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praiseworthiness

Jesus in Islam

Jesus in Islam (عيسى `Īsā) is a messenger of God who had been sent to guide the Children of Israel Arabic: (بنى اسرائيل)(banī isrā'īl) with a new scripture, the bible Injīl Arabic:(انجيل) (gospel). The Qur'an, believed by Muslims to be God's final revelation, states that Jesus was born to Mary (Arabic:مريم Maryam) as the result of virginal conception, a miraculous event which occurred by the decree of God (Arabic: Allah). To aid him in his quest, Jesus was given the ability to perform miracles, all by the permission of God. According to Islamic texts, Jesus was neither killed nor crucified, but rather he was raised alive up to heaven. Islamic traditions narrate that he will return to earth near the day of judgment to restore justice and defeat al-Masīḥ ad-Dajjāl (lit. "the false messiah", also known as the Antichrist). Like all prophets in Islam, Jesus is considered to have been a Muslim, as he preached for people to adopt the straight path in submission to God's will. Islam rejects that Jesus was God incarnate or the son of God, stating that he was an ordinary man who, like other prophets, had been divinely chosen to spread God's message. Islamic texts forbid the association of partners with God (shirk), emphasizing the notion of God's divine oneness (tawhīd). Numerous titles are given to Jesus in the Qur'an, such as al-Masīḥ ("the messiah; the anointed one" i.e. by means of blessings), although it does not correspond with the meaning accrued in Christian belief. Jesus is seen in Islam as a precursor to Muhammad, and is believed by Muslims to have foretold the latter's coming.

Etymology

The Anglicized name of Jesus is derived from the Latin Iēsus, which in turn comes from the Greek Ἰησοῦς (Iēsoûs). The Qur'anic reference as 'Isa has puzzled Western scholars and several theories have been proposed. One theory is that "y-sh-' , the Hebrew consonants of Yeshua, have been reversed to give 's-y, the Arabic consonants of `Īsā." Another theory, according to the Encyclopedia of the Qur'an, is that "the Jews called Jesus "Esau" (Hebrew 'Esaw)

Life

Birth

Many people may be surprised that Muslims love Mary, the mother of Jesus. In the Quran, no woman is given more attention than Mary. Mary receives the most attention of any woman mentioned in the Quran even though all the Prophets with the exception of Adam had mothers. Of the Quran's 114 chapters, she is among the eight people who have a chapter named after them. The nineteenth chapter of the Quran is named after her, Mariam. Mariam means Mary in Arabic. The third chapter in the Quran is named after her father, Imran. Chapters Mariam and Imran are among the most beautiful chapters in the Quran. Mary (peace be upon her) is the only woman specifically named in the Quran. One narration in Sahih Bukhari states that the Prophet said, "The superiority of 'Aisha to other ladies is like the superiority of Tharid (i.e. meat and bread dish) to other meals. Many men reached the level of perfection, but no woman reached such a level except Mary, the daughter of Imran and Asia, the wife of Pharaoh." (Bukhari 4.643). Indeed, both Mary and Pharoah's wife are an example (Quran 66:11-12). The Virgin Mary plays a very significant role in Islam. She is an example and a sign for all people.

In the , Mary's story begins while she is still in her mother's womb. The mother of Mary, said: "O my Lord! I do dedicate into Thee what is in my womb for Thy special service: So accept this of me: For Thou hearest and knowest all things." (Quran 3:35).

She wanted the baby in her womb to serve only the Creator. When Mary was delivered, she said: "O my Lord! Behold! I am delivered of a female child!" (Quran 3:36). She had expected her baby to be a male child who would grow up to be a scholar or religious leader. However, God had a better plan. God is the best of planners. Quran 3:36 continues "…and God knew best what she brought forth- 'And no wise is the male like the female. I have named her Mariam, and I commend her and her offspring to Thy protection from Satan, the Rejected.'" Mariam literally means "maidservant of God."

In Quran 3:37, God states that He accepted Mary as her mother had asked. He made Mary grow in purity and beauty. She was assigned to the care of a priest named Zacharias. This is interesting considering few women were given this opportunity.

"Every time that he entered (her) chamber to see her, he found her supplied with sustenance. He said: 'O Mary! Whence (comes) this to you?' She said: 'From God. for God provides sustenance to whom He pleases without measure.'" (Quran 3:37). Upon hearing Mary's answer, "There did Zakariya pray to his Lord, saying: 'O my Lord! Grant unto me from Thee a progeny that is pure: for Thou art He that heareth prayer!'" (Quran 3:38).

Although his wife was barren and he was very old, God blesses Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth with John. John is known as "John the Baptist" in the Bible. Zacharias was skeptical after the angels announced John's birth. The response to his skepticism was "Doth God accomplish what He willeth" (Quran 3:40). John would become a noble and chaste Prophet as the angels had stated (Quran 3:39).

The Quran discusses Mary's miraculous conception as well. "Relate in the Book (the story of) Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place in the East. She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent her Our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects." (Quran 19:16-17). After seeing the angel, she said: "I seek refuge from thee to (God) Most Gracious: (come not near) if thou dost fear God." (Quran 19:18). The angel Gabriel responded: "Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a pure son." (Quran 19:19). Her next response is expected. She asked: "How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?" (Quran 19:20). The Angel Gabriel said: "So (it will be): thy Lord saith, 'That is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us.' It is a matter (so) decreed." (Quran 19:21). Mary then becomes pregnant.

Jesus is a Prophet and a Messenger. A Messenger is a Prophet who is given revelation from God. Whereas the Torah was revealed to Moses, the Gospel was revealed to Jesus. Messengers are a mercy, guidance, and sign from God. "And God will teach him (Jesus) the Book and Wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel, and (appoint him) as a messenger to the Children of Israel, (with this message):

'I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by God's leave. And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I bring the dead into life, by God's leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe. (I have come to you) to attest the Torah which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was (before) forbidden to you. I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So fear God, and obey me. It is God Who is my Lord and your Lord; then worship Him. This is a Way that is straight.'" (Quran 3:48-51).

God appointed messengers to help us answer questions such as: What happens after I die? What's right and wrong? Does a supernatural world exist? What's the purpose of my creation? Jesus was calling people to the worship of only God. Only by God's leave was Jesus able to perform miracles.

"When Jesus found unbelief on their (the disciples) part he said: 'Who will be my helpers to (the work of) God?" Said the disciples: "We are God's helpers: We believe in God, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims.'" (Quran 3:52).

After conceiving Jesus, Mary went away with the baby to a distant place (Quran 19:22). "And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree. She cried (in her anguish): 'Ah! would that I had died before this! would that I had been a thing forgotten!'" (Quran 19:23). "But (a voice) cried to her from beneath the (palm-tree): 'Grieve not! for thy Lord hath provided a rivulet beneath thee; And shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm-tree: It will let fall fresh ripe dates upon thee. So eat and drink and cool (thine) eye. And if thou dost see any man, say, 'I have vowed a fast to (God) Most Gracious, and this day will I enter into no talk with any human being.'" (Quran 19:24-26).

Joseph, the magi, and manger are not mentioned in the Quran. God was Mary's only Provider. Muslims do not accept the virgin birth of Jesus as evidence of Jesus' divinity. "The similitude of Jesus before God is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: 'Be.' And he was." (Quran 3:59). Adam's creation was even more miraculous because he was born without father and mother. When she brings the baby to her people, they said: "O Mary! truly a strange thing has thou brought! O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!" (Quran 19:27-8). Mary then points to the baby. They said: "How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?" (Quran 19:29). Then a miracle occurs that is not mentioned in the Bible. In defense of his mother, Jesus said: "I am indeed a servant of God. 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 unblest; 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)!" (Quran 19:30-33).

The virgin birth of Jesus was a sign. "And (remember) her who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her of Our spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples." (Quran 21:91). All previous Prophets confirmed the oneness of God, Tawheed. Whereas the Holy Trinity is the fundamental concept of God in Christianity, Tawheed is the fundamental concept of God in Islam. God exists independent of religion. Muslims do not believe in the concept of Holy Trinity (Quran 5:73). God is not Jesus (Quran 5:72). On the Day of Judgment, when Jesus is asked if he had called people to worship him and his mother as two gods, Jesus will say: "Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, Thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden." (Quran 5:116).

People should not worship any of God's creation, including Jesus and Mary. We must not assign any of God's creation His divine attributes and characteristics. "He is God the Creator, the Maker, the Shaper. To Him belong the Names Most Beautiful. All that is in the heavens and the earth magnifies Him; He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise." (Qur'an 59:24).

Although God can do all things, He only does things that are consistent with His fundamental nature. Begetting a son is not consistent with God's magnificent nature (Quran 19:92, Quran 19:35). Consistent with His fundamental nature is forgiveness. Although Adam and Eve could no longer live in the Paradise, God forgave Adam and Eve for their sin after they sincerely repented (Quran 2:35-37). We are responsible for our own deeds and will not be punished for the deeds of another person (Quran 53:38-42). Therefore, Muslims reject the doctrine of original sin. Although Adam and Eve were punished, God would still be merciful by sending Guidance to mankind. "We said: 'Get down all of you from this place (the Paradise), then whenever there comes to you Guidance from Me, and whoever follows My Guidance, there shall be no fear on them, nor shall they grieve.'" (Quran 2:38).

Mission

According to Islamic texts, Jesus was divinely chosen to preach the message of monotheism and submission to the will of God to the Children of Israel (banī isrā'īl). Muslims believe that God revealed to Jesus a new scripture, the Injīl (gospel), while also declaring the truth of the previous revelation, the Torah. The Qur'an speaks favorably of the Injīl, which it describes as a scripture that fills the hearts of its followers with meekness and pity. Muslims believe that these scriptures had become distorted over time in text, interpretation, or both.

The Qur'an states that Jesus was aided by a group of disciples (hawāriyūn) who believed in Jesus' message, and termed themselves the ansār ("helpers") of God. He was also strengthened by the same holy spirit (Gabriel) that visited his mother Mary. Jesus is also depicted in Islam as having been given miracles as evidence of his prophetic mission. Such miracles, all performed by the leave of God, include: speaking while still in the cradle; breathing life into clay models of birds; curing a leper and a life-long blind man; raising the dead; and requesting the descent of a table from heaven upon which was a feast, upon petition of his disciples. Some Muslim accounts also relate that the Islamic prophet Yahya ibn Zakariyya (known otherwise as John the Baptist) traveled to Palestine and met Jesus at the Jordan river.

Ascension

Islamic texts categorically deny the crucifixion and death of Jesus at the hands of the Jews. The Qur'an states that the Jews sought to kill Jesus, but they did not kill nor crucify him, although a likeness of it was shown to them. Instead, he was raised alive unto God:

Noble Quran.

According to some Muslim traditions, Jesus was replaced by a double; others suggest it was Simon of Cyrene, or one of the disciples such as Judas Iscariot. A minority of commentaries of Ismaili or rationalist (falāsifa) leaning affirmed the crucifixion by arguing that Jesus' body had been crucified, but his spirit had ascended. However, this interpretation was generally rejected, and according to the Encyclopedia of Islam, there was unanimous agreement amongst the scholars in denying the crucifixion. Modern commentators such as M. Hayek interpret the verse to say that the crucifixion "seemed thus to them" [i.e. the Jews].

Second coming

Muslims believe that Jesus will return at a time close to the end of the world. One Qur'anic verse alludes to Jesus' future return as follows:

According to Islamic tradition, Jesus' descent will be in the midst of wars fought by the Mahdi Arabic: (المهدى) (lit. "the rightly guided one"), known in Islamic eschatology as the redeemer of Islam Along with Jesus, against the Antichrist (al-Masīh ad-Dajjāl, "false messiah") and his followers. Jesus will descend at the point of a white Minaret in Damascus, dressed in yellow robes - his head anointed. He will then join the Mahdi and Kill Dajjal (Antichrist).The Prophet Jesus, considered in Islam as a Muslim(one who submits his will to the will of God) ,He will Apply the Islamic teachings. Eventually, Jesus will slay the Dajjal, and then everyone from the people of the book (ahl al-kitāb, referring to Jews and Christians) will believe in him. Thus, there will be one community With One Faith in Worship to the One God Allah, .

After the death of the Mahdi, Jesus will assume leadership. This is a time associated in Islamic narrative with universal peace and justice. Islamic texts also Narrate the appearance of Ya'juj and Ma'juj (known also as Gog and Magog), ancient tribes which will disperse and cause destruction on earth. God, in response to Jesus' prayers, will kill them by sending a type of worm in the napes of their necks. Jesus' rule is said to be around forty years, after which he will die. Muslims will then perform the funeral prayer for him and then bury him in the city of Medina in a grave left vacant beside Muhammad, Abu Bakr, and Umar (companions of Muhammad and the first and second Sunni caliphs respectively).

In Islamic thought

Jesus is described by various means in the Qur'an. The most common reference to Jesus occurs in the form of "Ibn Maryam" (son of Mary), sometimes preceded with another title like Word of Allah. Jesus is also recognised as a prophet (nabī) and messenger (rasūl) of God. The terms wadjih ("worthy of esteem in this world and the next"), mubārak ("blessed", or "a source of benefit for others"), `abd-Allāh (servant of God) are all used in the Qur'an in reference to Jesus.

Another title frequently mentioned is al-Masīḥ, which translates to "the Messiah." This does not correspond to the Christian concept of Messiah, as Islam regards all prophets, including Jesus, to be mortal and without any share in divinity. Muslim exegetes explain the use of the word masīh in the Qur'an as referring to Jesus' status as the one anointed by means of blessings and honors; or as the one who helped cure the sick, by anointing the eyes of the blind, for example. Qur'anic verses also employ the term "kalimatullah" (meaning the "word of God") as a descriptor of Jesus, which is interpreted as a reference to the creating word of God, uttered at the moment of Jesus' conception; or as recognition of Jesus' status as a messenger of God, speaking on God's behalf.

Theology

Islamic texts regard Jesus as a righteous messenger of God, and reject him as being God or the begotten Son of God. This belief, according to Islam, is tantamount to shirk, or the association of partners with God; and thereby a rejection of God's divine oneness (tawhid). A verse from the Qur'an reads:

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity is similarly rejected in Islam. Such notions of the divinity of Jesus, Muslims state, resulted from human interpolations of God's revelation. Islam views Jesus as an ordinary human being who preached that salvation came through submission to God's will and worshiping God alone. Thus, Jesus is considered in Islam to have been a Muslim, as with all prophets in Islam.

Precursor to Muhammad

Muslims believe that Jesus was a precursor to Muhammad, and that he announced the latter's coming. They base this on a verse of the Qur'an wherein Jesus speaks of a messenger to appear after him named Ahmad. Islam associates Ahmad with Muhammad, both words deriving from the h-m-d triconsonantal root which refers to praiseworthiness. Muslims also assert that evidence of Jesus' pronouncement is present in the New Testament, citing the mention of the Paraclete whose coming is foretold in the Gospel of John. Muslim commentators claim that the original Greek word used was periklutos, meaning famed, illustrious, or praiseworthy - rendered in Arabic as Ahmad; and that this was substituted by Christians with parakletos.

Ascetic literature

Jesus is widely venerated in Muslim ascetic and mystic literature, such as in Muslim mystic Al-Ghazzali's Ihya `ulum ad-Din ("The revival of the religious sciences"). These works lay stress upon Jesus' poverty, his preoccupation with worship, his detachment from worldly life and his miracles. Such depictions also include advice and sermons which are attributed to him. Later Sufic commentaries adapted material from Christian gospels which were consistent with their ascetic portrayal. Sufi philosopher Ibn Arabi described Jesus as "the seal of universal holiness" due to the quality of his faith and "because he holds in his hands the keys of living breath and because he is at present in a state of deprivation and journeying."

References to Jesus in the Qur'an

Meccan period The widespread consensus is that the following verses were revealed in Mecca:

  • Medinan period

The list of verse belonging revealed in Medina are as follows:

See also

Notes

References

  • In Encyclopaedia of Islam Online Brill Academic Publishers. ISSN 1573-3912. .
  • Ayoub, Mahmoud title=The Qur'an and Its Interpreters (1992). State University of New York Press US. ISBN 0791409937.
  • Esposito, J. L. (2002). What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 0-19-515713-3.
  • Fasching, D. J.; deChant, D. (2001). Comparative Religious Ethics: A Narrative Approach. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0631201254.
  • Khalidi, T. (2001). The Muslim Jesus: Sayings and Stories in Islamic Literature. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674004779.
  • Markham, I. S.; Ruparell, T. (2001). Encountering Religion: An Introduction to the Religions of the World. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0631206744.
  • In Encyclopaedia of Islam Online Brill Academic Publishers. ISSN 1573-3912. .
  • Sonn, Tamarra (2004). A Brief History of Islam. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 1405121742.
  • Watt, W. M. (1991). Muslim-Christian Encounters: Perceptions and Misperceptions. Routledge. ISBN 0415054109.
  • Wherry, E. M.; Sale, G. (2000). A Comprehensive Commentary on the Qurán: Comprising Sale's Translation and Preliminary Discourse (vol. II). Routledge. ISBN 0415231884.
  • Tarif Khalidi (2003). The Muslim Jesus: Sayings and Stories in Islamic Literature. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674011155.
  • Zuckermann, Ghil'ad (2006). "'Etymythological Othering' and the Power of 'Lexical Engineering' in Judaism, Islam and Christianity. A Socio-Philo(sopho)logical Perspective", Explorations in the Sociology of Language and Religion, edited by Tope Omoniyi and Joshua A. Fishman, Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 237-258. ISBN 90 272 2710 1

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