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.
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 According to the Qur'anic narrative, Mary had withdrawn into a temple and was visited by an angel an agent of divine action or communication commonly identified in Islam with the angel Gabriel (Arabic: Jibreel) but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. He proclaimed to her the conception of Jesus. Mary was startled, for she had vowed her virginity to God and intended to retain it. 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. 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."
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."
Other references in hadith are:
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.
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. 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; breathing life into clay models of birds; curing a leper and a life-long blind man; raising the dead; and requesting the descent of a table from heaven upon which was a feast, upon petition of his disciples. 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.
Islamic texts categorically deny the crucifixion and death of Jesus at the hands of the Jews. 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:
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. Modern commentators such as M. Hayek interpret the verse to say that the crucifixion "seemed thus to them" [i.e. the Jews].
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.
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:
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. 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.
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. 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).
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 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. 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.
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. 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; or as recognition of Jesus' status as a messenger of God, speaking on God's behalf.
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). A verse from the Qur'an reads:
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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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."
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 (The general notion of Jesus in Kashmir is older than the Ahmadi tradition, and is discussed at length by Grönbold and Klatt). Following Jesus' death of natural causes at an age of roughly 120 years, 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") is really the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth.
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. 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".
References to Jesus in the Qur'anEdit
The widespread consensus is that the following verses were revealed in Mecca:
The list of verse belonging revealed in Medina are as follows: