Christ in Islam
CHRISTIAN MUSLIM RESPONSES
by Ahmed Deedat
DEBATE ON TV
At the end of the debate – “Christianity and Islam” – which appeared on the SABC-TV programme “CROSS (+) QUESTIONS” on Sunday 5th June 1983, the Chairman, Mr.Bill Chalmers commented:
“I think it can be said from this descussion that there is, at present, somewhat more accommodation on the Islamic side for the founder of Christianity than there is on the Christian side for the founder of Islam.”
What the significance of that is, we leave it to you, the viewer, to determine, but I do think you will agree that it is a good thing that we are talking together.” “BILL” as he is popularly addressed, without any formalities, on all his programmes, by all his panelists, is extremely charming and stupendous in his humility. He is a picture of what the Holy Quran portrays of a good Christian:
“…AND NEAREST AMONG THEM IN LOVE TO THE BELIEVERS WILT THOU FIND THOSE WHO SAY, “WE ARE CHRISTIANS”1: BECAUSE AMONG THESE ARE MEN DEVOTED TO LEARNING AND MEN WHO HAVE RENOUNDED THE WORLD. AND THEY ARE NOT ARROGANT.”
HOLY QURAN 5:58
JESUS – HIS STATUS
Were the Muslims on the panel, trying to placate the viewers out of policy, deceit or diplomacy ? Nothing of the kind! They were only articulating what God Almighty had commanded them to say in the Holy Quran. As Muslim they had no choice. They had said in so many words –
“WE MUSLIMS BELIEVE, THAT JESUS WAS ONE OF THE MIGHTIEST MESSENGERS OF GOD, THAT HE WAS THE CHRIST, THAT HE WAS BORN MIRACULOUSLY – WITHOUT ANY MALE INTERVENTION (which many modern-day Christians do not believe today), THAT HE GAVE LIFE TO THE DEAD BY GOD’S PERMISSION, AND THAT HE HEALED THOSE BORN BLIND AND THE LEPERS BY GOD’S PERMISSION. IN FACT NO MUSLIM IS A MUSLIM IF HE DOES NOT BELIEVE IN JESUS!”
Over 90% of the people who witnessed this debate must have been pleasantly, but sceptically, surprised. They might have not believed their ears. They must have surmised that the Muslims were playing to the gallery-that they were trying to curry favour with their fellow Christian countrymen; that if the Muslims would say a few good words about Jesus, then in reciprocation the Christians might say a few good words about Muhummed (May the Peace and the Blessings of God be upon all His righteous servents- like Moses, Jesus, Muhummed ); that I scratch your back and you scratch my back – which would be a sham or hypocrisy.
We cannot blame the Christians for their scepticism. They have been so programmed for centuries. They were trained to think the worst of the man Muhummed (pbuh) and his religion. How aptly did Thomas Carlyle say about his Christian brethren over a hundred and fifty years ago – “THE LIES WHICH WELLMEANING ZEAL HAS HEAPED ROUND THIS MAN (Muhummed) ARE DISGRACE FUL TO OURSELVES ONLY.” We Muslims are partly responsible for this staggering ignorance of the 1,200,000,000 Christians of the world. We have not done anything substantial to remove the cobwebs.
OCEAN OF CHRISTIANITY
South Africa is an ocean of Christianity. If Libya boasts the highest percentage of Muslims on the continent of Africa, then the Republic of South Africa would also be entitled to boast the highest percentage of Christians. In this ocean of Christianity – the R.S.A. – the Muslim is barely 2% of the total population. We are a voteless minority-numerically we count for nothing; politically, we count for nothing, and economically, one white man, as Oppenheimer, could buy out the whole lot of us, lock, stock and barrel.
So, if we had feigned to appease, we might be excused. But no! We must proclaim our Master’s Will; we must declare the Truth, whether we liked it or not. In the words of Jesus (pbuh): “Seek ye the truth, and the truth shall set you free” – (John 9:32).
PROPHET Jesus (ISA) (peace be upon him)
The Israelites had settled in the blessed land, Palestine. They ruled for a long time. They had a vast kingdom. Allah, the Almighty chose many prophets from among them. They followed the Holy Book, the Torah. The Prophet Dawud (peace be upon him) and his son Prophet Sulaiman (peace be upon him) won great popularity as kings and commanded high respect. Their followers believed in God and led noble lives. As the time passed by, they began to pay less attention to the teachings of God. They forgot the Divine favours. They made alterations in the Holy Book according to their own tastes. Most of the Israelites adopted indecent ways of life and committed major sins. At that time there existed a powerful kingdom in the world. It was called the kingdom of Romans. They were polytheists and pagans. They did not worship one God and prayed to many idols made of stones. The Roman society was divided into two factions. The ruling class was very strong and arrogant whereas the ordinary people lived in misery. They were ill-treated as slaves. The female sex enjoyed no privilege in that era. Palestine, the blessed land was ruled by Herod, a cruel king. The people disliked him. They were scared stiff of him. They could not utter a word of complaint against him lest they should be put to sword.
Allah, the Beneficent, showed His favours and wanted to guide the depraved humanity to the right oath. He desired to make the people believe in Allah through miracles. Maryam (Mary) was a beautiful maiden. She was virtuous, abstemious and chaste. She used to pray to Allah frequently. Site grew up in the house of prophet Zakariyya (peace be upon him) and learnt a good deal about Allah and His religion.
One night Maryam was engaged in glorifying the Almighty, Allah. Suddenly she saw a handsome looking young man. She got embarrassed and her face turned pale. She felt jittery and had goose pimples on her skin. Soon after she got tranquillity of mind. She heard a voice from the invisible world:
Behold! the angels said “O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus the son of Mary held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah. ( 3:45)
Maryam was much perplexed. As she was a virgin, it was quite impossible for her to give birth to baby without entering into matrimonial allegiance with an opposite sex.
Once again the Angel remarked: It is the Will of Allah, the Almighty that you should give birth to a fatherless baby. It is easy for Him to do what He pleases. He has His own reasons. I, however, convey you the good news. Soon after the Angel vanished. Maryam became wet with perspiration. She apprehended that her name would be sullied if she gave birth to a baby before marriage.
After some days Maryam became pregnant. Many people began to level false accusations against her. They calumniated her for developing contraband relations with a man. The whole population of the town derided Maryam. She was feeling terribly ashamed on hearing the baseless charges of slanders. She had a firm faith in Allah. She was sure that Allah would help her in washing away a blot on her fair reputation. She prayed to her Lord frequently to save her honour. The people passed taunting remarks about her every now and then.
When site was reduced to straits by the mischievous persons, she decided to leave Nazareth and settle in another town. She went to a locality called Bethlehem seventy-one miles away from her native town.
She resided near a manger under a palm-tree. Soon after her arrival there Prophet Isa (Jesus Christ) was born. Maryam washed, cleansed and dressed him. He looked very beautiful and attractive. Some of the people got wind of that incident and visited Maryam who gave birth to a fatherless baby. They also made fun of her and began to ask questions. As Maryam had been directed by Allah not to utter a single word for three days from the moment she gave birth to a baby. She complied with the orders and refrained from talking. When the people pressed her hard to reply to their questions, the baby began to utter some words to clarify the position of his pious mother. The listeners were much surprised. They were full of excitement. Isa (Jesus Christ) claimed to be the Prophet of Allah. He advised the people to follow the right path and do noble acts. When the people got a convincing proof regarding the truthfulness and chastity of Maryam, they were much impressed and amazed.
The birth of Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) became a talk of the town. Herod, the king, got wind of that miracle. He became worried lest people should obey the directions of the newly born Prophet and neglect his orders. He issued terrible orders to kill all those babies who art under the age of two years. The parents became much upset because they thought that they would be deprived of their affectionate children after the implementation of those orders. Allah guided Maryam to migrate to Egypt to seek protection for her baby. She carried out the orders and reached Egypt after a troublesome journey.
They stayed away from home for twelve years. The Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) grew up gradually and Allah gave him a good deal of wisdom and knowledge. In the meantime Herod passed away and the people took a sigh of relief. Maryam felt a great pleasure. She picked up her belongings and proceeded towards the blessed land again. She, along with her baby reached there after a long journey.
The Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) was handsome and dignified. When he had attained the age of thirty years, he began to preach the religion of Allah. Most of the people were not convinced and thus he was exposed to ridicules. The Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) entreated Allah to grant him a miraculous power to impress the people. Allah gave him that power. He showed many miracles which won the hearts of the people. Gradually they became his followers and began to believe in him and his message.
One day Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) was preaching to a large gathering. He exhorted the people to believe in Allah and follow His religion. Most of them turned a deaf ear to his instructions. The Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) tried to convince them with a miracle. He took some wet clay in his hand and made the statue of a bird with it. He blew his breath on the clay. It became a real bird with wings, eyes and legs by Allah’s power. It flew up chirping in the sky. The people looked at the bird but could hardly believe their eyes. They were wonder struck at the sight of this miracle. They were so impressed that they began to take the oath of allegiance to Prophet Isa (peace be upon him).
The Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) kept on preaching and many people began to believe in true religion. One day a man came limping towards him. He had suffered from leprosy. He was looking terrible due to lumps on his face. His fingers were crooked and he had lost some toes. The people were scared of him. They detested him but the heart of Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) was bleeding for the wretched man. The diseased man said in the weak tone: Cure me, cure me. I am disgusted with my life. The Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) knelt and supplicated for his recovery. He patted at his shoulders. He recovered and his face became clear. All the lumps vanished in the twinkling of an eye. The crowd was much amazed at the sight of this miracle. Every one was much impressed. The people began to follow the teachings of the Prophet Isa (peace be upon him).
One day the Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) was going through the street which was narrow and winding. He came across a man who was blind and dumb. The Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) decided to show mercy to him because he was kind-hearted. He put his hand on the shoulder of the man. The blind man opened his eyes and Allah restored his eye sight. Moreover he was endowed with the power of talking. He expressed a deep sense of gratitude for the kindness shown by the Prophet Isa (peace be upon him). This miracle impressed the spectators and they began to follow the teachings of Allah.
A man, Lazarus passed away and his sisters, Mary and Martha fell into melancholy and extinction. They were making preparations to perform burial ceremonies. The mourners flocked at the residence of the deceased. Suddenly the Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) appeared on the scene. He knelt down and started to pray to Almighty Allah. After a short time Lazarus was revived by the grace of Allah. He got up and began to talk. Every one jumped out or joy. They began to acknowledge the supreme power of their Lord. The Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) came to remind the people of the teachings of the other Prophets. He advised the people to believe in Allah and pray to Him only. He asked them not to indulge in back-biting, oppression, sinfulness and impiety. He directed his followers to do noble deeds. He taught them to be loving and tolerant. He also had his own revelations. The Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) had twelve disciples who assisted him in preaching. They helped him in spreading the religion of Allah during the life of Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) and afterwards.
The preaching work by Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) lasted for three years. A considerable number of people began to follow him. They adopted good ways of life. The Romans and the Jews were much worried because of the prevailing influence of Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) and his disciples. They feared lest they should rise in revolt against them. They decided Isa, the Prophet to be crucified.
Allah loved his Prophet. He wanted to save him. On the other hand the Romans made a heavy big cross of wood to put their plan into practice. There was a large gathering and the soldiers were standing all around where Isa, the Prophet was supposed to be crucified. Even those people who were against the teachings of Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) were feeling queezy inside. They did not agree with the idea of crucifying him. Allah ordered some one who bore resemblance to Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) to take the place of the Prophet on the cross. In fact the man who was analogous to Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) was crucified and his own life was saved in this manner.
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. ( 4:157, 158 )
Most of the teachings of Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) are still in the Gospel but some of the things written in the Bible are not in original form. They were changed and some additions as well as subtractions have been made in his teachings.
O people of the Book! commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of Allah aught but truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an Apostle of Allah and His Word which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His Apostles. 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. Christ disdaineth not to serve and worship Allah nor do the angels those nearest (to Allah): those who disdain His worship and are arrogant He will gather them all together unto himself to (answer).
( 4:171, 172 )
He said: “I am indeed a servant of Allah: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet; “And He hath made me Blessed wheresoever I be and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live; “(He) hath made me kind to my mother and not overbearing or miserable; “So Peace is on me the day I was born the day that I die and the Day that I shall be raised up to life (again)”! Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth about which they (vainly) dispute. ( 19:30-34 )
(3:33) Truly Allah chose Adam and Noah and the descendants of Abraham and of ‘Imran above all mankind.
[‘Imran was the father of Moses and Aaron, and has been mentioned in the Bible as Amram.]
(3:34) (for His messengership) – a people alike and the seed of one another. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.
(3:35). (He also heard) when the woman of ‘Imran said: ‘O Lord! Behold, unto You do I vow that the child in my womb is to be devoted to Your exclusive service. Accept it, then, from me. Surely You alone are All-Hearing, All-Knowing.’
[If the ‘woman of ‘Imran’ is interpreted as the wife of ‘Imran, this ‘Imran must be different from the ‘Imran just mentioned (see the preceding verse). In the Christian tradition the name of the father of Mary is mentioned as Joachim. If this expression, however, is interpreted to mean ‘a woman of the house of ‘Imran’, it would mean that the mother of Mary belonged to that tribe. There is, unfortunately, no definite source of information that would lead us to prefer one interpretation to the other, as there is no historical record either about who the parents of Mary were, or to which tribes they belonged. Were we to accept the tradition that the mother of John (Yahya) and the mother of Jesus were cousins, then it would be valid to interpret the expression as meaning ‘a woman of the tribe of ‘Imran’ for, according to the Gospel of Luke, the mother of John was one of the daughters of Aaron (Luke 1:5). ]
(3:36) But when she gave birth to a female child, she said: ‘O Lord! I have given birth to a female’ – and Allah knew full well what she had given birth to – ‘and a female is not the same as a male. I have named her Mary and commit her and her offspring to You for protection from Satan, the accursed.’
(3:37) Thereupon her Lord graciously accepted Mary and vouchsafed to her a goodly growth and placed her in the care of Zechariah. Whenever Zechariah visited her in the sanctuary, he found her provided with food. He asked her: ‘O Mary, how did this come to you?’ She said: ‘It is from Allah. Allah provides sustenance to whom He wills beyond all reckoning.’
[This section refers to that period of Mary’s life when she attained her majority and was admitted to the Temple of Jerusalem, and devoted all her time to remembering God. Zechariah, into whose care she was given, was perhaps the husband of her maternal aunt, and was one of the guardians of the Temple. This Zechariah is not to be confused with the Prophet Zechariah whose assassination is mentioned in the Old Testament. ]
The Christian does not know that the true spirit of charity which the Muslim displays, always, towards Jesus and his mother Mary spring from the fountainhead of his faith- the Holy Quran. He does not know that the Muslim does not take the holy name of Jesus, in his own language, without saying Hazrat Eesa (meaning revered Jesus) or Eesa alai-hiss-salaam i.e. (Jesus peace be upon him).
Every time the Muslim mentions the name Jesus (pbuh) without these words of respect, he would be considered disrespectful, uncouth or barbaric. The Christian does not know that in the Holy Quran Jesus (pbuh) is mentioned by name five times (5x) more than the number of times the prophet of Islam is mentioned in the Book of God. To be exact – twenty five time as against five. For example:
“..WE GAVE JESUS THE SON OF MARY CLEAR SIGNS AND STRENGTHENED HIM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT”
HOLY QURAN 2:87
“..O MARY! GOD GIVETH THEE GLAD TIDINGS OF A WORD FROM HIM: HIS NAME WILL BE CHRIST JESUS, THE SON OF MARY..”
HOLY QURAN 3:45
“..CHRIST JESUS THE SON OF MARY WAS (NO MORE THAN) AN APOSTLE OF GOD..”
HOLY QURAN 4:171
“..AND IN THEIR (the previous Prophets’) FOOTSTEPS WE SENT JESUS THE SON OF MARY..”
HOLY QURAN 5:49
“AND ZAKARIYA AND JOHN, AND JESUS AND ELIAS: ALL IN THE RANKS OF THE RIGHTEOUS:”
HOLY QURAN 6:85
JESUS – HIS TITLES
Though Jesus is mentioned by name in twenty-five places in the Holy Quran he is also addressed with respect as:”Ibne Maryam” – son of Mary;as Masi (Heb) Messiah – translated as Christ; “Abd-ullah” servant of Allah;”Rasul -Ullah” – Messenger of Allah.
He is spoken of as “the word of God”, as “the spirit of God”, as a “Sign of God”, and numerous other epithets of honour spread over fifteen different chapters. The Holy Quran honours this mighty Messenger of God, and the Muslims have not fallen short over the past fourteen hundred years in doing the same. There is not a single disparaging remark in the entire Quran to which even the most jaundiced among the Christians can take exception.
“EESA” LATINISED TO JESUS
The Holy Quran refers to Jesus as “Eesa”, and this name is used more times than any other title, because this was his “Christian”1 name. Actually, his proper name was “Eesa” (Arabic), or “Esau”. (Hebrew); classical “Yeheshua”, which the Christian nations of the West Latinised as Jesus. Neither the “J” nor the second “s” in the name Jesus is to be found in the original tongue – they are not found in the Semitic languages. The word is very simply – “E S A U” – a very common Jewish name, used more than sixty times in the very first booklet aloneof the Bible, in the part called “Genesis”. There was at least one “Jesus” sitting on the “bench” at the trial of Jesus before the Sanhedrin. Josephus the Jewish historian mentions some twenty five Jesus’ in his “Book of Antiquities”. The New Testament speaks of “Bar-Jesus”- a magician and a sorcerer, a false prophet (Act 13:6); and also “Jesus-Justus” – a Christian missionary, a contemporary of Paul (Colossians 4:11). These are distinct from Jesus, the son of Mary. Transforming “Esau” to (J)esu(s) – Jesus – makes it unique. This unique (?) name has gone out of currency among the Jews and the Christians from the 2nd century after Christ. Among the Jews, because it came to be the proper name of their God(?) – their God incarnate. The Muslim will not hesitate to name his son – “Eesa” – because it is an honoured name, the name of a righteous servant of the Lord.
At the end of the most popular translation of the Holy Quran in English, i.e. by A.Yusuf Ali, there is a very comprehensive index. While browsing through, we will discover, on page 1837,
Jesus, a rightenous prophet, vi.85;
birth, iii. 45:47; xix. 22-33;
apostle to Israel, iii. 49-51;
disciples, iii. 52-53; v.114-118
taken up, iii. 55-58; iv.157-159;
like Adam, iii.59;
not crucified, iv.157;
no more than apostle, iv.171; v.78;
xliii 59, 63-64;
not God, v.19,75;
sent with Gospel, v.49;
not son of God, ix.30;
Message and miracles, v.113; xix.30-33;
prays for Table of viands, v.117;
taught no false worship, v.119-121;
disciples declare themselves Muslims, v.114;
mission limited, n.1861 to xiii.38;
followers have compassion and mercy, lvii.27:
disciples as God’s helpers, lxi.14;
as a Sign, xxiii. 50; xliii.61;
prophesied Ahmad, lxi.6.
CHAPTER 3 : MOTHER AND SON
The second above mentioned topic – “his birth” – are described in two places – Sura 3 and Sura 19. Reading from the beginning of his birth, on page 134 of the translation under reference, we come across the story of Mary, and the esteemed position which she occupies in the house of Islam before the actual annunciation of the birth of Jesus is given:
“BEHOLD! THE ANGELS SAID: “O MARY! GOD HATH CHOSEN THEE AND PURIFIED THEE- CHOSEN THEE ABOVE THE WOMEN OF ALL NATIONS.”
HOLY QURAN 3:42
“Chosen thee above the women of all nations.” Such an honour is not be found given to Mary even in the Christian Bible! The verse continue:
“O MARY! WORSHIP THY LORD DEVOUTLY: PROSTRATE THYSELF, AND BOW DOWN (IN PRAYER) WITH THOSE WHO BOW DOWN.”
HOLY QURAN 3:43
What is the source of this beautiful and sublime recitation which, in its original Arabic, moves men to ecstacy and tears? Verse 44 below explains:
“THIS IS PART OF THE TIDINGS OF THE THINGS UNSEEN, WHICH WE REVEAL UNTO THEE (O APOSTLE!) BY INSPIRATION: THOU WAST NOT WITH THEM WHEN THEY CAST LOTS WITH ARROWS, AS TO WHICH OF THEM SHOULD BE CHARGED WITH THE CARE OF MARY: NOR WAST THOU WITH THEM WHEN THEY DISPUTED (THE POINT).”
HOLY QURAN 3:44
The story is that the maternal grandmother of Jesus, Hannan,had hitherto been barren. She poured out her heart to God:If only God will grant her child, she would surely dedicate such a child for the service of God in the temple.
God granted her prayer and Mary was born. She was disappointed. She was yearning for a son, but instead she delivered a daughter; and in no way is the female like the male, for what she had in mind. What was she to do? She had made a vow to God. She waited for Mary to be big enough to fend for herself.
When the time came, Hannah took her darling daughter to the temple, to hand over for temple services. Every priest was clamouring to be the god father of this lovely child. They cast lots with arrows for her – like the tossing of the coin – head or tail ? Eventually she fell to the lot of Zakariya, but not without a dispute.
THE SOURCE OF HIS MESSAGE
This was the story. But where did Muhummed (pbuh) get this knowledge from? He was an Ummi (unlettered). He did not know how to read or write. He is made by God Almighty to answer this very question in the verse above, by saying that it was all “by divine inspiration”. “No!”, says the controversialist. “This is Muhummed’s own concoction. He copied his revelations from the Jews and Christians. He plagiarised it. He forged it.” Knowing full-well, and believing as we do, that the whole Quran is the veritable Word of God, we will nevertheless agree, for the sake of argument, with the enemies of Muhummed (pbuh) for a moment, that he wrote it We can now expect some cooperation from the unbeliever.
Ask him, “Have you any qualms in agreeing that Muhummed (pbuh) was an Arab?” Only an opinionated fool will hesitate to agree. In that case there is no sense in pursuing any discussion. Cut short the talk. Close the book!
With the man of reason, we proceed. “That this Arab, in the first instance, was addressing other Arabs. He was not talking to Indian Muslims, Chinese Muslims, or Nigerian Muslims. He was addressing his own people–the Arabs. Whether they agreed with him or not, he told them in the most sublime form – words that were seared into the hearts and minds of his listeners that Mary the mother of Jesus – A JEWESS – was chosen above the women of all nations. Not his own mother, nor his wife nor his daughter, nor any other Arab woman, but a Jewess! Can one explain this? Because to everyone his own mother or wife, or daughter would come before any other women.
Why would the Prophet of Islam honour a woman from his opposition! and a Jewess at that! belonging to a race which had been looking down upon his people for three thousand years? Just as they still look down upon their Arab brethren today.
SARAH AND HAGAR
The Jews get their cock-eyed racism from their Holy Bible, where they are told that their father, Abraham, had two wives – Sarah and Hagar. They say that they are the children of Abraham through Sarah his legitimate wife; that their Arab brethren have descended through Hagar, a “bond- woman”, and that as such, the Arabs are an inferior breed. (In fact, Hager was not a bond-woman but an Egyptian princess)
Will anyone please explain the anomaly as to why Muhummed (pbuh) (if he is the author) chose this Jewess for such high honour? The answer is sim ple – HE HAD NO CHOICE – he had no right to speak of his own desire. “IT IS NO LESS THAN AN INSPIRATION SENT DOWN TO HIM.” (H.Q.53:4)
There is a Chapter in the Holy Quran, named Sura Maryam “Chapter Mary” (XIX) named in honour of Mary the mother of Jesus Christ (pbuh); again, such an honour is not to be found given to Mary in the Christian Bible. Out of the 66 books of the Protestants and 73 of the Roman Catholics, not one is named after Mary or her son. You will find books named after Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul and two score more obscure names, but not a single one is that of Jesus or Mary!
If Muhummed (pbuh) was the author of the Holy Quran, then he would not have failed to include in it with MARYAM, the mother of Jesus, his own mother – AMINA, his dear wife – KHADIJA, OR HIS BELOVED daughter-FATIMA. But No!No! this can never be. The Quran is not his handiwork!
CHAPTER 4 : THE GOOD NEWS
“BEHOLD! THE ANGELS SAID: ‘O MARY! GOD GIVETH THEE GLAD TIDINGS OF A WORD FROM HIM: HIS NAME WILL BE CHRIST JESUS THE SON OF MARY HELD IN HONOUR IN THIS WORLD AND THE HEREAFTER AND (OF THE COMPANY OF) THOSE NEAREST TO GOD'”
HOLY QURAN 3:45
“Nearest to God,” not physically nor geographically, but spiritually. Compare this with – “And (Jesus) sat on the right hand of God.”(Mark – 16:19). The bulk of Christendom has misunderstood this verse as well as many others in the Bible. They imagine the Father (God) sitting on a throne – a glorified chair – and His “son”, Jesus, sitting on His right hand side. Can you conjure up the picture? If you do, you have strayed from the true knowledge of God. He is no old Father Christmas. He is a spiritual Being, beyond the imagination of the mind of man. He exists. He is real, but He is not like anything we can think of, or imagine. In eastern languages “right hand” meant a place of honour, which the Holy Quran more fittingly describes as – “IN THE COMPANY OF THOSE NEAREST TO GOD.”
The above verse confirms that Jesus is the CHRIST, and that he is the WORD which God bestowed upon Mary. Again, the Christian reads into these words, a meaning which they do not carry. They equate the word “Christ” with the idea of a god-incarnate; and the word from God to be God!.
CHRIST NOT A NAME
The word CHRIST is derived from the Hebrew word Messiah, Arabic-Masih. Root word m-a-s-a-h-a, meaning to rub, to massage, to anoint. Priests and kings were anointed when being consecrated to their offices. But in its translated, Grecian form “CHRIST”, it seems unique:befitting Jesus only. The Christian has a knack of transmuting baser metals into shining gold. What he is wont to do is to translate names into his own language like “cephas” to Peter, “messiah” to Christ. How does he do that? Very easily MESSIAH in Hebrew means anointed. The Greek word for anointed is “christos”. Just lop off the ‘os’ from christos and you are left with christ. Now change the little ‘c’ to a capital ‘C’, and “hey, presto!” he has created a unique (?) name! Christos means ANOINTED, and anointed means APPOINTED in its religious connotation. Jesus (pbuh) was appointed (anointed) at his baptism by John the Baptist, as God’s Messenger.Every Prophet of God is so anointed or appointed. The Holy Bible is replete with the “anointed” ones. In the original Hebrew – made a “messiah”. Let us keep to the English translation – “anointed.” Not only were prophets and priests and kings anointed (christos-ed), but borns, and cherubs and lamp-posts also.
|1 Samuel 2:10|
There are a hundred more such references in the Holy Bible. Everytime you come across the word ANOINTED in your English Bible, you can take it that that word would be christos in the Greek translations, and if you take the same liberty with the word that the Christians have done, you will have – Christ Cherub, Christ Cyrus, Christ Priest and Christ Pillar, etc.
SOME TITLES EXCLUSIVE
Although, every prophet of God is an ANOINTED one of God – a Messiah, the title “Masih” or “Messiah” or its translation “CHRIST” is exclusively reserved for Jesus, the son of Mary, in both Islam and in Christianity. This is not unusual in religion. There are certain other honorific title which may be applied to more than one prophet, yet being made exclusive to one by usage: like “Rasul-lullah”, meaning Messenger of God, which title is applied to both Moses (19:51) and Jesus (61:6) in the Holy Quran. Yet “Rasul-lullah” has become synonymous only with the Prophet of Islam among Muslims.
Every prophet is indeed a FRIEND OF GOD, but its Arabic equivalent “Kha- lil-lullah” is exclusively associated with Father Abraham. This does not mean that the others are not God’s friends. “Kalimul-lah” (One who spoke with God) is never used for anyone other than Moses, yet we believe that God spoke with all His Messengers, including Jesus and Muhummed (May the Peace and Blessings of God be upon all His servants). Associating certain titles with certain personages only, does not make them exclusive or unique in any way. We honour all in varying terms.
Whilst the good news was being announded (verse 45 above) Mary was told that her unborn child will be called Jesus, that he would be the Christ, a “Word” from God, and that…..
“HE SHALL SPEAK TO THE PEOPLE IN CHILDHOOD* AND IN MATURITY. AND HE SHALL BE (OF THE COMPANY) OF THE RIGHTEOUS.”
Holy Quran 3:46
* This prophecy found fulfilment within a very short time. We find this in Sura Maryam below:
“AT LENGTH SHE BROUGHT HIM (THE BABE) TO HER PEOPLE, CARRYING HIM (IN HER ARMS). THEY SAID:”O MARY! TRULY AN-AMAZING THING HAST THOU BROUGHT! O SISTER OF AARON THY FATHER WAS NOT A MAN OF EVIL NOR THY MOTHER A WOMAN UNCHASTE!”
Holy Quran 19:27-28
There is no Joseph the carpenter here. The circumstances being peculiar, Mary the mother of Jesus had retired herself to some remote place in the East (H.Q.19:16). After the birth of the child she returns.
“The amazement of the people knew no bounds. In any case they were prepared to think the worst of her, as she had disappeared from her kin for some time. But now she comes, shamelessly parading a babe in her arms! How she had disgraced the house of Aaron, the fountain of priesthood! “SISTER OF AARON: Mary is reminded of her high lineage and the unexceptionable morals of her father and mother. How, they said, she had fallen and disgraced the name of her progenitors!
“What could Mary do? How could she explain? Would they, in their censorious mood accept her explanation? All she could do was to point to the child, who, she knew, was no ordinary child. And the child came to her rescue. By a miracle he spoke, defended his mother, and preached -to an unbelieving audience.”
A.Yusuf Ali, comments in his notes 2480-2482 on page 773 of his translation.
“BUT SHE POINTED TO THE BABE. THEY SAID: ‘HOW CAN WE TALK TO ONE WHO IS A CHILD IN THE CRADLE?'”
HOLY QURAN 19:23
And by a miracle he spoke: HE SAID: “I AM INDEED A SERVANT OF GOD: HE HATH GIVEN ME REVELATION AND MADE ME A PROPHET; “AND HE HATH MADE ME BLESSED WHERESOEVER I BE, AND HE HATH ENJOINED ON ME PRAYER AND CHARITY AS LONG AS I LIVE “(HE) HATH MADE ME KIND TO MY MOTHER, AND NOT OVERBEARING OR MISERABLE; “SO PEACE IS ON ME THE DAY I WAS BORN, THE DAY THAT I DIE, AND THE DAY THAT I SHALL BE RAISED UP TO LIFE (AGAIN)!”
Holy Quran 19:24-33
HIS FIRST MIRACLE(S)
Thus Jesus (pbuh) defended his mother from the grave calumny and innuendoes of her enemies. This is the very first miracle attributed to Jesus in the Holy Quran – that, he spoke as an infant from his mother’s arms. Contrast this with his first miracle in the Christian Bible which occured when he was over thirty years of age: And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
Since this miracle, wine has flowed like water in Christendom. Many a fool reasons that what was good for his Master is good enough for him. Jesus was no “Kill-joy” they say. Didn’t he make good potent wine, that even those “well drunk”, those whose senses had been dulled could make out the difference? – “THAT THE BEST WAS KEPT FOR THE LAST.” This was no pure grape juice. It was the same W-I-N-E that, according to the Christian Bible, enabled the daughters of Lot to seduce their father (Genesis 19:32-33). It was the same W-I-N-E which the Christian is advised to eschew in Ephesians 5:18 – “And be not drunk with WINE….”
It is that innocent (?) 1% potency that eventually leads millions down into the gutter. America has 10 million drunkards in the midst of 70 million “born-again” Christians! The Americans call their drunkards “PROBLEM DRINKERS”. In South Africa, they are called “ALCOHOLICS” – drunkard is too strong a word for people to stomach.
But the Prime Minister of Zambia, Dr.Kenneth Kaunda, does not hesitate to call a spade a spade. He says, “I am not prepared to lead nation of drunkards” – referring to his own people who drink intoxicants.
Whether the water “blushed” or not “seeing” Jesus, we cannot blame him or his disciples for the drinking habits of his contemporaties. For he had truly opined, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now” (John 16:12). Mankind had nof reached the stage of receiving the whole Truth of Islam. Did he not also say – “You cannot put new wine into old bottles”? (Matthew 9:17)
“MOTHER” OR “WOMAN”?
“According” to St.John, in the fourth verse above, describing the marriage feast at Cana, we are told that Jesus (pbuh) behaved insolently towards his mother. He calls her “WOMAN,” and to rub more salt into the wound he is made to say – “what have I to do with thee?” What connection is there between you and me, or what have I got to do with you? Could he have forgotten that this very “woman” had carried him for nine months, and perhaps suckled him for 2 years, and had borne endles insults and injuries on account of him? Is she not his mother ? Is there no word in his language for “mother”?
Strange as it may seem, that while the missionaries boast about their master’s humility, meekness and long-suffering – they call him the “Prince of Peace” and they sing hat – “he was led to the slaughter like a lamb, and like a sheep who before his shearer is dumb, he opened not his mouth yet they proudly record in the smae breath, that he was every ready with invectives for the elders of his race, and was always itching for a show down i.e. if their records are true:-
“Ye wicked and adulterous generation!”
“Ye whited sephulcres!”
“Ye generation of vipers!” and now to his mother –
Muhummed (pbuh) the Messenger of God, is made to absolve Jesus (pbuh) from the false charges and calumnies of his enemies.
“AND HE (God Almighty) HATH MADE ME (Jesus) KIND TO MY MOTHER, AND NOT OVERBEARING OR MISERABLE”
Holy Quran 19:32
On receiving the good news of the birth of a righteous son (end of H.Q. 3:46 ), Mary responds:
SHE SAID: “O MY LORD! HOW SHALL I HAVE A SON WHEN NO MAN HATH TOUCHED ME?” The angel says in reply: HE SAID” “EVEN SO: GOD CREATETH WHAT HE WILLETH: WHEN HE HATH DECREED A PLAN, HE BUT SAITH TO IT, ‘BE,’ AND IT IS! “AND GOD WILL TEACH HIM THE BOOK AND WISDOM, THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL,
HOLY QURAN 3:47-48
CHAPTER 5 : QURANIC AND BIBLICAL VERSIONS
MEETING THE REVEREND
One day, I was visiting the “Bible House” in Johannesburg, South Africa. Whilst browsing through the stacks of Bibles and religious books, I picked up an Indonesian Bible and had just taken in hand a Greek/English New Testament – a large, expensive volume. I had not realised that I was being observed by the supervisor of the Bible House. Casually, he walked up to me. Perhaps my bread and my Muslim headgear were an attraction and a challenge? He enquired about my interest in that costly volume. I explained that as a student of comparative religion, I had need for such a book. He invited me to have tea with him in his office. It was very kind of him and I accepted.
Over the cup of tea, I explained to him the Muslim belief in Jesus. I explained to him the very high position that Jesus (pbuh) occupied in the House of Islam. He seemed sceptical about what I said. I was amazed at his seeming ignorance, because only retired Reverend gentlemen can become Supervisors of BIBLE HOUSES in South Africa. I began reciting from verse 42 of Sura 3 -first in Arabic then in English.
BEHOLD! THE ANGELS SAID: “O MARY! ALLAH HATH CHOSEN THEE…
I wanted the Reverend to listen, not only to the meaning of the Quran, but also to the music of its cadences when the original Arabic was recited. Rev.Dunkers (for that was his name) sat back and listened with rapt attention to Allah’s Kalaam (God’s Word). When I reached the end of verse 49, the Reverend commented that the Quranic message was like that of his own Bible. He said, he saw no difference between what he believed as a Christian, and what I had read to him. I said: “that was true”. If he had come across these verses in the English language alone without their Arabic equivalent, side by side, he would not have been able to guess in a hundred years that he was reading the Holy Quran. If he were a Protestant he would have thought that he was reading the Roman Catholic Version, if he had not seen one, or the Jehovah’s Witness Version or the Greek Orthodox Version, or the hundred and one other versions that he might not have seen; but he would never have quessed that he was reading the Holy Quran The Christian would be reading here, in the Quran, everything he wanted to hear about Jesus, but in a most noble, elevated and sublime language. He could not help being moved by it. In these eight terse verses from 42 to 49 we are told:
- That Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a virtuous woman, and honoured above the women of all nations.
- That all that was being said was God’s own Revelation to Muhummed
- That Jesus was a “Word” from God.
- That he was the Christ that the Jews were waiting for.
- That God will empower this Jesus to perform miracles even in infancy
- That Jesus was born miraculously, without any male intervention.
- That God will vouchsafe him Revelation.
- That he will give life to the dead by God’s permission, and that he will heal those born blind and the lepers by God’s permission, etc.etc.
CHALK AND CHEESE
The most fervent Christian cannot take exception to a single statement or word here. But the difference between the Biblical and the Quranic narratives is that between “chalk and cheese”!
“To me they are identical, what is the difference?” the Reverend asked. I know that in their essentials both the stories agree in their details, but when we scrutinise them closely we will discover that the difference between them is staggering.
Now compare the miraculous conception as announced in verse 47 of the Holy Quran with what the Holy Bible says:
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was in this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, BEFORE THEY CAME TOGETHER, (as husband and wife) she was found with child OF THE HOLY GHOST.”
The eminent Billy Graham from the United States of America dramatised this verse in front of 40,000 people in King Park, Durban – with his index finger sticking out and swinging his outstretched arm from right to left, he said, “And the Holy Ghost came and impregnated Mary!” On the other hand St.Luke tells us the very same thing but less crudely.He says that when the annunciation was made, Mary was perturbed. Her natural reaction was –
“…How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” -meaning sexually.
The Quranic narrative is:
SHE SAID: “O MY LORD! HOW SHALL I HAVE A SON WHEN NO MAN HATH TOUCHED ME?” -meaning sexually.
Holy Quran 3:47
In essence there is no difference between these two statements “seeing I know not a man” and “when no man hath touched me”. Both the quotations have an identical meaning. It is simply a choice of different words meaning the same thing. But the respective replies to Mary’s plea in the two Books (the Quran and the Bible) are revealing.
THE BIBLICAL VERSION
Says the Bible:
Can’t you see that you are giving the atheist, the sceptic, the agnostic a stick to beat you with? They may well ask- “How did the Holy Ghost come upon Mary?” “How did the Highest over shadow her? We know that literally it does not mean that: that it was an immaculate conception, but the language used here, is distasteful-gutter language-you agree!? Now contrast this with the language of the Quran.
THE QURANIC VERSION
|Holy Quran 3:47|
This is the Muslim concept of the birth of Jesus. For God to create a Jesus, without a human father, He merely has to will it. If He wants to create a million Jesus’ without fathers or mothers, He merely has to will them into existence. He does not have to take seeds and transfer them, like men or animals – by contact or artificial insemination. He wills everything into being by His word of command “BE” and “IT IS”.
There is nothing new in what I am telling you, I reminded the Reverend. It is in the very first Book of your Holy Bible – Genesis 1:3 “And God said …” What did He SAY? He SAID – “BE” and “IT WAS!” He did not have to articulate the words. This is our way of understanding the word ‘BE’-that He willed everything into being.
CHOICE FOR HIS DAUGHTER
“Between these two versions of the birth of Jesus (pbuh) – the Quranic version and the Biblical version – which would you prefer to give your daughter?” I asked the supervisor of the Bible House. He bowed his head down in humility and admitted – “THE QURANIC VERSION.” How can “a forgery” or “an imitation” (as it is alleged of the Quran) be better than the genuine, the original (as it is claimed for the Bible)? It can never be, unless this Revelation to Muhummed (pbuh) is what it, itself, claims to be viz. the pure and holy Word of God! There are a hundred different tests that the unprejudiced seeker after truth can apply to the Holy Quran and it will qualify with flying colours to being a Message from on High.
Does the miraculous birth of Jesus make him a God or a “begotten” son of God? No! Says the Holy Quran:
|HOLY QURAN 3:59|
|A.Yusuf Ali’s note 398 to verse 59 above.|
The logic of it is that, if being born without a male parent entitles Jesus to being equated with God, then, Adam would have a greater right to such honour, and this no Christian would readily concede. Thus, the Muslim is made to repudiate the Christian blasphemy.
Further, if the Christian splits hairs by arguing that Adam was “created from the dust of the ground, whereas Jesus was immaculately “begotten”in the womb of Mary, then let us remind him that, even according to his own false standards. there is yet another person greater than Jesus, in his own Bible. Who is this superman?
Here is a candidate for Divinity itself, for only God Almighty could possess these qualities. Adam had a beginning (in the garden), Jesus had a beginning (in the stable); Adam had an end and, claim the Christians, so had Jesus “and he gave up the ghost”. But where is Melchisedec? Perhaps he is hibernating somewhere like Rip Van Winkel.
And what is this “Hebrews”? It is the name of one of the Books of the Holy Bible, authored by the gallent St.Paul,the self appointed thirteenth apostle of Christ. Jesus had twelve apostles, but one of them (Judas) had the Devil in him. So the vacancy had to be filled, because of the “twelve thrones in heaven which had to be occupied by his disciples to judge the children of Israel (Luke 22:30).
Saul was a renegade Jew, and the Christians changed his name to “Paul”, probably because “Saul” sounds Jewish. This Paul made such a fine mess of the teachings of Jesus (pbuh) that he earned for himself the second- most -coveted position of “The Most Influential Men of History” in the monumental work of Michael H.Hart. “The 100” or “The Top Hundred” or the “Greatest Hundred in History”. Paul outclasses even Jesus because, according to Michael Hart, Paul was the real founder of present-day Christianity. The honour of creating Christianity had to be shared between Paul and Jesus, and Paul won because he wrote more Books of the Bible than any other single author, whereas Jesus did not wirte a single word.
Paul needed no inspiration to write his hyperboles here and in the rest of his Epistles. Did not Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda – Goebbels – say “The bigger the lie the more likely it is to be believed”? But the amazing thing about this exaggeration is that no Christian seems to have read it. Every learned man to whom I have shown this verse to, seemed to be seeing it for the first time. They appear dumbfounded, as described by the fitting words of Jesus:
The Holy Quran also contains a verse which fittingly describes this well cultivated sickness –
DEAF, DUMB AND BLIND, THEY WILL NOT RETURN (TO THE PATH).
Holy Quran 2:18
THE SONS OF GOD
The Muslim takes strong exception to the Christian dogma that “Jesus is the only begotten son, begotten not made”. This is what the Christian is made to repeat from childhood in his catechism. I have asked learned – Christians, again and again as to what they are really trying to emphasise, when they say “BEGOTTEN NOT MADE”.
They know that according to their own God-given (?!) records, God has sons by the tons:
Can’t you see that in the language of the Jew, every righteous person, every Tom, Dick and Harry who followed the Will and Plan of God, was a SON OF GOD. It was a metaphorical descriptive term, commonly used among the Jews. The Christian agrees with this reasoning, but goes on to say – “but Jesus was not like that”. Adam was made by God. Every living thing was made by God; He is the Lord, Cherisher and Sustainer of all. Metaphorically speaking therefore God is the Father of all. But Jesus was the “BEGOTTEN” son of God, not a CREATED son of God?
BEGOTTEN MEANS “SIRED”
In my forty years of practical experience in talking to learned Christians, not a single one has opened his mouth to hazard an explanation of the phrase – “begotten not made”. It had to be an American who dared to explain. He said, “It means, sired by God.” “What?” I exploded. “SIRED- by God?” – “NO, no,” he said, “I am only trying to explain the meaning, I do not believe that God really sired a son.”
The sensible Christian says that the words do not literally mean what they say. Then why do you say it? Why are you creating unnecessary conflict between the 1,200,000,000 Christians and a thousand million Muslim of the world in making senseless statements?
REASON FOR OBJECTION
The Muslim takes exception to the word “begotten”, because begetting is an animal act, belonging to the lower animal functions of sex. How can we attribute such a lowly capacity to God? Metaphorically we are all the children of God – the good and the bad – and Jesus (pbuh) would be closer to being the son of God than any one of us, because he would be more faithful to God than any one of us, because he would be more faithful to God than any one of us can ever be. From that point of view he is preeminently the son of God.
Although this pernicious word “begotten” has now unceremoniously been thrown out of the “MOST ACCURATE” version of the Bible – the R.S.V. its ghost still lingers on in the Christian mind, both black and white. Through its insidious brainwashing the white man is made to feel superior to his black Christian brother of the same Church and Denomination. And in turn, the Black man is given a permanent inferiority complex through this dogma.
The human mind can’t help reasoning that since the “begotten son” of an African will look like an African, and that of a Chinaman as a Chinese, and that of an Indian like an Indian: so the begotten son of God aught naturally to look like God. Billions of beautiful pictures and replicas of this “ONLY BEGOTTEN SON”(?) of God are put in peoples hands. He looks like a European with blonde hair, blue eyes and handsome features – like the one I saw in the “King of Kings” or “The Day of Triumph” or “Jesus of Nazareth” Remember jeffrey Hunter? The “SAVIOUR” of the Christian is more like a German than a jew with his polly nose. So naturally, if the son is a White man, the father would also be a White man (God?). Hence the darker skinned races of the earth subconsciously have the feeling of inferiority ingrained in their souls as God’s STEP-CHILDREN. No amount to face-creams, skin-lighteners and hair-straighteners will erase the inferiority.
GOD IS SPIRIT
God is neither Black nor White. He is a spiritual Being, beyond the imagination of the mind of man. Break the mental shackles of a Caucasian – (white) man-god, and you have broken the shackles of a permanent inferiority. But intellectual bondages are harder to shatter: the slave himself fights to retain them.
CHAPTER 6 : ANSWER TO CHRISTIAN DILEMMAS
“Christ in Islam” is really Christ in the Quran: and the Holy Quran has something definite to say about every abberation of Christianity. The Quran absolves Jesus (pbuh) from all the false charges of his emenies as well as the misplaced infatuation of his followers. His enemies allege that he blasphemed against God by claiming Divinity. His misguided followers claim that he did avow Divinity, but that was not blasphemy (kufr) because he was God. What does the Quran say?
Addressing both the Jews and the Christians, Allah says:-
|Holy Quran 4:171|
GOING TO EXTREMES
“O People of the Book:” is a very respectful title with which the Jews and the Christians are addressed in the Holy Quran. In other words, Allah is saying – “O Learned People!” “O People with a Scripture!” According to their own boast, the Jews and the Christians prided themselves over the Arabs, who had no Scripture before the Quran. As a learned people, Allah pulls up both the contending religionists for going to either extremes as regards the personality of Christ.
The Jews made certain insinuations about the legitimacy of Jesus(pbuh) and charged him of blasphemy by twisting his words. The Christians read other meanings into his words; wrench words out of their context to make him God.
The modern-day Christian – the hot-gospeller – the Bible thumper – uses harsher words and cruder approaches to win over a convert to his blasphemies.
- “EITHER JESUS IS GOD OR A LIAR”
- “EITHER JESUS IS GOD OR A LUNATIC”
- “EITHER JESUS IS GOD OR AN IMPOSTER”
These are his words – words culled from Christian literature. Since no man of charity, Muslim or otherwise, can condemn Christ so harshly as the Christian challenges him to do, perforce he must keep non-committal. He thinks he must make a choice between one or the other of these silly extremes. It does not occur to him that there is an alternative to this Christian conundrum.
Is it not possible that Jesus is simply what he claimed to be- a prophet like so many other prophets that passed away before him? Even that he is one of the greatest of them – a mighty miracle worker, a great spiritual teacher and guide – the Messiah! Why only God or Lunatic? Is “lunacy” the opposite of “Divinity” in Christianity? What is the antonym of God? Will some clever Christian answer?
|A.Yusuf Ali’s comment on verse 171 above.|
Reproduced below are verses 119 to 121 from Sura Maida (Ch.5) depicting the scene of Judgement Day, when Allah will question Jesus (pbuh) regarding the misdirected zeal of his supposed followers in worshipping him and his mother: and his response-
|Holy Quran 5:119-121|
CLAIMED NO DIVINITY
If this is the statement of Truth from the All-Knowing, that”Never did I say to them anything other than what I was commanded to say,that is WORSHIP GOD, WHO IS MY LORD AND YOUR LORD”, then how do the Christians justify worshipping Jesus?
There is not a single unequivocal statement throughout the Bible, in all its 66 volumes of the Protestant versions, or in the 73 volumes of the Roman Catholic versions, where Jesus claims to be God or where he says – ‘worship me.’ Nowhere does he say that he and God Almighty are one and the same person.
The last phrase above – “one and the same person” tickles many a “hot- gospeller” and “Bible-thumper,” not exluding the Doctor of Divinity and the Professor of Theology. Even the new converts to Christianity have memorised these verses. They are programmed like zombies to rattle off verses, out of context, upon which they can hang their faith. The words “ARE ONE” activates the mind by association of memories. “Yes”, say the Trinitarians – the worshippers of three gods in one God, and one God in three gods – “Jesus did claim to be God!” Where?
REVEREND AT THE TABLE
I had taken Rev. Morris D.D. and his wife, to lunch at the “Golden Peacock”. While at the table, during the course of our mutual sharing of knowledge, the opportunity arose to ask, “Where?” And without a murmur he quoted, “I AND MY FATHER ARE ONE” – to imply that God and Jesus were one and the same Person. That Jesus here claims to be God. The verse quoted was well known to me, but it was being quoted out of context. It did not carry the meaning that the Doctor was imaging, so I asked him, “What is the context?”
CHOCKED ON “CONTEXT”
The Reverend stopped eating and began staring at me. I said, “Why? Don’t you know the context?” – “You see, what you have quoted is the text, I want to know the context, the text that goes with it, before or after.” Here was an Englishman (Canadian), a paid-servant of the Presbyterian Church, a Doctor of Divinity, and it appeared that I was trying to teach him English. Of course he knew what “context” meant. But like the rest of his compatriots, he had not studied the sense in which Jesus(pbuh) had uttered the words.
In my forty years of experience, this test had been thrown at me hundred of times, but not a single learned Christian had ever attempted to hazard a guess as to its real meaning. They always start fumbling for their Bibles. The Doctor did not have one with him. When they do start going for their Bibles, I stop them in their stride. “Surely, you know what you are quoting?” “Surely, you know your Bible?” After reading this, I hope some “born-again” Christians will rectify this deficiency. But I doubt that my Muslim readers will ever come across one in their lifetime who could give them the context.
WHAT IS THE CONTEXT?
It is unfair on the part of the Reverend, having failed to provide the context, then to ask me, “Do you know the context?” “Of course,” I said. “Then, what is it?” asked my learned friend. I said, “That which you have quoted is the text of John chapter 10, verse 30. To get at the context, we have to begin from verse 23 which reads:
23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. John, or whoever he was, who wrote his story, does not tell us the reason for Jesus tempting the Devil by walking alone in the lion’s den. For we do not expect the Jews to miss a golden opportunity to get even with Jesus. Perhaps, he was emboldened by the manner in which he had literally whipped the Jews single-handed in the Temple, and upset the tables of the money-changers at the beginning of his ministry (John 2:15).
24 Then came the Jews round about him. And said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. They surrounded him. Brandishing their fingers in his face, they began accusing him and provoking him; saying that he had not put forth his claim plainly enough, clearly enough. That he was talking ambiguously. They were trying to work themselves into a frenzy to assault him. In fact,their real complaint was that they did not like his method of preaching-his invectives, the manner in which he condemned them for their formalism, their ceremonialism, their going for the letter of the law and forgetting the spirit. But Jesus could not afford to provoke them any further-there were too many and they were itching for a fight. Discretion is the better part of valour. In a conciliatory spirit, befitting the occassion –
25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and you believed not:the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. that is to say , the miracles bear witness of my prophethood and of me being the Messiah .
26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. Jesus rebuts the false charge of his enemies that he was ambiguous in his claims to being the Messiah that they were waiting for. He says that he did tell them clearly enough, yet they would not listen to him, but
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them enternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY FATHER”S HAND.
29 My father which gave them me, is greater than all, and no man is able to PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY FATHER’S HAND.
How can anyone be so blind as not to see the exactness of the ending of the last two verses. But spiritual blinkers are more impervious than physical defects. He is telling the Jews and recording for posterity, the real unity or relationship between the Father and the son. The most crucial verse –
30 I and my Father are one.
One in what? In their Omniscience? In their Nature? In their Omnipotence No! One in purpose! That once a believer has accepted faith, the Messenger sees to it that he remains in faith, and God Almighty also sees to it that he remains in faith. This is the purpose of the “Father” AND the “son” AND the “Holy Ghost” AND of every man AND every woman of faith. Let the same John explain his Gnostic mystic verbiage.
If Jesus is “ONE” with God, and if that “ONENESS” makes him God, then the traitor Judas, and the doubting Thomas, and the satanic Peter, plus the other nine who deserted him when he was most in need are God(s),because the same ONENESS which he claimed with God in John 10:30, now he claims for ALL “Who forsook him and fled”(Mark 14:50) – ALL “ye of little faith” (Mathew 8:26) – ALL “O faithless and perverse generation”(Luke 9:41) Where and when will the Christian blasphemy end? The expression “I and my Father are one,” was very innocent, meaning nothing more than a common purpose with God. But the Jews were looking for trouble and any excuse will not do, therefore, –
31 The Jews took up stones again to stone him.
32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father for which of those works do you stone me
33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself a God.
In verse 24 above the Jews falsely alleged that Jesus was talking ambiguously. When that charge was ably refuted, they then accused him of blasphemy (kufr) which is like treason in the spiritual realm. So they say that Jesus is claiming to be God–“I and my Father are one”. The Christians agree with the Jews in this that Jesus (pbuh) did make such a claim; but, differ, in that it was not blasphemy because the Christians say that he was God and was entitled to own up to his Divinity.
The Christians and the Jews are both agreed that the utterance is serious. To one as an excuse for good “redemption”, and to the other as an excuse for good “reddance”. Between the two, let the poor Jesus die. But Jesus refuses to co-operate in this dirty game, so –
34 Jesus answered them, is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the son of God?
WHY “YOUR LAW”?
He is bit sarcastic in verse 34, but in any event, why does he say: “Your Law”? Is it not also his law? Did’t he say:
“YE ARE GODS”
“Ye are gods:” He is obviously quoting from the 82nd. Psalm (verse 6) “I have said, YE ARE GODS: and all of you are, the children of the most High.” Jesus, continues, “If he (i.e. God Almighty) called them gods, unto whom the word of God came (meaning that the prophets of God were called ‘GODS’ and the scripture cannot be broken (in other words- YOU CAN’T CONTRADICT ME!).” – Jesus knows his Scripture; he speaks with authority; and he reasons with his enemies that “if good men, holy men, prophets of God are being addressed as “GODS” in our Books of Authority, with which you find no fault – then why do you take exception to me? – When the only claim I make for myself is far inferior in our language, viz. “a son of God” as against others being called “GODS” by God himself. Even if (Jesus) described myself as “god” in our language, according to Hebrew usage, you could find no fault with me.” This is the plain reading of Christian Scripture. I am giving no interpretations of my own or some esoteric meaning to words!
CHAPTER 7 : “IN THE BEGINNING”
“Where does Jesus say – “Iam God,” or “Iam equal to God,” or “Worship me” I asked the D.D.from Canada, again.
Reverend Morris took a deep breath and took another try. He quoted the most oft-repeated verse of the Christian Bible–John 1:1.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
Please note, these are not the words of Jesus. They are the words of John (or whoever wrote them). Acknowledged by every erudite Christian scholar of the Bible as being the words of another Jew, Philo of Alexandria, who had written them even before John and Jesus were born And Phil claimed no divine inspiration for them. No matter what mystical meaning that Philo had woven around these words (which our John has plagiarised) we will accept them for what they are worth.
GREEK NOT HEBREW
Since the manuscripts of the 27 Books of the New Testament are in Greek, a Christian sect has produced its own version and has even changed the name of this selection of 27 Books to “CHRISTIAN GREEK SCRIPTURES”! I asked the Reverend whether he knew Greek? “Yes,” he said, He had studied Greek for 5 years before qualification . I asked him what was the Greek Word for “GOD” the first time it occurs in the quotation – “and the Word was with God”? He kept staring, but didn’t answer. So I said, the word was HOTHEOS, which literally means “THE GOD”. Since the Europen (in cluding the North American) has evolved a system of using capital letter to start a proper noun and small letters for common nouns, we would accept his giving a capital “G” for God; in other words HOTHEOS is rendered “the god” which in turn is rendered – God.
“Now tell me, what is the Greek word for God in the second occurrence in your quotation – “and the Word was God”? The Reverend still kept silent. Not that he did not know Greek, or that he had lied – But, he knew more than that, the game was up. I said the word was TONTHEOS, which means “a god”.
According to your own system of translating you aught to have spelt this word God a second time with a small “g” i.e. god, and not God with a capital “G”; in other words TONTHEOS is rendered “a god”. Both of these, “god” or “a god” are correct.
I told the Reverend “But in 2 Corinthians 4:4 you have dishonestly reversed your system by using a small “g” when spelling GOD – “(and the devil is) the god of this world.” The Greek word for “the god” is HOTHEOS the same as in John 1:1. “Why have you not been consistent in your translation?” “If Paul was inspired (?) to write hotheos – the God for the Devil, why begrudge him that capital ‘G’?”
And in the Old Testament, the Lord said unto Moses, “See, I have made thee a god to Pharoach”(Exodus 7:1). “Why do you use a small “g” for “GOD” when referring to Moses instead of a capital “G” as you do for a mere word – ‘WORD’ – “and the Word was God.”?
“Why do you do this? Why do you play fast and loose with the Word of – God ?” I asked the reverend. He said, “I didn’t do it.” I said, “I know, but I am talking about the vested interests of Christianity,who are hell bent to deify Christ, by using capital letters here and small letters there, to deceive the unwary masses who think that every letter, every comma and full stop and the capital and small letters were dictated by God.”
CHAPTER 8 : WHAT IS LEFT
It can hardly be expected in a small publication of this nature that one can deal with all the references about Jesus(pbuh) interspersed through- out the fifteen different chapters of the Holy Quran. What we can do is to give a quick glance to the index page reproduced from the Quran on page 7 of this book.
Here we find three significant topics, not dealt with yet in our discussion:
- not crucified, iv. 157
- Message and miracles, v. 113;xix. 30-33;
- Prophesied Ahmed 1xi.6
Regarding the first topic, “not crucified”, I wrote a full booklet titled “CRUCIFIXION OR CRUCIFICTION ?” that deals exclusively with that subject As regards the third topic mentioned above, prophesied Ahmed”, you can refer to my booklet titled “WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT MUHUMMED” We are now left with Topic No.2 – “Message and miracles”. The message of Jesus (pbuh) was as simple and straight forward as that of all his predecessors as well as that of his successor Muhummed(pbuh) namely “BELIEVE IN GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS”. For the God who inspired His Messengers, is an unvarying God and He is consistent: He is not the “author of confusion” (1 Corinthian 14:33).
You will agree, that if you or I were that Jew, we would infer from these words that, according to Jesus (pbuh), salvation was guaranteed provided we kept the commandments without the shedding of any innocent blood. Unless, of course Jesus (pbuh) was speaking with tongue in cheek; knowing full well that his own “forthcoming redemptive sacrifice”, his “vicarious atonement”(?!) for the sins of mankind, was not many days hence.
Why would Jesus give him the “impossible” solution of keeping the law (as the Christian alleges) when an easier way was in the offing? or did he not know what was going to happen – that he was to be crucified? Was there not a contract between Father and “son”, before the worlds began, for his redeeming blood to be shed(?!) Had he lost his memory? No! There was no such fairytale agreement as far as Jesus was concerned. He knew that there is only one way to God, and that is, as Jesus (pbuh) said, – KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS!
MIRACLES – WHAT THEY PROVE
Regarding his miracles:the Holy Quran does not go into any detail about blind Bartimus or about Lazarus or any other miracle, except that he (Jesus) defended his mother as an infant in his mother’s arms (Ch. 4). The Muslim has no hesitation about accepting the most wondrous of his miracles – even that of reviving the dead. But that does not make Jesus a “God” or the begotten “son of God” as understood by the Christian. Miracles do not prove even prophethood, or whether a man is true or false. Jesus himself said:
If false prophets and false Christ can peform miraculous feats, then these wonders or miracles do not prove even the genuineness or otherwise, of a prophet.
John the Baptist, according to Jesus, was the greatest of the Israelite prophets. Greater than Moses, David, Solomon, Isaiah and all, not excluding himself: in his own words:-
- Not excluding Jesus (pbuh):because, was he not born of a woman- Mary?
- The Baptist, greater than ALL, yet he performed not a single miracle!
Miracles are no standards of judging truth and falsehood. But in his childishness, the Christian insists that Jesus is God because he gave life back to the dead. Will reviving the dead make others God too? This perplexes him, because he has mentally blocked himself from the miracles of others who outshine Jesus in his own Bible. For example, according to his false standard:-
- Moses is greater than Jesus because he put life back into a dead stick and transmuted it from the plant kingdom to the animal kingdom by making it into a serpent (Exodus 7:10)
- Elisha is greater than Jesus because the rotten bones of Elisha brought a man back to life merely by coming into contact with the corpse (2 Kings 13:21).
Need I illustrate to you a catalogue of miracles? But the sickness persists – “it was God working miracles through His prophets but Jesus performed them of his own power.” Where did Jesus (pbuh) get all his power from? Ask Jesus, and he will tell us:-
POWER NOT HIS OWN
….All power is GIVEN unto me in heaven and in earth. (Matthew 28:18)
….I cast our devils BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. (Matthew 12:28)
I can of mine OWN SELF do nothing….(John 5:30)
…I with the FINGER OF GOD cast our devils….(Luke 11:20)
The “Power” as he says is not his. “it is given unto me”. Given by whom? By God, of course! Every action, every word he attributes to God.
But since so much is made of Jesus nightiest miracle of reviving Lazarus from the dead, we will analyse the episode as recorded in John’s Gospel. It is astonishing that none of the other Gospel writers mention Lazarus in any context. However, the story is that Lazarus was very sick, his sisters Mary and Martha had made frantic calls for Jesus to come and cure his sickness but he arrived too late, actually four days after his demise.
Mary wails to Jesus that had he arrived in time, perhaps her brother would not have died; meaning that if he could heal other peoples’ sickness, why would he not have healed her brother, a dear friend of his. Jesus says that “even now if ye have faith, ye shall see the glory of God.” The condition was that they should have faith. Didn’t he say that faith could move mountains? He asks to be taken to the tomb. On the way, “he groaned in the spirit”. He was not mumbling; he was pouring out his heart and praying to God. But while he sobbed so bitterly his words were not audible enough for people around him to understand. Hence the words “he groaned”. On reaching the grave, Jesus “groaned” again; perhaps, even more earnestly and God heard his groaning (his prayer), and Jesus received the assurance that God will fulfil his request. Now, Jesus could rest assured and command that the stone which was barring the tomb, be removed so that Lazarus could come back from the dead. Without that assurance from God, Jesus (pbuh) would have made a fool of himself.
Mary thinks of the stink because her brother had been dead for four days But Jesus was confident and the stone was removed. Then he looked up towards heaven and said:
What is all this, play-acting? Why all the drama? Because he knows that these superstitious and credulous people will misunderstand the source of the miracle. They might take him for “God”. Giving life to the dead is the prerogative of God alone. To make doubly sure, that his people do not misunderstand, he speaks out loudly that the “groaning” was actually his crying to God Almighty for help. The prayer was incoherent as far as the bystanders could discern, but the Father in heaven had accepted his prayer, viz. “thou hast heard me”.
Furthermore, he says, – “thou hearest me always”; in other words every miracle wrought by him was an answer by God Almighty to his prayer. The Jews of his day understood the position well, and they “glorified God”, as Matthew tells us of another occasion when the Jews exclaimed “for giving such power unto men” (Matt. 9:8).
In fact, Jesus gives his reason for speaking loudly. He says, “that they may believe that thou has sent me.” One who is sent is a messenger, and if he be sent by God, then he is a Messenger of God i.e. Rasul-ullah – see Chapter 6 of this booklet where Jesus is referred to as “Rasul-ullah” (Messenger of Allah).
Alas, this attempt by Jesus to prevent any misunderstanding, as to who really performed the miracle, and that he was in fact only a messenger of God, failed. Christians will not even accept the unambiguous disavowal of Jesus, nor the testimony of Peter, the “Rock” upon which Jesus was supposed to build his Church. Peter truly testified:
CASE NOT HOPELESS
This very same message is repeated by God Almighty in the Holy Quran, following the annunciation. In verse 49 of chapter 3, Allah makes it clear that every sign or wonder that Jesus performed was. “BY ALLAH’S LEAVE,” by God’s permission. Jesus says so, Peter says so and God says so; but the stubborn controversialist will not listen: prejudice, superstition and credulity die hard. Our duty is simply to deliver the Message, loud and clear, the rest we leave to God. The case is not altogether hopeless for Allah tells us in His Holy Book:
|Holy Quran 3:10|
*Among them: meaning the Jews and the Christians there are two types of people; the one group described as people of faith to whom this book is addressed, and the other as rebellious transgressors. We must also find ways and means of getting at them. Our literature is eminently suited to cater for all. Read them and pass them around so it may be of use to some who have faith .
As a conclusion I suggest to :
Open the Holy Quran ( I recommend having one if you still don’t have it) and read the verses discussed in this book. Then we can truly conclude:
THE TRUTH ISLAMIC RELIGION : Islam is Peace and Love, Yudhasmara Publisher
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