Whom Are Jesus Christ and Mary PBUT?
Now that you have a basic introduction to Allah, our Creator, you need to learn the true identities of Jesus Christ and Mary PBUT and the messages conveyed about them through God and Islam. Jesus Christ is a central and revered figure in the Islamic faith. A fundamental pillar of Islam involves the core belief in all of God’s Messengers and Prophets, sent down to relay His message to humanity. Anyone who does not believe in God’s Prophets is considered a disbeliever in Islam. Muslims hold all Prophets of God in high esteem, including Jesus PBUH. Muslims love and admire Jesus PBUH and will not speak the name of Jesus (Isa in Arabic) or any other Prophet without respectfully adding the words peace be upon him, following the reference (I will use PBUH for short or PBUT for peace be upon them — throughout this book).
Aside from Christianity, Islam is the only other religion that requires followers to believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is mentioned more than 25 times in the Holy Quran. God’s last and final Prophet, Muhammad PBUH, narrated, He who bears witness that there is no true god except Allah, alone having no partner with Him, that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger, that Isa (Jesus) is His slave and Messenger, and he (Jesus) is His Word which He communicated to Maryam (Mary) and His Spirit which He sent to her, that Jannah (Paradise) is true and Hell is true; Allah will make him enter Jannah accepting whatever deeds he accomplished.
The mother of Jesus Christ is Mary (Mariam in Arabic). She was a very pious and righteous woman. According to the Holy Quran, she is the holiest and greatest of all women. Mary PBUH has the great honor to be the only female mentioned by name in the Holy Quran and even has a whole Chapter named in her honor.
“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 3:42)
The mother of Mary, Hannah, was a barren woman who longed for a child. She made a vow to God that if He gifted her with a child, she would consecrate Him to His service in the Holiest of all Temples, the Temple of Solomon PBUH, to be a scholar or priest. God answered her prayers and gifted her with a girl child. Hannah PBUH was saddened at the child’s gender, as usually only male children were given in service.
Following her promise to God, she instructed that Mary PBUH be raised at the Temple. Mary PBUH was blessed by miracles sent from God, even before the birth of Jesus Christ. Her Uncle Zechariah PBUH, a Prophet of God, raised her. As Mary grew older, Prophet Zechariah PBUH would visit her in her chamber at the Temple, where only he had access. He would observe that she feasted on the best of foods and cold drinks. He asked who had delivered these feasts when no one except him had keys to the chamber. She then would respond, “Allah!”
According to the Holy Quran, the Angel Gabriel walked into Mary’s chamber. Terrified that someone had come to harm her, she cried out, I seek refuge from Allah! Angel Gabriel responded, I am not an enemy, I am Allah’s servant and a messenger who came to deliver glad tidings to you, that Allah would bestow upon you a child. She replied, How can I have a child if I do not have a husband, and no man has touched me?’ Angel Gabriel then responded:
“Allah creates what He wills. If He decrees a thing, He says unto it only be! and it is” (Quran 3:47)
The Quran confirms that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin woman. Mary gave birth to Jesus PBUH in the valley of Bethlehem, away from people, after which she returned. When they saw her with her newborn child, Jesus PBUH, they said:
“…O Mary, you have certainly done a strange thing. O sister of Aaron, your father, was not a man of evil, nor was your mother unchaste” (Quran 19:27–28)
Mary did not speak but pointed at her child.
“So she pointed to him. They said, ‘How can we speak to one who is in the cradle a child?’ [Jesus] said, ‘Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet. And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me Prayer and Zakah as long as I remain alive and [made me] dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant. And peace is on me the day I was born, and the day I will die, and the day I am raised alive” (Quran 29–33)
The Quran references the miracles that Jesus PBUH performed by the power and will of God, even in his infancy, when he spoke in the cradle to defend his mother’s chastity and innocence.
Jesus’ actual name is Esau (Hebrew) or Yahshua (classical). The Christians of the West gave him the Latin name, Jesus; however, the letter ‘J’ does not exist in Aramaic, so Christ himself would not recognize the name Jesus.
The word Messiah connotates the title of Jesus. The word comes from the Arabic and Hebrew term mesaha, which means to rub, massage, or anoint. In the religious context, the word translates to the one that has been anointed. It was common to appoint or anoint a King or Judge of Israel on the head with oil when he ascended to power as a sign of inauguration. In the law of previous nations, they would rub a person’s head with special water when the person converted to their religion. This practice lives on today in the form of the Baptism ritual. The Prophet Jesus PBUH was anointed as the next Prophet by his cousin, John the Baptist PBUH, the preceding Prophet. Jesus PBUH is called by four noble titles in the Holy Quran: the Messiah, the Messenger of Allah, a Word from Allah, and a Spirit from Allah.
Muslim’s belief and understanding of Prophet Jesus PBUH stands in accordance with God’s final Book, the Holy Quran, and narrations of God’s last Prophet, Muhammad PBUH. Jesus Christ was a mere prophet of God whose mission was to confirm the Torah revealed before him. He did not come bearing a new law but only abrogated certain laws to make life easier for the Children of Israel — the nation that lived before us. Jesus Christ was sent to teach the same general message taught by all previous Prophets of God: we must worship and follow the One God and shun every false god.
God created Jesus Christ without a human father, just as the Prophet Adam PBUH was born without a human father or mother. Allah just said, ‘Be!,’ and it Was. Declining to call Jesus the Son of God is not done to belittle or insult Jesus PBUH; instead, it is done to Glorify and Magnify God. Allah is the One and Only; He is far above the state of having a child or partner in His divinity.
In truth, Jesus Christ never claimed to be the Son of God, let alone claim to be God Himself. Through a careful study of the Bible, one would conclude that Jesus never called himself God or God’s son. Instead, others made that proclamation after His departure. Jesus PBUH only preached the teachings he received from God, the Almighty. The Prophet Jesus PBUH was only the servant and slave of God. He is not the Son of God in the sense that He is the begotten son of God; instead, he metaphorically is the Son of God in that all righteous people are children of God. This title is not to be taken literally, as many Christians have done in error. Many individuals were labeled “sons of God” in the Bible, including the Prophet Adam, Jacob, Solomon, peace be upon them all, as this was a common title bestowed amongst the Children of Israel.
As Jesus PBUH grew into adulthood, he began to travel and preach God’s message throughout the land of Palestine to the Children of Israel. He taught the Revelation that God sent to him, known as the Injeel, which translates to mean Good News or Gospel, confirming the truth of the previous Holy Books of God.
“And [I have come] confirming what was before me of the Torah and to make lawful for you some of what was forbidden to you. And I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear Allah and obey me” (Quran 3:50)
To reinforce his message and prove his status as a Prophet of God, God granted the Prophet Jesus PBUH the ability to perform miracles, such as the act of fashioning birds from clay before blowing into them, transforming them into real birds; healing lepers and the blind; and even resurrecting the dead, all by the will and power of God, the Almighty. According to the Bible, many verses show that Jesus Christ never took credit for these feats nor stated that he could perform miracles of his own volition:
…All power is given unto me in heaven and in Earth. (Matthew 28:18)
I can of mine own self do nothing …(John 5:30)
…I with the Finger of God cast out devils… (Luke 11:20)
The Prophet Jesus PBUH preached and stressed that no deity is worthy of worship except the One True God, and only through Him (the One True God, Allah, which is the unique name of God), can one obtain salvation in the hereafter. Prophet Jesus PBUH attracted an inner circle of devoted followers, known as the disciples, who listened to his teachings with humility.
Jesus Christ PBUH preached the same general message as the Messengers and Prophets before him. According to the Bible, ‘One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important? The most important one, answered Jesus, is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God, the Lord is one.’ (Mark 12:28–29). Never did the Prophet Jesus PBUH, nor any other Prophet, preach that God is a part of a Trinity.
Because the Children of Israel had gone astray from the straight path of God, God sent them their final Prophet, Jesus Christ PBUH, to remind them of their final chance to fulfill God’s commandments. When Jesus Christ continued to preach God’s message, commanding them to obey God’s Laws, instead of believing and obeying their Prophet, they became frustrated; turning their backs on and rejecting Jesus Christ. According to the New Testament, a group of hypocritical and self-serving men belonging to the Children of Israelites plotted against the Prophet Jesus PBUH.
As the Children of Israel were only a minority, they complained to the Roman authorities, who had political power at the time, regarding Jesus and his teachings. The Children of Israel complained that the Prophet Jesus PBUH was preaching something new, and they provoked the Romans to rise against him, inspiring the Roman governor to believe that the call of Jesus Christ conveyed direct threats against Roman power. His people claimed that Jesus Christ was an agitator speaking against the emperor, which was not true. The Roman governor ordered that the Prophet Jesus PBUH be arrested, then crucified by the process of hanging him on a cross and starving him — a common form of shame killing.
According to the Christian narrative, which Muslims do not believe, the Roman authorities found Jesus Christ, arrested him, then put him on the Roman cross — where he died. They eventually buried him, only to see him resurrected or returned from the dead — announcing to everyone that he was the Son of God. However, according to the Holy Quran, this is not how the situation transpired. God states:
“And [for] their saying (in boast), ‘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 [another] 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. Rather, Allah raised him to Himself. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise” (Quran 4:157–158)
Thus, according to the Holy Quran, they neither killed nor crucified the Prophet Jesus PBUH; instead, God transposed the likeness of Prophet Jesus PBUH upon another person to make him resemble the Prophet Jesus PBUH. The Christians differed amongst themselves as to the truth of the matter, as they were in doubt and had no certainty about what had transpired. God rescued His Prophet by raising Jesus Christ’s soul and body up to Him. The Israelites and Roman authorities never could harm him, crucify him, or kill him. This version of events was only a false assumption. According to some Islamic scholars, God punished Judas, the traitor, by casting upon him the likeness of the Prophet Jesus PBUH. This they crucified him instead, assuming it was Christ.
According to the New Testament, Jesus Christ did return to his followers. As stated earlier, Christians believe that he returned from the dead, whereas Muslims believe he never died. The Bible states that his followers expressed terror at his reappearance, as they believed he had been crucified. Then Prophet Jesus PBUH said, Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have. (Luke 24:39). Jesus Christ then asked for food that he ate before them as a human would, not a spirit or ghost. This act demonstrated to his people that he was never crucified or killed. Jesus Christ was demonstrating to his people that he was still a human being as he had flesh and bones and ate food just like humans do.
However, strangely enough, Christians still believe in the crucifixion, although their own Bible quotes Jesus Christ’s command to his disciples to touch and see him as proof that he was not a spirit but a man of flesh and bone. Only a spirit does not consist of flesh and bones! After proving his existence, he told them that God had willed him to leave and directed them to preach his message and be faithful to God in his absence. He promised them that another Prophet would come after him. Whereas Christians believe that the Prophet Jesus PBUH referred to the Holy Spirit in this statement, Muslims believe he referenced the final Prophet to come in his wake, Prophet Muhammad PBUH.
The Prophet Muhammad PBUH is mentioned and prophesied in the Scriptures of all major world religions. In the Old Testament, God the Almighty tells the Prophet Moses PBUH: I will raise up for them (the Israelites) a Prophet like you from among their brethren (the Israelites); I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them (the Israelites) everything I command him. (Deuteronomy 18:18) This verse references Prophet Muhammad PBUH, who came after Prophets Moses and Jesus PBUT. Prophet Muhammad PBUH is also mentioned by name in Song of Solomon, Verse 5:16 in Hebrew. The Hebrew word used to refer to him is Muhammuddim. The letters ‘im’ at the end of the name is added as a gesture of respect. Without the ‘im’ suffix, the name would read Muhamud. His name is translated to mean the praised one.
In the Gospel of John 16:12–14, Jesus Christ states, ‘I have much more to say to you, more than you can now them bear.’ God did not find it fit for humanity to receive the entire message of God called Islam (Islam translates to the way of life of submitting fully to God’) at that point, as they would not have been able to bear the message in its entirety. So, Jesus Christ said, But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears and tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me… (Gospel of John 16:12–14).
This Spirit of truth is none other than God’s last and final Messenger of humanity, one meant to be followed until the last day. Prophet Muhammad PBUH came after Jesus Christ, preaching the same general message as the Prophet Jesus PBUH — the same message delivered by every other Messenger and Prophet before him.
After the departure of the Prophet Jesus PBUH, controversies sparked amongst his followers. They questioned whether the person who returned to them was indeed Jesus Christ. A severe split erupted in the Christian faith, revealing a broad spectrum of opinions regarding the Prophet Jesus PBUH and his role in the world.
The Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — and the concept that Jesus Christ died for our sins is firmly rejected in Islam. The Prophet Jesus PBUH was indeed a mighty Messenger of God, but he was only a mortal human being. He was born to a mother; he ate and drank, slept, and used the bathroom; he suffered pain and emotions. This differentiates him from God, the Almighty, as God does not need to eat, sleep, or drink. The Prophet Jesus PBUH was only the servant and slave of God.
“O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So, believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, ‘Three’; desist — it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the Heavens and whatever is on the Earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs” (Quran 4:171)
God makes it clear in the Holy Quran that the act of ascribing a son to Him angers him. Ascribing a son to God is beneath the Almighty. God states:
“And they say: ‘The Most Beneficent (Allah) has begotten a son (or offspring or children).’ Indeed you have brought forth (said) a terrible evil thing. Whereby the heavens are almost torn, and the Earth is split asunder, and the mountains fall in ruins. That they ascribe a son (or offspring or children) to the Most Beneficent (Allah). But it is not suitable for (the Majesty of) the Most Beneficent that He should beget a son” (Quran 88–92)
According to the Holy Quran, the one that calls God part of a Trinity is a disbeliever who will face a painful punishment. The Quran states:
“They have certainly disbelieved who say, ‘Allah is the third of three’. And there is no god except one God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will surely afflict the disbelievers among them a painful punishment” (Quran 5:73)
The Quran further says:
“The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] Messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of truth. They both used to eat food. Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look at how they are deluded” (Quran 5:75)
It is essential to mention that the Prophet Jesus PBUH did not come down with a new law, nor did he come to abolish the Old Testament (Torah); instead, he came to affirm, teach, and preach the previous law — the law of the Prophet Moses PBUH. According to both the Holy Quran and the Bible, the Children of Israel were veering away from the laws given to them by the Prophet Moses PBUH and were disobeying the commandments of God. Prophet Jesus PBUH was the last in a long line of Messengers sent to the nation that lived before us, the Children of Israel.
The Prophet Jesus PBUH and the Revelation he came down with, the Injeel (Gospel), was not meant for receiving among non-Israelites. According to the Bible, Jesus states: I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of Israelites. (Matthew: 15–24). According to another verse: These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Mathew 10:5–6)
So, my dear Christian brothers and sisters, why are you spreading the Gospel to those for whom this message was never meant? Jesus Christ states he was sent only to the Children of Israel and not to everyone else. God has sent another Revelation to humanity, his final Revelation, after the Gospel, which is the Holy Quran — and sent his last and final Messenger, the Prophet Muhammad, PBUH, meant for our nation, the last nation to exist on Earth until the end of time.
Several essential concepts were introduced in this chapter, but rest assured, we will dig a little deeper into each idea and provide solid evidence for each in the upcoming Chapters.
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