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What We Know About Jesus

Question and answer details
Firas B Alomari
2011/12/27
What does Islam say about Prophet Isa (Jesus) may peace be upon him? Was he married or if he was not, do we have a proof that he was not?
Shahul Hameed
Answer

Salam, Firas. 

  

Thank you for your question. 

  

The two Muslim sources of knowledge about ‘Isa ibnu Maryam (Jesus), peace be on him, are the Noble Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In addition, we can use the Gospels and other Christian literature if they do not contradict our primary authentic sources. The Muslim scholars of the past who have written on the life and teachings of Jesus have obviously relied on all these sources. 

  

To come to your question: What does Islam say about Jesus (peace be upon him)?

 

First, see the verses of the Noble Qur’an in Surat Maryam 19:16 to 36. Here you find how Maryam (Mary) the mother of Jesus was approached by the angel of God in the shape of a man and announced to her about the birth of Jesus (peace be upon him). Mary remonstrated: ‘How shall I have a son while no man has touched me, neither have I been unchaste!’ The angel told her: ‘So (it will be). Your Lord said: It is easy for Me, and We shall make of him a miracle for mankind and a Mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained.’

 

Thus the conception and birth of Jesus was ‘an ordained thing’ by God, which means that Jesus had a miraculous birth without a father. As Jesus was born without any human father, the Jews of the time pointed an accusing finger at her. According to their Law such a woman deserved death by stoning. But we find how she was saved by another miracle: When the people questioned her about the baby in her arms, as the Qur'an says what means:

 

*{Then she pointed to him. They said: ‘How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?’ He (the child) said: “I am indeed a slave (servant) of Allah. He has given me the Book and made me a prophet. And He has made me blessed wherever I may be, and has enjoined upon me Prayer and Charity as long as I live. And (He has made me) dutiful to my mother, and not arrogant (and) unblessed. And peace be upon me the day I was born, and the day I shall die, and the day I shall be raised to life!” }* (Maryam 19:29-33)

 

This miracle of the baby in Mary’s arms speaking to the people is not mentioned in any of the Gospels. But imagine the situation of an unmarried woman bringing her newborn baby to the midst of the legalistic self-righteous Jews of the day! Does anyone think that she would have been spared of the punishment for adultery (stoning to death), if Allah Almighty had not saved her and her son?

 

Incidentally this was one example as to how the final  Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) with the Noble Qur’an in hand “glorified” Jesus, as has been foretold by Jesus himself when he was bidding farewell to his disciples. (Read the Gospel of John Chapter 16, verses 5 to 14).

 

One important point worth mentioning is that the Noble Qur’an refers to Jesus as Masih `Isa ibn Maryam, that is, Christ Jesus, son of Mary. In fact, this is an indirect way of saying that Jesus Christ was not God’s son, but Mary’s son. The Muslim scripture is emphatic in its statement that God is One and only One. Muslims do not accept the Christian claim that Jesus was/is God, or one of the three “persons” in God. And for that matter, even the Gospels do not say that Jesus claimed to be God or God's Son. What his miraculous birth shows IS the ineffable Creative Power of God. That Jesus did not have a human father DOES NOT mean that he was “begotten” by God, as the Christians claim. If to be born without a father makes Jesus God’s son, then Adam deserves that title more; as he had no father and no mother. Allah says in the Noble Qur’an what means:

 

*{Verily, the similitude of `Isa (Jesus) before Allah is that of Adam. He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: "Be!" - and he was.}* (Aal-`Imran 3:59).

 

In the previous surah, we find the miracles of Jesus mentioned, such as healing the leper, giving sight to the blind and restoring a dead man to life. To the Christian all these miracles are “proof” that Jesus was God. But the real author of these miracles was God Himself, and not Jesus as the Qur’an states what means:

 

*{And God will teach him the scripture and wisdom, and the Torah and the Gospel. And will make him a messenger unto the children of Israel, (saying): Lo! I come unto you with a sign from your Lord. Lo! I fashion for you out of clay the likeness of a bird, and I breathe into it and it is a bird, by Allah's leave. I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I raise the dead, by Allah's leave. And I announce unto you what you eat and what you store up in your houses. Lo! herein verily is a portent for you, if you are believers. And (I come) confirming that which was before me of the Torah, and to make lawful some of that which was forbidden unto you. I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to Allah and obey me. Lo! Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a way that is straight.}* (Aal-`Imran 3:48-51).

 

It is noteworthy that the above verses were revealed to Muhammad (peace be on him) at a time the Jews maliciously alleged that Jesus was an illegitimate son of Mary, who falsely claimed to be the long-awaited Messiah.

 

According to them, he deserved crucifixion because he was falsely claiming to be the promised Messiah of the Children of Israel. It was at this juncture, that Muhammad, peace be on him, and his followers vindicated Jesus by reciting the above verses of the Qur’an and affirmed that he was indeed the promised Messiah and a great prophet of God; which fact was a fulfillment of the prophecy made by Jesus in John 16:13-14:

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you."

 

Here Jesus was speaking of a Spirit of Truth or Comforter who would come to glorify him. And anyone who makes an objective study of the life and teachings of Muhammad (peace be upon him) can see that he was the final Prophet of God or “the spirit of truth” prophesied by Jesus (peace be upon him).

 

Allah says in Qur’an what means:

 

*{And He will teach him (Jesus) the Book and the wisdom, and the Torah and the Gospel. And (will make him) a messenger to the Children of Israel….}* (Aal-`Imran 3:48-49)

 

This Qur’anic position on Jesus–that he was a messenger sent to the Children of Israel–is corroborated by what Jesus himself said according to the Gospels:

“I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)

 

The above verse (as well as other verses like Matthew 5: 17-19 and Matthew 19: 16-19) bears the clearest possible testimony that Jesus’ mission was limited to the Children of Israel; that he worked within the framework of the Torah, and that his mission was primarily bringing the lost sheep of the House of Israel back to the fold.

 

Allah cleared Jesus of the disbelief of his people by saying what means:

 

*{(And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! I will take you and raise you to Myself, and cleanse you of those who disbelieve; and I will make those who follow (you) superior to those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me you will (all) return, and I will judge between you as to that wherein you used to differ. And as for those who disbelieve I will punish them with severe torment in this world and the Hereafter; and they will have no helpers.}* (Aal-`Imran 3:55-56)

 

Thus Allah raised Jesus up to Heaven, and so he was saved from an accursed death on the cross. So the belief of his self-styled “followers” as well as of his enemies–about his death on the cross-was false. It was the plan of the enemies of Jesus to crucify him; but Allah foiled their plan. So to believe in his death by crucifixion means that those unbelievers were successful against God’s plan. But assuredly they could not crucify Jesus the Messenger of Allah:

 

*{And their saying (is) ‘we slew the Messiah, Jesus Son of Mary, Allah’s messenger’ – They slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so to them. And those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture. For of a surety they slew him not; but Allah took him up to Himself. Allah is Almighty (and) All-Wise. And there is none of the People of the Book (the Jews and Christians) but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them.}* (An-Nisaa' 4:157-159)

 

As for Jesus’ “marriage”:

 

Neither the two Muslim sources (the Noble Qur’an and the Sunnah) nor the Gospels say anything about Jesus’ marriage: so we have no reason to believe that he was married. The burden of bringing proof is on the person who claims that Jesus was married. And (if you are a poet) you can “body forth” things new and persons unknown from the fairy land of imagination and give “to airy nothing a local habitation and a name”, as Shakespeare said.

 

Only Allah knows.

 

I hope this answer would satisfy you. If you have any other questions, please send us again and keep in touch.

 

Salam.

 

Useful links:

 

Did Prophet Jesus Marry?


The Alleged Torture and Crucifixion of Jesus


Is Jesus Dead or Alive?


Jesus between Islam and Christianity


Is Islam the Continuation of Christianity?


About Muhammad and Jesus (Peace Be Upon Them)


The Meaning of "Messiah"

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