Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Christ’s Role as Judge in Light of Islamic Theology

Sam Shamoun

According to Muslim teaching, some of Allah’s names include titles such as “the Just,” “the Judge,” “the Just Decider,” and “The Requitter/Recompenser.”

Al'Adl,  Al-'Âdil: The Just

The Just and Equitable. He whom desire does not cause to incline or decline so that He should deviate from the right course in judgement.

Al-'Adl is one of the Ninety-Nine Names…

Al-Hakam: The Judge

The Arbiter, Allah judges and there is no reversing His judgement.

Al-Hakam is one of the Ninety-Nine Names…

Al-Fattâh, Al-Fâtih: The Just Decider, The Opener

The Judge, the Conquerer, who opens what is closed between the two adversaries, i.e. decides between them. Also opening His goodness and mercy, the One who gives victory.

Al-Fattah is one of the Ninety-Nine Names…

Ad-Dayyân: The Requiter

The Judge, one who demands the accounts, retribution. He does not neglect any deed, but requites it properly.

The Prophet said, "Allah will collect His slaves and He will call to them in a voice that those who are far away will hear just as clearly as those who are close at hand: 'I am the King, the Requiter!'" (Al-Bukhari) (Aisha Bewley, The Divine Names)

The Quran itself testifies that there is no other judge besides Allah,

Shall I seek other than Allah for judge, when He it is Who hath revealed unto you (this) Scripture, fully explained? Those unto whom We gave the Scripture (aforetime) know that it is revealed from thy Lord in truth. So be not thou (O Muhammad) of the waverers. S. 6:114 Pickthall

And also proclaims that judgment belongs entirely and solely to him:

That is because when Allah alone was called upon, you disbelieved, and when associates were given to Him, you believed; so judgment belongs to Allah, the High, the Great. S. 40:12 Shakir

This is why the Quran says that Allah will come to judge creation:

Nay! When the earth is ground to powder, And your Lord comes with the angels in rows, And Hell will be brought near that Day. On that Day will man remember, but how will that remembrance (then) avail him? S. 89:21-23 Hilali-Khan

In light of such assertions, the last thing we would expect is for Christ and his followers to ascribe such titles and functions to the Lord Jesus. After all, if the Quran were correct that Jesus and his disciples were Muslims then they would never have ascribed such divine characteristics to Christ, since to do so would go against Islamic monotheism. Yet if they did attribute these unique roles to the risen Lord then this proves that both Christ and his Apostles went around proclaiming that Jesus is God in the flesh (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit), thereby proving that Islam is false.

Lo and behold, the inspired Christian Scriptures proclaim that this is precisely what the first Christians did!

For instance, the Holy Bible teaches that Christ is the Just One, in fact the Holy One:

“But you denied the Holy One and the Just (ton hagion kai dikaion), and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.” Acts 3:14-15 NKJV

“Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One (ho dikaios), of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers,” Acts 7:52 New King James Version (NKJV)

“Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One (ton dikaion), and hear the voice of His mouth.’” Acts 22:14 NKJV

“Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, ‘What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God (ho hagios tou theou)!’” Mark 1:23-24

Interestingly, the Holy One happens to be another one of Allah’s names,

5. Al-Quddus

The Most Holy (Gibril F. Haddad, Allah's Names and Attributes)

As the Quran itself testifies:

He is Allah, than Whom there is no other God, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One (al-quddoosu), Peace, the Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the Majestic, the Compeller, the Superb. Glorified be Allah from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him). S. 59:23 Pickthall

All that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth glorifieth Allah, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One (al-quddoosi), the Mighty, the Wise. S. 62:1 Pickthall

The NT also states that all judgment has been given to the Son, who will come on the last day to resurrect the dead and judge the entire earth:

But when the Son of Man comes in HIS glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on HIS glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before HIM; and HE will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on HIS right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on HIS right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of MY Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’… Then He will also say to those on HIS left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;’… These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-34, 41, 46

“The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)… And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.” Acts 10:36, 42

“Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.” 2 Corinthians 5:10-11

“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by HIS appearing and HIS kingdom… in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing… The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to HIS heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:1, 8, 18

“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 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. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear THE VOICE OF THE SON OF GOD, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear HIS VOICE, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.” John 5:21-29

Amazingly, in the above passage from John, Christ claims to do the very thing which the Muslim scripture says Allah shall do, namely, raise the dead from their graves or tombs:

That is because Allah, He is the Truth, and it is He Who gives life to the dead, and it is He Who is Able to do all things. And surely, the Hour is coming, there is no doubt about it, and certainly, Allah will resurrect those who are in the graves. S. 22:6-7 Hilali-Khan

The Holy Bible further teaches that it is Christ who shall repay every man according to his/her deeds:

 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.” Matthew 16:27

“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this: ‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first… And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.’” Revelation 2:18-19, 23

“‘Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the endI, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.’… He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” Revelation 22:12-13, 16, 20-21

In these texts, Jesus not only claims to be the One who will reward everyone for what they have earned, he even ascribes to himself the very titles, roles and characteristics of God Almighty, just as the following verses show:

“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’” Revelation 1:8

“Then He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.’” Revelation 21:6-7

Behold, the Lord God will come with might, With His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him And His recompense before Him. Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.” Isaiah 40:10-11

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me.’” Isaiah 44:6 – cf. 41:4; 48:12

“I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17:10

It is Yahweh who knows the hearts and minds and who comes to recompense people for what they have done. Yahweh is also the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, titles which Jesus applies to himself!

Even the Quran testifies that first and the last is one of the names of Allah:

Al-Awwal, Al-Akhir: The First and the Last

Al-Akhir is He who remains after all His creatures have perished.

Al-Awwal is the First, preceding all others.

Al-Awwal and Al-Akhir are two of the Ninety-Nine Names. (Bewley, The Divine Names)

He is the First and the Last, and the Outward and the Inward; and He is Knower of all things. S. 57:3 Pickthall

In the hadith Muhammad explained what this title meant:

Suhail reported that Abu Salih used to command us (in these words): When any one of you intends to go to sleep, he should lie on the bed on his right side and then say: "O Allah, the Lord of the Heavens and the Lord of the Earth and Lord of the Magnificent Throne, our Lord, and the Lord of everything, the Splitter of the grain of corn and the datestone (or fruit kernal), the Revealer of Torah and Injil (Bible) and Criterion (the Holy Qur'an), I seek refuge in Thee from the evil of everything Thou art to sieze by the forelock (Thou hast perfect control over it). O Allah, Thou art the First, there is naught before Thee, and Thou art the Last and there is naught after Thee, and Thou art Evident and there is nothing above Thee, and Thou art Innermost and there is nothing beyond Thee. Remove the burden of debt from us and relieve us from want." Abu Salih used to narrate it from Abu Huraira who narrated it from Allah's Apostle. (Sahih Muslim, Book 035, Number 6551)

Now contrast this with the following passage:

“When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; AND I WAS DEAD, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.’” Revelation 1:17-18 – cf. 2:8

By claiming to be the First and Last who died and came back to life, Christ was basically affirming his eternal, uncreated existence, since there was nothing before him nor shall there be anything after him.

To top it all off, the ahadith report that Muhammad told his followers that Jesus would return from heaven to reign on earth as a just ruler and fair judge:

(And he shall be a sign for (the coming of) the Hour.) means, sign and “One of the signs of the Hour will be the appearance of `Isa son of Maryam before the Day of Resurrection.” Something similar was also narrated from Abu Hurayrah, Ibn `Abbas, `Abu Al-`Aliyah, Abu Malik, `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and others. Many Mutawatir Hadiths report that the Messenger of Allah said that `Isa will descend before the Day of Resurrection as a just ruler and fair judge. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 43:61)

Hence, Muhammad ascribes to Jesus two of the names and roles of Allah, namely “just” and “judge,” despite the Quran’s emphatic proclamation that Allah does not have any partner in his judgment or rule:

And say: (All) praise is due to Allah, Who has not taken a son and Who has not a partner in the kingdom, and Who has not a helper to save Him from disgrace; and proclaim His greatness magnifying (Him). S. 17:111 Shakir

Say: Allah knows best how long they remained; to Him are (known) the unseen things of the heavens and the earth; how clear His sight and how clear His hearing! There is none to be a guardian for them besides Him, and He does not make any one His associate in His Judgment. S. 18:26 Shakir

In light of the foregoing, it is clear that neither Jesus nor his disciples were Muslims since they ascribed to Christ certain roles and titles which serve to identify the risen Lord as Yahweh God Almighty who became flesh for our salvation. Therefore, Muhammad was nothing more than a false prophet and the Quran is a book of misguidance.

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Here are some interesting videos on this subject:

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