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Al-Masīh ʿĪsā ben Mariam

Jesus the Messiah, son of Mary,
a summary according to Islām

Imam Ahmed Vālsan (rh)

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Jesus' mission consists according to the Quran mostly to confirm the earlier messages from God and to preach the Gospel.

The Islamic conception of Jesus is essentially different from that in Christianity. According to Islam, he is a major prophet; according to Christianity he is "the son of God" or "God himself". The differences can be summarized in four points:

1 - Jesus never claimed to be "god".
2 - He was not killed at the cross.
3 - Jesus annouced the mission of Muhammad ﷺ Allah's blessings and peace be with him.
4 - Jesus' return (jesu parousi) will happen within the framework of the Islamic religion.


I - Jesus' Name And Title
II - God, The Creator
III - Mary's Annunciation
IV - Jesus' Two Natures
V - Jesus The Messiah
VI - Jesus' Mission; Jesus And Muhammad
VII - Jesus And The Question Of Trinity
VIII - Jesus And The Question Of The Crucification
IX- Jesus And The Last Hour
X - Jesus' Return
XI - Jesus' Life And Death After His Return

I - Jesus' Name And Title

1 - His Name

In old-syrian [syriac]: Yeshū - in Hebrew: Yeshū'a - in Arabic with the Christians: Yasū'- in Arabic with the Muslims: Īsā.

2 - His Title:

Jesus is mentioned in the Quran in 15 chapters (suras):
1) 'abd Allāh; the servant of God, creature (in theology - 'ebed in the Old Testament, Jesaja 42,1; doulos in the New Testament, epistles to the Philipines 2, 7)
Jesus was only an 'abd, a creature:
(Quran, Sura 43, 59
Jesus's first word was to accept his status as "servant" and to confirm:
He said: -- 19, 30-36)

3 - Jesus, only a Messenger

The Quran states, that Jesus is a messenger (rasūl):
(Quran, Sura 5, 75)

4 - Jesus, the Word of God, verbum Dei (kalimat Allāh)

This notion can have four meanings:
- Jesus is the creative word of God, having become real, expressed at the Immaculate Conception (see Koran, 4-169, 19-30, 3-42).
Jesus, the announced Prophet in?? the word of God, received and preached by the earlier prophets.
- Jesus is God's word, because he speaks to the people in God's name, in order to guide them.
- Jesus is a word of God, because he represents glad tidings, ie. good news.

The same notion signifies everything created, too, because in reality everything is God's Word (kalimat Allāh) and because the creational process is in continuous change and all things in existence are originated by the word "be" (kun) and because this word (kun) is the word of God.

5 - Jesus and the Spirit of God (rūh Allah)

In order to fulfill his function, Jesus is strengthened by the holy Spirit.
First at his birth:

When Allah will say:

{ إِذْ قَالَ اللَّهُ يَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ اذْكُرْ نِعْمَتِي عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَتِكَ إِذْ أَيَّدتُّكَ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ تُكَلِّمُ النَّاسَ فِي الْمَهْدِ وَكَهْلًا }

{ Then will Allah say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Recount My favour to thee and to thy mother. Behold! I strengthened thee with the holy spirit and you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity…} (Quran, Sura 5, verse 110)

And later when Jesus grew up:
{ We gave Jesus, son of Mary, clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty) and We supported him with the Pure Spirit… } (Quran, Sura 2, verse 253)

'Īsā (Jesus) is himself a fortifying spirit for the believers:
{ Thou wilt not find folk who believe in Allah and the Last Day loving those who oppose Allah and His messenger, even though they be their fathers or their sons or their brethren or their clan. As for such, He hath written faith upon their hearts and hath strengthened them with a Spirit from Him, and He will bring them into Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide. } (Quran, Sura 58, verse 22)

II - God the Creator

Creation is of four kinds:

1- A creation by Allah's hands: Adam, peace upon him
2 - A creation by Adam: Eva - peace upon her
3 - A creation by Adam and Eva: their progenity
4 - A creation without father: Jesus - peace upon him
The creation of Jesus likens - according to the Quran, the creation of Adam:
{ The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be". And he was. } (Quran, Sura 3, verse 59)

III - Mary's Annunciation And The Birth of Jesus

Mary is - according to the Quran - the most perfect woman, chosen by God:

{ وَإِذْ قَالَتِ الْمَلَائِكَةُ يَا مَرْيَمُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَاكِ وَطَهَّرَكِ وَاصْطَفَاكِ عَلَىٰ نِسَاءِ الْعَالَمِينَ }

{ And [mention] when the angels said, "O Mary, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds. } (Quran, Sura 3, verse 42)

The announcement was enunciated when she had withdrawn to the temple and was visited there by the Spirit of God:
(Quran, Sura 19, verse 16-17)
She was however afraid and her immediate reaction was the following:
(Quran, Sura 19, verse 18)
But she was reassured by the angel who gave her the following information.
(Quran, Sura 19, verse 19)
Mary was however surprised and perplexed by such a reply and answered:
(Quran, Sura 19, verse 20)
The Angel comforted her and convinced her:
(Quran, Sura 19, verse 21)
[It was so decreed] that the creation of Jesus was to be unique, for Mary had consecrated her body and soul to the service of God, which means his creation could not occur in 'a normal way':
(Quran, Sura 19, verse 22)

The labour pains started and with them the fear of a scandal, but it was the child itself, which conforted its mother. She had vowed to God not to speak to anyone. When the people started to reproach her, she pointed (instead) to her child in the cradle, which not only defended its mother, but even announced its mission and its extraordinary qualities with which God had endowed him.
He said:
(Quran, Sura 19, verse 30-35)

A digression concerning the 'original sin': According to Islam there is no notion of original sin. Instead one finds in al-Bukharīs'- and Muslims hadith-collections, that Jesus and his mother were protected from the devil at their respective births. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ Allah's blessings and peace be with him - said: "All newborn, children of Adam, will be hit by Satan inciting them, except for Jesus and Mary, at each contact [with Satan] the child will start crying and lamenting."

IV - Jesus' Two Natures

Jesus personality is formed by two natures:
one is called lāhūt (divine nature) and signifies the living power in all things and creatures, the other one is nāsūt (human nature), signifying the foundation (lién théophanique), which is revived by the Spirit.

Therefore one can say that:

1 - Jesus could revive the dead (yuhyi al-mautā) by the Spirit, which was inspired into the Archangel Gabriel.
2 - He inherited an extraordinary humility from his mother. (al-taādū')
The origin of Jesus' different aspects depend on:
3 - He is the son of Mary on basis of his earthly form, ie. he is a man and a servant of God (`abd Allah).
4 - He is connected to Gabriel because of his apparent human form, ie. he is angel and consequently Spirit of God (rūh Allah).
5 - Jesus is connected to God through of his life-giving force, ie. he is the Word of God, verbum Dei (kalimat Allah).

Faced with these facts we can affirm that it could only have been Jesus, who could sum up those different aspects or character traits in one person.

V - Jesus, the Messiah

It is necessary to observe the differences of meaning of the notion "Messiah". In Christianity this notion was used over a long historic period;
whereas in Islam he is the Messiah - in a more restricted form - from the moment of Jesus birth, ie. Jesus is but a messenger in a long row of messengers, which is completed with Muhammad, peace upon both.

The Quran criticizes and objects to any teaching which attempts to present Jesus, the Messiah, as "Son of God".
{ The Jews call 'Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! }
(Quran Sura 9, verse 30)

The Quran also reproaches the Christians for alleging that their the scribes, their monks and the Messiah are lords next to God.
{ They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah , and [also] the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him. }
(Quran Sura 9, verse 31)

Consequently the Christian undertone connected to the notion of Messiah is removed by the teaching of the oneness and uniqueness of God.

Two Roots For The Word Masīh

Muslims think that there are two roots for the word masīh (Messiah).

1 - The meaning of massaha is to rub the hands with ointment, or to oint them, greasing them.

In the passiv form (masīh) Jesus is the Messiah because:

- he was anointed with blessings and honour (see Quran, 3-49)
- he was covered at his birth by one of Gabriel's wings and was so protected from the sting of Satan.
- he was ointed in Adam, as all human beings, but in a special way, in order to be brought into the womb of Mary.

In the active form (māsih) Jesus is the Messiah because:

- he ointed the eyes of the blind ones, in order to make them seeing (Quran Sura 3, verse 49)
- with his ointed hands he rubbed the sick,
- he used blessed oil for the ointments.

2 - The other root is sāha, meaning to travel or peregrinating (roaming).

Jesus is a role model for those who peregrinate (through the lands) for the will of God, he is the Imām of the ‘travellers' according to the mystics.

VI - Jesus' Mission, Jesus and Muhammad

Jesus' mission is according to the Quran consists mostly in confirming the earlier messages from God and to preach the Gospel.
{ And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah. } (Quran, Sura 5, verse 46)

Therefore the Christian are exhorted to follow their own scripture:
{ Let the People of the Gospel judge by that which Allah hath revealed therein. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are evil-livers. } (Quran, Sura 5, verse 47)

According to the Quran Jesus's message includes two additional important points: to confirm the Tora, and to announce the coming of Muhammad.
{ And when Isa son of Marium said: O children of Israel! surely I am the messenger of Allah to you, verifying that which is before me of the Taurat and giving the good news of an Messenger who will come after me, his name being Ahmad, but when he came to them with clear arguments they said: This is clear magic. } (Quran, Sura 61, verse 6)

Concerning the meaning of the name Ahmad, it has to be stated more precisely that Ahmad means "the most praised, most famous", which is the same as the Greek periklitós.

The New Testament (NT 16,7; 14,16; 14,26) mentions the mission of a Paraklet (in Greek parāklitos), which means "lawyer, cousellour, conforter).

The muslims' scholars accuse the Christians, to have replaced the first meaning with the second.

VII - Jesus and the Question of the Trinity

The Quran enunciates that Jesus is close to God:

{ Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah…} (Quran, Sura 3, verse 45)

What Jesus is concerned, he confirmed the oneness and uniqueness of God:

(Quran, Sura 3, verse 51)

In this context the quran appeals to be moderate and not to go to extremes in matters of religion:
(Quran, Sura 4, verse 171)

Therefore God calls upon the Christians not to hide the truth:
(Quran, Sura 5, verse 73)

There is in the Quran an explanation why one should not express oneself in this incorrect way:
(Quran, Sura 58, verse 7)

Concerning this quranic verse one can say, that had God been "the third of three", He would have been part of them and in the same way os those three.

On the other hand, the Quran does not claim that "three" is wrong, because - as some mystics explain - there is a temporal existence (al-hadīth) and the one that bestows it (al-muhdith) and there is the one receives it (al-muhdath). From this follows that the one who says "three" has not disbelieved or concealed the truth, instead he actually does this by saying: "God is the third of three". There is misbelief.

Had he said instead: 'three of two', he would have said the truth. One should remember what the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad ﷺ peace and blessings of Allah be with him - responded to the worried Abu Bakr, when both hid in the cave, in order to evade their persecutors, "What do you say of two, of which God is the third?" Such is the correct expression according to Islam.

VIII - Jesus And The Question Of The Crucification

Two aspects will be explained:

1 - Was Jesus really crucified and did he therefore die at the cross?

To this God answers in the Quran in the following way:
{ That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- 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:- }
{ Rather, Allah raised him to Himself. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise. }(Quran, Sura 4, verses 157-158)

This is however not very surprising, once one reminds oneself, how it fared with Prophet Henoch (Idris - Peace upon him):

(Quran, Sura 19, verses 56-57)

Henoch or Idris are not dead, but alive, just as Jesus or Īsā. How did it happen? This is a mystery, even if the muslims have different theories for it. There are some mysteries in Islam as well, for example the good and the bad fate, free will and predestination, etc. But the muslims are in agreement,

- to deny the crucification

- that Jesus' death at the cross would imply victory for his henchmen. For

Allah shall surely help who help Him ...(Quran, Sura 22, verse 40)

- that God would outwit the schemes of Jesus' enemies:
(Quran, Sura 3, verse 54)

2 - If Jesus did not die at the cross, did he then die a natural death?

As has been said earlier, the answer is, that the Qurān rejects this (see above mentioned verse). Consequently no special resurrection of Jesus will occur, who after all did not die at the cross. He will however - at the end of time - return and die a natural death.

The word which is employed in the Quran, when mentioning the taking back of the souls is tawaffā and refers to a sleeping person, not [employed is] the verb amāta, which means to kill, or to let someone die.
(Quran, Sura 6, verse 60)

Concerning Jesus, the verb tawaffā is used twice in the Holy Quran:
(Quran, Sura 3, verse 55 and Sura 5, verse 119)

To summarize it can be said:

- that there occured an apparent death,

- which will lead to a return to earth (parousia),

- thereafter Jesus will die a natural death and then

- Jesus will attend the great general resurrection [on the Day of Judgement).

IX - Jesus and the Last Hour

On his night journey Muhammad ﷺ Peace and Bleesings upon him - also encountered Jesus. When asked about the Last Hour, Jesus answered as follows:

"I have been given knowledge about it, what will happen (such as its marks and signs). When it will arrive, however, God alone knows it."

This means that Jesus has special knowledge concerning the Last Hour. He knows of its existence and signs, but he does not know its exact arrival.

Concerning the general (resurrection at the) Day of Resurrection, God says in the Quran:
{ And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgment he will be a witness against them…} (Quran, Sura 4, v159)

This means that Jesus will testify against the Christians, when he will accuse them to have set him and his mother up as equals to God. But Jesus will not be their judge.

X - Jesus return

1 - Jesus return is confirmed in four verses of the Quran.

Two of those verses ascertain that Jesus spoke to the people from his cradle, and later when he grew up (kahlan).
(Quran, Sura 3, verse 46 and (Quran, Sura 5, verse 110)

In another verse it is said that the people of the book (ie. Jew and Christians) will believe in Īsā ben Mariam (Jesus, son of Mary) even before his death.
(Quran, Sura 4, verse 159)

The most important verse which refers to the return of Jesus is the following:
(Quran, Sura 43, verse 61)

2 - Where shall Jesus appear?

This will only happen in connection with the emergence of the Anti-Christ, who will mislead humanity. The Anti-Christ himself will appear in an area between Iraq and Syria ( according to another hadith in the region of Isphahan, a town in Iran). At first he will claim to be a 'Prophet', later after having gained some power, he will claim to be 'God'. He will spead mischief on the earth for 40 days, the first day of which will last a year, the second will last a month, the third a week and the rest like normal days. The Anti-Christ will enter all towns and cities, except for three, wich will be protected from him: Mecca, Madina and the mosque of Jerusalem.

At the return of Jesus, the Anti-Christ will take flight.

3 - Jesus deeds and actions

The reason why Jesus will pray behind the Imām (of whom it will be said that he is the Mahdi) is to prove to all human beings and to show that he is only a servant of God; what is at stake here is to testify in the One God. This will be Jesus' first action.

Then he will break the cross and extinguish the swine. The question is why? To answer it, one should remember the event that took place when a delegation of the Christians came to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ ...
They stared to dispute with him about Jesus, to which Muhammad responded that he is God's servant and His Messenger.
They asked him: "Show us a creature, which has been created by God without a father, who reawakens the dead to life and as a son received!"
Where upon Muhammad answered: "Embrace Islam!" ie. obey God's will.
Then they said: "We have already been muslims (ie. accepted the will of God) before you!"
So he said: "You are liars! What prevents you from accepting Islam are three points:
(1) The consumption of pork (ie an obstacle at the physical level)
(2) The veneration - worship of the cross (ie an obstacle at the subtle or psychic level)
(3) Your claim that God has a son (ie an obstacle at the spiritual level)

When the delegation asked: "Who is Jesus' father?" The following quranic verse was revealed:
(Quran, Sura 3, verse 59)

4 - Jesus Struggle

Īsā ben Mariam will fight against all those who do not have faith in him. So one understands why he had declared beforehand:
"Non veni pacem mittere sed gladium - ouk èlthon balein efènèn alla makhairan" = "I have not come to bring peace, but a sword". (NT, Mattias 10, 34)

Īsā will turn immediately against the Anti-Christ, in order to kill him. The latter will melt away like salt in water, but Jesus will succeed in killing him with a spear or a single gaze before his disappearance. Therafter there will be only one single faith, and a single community: All the people of the book will believe in him in one sole religion, Islam; all other religions will disappear.

Jesus will also together with the faithful believers participate in the pilgrimage to Mecca and he will visit Madina and receive a clear answer to his greetings upon Prophet Muhammad (peace upon them both).

Then it will be reveled to Jesus, to entrech himself with the faithful believers in Jerusalem against Gog and Magog, who spread mischief on the earth. Noone can resist them. Only by prayers can they all be wiped out.

5 - Jesus' Era

During this wonderful period of Jesus, blessings will be sent from heaven and other blessings from the earth. (A sense of) well-being will spread over the whole world and the drive to save or to spend (giving alms will not be needed anymore and) will stop. Peace will prevail, hatred will disappear and everywhere there will be a peaceful situation, even in the animal kingdom. Jesus will establish justice in the world. At this time there will be few Arabs but many muslims.

XI - Jesus Life And Death After His Return

According to the [traditional prophetic] reports (hadith), Jesus will - after his return - marry and get children. He will be on earth for 40 years.
When he dies, he will be buried between Muhammad and Abu Bakr (the first kalif) at Madina. All believers will pray for Jesus, when he departs to his Lord.

After the death of Jesus, he will be succeeded by someone called al-Muq'ad. At the death of this successor, the Quran will disappear for three days from the hearts of the believers and from all quran exemplars. Thereafter the day of Resurrection will take place at any time, but it will be in the daytime and not at night.

But Allah knows most and best.



Related texts
link-in On Traditionen
link-in On The Unchanging Religion
link-in Jesus Messia, son of Mary (This text)
link-in True Islamic Equality

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