final Days, similar to what is said in the Bible.
43:61 And he ['Îsa, son of Maryam (Mary)] shall be a known sign for (the coming of) the Hour (Day of Resurrection) [i.e. 'Isa's (Jesus) descent on the earth]. Therefore have no doubt concerning it (i.e. the Day of Resurrection). And follow Me (Allah)! This is the Straight Path (of Islamic Monotheism, leading to Allah and to His Paradise).
That’s the bulk of what is said in the Qur’an on Jesus. While certainly nowhere near as extensive as what is mentioned in the Bible there are some surprising similarities and differences in the life of Jesus when comparing the Bible to the Qur’an.