Jesus in the Glorious Qur’an
The Qur’an tells us a lot of wonderful things about Jesus. As a result, believers in the Qur’an love Jesus, honour him, and believe in him. In fact, no Muslim can be a Muslim unless he or she believes in Jesus, on whom be peace.
The Qur’an says that Jesus was born of a virgin, that he spoke while he was still only a baby, that he healed the blind and the leper by God’s leave, and that he raised the dead by God’s leave.
What then is the significance of these miracles? First, the virgin birth. God demonstrates his power to create in every way. God created everyone we know from a man and a woman. But how about Adam, on whom be peace? God created him from neither a man nor a woman. And Eve from only a man, but not a woman. And, finally, to complete the picture, God created Jesus from a woman, but not a man.
What about the other miracles? These were to show that Jesus was not acting on his own behalf, but that he was backed by God. The Qur’an specifies that these miracles were performed by God’s leave. This may be compared to the Book of Acts in the Bible, chapter 2, verse 22, where it says that the miracles were done by God to show that he approved of Jesus. Also, note that Jesus himself is recorded in the Gospel of John to have said, “I can do nothing of my own authority” (5:30). The miracles, therefore, were done not by his own authority, but by God’s authority.
What did Jesus teach? The Qur’an tells us that Jesus came to teach the same basic message which was taught by previous prophets from God—that we must shun every false god and worship only the one true God. Jesus taught that he is the servant and messenger of that one true God, the God of Abraham. These Quranic teachings can be compared with the Bible ( Mark 10:18; Matthew 26:39; John 14:28, 17:3, and 20:17) where Jesus teaches that the one he worshipped is the only true God. See also Matthew 12:18; Acts 3:13, and 4:27 where we find that his disciples knew him as Servant of God.
The Qur’an tells us that some of the Israelites rejected Jesus, and conspired to kill him, but Allah (God) rescued Jesus and raised him to Himself. Allah will cause Jesus to descend again, at which time Jesus will confirm his true teachings and everyone will believe in him as he is and as the Qur’an teaches about him.
Jesus is the Messiah. He is a word from Allah, and a spirit from Him. He is honoured in this world and in the hereafter, and he is one of those brought nearest to Allah.
Jesus was a man who spoke the truth which he heard from God. This can be compared with the Gospel According to John where Jesus says to the Israelites: “You are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God” (John 8:40).
The Virgin Birth of Jesus
Muslims believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. When the angels announced to Mary (peace be upon her) about Allah’s promise that she will have a son, she was surprised, since she was a virgin. “How can this be?” she thought. She was reminded that it is easy for Allah to create whatever he wills.
She said: My Lord! How can I have a child when no mortal hath touched me? He said: So (it will be). Allah createth what He will. If He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is (Qur’an 3:47).
It is not difficult for Allah to do anything he wants. He can create a child with both human parents or only one. No miracle is beyond His power. After all, He had created Adam (peace be upon him) from neither a man nor a woman. He created the rest of us from both man and woman. What is so hard if Allah decides to create a human being from a woman only? He only commands “Be!” and it occurs.
Some people think that since Jesus, peace be upon him, had no human father then God must be his father. The Qur’an rejects this view. The position of Jesus with Allah is comparable to the position of Adam with Allah. Just because Adam had no human parent does not mean we should call him the Son of God.
Lo! the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is. (Qur’an 3:59).
According to the Qur’an, everyone except Allah are His servants.
And they say: the Beneficent hath taken unto Himself a Son. Assuredly ye utter a disastrous thing, whereby almost the heavens are torn, and the earth is split asunder and the mountains fall to ruins, that ye ascribe to the Beneficent a son, when it is not meet for (the Majesty of) the Beneficent that He should chose a son. There is none in the heavens and the earth but cometh unto the Beneficent as a slave. (Qur’an 19:88-93)
The Miracles of Jesus
According to the Qur’an, Jesus, on whom be peace, performed the following miracles by Allah’s leave:
1. Spoke while he was only a baby.
2. Healed those born blind.
3. Healed the lepers.
4. Revived the dead.
5. Breathed life into a bird made of clay.
In the Qur’an Allah quotes Jesus, peace be upon him, as 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 to you what you eat and what you store up in your houses. Lo! herein verily is a portent for you if you are to be 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 straight path. (Qur’an 3: 49-51).
Again, in the Qur’an Allah tells us about the situation on the Day of Judgement:
In the day when Allah gathers together the messengers and says: What was your response (from mankind)? they say: We have no knowledge. Lo! Thou, only Thou art the Knower of Things Hidden.
When Allah says: O Jesus, son of Mary! Remember My favour unto you and unto your mother; how I strengthened you with the holy Spirit, so that you spoke unto mankind in the cradle as in maturity; and how I taught you the Scripture and Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and how you did shape of clay as it were the likeness of a bird by My permission, and did blow upon it and it was a bird by My permission, and you did heal him who was born blind and the leper by My permission . . . (Qur’an 5:109-110)
Not all of these miracles are recorded in the canonical gospels, the four gospels contained in the Christian Bible.
The fact that Jesus spoke while he was yet a baby is not written anywhere in the Bible. This should not be surprising, because none of the Gospels can claim to recover every single event in the life of Jesus. Instead, the gospel According to John seeks to emphasize that the events were too many to record.
Similarly, the miracle of breathing life into a bird made of clay is not attested by the Christian Bible. This too should not make us wonder. It is obvious that the writers of the gospels could write down only the tradition that was available to them. Furthermore, they could not write down everything they knew about Jesus for they were writing on papyrus material that were very limited in length.
What is worthy to notice here is that the Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, was honest enough to promulgate this information about Jesus. The religion taught by God through Muhammad would deny the divinity of Jesus. Any human being, therefore, who wished to deny the divinity of Jesus would have tried to belittle Jesus. Since Christians looked upon the miracles of Jesus as a proof of his divinity, we might expect that any human being who tries to deny the divinity of Jesus would not have informed people of miracles not previously known to them. He might have even tried to deny some of the miracles recorded in the canonical gospels. On the other hand, the prophet Muhammad honestly conveyed the message delivered to him from Allah. (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.)
Allah tells us the truth without fear. Human beings trying to win followers tell us only what is conducive to winning us over. They usually withhold information that could lead to opposite conclusions. On the other hand, Allah informs us about the miracles of Jesus even if people use this information to support their prior commitment to the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus. Allah does not need to win worshippers. Those who worship Allah does so for their own good. And those who worship false gods do so to their own detriment.
What Allah emphasizes, though, is that the miracles of Jesus do not prove he was divine. The miracles he performed were a sign, a proof, that he was God’s messenger. He performed them with God’s help and permission. Those who use his miracles as proof of his divinity would choose to forget the following sayings of Jesus:
I can of my own authority do nothing. (John 5:30)
They also forget the declaration of Peter:
Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves know. (Acts 2:22 KJV).
These passages suggest that Jesus did not do miracles on his own. These, rather were accomplished by God’s leave. Allah reminds us of this. Jesus also constantly repeated to his audience that the miracles he performed were by God’s leave.