Justice for Jesus | Part I
In the context of mainstream religions in the modern day and, in fact, at all times since his birth, the character of the man named Īsā (in Arabic), Īshoa (in Aramaic), Yīshua (in Hebrew) and Jesus (in English) has constantly been hailed as a fundamental figure in forming a view of the correct creed.
Controversy has been central to this topic and, for some, there is confusion as to what to believe about him from the most basic and elementary of matters. Was he God? Was he a man? Was he god and man? Was he a spirit? Was he all three: God, man and spirit? Or was he a significant, superior, special man, chosen to deliver the message from Allāh (God) as a prophet like Noah (Nūḥ), Abraham (Ibrāhīm), Moses(Mūsā) and Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) (ʿalayhim al-Salām)?
This series aims to answer the crucial question as to who he was by examining his own reported words. In order to achieve this it is, first and foremost, integral to rely upon the most sound sources.
To start with, it is well known that ethnically Īsā (Jesus) was Jewish. He was born to the one who always guarded her chastity and was a righteous and exemplary servant of Allāh (God), Maryam (Mary). So, needless to say, he never spoke a word of English or ever heard the name Jesus, as he is commonly referred to today. The name Jesus is not a Hebrew term and, therefore, results from various interpretations and translations over time. The closest to the Hebrew Yīshua is the Arabic Īsā with only a superficial difference in pronunciation.
Today there are various versions of the Bible in existence, with each sect or denomination claiming authenticity and divinity to its own. Of interest to the task at hand is one particular version known as the Red Letter Bible which, for ease of reference, has all the words directly attributed to Īsā (Jesus) in the colour red. Shockingly and strikingly, from all the books of testament, when put side by side, less than twenty five pages are in red font. This illustrates how little there appears to be of the direct supposed teachings of such a major man on which to base an entire religion. The rest are the words of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John with additional commentaries by Paul who is regarded by many theologians and historians as the founder of modern day Christianity as, previous to Paul, the gentile (not ethnically Jewish) were not allowed to become members of the religious congregation. This is in addition to the primary problem of authenticity—the authors of the New Testament being anonymous, and agreed amongst Christians not to have even met Jesus.
What we want to know is what Īsā (Jesus) said and not the interpretations and views of others who never actually met him. Moving on from the Bible we examine the Qur’ān. It is a book still preserved in its original Arabic form, attested by the fact that multiple millions of people have memorised the entire book. It being the one agreed version within Islām remains unquestioned. Regardless of continent or country or an individual’s mother tongue, the Qur’ān is still read in the original Arabic and, therefore, any changes or mistakes would be recognised immediately. This method has been maintained from the time of the final messenger Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) up until today. No other book or scripture boasts anywhere near such a rigorous respect and proficient preservation and, as such, it remains the most reliable source for deriving and understanding the true teachings of the one God (Allāh) revealed to all the prophets and messengers.
Its teachings on the topic at hand are far from tangential as it mentions Īsā (Jesus) many more times by name as compared to Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) himself. It also has a key chapter named after his mother: Sūrah Maryam (The Chapter of Mary).
As we begin looking at all the statements in the Qur’ān referring to Īsā (Jesus) we must sincerely be prepared to seek true understanding.
For the purpose of this series, we start with:
Surely the likeness of Īsā (Jesus) is with Allāh as the likeness of Ādam; He created him from dust, then said to him, Be, and he was.
In the sight of Allāh the similitude of Īsā (Jesus) is like that of Ādam. Just like any other matter He decrees, it is a simple case of the command “Be” and it is. It is not something at all difficult and far from doubtful for the One who alone is worthy of worship, the All-Able the All-Powerful, the flawless Shaper who is the Lord of the heavens and earth, everything within them and anything that exists.
This next verse we will highlight clarifies the alleged crucifixion in clear terms. Muslims believe Īsā (Jesus) will return to the Earth before the final hour. In the meantime, he was saved from the plots and taken up to the heavens. He must and will return for many reasons, one of which is that he is yet to die and all humans have to taste death in this earthly life.
And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Īsā son of Maryam, the apostle of Allāh; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Īsā) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure.
There is much research which shows by way of chronology how the claim of the crucifixion is far from convincing. The Qur’ān is clear in that he was neither killed nor crucified and what the Christians say is speculative at best. It is to satisfy a designed dogma that he took the burden of all sins that this story is propagated and yet nowhere in any authentic text did he make this contradictory claim.
This following verse advises the Jews and Christians by way of admonition against taking the religion to extremes. The Jews failed to accept Īsā (Jesus) saying they only follow Mūsā (Moses) and the Christians, out of supposed love, elevated Jesus to the status of God himself and fell into the same trap as the Jews by rejecting Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) without any proof or sound basis. Muslims, on the other hand, follow the only true way of life ordained by Allāh (God), maintain the middle path and accept, respect and believe in all three of these noble prophets as well as all others.
O followers of the Book! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, and do not speak (lies) against Allāh, but (speak) the truth. The Messiah, Īsā son of Maryam is only an apostle of Allāh and His Word which He communicated to Maryam and a spirit from Him; believe therefore in Allāh and His apostles, and say not, Three. Desist, it is better for you; Allāh is only one Allāh; far be it from His glory that He should have a son, whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His, and Allāh is sufficient for a Protector.
This verse also contains another major warning against saying ‘three’ i.e. the Trinity, because it is in complete opposition to monotheism.
Never would the Messiah disdain to be a servant of Allāh, nor would the angels near [to Him]. And whoever disdains His worship and is arrogant – He will gather them to Himself all together.
We see with this verse that to be a pious slave and worshipper of Allāh (God) is the greatest of privileges and to attain such a status is not degrading to anyone as no one stands anywhere near His absolute majesty. Consequently, the most cherished of creation (the Prophets) and, in this case, Īsā (Jesus) are all too aware of this fact as are the angels so they stand ready to glorify without feeling the slightest arrogance or doubt.
This following verse provides a powerful description of the total power of Allāh (God):
They have certainly disbelieved who say that Allāh is Christ, the son of Mary. Say, “Then who could prevent Allāh at all if He had intended to destroy Christ, the son of Mary, or his mother or everyone on the earth?” And to Allāh belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them. He creates what He wills, and Allāh is over all things competent.
The first point to be noted is the question of who could prevent Allāh (God) with His various means of manifest power if everything were to be destroyed right now? We see the extreme examples of His power in earthquakes and how they erase masses in the midst of their oblivious days, as people continue living and denying Allāh (God). They dream, not knowing the Angel of Death waits for no one but the command of Allāh(God). The second point is at the end of the verse in the mention that Allāh (God) creates what or whom He wills. After all, He alone created Ādam with neither mother nor father. So what of Īsā (Jesus) who had a mother? These matters are entirely and exclusively down to the decree of Allāh (God) and He decrees all things with a particular wisdom and purpose without having to be answerable to anyone or anything.
The matter of making and elevating Īsā (Jesus) to a God-status or suggesting he is the son of God is most grave and a manifest opposite to monotheism. These next two verses highlight this:
They have certainly disbelieved who say, “Allāh is the Messiah, the son of Mary” while the Messiah has said, “O Children of Israel, worship Allāh, my Lord and your Lord.” Indeed, he who associates others with Allāh – Allāh has forbidden him Paradise, and his refuge is the Fire. And there are not for the wrongdoers any helpers. They have certainly disbelieved who say, “Allāh is the third of three.” And there is no god except one God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will surely afflict the disbelievers among them a painful punishment.
Īsā (Jesus) instructs, just as each and every other Prophet has done, to worship Allāh alone -“my lord and your lord”. He reminds the people that his privilege over them is his being blessed and chosen with Prophethood to proclaim the oneness of Allāh (God) and the practice of monotheism. Only a few received this grace of Allāh to be the leaders of mankind and yet for some it is not enough that Īsā (Jesus) is a mighty messenger of Allāh (God). They devalue this exclusivity of positions and choose to make him Allāh (God) thereby ridiculing monotheism and erasing his message.
One of the innumerable strengths of the Qur’ān is that Allāh (God) revealed many similitudes and examples to emphatically make the truth apparent without ambiguity. These examples cater for all calibre of recipients on the condition they are sincere in their search.
The Messiah, son of Maryam is but an apostle; apostles before him have indeed passed away; and his mother was a truthful woman; they both used to eat food. See how We make the communications clear to them, then behold, how they are turned away.
Is it not the case that both Īsā (Jesus) and Maryam (Mary) ate food showing, amongst other things, that they were dependant? What is your concept of God? Does He eat food? In Islām, Allāh (God) is self-sufficient, the Absolute – not like humans in any way. In theology, the concept of God is critical and there is no doubt that only Islām satisfies the strict criteria in singling out Allāh (God) alone for worship.
Far from pleasing or honouring Īsā (Jesus) in giving him the title of ‘God’, it is the biggest insult one could call him. He was born a Prophet and Messenger and those who invoke him instead of Allāh (God) have equated him to stone-carved idols and other man-made gods. Despite this, Allāh (God) is aware that Īsā (Jesus) never diverged in delivering the message that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allāh (God) alone. He says in the Qur’ān,
Those who disbelieved from among the children of Israel were cursed by the tongue of Dāwūd and Īsā, son of Maryam; this was because they disobeyed and used to exceed the limit.
It is undisputed that Īsā (Jesus) has a very special status granted by Allāh (God). In the next article we will outline some of the specific favours Allāh (God) bestowed upon Īsā (Jesus), highlighting how blessed he was as a special figure without the need of being elevated beyond his due.
 Al-Qur’ān, 3:59
 Al-Qur’ān, 4:157
 Al-Qur’ān, 4:171
 Al-Qur’an, 4:172
 Al-Qur’an, 5:17
 Al-Qur’ān, 5:72-73
 Al-Qur’ān, 5:75
 Al-Qur’ān, 5:78