Isa al-Masih (Jesus Christ)
Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination
This article or section is being renovated.
In orthodox Islam, Isa al-Masih (عيسى المسيح usually translated as Jesus Christ) is believed to be a prophet, second in rank to Muhammad, and not the son of God. Indeed, associating divinity with Jesus is decried as blasphemy in the Qur'an time and again. The Qur'an, though, does have its own Christological vision of Jesus' mission on earth and his incarnation in the virgin Mary. Islamic holy literature including the Qur'an also carries over many fantastic tales of the doings of Jesus from apocryphal literature.
The Conception of Isa
The Qur'anic verses 21:91 and 66:12 in conjunction with the tafsir's, tell us the Angel Jibreel (جبريل Gabriel) was sent to breathe Allah's spirit into Maryam's (Mary's) vagina in order to conceive Jesus.
(And Maryam, the daughter of `Imran who guarded her chastity (private part).) meaning, who protected and purified her honor, by being chaste and free of immorality,
[فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِنَا](And We breathed into it (private part) through Our Ruh,) meaning, through the angel Jibril. Allah sent the angel Jibril to Maryam, and he came to her in the shape of a man in every respect. Allah commanded him to blow into a gap of her garment and that breath went into her womb through her private part; this is how `Isa was conceived.
No More Than a Messenger
The Qur'an designates Jesus as a "rasul" (رسول) "messenger" or "apostle", putting him on the same level as the prophet Muhammad and the in this regard. This is, in effect, an attack on the trinitarian, god-unity conception of him in orthodox Christianity, which is underscored by how he is placed together with the other "messengers."
Who was Given the Injil
The Qur'an talks of the Injil (إنجيل) referring to the New Testament of the Bible (usually the four Gospels) as being given to Jesus, rather than being written by his followers. The Qur'an also treats this as one book instead of many (and not as the general "good news" of Jesus' incarnation, death, and resurrections as the word is used in Christian literature):
The Crucifixion of Isa
Islam's portrayal of the crucifixion of Jesus differs vastly from the mainstream Christian view and approaches the Gnostic view. According to Islamic theology, Jesus was never crucified. It was merely a deception by Allah who made it appear that he was. This conception of Jesus' crucifixion curiously borrows elements from the docetist heresy (in Greek Δοκηταί Dokētaí , from the word δοκεῖν/δόκησις dokeĩn "to seem", dókēsis "apparition, phantom), a heresy which otherwise is the total opposite of the Islamic christology: in this conception, Jesus was a totally unearthly, divine being, without even a human body. Knowledge of its doctrines in the present day are based on several apocryphal works which have been discovered, particularly from the Nag Hammadi cache of gnostic Christian texts.
The dates of authorship for these writings show the relative lateness of the doctrine. All of The canonical Christian scriptures were authored during the 1st century A.D. The Coptic Apocalypse of Peter and the Second Treatise of the Great Seth were authored during the 3rd century A.D. Meanwhile, according the traditional Muslim chronology, the Qur'an was revealed between 610-632 AD; its initial compilation was in 633 AD; and a "revisionary committee" preserved a standardized version sometime between 644-656 AD. Possible modern findings allow for an even earlier date of composition, but no estimate puts any Qur'anic material as in existence before the 5th century.
But I, when I had looked, said, "Lord, no one is looking at you. Let us flee this place." But he said to me, "I have told you, 'Leave the blind alone!' And notice how they do not know what they are saying. For the son of their glory, instead of my servant, they have put to shame."And I saw someone about to approach us who looked like him, even him who was laughing about the cross, and he was <filled> with a pure spirit, and he (was) the Savior...And he said to me, "Be strong! For you are the one to whom these mysteries have been given, to know through revelation that he whom they have crucified is first-born, and the home of demons, and the clay vessel in which they dwell...But he who stands near him is the living Savior...
Canonical Christian Scriptures
The doctrine of Jesus' escape from the crucifixion starkly contrasts with all of the writings of Paul the apostle, as well as the canonical gospels, which along with the testimony of some Roman historians such as Tacitus and Josephus constitute our earliest testimony on the life of Jesus. The Roman historians afore-mentioned agree with the gospels that Jesus was executed by the Roman state, and modern historians tend to rate the reality of the crucifixion as the single most certainly true aspect of the gospels.
Acts of the Apostles
The Return of Isa
Muslim apacolyptic literature says that Jesus will return as a Muslim and will break the cross (destroy Christianity), kill swine (This may be a reference to the destruction of the Jews, as the Qur'an says Jews were once turned into apes and pigs ), and advance the cause of Islam. He will also abolish the jizyah, which will leave Jews and Christians with only two options, to convert to Islam or face execution and enslavement. Verse 9:29 calls for the subduing of Jew and Christians.
Islam carries over its apacolyptic tradition from Christianity. As such the hadith teaches that Jesus will come back to fight for Islam.
As in Christian apacolyptic literature, on judgment day arrives Jesus will judge the people by the words of the Qur'an.
It is further worth noting that the life and purpose of Jesus as outlined in the Islamic scriptures a great deal from the narrative presented regarding Jesus in Christian scriptures.
- Jesus - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Jesus
- Ehrman, Bart D. (2003) The Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament. (p. 78). Oxford: Oxford University Press. "Most scholars have dated this gnostic treatis [The Coptic Apocalypse of Peter] to the third century."
- Ehrman, Bart D. (2003) The Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament. (p. 82). Oxford: Oxford University Press. "This book [The Second Treatise of the Great Seth], which was discovered at Nag Hammadi (see page 19), probably dates from the third century."
- Quran 5:60