Jesus (in Arabic: Esa, Isa or Issa), Christianity, Judaism
“Say: ‘We believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ismael, 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 submit to God.” (Qur’an 2:136)
The controversy about the personality of Jesus (p.b.u.h.) is the major difference between Islam and Christianity. “Islam and Christianity, as taught by Christ himself, are sister religions, only held apart by dogmas and technicalities which might very well be dispensed with.” (Lord Headley, #1)
“The Gospels were composed after the early Christians had become divided in to different factions. They were in fact composed to propagate the special teachings of the various schools and their authors showed no hesitation in tampering with the earlier documents and other traditional material regarding the life and teaching of Jesus to bring them in line with the views of their school.” (Rev. T. G. Tucker)
Rev. T. G. Tucker writes: “Thus Gospels were produced which clearly reflected the conception of the practical needs of the community for which they were written. In them the traditional material was used, but there was no hesitation in altering it or making additions to it, or in leaving out what did not suit the writer’ purpose.” #2)
J. R. Dummelow writes: “A copyist would sometimes put in, not what was in the text, but what he thought ought to be in it. He would trust a fickle memory, or he would make the text accord with the views of the school to which he belonged. In addition to the versions and quotations from the Christian Fathers nearly four thousand Greek MSS of the Testament were known to exist. As a result the variety of reading is considerable.” #3)
C. J. Cadoux (Life of Jesus) writes: “In the four Gospels, therefore, the main documents to which we must go if we are to fill-out at all that bare sketch which we can put together from other sources, we find material of widely-differing quality as regards credibility. So far-reaching is the element of uncertainty that it is tempting to ‘down tools’ at once, and to declare the task hopeless. The historical inconsistencies and improbabilities in parts of the Gospels form some of arguments advanced in favor of the Christ-myth theory. These are, however, entirely out-weighted – as we have shown – by other considerations. Still, the discrepancies and uncertainties that remain are serious – and consequently many moderns, who have no doubt whatever of Jesus’ real existence, regard as hopeless any attempt to dissolve out the historically-true from the legendary or mythical matter which the Gospels contain, and to reconstruct the story of Jesus’ mission out of the more historical residue.” #4)
Concerning the resurrection of Jesus (p.b.u.h.) in the Bible the four Gospels widely differ in reporting that event. This has led Father Gannengiesser in his Book to stress that Paul, who was ‘the sole eyewitness of Christ’s resurrection, whose voice comes directly to us from his writings’, never speaks of his personal encounter with Him Who was raised from the dead-’… except for three extremely discreet references…’-’he refrains moreover from describing it’. #5
“In the ‘Acts of the Apostles’, Luke (who is widely believed to be their author) describes in chapter 1,3 Jesus’ appearance to the apostles, between the Passion and the Ascension, in the following terms: ‘To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God’ “ #6)
The Jesus Puzzle: “In the first half century of Christian correspondence, including letters attributed to Paul and other epistles under names like Peter, James and John, the Gospel story cannot be found. When these writers speak of their divine Christ, echoes of Jesus of Nazareth are virtually inaudible, including details of a life and ministry, the circumstances of his death, the attribution of any teachings to him. God himself is often identified as the source of Christian ethics.”
Gospel of Barnabas: “The Gospel of Barnabas was accepted as a Canonical Gospel in the Churches of Alexandria till 325 C.E. Iranaeus (130-200) wrote in support of pure monotheism and opposed Paul for injecting into Christianity doctrines of the pagan Roman religion and Platonic philosophy. He had quoted extensively from the Gospel of Barnabas in support of his views. This shows that the Gospel of Barnabas was in circulation in the first and second centuries of Christianity. In 325 C.E., the Nicene Council was held, where it was ordered that all original Gospels in Hebrew script should be destroyed. An Edict was issued that any one in possession of these Gospels will be put to death. In 383 C.E., the Pope secured a copy of the Gospel of Barnabas and kept it in his private library…” (Read the whole Gospel)
“The Fifth Gospel: New Evidence from the Tibetan, Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian and Urdu Sources About the Historical Life of Jesus Christ After the Crucifixion” by Fida Hassnain.
“The Fifth Gospel” presents some compelling new evidence about the life of Jesus which has been derived from a variety of sources in the East which are unknown to most Western scholars. By chance, one of the authors found, in 1965, a reference in Ladakh to the discovery of Buddhist scrolls about Jesus. Since then, the authors have been examining evidence about the survival of Jesus Christ at the time of the crucifixion, and his subsequent travels to the East. The authors’ main purpose in writing this book is to inform the West that “we in the East have some source material about the historical Jesus who lived on after the crucifixion…. This book was not written in one day, but is a result of many years’ continued search for evidence,” and provides research on some very compelling questions.” #12
“Is the Bible infallible, inerrant, free of error?”: ”Jesus Christ declares in the Bible, that the message he was delivering was not his but God’s: “I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak” (Bible, John 12.49). Jesus describes himself as “A man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God” (Bible, John 8.40).
Bible, John 16,13-14 (Jesus speaking): “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” #10)
In the same way as the Qur’an claims, that the revelation which came to Prophet Mohammad was from the Lord of the Worlds: “And lo it (Qur’an) is a revelation of the Lord of the worlds, which the True Spirit has brought down upon your heart (O, Mohammad), that you may be one of the warners.” (Qur’an 26:192-194)
Muslims believe, that Jesus was a messenger of God, whose birth to his mother Mary was miraculous and that he was able to do miraculous deeds, very much in accordance with the Bible.
Although the Qur’an does not present a detailed life-account of Jesus (in Arabic: Esa), it highlights the important aspects of his birth, his mission, his ascension to heaven and passes judgments on the Christian beliefs concerning him.
“When the angels said: ‘God gives you good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah Jesus, son of Mary; high honoured shall he be in this world and the next. Near stationed to God. He shall speak to the men in the cradle, and of old age, and righteous he shall be.’ ‘Lord’, said Mary, ‘how shall I have a son seeing no mortal has touched me?’ ‘Even so’ he said, ‘God creates what He will.’ When He decrees a thing He does but say to it, ‘Be’, and it is.” ( Qur’an 3:45-52. Other verses Q. 3:35-9, Q.19:22-23, Q.19:34-5, Q.4:124.161.171-3, Q.5:116-19, Q. 61:6)
“She conceived him and withdrew with him to a distant place. And the birth-pangs surprised her by the trunk of the palm-tree. She said, ‘would I had died before this, and become a thing forgotten.” The one from the below her called to her, “Do not grieve; see, your Lord has set below you a rivulet and shake toward you the palm-trunk, and there shall come tumbling upon you dates and ripe. Eat therefore, and drink, and be comforted; and if you should see any mortal, say, ‘I have vowed to the All-Merciful a fast, and today I will not speak to any man.’ The she brought the child to her folk carrying him; and they said, ‘Mary you have surely committed a monstrous thing. Sister of Aaron, your father was not a wicked man, nor was your mother a woman of unchaste.’ Mary pointed to the child; but they said, ‘How shall we speak to one who is still in the cradle, a little child?’ He said, ‘Lo, I am God’s servant; god has given me the Book and made me a Prophet. Blessed He has made me, wherever I may be; and He has enjoined me to pray, and to give the alms, so long as I live, and likewise the cherish my mother; He has not made me arrogant or wicked. Peace be upon me, the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I am raised up alive.’ “(Qur’an 19.22-23)
“And for their unbelief, and their uttering against Mary a mighty calumny, and for their saying, ‘We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God’, yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them. Those who are at variance concerning him surely are in doubt regarding him, they have no knowledge of him, except the following of surmise; and they did not slay him of certainty, no indeed; God raised him up to him; God is Almighty, All-wise. There is not one of the people of the Book but will assuredly believe in him before his death, and on the Resurrection Day he will be a witness against them.” (Qur’an 4:156-9)
This teaching can also be found in the Christian-Gnostic Tradition, i.e.. Johns Records 97, 99 , 101, 102; according to Basilides Simon of Kyrene was crucified in the place of Jesus (p.b.u.h.).
In Islam there is no “Original” or “Inherited Sin”. The doctrine of the “Inherited Sin” also finds no support in the words of Jesus or of the Prophets who had come before him. They taught that every man was accountable for his own actions, the children will not be punished for the sins of the father.
Furthermore, when the Qur’an speaks about the suffering of women during the period of pregnancy and childbirth, nowhere does it connect it with the concept of original sin.
“In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.” (Bible, Jeremiah, 31:29-30)
“Unitarianism, the form of Christianity that denies the doctrines of the Trinity, is maintaining that God exists in one person only. From the middle of the 2nd century to the end of the 3rd century a succession of eminent Christian teachers, Monarchians, maintained the undivided unity of God. Modern Unitarianism, however, traces its history to more recent sources… Unitarians are generally agreed in rejecting the entire orthodox Christian outlook. They deny the doctrines of the Trinity, the vicarious atonement, the deity of Jesus Christ, original sin and everlasting punishment, regarding them as both unscriptural and irrational.” (Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2001)
“That is Jesus, son of Mary, in word of truth, concerning which they are doubting. It is not for God to take a son unto Him. Glory be to Him ! When he decrees a thing. He but says to it ‘Be’, and it is.” (Qur’an 19.34-5)
Qur’an 9:30-31: “The Christians say, ‘The Messiah is the Son of God’ … God assail them ! How they are perverted ! .. They were commanded to serve but One God; there is no God but He.”
Qur’an 22:40 ”Those who have been expelled from their homes without a just cause except that they say: Our Lord is GOD. And had there not been God’s repelling some people by others, certainly there would have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques in which God’s name is much remembered; and surely God will help him who helps His cause; most surely God is Strong, Mighty.”
According to the Holy Qur’an Jesus (p.b.u.h.) did not die on a cross. He was raised to God.
From a reportage on Dec.18th 1999, Spiegel-TV:
“….. At that time crucifying was the most common type of death penalty for criminals in Palestine and they must have been, not in thousands, but in tens of thousands altogether. One occasion was mentioned, where culprits were allowed to be taken down from the cross after two days and two of the three men were still alive and thus escaped the death sentence. It is quite possible, that Jesus, if he was crucified, survived the ordeal, and that would also explain why the cave where his body was laid down was empty in the next morning.
Prof. Harmuth Stegemann (Theologe, Univ.Goettingen) is studying the famous ‘Qumran Rolls’ (= Dead Sea Rolls) for 30 years and says, that despite of the many reports in the New Testament (all of them must be considered quite unreliable) almost nothing is known today about the life of Jesus as facts.
It would come to most visitors of the birth-place of Jesus as a shock, if they knew that many biblical archeologists agree today, that Jesus was probably not born there. Constantine, the first Christian Roman Ruler built the ‘Birth Church’ of Jesus in 336 (A.D.) on the place where Jesus is thought to be born.
The only thing that speaks for Jerusalem/Bethlehem as birth-place is, that according to the old prophesies ‘Messias’ was to be born there and therefore for the early Christians Jesus, whom they believed to be the awaited Messiah, logically was born in Jerusalem…
Very few places can today be accurately connected with Jesus. Lake Genezareth is one of them. In the fishing village Capernaum Jesus paid taxes and therefore he was probably born there.
In the New Testament it is reported that Jesus taught in Nazareth, but at that time no synagogue existed in Nazareth. In the village Capernaum a synagogue from the 1st century is being excavated that most probably was the place where Jesus lived and taught………. “
The Pope contradicts the Bible: ”The traditional Biblical account of Jesus’ crucifixion is, that he was arrested and crucified by the orders and plans of the chief priest and Jewish elders. This account was denied in the 1960’s by the highest Catholic Christian authority, the Pope. He issued a statement in which he said the Jews had nothing to do with Jesus’ crucifixion. You might say, this is a political decree. Or that the Church had introduced many elements into Christianity and was influenced by many factors which made its view of Christianity not only changeable but, by and large, contradict the early forms of Christianity.
Most serious studies of the Bible have shown that it contains a large portion of additions, which neither Jesus nor the writers of the Gospels said. The church, as Heinz Zahrnt said, ” put words into the mouth of Jesus which he newer spoke and attributed actions to him which he never performed.” However, they are kept secret or available only to the specialists. One of those, who has shown, that most of what the church says about Jesus is baseless is the German journalist and author Rudolf Augstein in his book “Jesus Son of Man” #7)
One of the studies is a book entitled “The Myth of God Incarnate” (edited by John Hick) written by seven Christian scholars in England. Their conclusion is, that Jesus was “a man approved by God, for special role within the divine purpose, and … the later conception of him as God Incarnate … is a mythological or poetic way of expressing his significance for us.” #8)
The Holy Qur’an states:
“There is no compulsion in religion” (Q. 2:256)
“Truth comes from your Lord. Let anyone who will, believe, and let anyone who wishes, disbelieve.” (Qur’an 18.29)
“God forbids you not, with regards to those who fight you not for (your) faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them; for God loves those who are just.” (Q. 60.8)
“Abraham was not a Jew or a Christian; but he was true in faith, and bowed his will to God’s (= was a Muslim) and he joined not gods with God. Without doubt, among people, the nearest of kin to Abraham are those who follow him, as are also this apostle (Mohammad) and those who believe. And God is the protector of those who have faith.” (Q.3:67-68)
Muslims believe in a chain prophets starting with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist, and Jesus, peace be upon them all. But God’s final message to man, a summing up of all that has been sent before was revealed to Prophet Mohammad (p.b.u.h).
It reflects also the question of the genuineness of the Gospels. Quote: ”The disappointing fact seems to be that most of the surviving New Testament Apocrypha arose in legitimate attempts to comprehend realities about which the canonical Gospels are mute, and any dogged attempt to read them is apt to leave the reader with one prime reaction–those 2nd and 3rd century Christian editors who decided on the final contents of the New Testament were, above all else, superb literary critics. And so we have the four Gospels. It has been fashionable among New Testament scholars for most of the 20th century to say that the Gospels are not what they claim to be: brief biographies…
Many modern scholars, however, have tended to see them as propaganda, as campaign biographies–documents that contain fragments of actual history, but history so shaped and transformed by faith as to require caution in the reader who seeks firm fact.” #11)
About the same theme: “The Atlantic Monthly”, Dec.96: “The Search for a No-Frills Jesus.”
The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Scholarship
The Authenticity of the Qur’an:
There is no doubt about the authenticity of the Qur’an. It contains nothing but the revelations received by the Prophet Mohammad (p.b.u.h.). The revelations came to him in fragments on different occasions, from time to time over a period of 23 years (610-632 A.D.). As soon as he received any, he used to communicate it to his companions and ask them not only to commit it to memory, but also to write them down. (Prophet Mohammad could not read or write.)
On each occasion he indicated in a precise manner the place to which the revelation belonged. Thus the complete Qur’an was committed to writing and also preserved in the hearts of hundreds of persons in the life-time of the Prophet.
After the passing away of the Prophet (p.b.u.h), Abu Bakr, the first Caliph charged Zaid ibn Thabit with the task of preparing an authentic copy of the entire text in the form of a book. The companions of the Prophets had recorded the revelations that had come to the Prophets “on palm leaves and flat stones and in the hearts of men”. (This is not surprising: the oral tradition was strong and well established, and the Arabic script which was written without the vowel markings and consonantal dots used today, served mainly as an aid to memorization.) Zaid ibn Thabit collected all the recordings and, after comparing them with what the followers of the Prophet hat learnt by heart, compiled a copy, called “MUS’RAF” (bound leaves), about the genuineness or correctness of which there was no doubt.
The establishment of such a text in the beginning had not been of primary concern: the Medinan Arabs, an unlikely coalition of ex-merchants, desert nomads, and agriculturalists united in a potent new faith and inspired by the life of Prophet Mohammad, were at the time pursuing a fantastically successful series of international conquests in the name of Islam.
By the 640’s the Arabs possessed most of Syria, Iraq, Persia, and Egypt, and thirty years later they were taking over parts of Europe, North Africa, and Central Asia.
Muslims at the edges of the empire began arguing over what was Qur’anic scripture and what was not. An army general returning from Azerbaijan expressed his fears about sectarian controversy to the Caliph Uthman (644-656 A.D.), the third Islamic ruler to succeed Prophet Mohammad (p.b.u.h.) and is said to have entreated him to “overtake these people before they differ over the Qur’an the way the Jews and Christians differ over their Scripture.” Uthman convened an editorial committee that carefully gathered the various pieces of scripture that had been memorized or written down by the Prophet’s companions. The result was a standard written version of the Qur’an. Uthman ordered all incomplete and ‘imperfect’ collections of the Qur’anic scripture destroyed. #9)
At the order of Uthman seven copies of the Mus’raf-edition of the Holy Qur’an were sent to the different centers of the vast Islamic world. One of these seven original copies still exists in Tashkent.
#1) Lord Headley, ” A Western Awakening to Islam.” (page 15)
#2) Rev. T.G. Tucker: “History of the Christians in the light of Modern Knowledge.” (page 320)
#3) J.R. Dummelow: “Commentary on the Holy Bible.” (page 16)
#4) C.J. Cadoux: “Life of Jesus” (The Author was Mackennal Prof. of Churh History at Oxford Univ.)
#5) Father Kannengiesser: “Faith in the Resurrection, Resurrection of Faith” (Foi en la Resurrection, Resurrection de la Foi), 1974
#6) Pages 94-109, “The Bible, The Qur’an And Science” by Maurice Bucaille, “… many questions regarding The Bible and The Quran clarified..”
#7) Rudolf Augstein: “Jesus Son of Man” (Germany 1972, English translation 1977)
#8) John Hick (ed.): “The Myth of God Incarnate.” (1977 England, written by 7 theologian Scholars)