August 7, 2005


What Do Muslims Believe About Jesus, Mary and the Bible?: Some similarities to Christian teaching may obscure profound differences in belief. (Robert Spencer, 2/1/2005, The Catholic Answer)

Christians are sometimes surprised to discover that Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and Christianity figure prominently in the Muslim holy book, the Qur’an. The Qur’an actually teaches Jesus’ virgin birth; sura (chapter) 19 of the book is entitled “Mary,” and it contains a long description of Jesus’ birth.

In fact, the Qur’an purports to give details of Jesus’ birth that aren’t found in the canonical Gospels. As in the heretical infancy “gospels” (which the ancient Church rightly rejected in assembling the canon of Scripture), He even speaks in His cradle:

“But she pointed to the babe. They said: ‘How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?’ He said: ‘I am indeed a servant of Allah [the Muslim name for the Supreme Being]: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet; and He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live; (He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable; so peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)!’ ” (Sura 19:29-33).

In Islam Mary is the Virgin Mother, but she is not the Mother of God, because Jesus is not divine. The Qur’an does not disagree with the Bible about the miraculous virgin birth of Jesus, but it does disagree about the implications of this event. In Islam the Virgin Birth doesn’t point to the divinity of Christ; it is only another sign of Allah’s supreme power and wisdom.

The Qur’an refers to Jesus as “a spirit proceeding from Allah,” but it denies the Trinity and insists that Jesus is not the Son of God (see Sura 4:171). Rather, it condemns those who consider Christ divine: “In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary” (Sura 5:17).

At the same time, however, Jesus is called the “Word of Allah” several times in the Qur’an: “The angel said, ‘Mary, Allah makes an announcement to you of a word from himself whose name is the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, outstanding in this world and the next, and one of those drawn near” (Sura 3:45). And again in Sura 4:171: “The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, is only a messenger of Allah and a word which He projected to Mary, and a spirit from Himself.”

Islam likewise denies that Jesus was crucified: “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: nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise” (Sura 4:157).

The Qur’an places this human Jesus who was not crucified in a line of prophets that includes many Old Testament figures: “Say ye: ‘We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: And we bow to Allah (in Islam)’” (Sura 2:136).

In the Qur’anic view, this line of prophets culminates in Muhammad, who is considered the last and greatest prophet. The revelation they believe God gave him — the Qur’an — confirms and completes all previous revelations.

It seems reasonably obvious that if Jews and Muslims believed Christ to be divine they'd be Christians.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 7, 2005 1:51 PM

If my dog quacked, she'd be a duck.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at August 7, 2005 2:24 PM

And you'd have some rational cause to believe in Darwinism.

Posted by: oj at August 7, 2005 3:21 PM

Hmmm.. Sura 19 has Baby Jesus, clearly by the power of Allah, saying he'd live, die, and be resurrected. But resurrection is of the dead, not the living, so what gives with Sura 4, that states Jesus didn't die, but only appeared to be crucified?

Posted by: Ptah at August 7, 2005 7:08 PM