New Age Islam
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Interfaith Dialogue ( 20 Nov 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Jesus in the Quran



By S. Arshad,

Influenced by the Greek and Hindu mythology, some baseless and vulgar beliefs about God had found way into the Arab belief system. They had conjured up relations between God and angels and djinns as happens with the Greek and Hindu gods and goddesses. To them, angels were women and the daughters of djinns were their mothers. In other words, they had conjured up matrimonial relationships between God and the djinns. They considered God also having human traits of personality. God’s being beyond the principle of cause and effect was something beyond their imagination. On this count, the Quran chides those who spread such vulgar and absurd beliefs:

“Now ask them (O Muhammad): "Are there (only) daughters for your Lord and sons for them?"  “ (As-Saaffaat: 149)

On another occasion, the Quran says:

“And they make the angels who themselves are slaves to the Most Beneficent (Allah) females. Did they witness their creation? Their evidence will be recorded, and they will be questioned! “(Al Zukhruf: 19)

Thus, God warns those concocting baseless beliefs about God and the angels of grave consequences. He also takes a jibe at them asking how they knew if the angels were women. Were they standing and watching there when they were being created? Similarly God expresses His strong displeasure over the creation of a relationship between the djinns and Him.

“And they have invented a kinship between Him and the Jinns. “ (Al-Saaffaat: 158)

The Quran refutes their false beliefs. It clearly says that God was free from human needs and limitations. He is self-dependent. He is not governed by the principle of cause and effect.  The principle of cause and effect has been created for the benefit of man alone. In order to create something or make something happen, god has only to say, ‘let it be’. He does not need food like the human beings. He does not doze off. He is all pervasive, omnipresent. He can see everyone and everything but the human eye cannot get Him. God revealed a whole Surah to describe his self-dependent self:

“Say (O Muhammad ()): "He is Allah, (the) One. Allah-us-Samad (The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks).He begets not, nor was He begotten; And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him." (Surah Ikhlas)

In fact, the father-son relationship between God and his slaves is the figment of imagination of the Jews. The Jews would call Prophet Uzair (AS) the son of God. (The Ummah of Prophet Uzair are also called Jews).They would say so to prove the superiority of their prophet over other prophets. Later, they started calling themselves the sons of God to prove their superiority over the nations of the world. In other words, all the Jews were the sons of God and therefore, dear to Him. That’s why they claimed, God would forgive all their sins and wrongdoings. God rejected their claim saying:

” And (both) the Jews and the Christians say: "We are the children of Allah and His loved ones." Say: "Why then does He punish you for your sins?" Nay, you are but human beings, of those He has created,                                                                “(Al Maida:18)

Based on the standard set for proving superiority of their prophets, the Christians too started calling Jesus Christ the son of  God. They had even got one justification for their claim: Jesus was born without a father. Their belief in the principle of Cuse and Effect had become so strong that they were in doubt about the power of God. The Quran says:

“It befits not (the Majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son [this refers to the slander of Christians against Allah, by saying that 'Iesa (Jesus) is the son of Allah]. Glorified (and Exalted be He above all that they associate with Him). When He decrees a thing, He only says to it, "Be!" and it is.                                                       “(Mariam:35)

Because of this doubt about the powers of God, the Jews questioned the purity and integrity of Mother Mary after the birth of Jesus. The Quran records the incident in the following words:

“Then she brought him (the baby) to her people, carrying him. They said: "O Mary! Indeed you have brought a thing Fariya (an unheard mighty thing) "O sister (i.e. the like) of Harun (Aaron) [not the brother of Musa (Moses), but he was another pious man at the time of Maryam (Mary)]! Your father was not a man who used to commit adultery, nor your mother was an unchaste woman."  “ (Mariam: 27-28)

God lashed out at those pointing fingers at Mother Mary saying they were inviting a grave torment by doing so and testified to Mary’s purity and modesty.

“The Messiah ['Iesa (Jesus)], son of Maryam (Mary), was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him. His mother [Maryam (Mary)] was a Siddiqah [i.e. she believed in the words of Allah and His Books. “ (Al Maida: 75)

God likened the birth of Jesus to the creation of Adam:

“Verily, the likeness of 'Isa (Jesus) before Allah is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: "Be!" - and he was. “(Al-i-Imran: 59)

By the example given above, the Quran tries to end the disbelief of the Christians with regards to the birth of Jesus. As God can create Adam without a father and mother, so can he create Jesus without a father? Therefore, there is no need or justification for calling God his father. On the contrary, doing so is questioning his powers as the Supreme Being and bringing him down to the level of human beings, a g rave sin.  This is something that makes even the mountains shudder. The Quran says:

  And they say: "The Most Beneficent (Allah) has begotten a son (or offspring or children) [as the Jews say: 'Uzair (Ezra) is the son of Allah, and the Christians say that He has begotten a son ['Isa (Christ)], and the pagan Arabs say that He has begotten daughters (angels, etc.)]." 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 (Allah) that He should beget a son (or offspring or children).  “(Mariam; 88-92)

On another occasion the Quran says,

“And that our God is the most glorious. He does not have a wife or son.” “(Al Jinn: 3)

 Similarly, there are more than thirty verses in the Quran that castigate the non believers for calling angels the daughters of God and conjuring up relationship between God and the djinns and calling prophets the sons of God and warn them of a great torment in the Hereafter. The Christians not only called Jesus the son of God but also worshipped him and his mother Mary as gods. The Quran says very clearly on this issue.

“Indeed Messiah is Jesus the son of Mariam. He is the prophet of God and his word revealed towards Mariam and is His son, so believe in Him and his prophets and do not say that God is among the three. Leave this it is better for you. Indeed God is the only one worthy to be worshipped. It is not suitable for him to beget a son. Whatever is in the heavens and in the earth belongs to Him and God is all powerful.                                  “(Al Nisa: 171)

The Quran lashes out on those calling Jesus the son of God on some other occasions as well:

“Indeed infidels are those who say that God is the same as Messiah Isa the son of Mariam” (Al Maida: 17)

Another verse says:

“Indeed those who said that God is one among the three are infidels"                                                             “(Al Maida: 73)

As has been mentioned earlier that calling the slaves of God the sons and daughters of God is a grave sin which is not only a negation of the powers of God but also unbearable to all the non living creatures of the heavens and the earth.  Calling Jesus the son of God means bringing down God from the seat of Godhood and making him stand in the same line as the human beings. It si synonymous with denying his Godhood and therefore such people are called infidels (kafirs).

God has very wisely tried to end the disbelief of the Christians. The Quran mentions the name of Jesus twenty nine times  out of which  he is called Jesus  the son of Mary (Isabnu Maryama or Isabne Maryama) a majority sixteen times, Masih the son of Maryam (Masihabnu Mariam) five times and son of Mariam (Ibn-i-Mariam) once. He is called only Isa only five times and Masih only twice. In other words he is mostly called with his mother’s name which is not the case with other prophets. He is called Isa the son of Mary or Masih the son of Mariam. Even when his name is mentioned with other prophets his name is called along with his mother’s name whereas the mention of the parenthood of other prophets is not considered necessary.

“And when we extracted the agreement from the prophets and from you and from Noah and from Abraham and from the Moses and from Isa the son of Mariam. “ (Al Ahzab: 7)

Though he is called only Isa while mentioning other prophets in Surah Al Nisa, verse no. 163, in most other occasions he is called Jesus the son of Mary. What is the wisdom in it?

Actually, God knew that on Jesus Christ’s birth without a father, the Jews and Christians would call Jesus the son of God. That’s why he christened Jesus, Masih Isa bin Mariam (Messiah Jesus the son of Mary) right before his birth. The verses of Surah Al-Imran bear testimony to this:

“When the angels told her O Mariam, God has given you the tidings of a son whose name is Masih Isa bin Mariam, very glorious on the earth and in the Hereafter and will be dear to God. He will speak when in his mother’s lap and in adulthood and he will be among the lucky ones. “(Al Imran: 45-46)

This is the reason, on most occasions the Quran calls Jesus, Jesus the son of Mary. In other words, his full name is called out every time he is mentioned to make it evident to the people that if Jesus were really the son of God, whenever God mentioned the name of Jesus in the  Quran himself, He would say, ‘my son Jesus’ and not ‘Jesus the son of Mary’. When the angels brought the glad tidings of a son to Mary, they said, ‘With the order of God, you will be blessed with a son whose name will be Isa bin Mariam , they could have only said that she would be with a son whose name would be Isa (Jesus) since they were talking to Mary herself. But their saying that his name would be Isa bin Mariam  proves that God christened him Isa bin Mariam  so that  till the Day of Judgment people should believe Jesus to be the son of Mary and not his son. They should not be surprised at his being born without a father as Adam was created by God without a mother and father.

It is also surprising that the Urdu translators of the Quran have done literal translation of Isa bin Mariam as Isa the son of Mariam instead of Isa bin Maryam as Arab names are generally called out. In this way they missed out on a very important point. Only Maulana Abdul Karim Parikh translated it as point that names are not translated. Therefore, it can also be guessed that translators of other languages too must have committed the same mistake translating Isa Mariam ka beta.