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Published in the 16-31 Dec 2003 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Jesus: Prophet of Islam - i
By Muhammad Abdus Samad

Both Christians and Muslims share many common beliefs, values, morals and principles in their behaviour. But what is the basic difference which exists between the two faiths is on the basis of nature and role of Jesus (PBUH).

Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth was God. The Bible states: "Before the world was created, the word already existed, he was with God and he was the same as God. The word became human being. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Fatherís only Son. The only Son is the same as God." (John 1:1-18). Here the Son refers to Jesus (Luke 1:28-35). Jesus answered: "The Father and I are one." (John 10:30) "They will fight against the Lamb (Jesus) but the Lamb will defeat them because he is Lord of Lords and King of Kings" (Revelation 17:14). The letter to the Hebrews (which is included in The New Testament) says that Jesus Christ (PBUH) is the true and final revelation of God. Besides, Christian literatures also tell about Jesus: "In the beginning was word and the word was God. And the word is the son of God." (Basic Beliefs of Christianity by Leonard W. Thompson p.47) Again Jesus proclaimed: "He was God, he offered salvation from sin to all men by stating that he was the way, the Truth and life. God had revealed himself through him that is Jesus. He himself is to be the real and true object of worship. He could forgive sin." (Basic Beliefs of Christianity p.96-102)

Thus it appears that Jesus (PBUH), taking the human form was himself perfect God i.e., Jesus (PBUH) is the incarnation of God. Let us examine how far it was true in his practical life in the world. The Bible tells that when Jesus (PBUH) was put on the cross for crucification, he made prayers and supplication to Other god as saying: "Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani" Which means "My God! My God ! why have you forsaken me." (Math. 27:46, Mark 15:34) "In his life on earth, Jesus made his prayers and supplication with loud cries and tears to God, who could save him from death." (Hebrews 5:7) "In a great anguish Jesus prayed even more frequently, his sweat was like drop of blood falling to the ground." (Luke 22:44) If Jesus (PBUH) was himself God why did he pray to and whom did he pray to? A perfect God never prays and submits to others. So Jesus (PBUH) cannot be regarded as God.

Conversely Jesus (PBUH) is found repudiating his Godhood and divinity in the Bible: Jesus answered them: "I can do nothing on my own authority; I judge only as God tells me, so my judgement is right, because I am not trying to do what I want, but only what he who sent me wants" (John 5:30). Why do you call me good? Jesus asked him (a rich man). No one is good except God alone (Mark 10:18). Denying his equal position with God, Jesus said: "I Jesus: A Prophet of Islamam going to the Father; for he is greater than I." (John 14:28) In Trinity of God, Jesus (PBUH) is considered equal to God. But it is not so as per above cited sayings of Jesus (PBUH). 

Thus Jesus (PBUH) is not God nor can he be equated with God. God does not pray to, nor can he be killed or crucified. A perfect God is always God. He cannot be anything other than God. He is the unique Creator, Redeemer, Life-giver and life-taker. He is Supreme, Sovereign and Perfect in all aspects. He is the Lord of heavens and earth and all that is between them. He is called Allah in the Holy Qur'an.

Islam vehemently denies and decries the belief making Jesus "God" or ascribing the divinity to Jesus (PBUH). The Holy Qur'an announces: "They are surely disbelievers who say: Lo! Allah , is the Messiah (Jesus), son of Mary. But the Messiah himself said: "O children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Lo! Who so ascribeth partner unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden Paradise (5:72, 17). "On the Day of Resurrection Allah will ask: O Jesus, the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto the people, worship me and my mother as two gods besides Allah? Jesus will say: Never, could I say what I had no right." (5:116)

Christians assume: "In the beginning was Word (Loges) and the Word was with God and the Word was God". (Christians Answer Muslims by Gerhard Nehls p.89). It is called Logos doctrine. According to the Bible (John1: 1-14) the Word became a human being who is the Fatherís only Son, i.e., Jesus. It is devious notion. Before the world was created, there was not word but God Who pronounced the word and created everything. The word of God is not itself a creation but an expression of His knowledge and will. The Holy Qur'an is also called "the word of God". The word of god is His order or will required to create anything. When he wills to create anything, He just pronounces "Be" and it is. The Holy Qur'an tells: "Allah is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. When he decreeth a thing, He smith unto it only: Be! And it is (2:117). When Allah wanted to create the heavens, the earth, angels, Moses (PBUH), Jesus (PBUH), David (PBUH), Muhammad (PBUH) etc., He just pronounced the word "Be" and they came into existence accordingly. 

As His attributes like Almighty, Powerful, Eternal, Merciful, the word of God is also His attributes. His attributes are derived from His essence and thereby He has manifested in the Universe If His attributes are considered as distinct and separate divine personalities, we shall have several gods. However the Unitarian Christians reject the Logos doctrine and render its correct reading as follows: "In the beginning was the word; and the word was with God; and the word was Godís".

Secondly, the belief in Jesus as the son of God is one of the major tenets of Christianity. The Bible states: "The angel said to Mary: you well become pregnant and give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus. Mary said to the angel: I am virgin how can this be ? The angel answered: The Holy spirit will come on you and Godís power will rest upon you. For this reason, the Holy child will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:28-35). Though Jesus is called Godís only Son (John 3:18, 1:14), but some other men are also called the son of God in the same Bible: "God said to David: you are my son; to-day I have become your father (psalm 2:7). I, the Lord, say: Israel is my first-born son (Exodus 4:22, Jeremiah 31:20). Those who are led by Godís spirit are Godís sons (Roman 8:14). Needless to say here that Mary never said that Jesus was the Son of God or God in the Bible. Even God is also considered as like the husband of Israel in the Bible: your creator will be like a husband to you. Israel, you are like a young wife deserted by her husband. But the Lord calls you back to him and says: In the time of Noah I promised never again to flood the earth. Now I Promise not to be angry with you again. The mountains and hills may crumble, but my love for you will never end" (Isaiah 54:5-10).

Islam strongly condemns and rejects the belief of son of God and teaches that God has no descendant nor does any one share His Lordship. He is not the father of any son nor the son of any father but the creator of all including Jesus, Moses and Muhammad. The Holy Quran, having decried the belief of son of God states: "Jesus say: Ezm is the son of Allah and the Christians Say: Jesus is the son of Allah. That is their saying only with mouth. Allah fighteth against them, how perverse are they." (9:30) "It is not fit for the majesty of the Beneficent (Allah) that He should have a son." (19:88-92). "No son did Allah beget nor is there any god along with Him." (23:91, 2:116)

Islam teaches that Jesus was born of a virgin mother Mary. Since Allah is Almighty and Omniscient, hence it is very easy on His part to give birth to a child without father, mother or even parent. Why are the Christian brethren so amazed only with the creation of Adam and Eve is more mysterious and miraculous than that of Jesus as they were created without parent. (To be continued)

(To Read part click here) q

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