Differences between the Issa of Muslim Scripture and the Jesus of Christianity

The Qur'an by claiming to be a miracle and the direct and exact and written speech of God is claiming to supersede even any prophet in its pages and even Muhammad himself.  That is what is alluded to when the Muslim creed says that Muhammad is the messenger of God.  It is really about the message rather than Muhammad.  This is in conflict with how the New Testament does not go that far with its claim to divine inspiration and how Jesus wrote nothing but yet claimed to be the way and the truth and the life.  If Jesus is the truth despite being only known by what others wrote about him that is an attack on books like the Qur'an.  So even if Jesus is on the pages of the Qur'an, it is the Qur'an that matters not him.  God notably did not even use Jesus to deliver the Qur'an.  He used Gabriel the Angel.

Jesus was defined by claiming to be the perfection of religion and giving the faith that is once and for all given and which is the same in doctrine and morals forever.  The Qur'an 5:3 says that Islam is the perfect religion thanks to God speaking to Muhammad, "This day, I have made your religion perfect for you."

The Dome of the Rock has this text inscribed.

"Do not exaggerate in your religion, no utter aught concerning Allah but the truth.  The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah".  It is very simple, Jesus was only an inspired man.  The Christian and Bible emphasis that he was Son of God is dismissed.

The book never calls Jesus a Jew.  It does not call him Jesus even.  Its Issa which is probably a variant of Esau. Its Messiah is not Jesus Christ for erasing or ignoring Jesus' Jewishness would put you in the camp of those who say would there was no man called Napoleon Bonaparte and call him something else.  Its just a roundabout denial that the person is real.  Moreover, Qur'an 5:48, 53 and 5:111 show Issa was NOT a Jew.  Despite the New Testament saying Jesus had Jewish disciples this figure had no Jews in his entourage.  As Jews did not mix closely with Gentiles that alone would show Issa is not a Jew.

Critical scholars say that the Qur'an has borrowed from legends and the Bible.

This is blasphemous if it is true that Allah knows what the truth is and does not take information from human beings.

Qur'an 6:25 and 8:31 has Allah noting that when people hear the Qur'an they think they already heard it and it's a rehash of what the ancients said and believed.

So Qur'an denies that it is informed by any other scripture.  They may have truth but that does not matter for we need Qur'an to identify what is true.  It is Qur'an not the New Testament and certainly not Jesus of Nazareth.

Qur'an talks about the scriptures of the Jews and the Christians but it does not say it agrees with the lists of books that Jews and Christians of its day have.

Sura 2:136 is clear

Say (O, Muslims): “We believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us, and in what has been revealed to Ibrāhīm, Ismā‘īl (Ishmael), IsHāq (Isaac), Ya‘qūb and his children, and in what has been given to Mūsā and ‘Īsā (Jesus?) and what has been given to the prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between any of them, and to Him we submit ourselves.”

This is important for it makes it about Allah not them.  They only matter for Allah gave them revelations.  And as there is no difference between them if you have what was revealed to some of them and enough of it it does not matter if Jesus is left out.  Now, nobody claims to know exactly what was revealed to say Ishmael.  The text only affirms faith in what they were told but does not claim to know the content.  The implication is that even if you don't know it does not matter for it is in the Qur'an anyway.

Qur'an 3:49 and 5:110 claim that Issa thought to be Jesus was able to turn clay bird statues into real living birds.  The Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus gives an account of the child Jesus and other boys as making clay animals.  Jesus makes them live and the parents then ban the other children from playing with this "sorcerer".  The gospel presents Jesus as doing silly miracles and even spiteful ones.  Qur'an may be seen as saying it is a coincidence that the gospel got this legend and there is a grain of truth in it and that it shows Issa was not sinless and wasted his powers.

The word Jesus means saviour. The Qur'an has Issa, the name is not Jesus. It certainly is not a word for saviour for Arabic has a word for that.  Issa cannot mean saviour for the Qur'an is clear he could save nobody and did not die on the cross for sins for he was never crucified.  Issa does not mean saviour anyway and is more like Esau or Isaiah. Some however claim that he is Jesus. But even if he were he would be only vaguely Jesus. He differs so much he may as well be considered a different person. 

Qur'an 33:36 says that there is no right to choose to believe anything that is not authorised by Allah through Muhammad.  This makes Muhammad the interpreter of Issa's mission not Issa. The real authority is Muhammad.

Qur'an 2:23 says that if you doubt Muhammad is a prophet then try to invent a revelation from God similar to what he did.  The idea is that you cannot.  It is clear that nobody even before Muhammad could do that.  So Muhammad is the zenith of the prophets and no other prophet gave the word like he could.  Jesus cannot validate Muhammad.  Muhammad validates Jesus assuming Issa really is Jesus.  Muhammad is denying that any other scripture in the world be it Old Testament or New or whatever is valid.  To cast out the New Testament is the same as casting out its version of Jesus.

As Melanie Phillips tells us in The World Turned Upside Down, "Unlike Judaism and Christianity, which teach that divine intentions are revealed through a historical process of interrogation and discovery, Islam holds that sacred doctrines are fixed in time by Mohammed, with no further development possible."  Issa then cannot mean much either. Only what Mohammed thought of him does.

ISSA WAS MARRIED

It was narrated from Sa’d bin Hisham that he came to the Mother of the Believers, ‘Aishah. He said: “I want to ask you about celibacy; what do you think about it?” She said: “Do not do that; have you not heard that Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, says: ‘And indeed We sent Messengers before you, and made for them wives and offspring’? So do not be celibate” (Sunan an-Nasa’i 3216).

As the Qur'an (65:4) says, it is okay to marry a child before she menstruates and even divorce her. We don't know what age Issa's wife was. We can assume she may have been a child if we want to. The divorce rule is that a woman who has stopped having periods you can wait three months before divorcing her. And "for those who have no monthly course of blood it is the same." It is true that the historical Jesus however forbade child brides from divorcing their husbands even though they had no right to anyway. He said a woman who divorces her husband is forcing him to commit adultery.

THE UNIMPORTANCE OF ISSA

There is evidence that a figure some take to be Jesus was worshipped before he was allegedly born. This Jesus was a god and like most gods was probably an invention. I do not think this Jesus whose name is Issa is really Jesus Christ.

Even if he were, the Islamic creed denies gives him relative unimportance.

Issa is called faultless but so is John the Baptist (19:13). Thus it is best interpreted as saying that a prophet is very good but not completely sinless. Qur'an says Muhammad himself needs to repent! As there is no difference in the prophets according to Allah it follows that Issa was not faultless in the absolute sense.

The revelation given by God through dictation in the Qur'an goes, "O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, "Three"; desist - it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs."

“Believe in Allah and his messenger, and the Scripture which he hath sent to his messenger and the Scripture which he sent to those before him. Any who denieth Allah, his angels, his books, his messengers, and the Day of Judgment, hath gone far, far astray.” (Q 4:136 The Holy Qur'an, tr. Yusuf Ali). Jesus is not even mentioned while the New Testament makes Jesus central and the way and the truth and the salvation. In practice, the revelation means considering only the Qur'an as pure and any other scripture as corrupted so though it may have the word of God you need the Qur'an to sort through the fog. In reality the only authority is the Qur'an. So as Jesus virtually is the New Testament he is being rejected in favour of the Qur'an. Jesus is equated with unknown prophets such as Hud, Salih, Shu‘aib. The idea is that there would be no problem if Allah wrote in the Qur'an about Hud instead of Jesus!

In Qur'an 46:8-9 Muhammad says he brings no new doctrines and is only a warner and revealer from God. He adds that “I know not what shall be done with me or with you.” This refers to his ultimate fate – he is not sure if he is going to Heaven or Hell. As Muhammad is claimed by the religion and the Qur'an to be the seal of the prophets and the one who even Issa predicted as his superior and the greatest prophet of all, it follows that if he is not sure of salvation and there are no guarantees then there is less for Issa.

Muhammad is Islam and Islam is Muhammad. Qur'an 3:85 is clear that anybody who wants to join a religion other than Islam will be a loser in the afterlife and get no Heaven. This opposes the New Testament doctrine that fellowship with Jesus leads to Heaven for Jesus is the only way to God in Heaven and alone is the truth.

ABROGATION

The Qur'an asserts the right to annul or abrograte the teaching of the likes of Issa. This denies Jesus' assertion that he is the Truth and the Word and the Logos.

Never did We send a messenger or a prophet before thee, but, when he framed a desire, Satan threw some (vanity) into his desire: but Allah will cancel anything (vain) that Satan throws in, and Allah will confirm (and establish) His Signs: for Allah is full of Knowledge and Wisdom -  see Qur'an 22:52.

Qur'an 9:29 cancels anything that commands peace towards the Church or the Christians. The verse goes, Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.

Thus opposition to Christianity is enjoined. You can see that as self-defence or as something else. If you choose the former then Christianity is potentially Islamophobic.

SURA 6

In Sura 6, Allah says if he sent a parchment down from Heaven with the Qur'anic text on it the unbelievers would not believe and say it was sorcery. More relevantly right now, he says if he sent an angel to them he would have have him as a man dressed as a man and that would do nothing.

So Allah settles for having Muhammad dictate the word of God for there is no point in anything more dramatic.

This denies the value of a man rising from the dead like Jesus to give revelations.

ISSA IS MERELY PREPARING FOR MUHAMMAD

Issa’s role was merely to prepare for Muhammad, “Issa son of Mary said I am the messenger of Allah and I bring glad tidings of a messenger who will come in the future whose name is Muhammad” – Sura 61:6. This is a denial that Jesus if Issa is Jesus in himself was good news. He was not the way for us, the truth. He was not our life. He had no right to say that whoever was not for him was against him. The coming of Muhammad is the good news. To say that nobody before Muhammad was the good news amounts to saying that Issa is not Jesus.

ISSA IS NOT A SAVIOUR

Jesus means Yahweh Saves or Saviour.

Sura 17:15 is clear that “No sin-burdened soul can bear the load of another”, and thus rejects the notion that anybody could atone for your sins. Jesus dying on the cross for sins is out. 1 Peter 2:24 makes out that Jesus did bear the load of our sins when he was on the tree, the cross.  Jesus in the gospels says he gives his life as a ransom for sinners and his blood is for the forgiveness of sins.

The Qur'an does not accept the Bible story that the first man Adam ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil against God's express command and thus spread his sin to all his children.  The Qur’an Adam is engaged by Satan to eat of the tree of eternal life not the tree of knowledge of good and evil as in the Bible. See 20:120. Allah admonishes Adam for listening and expels Adam and his wife Eve from the garden of paradise. But it is not said that Adam and Eve ever died. It is safe to assume they never died. Allah would not put a tree of eternal life in their vicinity and take their lives if they ate from it. The sin was merely that they took its fruit without permission not that they took eternal life.

This was not a huge sin for there was no real penalty and Adam may still be alive and he definitely had done nothing major to affect his descendants. So there is no need for a saviour to reverse what Adam did and fix great damage.

JESUS DID NOT VALIDATE ISLAM

Jesus promised divine sonship to those who would follow him. Islam is based on the word for submission. The wordis al-silm. It means surrender if you want to put it that way. You force yourself to obey Allah. The Qur’an never says that sin is inside. Jesus in contrast said that evil actions come from how you have already sinned inside. For that reason you are okay if you make yourself obey though your heart is not in it. Jesus in the Bible says obedience is no good unless you love God inside and obey freely.

The idea that Islam means peace is a pure lie. The implication would be that if it meant that, that you cannot be a person of peace if you are not Muslim. You need to be in God’s own peace movement to be a real peacemaker.  There is no evidence of anybody in Jesus' day or even his century who believed in anything like Islam so the Jesus of the gospels is not the man of the Qur'an.

THE JEWS ARE SEEN AS ENEMIES OF ISLAMIC PROPHETS

The Qur’an keeps repeating that the Jews murdered the prophets of Islam (2:61/2:87/2:91/3:21/3:112/3:181/3:183/4:155/5:70). It does not name any examples. It says its Jesus or Issa did not die at the hands of the Jews though they were saying they killed Messiah Son of Mary. In the light of the fact that it is a stretch to get Jesus in the gospels to line up to Issa or vice versa you could argue that Jesus was an unknown or obscure prophet who was killed by the Jews and Issa was somebody else. This would mean dismissing the gospels as lies.

LAST

The name used is Issa in the Qur'an and though Issa has similarities to Jesus he is not Jesus. We must remember that with certain religious figures you do have a lot of broad similarities on average. Consider the popularity of dying and rising saviour gods in the pagan world and the association with female deities and fertility. The Qur'an is clear that Issa did not come for his own sake or message but to proclaim the coming of Muhammad. Ecumenical people tell lies to make religions look more alike than they are. Muhammad alone is claimed to have been able to get the dictated wholly reliable word of God, the Qur'an, which is why he is the only prophet that is really necessary assuming Islam is the true faith which it claims to be. Too much is made of the claim that Jesus is a prophet of Islam - Islam is founded on Muhammad.

Let expert Muawiya who wrote in 651 AD have the last word, "Renounce your vain religion, in which you have been brought up since infancy.  Renounce this Jesus and convert to the great God whom I serve, the God of our father Abraham.  If not how will this Jesus whom you call Christ, who was not even able to save himself from the Jews, be able to save you from my hands?"  This appears in a threatening letter to Constantine the Bearded.  We are not the first to oppose Issa and Jesus!

No wonder Pope Calixtus prayed in 1455, "Extirpate the diabolical sect of the reprobate and faithless Mahomet in the East.  For there the light of faith is almost completely extinguished."  It is what you would expect of a sectarian who hated anything that did not fit his Jesus.

The implicit Islamaphobia of devotion to Jesus is a reality and will harm until the end of time.

WORKS CONSULTED

Conspiracies and the Cross, Timothy Paul Jones, Front Line, A Strang Company, Florida, 2008
The House of the Messiah, Ahmed Osman, Grafton, London, 1993
The Jesus Mysteries, Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, Thorsons, London, 1999
The MythMaker, St Paul and the Invention of Christianity, Hyam Maccoby, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, 1986
The Nag Hammadi Library in English, Ed James M Robinson HarperCollins New York 1990
The Pagan Christ, Tom Harpur, Thomas Allen Publishers, Toronto, 2004
Who Was Jesus? A Conspiracy in Jerusalem, by Kamal Salabi, I.B. Taurus and Co Ltd., London, 1992
Who Was Jesus? NT Wright, SPCK, London, 1993



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