Responses to "Islamic Information"

Jesus on whom be peace in the Glorious Qur'an

The Qur'an tells us a lot of wonderful things about Jesus. As a result, believers in the Qur'an love Jesus, honour him, and believe in him. In fact, no Muslim can be a Muslim unless he or she believes in Jesus, on whom be peace.

The Qur'an says that Jesus was born of a virgin, that he spoke while he was still only a baby, that he healed the blind and the leper by God's leave, and that he raised the dead by God's leave.

The Qur'an discusses some relatively superficial incidents in the life of Jesus. However, in spite of the fact that the Qur'an [and Muslims] hold Jesus in such high regard as a Prophet, the Qur'an says virtually nothing about the teachings of Jesus. I do not look to the Qur'an for information concerning Jesus, I look to the New Testament, which was written by the followers of Jesus who were witnesses to His life, works, and teachings. Muhammad lived centuries after Jesus and, as we will soon see, could not tell a consistent story of the life of Jesus - much less understand Christ's teachings.

What then is the significance of these miracles? First, the virgin birth. God demonstrates his power to create in every way. God created everyone we know from a man and a woman. But how about Adam, on whom be peace? God created him from neither a man nor a woman. And Eve from only a man, but not a woman. And, finally, to complete the picture, God created Jesus from a woman, but not a man.

Why is the virgin birth so important according to the Qur'an? After all, the Qur'an says that Jesus was a messenger like other messengers (Sura 5:75).

The virgin birth is important because it enabled the Word of God to be made flesh in the body of Jesus Christ. Jesus [unlike all other men and women] was completely and totally sinless. Therefore, He was the perfect sacrifice for our sins on the cross.

What about the other miracles? These were to show that Jesus was not acting on his own behalf, but that he was backed by God. The Qur'an specifies that these miracles were performed by God's leave. This may be compared to the Book of Acts in the Bible, chapter 2, verse 22, where it says that the miracles were done by God to show that he approved of Jesus. Also, note that Jesus himself is recorded in the Gospel of John to have said, "I can do nothing of my own authority" (5:30). The miracles, therefore, were done not by his own authority, but by God's authority.

We need to look at these passages more closely.

Acts 2:22-24

"Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

and please read Acts 2:36 :

"Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

This passage does not support your point of view!

John 5:30

Once again, we must read the verse in the context of the Chapter. Jesus has healed a man on the Sabbath and the Jews are angry with Him. Jesus tells them (verses 17-18):

"My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

In verses 19 and 30, Jesus is telling His enemies that there is no rivalry between the Father and the Son, as they supposed. The meaning of these verses is, "The Son can have no separate interest or action from the Father."

These teachings completely contradict the Qur'an as well as your argument! Incidentally, since you are reading John 5, you should take a look at verse 25:

I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.

What did Jesus teach? The Qur'an tells us that Jesus came to teach the same basic message which was taught by previous prophets from God—that we must shun every false god and worship only the one true God. Jesus taught that he is the servant and messenger of that one true God, the God of Abraham. These Quranic teachings can be compared with the Bible (Mark 10:18; Matthew 26:39; John 14:28, 17:3, and 20:17) where Jesus teaches that the one he worshipped is the only true God. See also Matthew 12:18; Acts 3:13, and 4:27 where we find that his disciples knew him as Servant of God.

The Qur'an does not tell us what Jesus taught. The Qur'an presents Jesus as rather one-dimensional, as well as the other Biblical [true] Prophets. Now, we will see if the verses given to us conform to the teachings of the Qur'an:

Mark 10:18 (we will look at verses 13 - 22)

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

Jesus is telling us that, if we want to receive eternal life, we need to accept it as a gift - in the same way that children accept gifts. Jesus is telling us adults that we have to look beyond the adult concept of "having to earn everything" because we cannot earn God's favor and grace (through anything that we do or say), but we have to accept it as a free gift of love.

Now, to verse 18

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good -- except God alone.

Is Jesus not good? Does the Qur'an agree with this statement? What was Jesus saying? Jesus is simply asking this man, who praised Jesus: "Why do YOU call me good?" Jesus wants to know this man's motivation for praising Him. Is Jesus claiming the He is not good? No, he is simply telling this man not to attribute to Him any quality which he [the man] is ultimately not willing to accept and act upon in obedience. Jesus did not reject the attribute of goodness, which is appropriate for him. Jesus does not want "any praise", Jesus demands that the praise that is given to Him is genuine.

Matthew 26:39

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

We must remember that Jesus was fully God and at the same time, fully man. In his human nature, soul and body he felt pain, and as all of us, he did not want to suffer and die. However, He placed His life in the hands of God the Father.

John 14:28:

"You heard me say, `I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

This is an argument that is often used by the Jehovah's Witnesses who knock on my door on Saturday mornings! Greater, in this case, refers to position, not nature. For example, Philippians 2:5-8 says:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

In other words, even though Jesus emptied Himself, He was always in nature God and equal to the Father in nature. If Jesus wanted to say He was inferior to God in nature, He would have said, "The Father is better than I."

John 17:3

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Please read the entire Chapter in context, especially verse 5:

And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Jesus claimed that he existed before the creation of the world! In fact, he existed before time. Which of the Prophets ever made such a claim?

John 20:17

Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, `I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"

Once again, read the entire Chapter, especially verses 26-31:

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Matthew 12:18

"Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.

Once again, read the entire Chapter. This passage is the fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy (Isaiah 42:1-4). You should also ponder verses 6-8 where Jesus said:

I tell you that one greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, `I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."

Acts 3:13 (we will look at verse 13-15

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.

Does the Qur'an say that Jesus was killed?

Acts 4:27

Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.

Read the entire Chapter, especially verses 9-12:

If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is "`the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone. ' Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

This clearly does not conform to the Qur'an teachings!

The Qur'an tells us that some of the Israelites rejected Jesus, and conspired to kill him, but Allah (God) rescued Jesus and raised him to Himself. Allah will cause Jesus to descend again, at which time Jesus will confirm his true teachings and everyone will believe in him as he is and as the Qur'an teaches about him.

In reality, the Qur'an is not that clear! In fact, the Qur'an [Muhammad] does not give us a consistent account of what happened to Jesus.

That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:- Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise;- And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgment he will be a witness against them;-

According to this passage, Jesus was not killed on the cross, but was "raised up" to God, and those of us who disagree with this claim "are full of doubts with no certain knowledge" and if we do not believe the Qur'an's account, Jesus will be a witness against us on the Day of Judgment. Does this settle the issue? Not really! Incidentally, there is an interesting problem with this account. Why would the Jews "boast" that they killed the Messiah? Think about it for a minute. The Jewish followers of Jesus did not kill him. In fact, they were horrified when he was put to death. The Jewish enemies of Jesus were certainly happy to have Him out of their way, but they would never have called him the Messiah or a "Messenger" of God since they viewed such statements as blasphemy! Additionally, God is a deceiver according to this passage. He tricked both the friends and enemies of Jesus into believing in the crucifixion and has therefore (according to the Islamic argument) deceived billions of human beings over the past 2000 year denying them any hope of salvation!

But wait,

Sura 5:75 tells us :

"Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth!"

But Sura 3:144 says:

Muhammad is but a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) have passed away before him. Will it be that, when he dieth or is slain, ye will turn back on your heels? He who turneth back on his heels doth no hurt to Allah, and Allah will reward the thankful.

Therefore, Sura 5:75 tells us that Jesus was only a messenger and Sura 3:144 says that all messengers have died. Therefore, since Jesus was only a messenger and all messengers have died, Jesus could not have been "raised up" as Sura 4:158 claims, he must be dead and in a grave!

Sura 5:110 also confuses the issue of Jesus being "raised up" since the verse says that Jesus taught "when of old age":

"When Allah will say: O Isa son of Marium! Remember My favor on you and on your mother, when I strengthened you I with the holy Spirit, you spoke to the people in the cradle and I when of old age, and when I taught you the Book and the wisdom and the Taurat and the Injeel; and when you determined out of clay a thing like the form of a bird by My permission, then you breathed into it and it became a bird by My permission, and you healed the blind and the leprous by My permission; and when you brought forth the dead by My permission; and when I withheld the children of Israel from you when you came to them with clear arguments, but those who disbelieved among them said: This is nothing but clear enchantment."

Incidentally, Yusuf Ali, the great translator and commentator of the Koran believed that the ministry of Jesus ended when he was about 33 years old - hardly an "old age". (See his comment #388 on Sura 3:46).

To make matters even more confusing, Sura 19:33 claims that the baby Jesus spoke in the crib saying :

"So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)"! This verse not only contradicts the claim of Sura 4:158 (that Jesus did not die), it also says that Jesus, after his death, will be raised up to life again!

This incident, which has no parallel in the Bible, can be viewed as a sign and prophecy. If the words of Jesus did not come true (that he would die and be raised to life), then he does not deserve the title of "prophet" which Muslims give him.

Jesus is the Messiah. He is a word from Allah, and a spirit from Him. He is honoured in this world and in the hereafter, and he is one of those brought nearest to Allah.

Jesus was a man who spoke the truth which he heard from God. This can be compared with the Gospel According to John where Jesus says to the Israelites: "You are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God" (John 8:40).

Please read down to verse 58:

"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"

In conclusion, I believe that the Bible gives us the true words and teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophecies which the Qur'an does not even begin to discuss. I also have infinitely greater trust in the followers of Jesus, who recorded His words and deeds in the Bible, than I do in a man who lived several centuries after Jesus and could not provide a clear explanation of the life of Christ.

The most important question is: who is Jesus? Should we believe the Bible's teachings concerning Jesus or the Qur'an's? When we read the Bible in context, we see the entire history of the relationship between God and humankind - from the very beginning, to the end to come. The Bible tells us how humans sinned and alienated our race from God. However, the Bible also tells us, through the Prophets of the Old Testament, the wonderful plan that God has to redeem us from our sins. The Prophets all point to the greatest event in human history - the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who would die on the cross to save us from our sins. Why do I believe in Jesus? Jesus did not simply "appear"on the world scene - the Prophets of the Old Testament told us about Him and about the details of His life centuries before He was born. Jesus proved that He was the Son of God through fulfilling the prophecies of the Old Testament, and through His miracles and prophecies.

I [knowing that God will hold me accountable for my every word, deed, and thought] do not accept the "prophethood" of Muhammad and I do not accept the Qur'an as the Word of God. Muhammad was his only witness, he was not the subject of any Old Testament prophecy, he did not perform any miracles [according to the Qur'an], and he did not give us any prophecies [at least none that actually came true]. His teachings contradict the teachings of the Prophets and the teachings of Jesus and, to be very honest, his "revelations" often came in time to allow him to have his way with money (Sura 58:12), women (Sura 66:3-5), and power (Sura 5:33).

I have studied the Qur'an and the Hadith and I will honestly tell all of you [realizing that my eternal destiny at is stake], that I cannot follow the teachings of this book or the example of Muhammad. My dear Muslim brothers and sisters, I pray that you will read the Bible with an open mind and heart and that the words of God bring you to salvation and eternal life through Jesus.

Andrew Vargo

Responses to "Islamic Information"
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