Copyright 1996 by M. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Jesus The Light And The Fragrance Of God

by M. Anderson

Part 2: The Christ of History

    Chapter 8: A Time for Reflection

As we did in Part One about the Christ of the future, let us make a quick overview of what we have learned about the Christ of history as Muslim scholars have seen him.

1. Jesus' miraculous virgin birth is 'like the unprecedented wonders of the original creation'. [1]
2. Jesus was sinless.
3. Jesus is described as blessed, continuously and unconditionally. 4. Jesus is the man of miracles. 'Together those miracles were not performed by anyone else.' [2]
5. Jesus, according to the Qur'an, is the only one who created from clay, by his breath by God's leave.
6. Jesus, according to the Qur'an, is the only one who raised people from the dead, by God's leave, and he did so by utterance. ie. by a word.
7. Jesus is the only person concerning whose coming all the prophets prophesied. He was called the Word of God, because he was prophesied about in the books of the prophets before his birth. [3]
8 Jesus is the only prophet to whom another prophet bowed while he was still in the womb.
9. No one was given the complete revelation except Jesus. [4]
10. Jesus is the only one who was confirmed by the Holy Spirit, [5] with whom the Spirit dwelled all the time.
11. While others will be given certain degrees in Paradise as their reward, Jesus' reward is greater than all of Paradise, for Jesus' reward is nothing less than God. Jesus is the only person who was lifted up to God.
12. The Qur'an singles out Jesus from all the prophets as the Knowledge of the Hour, to be the proof and hope of the resurrection, and of God's just recompense.
13. Jesus is God's choice to defeat God's enemy, the Dajjal.
14. Jesus is the only one, according to the Qur'an, who is described as eminent in both this life and the life to come. Jesus' miracles are an indication of his eminence in the life to come.
15. Jesus is the only one who is like Adam, yet unlike Adam he remained perfect.
16. Jesus is the only one who is likened to the Book of God [6] and the Qur'an. [7]
17. Jesus is like Gabriel.
18 Jesus' words are powerful enough even to give eternal life, cleanse from sin and 'cause the life of religion'. [8]
19. God named Jesus, meaning 'Saviour'. He lived up to this name, and is still alive. He is God's appointed saviour.
20. One of the titles given to Jesus by God is 'Christ', meaning 'king'. Mortals anoint mortal kings, but the one anointed by the living God is king forever.
21. Jesus was truly poor by his own choice, in order that people might be rich in God.
22. Christ is the highest example.
23. Out of all the prophets, Jesus was the most greatly opposed. The mere contemplation of killing him constituted the greatest crime in history.
24. Jesus will come to judge the whole world.

From the above summary, we can see that Jesus was distinguished by God. His distinctions were many.

The Sufi scholars have contemplated long on what should be the personality of what they called the Perfect Man. They described him and wondered who is he and what his nature could be? Such contemplation is reflected in the following discussion:

He is the summation of the possible [9] and Divine truths.....the servant, who must be called God's Vice-Regent and Representative. He has complete influence over all that is possible. He has the perfect will, and He is the most perfect (Divine) manifestation....The scholars differed as to whether it is possible that there could be two such Perfect Men? Or can there only be one person? If there is only one person, who is He? To which part of existence does He belong? Is He a human being? Is he a Jinn? Or is He an angel? [10]

In answer to the first question, it is obvious there is only one Perfect Man. He is Jesus the Christ. Unlike the rest of humanity, Jesus was perfect in every possible way. He possessed all virtues, and in that, he is incomparable.

Furthermore, some of Jesus' distinguishing characteristics cannot be contested. Concerning his miracles one might argue that in the future someone else may perform greater miracles than Jesus. Even the miracle of his virgin birth may be repeated. However, Jesus' role as the Judge of the World who will destroy Dajjal, as the sign of the Hour and as eminent in the life to come cannot be contested. He is the only one to have been chosen by God to bear these distinctions. This sets Jesus apart from the rest of humanity, and indeed from other prophets.

Jesus is the Perfect Man, the only Perfect Man, for:

No other person was born of a virgin.
No other person has been described as sinless, most pure and blessed.
No other person has performed all the miracles Jesus performed.
No other person raised the dead by utterance or created as Jesus did.
No other person was prophesied about by the prophets before him.
No other person was believed in and introduced by the bowing down of a prophet.
No other person was given the complete revelation by God.
No other person enjoyed the continuous presence of the Holy Spirit.
No other person was lifted up to be with God.
No other person shares with Jesus the honour of being the Knowledge of the Hour.
No other person will share in the task of destroying the Dajjal.
No other person was described as the most eminent in this world and the world to come.
No other person was likened to Gabriel, and the Book of God.
No other person's words are said to give eternal life and cleanse people from sins.
No other person was named 'Isa' (Jesus) by God, meaning 'Saviour'.
No other person has been called by God 'Christ', meaning king, and no other person was called by God the 'Word of God' and the 'Spirit of God'.
No other person was poor like him, nor rich in God like him.
No other person was presented as the highest example.
No other person met as vehement resistance as Jesus.
No other person will share Jesus' role as the Judge of the whole world.

Why has Jesus been set apart from the whole of the created order? Why are all these distinguishing characteristics seen only in him? The answer lies in the fact that these characteristics are not of human origin, they are not an accident; they are the divine attestations to the prominence of Jesus.

Consider the first point; the fact that Jesus was born of a virgin. It was not an accident but a deliberate, divine act.

Should the reader observe that a printer, in the process of sending books to different locations, wraps them in various types of inexpensive paper, yet he sends one different book wrapped in cloth of purest white silk, he would be justified in believing that such deliberate care on the part of the sender is saying that this particular book is precious and unique. The Qur'an states the following of the virgin Mary: 'Mary, God has chosen thee and purified thee; He has chosen thee above all women' [11]. God, from the very beginning, has set him above every one else by this deliberate, divine act.

Or consider the lifting up of Jesus to be with God. This again is not the result of an evolutionary process but another deliberate, divine act. In most households there are many different kinds of books. If one were to observe that all the books in that household, after being read and used for many years are placed in the garage, yet one book was kept in the most honourable place forever, he would be similarly right in believing that this book is forever more precious than all the other books. Peasants and prophets came to this world and then returned to dust. Jesus did not. He was lifted up to be with God.

Thus we can see from beginning to end God has intentionally set Jesus above every one.

Those who reflected on the person of Jesus, were captivated by his uniqueness.

To the Sufis, Jesus is the Seal of the universal sainthood. And the following words of Tirimizi are a good summation of the Christ as set forth in this second Part of our book. Tirimizi wrote about the seal of the saints:

This is a servant. God undertook to work through him. In God's hand he moves. By God he utters, and hears, and sees, and punishes, and comprehends. God distinguished him in his earth, and made him the leader (Imam) of his creation, the focus of the inhabitants of heaven, the sweet basil of the soul, and God's private possession, the object of God's protection, the mine of God's secrets. And he is God's whip in His earth; by him He chastises His creation, and by looking at him God raises back to life dead hearts, and restores the people to His way, and by him God revives His claims upon mankind. ... He is the key to the right way, and the light of the world. He is the trustee over the leaf of the saints, and their leader, and the one, standing, glorifying his Lord, before the messenger of God! By him the messenger regarding him will boast, God will extol his name in that station, and the eye of the messenger will be delighted!

God has captured his heart all the days of his life, and graced him with His heavenly wisdom, and presented him with His monotheism, and kept his way from the blemish of seeing the self, and the shadow of desire.

God trusted him with the leaf of the saints and made known to him their stations, and revealed to him their ranks.

He is the master of the nobles, he is the virtuous of the wise, the healing of all medicine, and the leader of the physicians. His words arrest the hearts; seeing him is healing to the souls. His arrival vanquishes desires; his nearness cleanses from defilements.

He is a spring, that his light blossoms forever; an autumn, that its fruits are tirelessly harvested, a cave to be resorted to for refuge, and a mine whose treasures are hoped for. He is a division between truth and falsehood. He is the righteous and the divider, the saint and the expert and the spokesman. He is God's one in His earth! [12]

Some might argue that this may have been written to describe the seal of the Mohammedan sainthood Ibn 'Arabi. Yet Ibn 'Arabi himself considered Jesus to be his master.

In al-Fotuhat al-Makkiah, another book by Ibn 'Arabi, we read the following: [13]

The seals are two - a seal by which God seals the universal sainthood and a seal by which God seals the Mohammedan sainthood. The seal of the sainthood, in the absolute sense, is Jesus. He is the saint of the absolute prophethood in the time of this nation ... He will come at the end time as the inheritor and the seal, no saint after him ... He is Jesus. He is from us and he is our master! [14]

By Ibn 'Araby's admission Jesus is the master of the seal of the Mohammedan sainthood.

Ibn 'Arabi, the seal of the Mohammedan Sainthood owes his repentance to Jesus the Word of God. Listen to him saying,

I met with him [that is Ibn-'Araby met with Jesus] many times, he is the one who instructed me and helped me to repent (literally it says, upon his hands I repented). He invoked God's blessing in my favour so that I can be firm in the faith in this life and the next; and he called me beloved, and commanded me to renounce the world and to be an ascetic. [15]

If Tirimizi's description was said of Ibn 'Arabi what would he say of his master then?

The question that still remains unanswered is this: What is the nature of Jesus the Christ? What is the nature of the Perfect Man? We will answer that question in Part Three.

1. Baidawi, commenting on Q. 3:39.
2. Baidawi, commenting on Q. 2:253.
3. Razi, at-Tafsir al-Kabir, commenting on Q. 3:39.
4. The Qur'an, 3:48.
5. Razi, at-Tafsir al-Kabir, commenting on Q. 2:87.
6. Baidawi, commenting on Q. 3:39.
7. Razi, at-Tafsir al-Kabir, commenting on Q. 4:171.
8. Baidawi, commenting on 5:113.
9. The word used is al-Mumkinat: plural of Mumkin: the possibilities. In logic a distinction is made between Mumkin (possible), Wajib (necessary) and ja'iz (contingent); from the metaphysical point of view the possible amounts principally to the necessary, since of necessity every possibilty has the reality that conforms to its nature. Defined by Burckhardt, Titus, An Introduction To Sufi Doctrine, Thorsons Publishers Limited, Wellingborough Northamptonshire, 1976, p121,122
10. Al-Tirimizi, Kitab Khatm al-Awliya, Edited by Othman I. Yahya, Imperial Catholique, Beirut, 1965, P.274.
11. The Qur'an, 3:42.
12. Al-Tirimizi, Kitab Khatm al-Awliya, (Othman I. Yahya, editor), Imperial Catholique, Beirut, 1965, pp. 457-458 (quoted from Nawader Al-Osul, pp. 157-158.
13. Al-Tirimizi, Kitab Khatm al-Awliya, (Othman I. Yahya, editor), Imperial Catholique, Beirut, 1965, p. 161 (quoted from Fotuhat Makkiah, 2:49.)
14. Al-Tirimizi, Kitab Khatm al-Awliya, Edited by Othman I. Yahya, Imperial Catholique, Beirut, 1965, p. 161.
15. Al-Tirimizi, Kitab Khatm al-Awliya, Edited by Othman I. Yahya, Imperial Catholique, Beirut, 1965, P.162

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