Jesus of the Holy Qur’ân

The Christian Jesus is not the Jesus (‘Isâ) of the Holy Qur’ân. According to the Gospels, Christian Jesus was born from a “virgin mother” as the “son of God”. His ministry started when he was about thirty years old; he began preaching in Galilee and gathered disciples. He started his final journey to Jerusalem after three years, when he was about thirty-three years old. Towards the end of his final week in Jerusalem, he had the “Last Supper” with his disciples, and the next day he was betrayed, arrested, tried, and then crucified. Three days after his “burial,” he was resurrected; he appeared off and on to his disciples over a forty-day period, after which he ascended to heaven. The Gospels have nothing to say about his life before the age of thirty or about his life forty days after his crucifixion, and they are confused about those three days after he was removed from the cross. As the Holy Qur’ân says: “Verily, those who differ therein [about Jesus death] are certainly in (a state of) confusion about it” (4:157).

مَّا الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ وَأُمُّهُ صِدِّيقَةٌ ۖ كَانَا يَأْكُلَانِ الطَّعَامَ ۗ انظُرْ كَيْفَ نُبَيِّنُ لَهُمُ الْآيَاتِ ثُمَّ انظُرْ أَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ

“The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a Messenger, all the Messengers have passed away before him, his mother was a highly truthful woman. They both used to eat food. See how We explain the arguments for their good, yet see, how they are turned away (from the truth)” (5:75).

Jesus came to demolish paganism. So says both the Church and the Holy Qur’ân. Therefore, his life history should be distinctly different from that of the deities of the ancient world and other pagan gods. However, the life history of Jesus as sketched by the Church is not different from the history of pagan gods, especially the history of Mithra (sometimes referred to as Mithras). Repetition of almost all distinctive features of Christ’s life with those of the sun god Mithra are too numerous to ignore (see chapters p. 211-227). These facts need thoughtful perusal and considered judgment. It should not be difficult for a critical mind and a heart free from prejudice to understand that Christian doctrines cannot safely be ascribed to divine origin.

What the Holy Qur’ân tells us about Jesus life history is indeed very different. In fact, the Qur’ân mentions mainly those events in the life of Jesus that differ greatly with those described in the Gospels. The Holy Qur’ân is not a book of history; the life events of Jesus and his mother are scattered throughout many chapters of the Holy Book, as befit the subject matter of the each of those chapters. If you carefully read all these verses and bring them together, you can easily sketch the life events of this great Prophet.

The name and title: His name and title, “Jesus, son of Mary,” was provided by Allâh, as you read, “When the angels said, O Mary! Allâh gives you good tidings through a (prophetic) word from Him (about the birth of a son) whose name is the Messiah [al-Masîh], Jesus, son of Mary [‘Isâ ibn Maryam]” (3:45). Being given this name and title by Allâh must have had a deep significance; the meanings of the names contain prophecies about Jesus life. Masîh is derived from masaha, which means not only “to wipe away” or “to anoint” but also “to set forth on a survey through the land.” Imâm Ibn al-Fadzal Muhammad Râzî suggested that Jesus was called al-Masîh because he was to travel much. May be Jesus was called al-Masîh because he was supposed to “wipe away” (from masaha) the corruption in the Jewish Temple. In the name al-Masîh was a hidden prophecy given to Mary about Jesus traveling and his art of healing.

The history of Jesus in the Gospels is limited to about three years. What about the other years of his life? It looks obvious that Jesus was not present in his country of birth. He travelled to learn not only the Torah but also other sciences of “Wisdom,” as the Holy Qur’ân says: “And He will teach him the art of writing (and reading) and the Wisdom and the Torah and the Evangel” (3:48). Al-Masih is also translated as the “the anointed,” referring to Jesus as a healer. It is very possible that through his travels in other countries, Jesus learned the art of healing certain diseases that were not known to his people, as you read, “and by My leave you absolved the blind, the leprous” (5:110). The title “son of Mary,” on one hand, show Allâh’s appreciation and acceptance of Mary (see 3:37) and, on the other hand, negate the notion that Jesus was the son of God.