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In Islam, Jesus (Arabic: عيسى‎ `Īsā) is considered a Messenger of God who had been sent to guide the Children of Israel (banī isrā'īl) with a new scripture, the Injīl (gospel). The Qur'an, believed by Muslims to be God's final revelation, mentions Jesus 25 times. It states that Jesus was born to Mary (Arabic: Maryam) as the result of virginal conception, a miraculous event which occurred by the decree of God (Arabic: Allah). To aid him in his quest, Jesus was given the ability to perform miracles, all by the permission of God. According to Islamic texts, Jesus was neither killed nor crucified, but rather he was raised alive up to heaven. Islamic traditions narrate that he will return to Earth near the day of judgment to restore justice and defeat al-Masīḥ ad-Dajjāl (lit. "the false messiah", also known as the Antichrist).

Like all prophets in Islam, Jesus is considered to have been a Muslim, as he preached for people to adopt the straight path in submission to God's will. Islam rejects that Jesus was God incarnate or the son of God, stating that he was a mortal man who, like other prophets, had been divinely chosen to spread God's message. Islamic texts forbid the association of partners with God (shirk), emphasizing the notion of God's divine oneness (tawhīd). Numerous titles are given to Jesus in the Qur'an, such as al-Masīḥ ("the messiah; the anointed one" i.e. by means of blessings), although it does not correspond with the meaning accrued in Christian belief. Jesus is seen in Islam as a precursor to Muhammad, and is believed by Muslims to have foretold the latter's coming.

LifeEdit

BirthEdit

Muslims believe in the virginal conception of Jesus by Mary (Arabic: Maryam), which is recounted throughout several passages in the Qur'an. According to the Qur'anic narrative, Mary had withdrawn into a temple and was visited by an angel an agent of divine action or communication commonly identified in Islam with the angel Gabriel (Arabic: Jibreel) but also with the created spirit from God by which he enlivened Adam.[1][2] He proclaimed to her the conception of Jesus. Mary was startled, for she had vowed her virginity to God and intended to retain it.[3] The angel reassured her, stating that such a conception was easy for God, who wished to make from her a sign (āya) to men and a mercy (raḥma) from Him.[4] The Qur'an describes the conception as the result of a creative decree made by God, similar to the creation of Adam. Some Qur'anic exegetes describe the event of conception as the angel's breathing into the cloak of Mary; which, upon putting it on, resulted in Jesus being conceived. Afterwards, Mary withdrew "to a distant place."[5]

After delivering Jesus, Mary was overtaken by the pangs of childbirth, resting near the trunk of a palm tree. Jesus then addressed her from the cradle, to instruct her to shake the tree and obtain its fruits and also to allay Mary's fears of a scandal surrounding his conception. She then showed the new-born to her family, and in silencing immodest rumors he declared: "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 alms, so long as I live and likewise to cherish my mother."[5][6]

Other references in hadith are:

“When any human being is born. Satan touches him at both sides of the body with his two fingers, except Jesus, the son of Mary, whom Satan tried to touch but failed, for he touched the placenta-cover instead.”[Bukhari 4:54:506]

According to al-Tabari, this was due to the prayer of Mary's mother: "I seek refuge in you for her and her progeny from the accursed Satan."[7]

MissionEdit

According to Islamic texts, Jesus was divinely chosen to preach the message of monotheism and submission to the will of God to the Children of Israel (banī isrā'īl). Muslims believe that God revealed to Jesus a new scripture, the Injīl (gospel), while also declaring the truth of the previous revelations - the Tawrat (Torah) and the Zabur (Psalms). It is unclear or unknown whether Jesus declared the truth of the other holy book of Islam at that time, the Suhuf Ibrahim. Written 700 years after Jesus' life on earth, the Qur'an speaks favorably of the Injīl, which it describes as a scripture that fills the hearts of its followers with meekness and pity. Muslims believe that Biblical manuscripts (both the Torah and the Injīl) have become distorted over time in text, interpretation, or both.[8]

The Qur'an states that Jesus was aided by a group of disciples (hawāriyūn) who believed in Jesus' message, and termed themselves the ansār ("helpers") of God. He was also strengthened by the same holy spirit that visited his mother Mary.[9] Jesus is also depicted in Islam as having been given miracles as evidence of his prophetic mission. Such miracles, all performed by the leave of God, include: speaking while still in the cradle;[10] breathing life into clay models of birds;[11] curing a leper and a life-long blind man;[12] raising the dead;[12] and requesting the descent of a table from heaven upon which was a feast, upon petition of his disciples.[13][5] Some Muslim accounts also relate that the Islamic prophet Yahya ibn Zakariyya (known otherwise as John the Baptist) traveled to Palestine and met Jesus at the Jordan river.[14]

AscensionEdit

Islamic texts categorically deny the crucifixion and death of Jesus at the hands of the Jews.[5] The Qur'an states that the Jews sought to kill Jesus, but they did not kill or crucify him, although a likeness of it was shown to them. Tradionalists believe that Jesus was not crucified but instead, he was raised alive unto the heavens. This raising is understood by them to mean bodily ascension, while some Qur'anic scholars, such as Muhammad Asad, while cross referencing the text consider it it mean being raised in honour:[15]

“That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of God";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:- Nay, God raised him up unto the himself; and God is Exalted in Power, Wise.”[Qur'an 4:157–158]

According to some Muslim traditions, Jesus was replaced by a double; others suggest it was Simon of Cyrene, or one of the disciples such as Judas Iscariot. Some others view it as Jesus surviving the crucification. A minority of commentaries of Ismaili or rationalist (falāsifa) leaning affirmed the crucifixion by arguing that Jesus' body had been crucified, but his spirit had ascended. However, this interpretation was generally rejected, and according to the Encyclopedia of Islam, there was unanimous agreement amongst the scholars in denying the crucifixion.[16] Modern commentators such as M. Hayek interpret the verse to say that the crucifixion "seemed thus to them" [i.e. the Jews].[5]

However, not all Muslims have the tradition based belief on the bodily ascension and second coming of Jesus. There are varying views about the finale of Jesus within Islamic scholarship. A number of contemporary scholars while citing the Qur'an maintain that according to it, Jesus was neither killed, nor crucified, and also did not physically ascend to heaven, but died a natural and peaceful death, evidence for which they support from the text of the Qur'an. Muhammad Asad translates 3:55 in the sense to convey a natural death. He also comments on the verse that there is no warrant in Qur-An for the belief that God has "taken up" Jesus bodily.[17]

Second comingEdit

Traditonal Muslims believe that Jesus will return at a time close to the end of the world. The Qur'anic verse they allude to as an indicator to Jesus' future return is as follows:[5]

“And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): therefore have no doubt about the (Hour), but follow ye Me: this is a Straight Way.”[Qur'an 43:61]

According to Islamic tradition which describes this graphically, Jesus' descent will be in the midst of wars fought by the Mahdi (lit. "the rightly guided one"), known in Islamic eschatology as the redeemer of Islam, against the Antichrist (al-Masīkh ad-Dajjāl, "false messiah") and his followers.[18] Jesus will descend at the point of a white arcade, east of Damascus, dressed in yellow robes - his head anointed. He will then join the Mahdi in his war against the Dajjal. Jesus, considered in Islam as a Muslim, will abide by the Islamic teachings. Eventually, Jesus will slay the Dajjal, and then everyone from the people of the book (ahl al-kitāb, referring to Jews and Christians) will believe in him. Thus, there will be one community, that of Islam.[19]

After the death of the Mahdi, Jesus will assume leadership. This is a time associated in Islamic narrative with universal peace and justice. Islamic texts also allude to the appearance of Ya'juj and Ma'juj (known also as Gog and Magog), ancient tribes which will disperse and cause disturbance on earth. God, in response to Jesus' prayers, will kill them by sending a type of worm in the napes of their necks.[18] Jesus' rule is said to be around forty years, after which he will die. Muslims will then perform the [funeral prayer for him and then bury him in the city of Medina in a grave left vacant beside Muhammad, Abu Bakr, and Umar (companions of Muhammad and the first and second Muslim caliphs respectively).[5]

Some Muslim scholars refute the traditional view about the second coming of Jesus, according to whom, the concept is not warranted within the Qur'anic text and is a latter day import from Christian literature. Indian Muslim scholar, Allama Mashriqi says that Jesus died a natural death[20] Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, renowned nineteenth century Muslim reformer, and founder of the Aligarh Muslim University, maintains that the belief on the second coming has its origins from Christian sources and not the Qur'an.[21] Whilst the bodily ascension of Jesus is more widespread amongst various traditional branches of Islamic theology, the belief in the natural death of Jesus, is not uniquely an Ahmadiyya concept, but a number of contemporary non Ahmadi Muslim scholars such as Allama Mashriqi, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Amin Ahsan Islahi, Javed Ahmed Ghamidi etc also maintain the same view.

In Islamic thought Edit

Jesus is described by various means in the Qur'an. The most common reference to Jesus occurs in the form of "Ibn Maryam" (son of Mary), sometimes preceded with another title. Jesus is also recognised as a prophet (nabī) and messenger (rasūl) of God. The terms wadjih ("worthy of esteem in this world and the next"), mubārak ("blessed", or "a source of benefit for others"), `abd-Allāh (servant of God) are all used in the Qur'an in reference to Jesus.[5]

Another title frequently mentioned is al-Masīḥ, which translates to "the Messiah". This does not correspond to the Christian concept of Messiah, as Islam regards all prophets, including Jesus, to be mortal and without any share in divinity. Muslim exegetes explain the use of the word masīh in the Qur'an as referring to Jesus' status as the one anointed by means of blessings and honors; or as the one who helped cure the sick, by anointing the eyes of the blind, for example.[5] Qur'anic verses also employ the term "kalimatullah" (meaning the "word of God") as a descriptor of Jesus, which is interpreted as a reference to the creating word of God, uttered at the moment of Jesus' conception;[22] or as recognition of Jesus' status as a messenger of God, speaking on God's behalf.[5]

TheologyEdit

Islamic texts regard Jesus as a righteous messenger of God, and reject him as being God or the begotten Son of God. This belief, according to Islam, is tantamount to shirk, or the association of partners with God; and thereby a rejection of God's divine oneness (tawhid).[23] A verse from the Qur'an reads:

“In blasphemy indeed are those that say that God is Christ the son of Mary. Say: "Who then hath the least power against God, if His will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary, his mother, and all every - one that is on the earth? For to God belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between. He createth what He pleaseth. For God hath power over all things.”[Qur'an 5:17][24]

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity is similarly rejected in Islam. Such notions of the divinity of Jesus, Muslims state, resulted from human interpolations of God's revelation.[23] Islam views Jesus as an ordinary human being who preached that salvation came through submission to God's will and worshiping God alone. Thus, Jesus is considered in Islam to have been a Muslim, as with all prophets in Islam.[25]

Precursor to MuhammadEdit

Muslims believe that Jesus was a precursor to Muhammad, and that he announced the latter's coming. They base this on a verse of the Qur'an wherein Jesus speaks of a messenger to appear after him named Ahmad.[26] Islam associates Ahmad with Muhammad, both words deriving from the h-m-d triconsonantal root which refers to praiseworthiness. Muslims also assert that evidence of Jesus' pronouncement is present in the New Testament, citing the mention of the Paraclete whose coming is foretold in the Gospel of John.[27] Muslim commentators claim that the original Greek word used was periklutos, meaning famed, illustrious, or praiseworthy - rendered in Arabic as Ahmad; and that this was substituted by Christians with parakletos.[5][28]

Ascetic literatureEdit

Jesus is widely venerated in Muslim ascetic and mystic literature, such as in Muslim mystic Al-Ghazzali's Ihya `ulum ad-Din ("The revival of the religious sciences"). These works lay stress upon Jesus' poverty, his preoccupation with worship, his detachment from worldly life and his miracles. Such depictions also include advice and sermons which are attributed to him. Later Sufic commentaries adapted material from Christian gospels which were consistent with their ascetic portrayal. Sufi philosopher Ibn Arabi described Jesus as "the seal of universal holiness" due to the quality of his faith and "because he holds in his hands the keys of living breath and because he is at present in a state of deprivation and journeying."[5]

Ahmadiyya viewsEdit

According to the early 20th century teachings of the Ahmadi Muslims, Jesus did not die on the cross, but after his apparent death and resurrection (or resuscitation from his tomb) he journeyed east to Kashmir to further teach the gospel until his natural death[29] (The general notion of Jesus in Kashmir is older than the Ahmadi tradition,[30] and is discussed at length by Grönbold[31] and Klatt[32]). Following Jesus' death of natural causes at an age of roughly 120 years,[33] Jesus was then laid to rest in Srinagar, and that the tomb of a sage known locally as Yuz Asaf (which in Kashmiri means "Leader of the Healed"[34]) is really the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth.[35]

Further, according to this movement, the second coming predicted in the Muslim tradition is not actually that of Jesus, but that of a person "similar to Jesus" (mathīl-i ʿIsā). According to Ahmadiyya doctrine, this person is Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the movement, and his teachings were representative of Jesus.[30] According to the Encyclopedia of Islam, Ahmadi Christological beliefs are one of the three primary characteristics that distinguish Ahmadi teachings from general Islamic ones, and that it had provoked a fatwa against the founder of the sect, "purporting that this doctrine disagreed with the Koran and therefore had to be looked upon as a heresy".[36]


References to Jesus in the Qur'anEdit

Meccan period

The widespread consensus is that the following verses were revealed in Mecca:[37]

Medinan period

The list of verse belonging revealed in Medina are as follows:[37]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. Griffith, Sidney H. "Holy Spirit". Encyclopaedia of the Quran
  2. See:
    • Qur'an 19:17. “She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent her our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects.”
    • "Isa", Encyclopedia of Islam.
  3. Qur'an 21:91. “And (remember) her who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her of Our spirit and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples.”
  4. Qur'an 19:19–22. “He said: "Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son"; She said: "How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me and I am not unchaste?"; He said: "So (it will be): Thy Lord saith, 'that is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us':It is a matter (so) decreed."; So she conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place.”
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named EoI-Isa
  6. Qur'an 19:30–31
  7. Mahmoud Ayoub (1992), p. 94
  8. See:
    • "Isa", Encyclopedia of Islam.
    • Fasching, deChant (2001) p. 241
    • Qur'an 5:45–49.
  9. See:
    • Qur'an 2:87, Qur'an 2:253, Qur'an 5:110, cf. Griffith, Sidney H. "Holy Spirit". Encyclopaedia of the Quran
    • Wherry, Sale (2000) p. 21
    • Qur'an 3:52. “When Jesus found Unbelief on their part He said: "Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the disciples: "We are Allah's helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims.”, ibid.
  10. Qur'an 19:30
  11. Qur'an 3:43
  12. 12.0 12.1 Qur'an 5:110
  13. Qur'an 5:111–114
  14. "Yahya b. Zakariyya", Encyclopedia of Islam.
  15. Neal Robinson, Crucifixion, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an
  16. The Encyclopedia of Islam further elaborates: "The denial, furthermore, is in perfect agreement with the logic of the Qur’an. The Biblical Prophets alluded to in it (e.g., Job, Moses, Joseph etc.) and the episodes relating to the history of the beginning of Islam demonstrate that it is “God's practice” (sunnat Allah ) to make faith triumph finally over the forces of evil and adversity. “So truly with hardship comes ease”, (XCIV, 5, 6). For Jesus to die on the cross would have meant the triumph of his executioners; but the Quran asserts that they undoubtedly failed: “Assuredly God will defend those who believe”; (XXII, 49). He confounds the plots of the enemies of Christ (III, 54)." (cf. `Isa, Encyclopedia of Islam)
  17. Commentary of 3:55 by Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur'an (Deluxe Edition), Dar al-Andalus (Gibraltar)
  18. 18.0 18.1 Sonn (2004) p. 209
  19. Sahih Muslim, kitabul Fitan : http://www.iiu.edu.my/deed/hadith/muslim/041_smt.html#021_b41.
  20. Tazkira, vol. i, footnote, pp.16-17
  21. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Tafsir ul Qur'an, vol. ii, p.48
  22. Qur'an 3:47. “She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?" He said: "Even so: Allah createth what He willeth: When He hath decreed a plan, He but saith to it, 'Be,' and it is!”, cf. Encyclopedia of Islam
  23. 23.0 23.1 See:
    • Esposito (2002) p. 32, 74;
    • Fasching, deChant (2001) p. 241
    • Markham and Ruparell (2001) p. 348
  24. cf. Esposito (2002) p. 32
  25. See:
    • Khalidi (2001) p. 75;
    • Fasching, deChant (2001) p. 241
  26. "And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: “O Children of Israel! I am the apostle of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad." But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, 'this is evident sorcery!'”[Qur'an 61:6]
  27. Gospel of John: 14:16, 14:26, 16:7
  28. Watt (1991) pp. 33–34
  29. Rice, Edward (1978). Eastern Definitions: A Short Encyclopedia of Religions of the Orient. New York. p. 7. ISBN 038508563X. .
  30. 30.0 30.1 Schäfer, Peter; Cohen, Mark R. (1998). Toward the Millennium: Messianic Expectations from the Bible to Waco. Leiden/Princeton: Brill/Princeton UP. p. 306. ISBN 90-04-11037-2. .
  31. Günter Grönbold, Jesus In Indien, München: Kösel 1985, ISBN 3466202701.
  32. Norbert Klatt, Lebte Jesus in Indien?, Göttingen: Wallstein 1988.
  33. Faruqi, Nisar Ahmed (1983). "The Promised Messiah". Ahmadiyyat in the Service of Islam. Lahore: Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat. p. 98. ISBN 0913321001. http://www.aaiil.org/text/books/others/naseerahmadfaruqui/ahmadiyyatserviceislam/promisedmessiah_pf.shtml. .
  34. http://www.tjresearch.info/legends.htm
  35. Houtsma, M. Th. (1913). "Ahmedia". in Houtsma, M. Th.; Arnold, T. W.; Basset, R.. Encyclopedia of Islam. 1. Leiden: Brill. p. 260. .
  36. Houtsma 1913, p. 260.
  37. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named EoQ


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