Jesus God or Beloved of God?
A most extraordinary and unparalleled change occurred in the 7th century of the Christian era.
“To the Arab nation Islam was a birth from darkness into the light.”
Arabiafirst became alive by means of it. A poor shepherd people roaming unnoticed in its deserts since the creation of the world; a Prophet was sent down to them with a word they could believe; see the unnoticed becomes world notable, the small has grown
world great; within one century afterwards, Arabia is at Granada on this end, at Delhi on that” (Heroes & Hero-Worship).
In these days everybody can see in modern
Ghana, Nigeria and how Christianity is retreating and followers of Christianity are turning towards Islam. Professor B. Smith writes: Sierra Leone
“The most recent historian of
Indiaremarks that the people of are drifting slowly but surely toward the religion of the Prophet of Arabia rather than towards Christianity which is freely offered to them but which they are not prepared to accept. If this be true or nearly true how profound the importance to India even from an Imperial point of view of a sympathetic study of the religion.” England
“Yet probably nowhere is there a profound ignorance of Islam and its founder and a greater indifference to what it is doing in the world than in
” (p 55). England
Therefore, it is the duty of
, for the sake of close relations with the Muslim world to study Islam and mark its teachings, which caused Christians of the early centuries to adopt this religion. England
Many attempts have been made to call the attention of the English people to study Islam but they have not yet made any sincere effort to understand this great religion, which has been adopted by millions of their co-religionists in the past. I like to give you some account of the marvelous teachings of Islam, which attracted the sincere, and the thoughtful among Christians to accept it. When the Holy Prophet of Islam appeared, the Jews were asserting that they had put Jesus Christ to an “accursed” death; and thus, according to their law they thought they had proved that he was a false prophet, an imposter. They accused him of many other things; that he was the offspring of sin, for instance.
On the other hand, Christians believed in the Trinity, and that Jesus was God. According to the Mariamites or worshippers of Mary, the Trinity was God the Father, God the Son and God the Virgin Mary. In spite of their belief in his divinity, they also believed like the Jews, that he died an “accursed” death.
admits in Galatians III: St. Paul
“He was made a curse for us, for it is written ‘Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree.”
They did not examine the meaning of the word ‘cursed’. A man cannot be cursed unless his heart be far from God and empty of His love and knowledge. He must be in error like Satan and at enmity with God. It is for this that Satan is named the Accursed one.
Imputations Removed by the Holy Qur’an
The Jews believed that Jesus was “accursed” and had no relation with God and that God’s wrath descended upon him, and Christians agreed that undoubtedly he was “cursed”, though it was to show his love for the people. But the Holy Qur’an freed him from this curse. Rejecting the claim of the Jews, it proclaimed:
“They slew him not nor caused him to die on the cross, but he was made to appear to them like one crucified; and those who differ about him are certainly in doubt by reason of this fact, they have no knowledge thereof, but only follow conjecture, and they surely did not kill him and they did not make sure about it.” (4:158)
Thus the Holy Qur’an clears Jesus of the “curse” imputed to him, and proclaims that Jesus was a beloved of God, one of His chosen prophets. The Holy Qur’an also mentions that the Jews were deprived of the spiritual blessings they had enjoyed and the help of God they had had, through their rejection of Jesus and for their accusing Mary of fornication. The declaration of the Holy Qur’an concerning Mary is that she kept her chastity; was an example for the righteous; the angels descended on her; and she was one of the chosen ones of God.
In the Book of the Genealogy of Jesus, according to St. Matthew, two of his ancestors, Phares and Zara of Tamar, were sons of fornication, and Booz was a son of Racheb the Harlot. Therefore the Holy Qur’an, acquitting Mary and her son of all blemishes has cleared their ancestry, saying they were the offspring of Adam, Noah, and Abraham, the descendants of Amran chosen of God.
Charges of Rudeness
The commandment was ‘Honor thy father and thy mother’ (Matt. 19:19), but it appears from Matthew 12:48, that Jesus showed a kind of rudeness toward his mother. Therefore the Holy Qur’an has cleared Jesus even of this false charge saying he was dutiful to his mother, that God did not make him insolent, unblessed (19:33).
The True Position
Now I come to the main point: what is the real position of Jesus Christ? Was he God as most Christians believe or was he man, a prophet or messenger of God? On this point the Holy Qur’an says thus:
“And when Jesus came with clear argument he said, ‘I have come to you indeed with wisdom, and that I may make clear to you of what you differ in. Surely Allah is my Lord and your Lord so fear God and obey me and serve Him; this is the right path” (43:63-65). Jesus said: Surely I am a servant of Allah, He has given me the Book and made me a Prophet” (19:31). Surely they disbelieve who say that Allah is the Messiah the son of Mary (5:18).
And the Messiah said: ‘O children of
! Serve Allah my Lord and your Lord.’ Surely whoever associates others with Allah then Allah has forbidden him the garden, and his abode is the fire, and there shall be no helper for the unjust. Certainly they are disbelievers who say Allah is a third person of the three, while there is no God but one, and if they desist not from what they say, a painful chastisement shall befall those among them who disbelieve. Israel
Will they not then turn to Allah and seek from Him remission of sins and forgiveness, and Allah is very forgiving and merciful (5:73,74-75).
The Messiah, son of Mary is but an apostle; apostles before him have indeed passed away and his mother was a righteous woman. They both used to eat food. See how We make the communications clear to them, and then behold how they turn away.
Say, do you serve besides Allah that which has no power at all to do neither harm nor good! And it is Allah who is the most hearing, the very knowing. Say, O People of the Book; do not exceed the limits in your religious beliefs unjustly, nor follow the desires of a people who have already gone astray before and led many astray from the right path. Those who disbelieved from among the Children of Israel were cursed by the tongue of David and Jesus son of Mary. This was because they disobeyed and used to exceed the limits” (5:77-79).
In these verses the true position of Jesus has been described after clearing him of the charges imputed falsely to him. It is set forth in seven propositions:
(1) Jesus Christ never claimed he was God.
(2) On the contrary, he said, there was only One God “whom we serve and worship”
(3) Jesus was a prophet and a messenger of God; many prophets had passed away before him. If anybody cast cursory glances on the past, he would know at once that since the creation of the world, God never came in Person to guide people. He always sent a human being to guide fellow human beings. Jesus was a prophet like all of them. It is a gross error to think he was God come to guide human beings.
(4) Jesus was born of a woman, herself a righteous one. The word ‘Mother’ in the above verses points out the changes, which come upon a child in the womb of his mother and after his birth. If Jesus was really God, then his mother must have been of the same kind. But as is generally believed, she was a human being. So was her child.
(5) Mary and Jesus both ate food; which indicated that they were both humans. It is apparent that man needs for his sustenance and his system of digestion; so he calls constantly for food. So the use of food by Mary and Jesus shows that, like other human beings these were not free from the obligations imposed by nature. Therefore the belief that a person subject to all the changes, which come on a man’s body, was God is an irrational belief.
(6) Jesus being human was weak; he could do no harm or good to anybody by himself.
(7) Dogmas like the Trinity and that Jesus was God are inventions of the people who follow the desires of pagans.
Substantiated by the Gospels
The truth of these propositions is validated by the Gospels. Regarding the first the Gospels are silent; the claim that Jesus was God is mentioned nowhere in them.
The second proposition is mentioned in Matthew 4:10. That Jesus said: “Get thee hence Satan: for it is written ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt you serve. Jesus also asked Mary to tell his disciples: “I ascend unto my father and your father, and unto my God and your God” (John 20:17).
The third proposition that Jesus was a prophet of God is mentioned in many places in the Gospels. For instance, he said, (and included himself in it):
“A prophet is not without honor save in his own country” (Matthew 13:57).
He also said:
“Nevertheless I must walk today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of
” (Luke 13:33). Jerusalem
He also said:
“I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the House of Israel” (Matt. 15:24). “I seek the will of the father which has sent me” (John 5:30).
His disciples also said about him that he was a prophet (Luke 24:19).
When he went to
Jerusalem, the multitude said: “This is Jesus the prophet of ” (Matt. 21:11). Nazareth
See also John 6:14 and 9:17, Luke 7:39 and 7:16.
The fourth proposition does not require any quotations as all the Christians believe that it is so.
The fifth proposition that Jesus used to eat, is mentioned in Matthew 11:19:
“The son of Man came eating and drinking”.
Luke 24:43 says:
“That he took a boiled fish and an honey-combe and did eat before his disciples.”
In Mark 11:12 it is mentioned that when his disciples came from
he was hungry. Bethany
The sixth proposition that he was a weak being, can be known from his saying:
“Father all thing are possible unto Thee, take away this cup from me.” (Matt 14:36)
He also said:
“I can of mine own self do nothing, as I hear I judge, because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the father which hath sent me.” (John 5:30)
The seventh proposition is that the people believe in the Godhead of Jesus; follow in the footsteps of earlier pagans. John M. Robertson in his book “Pagan Christ” writes:
“A recent criticism has shown that the Christians have only followed previous idolatrous nations in deifying a man.”
The first person who sowed the seed of this paganism in Christianity was
. Against the teachings of Jesus, he began to preach to the Gentiles and based his preaching to them on the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, saying, “He was raised from the dead according to my Gospel” (Tim. 2:8). St. Paul
As he was a Roman (Acts 23:25), and on account of his journey in Syria, etc; he knew the mentality of the Gentiles, so he based his preaching on ideas current among them already, and which they could easily assimilate. For instance, Adonis, the Syrian God, was born of a virgin, was killed, and rose again in the spring every year. The maidens wept for him, and then rejoiced over his resurrection. Concerning Osiris, their God, they believed that he was slain and his image was placed in a box and brought forth with cries of “Osiris is Risen”. Attis, the Phrygian God, was also born of a virgin named Nana. He was bled to death at the foot of a pine tree, that his blood renewed the fertility of the earth and thus brought a new life to humanity, and that he also rose from the dead (Frazer’s Golden Bough IV, p. 29). Bacchus was also born of a virgin named "Demeted" on December 25th. He was slain to redeem humanity and was, therefore, called The Slain One, The Sin Bearer, and The Redeemer. His death followed by resurrection was celebrated. When dead, he descended into Hell, rose again (Blausobre, also Higgins’ “Anacalypsis” vol. I p. 322).
The Greeks claimed that Bromseus was a God who united his divinity with humanity. So he is of dual origin: divinity and humanity, in one body, man and God at the same time.
Luly Hook, a French missionary, writes in his Travels of Hook (vol. I p. 321-327) concerning Buddha:
“The Buddhists consider him to be a God in human shape, that he is a God who appeared incarnate, came to this world to teach men, to guide them, to redeem them, and to build for them the path to peace. The belief of redemption through a God appearing in body is general among the Buddhists.”
Allan, in his India-Ancient and Modern page 297 writes, “As for Krishna, he is the greatest of all the gods incarnate, there is none of them but a small particle from the Godhead while he is the God Vishnu who appeared in body.”
The learned Done in his book (p. 112) writes that one of the beliefs of the ancient idolaters is connected with incarnation that God, incarnate as man, descends and lives among men. The belief is described in various ways from the imagination and stories of the Orientals.
So the truth of the Qur’anic propositions, that Christians in taking Jesus as God followed the desires of pagans is as clear as the sun for the students of ancient idolatry. Therefore, God says in the Holy Qur’an:
“And when Allah will say, “O Jesus, son of Mary: did you say to men accept me and my mother for two gods besides Allah? He will say: Glory be to Thee. It did not befit me to say that which I had no right to say. If I had said it Thou wouldst have known it. Thou knowest what is in my mind, but I don’t know what is in Thy mind. Surely Thou art the great knower of the unseen things. I did not say to them but what Thou didst command me to say, that is, Serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” (5:117-118)
Attributes of God
Now let us examine the divinity of Jesus from another point of view, the point of view of the distinctive attributes of God. The Holy Qur’an says:
“There is no God but Allah. He is ever living, self-subsisting and does neither slumber nor sleep. For Him is whatever is in the Heavens and whatever is in the earth. Who can intercede with Him but with His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they cannot comprehend anything of His knowledge, except what He pleases. His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth, and the preservation of them tires Him not and He is the Most High, the Great.” (2:256)
This verse points especially to the following attributes of God.
1. Ever-Living, 2. Self-Subsisting, 3. Free from sleep, slumber and fatigue, 4. King and possessor of whatever is in the Heavens and on Earth, 5. All-Knowing and 6. Most High and Great.
These attributes of God are also mentioned in the Bible. Isaiah says, “The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the Earth, fainteth not, neither is weary (40:28). Jeremiah, the Prophet says, “The Lord is a Living God and an Everlasting King (10:10). “God is the King Eternal, Immortal” (Tim. 1:17)
But Jesus was born of Mary and used to sleep; as once he fell asleep in the ship (Matt. 8:24) and he tasted the cup of death. Neither was he self-subsisting. He said, “As the Living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father (John 6:57); “Jesus liveth by the power of God (2Corinthinas 13:4); “God is the King of all the earth” (Psalms 47:7); “For Him all that is in the Heavens and on the earth (1Chronicles 29:11). Jesus Christ said: “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have their nests, but the son of man hath not where to lay his head.” (Matt. 8:20) He did not possess even a small portion of the earth.
God is All-knowing. “He knoweth the secrets of the heart” (Psalms 44:12). “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God” (Deut. 29:29). But Jesus Christ was not all-knowing. As he said, “But of that day and that Hour knoweth no man, no, not the Angels which are in heaven, neither the son, but the Father (Mark 13:32).
Jesus not God
One day, being hungry and seeing a fig tree afar having leaves, he came, if haply he might find anything thereon, but he found nothing but leaves. (Mark 11:13) He also confessed that he was not the Most High and Greatest. “My Father is greater than I (John 14:28). If it is true that God is ever living, everlasting, Almighty (Exodus 6:1) and, as Jesus said, “With men this is impossible but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 20:26); if it is true that God is free from all human infirmities as slumber, sleep or weariness, that He is the King and Possessor of the Earth and Heaven, All-knowing and Most High and Great; and if it is also true, as proved by the quotations from the Gospels that Jesus did not possess any of these divine attributes, then rational and reasonable men have no choice but to believe that Jesus was not God.
Jesus, Son of Man
In all the verses of the New Testament nowhere is there any mention of the word “Trinity”, or “God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost”. On the contrary, we find that in as many as seventeen (17) verses it says that the Father is the One and only God. Verses in which the Father is given the name God with all glory and dignity are 320 in number. Verses which mention the Father as God with special attributes are 105 in number. Verses in which it is said that prayer and praise should be offered to the Father alone, as the only possessor of dignity and power are 90 in number. In 63 places Jesus is called “son of man”, in 72 places, “man” only, and in 19 places “a prophet” and in many places “servant and master”. In 20 places God is called “The God of Jesus” and Jesus himself cried, “O my God, my God; why hast Thou forsaken me?” In nearly 300 places, it is mentioned that Jesus could not act from his own self that he was not self-subsisting, and that he did according to the commandments of God and according to His Will. But despite these clear passages of the Gospels, Christians rely on some obscure and vague sentences and say that Jesus Christ claimed to be God.
Obscure and Vague
This is a large subject, which for the shortness of time at my disposal, I am unable to deal with fully. Let me mention, however, one or two passages out of the Gospels. For instance, Jesus Christ said: “He that hath seen me hath seen God” (John 14:9). The Christians say it means that Jesus and God were one. But a little thought will tell everyone that the word “seeing” in this saying is used metaphorically.
Because no man has seen God, nor can see (Tim. 6:16). Philip asked him to show them the Father, but he replied, that the Father cannot be seen with physical eyes, but He shows Himself by His works through His prophets.
The Holy Prophet of Islam also said: “Who hath seen me hath seen God.”
They mean that the attributes of God are manifest in them. Jesus also said: “I am in my Father and ye in me, and I in you” (John 14:20), but nobody says that his disciples were also God.
Christians also say that the meaning of the saying of Jesus: “Before Abraham was I am” shows that he was God. But his being before a created person, Abraham, does not mean that he was an everliving and everlasting person. If we read the conversation, which took place, in this connection, between the Jews and Jesus, we will understand the true meaning of this sentence. Thus he said: “If a man keep my commands he shall never see death”, but the Jews took him literally and said:
“Art thou greater than our Father Abraham, which is dead, and prophets are dead, whom makest thyself?”
Then Jesus answered:
“Your Abraham rejoices to see my day, he saw it and was glad.”
Nobody can say that Jesus Christ meant Abraham actually saw his days. It only means that he saw this in a state of vision. But the Jews took his answer literally and said: “Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?” He answered: “Verily, verily, I say unto ye, before Abraham was I am”; which means: “Are you surprised at my saying that Abraham saw my day? I was before him also, as it was decided by God that I should be the Messiah.”
So, Jesus’ conversation was spiritual and metaphorical, not literal. But even as the Jews took it literally, so do the Christians. His saying was similar to that of the Holy Prophet of Islam when he said:
“I am a prophet while Adam had not yet been born.”
“Son of God”
Jesus said: “I am the son of God” (John 10:36).
He was a son of God as the other prophets and the righteous ones were sons of God.
“The peacemakers shall be called the children of God.” (Matt. 5:9)
‘Your Father is one which is in Heaven.” (Matt. 23:9)
Adam was a son of God. (Luke 2)
God said: “
is my son, even my firstborn.” (Exodus 4:22,23) Israel
Judges are Gods, and all of you sons of God. (Psalms 82:6)
Regarding Solomon, God said: “He shall be my son, and I will be his Father” (Chronicles 1, 22:10, 17:23).
“And all the sons of God shouted for Joy” (Job 38:7).
Jesus Christ himself explained the meaning of his sonship for when the Jews said: “We have one Father, even God”, Jesus answered:
“If God were your Father, then you would love me as He sent me. You are of your father the Devil, and the lusts of your father will ye do (John 8:38). So, just as the Jews were sons of the Devil for rejecting truth and following their lusts, likewise, Jesus was the son of God for obeying the commandments of God. Further, according to St. Mark, the Centurion said: “Truly Jesus was the son of God (Mark 15:39). “Certainly he was a righteous man” (Luke 23:47).
This shows clearly that the words “son of God” were used for righteous men.
This shows clearly that the words “son of God” were used for righteous men.
The wonders and miracles which Jesus performed were not a proof of his divinity because he said that the false prophets shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch that if it were possible they would deceive the very elect (Matt. 24:24). The wicked will do great wonders so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men (Revelations 3:13). Moreover, Jesus said concerning his disciples, that they would not only perform the works as he had done but even greater. Therefore, there is no saying of Jesus Christ in the Gospels to justify Christians in their assertion that Jesus was God. Christians believe that this same Jesus was God who was born of a woman, was circumcised, ate, slept, had no place in which to lay his head, was poor, mocked by the Jews, slapped, crowned with thorns, spat at, abused, despised and finally put on the cross, who cried out: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” and who died an “accursed” death, was buried and: went down into Hell.” (Common Prayers Church of England, p. 163).
Jesus was only a Prophet
The Holy Qur’an taught that Jesus was one of the chosen prophets of God like other great prophets, who came to guide the people. That God loved him so much, spoke to him abundantly, gave him many signs and clear proofs in support of his truth. He gave him wisdom and knowledge of the Book; and teachings in which was light and guidance for the people. He suffered the afflictions of his enemies and bore them steadfastly, as indeed did the other prophets. Thus this was the reason that Christians, who entered into religious controversy with Muslims, found that the true position of Jesus Christ was, that which is stated in the Holy Qur’an. Therefore, they became Muslims. We believe, on the basis of prophesies, that when the people of this country pay attention to religion and begin to inquire into the true religion, they will accept Islam and become Muslims, as did their predecessors in the East.
By late Imam JD Shams