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The Truth About Jesus Page 3

by Dr. Maneh Hammad AI-Johani

World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia



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 Muhammed 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 disciples 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."

(Qur'an 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 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.

(Qur'an 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 Muhammed.

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 explanators 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 Muhammed.


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:

  1. 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 Muhammed 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 Muhammed. The first Arabic translation of the Bible appeared two centuries after Muhammed's mission. If we add to this Muhammed'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.

  2. 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' mission and Muhammed's mission; the Christians reject Muhammed's mission; whereas the Muslims accept them all, but reject incorrect historical interpretations and human elements in these missions.

  3. Because of the Qur'an, Muslims love and respect Jesus as they love and respect the Prophet Muhammed. Moreover, the Qur'an reports some of Jesus' 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.

  4. 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 Ebonite's, the Corinthians, 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 Jehovah Witnesses who do not worship Jesus as God.

  5. The problem with present Christianity is the personality of Jesus which is completely misunderstood. Jesus' nature, mission and claimed death and resurrection, are all challenged by studies in the field. One of those is a book entitled The Myth of God Incarnate which appeared 1977, (edited by John Hick) and written by seven theologian scholars in England. Their conclusion is that Jesus was "a man approved by God, for special role within the divine purpose, and the later conception of him as God incarnate is a mythological or poetic way of expressing his significance for us."

  6. "The Lord our God is one Lord"

    (Math. 12:29)

    and many others.

  7. It is worth noting that Jesus never claims divinity even in the present text of the Bible. The expression "Son of God" cannot be said to have come from Jesus himself. Hasting in The Dictionary of the Bible says "Whether Jesus used it of himself is doubtful." In my reading of the Bible, I found only two instances in John Chapter 5 and 11 where Jesus uses "son of God" to refer to himself. Other instances were used by others. Even those are very limited. However, even if the title "son of God" was used by Jesus himself one should remember the following points:

    a. The New Testament Greek words used for "son" are pias and paida, which means 'servant' or 'son in the sense of servant, are translated son in reference to Jesus and servant in reference to others in some translations of the Bible (Mufassir, P. 15).

    b. The title "son of man" which is a self-designation of Jesus and occurs eighty one (81) times in the gospels is the clearest description and emphasis by Jesus on his humanity. The classical interpretation given to this title is that it is used to emphasise the human side of Jesus. Now the question which suggests itself is: Do contemporary Christians emphasise this aspect of Jesus?

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End Notes

*Back   Muslims use the phrase "peace be upon him" or the abbreviation (pbuh) whenever any prophet's name is mentioned; this is an expression of respect and reverence for him.   

#    The Christian Church covers a wide range of denominations and the views ascribed broadly to Christians in this article do not necessarily apply, in whole or in part, to all Christians.Webmaster


This page last updated 10/11/2009 12:39 p.m.