The uniqueness of Jesus in the Qur’an


We have written this article with the intention of providing a collection of Qur’anic statements about Jesus. We would like to show to which extent the Qur’an emphasizes the uniqueness of Jesus. This collection of passages should also be taken as an invitation to get to know more about Jesus, to read about him in those Holy Scriptures whose main content concerns the life and teaching of Jesus, namely the Injeel, the scriptures of the New Testament. The Qur’anic passages are followed by brief comments and appropriate quotations from the Injeel.

If you would like to share what you think about the importance of Jesus and what he showed us about the way to God, we would be glad to hear from you.

Jesus is the son of a virgin

And mention in the Book Mary when she withdrew from her people to an eastern place, and she took a veil apart from them; then We sent unto her Our Spirit that presented himself to her a man without fault. She said, “I take refuge in the All-merciful from thee! If thou fearest God”…He said, “I am but a messenger come from thy Lord, to give thee a boy most pure.” She said, “How shall I have a son whom no mortal has touched, neither have I been unchaste?” He said, “Even so thy Lord has said: ‘Easy is that for Me; and that We may appoint him a sign unto men and a mercy from Us; it is a thing decreed.’” So she conceived him, and withdrew with him to a distant place. (Surah 19:16-22)[1]

The belief in Jesus’ birth of the virgin Mary is an important point that Christians and Muslims have in common. The Injeel tells us about Jesus’ conception and the birth in the Gospel of Luke:

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, ” Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38)

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7)

For Christians – unlike Muslims – the virgin birth of Jesus is a hint that he is the Son of God. Anyone who reads this text from Luke will quickly realize that for us Jesus’ divine sonship does not mean that we believe he was born as a result of a sexual relationship between God and Mary. Unfortunately this opinion is frequently held by Muslims. However, for us every thought in this direction is nothing other than blasphemy.

When we speak about our belief that Jesus is the son of God we are thinking of the unique relationship Jesus had with God, and the fact that he was conceived by the Holy Spirit, as Luke 1:35 explains.

It is also a remarkable fact that the only woman mentioned in the Qur’an by name is Mary the mother of Jesus. This fact, too, might show us something about the unique importance of Jesus. Muhammad’s parents, on the other hand, are not mentioned in the Qur’an.

Jesus is the servant of God

The Messiah will not disdain to be a servant of God, neither the angels who are near stationed to Him. Whosoever disdains to serve Him, and waxes proud, He will assuredly muster them to Him, all of them. (Surah 4:172)

He said, “Lo, I am God’s servant; God has given me the Book, and made me a Prophet.” (Surah 19:30)

The Bible also represents Jesus as a servant of God. The prophets of the Old Testament described him in this way:

Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold ; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. (Isaiah 42:1)

He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel ; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and its Holy One, To the despised One, To the One abhorred by the nation, To the Servant of rulers, “Kings will see and arise, Princes will also bow down, because of the Lord who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You. ” (Isaiah 49:6-7)

Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted. (Isaiah 52:13)

As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. (Isaiah 53:11)

The apostles[2] also called Jesus the servant of God:

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. (Acts 3:13)

For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways. (Acts 3:26)

…but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, …  (Philippians 2:7-9)

Jesus is the servant of God because he had no other aim than to serve God with his whole being. This is why he never “disdained” (as expressed in Surah 4:172) to be the servant of God. Out of love for God and for people he lowered himself very deeply and became like a slave. However, having experienced the deepest depths, he was also highly exalted. He has a name that is above all names. He who was totally disdained became the light of the nations. He spread God’s salvation to the ends of the earth. He, the righteous one, justifies the many and sets them free from their sins. He wants to bless us by turning us away from our wrongdoings. He is Jesus, God’s servant, the Saviour and the Lord.

Jesus is the messenger of God

Just as the term “servant” is not reserved exclusively for Jesus in the Qur’an, neither is the title “messenger”. Moses and Muhammad also bear this same title in the Qur’an. Among others Below are just a couple of passages where Jesus is called a messenger:

People of the Book, go not beyond the bounds in your religion, and say not as to God but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His Word that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him. So believe in God and His Messengers. (Surah 4:171)

The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a Messenger; Messengers before him passed away…. (Surah 5,75)

God promised a messenger through His prophet Malachi:

“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming”, says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)

This text speaks about two messengers. The first one clears the way. He came in the person of John the Baptist. Then comes the Lord who is also called the messenger of the covenant. Through him God established a new covenant with his nation. This second messenger is Jesus. This is why in the New Testament the letter to the Hebrews calls Jesus “the Apostle” (the Greek word “apostolos” means “messenger”):

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession ; He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. (Hebrews 3:1-2)

From the context of this passage (see verses 5 and 6) it emerges that, in contrast to Moses, who was a faithful servant in the house, Jesus is over God’s house.

Jesus did not use the title “messenger” for himself, but he frequently spoke about the fact that he was sent and about the one who sent him:

But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.” (Luke 4:43)

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:17)

… so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. (John 5:23)

Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” (John 6:29)

He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. (John 12:45)

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3)

This selection of the words of Jesus invites us to a deeper consideration of his person. Through Jesus alone, the one sent by God, can we really get to know God. It is through knowing God and the one whom he sent that we find eternal life.

Jesus is God’s Word

When the angels said, “Mary, God gives thee good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary; high honoured shall he be in this world and the next, near stationed to God.” (Surah 3:45)

The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His Word that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him. (Surah 4:171)

That is Jesus, son of Mary, in word of truth, concerning which they are doubting. (Surah 19:34)

John’s Gospel in the Bible speaks about Jesus as God’s Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. …And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5,14)

The Word spoken by the Eternal God is eternal in the same way as God Himself. God expresses Himself in his Word. Therefore his Word cannot be separated from Him. It is God.

Sunni Muslims believe in the eternity of the Qur’an, because they regard it as God’s Word. We Christians believe in the eternal being of God’s Word that became man in Jesus.

Jesus came into this world by the Spirit of God. He himself is called God’s Spirit

And she who guarded her virginity, so We breathed into her of Our spirit and appointed her and her son to be a sign unto all beings. (Surah 21:91)

And Mary, Imran’s daughter, who guarded her virginity, so We breathed into her of Our Spirit, and she confirmed the Words of her Lord and His Books, and became one of the obedient. (Surah 66:12)

People of the Book, go not beyond the bounds in your religion, and say not as to God but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His Word that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him. (Surah 4:171)

The Bible teaches clearly that Mary conceived Jesus through the Holy Spirit:

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:18-21)

Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:34-35)

However, the Injeel does not tell us that Jesus is called God’s Spirit. We believe that God’s Spirit is eternal in the same way as God is eternal. God cannot be without his Spirit. Jesus sent God’s Spirit to us, as he also expressed in the following passage:

When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me. (John 15:26)

Jesus is like Adam

Truly, the likeness of Jesus, in God’s sight, is as Adam’s likeness; He created him of dust, then said He unto him, “Be”, and he was. (Surah 3:59)

According to the Qur’an the similarity between Jesus and Adam is that both came into existence through God’s word of creation. We Christians, however, believe that Jesus did not come into existence by God’s word, but that in his person God’s Word became man.

Paul compares Jesus with Adam in two different ways:

In Romans 5:12-21 he contrasts Adam and Jesus.

Through Adam sin came into the world, through Jesus grace, life and righteousness. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:17)

In 1 Corinthians 15 the point of comparison is that through Adam physical death entered the world. Jesus, however, brought resurrection.

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:20-22)

Jesus is without sin

There is no passage in the Qur’an which speaks directly about Jesus’ sinlessness. Muslims, however, believe that he was indeed sinless. This is also in harmony with various other statements about Jesus in the Qur’an, such as that God exalted Jesus to himself (see God raised Jesus to himself), or the words of the Angel to Mary in Surah 19,19:

He said, “I am but a messenger come from thy Lord, to give thee a boy most pure.”

Jesus is called here “a boy most pure”. It is not the purity of the body that is meant here but purity in front of God which is a life without sin. The Qur’an tells us that Muhammad had to pray for the forgiveness of his sins (Surah 40:55[3] ; 47:19[4] ; 48:2[5] ). Concerning Jesus there is no such statement.

On the other hand, in the Bible we find clear testimonies of the sinlessness of Jesus.

Jesus himself said:

Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? (John 8:46)

Also the letter to the Hebrews testifies:

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens…. (Hebrews 7:26)

You know that He appeared in order to take away sins ; and in Him there is no sin. (1 John 3:5)

Because Jesus is without sin, he can help us to be free of our sins, too.

Jesus answered them:

Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. …36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:34,36)

Jesus is a mercy from God

He said, “Even so thy Lord has said: ‘Easy is that for Me; and that We may appoint him a sign unto men and a mercy from Us; it is a thing decreed.’” (Surah 19:21)

After the birth of John the Baptist, Zachariah spoke following words to his son:

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways; to give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:76-79)

From Paul’s letter to Titus:

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. (Titus 3:4-6)

Every surah (except for Surah 9) in the Qur’an begins with an invocation of the merciful God. This demonstrates how important his mercy is. In Jesus God showed us his mercy – his goodness and love towards people. Jesus is the mercy of God in person.

Jesus is a sign for the whole world

He said, “Even so thy Lord has said: ‘Easy is that for Me; and that We may appoint him a sign unto men and a mercy from Us; it is a thing decreed.’” (Surah 19:21)

And she who guarded her virginity, so We breathed into her of Our spirit and appointed her and her son to be a sign unto all beings. (Surah 21:91)

According to the Qur’an Jesus is not only a prophet for the Christians, but a sign for all “beings” – as promised by the prophet Isaiah:

Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse[6], who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious. (Isaiah 11:10)

Jesus himself confirmed this promise:

And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself. (John 12:32)

Jesus is the sign for all nations. All should find God through him.

Jesus is the Anointed One (the Messiah/Christ)

When the angels said, “Mary, God gives thee good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary; high honoured shall he be in this world and the next, near stationed to God.” (Surah 3:45)

This verse is just one of many examples in the Qur’an in which Jesus is called the “anointed”[7] one. In the Qur’an, though, this expression occurs only as a name. The meaning of this name remains unclear. Therefore, to find out the significance of this name we need to turn to the holy scriptures of the Old and New Covenants.

In the Old Testament Priests and Kings were anointed for their special ministry in God’s nation.

You shall put them on Aaron your brother and on his sons with him; and you shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them, that they may serve Me as priests. (Exodus 28:41)

Then Samuel said to Saul, “The LORD sent me to anoint you as king over His people, over Israel; now therefore, listen to the words of the LORD.” (1 Samuel 15:1)

Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah. (1 Samuel 16:13)

For this reason the King of Israel is also called the “Anointed”, as in 1 Samuel 12:3:

Here I am; bear witness against me before the LORD and His anointed.[8]

The Old Testament priesthood and kingship point to a future “anointed one” who is able to fulfil both roles in a perfect way. He is to be a priest who intercedes with God for the people as well as a righteous king over all men.

When Jesus came he was neither priest nor king according to earthly standards. He was a simple carpenter. But as the only sinless man he is able to intercede with God for us sinners. He was completely righteous. God exalted him to be the eternal king over all people.

Jesus applied a passage from the book of the Prophet Isiah to himself to show in which way he is the anointed of God:

And He [Jesus] came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.” And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:16-21)

Jesus did not come as a political king. He brought the good news of the the Kingdom of God to those who were aware of their poverty in front of God. He brought freedom to those who were captives to sin, he removed the spiritual blindness of those who did not know God.

The angel who announced the birth of Jesus expressed it in a similar way:

She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)

Jesus is the Messiah in order to save us from our sins.

Jesus healed the blind and lepers

…to be a Messenger to the Children of Israel saying, “I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. …I will also heal the blind and the leper”…Surely in that is a sign for you, if you are believers. (Surah 3:49)

When God said, “Jesus Son of Mary, remember My blessing upon thee and upon thy mother, when I confirmed thee with the Holy Spirit…and thou healest the blind and the leper by My leave….” (Surah 5:110)

In the Bible we find a great many testimonies of how Jesus healed the sick. It would go beyond the scope of this article to mention all the relevant passages. Jesus himself gave a short summary of his ministry in his message to John the Baptist:

…the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. (Matthew 11:5)

We can trust that He who caused the blind to see and cleansed the lepers is also able to heal us today from spiritual blindness and cleanse us from the leprosy of our sins.

Jesus raised the dead

…to be a Messenger to the Children of Israel saying, “I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. …and bring to life the dead, by the leave of God”. …Surely in that is a sign for you, if you are believers. (Surah 3:49)

When God said, “Jesus Son of Mary, remember My blessing upon thee and upon thy mother, when I confirmed thee with the Holy Spirit…and thou bringest the dead forth by My leave….” (Surah 5:110)

The New Testament tells us about three people whom Jesus raised from the dead:

  • a widow’s son from Nain: Luke 7:11-17
  • Jairus the synagogue ruler’s daughter: Matthew 9:18-19,23-26; Mark 5:21-24,35-43; Luke 8:40-42,49-56
  • Lazarus: John 11:1-45

Below we quote a few verses from John 11:

Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they removed the stone Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him. (John 11:39-45)

The spiritual message that Jesus attached to the raising of Lazarus is likewise of great importance:

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Jesus had authority over the Law

Likewise confirming the truth of the Torah that is before me, and to make lawful to you certain things that before were forbidden unto you. I have come to you with a sign from your Lord; so fear you God, and obey you me. (Surah 3:50)

The Qur’an confirms the Christian belief that Jesus abolished parts of the Old Testament, especially the Jewish food laws.

In the Gospel of Mark we read the following words which Jesus spoke to his disciples:

And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” Thus He declared all foods clean. And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” (Mark 7:18-23)

In this way Jesus demonstrated that he is the one whom Moses predicted in the Torah:

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. (Deuteronomy 18:15)

Only a prophet like Moses could have the authority to “make lawful to you certain things that before (in the Torah) were forbidden unto you”. According to the Qur’an Jesus had this authority.[9]

Jesus creates

…to be a Messenger to the Children of Israel saying, “I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird; then I will breathe into it, and it will be a bird, by the leave of God.” …Surely in that is a sign for you, if you are believers. (Surah 3:49)

When God said, “Jesus Son of Mary, remember My blessing upon thee and upon thy mother, when I confirmed thee with the Holy Spirit…and when thou createst out of clay, by My leave, as the likeness of a bird, and thou breathest into it, and it is a bird, by My leave….” (Surah 5:110)

This story is not found in the Bible, but appears in apocryphical writings of a later period, such as the so-called “Infancy Gospel of Thomas”[10]. These two Qur’anic verses are, however, important as they use the verb “to create” to describe the actions of Jesus. Elsewhere in the Qur’an this word only describes God’s actions. God alone is the creator, as it is expressed in the following verse:

O men, a similitude is struck; so give you ear to it. Surely those upon whom you call, apart from God, shall never create a fly, though they banded together to do it; and if a fly should rob them of aught, they would never rescue it from him. Feeble indeed alike are the seeker and the sought! (Surah 22:73)

The Injeel testifies clearly that Jesus is much more than the creator of a fly or of living birds from a lump of clay. God created the whole universe through him, who is the eternal Word of God:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1:1-3)

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17)

Jesus requires our obedience

Likewise confirming the truth of the Torah that is before me, and to make lawful to you certain things that before were forbidden unto you. I have come to you with a sign from your Lord; so fear you God, and obey you me. (Surah 3:50)

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. (John 14:15)

Whoever fears God obeys Jesus. But in order to obey Jesus we need to know his commandments. The commands of Jesus cannot be found in the Qur’an, but only in the Gospel.[11] So if we want to get to know the commands of Jesus there is no other way than reading the Gospel for ourselves. That is the only way we can fulfil what is commanded in Surah 3:50.

God raised Jesus to Himself

When God said, “Jesus, I will take thee to Me and will raise thee to Me and I will purify thee of those who believe not. I will set thy followers above the unbelievers till the Resurrection Day. Then unto Me shall you return, and I will decide between you, as to what you were at variance on.” (Surah 3:55)

God raised him up to Him; God is All-mighty, All-wise. (Surah 4:158)

Jesus is unique as the only person mentioned in the Qur’an whom God raised him up to Himself. That means that Jesus now lives in God’s presence. Other prophets like Muhammad have to wait in their tombs until the day of their resurrection.

There is a similar statement made concerning the prophet Idris (who is perhaps the Qur’anic equivalent of the Enoch[12] of the Bible):

We raised him up to a high place. (Surah 19:57)

Enoch was only raised up “to a high place”. Jesus, on the other hand, is with God. The Bible speaks repeatedly about the “exaltation” of Jesus to God. The quote below – a passage from Paul’s letter to the Philippians – is an important example:

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)

The consequence of the exaltation of Jesus is that every knee will bow before him, not because he is a different God, but because he was “in the form of God” from the beginning. Whoever adores Jesus adores the only true God.

Final thoughts

Although the Qur’an tells us many things about Jesus, all the information is fragmentary and scattered throughout different Surahs. In order to really get to know Jesus, there is no other way than through reading the Bible. In the New Testament alone we find the fullness of Jesus’ words and deeds. Each Muslim is obliged to believe all the messengers of God and all the holy scriptures. We invite you to read the Gospel and to open your heart for the words that God has revealed to us through Jesus. In his words we find eternal life.


Footnotes:

  1. The Qur’an quoted according to the translation of Arthur John Arberry, http://al-quran.info/default.aspx?x=y#&&sura=1&aya=1&trans=en-arthur_arberry&show=trans&ver=2.00. []
  2. Those disciples of Jesus who were very close to him. []
  3. So be thou patient; surely God’s promise is true. And ask forgiveness for thy sin, and proclaim the praise of thy Lord at evening and dawn. []
  4. Know thou therefore that there is no god but God, and ask forgiveness for thy sin, and for the believers, men and women. God knows your going to and fro, and your lodging. []
  5. that God may forgive thee thy former and thy latter sins, and complete His blessing upon thee, and guide thee on a straight path…. []
  6. Jesse is David´s father. Jesus comes from the family of David. In this way he is the root of Jesse; in him God fulfilled this prophetic word. []
  7. The Arabic word “masih”, equivalent to the Hebrew “meshiach” and the Greek “christos” is rendered “Messiah” in The Qur’an translated by Arthur John Arberry. The literal meaning of this word in all these languages is the “Anointed” one. []
  8. Here the prophet is referring to King Saul. []
  9. Sometimes Muslims argue that the prophet annouced by Moses is “from among your brothers”, that is, from among the Arabs, and that Mohammed is the fulfillment of this prophecy. This argument ignores the fact that the same expression is used in reference to the King of Israel, whose Israelite nationality is explicitly required: “You shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses, one from among your countrymen (lit. ‘brothers’) you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman (lit. ‘brother’).” (Deuteronomy 17:15). []
  10. The text can be found here: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/infancythomas-a-roberts.html: This child Jesus, when five years old, was playing in the ford of a mountain stream; and He collected the flowing waters into pools, and made them clear immediately, and by a word alone He made them obey Him. And having made some soft clay, He fashioned out of it twelve sparrows. And it was the Sabbath when He did these things. And there were also many other children playing with Him. And a certain Jew, seeing what Jesus was doing, playing on the Sabbath, went off immediately, and said to his father Joseph: Behold, thy son is at the stream, and has taken clay, and made of it twelve birds, and has profaned the Sabbath. And Joseph, coming to the place and seeing, cried out to Him, saying: Wherefore doest thou on the Sabbath what it is not lawful to do? And Jesus clapped His hands, and cried out to the sparrows, and said to them: Off you go! And the sparrows flew, and went off crying. And the Jews seeing this were amazed, and went away and reported to their chief men what they had seen Jesus doing. []
  11. See our article “The Word of God cannot be changed” for an answer to the reproach that the Gospel has been corrupted. []
  12. “Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” (Genesis 5:21-24). []