(Draft Article) Response to a Christian seeking to justify Christianity through the Quran

(Please read the notice concerning our draft articles)

by MuslimAnswers.net Team

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم

We received a message from a person named “U. Ibrahim Ali” telling us to visit a website named “goldenduas”. This site has some Verses of the Holy Qur’an used as supplications for different occasions. We were unable to locate any reference as to why such Verses should be used as supplications for the situations mentioned in this site, but this is a relatively minor issue. We would not have paid attention to this site and would have said within ourselves that if their efforts and intentions are good, then may Allah reward them for their efforts and correct any mistakes they may have forwarded to the public at large.

The grave issue with this site and the person who sent this message to us is that upon further review of the site we realized that there were certain sentences and phrases praising modern-day Christians as being people of God and doing service to God while being believers in Christianity, all the while peppering their discourse with Verses of the Quran (the entire Verses were not given, only the Chapter and Verse numbers) which may lead the masses to believe that the Quran accepts modern-day Christianity as a valid religion to follow. So we saw that this site is most likely run by a Christian group trying to advance the cause of their religion through adopting Muslim names and having a website which for the most part would have Verses from the Qur’an and Duas, but which would clandestinely insert their ideas about Christianity.

Even though this site is small and does not seem to have much visibility, it is known that one of the tactics of Christian missionaries for bringing Muslims to Christianity is to advance Verses of the Qur’an without any context or with a misleading translation. This tactic would not even raise an eyebrow of those who are firmly grounded in the Islamic religion, but those grounded in knowledge are not the targets of the missionaries. Rather, the targets are those from among the Muslim Ummah who may not read the Qur’an regularly, may not be well-grounded in Islamic beliefs, or may not have proper command of the Arabic language and may not even have a proper translation/commentary of the Qur’an with them in order to understand the Holy Revelation. Since this is the unfortunate case for a large section of the Muslim population today, the Christian missionaries have carefully studied the situation and have followed a path based on their observations.

Thus, it is our duty to expose the attempts of such people to use Verses of the Qur’an as validating modern-day Christianity. We need to mention that the attempts by such Christians are very crude for anyone with a good understanding of the Verses under discussion. However, given the general lack of knowledge among Muslims concerning many important matters of belief and the Qur’an, we are forced to deal with this matter head-on. We have to point out that this is not a formal “scholarly elucidation” of the Verses under discussion since we have not received such knowledge formally and we are thus not allowed to claim formal dissemination for what we mention here, but it is rather a small attempt to show that the interpretations pointed to by the Christians in question are totally incorrect and misleading.

In presenting his case, the site goldenduas says:

Jews, Christians and Islamists who are followers of Abraham, Mosses, Jesus and Mohammed have One God which is revealed in Holy Quran Verses 29:46.

As per the Quranic verses 3:55 (“give your followers dominance over the disbelievers until the Day of Resurrection’) 5:82 (Christians are the best friends of Islamists), 57:26, 27 and 28 (Noah, Abraham and Jesus, son of Maryam were sent by the God only) and also 66:12 (God breathing in his spirit in Virgin Mary),

We will deal with the issue by showing the Qur’anic Ayahs brought up by this Christian in his message and his site along with the explanations he has used to forward his case. Our work is brief, but the reason for this is that the points being presented by the Christian are themselves barely a few words long for each Ayah of the Qur’an.

First Ayah: Verse 29:46

The Christian mentions in his site:

Jews, Christians and Islamists who are followers of Abraham, Mosses, Jesus and Mohammed have One God which is revealed in Holy Quran Verses 29:46.

To begin with, it should be made clear that we are Muslims, not “Islamists”. For some reason that is not clear neither on the site nor in the message given to us, the term “Islamists” was used to refer to Muslims.

Whatever the case may be, the Ayah says that the three Abrahamic faiths have one God. The Verse specifically says:

وَلَا تُجَادِلُوا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ إِلَّا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْهُمْ ۖ وَقُولُوا آمَنَّا بِالَّذِي أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَأُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَإِلَٰهُنَا وَإِلَٰهُكُمْ وَاحِدٌ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ

 

Do not debate with the people of the Book unless it is in the best manner, except with those of them who commit injustice. And say, We believe in what is sent down to us and sent down to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him we submit (ourselves)

 

To begin with, it has to be said that it is obviously true that the God of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims is One God, since Allah is the true God of each and every single thing in the Universe without exception. However, the reason why it has been specifically mentioned in here is because the Jews and the Christians, sharing a closer scriptural bond with the Muslims than other religious ideologies, would be more willing and readier to accept that the God of Muslims and of everything in the Universe is Allah, and that there is no logical option for them other than to enter Islam.

 

In the case of other non-Muslims, they may have set up a bewildering number of false gods other than Allah (or they may have no belief in God at all, but rather believe in an unspecified “hidden force” from which all existence emanated, etc.)– in addition to not having any common scriptural bond with the Muslims- to the point that they may not be as readily able to accept the message of Islam and the Divine Oneness of Allah, and they may reject outright that their God and the God of the Muslims is the same God. So in this context, the mentioning of One God as common between us Muslims on one hand, and Jews and Christians on the other is a way to gently break the mental resistance they may have against Islam by reminding them that our God is One and that His Existence is confirmed by us all.

 

Thus, we see that the Christians’ claim is correct in a sense, but is to be seen in the context of how the Quran reaches out to Jews and Christians by reminding them that we all agree on the Existence of One God.

 

With respect to the other matters brought up in this Verse, we will briefly deal with them:

 

1.     The Verse says to debate the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) in a manner that is best. Thus, this is an exhortation for the Muslims to look for the most polite ways in which to show the truth of Islam to the members of these two religions. One of the main issues that has to be remembered from reading this Verse is that even though courtesy is to be shown to the Christians, we should not lose sight of the fact that they are after all on the wrong path and that they are an incorrect religion. Thus, it is only an exhortation towards the improvement of our mannerism, not with respect to the content of the message, since in all cases we will hold on to the correctness of Islam and the incorrectness of Christianity and Judaism.  

 

2.     With respect to the belief in “what is sent down to us and sent down to you”, this means the original revelations sent down to the Prophets normally associated with Jews and Christians. Thus, the Muslims are obliged to believe that the Taurat, the Zabur, and the Injil were revelations sent down to Musa, Dawud, and ‘Isa (Alayhima Salaam) respectively.

 

However, one matter that has to be remembered at all times is that we believe that Allah sent revelations to these Prophets, and the names of these revelations were the Taurat, Zabur, and Injil. However, there is no way to ascertain that what is being read today by the Jews and Christians are indeed the revelations from Allah.  Since we are concentrating on Christianity, we will mention the following: Modern-day Christians hold that the books of the Bible were authored by humans under Divine inspiration, which is quite different from Prophets receiving revelations from Allah. Also, most of the books of the Bible have not been authored by the three Prophets mentioned – even if we forget for a moment the disparity between a human authoring a book under divine guidance and receiving revelation from Allah- so they cannot possibly correspond to revelations.  So from this we see that a “revelation sent down” to a Prophet is different from “authoring a book under Divine Revelation”, to the point that what we Muslims believe to be revelation does not even correspond in any way to the “Holy Books” the Christians claim to have. Even though it is not the main topic under discussion in this tract, it is extremely important for everyone to keep this in mind, since not understanding this issue can lead to grave problems in the belief of the Muslims regarding what we should believe with respect to the modern-day Bible and its books.

 

      3.   We need to also recall that there is a condition in the Ayah, namely that the “good mannerisms” remain only as long as the other side does not commit injustice. As mentioned by Allamah Alusi in his “Ruh al-Ma’ani” this would lead to harsher measures for the ones who do not accept the sincere advice of the Muslims regarding their errors. Thus, if the Jews and Christians insist on attributing sons and partners to Allah, or say that Allah’s “Yad” (literally “Hand”) is closed (i.e. imply that Allah is stingy), or say that Allah is poor, or who hurt the Prophet , then the condition of politeness and good mannerisms is lifted, and one can act with them with harshness[1]

 

Second Ayah: Verse 5:82

The next Verse we have to deal with is Verse 5:82. The Christian says in his message:

The Christianity and Islam are mutual friends as per Quranic Verses 5:82.

Our LORD Almighty has praised Christians in the Holy Quranic Verses … 5:82…

The site goldenduas follows this lead by mentioning:

In the Holy Verse 5:82, God says, amongst Christians of the world, there are many men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world and they are not arrogant. The Christians in the world are doing Service to God by the way of Education, Foods and Health of Peoples in the World. Our almighty God says that the Christians are not proud and amongst them are priest and Monks.

The first thing we need to do is to look at this Verse. Allah the Exalted says:

لَتَجِدَنَّ أَشَدَّ النَّاسِ عَدَاوَةً لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا ۖ وَلَتَجِدَنَّ أَقْرَبَهُمْ مَوَدَّةً لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارَىٰ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ مِنْهُمْ قِسِّيسِينَ وَرُهْبَانًا وَأَنَّهُمْ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ

And you will certainly find that the people most hostile against the believers are the Jews and the ones who ascribe partners to Allah. You will certainly find that the closest of them in friendship with the believers are those who say, We are Christians. That is because among them there are priests and monks, and because they are not arrogant.

 

The Verse seems to say that the Christians are much closer to the Muslims that the Jews due to the presence of humble priests and monks in Christianity. But we have to look at these Verses in a bigger context to realize the true meaning of the passage. Thus, Allah continues by saying:

 

وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ تَرَىٰ أَعْيُنَهُمْ تَفِيضُ مِنَ الدَّمْعِ مِمَّا عَرَفُوا مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۖ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا آمَنَّا فَاكْتُبْنَا مَعَ الشَّاهِدِينَ *

وَمَا لَنَا لَا نُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَمَا جَاءَنَا مِنَ الْحَقِّ وَنَطْمَعُ أَنْ يُدْخِلَنَا رَبُّنَا مَعَ الْقَوْمِ الصَّالِحِينَ *

فَأَثَابَهُمُ اللَّهُ بِمَا قَالُوا جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ الْمُحْسِنِينَ *

وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَكَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا أُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ*

 

When they hear what has been sent down to the Messenger, you will see their eyes overflowing with tears because of the truth they have recognized. They say, .Our Lord, we have come to believe. So, record us along with those who bear witness.  What excuse do we have if we do not believe in Allah and in the truth that has come to us, while we hope that our Lord

will admit us to the company of the righteous people? So, because of what they said, Allah has awarded them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will live forever. That is the reward of those who are good in their deeds. But those who disbelieved and denied Our signs, they are the people of the Fire.  (Quran 5:83-86)

 

From these Verses it becomes clear that the closeness of the Christians to the Muslims is on account of their better likelihood to enter Islam, not due to their actions of humility while remaining within the fold of Christianity. This is exceedingly clear if we consider the following:

 

1.     From Verse 5:83 we see that when these humble priests and monks listen to the revelation send down to the Messenger Muhammad , they recognize its truth and they are filled with emotion and tears due to their recognition that this is indeed a true revelation from Allah the Exalted. Furthermore, they ask to be counted among those who “bear witness”, which is the bearing of witness for the testimony of Islamic faith and the truthfulness of the message of Muhammad

 

2.     From Verse 5:84 we see the phrase: What excuse do we have if we do not believe in Allah and in the truth that has come to us, while we hope that our Lord will admit us to the company of the righteous people?

 

It is clear that the priests and monks are ready to believe in the truth that has come to them and which is manifested in the revelation of the Holy Qur’an. Their question makes it clear that there is no way for them once they have heard the true character of the Divine Revelation other than to accept Islam and follow the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad . Anything other than this is inexcusable and is a recipe for disaster in the Hereafter.

 

3.     The next two Verses emphasize the points brought up by the previous two Verses. Thus, those who have declared their acceptance of Islam once they hear the message of Islam and the Quranic revelation are the victorious ones who will be admitted into Paradise, while those who deny this message and the Quranic Verses are the people of Hellfire.

 

The above points are quite clear and they should be easily understood by anyone. However, there may still be a number of doubts remaining for certain people which we will address below:

 

1.   “Nowadays we do not see priests and monks running towards Islam, so how can this Verse point towards monks and priests becoming Muslims?”

 

To answer this matter we have to look into the historical reason for the revelation of this Verse. The opinion most widely cited is that the “priests and monks” refers in fact to the Ethiopian King Najashi and the learned Christian scholars from among his people who met the Prophet , heard the recitation of parts of the Quran, and embraced Islam due to the truth they found therein.[2]

The reason for its words being general (that is, referring to Christians as a whole) is to point out that it also refers to all Christians who like Najashi are devoted to truth and justice, and who will enter Islam once they are presented with the pristine message of Islam.[3]

 

2.    “According to Islam, the disbelief of the Jews is lesser than that of the Christians, so how did the Qur’an say that the Christians are closer to the Muslims than the Jewish people?”

 

While it is true that the disbelief of the Christian religion is generally more pronounced than that of the Jewish people, yet the Qur’an is referring to the higher possibility of them entering Islam as compared to the Jewish people. Thus, the commentators have pointed out that the Jews as a nation are more prone to animosity and hatred towards the Muslims as compared to the Christians. As the Qur’an has pointed out in other instances, the love of the Jewish people for this temporal world is greater than that of many outright polytheists (who may not even believe that there is a life after death, and consider that the life of this world is all that there is). It is known that he who desires the world is blinded by his desires, and would easily forget all that is stored in the Hereafter.

 

So against this backdrop, the Christians are presented as being more tender-hearted and being closer to the remembrance of the Hereafter. So even though their disbelief is indeed worse than that of the Jewish nation, yet Allah has put in the hearts of many of them an easy path towards seeing the truth of Islam, accepting it and achieving salvation. We see then that the closeness to Islam is not arbitrary nor disconnected from accepting the absolute truth of Islam, but indeed tied to the Islamic truth and which of the two groups is more inclined to accept Islam, regardless of the degree of deviation he may held before his conversion.

 

If the objection is brought up that the Christians of today are basically no different from the Jews in their love for the world, we answer by saying that according to many of the scholars of Islam, many of the modern-day nominal “Jews” and “Christians” actually fall into the category of “atheists” as per Islamic terminology, or those who have no religion at all, since they do not take any part of their religion seriously and basically follow their desires to wherever it may lead them.

 

3.    “How do we know that the ‘Messenger’ in Verse 5:83 is Muhammad and not someone else?”

 

Such a suggestion is a very far-off possibility; in fact it is impossible that the meaning should be any Prophet other than Muhammad , since it is obvious that the Muslims of that time were the main addressees of Verse 5:82. Thus, the Muslims of that time would have found that the closest people to them would be the Christians. The rest of the Verses show that when these Christians hear that which has been revealed to the Prophet that was with the Muslims at that time, they would be overwhelmed by its recitation and embrace Islam, the religion of the Prophet and of the Muslims being referred to in these Verses. For anyone to say that Allah would have said that the Christians cry when they hear the Christian revelations, etc. would have been totally out of place and a redundant statement, and the Qur’an is free from such superfluous information. All the interpretations of the Muslims point towards this, as well as the fact that these Christians ask to be written among those who witness the Prophethood of Muhammad and who witness the truth of the Day of Judgment as expounded by the Muslim nation.[4]

 

4.    “Paradise for merely saying something is strange”

 

An objection may be raised as to how be it possible that the Christians are admitted into Paradise for merely saying words upon hearing the Qur’an, and that the saying of the tongue does not necessarily translate into an Eternal Reward.

 

To this we say that from the previous points it is obvious that such Christians have indeed accepted Islam and that their words come from a firm conviction based on the truth that has become apparent to them. Thus, the claim that these are “mere words” is incorrect.


Secondly, the declaration of faith, “La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad Rasul Allah” is believed with the heart and announced with the tongue, thereby joining both belief and action. In Islam, that which is said by a man with his tongue is taken as being an indication of what is in his heart. In the same way that a blasphemous statement by anyone would place him outside the fold of Islam (since it means his heart is content with disbelief), then a firm statement of belief and a declaration of this belief is enough to bring him into Islam (because it shows that his heart is content with Islam and has accepted it). 

 

Thirdly, there are a certain number of sayings and actions that are obligatory upon the Muslim every day. While it is true that belief is a matter of the heart, yet it is also true that accepting with the heart that there are certain sayings and actions that have to be performed by the Muslim at regular intervals is a condition for Islam. Thus, if any Muslim takes such actions and sayings as joke and play, then they have unfortunately left Islam.

 

Third Ayah: Verse 3:55

The Christian also mentions on his site:

As per the Quaranic verses 3:55 (“give your followers dominance over the disbelievers until the Day of Resurrection’)

This refers to the following Verse of the Qur’an:

إِذْ قَالَ اللَّهُ يَا عِيسَىٰ إِنِّي مُتَوَفِّيكَ وَرَافِعُكَ إِلَيَّ وَمُطَهِّرُكَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَجَاعِلُ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوكَ فَوْقَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ ۖ ثُمَّ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأَحْكُمُ بَيْنَكُمْ فِيمَا كُنْتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ

 

 

When Allah said: O Isa, I am to take you in full and to raise you towards Myself, and to cleanse you of those who disbelieve, and to place those who follow you above those who disbelieve up to the Day of Doom. Then to Me is your return, whereupon I shall judge between you in that over which you have differed.

 

There are number of promises in this Verse which Allah has given to ‘Isa (Alayhi Salam), but the important one for our discussion is “and to place those who follow you above those who disbelieve up to the Day of Doom.”

In this case, “to place those who follow you above those who disbelieve up to the Day of Doom” could have three possible meanings, all of which have been mentioned by the Mufassirin (Muslim exegesists):

1.     It could refer to the true followers of ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) after his ascension, those who remained upon his message and did not deviate nor invent matters of the religion and attribute them to ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam), and after them those who are Muslims and are the true followers of the original religion brought by ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam), in the sense that they obeyed his instructions to follow the Prophet Muhammad (Salla Alalhu Alayhi Wa Sallam).

If this is what is meant, then we see that Allah granted the Muslims victory over many of the Jewish and Christian peoples over the course of history, these last two groups being those who denied ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) either due to outright rejection or due to distorting his message and claiming things which should never be attributed to Allah.

This is an opinion forwarded by some of the exegesists regarding this Verse, to the point that such scholars were confident of future victories coming at the hand of Muslims when facing the Christians. This example is vividly seen in Tafsir Quran al Karim by Ibn Kathir where he confidently predicts the Muslim takeover of Istanbul (Constantinople) on the basis of this Verse and other narrations of the Prophet (Salla Alalhu Alayhi Wa Sallam), something which had not yet occured during Ibn Kathir’s time but which materialized many years after Ibn Kathir’s demise.[5]

And we can see even today, in spite of the general weakness of the Muslim nation as a whole, that the majority of the lands taken by the Muslims from Jews and Christians throughout history are still inhabited by Muslims, thereby showing that the Muslim nation has been granted this superiority over Jews and Christians even if it may seem to appear otherwise at times.

2.     The “following” in this case could refer to believing in the truth of the Prophethood of ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam). In this case, the following is not absolute but it refers to a partial acceptance of ‘Isa’s (Alayhi Salaam) message, even if there is obvious disbelief in other portions of his message. As for those who totally follow the message of ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) as is the case for the Muslims, then they are also to be included among those addressed to in this Verse, since absolute guidance contains partial guidance and supersedes it.

[As an aside, if someone asks that how is it possible for us to say that only Muslims follow the message of ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) totally, we say that all the Prophets before Muhammad gave the exact same message of Tawhid (Divine Oneness) along with certain laws and regulations which were to be followed for a certain amount of time. They also instructed their disciples to follow Muhammad when he would come on Earth. Thus, it is only the Muslims who follow ‘Isa (Alayhi Sallam) in his teaching of Divine Oneness, acknowledge that he gave certain rules and regulations that were to be followed by his disciples, but that now the only proper route for all of humanity is to follow the teachings of Muhammad in both doctrinal and practical matters.]

So if this is the meaning, then this means that those who have only accepted the truth of ‘Isa’s (Alayhi Salaam) Prophethood were still given a Divine gift in that they were allowed to overcome the Jews who denied ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) altogether and establish large empires across the world throughout history. The Muslims would also be part of this promise and their dominion would also extend to the far reaches of the world.

And we see that this is exactly what has transpired from the time this promise was made up to the present day, in that the land inhabited by and taken over by Christians and Muslims is much bigger than that of the Jews. Indeed it has been only for less than a century when the Jews have been able to have any piece of land that they could plausibly call their own. Even with this relatively small piece of land they face constant pressure from all the quarters of the world, and had it not been for the continued support and help of a section of the Christians for Israel, such a country would not have been more than a blip on our collective memories.

Thus, even if it is considered that the Jews do have a nation to themselves that is not supported by anyone, this cannot override the general meaning of the Verse under discussion, since it would still be true that the Christians and Muslims inhabit and control much more land than the Jews.[6]

3.     The phrase “place those who follow you above those who disbelieve up to the Day of Doom” does not mean a domination by means of force and military or political superiority. Rather, it refers to being placed over those who disbelieve in ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) by means of definitive proofs and evidences. And this is what happens when sensible people would examine the proofs and evidences of the Muslims in comparison to their adversaries, in that they would see nothing other than the faith and religion of Islam.[7]

So we see that whichever interpretation is taken with respect to these Verses, all of the Muslims know immediately that it does not refer to the Christian religion being totally correct at all, but rather even in the most liberal of the interpretations, means that the Christians were given some favor and dominion upon the Jews due to their accepting Isa (Alayhi Salaam) as a Prophet of Allah, despite of the other incorrect beliefs they have adopted. According to the other opinions, it only refers to the Muslims, and the earthly and well as spiritual favors that were bestowed upon them thanks to accepting the message of ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) totally and thereby following Muhammad as the final Prophet and Messenger.

Fourth Ayah: Verses 57:27-28

The following is also found in the message from the Christian:

Our LORD Almighty has praised Christians in the Holy Quranic Verses…57:27,28.

This refers to the following Verses:

ثُمَّ قَفَّيْنَا عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِمْ بِرُسُلِنَا وَقَفَّيْنَا بِعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ وَآتَيْنَاهُ الْإِنْجِيلَ وَجَعَلْنَا فِي قُلُوبِ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُ رَأْفَةً وَرَحْمَةً وَرَهْبَانِيَّةً ابْتَدَعُوهَا مَا كَتَبْنَاهَا عَلَيْهِمْ إِلَّا ابْتِغَاءَ رِضْوَانِ اللَّهِ فَمَا رَعَوْهَا حَقَّ رِعَايَتِهَا ۖ فَآتَيْنَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْهُمْ أَجْرَهُمْ ۖ وَكَثِيرٌ مِنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ *

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَآمِنُوا بِرَسُولِهِ يُؤْتِكُمْ كِفْلَيْنِ مِنْ رَحْمَتِهِ وَيَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ نُورًا تَمْشُونَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ۚ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ

 

Then We made Our messengers follow them one after the other, then We sent after them Isa, the son of Maryam (Jesus, son of Mary), and gave him the Injil, and placed compassion and mercy in the hearts of his followers. As for monasticism, it was invented by them; We did not ordain it for them, but (they adopted it) to seek Allah‘s pleasure, then could not observe it as was due. So We gave the believers from among them their reward. And many of them are sinners. O you who believe, fear Allah, and believe in His Messenger, and He will give you two shares (of reward) out of His mercy, and will make for you a light whereby you will walk, and will forgive you,  And Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.

 

In these Verses one has to keep in mind that the so-called “praising” of Christians is very narrow in its scope. To begin with the Verse talks about “his followers” who are none others but the direct disciples of ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam), and does not refer at all to those who alter on added unpardonable beliefs in religious matters.

With respect to the monasticism referred to in this Verse, it refers to a group from among the early followers of ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) who resorted to cutting themselves off from society as a way to save their spiritual lives due to their weakness in physically opposing the evil they saw around them. In this regard, we read the following narration:

…narrated by Sayyidna ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud and recorded by Ibn Kathir with reference to Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir who have cited a lengthy narration in which the Messenger of Allah is reported to have said:

“Allah has split the Children of Israel into seventy-two sects. Only three of them were saved from punishment. These are groups who, after Prophet ‘Isa (A.S), stopped the oppressive kings and affluent and powerful transgressors from violating the Divine laws. Among those who raised the voice of Truth against them and invited them to the religion of Prophet ‘Isa (A.S), the first group faced the oppressors with whatever power they had at their command, but they were defeated and killed. Then after them a second group stood against the tyrants and aggressors who did not have even that much fighting strength as the first group had. However they conveyed the Truth without caring for their lives. This group too was killed. Some of them were ripped apart with saws and others were burnt alive. But they, for the sake of Allah’s pleasure, bore all pains and attained salvation. Then a third group stood against them. But this group was weak: They had no resources to fight the tyrants nor could they live in that corrupt society and follow their religion. Therefore, they took to the jungles and mountains, and became monks. It is to this third group that Allah refers in the current verse ‘As for monasticism, it was invented by them; We did not ordain it for them, …’.”[8]

After knowing this situation, we need to emphasize that the Verse says that it was not observed as it was due, and that even though the believers among them were rewarded, most of them are sinners. In this respect there are a number of opinions: Some of the opinions mentioned that it refers to the invention of the concept of Trinity, and that a few of these monastics remained on the true path of ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) until the advent of Muhammad , when they believed in him and became Muslims. Others say that the failure in observing its injunctions refers to seeking the worldly pleasures and fame, or those who left that which was originally obligatory for them while performing these voluntary innovated actions.  In all these opinions it must be mentioned that there is absolutely no reference to the Christians at the time of Muhammad (Salla Alalhu Alayhi Wa Sallam) or after him having any choice other than that of accepting Islam once they heard of it and were explained what it entailed.[9]

The next Verse in fact reinforces the message this message, that there is no manner for the salvation of the Christians other than to believe in Muhammad and to follow the religion of Islam.

In this case, those who are from the nation of ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) have been addressed with the phrase “O you who believe”, since the previous Verse mentioned:

فَآتَيْنَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْهُمْ أَجْرَهُمْ ۖ وَكَثِيرٌ مِنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ

So We gave the believers from among them their reward. And many of them are sinners.

Thus, the present Verse alludes to those who are believers in ‘Isa (alayhi Salaam) but who have yet to accept the message of Muhammad since they have not yet heard about Islam. Such believers in the Prophethood of ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) are told to fear Allah and believe in His Messenger whom He has sent so that they may attain a double reward, and well as being granted light and forgiveness. Again it is seen that there is clear evidence that there is no salvation in the Hereafter for the Christians save by accepting the Messengership of Muhammad (Salla Allahu Alayhi Wa Salam) and adopting the religion of Islam.

So we can see that the “praising” referred to in these two Verses is indeed very limited in scope and in fact excludes even many of the Christians prior to the time of the coming of the Prophet Muhammad .  After his coming, the Verses clarify that there is no way for the salvation of the Christians other than their acceptance of Islam as the true religion from Allah.

Fifth Verse: Verse 66:12

The site also says:

also 66:12 (God breathing in his spirit in Virgin Mary)

Here there is no actual problem in the Verse brought up, as each and every single Muslim accepts that Maryam (Alayha Salaam) was extremely honored by Allah who gave her ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) as her son without  human intervention. Moreover, there are narrations pointing out that Maryam (Alayha Salaam) one of the four great women of Paradise, the others being Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (Radhia Allahu Anha), Fatimah bint Muhammad (Radhia Allahu Anha), and Asiyah bint Muzahim (Alayha Salaam), wife of Fir`awn.

However, one matter which has to be discussed is the term “God breathing his spirit in Virgin Mary”.  In Islam, it is one of the fundamental and necessary beliefs that Allah is not composed of parts nor does His Self enter into any of the Creation, and thus it is not possible for any Muslim to take this as meaning that Allah put Himself or a part of Himself inside Maryam.

Rather, Allah referring to it as “His Spirit” is to elevate the honor of ‘Isa’s (Alayhi Salaam) Spirit only by means of linguistically tying to Himself, while technically it is absolutely no different from other spirits in terms of its created nature.[10] One should also keep in mind that every created thing totally belongs to Allah, so in reality it is His and there should be no confusion regarding the use of such terminology in the Qur’an. In this sense this attribution of the Spirit of ‘Isa to Allah is no different than when the Ka’bah is mentioned as the “House of Allah”, even though it is utter blasphemy to believe that Allah resides in any physical location.

Conclusion

In this work we have dealt with the Verses brought up by one Christian and the site he has pointed us to. Our reply, while not tediously long, is suitable for those Muslims and even some non-Muslims who may have doubts about the meaning of the above Verses and how they relate to the Muslim view of Christianity. There is a vast amount of additional things which may be said about the Verses in question, but we feel that given the brief nature of the presentation from the Christian side, our response should suffice.

Finally, we pray to Allah the Exalted to guide all of humanity to the path of Islam and to make the Muslims more firm in their dedication towards the Islamic religion. Amin.


[1] http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=7&tTafsirNo=52&tSoraNo=29&tAyahNo=46&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=1.

In fact, it is mentioned in “Ruh al-Ma’ani” that some scholars considered this Verse to be concerning the good conduct Muslims should have when collecting Jizyah (tax taken from non-Muslims living under the protection of the Muslim government) from the Jews and Christians, and that if they refuse to pay (i.e. commit injustice), then it is allowed to physically fight them in order to extract what is due to the Muslim polity. From this we can see that the implications of some Christians concerning what this Verse means are extremely far-off from what traditional Muslim scholarship has written.

[6] Refer to http://classicalislamgroup.com/index.php?view=tafseer/s3-v54to55-3 for a mention of this possibility and its implications.

[10] There are some other possibilities as to what the exact meaning of “Ruh of Allah” could mean in this and other similar Verses, as mentioned in Ma’ariful Qur’an (http://classicalislamgroup.com/index.php?view=tafseer/s4-v171). However, none of them could ever be taken to mean that Allah became ‘Isa (alayhi Salaam) or that a part of Allah became ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam), and Exalted is Allah above what some attribute to Him.

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