Which Scripture Sanctifies Jesus: The Quran or the Bible?

The Birth of Jesus from the Perspective of the Gospel and the Quran

Place of Birth:

The image that the Gospels give us differs from the image that the Quran gives us. The Gospel story goes like this: “The Virgin Mary, along with her husband or fiancé Joseph the carpenter, goes to Bethlehem in southern Palestine to participate in a census; they find no room in Bethlehem due to the crowd and are forced to spend the night in a stable where Jesus is born, meaning the birthplace was a sheepfold where animals were kept, and two people were present: Joseph the carpenter and Mary; while the Quran introduces the birthplace as an eastern location “And mention in the Book [the story of] Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place toward the east” [2]. No one was with Mary, and the Quran’s view of the birthplace and the events of His birth is with utmost respect and maintaining the sanctity of the divine prophet, while in the altered Gospel, these events are narrated in a way that is far from the sacred realm of divine prophets.

Christmas Has No Historical Background:

Regarding the time of birth, various dates have been mentioned; Christians themselves believe based on our calculations that Christ was born four years before the designated Gregorian date, and this Gregorian date is not accurate because it was set six hundred years after Christ’s birth, hence they have miscalculated. If we were to calculate the exact Gregorian date, it should now be the year 2020, which is four years different from the current date; there is no precise information about the season either, and the fact that Christians celebrate winter and Christmas as the time of Christ’s birth is not accurate and most likely taken from the Mithraists; it is worth mentioning that Christmas celebrations became common after the fourteenth century, and we had no celebrations named Christmas before this century.

Manner of Birth:

There is a discrepancy between the Quran and the Gospels regarding the manner of birth. The Gospels say: When Jesus Christ was born in that sheepfold, the angels informed the shepherds who were around that area to come here; a blessed infant has been born, and the Magi who had come to that region from the east following a star that had risen at the place of birth; and when people came there, everyone thought that Jesus was the son of Mary and Joseph, according to the Gospels, and no one knew that Jesus had no father.

However, from the Islamic perspective, it is not so. Islam does not mention Joseph the carpenter and states that only the Virgin Mary was present at the birthplace of Jesus. When she conceives the child through the Holy Spirit, she initially becomes very upset, but God says to comfort her that this matter is divine.

Everyone is astonished by the birth of Jesus and slanders Him, and to refute this slander, Jesus speaks in the cradle, and the matter of Jesus’s birth rapidly spreads among the Children of Israel: “Then she brought him to her people, carrying him. They said, ‘O Mary, you have brought something unheard of. O sister of Aaron, your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother unchaste.’ So she pointed to him. They said, ‘How can we talk 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 be and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakat as long as I remain alive, And [made me] dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant.'” [4] Even in the Gospel of Matthew, the first thing mentioned in this regard is the genealogy of Jesus (PBUH), and in fact, it counts the names of Joseph the carpenter’s ancestors and introduces him as the son of Joseph the carpenter.

Status of the Mother of Jesus:

There is a difference between the Quran and the Gospels on this matter; such that the Virgin Mary in the Quran is referred to as a pure, chaste, and high-ranked person; for example, in the Quran it is mentioned, “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.'” [5] or in another verse, she is referred to as “the truthful” “And his mother was a supporter of the truth.” [6] But in the Gospels, Mary is introduced as an ordinary woman whose only distinction is that she gives birth to a child who was later called “the Son of God,” and Christianity realized after centuries that they should elevate the status of Mary until the last century when the church declared that it had been revealed to them that Mary, like Jesus, ascended to the heavens. These thoughts are exactly opposite to the view of the Holy Quran, as the Quran has introduced a lofty image of the Virgin Mary and considered her a worshipful lady with many spiritual virtues.

Names and Titles:

Different titles have been mentioned for Jesus in Christianity; many of these names are fabricated and not real; but his well-known names in Christianity are: “Jesus,” which originally was “Joshua,” meaning “Savior,” and the Jews called him “Yeshua,” and in Arabic, he is called “Isa,” and other names have been said for him like; servant of God; Savior; the Way; the Truth; Shepherd; Good; Word of God; Life, etc. But in the Quran, only two names are mentioned for him, one is “Isa,” which has been mentioned 23 times in the Quran, and the other is “Messiah,” which has been mentioned 9 times in the Quran.

It is mentioned in the Quran, “When the angels said, ‘O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah].'” [7] which mentions both “Messiah” and “Jesus son of Mary,” and it is interesting that it always says “Jesus son of Mary.”

Christ Came to Establish a Government

The term ‘Messiah’ refers to the political and social power of Christ. In Jewish culture, ‘Messiah’ means someone prepared to take on social power. This term has also been used for Saul, David, and Prophet Solomon (PBUH) and literally means someone anointed with holy oil. The story goes that when they wanted to choose Saul as a ruler for the Jews, Prophet Samuel anointed him with holy oil, and later David and others were also anointed. Therefore, anointing with holy oil signifies taking on power. Jesus is also called the Messiah because he took steps to establish a government.

Unfortunately, Christians depict him in a way that suggests he had nothing to do with governance and was a reclusive individual! However, like other divine prophets, Christ wanted to implement divine laws, and the term ‘Messiah’ indicates that he too wanted to establish a government. He even started this struggle, and his first confrontation was with the priests of Solomon’s Temple. The Jewish internal government was in the hands of the elders of Israel, and he confronted the priests about not properly implementing the religious laws.

Christ Before His Mission

The Quran does not provide specific details about the period before his mission; the most important thing mentioned about this period is his speaking in the cradle, where he declares himself a servant of God. Beyond this, we have no explicit information about his childhood, and the Gospels do not provide us with clear and accurate reports about his childhood either.

The Mission Period

But when he reached his mission, the Quran introduces the deeds and responsibilities he had, the actions he performed, and the teachings he had. The first things the Quran tells us about him are the miracles that emanated from him, such as healing the sick, curing the born blind, healing leprosy, reviving the dead, creating birds from clay, and breathing life into them by God’s permission, emphasizing that all these were by God’s permission. In Surah Al-Ma’idah, verse 110, it states, “When Allah said, ‘O Jesus, son of Mary, remember My favor upon you and upon your mother when I supported you with the Holy Spirit and you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and [remember] when I taught you writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and when you created from clay, like the form of a bird, by My permission, then you breathed into it, and it became a bird by My permission; and you healed the blind and the leper by My permission; and when you brought forth the dead by My permission; and when I restrained the Children of Israel from [killing] you when you came to them with clear proofs and those who disbelieved among them said, ‘This is not but obvious magic.'” [8] Most of the miracles of Christ are mentioned in this verse, and the Gospels also refer to these miracles except for speaking in the cradle and creating a bird, which are not found in the Gospels. However, it is curious that the Gospel of John considers his first miracle to be turning water into wine (something pure into something impure). [9]

Prayer and Worship

His prayer and worship are mentioned, “And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakat as long as I remain alive.” [10] This explicitly refers to prayer and zakat, indicating that he was one of the devout and ascetics and never abandoned the law.

The contradiction that Christianity faces is why Christians do not practice the law, and they need to answer how it was that Jesus (PBUH) performed his acts of worship, but Christians do not follow him. From the Quran’s perspective, he had a law and practiced it himself and invited others to it. Ethically, he was also a very benevolent person, “And [made me] dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant.” [11] Unlike the Gospel of John, which shows an aggressive attitude towards his mother in the ‘story of the wine,’ when his mother says to him they have no wine, Jesus says, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with me?” [12] showing an aggressive attitude, contrary to the Quran that counts him very benevolent towards his mother and also presents Jesus in the Quran as a blessed person, “And He has made me blessed.” [13] and introduces him as a righteous person, “And [mention] Zachariah and John and Isa and Elias – and all were of the righteous.” [14] All this shows the high image of Christ that Islam introduces, and the Gospels try to reduce Jesus from that high status.

Debate of Imam Reza (PBUH) with a Christian Scholar

Christianity introduces Jesus as the son of one of the three persons of the Trinity [15], and in a debate that Imam Reza (PBUH) had with a Christian, the Imam addressed them, saying that Jesus had a major flaw, which was that he did not worship at all. The Christian scholar becomes upset and says, “No, he prayed day and night,” and emphasizes his point. At this time, the Imam says that the fact that he was a worshiper indicates that he is not God but a servant of God. [16] All this emphasis in the Gospels on his worship is evidence of the same thing, and the Quran also introduces him as a prophet. [17]

Teachings of Christ

The Quran emphasizes two points: one is that Jesus was an affirmer of the Torah; “Confirming that which came before me of the Torah;” and this is also mentioned in the Gospels that “I have not come to abolish the Torah but to fulfill it.” Jesus (PBUH) had his law and was a completer of Moses’s law, and the continuation of the same verse discusses his role as a bringer of glad tidings, heralding the mission of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), “And giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name will be Ahmad.” [18] The Gospels do not mention the second point except for the Gospel of Barnabas, which has brought the glad tidings, and Christians accept that Gospel.

The Fate of Christ:

Regarding the fate of Christ, all the Gospels have a relatively unified report that based on it; the elders of Solomon’s Temple gathered and plotted and arrested Jesus and handed him over to the Roman governor. The Roman governor initially did not want to execute him and finally, under pressure from the Jews, took him to the place of execution of criminals and crucified him alongside two others. Jesus also gave up his spirit there and was placed in a tomb, and after some time, they saw that he was not in the tomb and had risen from the dead and ascended to heaven. But the Quran does not accept this [19] and explicitly states that Jesus is alive and was not crucified, but someone else who was also a criminal was mistakenly crucified. Some other Islamic texts state that he will return to Earth during the appearance of Imam Mahdi (AJ).

Apostles:

The Apostles are the continuators of Christ’s movement and are addressed in the four Gospels in the section ‘Acts of the Apostles.’ The Quran introduces the Apostles as pure, faithful, and kind-hearted individuals [20] and depicts a venerable image of them. Christ’s successor was also among them. However, the Gospels do not depict them this way but instead introduce them as inappropriate and ugly figures, portraying them as dim-witted, faint-hearted, and faithless, and not very influential in society [21]; unlike Islam, which considers them as faithful and devout.

The four Gospels present an image of Christ that, although not complete, still the image the Gospels draw of him is different from what Christians focus on.

Jesus came to implement the laws of Sharia and the divine, not just to save himself and a few others. He was a person of effort and struggle; in Luke chapter 12, verses 49 to 53, it states, “I have come to send fire on the earth; how I wish it were already kindled!” This shows that Jesus (PBUH) came for the fight and even invited his companions to prepare swords and war equipment so they could fight, and anyone who didn’t have a sword should sell his garment and buy one” – Luke chapter 32 verse 7 –

The claim that Jesus was apolitical is not true; he directly attacked the king. Christians say he was secular, but this is not the case at all. He was a political, combative, and strong individual, and his politics were the essence of his religion, and his religion was the essence of his politics.

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Notes and References:

[1] Bethlehem is one of the cities of the Nazareth province in modern-day Palestine.

[2] Mary: 16

And mention in the book [the story of] Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place in the east.

[3] Christmas (in English: Christmas) (in French: Noël) is a day that, based on the Christian calendar, is considered the birthday of Jesus and is the biggest celebration of Christians worldwide. Christians celebrate this day with special ceremonies. For example, they decorate the Christmas tree, and a character called Santa Claus gives presents to people on this day. Most Christians celebrate this festival on December 25th.

The origin of this celebration is believed to be in Mithraism – which was the religion of the Romans before converting to Christianity.

Source: Mohammad Beheshti; Saba Culture / English Wikipedia, version December 22, 2006

[4] Mary verses 27-32

(Mary) came to her people carrying him. They said, “O Mary, you have certainly done something unprecedented. O sister of Aaron, your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother unchaste.” 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 zakat as long as I remain alive. And [made me] dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant.”

[5] (3) Al Imran: 42

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.”

[6] Al-Ma’idah: 75

The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers had passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of the truth. They both used to eat food. Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded.

[7] Al Imran: 45

[Remember] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah].”

[8] Al-Ma’idah: 110

[Remember] when Allah said, “O Jesus, son of Mary, remember My favor upon you and upon your mother when I supported you with the Holy Spirit and you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and [remember] when I taught you writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and when you created from clay, like the form of a bird, by My permission, then you breathed into it, and it became a bird by My permission; and you healed the blind and the leper by My permission; and when you brought forth the dead by My permission; and when I restrained the Children of Israel from [killing] you when you came to them with clear proofs and those who disbelieved among them said, ‘This is not but obvious magic.'”

[9] Gospel of John Chapter 2

On the third day, there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and His disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

[10] Mary: 31

And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakat as long as I remain alive.

[11] Mary: 32

[12] Gospel of John Chapter 2

[13] Mary: 31

[14] (6) Al-An’am: 85

And [mention] Zechariah and John and Jesus and Elias – and all were of the righteous. (85)

[15] Introduction to Major Religions by Hossein Tofighi; p. 150

Since Christians believe that the Holy Spirit continually guides the church, they say from their faith that understanding the mystery of the Trinity will continue to grow and develop with the help of popes, councils, thinkers, and mystics. The first church councils declared that God is one but has three persons. The word person comes from the Greek root and means a way of existence. According to this, the three persons are three ways or three states for the existence and act of God. Arabic-speaking Christian writers have used the Greek-originated word “person” and the word “attribute” (meaning manifestation) to convey the concept of the Trinity. The Latin equivalent of the word “person” (meaning mask) is.

[16] Collection of works by Martyr Morteza Motahhari Vol. 5 p. 119

In a debate session that Ma’mun organized for scholars of religions and sects and Imam Reza (PBUH) was the representative of the Muslims, there was a debate between Imam Reza and a Christian scholar about the divinity or servitude of Jesus (PBUH). The Christian scholar considered Jesus to have a divine and superhuman status. Imam Reza (PBUH) said, “Jesus the Messiah was good in everything except one thing, and that was that unlike other prophets, he had no interest in worship!” The Christian scholar said, “Such a strange statement from you, he was the most devout of all people.” As soon as Imam Reza got the Christian scholar to admit Jesus’s worship, he said, “Whom did Jesus worship?” Isn’t worship an evidence of servitude? Isn’t servitude evidence of lack of divinity?

[17] Al-Ma’idah: 75

The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers had passed on before him.

[18] As-Saff: 6

And [remember] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said: “O children of Israel, I am the messenger of Allah to you, confirming what was [revealed] before me in the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name will be Ahmad.” But when he came to them with clear proofs, they said, “This is nothing but evident magic.” (61) As-Saff: 6

And [remember] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said: “O children of Israel, I am the messenger of Allah to you. I confirm the Torah that was before me and give glad tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name will be Ahmad.” Then when he came to them with clear proofs, they said, “This is nothing but evident magic.”

[19] An-Nisa: 157

And [for] their saying, “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.

[20] Al-Imran: 52-53

So when Jesus felt disbelief from them, he said, “Who are my supporters for [the cause of] Allah?” The disciples said,” We are supporters for Allah. We have believed in Allah and testify that we are Muslims [submitting to Him]. Our Lord, we have believed in what You revealed and have followed the messenger Jesus, so register us among the witnesses [to truth].”

[21] – Gospel of Matthew Chapter 20 verse 17; Luke Chapter 25 verse 24″

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