Who is Jesus?

Who is Jesus?

Jesus In The Qur’an

In the Qur’an, Jesus is identified as Isa al-Masih. However, it should be noted that the Arabic name Isa does not have the same meaning as the name Jesus, which is the Greek version of the Hebrew name Joshua or Jehoshuah meaning “Jehovah saves.”

Etymologically, Isa seems to be nearer to Esau. The name Isa cannot be found in the Arabic translation of the Bible for the name Jesus has been correctly translated into Arabic as Yasua.

Thus, the Arabic Bible gives a clear testimony of the mission of Jesus Christ as the “Saviour” in the Arabic language.

The Titles of Jesus in the Qur’an The Qur’an gives Jesus the following names and titles.

1. Al-Masih - “the Messiah” (Qur’an 3:45)

Only Jesus Christ is given this title in the Qur’an. About twenty-five prophets are named in the Qur’an, but only Jesus befits this noble title - Al-Masih.

Al-Masih means “the anointed one” and is the same as Messiah in Hebrew and Kristos (Christ) in Greek. Prophets like David (Dawud) and Solomon (Sulaiman) were anointed, yet they never assumed the title al-Masih. The oil that was used to anoint them was purchased in Jerusalem, but Jesus was anointed from above.

2. Kalimatuhu - “His Word” (Qur’an 4:171)

By implication the Qur’an refers to Jesus as God’s Word, the Word of God, or Kalimatu’llah.

This particular title has become a point of strong controversy among the Muslim community, with regards to the correct meaning of Kalimat. The translators of the Qur’an into English differ in opinion as to whether to translate Kalimat as “word” with a small “w” or “Word” with a capital “W.” The whole world is yet to receive a fatwa (a religious or judicial decision) on that.

It is recognised that each of the translations, “word” or “Word” connotes a different meaning. Whereas the Bible unashamedly refers to Jesus as “the Word” (John 1:1f), Muslims reject the teaching in this passage. Therefore, the Qur’anic translators have tended to downplay the role of Jesus as simply “a word.”

3. Ruhu-minhu - “a Spirit from Him” (Qur’an 4:171; 21:91)

By implication, Jesus is referred to as a Spirit from God (Ruhu-mina -llah). God speaks of Jesus as of “Our Spirit”. Is this Spirit divine? Let us answer this question sincerely. In comparison with other prophets, we observe that Allah sees: Adam as Safiyu’llah - the chosen of Allah; Noah as Nabiyu’llah - the preacher of Allah; Abraham as Khalilu’llah - the friend of Allah; Moses as Kalimu’llah - the converser with Allah; Muhammad as Rasulu’llah - the Messenger of Allah; But only Jesus as Ruhu’llah - the Spirit of Allah.

In Islam, Allah cannot be likened to anyone, Qur’an 112:4.

He is far above the prophets, as is clearly shown in respect of their titles. There is a clear separation from the being of Allah when these titles are carefully analysed. However, when it comes to Jesus, that separation is eliminated, and as “His Spirit,” he is brought very close to the very being of Allah.

Do we not recognise that by identifying Jesus so closely with Himself, Allah is revealing the deity of Jesus Christ? Muslims object to this vehemently and have rather reduced Jesus to the same level as the other prophets, with the exception of Muhammad who they consider as the greatest of all.

4. Wajihan Fi’dunya wa’lakhirah – “Illustrious in the world and the Hereafter” (Qur’an 3:45, Pickthall).

This title is what the Qur’an has disclosed to us about Jesus Christ. However, this is no new revelation to the Christian because the same truth is contained in the Bible. Indeed, Christians knew this truth about Jesus long before the birth of Muhammad.

Waraqa Ibn Naufal, the man whom Muhammad consulted after he (Muhammad) began to receive supernatural messages, was a Christian monk. He surely knew and read from the Bible that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God:

Ephesians 1:20-21 ...He (God) raised him (Jesus) from the dead and seated him at His right hand in the heavenly realms far above all heavenly rulers and authorities, powers and dominions and every name or title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one which is to come.

Taking the contents of the Qur’an alone, none of the prophets mentioned in it can be compared to Jesus as far as His heavenly position is concerned.

Jesus clearly revealed his heavenly origin in the Gospel:

John 6:62 “What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where He was before?”

John 8:23, 58 “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.” ...“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” If we consider the opinion of a Muslim scholar, we see that when Hammudah Abdalaati wrote his book “Islam in Focus,” he dismissed the various opinions of Muslims concerning the crucifixion, death and ascension of Jesus as having little bearing on Islamic belief. To him, what is important and binding on the Muslim is what Allah has revealed. Thus, as far as he is concerned, the complexity of this issue can be solved by the revelation given to Muhammad that Jesus was not crucified (Qur’an 4:157) but:

Qur’an 4:158 Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise ... On the other hand, Hammudah Abdalaati, surprisingly, for one who only takes what the Qur’an says, treats the virgin birth of Jesus very lightly, comparing it to mythological figures like Bacchus, Apollo, Adonis and Horus who were said to be virgin-born gods. However, we might ask, where in the Qur’an is it revealed that these gods were born through virgin birth? In contrast, the accounts of the angelic announcement of Jesus’ birth to Mary in Qur’an clearly show that Mary was chaste and that God Himself would intervene to enable her to conceive as a virgin (Qur’an 3:45-47; 19:16-22).

In fact, this same account was recorded by Luke centuries before the birth of Muhammad. However, Muslims have dismissed Luke’s account as hearsay on the grounds that Luke was not one of the apostles appointed by Jesus Christ. Nonetheless, since the acclaimed hearsay has turned out to be a revelation from Allah to Muhammad, it behoves us to take it with the same level of seriousness.

Without a doubt, the Qur’an bears testimony to the virgin birth of Jesus Christ in contrast to that of Muhammad (Qur’an 21:91).

On the other hand, the Qur’an completely rejects the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, but at the same time misrepresents it as “the Father, the Son and the Mother,” contrary to “the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” given by Jesus in Matthew 28:19.

Qur’an 5:119 And behold Allah will say: “O Jesus, the son of Mary!

Did thou say unto men, ‘worship me (Jesus, the Son) and my mother (Mary, the Mother) as gods in derogation of Allah (God – the Father)’? He will say: “Glory to Thee! Never could I say what I had no right (to say).

Had I said such a thing, Thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, though I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden.”

Muslims are quick to point out that the word “Trinity” cannot be found in the Bible and yet, it seems that they have forgotten that likewise the word “Tawheed” (the “oneness” of God), which is the first article of the Islamic faith, cannot be found in the Qur’an. However, just as both the Bible and the Qur’an make statements that attest to Tawheed, so the Bible also makes clear statements that attest to the truth that God, although being one, reveals himself in three persons (the Trinity). This truth is reasonable and acceptable to everyone who sees Jesus as above all other human beings.

It will be difficult for Muslims to appreciate this mystery about God, since it appears that Muhammad did not get clear teaching from those, such as Waraqa Ibn Nauful, whom he consulted about Christianity.

The Miracles of Jesus

The Qur’an reveals that Jesus was able to perform miracles:

Qur’an 3:49, (cf 5:113) And (appoint him) an apostle to the Children of Israel, (with this message). “I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah’s leave: And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by Allah’s leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe ...”

Miracle No.1: Jesus Christ created a l • iving bird out of clay • Miracle No.2: Jesus Christ healed those born blind • Miracle No.3: Jesus Christ healed lepers • Miracle No.4: Jesus Christ brought the dead back to life

While the miracle of creating the living bird out of clay cannot be traced in the Holy Bible, details of the healing of the blind and lepers and the raising of the dead can be found, (for example:

Matthew 11:5; John 9:1-7; Mark 1:40-42; Luke 7:12-15). In addition, Qur’an 3:49 reveals that Jesus had supernatural knowledge as the Bible also shows (John 1:47-48).

That Jesus created a bird, as the Qur’an has revealed, must be considered a great miracle. However, Muslims are divided as to whether it should be taken as true or metaphorical. The line of argument of the Ahmadis is enlightening in this respect.

They argue that it is metaphorical on the basis that there is no mention of the miracle in the Bible. For, if Jesus had really created birds, there is no reason why the Bible should have failed to mention it, especially since the creating of birds was a miracle the like of which had never been shown before by any messenger of God. Indeed, the mention of such a miracle would certainly have established his great superiority over all the other prophets and would have lent some support to the claim of divinity, which they argue has been foisted on him by his later followers.

From their argument we can therefore establish the following points:

There is no mention o • f the miracle in the Bible. • There is no reason for its omission. • The creating of birds is unique and superior. • No other prophet of God ever had the ability to create anything. • The miracle establishes the superiority of Jesus over all other known prophets.

We will study the full implications of these observations in the following section.

Is Jesus God?

As we have seen in the previous sections, the titles and miracles of Jesus that are revealed in the Qur’an support the Biblical claim that Jesus is God (Romans 9:5, 1 John 5:20). In case the reader is in doubt, we will continue by examining the evidence for this claim in more detail.

Only God Can Create

Qur’an 10:34 Say: “Of your ‘partners’, can any originate creation and repeat it?” Say: “It is Allah Who originates creation and repeats it: Then how are ye deluded away (from the truth)?”

The above verse from Qur’an indicates that the false gods cannot create. The ability to create is attributed to Allah alone. In the Qur’an, the act of creation -khalq has not been attributed to any other being or thing apart from Allah.

Qur’an 13:16

Say: “Who is the Lord and Sustainer of the heavens and the earth?” say: “(It is) Allah.” say: “Do ye then take (for worship) protectors other than Him, such as have no power either for good or for harm to themselves?”

Say: “Are the blind equal with those who see?

Or the depths of darkness equal with Light?” Or do they assign to Allah partners who have created (anything) as He has created, so that the creation seemed to them similar? Say: “Allah is the Creator of all things: He is the One, the Supreme and Irresistible.”

Qur’an 31:11 Such is the Creation of Allah: Now show Me what is there that others besides Him have created?

Muslims have found it difficult and impossible to accept the deity of Jesus Christ as the Bible reveals. This is because, such superiority stands contrary to the Qur’an as it does not specifically declare the deity of Christ. Rather, the Qur’an condemns the associating of partners or likening other beings or things to God as “Shirk” which is regarded as the greatest sin of Islam.

Notwithstanding, when we examine the Qur’an critically and with an open mind, we can see that it does reveal the deity of Jesus. However, it is true to say that this truth is at the same time watered down.

Let us make a further study of the miracle revealed in the Qur’an (3:49; 5:113) in which Jesus created birds.

This a miracle the like of which had never been shown before by any other prophet of Allah. Instead of pondering over this miracle, many have explained it away by saying it was Allah who gave Jesus the help to do it. However, the question remains, why was it given to Jesus and no other prophet?

We will come to understand this unique miracle better by reminding ourselves that the greatest sin in Islam is “Shirk.”

For the Qur’an (Qur’an 112:4) emphasises that ...there is none like unto Him. Yet we need to remind ourselves that the same Qur’an describes Jesus as a Spirit from Allah (Ruh-mina-llah) and Allah speaks of Jesus as being “of Our Spirit”.

We cannot avoid the question: Is this Spirit divine? Please be bold to answer! As we have already seen, of all the prophets, Allah sees only Jesus Christ as Ruhu’llah - “the Spirit of Allah.”

Can you not see the superiority of Jesus? Since Jesus is the “Spirit of Allah” we should not be surprised or feel uncomfortable if he repeats creation. As the Qur’an emphasises, it is the false gods that are incapable of such a feat.

Qur’an 22:73 O men! Here is a parable set forth! Listen to it! Those on whom, besides Allah, ye call, cannot create (even) a fly, if they all met together for the purpose! And if the fly should snatch away anything from them, they would have no power to release it from the fly. Feeble are those who petition and those whom they petition!

As we have already seen, the Ahmadis have raised the question: “If Jesus had really created birds why is there no mention of it in the Bible?” On this ground they dismiss the miracle as figurative.

Surprisingly, these same people endorse the fact that such a miracle would certainly establish the superiority of Jesus over all the other prophets. Praise God!

We need to be clear in our minds and humbly accept the truth that Jesus did create birds, an act that can only be done by God (Allah). This indisputably establishes the deity of Jesus Christ.

The fact that this miracle of Jesus was not mentioned in the Bible cannot cancel his deity. After all, the Apostle John tells us:

John 21:25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

John 20:30-31 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.

But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing, you may have life in his name.

Indeed, for those who are willing to see, the Bible reveals that, not only did Jesus create birds, but he was responsible for the whole of creation!

Colossians 1:16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

If we require further evidence of the deity of Jesus, we must acknowledge that even death could not hold him as it held others.

Furthermore, the Qur’an declares that Jesus is holy:

Qur’an 19:19 He said: “Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son.”

Who, apart from God is holy?

Finally, we know that Satan can remind all the prophets of their sin, that is with the exception of Jesus, Ruhu’llah –The Spirit of God, for the Spirit of God cannot and does not sin.

In conclusion, Jesus, the Holy One who does not sin, who is the Spirit of God and who creates birds (an act attributed only to God) must be God. Do you still doubt his divinity?

Jesus – The only one qualified to be Saviour The great story of salvation and the need for guidance can be traced back through the Bible and the Qur’an to the creation of humanity. Indeed, we may argue that the story of humanity and the story of salvation are one and the same. Let us then follow this story as narrated by the Bible and the Qur’an.

1. God created Mankind

God created man and gave him life, wisdom, knowledge and dominion.

Genesis 2:7 “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.”

Qur’an 32:7, 9 He Who has made everything which He has created Most Good: He began the creation of man with (nothing more than) clay,...

But He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him something of His spirit. And He gave you (the faculties of) hearing and sight and feeling (and understanding): Little thanks do ye give!

2. God provided for Mankind’s Needs

God placed man in a garden of plenty and provided all that he needed. All that God gave him was good.

Genesis 2:16-17 “The Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

Qur’an 2:35 (cf 7:19) “We said: “O Adam! Dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden; and eat of the bountiful things therein as (where and when) ye will; but approach not this tree, or ye run into harm and transgression.”

3. God demanded Obedience

God revealed His will to man so that man was not left in ignorance (see Genesis 2:17 and Qur’an 2:35 above).

4. Satan vowed to take Revenge

Qur’an 7:16-17 He said: “Because thus hast thrown me out of the way, lo! I will lie in wait for them on thy straight way: Then will I assault them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left: Nor wilt thou find, in most of them, gratitude (for they mercies).”

5. Satan enters the Garden

Satan tried his tricks on mankind and succeeded in deceiving them.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animal the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

Qur’an 7:20-22 (cf 2:36) Then began Satan to whisper suggestions to them, bringing openly before their minds all their shame that was hidden from them (before): he said: “Your Lord only forbade you this tree, lest ye should come angels or such beings as live for ever.” And he swore to them both, that he was their sincere adviser. So by deceit he brought about them all: when they tasted of the tree, their shame became manifest to them, and they began to sew together the leaves of the garden over their bodies. And their Lord called unto them: “Did I not forbid you that tree, and tell you that Satan was an avowed enemy unto you?”

6. Mankind disobeyed God

Adam and Eve took Satan’s counsel and listened to him rather than to God. Disobedience to God is sin and so they sinned by choosing to go their own way

Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Genesis 3:11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

7. Mankind was separated from God

God hates sin and therefore sin separates people from God.

Genesis 3:23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.

Qur’an 7:24 (God) said: “Get ye down, with enmity between yourselves.

On earth will be your dwelling-place and your means of livelihood, for a time.”

Isaiah 59:1-2 “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear to dull to hear. But your inquities have seperated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”

Qur’an 2:38 “We said: “Get ye down all from here; and if, as is sure, there comes to you guidance from Me, whosoever follows my guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.”

8. The Wages Of Sin

To be away from God’s presence is to be spiritually dead and physical death also entered the world because of sin. The whole family of Adam became affected and all have sinned bringing the same judgement upon themselves.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Qur’an 16:61 (cf 35:45) “If God were to punish men for their wrong-doing, he would not leave, on the (earth), a single living creature: But He gives them respite for a stated term: when their term expires, they would not be able to delay (the punishment) for a single hour, just as they would not be able to anticipate it (for a single hour).”

Hadith: Anaaso Kuluhum, banuu Adama Wa Aadamo min turaabin.

The first Adam fell and through his disobedience, he failed to maintain his Islam (submission to God). Adam was supposed to be an example of submission to guide us to God.

9. God sent the Prophets

They were supposed to live above sin, maintaining pure Islam so that they could guide people to God.

Qur’an 7:35 “O ye children of Adam! Whenever there come to you Apostles from amongst you, rehearsing my signs unto you, those who are righteous and mend (their lives), on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve.”

All the prophets are descendants of Adam and all of them fell into sin:

• Adam fell in sin Qur’an 7:23

• Noah fell in sin Qur’an 11:47

• Moses fell in sin Qur’an 28:16

• David fell in sin Qur’an 38:24

• Solomon fell in sin Qur’an 38:35

• Muhammad fell in sin Qur’an 48:2

10. God sent Guidance to save Mankind

Qur’an 2:38 “We said: “Get ye down all from here; and if, as is sure, there comes to you guidance from Me, whosoever follows my guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.”

This guidance should be different, it must not fail like the previous prophets. This time God sent His Word.

Qur’an 3:39 “While he was standing in prayer in the chamber, the angels called unto him: “God doth give thee glad tidings of Yahya, witnessing the truth of a Word from God, and (be besides) noble, chaste, and a Prophet, of the (goodly) company of the righteous.”

This Word was Jesus Christ.

Qur’an 3:45 “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.”

11. The Word came to deal with Sin.

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Satan was not able to deceive Jesus or cause him to sin.

Matthew 4:4-11 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.

“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angles concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord you God, and serve him only.’ Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.”

Jesus remained holy and sinless.

Qur’an 19:19 “He said: “Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (To announce) to thee the gift of a holy son.” Hebrews 4:15

...one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet without sin.

Since Jesus has no burden of sin to beare, he is qualified to help others.

Qur’an 35:18 “Nor can a bearer of burdens bear another’s burden.

If one heavily laden should call another to (bear) his load, not the least portion of it can be carried (by the other), even though he be nearly related. Thou canst but admonish such as fear their Lord unseen and establish regular prayer. And whoever purifies himself does so for the benefit of his own soul; and the destination (of all) is to God.”

He therefore, calls those who are burdened to come to him.

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

He is the way to God.

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

He is the gate through which the sheep can enter the fold.

John 10:7 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.”

He is the only one qualified to be our Saviour and therefore, he is the only person qualified to judge.

The world awaits him for judgement.

Qur’an 43:61 “And (Jesus) shall be a sign (for the coming of) the hour (of judgement): Therefore have no doubt about the (Hour, but follow ye me: this is a straight way.”

Dear One, the Lord Jesus Christ can become your personal Saviour today if only you will believe in him and put your faith in his accomplished work.

At this time, if it is your desire to follow Jesus Christ, then I encourage you to invite Jesus into your life right now. If you do so, he will come and abide with you in power and your life will not remain the same again.

Please pray with me now:

My Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I thank you for speaking to me through Your Word. I have lived all my past years without you, and have now realised that I am nothing without you. I thank you for your unconditional love for me a sinner, for you shed your blood and died on the Cross on my behalf. Forgive all my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.

I sincerely invite you into my life to be my Lord and Master and I humbly ask for your Holy Spirit to empower me, so that I can live for you in Your Power. Thank you for this wonderful gift in the mighty Name of Jesus, Amen.