Among those prophets whose ministry was limited to the Israelites and Jews, was Jesus (the Messiah or Christ, and the son of the Virgin Mary).
Actually, this is a biblically true statement.
“I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)
So what is Jesus the Christ’s significance in Islam?
He was not conceived in the usual way, but was implanted in the womb of a young woman named Mary. Almighty God’s simply commanded, “Be” and he was. In this sense, he was “a word” of Almighty God’s and a special sign for humanity. In fat, he was the last in a long line of religious guides sent to the Jews…
His people had strayed from the spirit of truth and placed their trust in legalism, thereby burying their sense of mercy beneath dusty scrolls and rituals…
He taught that love and mercy overcome hate and anger and that only a true and sincere faith in the Creator and obedience to His will can bring a person salvation in this life as well as in the next. To reinforce his message, which was called “Injeel” (Good News), Almighty God granted him the performance of miracles. He healed the sick, uplifted the distressed, cured lepers, and revived the dead. All these things he did with the permission of Almighty God, never taking credit for any of them…
But no righteous man of Almighty God is without trial and tribulation. As the message of Jesus began to gain wider acceptance, a small clique of hypocrites and evil men began to plot against him. They were the priests and leaders of the Jews whose position and wealth depended upon their place as the sole interpreters of religion to the masses. They pursued him and his followers and eventually captured him…Almighty God removed Jesus from this world into another dimension, to a place with Him, not to return until a later time.
With their teacher gone, the devoted followers of Jesus tried to maintain the purity and simplicity of his teachings. But they were soon besieged and overtaken by a flood of Roman and Greek influences, which eventually so buried and distorted the message of Jesus that only a little of its truth now remains. Strange doctrines of Jesus being a man-god, of god-dying, of saint worship and of god being made up of different parts came into vogue and were accepted by many of those who took the name “Christians” centuries after Jesus…
believers in the Qur’aan love Jesus, honor him, and believe in him. In fact, no Muslim can be a Muslim unless he or she believes in Prophet Jesus…as a servant of Almighty God, but never Son of Almighty God. Peter, for example, said: “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus” [Acts 3:13]. Peter further said: “God raised up his servant” [Acts 3:26], where the title servant refers to Jesus. Not only was it Peter, but the entire group of believers viewed Jesus as Almighty God’s servant. When they raised their voices together in prayer to Almighty God, in the course of their speaking to Almighty God they called Jesus “your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed” [Acts 4:27]. They repeated this title also in verse 30. Consistently, Jesus was being called servant of Almighty God’s by the original followers of Jesus.
In the King James Bible, the translators call Jesus “Son of Almighty God” in Acts 3:13, 26, and “child of Almighty God” in Acts 4:27. They simply translated the Greek word paida as “son” or “child”. But the word paida also means “servant”, and the present context demands this translation since the author of Acts is trying in this passage to establish that Jesus is indeed the servant of Almighty God…
the fact that Jesus was Almighty God’s servant was so well known that even the King James Bible called him by this title in Matthew 12:18. Referring back to Isaiah 42:1, Matthew identified Jesus as the servant of the one true Almighty God Yahweh…
WHAT DO MUSLIMS THINK ABOUT JESUS (ESA)?
Muslims respect and venerate Jesus Christ. They consider him to be one of Almighty God’s greatest messengers to humankind. The Qur’aan re-affirms his miraculous birth and his miraculous abilities…
Jesus was born miraculously through the same power that had brought Adam into being without a father: “Truly the likeness of Jesus with Almighty God is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust and then said to him, ‘Be!’ and he was.” [Al-Qur’aan 3:59]
During his prophetic mission, Jesus performed many miracles. The Qur’aan tells us that he said:
“I have come to you with a sign from your Lord…I heal the blind, and the lepers, and I raise the dead by Almighty God’s leave.” [Al-Qur’aan 3:49]
No contradiction with the Bible there.
“he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” (Luke 4:16-21)
Neither Muhammad nor Jesus came to change the basic doctrine of the belief in One Almighty God, brought by earlier prophets, but to confirm and renew it. In the Qur’aan, Jesus is reported as saying that he came:
“To attest the law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you; I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear Almighty God and obey me.” [Al-Qur’aan 3:50]
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil [MY PART]. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till ALL be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:16-18)
The Qur’aan says that Jesus was born of a virgin…that he healed the blind and the leper by Almighty God’s leave, and that he raised the dead by Almighty God’s leave.
What then is the significance of these miracles? First, the virgin birth. Almighty God demonstrates his power to create in every way. Almighty God created everyone we know from a man and a woman. But how about Adam? Almighty God created him from neither a man nor a woman. And Eve from only a man, but not a woman. And, finally, to complete the picture, Almighty God created Jesus from a woman, but not a man.
WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER MIRACLES?
These were to show that Jesus was not acting on his own behalf, but that he was backed by Almighty God. The Qur’aan specifies that these miracles were performed by Almighty God’s leave. This may be compared to the Book of Acts in the Bible, chapter 2, verse 22, where it says that the miracles were done by Almighty God to show that he approved of Jesus. Also, note that Jesus himself is recorded in the Gospel of John to have said:
I can of mine own self do nothing…because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (John 5:30).
“I can do nothing of my own authority” [Al-Qur’aan 5:30].
The miracles, therefore, were done not by his own authority, but by Almighty God’s authority…
Jesus is the Messiah. He is a word from Allah, and a spirit from Him. He is honored in this world and in the hereafter, and he is one of those brought nearest to Allah. Jesus was a man who spoke the truth which he heard from Almighty God. This can be compared with the Gospel According to John where Jesus says to the Israelites: “You are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from Almighty God [John 8:40]…
Every nation and every people, from the Aztecs to the Greeks, have received a Prophet or a Messenger from Almighty God. Jesus was the last of a series of Messengers sent to the Israelites, but they consistently strayed from the path of surrender to Almighty God. Each of the many Messengers spoke a different language and followed varied customs. Yet the core faith taught by each was the same: surrender your imperfect and fickle will to the perfect will of the Power that is greater than you. You will then find the peace and freedom that only the Creator of all things can provide. Then you must do what is right and good to your fellow creatures. This way of life is called Islam (surrender to Almighty God and find peace).
The more I’ve studied Islam the more I find it matches my own understanding of holy scripture. Except for one thing.
Doesn’t Islam deny that Jesus died on the cross as atonement for sin? According to this following teacher opposed to Islam:
The Quran teaches that Jesus did not die on the cross. Muslims do not believe that Allah would allow one of their prophets to be killed in the manner Jesus was killed…Since…Jesus did not die on the cross, He certainly did not come back from the dead three days later. Muslims do not accept the New Testament teaching of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, the key teachings of the New Testament, the death of Jesus Christ for the sins of the world and His resurrection three days later, are rejected by Islam.
Actually, key teachings were rejected by false prophets in Judaism and Christianity long before Islam came on the scene. This fact don’t eliminate the Bible as the word of God, so we can’t use this to eliminate the Quran either. On the contrary, false prophets validate God’s prophetic word.
- “there were false prophets also among the [Old Testament] people,
- even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
- And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
- through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you:” (II Peter 2:1-2)
Christianity certainly has had a long history of “making merchandise” of Christians over covetousness of Moslem holdings in the Crusades and now Moslem-held oil fields.
This is too important a consideration to accept one oppositional teacher’s statement at face value. We need to go straight to the source – the Quran.
Whereas Ahmadi Muslims believe Hazrat Jesus(as) was a prophet who died like all other human beings, a great majority of Muslims held the view that Hazrat Jesus(as) was taken to Heaven by Allah and a Jesus-look-alike was crucified by the Jews instead…
The so-called orthodox Muslim belief that a Jesus-look-alike was crucified instead of Hazrat Jesus(as), and that Hazrat Jesus(as) was raised to heaven, to descend a later day, has no support in the Holy Quran. The origin of this popular belief is from Christian sources…
the belief of Hazrat Jesus(as) not being nailed to the cross and a Jesus-look-alike replacing him was introduced into Islam from the teachings of certain Gnostic Christian sects. These teachings were brought into Islam through conversion of the “People of the Book…”
Docetism was a prominent feature of Gnosticism, which held that matter and spirit are antagonistic; matter was considered evil, and spirit considered good and holy. Docetism proposed that Christ only “appeared” to have a real human body, and that Christ only “appeared” to suffer and die on the cross: it was either an illusion or someone else was substituted for him. This tendency to deny or at least diminish the reality of the humanity and suffering of Hazrat Jesus(as) was central to the docetic view. It is believed that docetism had its roots in the difficulties some felt in the notion of the Incarnation of God in the person of Christ – it was difficult to associate a Divine-incarnate Son (spirit) with a human being (matter) subject to suffering and death (reference: “Gnosis” by Geddes MacGregor).
What we find is that, just as in Judaism and Christianity, there are different sects based on contradictory doctrines.
On the other hand, Islam’s explanation of salvation by submission to God’s will to peoples from all time and all cultures who never heard about Jesus the Christ who died in their place at Jerusalem in AD 33 is far more consistent with the totality of scripture than Christianity’s exclusive demand that salvation only comes from calling on the name of Jesus and there is no need for “works of righteousness.”
It is a fact that Christianity had become thoroughly corrupted after its politicization in the 4th Century. Was it even possible to find a righteous Messenger to the peoples of the world from Christianity?
Roman Catholicism is founded on Divine Revelation continuously given to the Pope,
the apostolic preaching is preserved without corruption until the end of time. The teaching of the Church on faith and morals is based on that original preaching. But it is not static. There is growth in the understanding of the faith, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which takes place through reflection on God’s Word by saints and bishops and theologians. As time goes by the Church advances in its understanding of what has been revealed and applies the ancient truths to new problems and circumstances, such as changes in the social order and in the physical and life sciences.
Does it surprise you to realize that the most fundamentalist Protestant Christians who believe in the inerrant word of God also believe God reveals mysteries to his prophets after the apostles were long dead and gone?
Irenaeus (AD 120-202): The dispensational scheme of Irenaeus is four in number. They are: 1. From the Creation to the Flood. 2. From the Flood to the Law. 3. From the Law to the Gospel. 4. From the Gospel to the Eternal State. He taught that there were four zones of the world and of mankind. He saw a connection between these zones, the faces of the “four living creatures”, the four gospels and the four dispensations…
It was John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) who first gave systematic form to the ages and dispensations.
Hear what this exposition is saying – Darby’s systematizing of the dispensations – although not done until the 1800’s – is a true doctrine even though not understood as such in the preceding centuries. For those who believe that this system was operational for thousands of years before it was propagated by Darby, how can you deny the same secure salvation to to people who didn’t – and still don’t – have access to to the doctrine of Jesus Christ’s atonement?
Is there a “middle way” under the doctrine of Predestination as described above, where, at the same time that humans acknowledge God to be the Ruler over all, they have freedom of choice and free will within the limitations of their knowledge of God?
This system of justice is biblical.
“the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
- To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
- But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
For there is no respect of persons with God.
- For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law:
- and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
To be more precise in understanding the Islamic perspective on divine revelation or word of God, it is necessary to become acquainted with the term “wahy”. In Arabic, the term “wahy” literally means giving a message quickly and secretly, whether by gesture, in a written form, or by inspiration…
Reflecting on the verses in which the term or one of its cognates is used to refer to the divine act of giving messages, we can classify them according to who the recipients are into the following categories:
a. The Prophet Muhammad: He is the paradigmatic recipient of wahy as mentioned in the Qur’an and nearly half of the cases in which the term wahy or its cognates are used in the Qur’an relate to him.
b. The Prophets, of whom Moses is more frequently mentioned.
c. The disciples of Jesus or mother of Moses
e. The bee
f. The heavens.
As we see, wahy is not restricted to the Prophets. Rather it is used in a more general sense to refer to different sorts of guidance given by God to His creatures, and since divine guidance is all- inclusive, His wahy reaches out to all forms of creation. The Qur’an teaches that God, the Wise, has provided His creation with guidance so that they may achieve their proportionate perfection.
The first form of Divine guidance is an inner and instinctive instruction, which is innate in all beings. It is from Him that each created thing derived its form and nature, including such free will and power as that of man. God has granted everything all the means and opportunities of development. The Qur’an says:
(Pharaoh) said: “Who then, O Moses, is the Lord of you two?” He said: “Our Lord is He Who gave to each (created) thing its form and nature and further gave (it) guidance.’ (20:49 & 50)
‘Glorify the name of thy Guardian-Lord Most High Who hath created and further given order and proportion; Who hath ordained laws. And granted guidance.’ (87:1-3)
The second form of Divine guidance is where God sends the Prophets and divine books for man to learn the purpose of his creation and how he can realise his true potentials. The Prophets inform man of what is outside the realms of his knowledge and experience, explain the consequences of his actions to him, confirm and support what man can understand by his reason and serve as a role model for him to follow.
Thus, human beings enjoy two sorts of guidance: the general guidance (al-hidāyat al- ‘āmmah), which is shared by all creatures and the special guidance (al-hidāyat al-khāssah), which is exclusive to those beings that have reason and free will. This is where God communicates to human beings through the Prophets and is called “wahy” by Muslim theologians.
Having understood this, the occurrences of divine wahy in the Qur’an can now be classified according to the nature of the messages, into the following categories:
Natural Instinct: We always admire the wonderful achievements of small insects, such as the bees, the ants, the spiders and so forth.4 The same is true about the laws of nature, such as gravity, the movement of atoms, planets, etc. This is all due to a general guidance, provided by God.
Inspiration: Sometimes God suggests certain ideas or courses of action to some people who are not necessarily prophets.5 For example, we read in the Qur’an that in order to protect Moses God inspired (awhaynā) his mother to put the baby in the river6. This inspiration was not convened through an angel and the mother of Moses was not a prophet. Therefore, there is also a kind of general inspiration for all people. For example, the Qur’an tells us that God has inspired mankind with discernment between virtues and vices7.
Prophetic revelation: This is exclusive to the Prophets and this has been referred to in the Qur’an more than seventy times.8 For example:
‘Thus We have revealed to you an Arabic Qur’an so that you may warn the Mother of Cities (Mecca) and all around her and warn (them) of the Day of Assembly of which there is no doubt: (when) some will be in the Paradise and some in the Blazing Fire.’ (42:7)
‘We relate unto you, the most beautiful stories, in that We revealed to you this Qur’an: before this you too were among those who knew it not.’ (12:3)
This is the highest and the most sophisticated form of divine communication. Since the advent of Islam, the Qur’an introduced itself, and Muslims have considered the Qur’an, as an instance of this phenomenon.
According to Islamic beliefs, it is not just the Qur’an but other Divine books, such as the Torah, the Gospel and the Psalm of Prophet David, that are other examples of this connection between the Divinity and mankind.9
In what follows some aspects of prophetic revelation will be addressed:
- To be able to be addressed directly by God and receive His message and revelation requires a very high capacity. God is the most pure and it is only the pure hearts that can fully grasp His message. It is narrated from Prophet Muhammad that:“God has not sent any prophet (nabiy) or apostle (rasul) unless he has completed his intellect and his intellect is superior to the intellects of his entire nation”.10 Imam Hasan Askari, the 11th Imam of the Shi’a, is quoted to have said:“Verily, God found the heart of Muhammad the best and with the greatest capacity so He chose him / messiah’d him for prophethood.”11
- The Prophets are fully aware of divine communication to them. The reception of wahy is of the kind that the Prophets never doubt about the veracity of what has been revealed to them. This is a very important aspect of Shi’i doctrine of revelation. There is no particular disagreement among Muslims about the meaning of the revelation.
This is a refreshing change from the burgeoning theological arguments as Christianity developed over time.
But what about the last warning in the Bible? Doesn’t that eliminate any further revelation by Muhammed or anyone else?
“I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book,
- If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
- And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19)
This is clearly referring to the prophetic book of Revelation, not the closing of further messages to prophets of God. Seriously people, don’t just take at face value what your preacher said in a sermon. Read it for yourself.
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of…all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” (Revelation 1:1-3)