Note: This article looks at Jesus from the Islamic perspective. Therefore, and for the sake of arguments, Allah will be considered as God, which is believed by Muslims, although not shared by non-Muslims.
The Islamic perception of Jesus is clear to Muslims of all sects, in fact it is one of the few areas where all Muslims are in agreement. In summary, Islam teaches that Jesus was a prophet with a status second only to that of Mohammed, just like Moses and Abraham. He had different conception and birth from the rest of humans in the sense he had a mother but no father. Allah blessed Jesus with some special miracles, just like he did with the other prophets. The Jews tried to kill Jesus but they didn’t, they killed another person who looked like him. Jesus did not die and was taken to heaven, where he is living today.
You get a feeling, as you read the Quran, that Allah takes the above details very seriously. Any disagreement with the Quranic story is considered ‘kufr’ and is not tolerated by Allah or Muslims.
Therefore, from the Islamic standpoint:
In addition to these two important differences, Muslims also believe that Jesus has a role to play towards the end of time when he returns to earth and destroys all the crosses and bans pork. Only then the world becomes a better place. This Islamic belief is not mentioned in the Quran but is supported by many authentic hadiths.
A Muslim’s analysis
As a young Muslim, I felt lucky that I did not exist at the time of Jesus. I dreaded the likelihood of committing all the Islamic sins related to his birth, nature, life and death. I secretly believed that the Islamic story of Jesus, as described in the Quran, was nothing less than a very clever ploy that worked well on the Christians and would work on all humans of all levels of intelligence.
Birth and Life
The Quran associates Jesus with so many unusual features (1). He was born without a father, which was unprecedented in its time, and would boggle the minds of the scientific profession today. As a newborn, Jesus was able to speak soon after his birth to identify himself and to defend the integrity of his mother, something no other human could do before or after him. As an adult, Jesus was able to cure sick people in an instant and without the use of any medications whatsoever, which would be mind boggling to the medical profession even today. But Jesus broke his own record by his ability to raise the dead and bring them back to life, which is well known to all to be a trait, or a characteristic, associated only with God(s). There is no doubt that the qualities attributed to Jesus would fit a god, not a man. Two thousand years ago, people associated these properties with gods, and they still do today.
The Quran asserts that:
What would normal humans conclude from the above? I think the natural conclusion would be that Jesus was God.
So why blaming the Christians for reaching a sensible conclusion?
And consider the way Jesus was crucified, or appeared to have been crucified. Allah deliberately created a man who looked exactly like Jesus. The Quran asserts that it was that look-alike man who was caught and killed on the cross(2). The Christians believed their eyes when they saw a man, who looked exactly like Jesus, being crucified. What did Allah expect them to do in those circumstances? Fingerprint analysis? DNA testing?
Why blaming the Christians for believing what they can see with their eyes? The look-alike man was never seen in town before, so it was only common sense to assume that he was Jesus.
I do not see the Christians committed any mistakes at all, I would have done the same. Allah deliberately deceived them by such a well planned trick. The trick worked on them so well, just as planned, so why punish them?
Was Jesus Human?
According to the Quran, he wasn’t like any human. The Quran says clearly that Jesus had a human mother but kept the details about his father discretely tucked away. This reminds us with the cowardly behavior of Arab men when they have children outside marriage. Instead of coming forward to take their responsibilities, they turn their backs and leave it all to the mothers.
Let us read what the Quran says about Jesus’ father:
(Note: The word vagina is the proper translation for the Arabic word “farjaha” used by the Quran. Most translations use the word chastity, which I call deceptive translation)
In other verses ( 3,4) the Quran tells us that Mary needed some privacy, so she went to a distant and secluded place to the East ( why the East? please see note 5) to be away from her people. A handsome man suddenly appeared in front of her. She must have been scared to death as she did all she could to be on her own, still that man appeared from nowhere. Mary was a virgin and was never with a man before. That man was Gabriel who explained to her that he was there to make her pregnant, which he did! It turned out that, unlike humans, Angels do things differently. Gabriel actually used his mouth and breathed some ‘special air’ containing “something of Allah’s seeds or rooh” (Arabic for soul), into Mary’s private part. Indeed, Mary became pregnant! The verse makes it clear that the ‘air’, which Gabriel breathed into Mary, carried something of Allah’s (not the angel’s) own rooh (soul).
We can only conclude that Jesus’ chromosomes came partly from Mary and partly from that air containing some of Allah’s soul. The Quranic description doesn’t leave much room for speculations; Jesus’ father was God, which is not very different from what the Christians’ believe.
Muslim scholars reject this conclusion on the basis that the Quran, in other verses, categorically denies that Allah had children. The basis of the Quranic logic is how can He have a son if he didn’t have a wife? (6). Well, the Muslim scholars have the choice to accept that Jesus is the son of God or accept that the Quran has contradictions and not divine.
It does look that the Christians had the right to get wrong, the Muslims would have done exactly the same, even Einstein would. I personally believe Allah should be proud that his ploy worked well, it would have been such an embarrassment if it didn’t. It doesn’t make sense, and it doesn’t look fair that Allah punishes the Christians because his ploy worked on them. Also, it is not fair that He withheld the ‘true answers’ for six hundreds years before revealing them, not to the Christians, but to the Muslims.
After reciting a part of the Quran, it is customary for Muslims to say: “Sadaka Allahu al Azeem”, meaning: Allah, the great, told the truth.
When I think of the Quranic story about Jesus, I cannot help but remember that verse in Surat Al Imran where Allah described himself as the best of deceivers, a claim he repeated in Surat Al Anfal:
Indeed, Allah, the great, told the truth!
1) Q. 5:110 “when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, remember My favor upon you and upon your mother when I supported you with the Pure Spirit and you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and when I taught you writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and when you designed from clay like the form of a bird with My permission, then you breathed into it, and it became a bird with My permission; and you healed the blind and the leper with My permission; and when you brought forth the dead with My permission; and when I restrained the Children of Israel from you when you came to them with clear proofs and those who disbelieved among them said, ‘This is not but obvious magic’.”
2) Q. 4:157: And their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah.” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.
3) Q. 19:17: And she took, in seclusion from them, a screen. Then We sent to her Our Angel, and he represented himself to her as a well-proportioned man.
4) Q. 19:16: “And mention, [O Muhammad], in the Book [the story of] Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place toward the east.”
5) Sura Maryam, is one of the best rhymed chapters in the Quran, if not the best. It is certainly my favorite Sura. All verses from the beginning up to 74 have the same pleasant rhyme like the word shar-qy-ia. The rest of the chapter has a different, but equally good, rhyme. Of course, the Arabic word sharqyia (to the East) is irrelevant to the meaning of the verse because we do not know the place anyway. However, it is very important to keep the rhyme. The author did not want to spoil the rhyme for the sake of a logical perfection, so he inserted the word sharqyia at the end of the verse.
This is common in the Quran as well as Arbic poetry and Saja’. It is an acceptable ‘weakness’ in the last two but should not be acceptable in the first.
Of course, the Quran was not authored by a god because of the hundreds of reasons we explained in the various articles published on this site. The need to insert an irrelevant word at the end of the verse could be added to those reasons. A god would have done better.
It is more likely that the Quran had multiple authors over a long period of time. This is outside the scope of this article but the reader is encouraged to refer to Abul Kasem’s article on this topic.