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PostSubject: THE TRUTH ABOUT JESUS   Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:42 pm

THE TRUTH ABOUT
JESUS



by

Dr. Maneh Al-Johani

Quotations from the Holy Qur’an

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

MARY

GLAD TIDINGS AND JESUS'S BIRTH

NOT THE SON OF GOD

JESUS'S MISSION

JESUS RAISED TO HEAVEN

POINTS TO BE CONSIDERED

THE POPE CONTRADICTS THE BIBLE

RELIGION VS. SCIENCE

EVIDENCES FOR THE QUR'ANIC ACCOUNT

REASONS HOLDING PEOPLE FROM ISLAM

ISLAM: THE NATURAL CALL

FURTHER READINGS ON ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY

A LETTER FROM AN ENGLISH MUSLIM

INTRODUCTION

WHY DO CHRISTIANS CLAIM THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD?



Quotations from the Holy Qur’an

· Say: 'O People of the Book, come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but God; that we associate not aught with Him; and do not some of us take others as Lords, apart from God. And if they turn their backs, say: 'Bear witness that we are Muslims’. (3:64)

· They say, ‘God taken to Him a son.' Glory be to Him. He is all-sufficient; to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth; you have no authority for this. Do you say concerning God what you do not know? (10:68)

· People of the Book! why do you disbelieve in God's signs, which you yourselves witness? (3:70)

· People of the Book! why do you confound the truth with falsehood and conceal the truth knowingly? (3:71)

Quotations from Hadith:

· Abu Hurairah reported Allah's Messenger (PBUH) as saying, "I am the nearest of kin to Jesus, son of Mary, in this world and the next. The prophets are brothers, sons of one father by co-wives. Their mothers are different but their religion is one. There has been no prophet between us". (Bukhari and Muslim).

· Abu Hurairah reported Allah's Messenger (PBUH) as saying," By Him in whose hand my soul is, the son of Mary will soon descend among you as a just judge. He will break crosses, kill swine and abolish the jizya (a tax payable by a community which accepts the protection of a Muslim ruler but whose members do not embrace Islam), and wealth will pour forth to such an extent that no one will accept it, and one sajda (the position in Muslim’s prayer where the forehead is placed on the ground), will be better than the world and what it contains". (Bukahri and Muslim).



PREFACE

The controversy about the personality of Jesus Christ is the major difference between Islam and Christianity. This difference keeps the followers of the two religions apart. Muslims look at Jesus Christ as a great Prophet of God and love and respect him as much as they love and respect Abraham, Moses and Muhammad. Christians on the other hand consider Jesus as God or son of God, a concept that Muslims cannot accept. Islam teaches that Jesus never made such a claim for himself. As a matter of fact all the cardinal doctrines of Christianity that are rejected by Islam center around the personality of Jesus. Specifically these are:

1. The Trinity

2. The Divinity of Jesus

3. The Divine Sonship of Christ

4. Original Sin, and

5. Atonement.

It is clear that all these dogmas are the result of over-exhalting Jesus Christ above what God wants him to be. These differences focusing on the personality of Jesus have overshadowed the many similarities between Christianity and Islam. Some examples are the moral system and the emphasis on human principles. They have even over shadowed the beliefs that Muslims associate with Jesus Christ such as the Virgin Birth of Jesus, being able to speak in the cradle, performing miracles, and the second coming of Jesus Christ.

The following two articles aim at presenting a true picture of Jesus in Islam and explaining why the Christians deviated from his original teachings. The first article also indicates that many scholars and thinkers, who are still within the fold of Christianity, are gradually coming to agree with the Islamic points of view about Jesus, in many cases without realizing it. This corresponds to my conviction that the more scientific and biblical studies advance, the more they will agree with Islam. In other words, the Islamic truth is more evident with the passage of time. God in the Holy Quran hints to this in the following verse:

We shall show them our signs in the horizons and in themselves, till it is clear to them that it is the truth. (41:53)

M.J.



INTRODUCTION

The Islamic view of Jesus lies between two extremes. The Jews, who rejected Jesus as a Prophet of God, called him an impostor. The Christians on the other hand, consider him to be the son of God and worship him as such. Islam considers Jesus as one of the great Prophets of God and respects him as much as Abraham, Moses and Muhammad. This is in conformity with the Islamic point of view of the oneness of God, the oneness of Divine guidance, and the complimentary role of the subsequent messages of God’s messengers. The essence of Islam, which is the willing submission to the will of God, was revealed to Adam who passed it on to his children. All following revelations to Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and finally Muhammad were in conformity with that message in addition to some elaboration to define the relation between Man and God, man and man, man and his environment, and to live according to God’s instructions. Thus, any contradiction among revealed religions is viewed by Islam as a man-made element introduced into these religions. The position of Jesus in the three major religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, should not be an exception.

Although the Qur’an does not present a detailed life-account of Jesus, it highlights the important aspects of his birth, his mission, his ascension to heaven and passes judgements on the Christian beliefs concerning him.



MARY

The Qur'anic account of Jesus starts with the conception of his mother, Mary. The wife of Imran, Mary’s mother, vowed to dedicate her child to the service of God in the temple. Zacharia, who took charge of Mary, used to find food with Mary. When he asked her how she got it she answered that it was from God. The Quranic verses read:

When the wife of Imran said, 'Lord, I have vowed to you, in dedication, what is within my womb. Please accept it from me. you are the Hearer and knower'. And when she gave birth to her she said, 'Lord, I have given birth to her, a female... And I have named her Mary end commend her to you with her seed, to protect them from the accursed Satan.' Her Lord received the child with gracious favor, and by His goodness she grew up comely, Zacheria taking charge of her. Whenever Zacharia went to her in the Sanctuery, he found her provisioned. 'Mary', he said, 'how comes this to you? ''From God', she answered. Truly God provisions for whomsoever He will without reckoning. (3:95-7)



GLAD TIDINGS AND JESUS'S BIRTH

When Mary became a woman, the Holy Spirit (the Archangel Gabriel) appeared to her as a man bringing her the news of a son. We read the following dialogue in the Qur'an between Mary and the angels:

When the angels said, 'Mary. God gives you good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah Jesus, son of Mary; high honored shall he be in this world and the next, near stationed to God. He shall speak to men in the cradle, and of age, and righteous she shall be.' 'Lord', said Mary, 'how shall I have a son seeing no mortal has touched me? 'Even so' he said, 'God creates what He will.' When He decrees a thing He does but say to it, "Be", and it is.' (3:45-7)

Mary conceived the child miraculously and retired to a distant place where she awaited her delivery. The Qur'an in a chapter entitled 'Mary’ tells us how Mary felt and what the Jews told her when she brought the child home:

She conceived him and withdrew with him to a distant place. And the birth pangs surprised her by the trunk of the palm-tree. She said, 'would I had died before this. and become a thing forgotten.' The one from below her called to her, 'Do not grieve; see, your Lord has set below you a rivulet. Shake also toward you the palm trunk. and there shall come tumbling upon you dates fresh and ripe. Eat therefore, and drink, and be comforted; and if you should see any mortal, say. "I have vowed to the All-Merciful a fast, and today I will not speak to any man." Then she brought the child to her folk carrying him; and they said, ‘Mary, you have surely committed a monstrous thing. Sister of Aaron, your father was not a wicked man, nor was your mother a woman unchaste.' Mary pointed to the child. but they said, 'How shall we speak to one who is still in the cradle, a little child?' He said, 'Lo, I am God's servant; God has given me the Book and made me a Prophet. Blessed he has made me, wherever I may be; and he has enjoined me to pray. and to give the alms, so long as I live, and likewise to cherish my mother; he has not made me arrogant or wicked. Peace be upon me, the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I am raised up alive.' (19:22-23)



NOT THE SON OF GOD

In the same chapter, following the above quotation, God assured Muhammad and the whole world that what was mentioned above is the truth about Jesus although the Christians might not believe it. Jesus is not the son of God. He was, obviously enough, the son of Mary. The verses continue:

That is Jesus, son of Mary, in word of truth, concerning which they are doubting. It is not for God to take a son unto Him. Glory be to Him! When He decrees a thing. He but says to it "Be". and it is. (19:34-5)

After this strong statement about the nature of Jesus, God directed Muhammad to call the Christians to a fair deal: to worship the one God:

Surely God is my Lord, and your Lord, so serve Him. This is the straight path. (19:38).

The rejection of the idea of God having a son is reported later in the same chapter with even stronger words:

And they say, 'The All-merciful has taken unto Himself a son.' You have indeed advanced something hideous. The heavens are well nigh rent of it and the earth split asunder, and the mountains well nigh fall down crashing for that they have attributed to the All-merciful a son; and it behooves not the All-merciful to take a son. None is there in the heavens and earth but he comes to the All-merciful as a servant. (19:88-93)

The Qur’an recognizes the fact that Jesus had no human father but this does not make him the son of God or God Himself. By this criterion Adam would have been more entitled to be the son of God because he had neither a father nor a mother. So the Qur'an draws attention to the miraculous creation of both in the following verse:

Truly the likeness of Jesus, in God's sight, is as Adam's likeness; He created him of dust. then said He unto him, "Be", and he was. (3:59)

The Qur'an rejects the concept of the Trinity as strongly as it rejects the Sonship of Jesus. This is because God is One. This is the essence of all monotheistic revelations. Three, by reason and by simple arithmetic, are not one. The Qur'an addresses the Christians in the following verses in the chapter entitled "Women".

People of the Book, go not beyond the bounds in your religion, and say not as to God but the Truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His Word that He committed to Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in God and His Messengers, and say not, 'Three'. Refrain. better is it for you. God is only One God. Glory be to Him — that He should have a son! To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth, God suffices for a guardian.

The Messiah will not disdain to be a servant of God, neither the angels who are close to Him. Whosoever disdains to serve Him and waxes proud. He will assuredly muster them to Him, all of them.

As for the believers, who do deeds of righteousness, He will pay them their rewards in full, and He will give them more, of His bounty; as for them who disdain and wax proud, them He will punish with a severe punishment, and they shall not find for them, apart from God, a friend or helper. (4:171-3)

The verses continue to draw the attention of people, all people, to the proof which Muhammad brought. God knows that people frequently inherit certain ideas and beliefs which include, among other things, the mistakes and interpretations of previous generations. They have no way of discovering such mistakes for themselves. Thus God presents the Qur’an as a proof to such people. He says:

O men, a manifest proof has now come to you from your Lord; we have sent down to you a clear light. As for those who believe in God, and hold fast to Him, He will surely admit them to mercy from Him, and bounty, and will guide them to Him on a straight path. (4:173-5)

The denial of Jesus' divinity (and for that matter Mary's divinity) is presented in the Qur’an as a topic of dialogue at the Day of Judgement between God Almighty and Jesus. All the messengers and the nations will be gathered in front of God and He will ask the messengers how they were received by their peoples and what they said to them. Among those who are going to be questioned is Jesus:

And when God said, 'O Jesus son of Mary, did you say unto men, "Take me and my mother as gods. apart from God?” He said, 'To you be glory! It is not mine to say what I have no right to. If I indeed said it, you knew it, knowing what is within my soul, and I do not know what is within your soul. you know the things unseen. I only said to them what you did command me: "serve God, my Lord and your Lord." And I was a witness over them, while I remained among them; but when you did take me to yourself, you were yourself the watcher over them; you are the witness of everything. If you punish them, they are your servants, if you forgive them, you are the Almighty, the All-wise.' God said, ‘This is the day the truthful shall be profited by their truthfulness. For them await gardens underneath which rivers flow therein dwelling forever, God being well-pleased with them end they well-pleased with Him; That is the mighty triumph'.



JESUS'S MISSION

Now one might ask: If the Qur'an denies the Trinity and the Sonship of Jesus, what was the real mission of Jesus according to the Qur'an?

Jesus was a link in a long chain of prophets and messengers sent by God to various societies and nations whenever they needed guidance or deviated from the teachings of God. Jesus was especially prepared by God to be sent to the Jews who had deviated from the teachings of Moses and other Messengers. As he was miraculously supported by God in conception, birth and childhood, he was also supported by numerous miracles to prove that he was a messenger from God. However, the majority of the Jews rejected his ministry. The Qur'an tells us about Jesus' mission in the following verses which are a continuation of the verses quoted earlier in which the glad tiding was brought to Mary:

And He will teach him the Book, the wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel and make him a Messenger to the children of Israel saying, “I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird; then I will breathe into It, and it will be a bird, by the power of God. I will also heal the blind and the leper and bring to life the dead, by the power of God. I will inform you too of the things you eat, and what you treasure up in your houses. Surely in that is a sign for you if you are believers. Likewise I will confirm the truth of the Torah that is before me, and to make lawful to you certain things that before were forbidden unto you. I have come to you with a sign from your Lord; so fear God, and obey me. Surely God is my Lord and your Lord; so serve Him. This is a straight path". (3:45-51)

In another verse of the Qur’an, Jesus confirmed the validity of the Torah which was revealed to Moses and he also brought the glad tidings of the coming of a final messenger after him. This is clearly indicated in the following verse:

And when Jesus son of Mary said. 'children of Israel. I am indeed the Messenger to you, confirming the Torah that is before me, and giving good tidings of a Messenger who shall come after me, whose name shall be the praised one (note that this is translation of Ahmad which is Prophet Muhammad’s name). (61:6)

The messenger of whom Jesus gave glad tidings is referred to in both the old and new testaments of the Bible. The old testament contains several prophecies that apply only to the Prophet Muhammad. I quote only one of those which applies to none except Prophet Muhammad. This prophecy which was addressed to Moses said that God will send among the 'brethren' of the Israelites, a prophet like Moses who will be a founder, a leader, and an exemplar of a community of believers. We read this in the following verses of Deut. Ch. 18:

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not give heed to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. (Deut. 18:18-20)

Any one who is familiar with Prophet Muhammad's life, can easily see that no one fits the above description better than Prophet Muhammad. It was Prophet Muhammad, not Jesus, who like Moses was born from ordinary parents, got married, founded a faithful community, established a great law and died a natural death.

Careful study of the New Testament shows that this same prophet is referred to by Jesus in John 14:16,17:

And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth.

Later in John specific description of this Spirit of Truth and his role is given as we read in John 16:13,14.:

When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify Me...

The terms of the prophecy do not warrant the conclusion usually attributed to this prophecy, namely that it refers to the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost explanation is excluded by a previous verse in John which reads:

Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantages that I go away, for if I do not go away, the counselor will not come to you.

It is clear from the Bible that the Holy Ghost used to visit men before and during the life-time of Jesus. John was filled with the Holy Ghost before he was born and Jesus himself received the Holy Ghost in the shape of a dove.

The characteristics of this counselor, as can be derived from the prophecy,

are the following:

1. He will not come until Jesus leaves.

2. He will stay forever, with the believers.

3. He will glorify Jesus.

4. He will speak what he hears from God.

These characteristics are applicable only to Prophet Muhammad, as the

following brief remarks show:

Prophet Muhammad was the only messenger that came after Jesus. There
was a period of six centuries between them. Jesus' mission was limited to
the "lost sheep of the children of Israel”, but Muhammad's was a universal message. This explains the second characteristic.
Only Prophet Muhammad's message was intended by God to be a universal and everlasting message. This agrees with the statement that the counselor will stay forever with the faithful.
No other prophet glorified Jesus as much as Prophet Muhammad did. The Jews called him an impostor and accused his mother of immorality. They tried to crucify him. Prophet Muhammad considered Jesus as great Prophet and the “Word of God". The Qur'an attributed to him miracles that are not mentioned in the Bible. Mary is considered the most chaste woman and the best of all women in paradise. Thus did Muhammad really glorify Jesus.
The fourth characteristic also applies neatly to Prophet Muhammad. The Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. When the angel finished reciting the Qur’an, Prophet Muhammad used to convey verbatim to his companions what he heard from the angel without adding, changing or forgetting anything. The Qur'an also describes Prophet Muhammad saying “He does not speak out of his own fancy. He utters what is revealed to him." (53:4,5). If we compare this with, "He will not speak on his own authority", we see the striking similarity between the characteristics of the counselor and those of Prophet Muhammad. These and other prophecies in the old and new testaments predict in unequivocal terms the advent of Prophet Muhammad who is rejected by the Jews and Christians on the basis of misunderstanding and bias rather than on the basis of careful study of the Bible, the Qur'an and modern findings in the field of comparative religion.



JESUS RAISED TO HEAVEN

It is a sad fact of history that not many follow "the straight path", to which people were called by Jesus. He was followed by a few disciples who were inspired by God to support him. Not only that, but the non-believers plotted (as they did to Muhammad six centuries later) to kill Jesus, but God had a better plan for him and his followers as the Qur'an tells us in the following verses:

And when Jesus perceived their unbelief, he said, 'who will be my helpers in the cause of God? The Apostles said, 'we will be helpers of God.' We believe in God; be witness of our submission. Lord, we believe in that you have sent down, and we follow the Messenger. Inscribe us therefore with those who bear witness.' And they devised, and God devised, and God is the best of devisers. When God said, 'Jesus, I will take you to me and will raise you to Me, and I will purify you of those who do not believe. I will set your followers above the unbelievers till the Resurrection Day. Then unto Me shall you return, and I will decide between you, as to what you were at variance on. As for the unbelievers, I will punish them with a terrible punishment in this world and the next; they shall have no helpers.' (3:52-6)

As the above verses indicate, Jesus was raised to heaven before he died.

This means that according to the Qur'an he was not crucified. It was the plan of

the enemies of Jesus to put him to death on the cross, but God saved him and

somebody else was crucified. This plot and the false accusation of Mary are

considered by the Qur'an to be some of the sins of the non-believing Jews. All

this is clear in the following quotation:

And for their unbelief, and their uttering against Mary a mighty calumny, and for their saying, ‘We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God'... yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them. Those who are at variance concerning him surely are in doubt regarding him, they have no knowledge of him, except the following of surmise; and they did not slay him of certainty... no indeed; God raised him up to Him; God is Almighty, All-wise. There is not one of the people of the Book but will assuredly believe in him before his death, and on the Resurrection Day he will be a witness against them. (4:156-9).

Who was the person crucified instead of Jesus? The Qur'an does not elaborate on this point nor does it give any answer to this question. The interpreters of the Qur'an have suggested a few names. But all these are individual guesses not supported by the Qur'an or the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.

This means that Jesus will come back before the Day of Judgement. Again the Second Coming is not clearly mentioned in the Qur'an. However, the explain of the Qur'an understood the last verse of the above quotation: there is not one of the people of the Book but will assuredly believe in him before his death, and on the Resurrection Day he will be a witness against them, to mean that Jesus will come back and all the Christians and the Jews will believe in him before he dies. This understanding is supported by authentic sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.



POINTS TO BE CONSIDERED

After reading this presentation a believing Christian might say "This is what the Muslims, whom we always considered as heathens or infidels, say about Jesus." But the point of view which the Qur'an presents deserves serious consideration, to say the least, by those who are really concerned about God, faith and even Christianity itself for the following reasons:

The Qur’an is the last version of God’s revelation and what it says is the ultimate truth. This might not mean much for those who do not believe in the Qur'an as such. However, the history of the Qur'an, modern textual criticism and scientific research of the content of this scripture leave no doubt about the truth it contains. The frequently made statements that the Qur'an is the word of Muhammad who copied his information from Jewish and Christian sources is made by people who do not know the history of the world, the Qur'an or Muhammad. The first Arabic translation of the Bible appeared two centuries after Muhammad's mission. If we add to this Muhammad's illiteracy and the scarcity of religious books in any language outside churches and temples in the sixth century we can understand the absurdity of this allegation.
The oneness and universality of God's message requires that people accept all the messengers of God. Rejecting one of them amounts to rejecting them all. The Jews reject Jesus's mission and Muhammad's mission; the Christians reject Muhammad's mission; whereas the Muslims accept them all, but reject incorrect historical interpretations and human elements in these missions.
Because of the Qur'an, Muslims love and respect Jesus as they love and respect the Prophet Muhammad. Moreover, the Qur'an reports some of Jesus's miracles which are not reported in the present gospel. For example, the Qur’an tells that Jesus spoke in the cradle and was able to tell people what they ate or treasured in their houses, to mention just a few.
It is common knowledge that the divinity of Jesus was introduced by Saint Paul and his followers and was established on the dead bodies of millions of Christians through history which evoked the Castillo's well-known remark "To burn a man is not to prove a doctrine."
The choice of the present four gospels was imposed in the conference of Nicea 325 C.E. under the auspices of the pagan Emperor Constantine for political purposes. Literally, hundreds of gospels and religious writings were considered apocrypha, i.e. books of doubtful authenticity. Some of those books were written by Jesus's disciples. If they were not more authentic than the four gospels they were of equal authenticity. Some of them still are available such as the Gospel of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas which agree with the Qur’an.
The Unitarian concept and the humanness of Jesus is not only held by Muslims but also by Jews and by some early groups of Christianity such as the Ebionites, the Cerinthians, the Basilidians, the Capocratians and the Hypisistarians to name several early sects. The Arians, Paulicians and Goths also accepted Jesus as a prophet of God. Even in the modern age there are churches in Asia, in Africa, the Unitarian church, and Jehova Witnesses who do not worship Jesus as God.
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