Part One: Mary And Jesus (P) In Islam - Part one
THE TRINITY IN THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT
It is essential that the reader, of any faith, take into account the beginnings of Islam in the seventh century, in the domains of the Byzantine Empire, which had presented an antecedent interpreted by many as "blasphemous".
The first Ecumenical Council (derived from the Greek oikoumenikos, this is, "worldwide") of the Christian Church, at Nicaea (now Iznik, in Turkey), called by the Roman Emperor Constantine in 325 A.D., was an attempt to consolidate the various sects and tangents of the Christian Church, including Manicheists, Nestorians and others, and with this managed to establish a precedent for subsequent Synods of Bishops, to create canons of doctrinal orthodoxy. This resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, which came to be described as the "Creed of Nicaea" The council did not create the doctrine of the deity of Jesus as is sometimes claimed but it did settle to some degree the debate within the early Christian communities regarding the divinity of a messenger from the One God. By this time Jesus had become known as "The Christ", or "the Enlightened One", in the same fashion as the Buddha ("Enlightened"), Zoroaster (as the emissary of Ahura Mazda, a god of light), among other examples of the Creator or God Almighty interpreted as ―light‖, "clarity of action and thought", and "enlightenment", therefore everywhere at once but nowhere to be seen, with this establishing the need for a tangible emblem or image to translate His magnificence. The idea of Christ as a messenger from the One God ("The Father") had long existed in various parts of the Roman Empire. The divinity of Christ had also been widely endorsed by the Christian community in Rome when it was still a city consecrated to Jupiter, Saturn and Bacchus. The Nicaean Council, with this, affirmed and defined what it believed to be the teachings of the Apostles regarding the identity of "Jesus Christ", as the one true God in deity with the Father. In this prevailing political and theological maelstrom another Prophet emerged, in Muhammad (PBUH), with a new approach to the Oneness of a Creator God, and this was confirmed by the Holy Qur‘an which defined him as the messenger of a unique God, a God of Oneness, stating as the first "pillar" of the new faith, that "There is no God but God", or "Only God is God", in effect disclaiming the Trinity. Islam has been greatly misunderstood throughout the centuries because this fundamental principal, in no way anti-Christian as such, has not been interpreted in its historical context.
JESUS' REGARD FOR MARY
According to Islam Jesus always held Mary in the highest regard and showed her never-failing respect.
According to the Qur‘an, when Jesus was still a baby, he began to speak to the people of God‘s miracle, and said thus;
"I am a servant of God: He has given me the Book and He has appointed me a Prophet… He has made me dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me oppressive and hard-hearted. (The Qur‘an, 19:30-33)
"(we said): 'o John, hold fast to the book', and we bestowed on him judgment while yet a child and tenderness from us and purity, and he was cautious; honoring his parents, being neither arrogant nor rebellious." (The Qur‘an, 19:12-14)
Islam maintains that the verses of the Bible quoting Jesus as refusing to receive his mother are a distortion and are completely false:
The Bible says:
"While he was still talking to the people, his mother and his brothers came, desiring to have talk with him. And one said to him, See, your mother and your brothers are outside, desiring to have a talk with you. But he in answer said to him who gave the news, who is my mother and who are my brothers? And he put out his hand to his disciples and said, See, my mother and my brothers!" (The Bible, Matthew 12:46-50)
The Qur‘an says:
"(Remember) when we made a covenant with the children of Israel, you shall worship none except God. Show kindness to your parents, to kinsmen, to the orphans, and to the needy, and speak of goodness to people. Establish your prayers and pay the obligatory charity. But, except for a few, you all turned your backs and gave no heed." (The Qur‘an, 2:83)
"And we charged the human concerning his parents, for his mother bore him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning was in two years. Be thankful to me and to your parents, to me is the arrival." (The Qur‘an, 31:14)
THE HUMILITY OF JESUS (P)
Islamic tradition indicates that Jesus (P) actually said:
"My assistants are my hands; my feet are my transport; my bed, the earth; my pillow, the stone. In winter I take refuge in the heat of the earth, and my bedside lamp is the light of the moon, my stew is hunger, and my night shelter, the fear of God. My dress is made of wool (gross), and my fruit and vegetables are plants that emerge from the earth at night I sleep, while not taking anything with me, and in the morning lift my head from the ground, and I have not anything anyway on earth there is no one more rich than me."
JESUS' (P) MIRACLES
said: '( Prophet) Jesus, son of Mary, remember the favor upon you and on your mother; how I strengthened you with the holy spirit (Gabriel), to speak to people in your cradle and of age (when he descends and dies); how I taught you the book and wisdom, the torah and the gospel; and how, by my permission, you fashioned from clay the likeness of a bird, and breathed into it so that, by my permission, it became a living bird. How, by my permission, you healed the blind man and the leper, and by my permission you brought the dead forth; and how I protected you from the children of Israel when you brought them clear signs; whereupon the unbelievers among them said: "this is nothing but plain magic". (The Qur‘an, 5:110)
The Qur‘an and Islamic tradition recognize more of Jesus‘ (P) miracles than are claimed by any other Holy Scripture. Islamic tradition has narrated these in precise detail, as follows:
Islam‘s messenger (PBUH) spoke thus: "The people of Jesus (P) and his apostles have asked that food be brought from Heaven. God then sent a Revelation to his messenger, acknowledging that it would be so:
"When I revealed to the disciples to believe in me and in my messenger they replied: "we believe, bear witness that we submit. When the disciples said: 'o (prophet) Jesus, son of Mary, can your lord send down to us a table from heaven? 'He replied: 'have fear of God, if you are believers. ''we wish to eat of it, ' they said, 'so that we can satisfy our hearts and know that what you said to us is true, and that we become witnesses to it. ''God, our lord, ' said (prophet) Jesus, the son of Mary, 'send down upon us a table out of heaven, that shall be a festival for us the first and the last of us and a sign from you. and provide for us; you are the best of providers. 'God replied: 'I am sending it to you. But whoever of you disbelieves thereafter I shall punish him with a punishment that I do not punish anyone from the worlds. '" (The Qur‘an, 5:111-115)
According to Islamic tradition: ―Jesus and the Apostles received the meal from Heaven; nine different dishes and nine different loaves of bread, supported by golden chains."
The story continues: "Jesus (P) had a close friend, who died. He therefore presented himself, together with his friend‘s mother, at the man‘s grave, and with God‘s permission restored him to life. He pleaded with God and his prayers were answered, and his friend inhabited the Earth during twenty more years."
And there is more: "Jesus, son of Mary (P), traveled together with a man who shared his trust. When they reached the sea, Jesus (P) invoked the name of God and walked across the water."
REGARDING THE CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS (P)
"And for their saying, 'we killed the messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the messenger (and prophet) of God. 'they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but to them, he (the crucified) had been given the look (of prophet Jesus). Those who differ concerning him (Prophet Jesus) are surely in doubt regarding him, they have no knowledge of him, except the following of supposition, and (it is) a certainty they did not kill him. Rather, God raised him up to him. God is almighty, the wise." (The Qur‘an, 4:157-158)
Having confirmed, as established by Islam, that "the original sin", as such, does not exist, the death and resurrection of Jesus (P), by the same token, may no longer be considered as redemption, and instead become one more sign of his veracity, one more proof of his authenticity, just as his virgin birth and other portents and miracles bear witness. Yet the manner of his death in no way alters his mission as a Prophet.
According to Christian tradition, Jesus (P) predicted his treason by Judas Iscariot, and told Peter, "He will deny me three times before the cock crows". He also assured him that he, Jesus, would be crucified as a sign of redemption for all of Humanity, and he would reappear, resurrected, after three days‘ time, in order to ascend to Heaven as proof of this redemption.
If Jesus was aware of all that would transpire, and accepted his fate as the Will of God (independently of the deified figure that would later be displayed), how, then, is it possible, to conceive of his outburst during his agony, as he called out, "My God, why have you abandoned me?" This is just one example that comes to mind as we examine the testimony put forth by Christians.
According to Islam, Jesus never had reason to question God, or to feel he had been abandoned, at any time during his mission as a Prophet.
For Muslims, Jesus (P) was not put on earth to die on the cross. Jesus (P) was a Prophet.
"No bearer shall bear another's burden, and should one heavily burdened call (another) to carry it, nothing of it will be carried, even if he were a near relative. You can only warn those who fear their Lord in secret, and maintain the prayer. Whoever purifies himself, purifies only for his own sake, and to God is the return" (The Qur‘an, 35:18)
He was neither "God incarnate" nor "the son of God". As a Prophet his mission consisted in the transmission of a message, therefore the manner of his death in no way altered his purpose. He might just as well have died battling his enemies, of disease or old age.
"People of the book, do not exaggerate your religion. Do not say about God except the truth. Indeed, the messiah, Jesus son of Mary, is only a messenger (and prophet) of God, and his word (be) which he gave to Mary, and a (created) spirit by him. So believe in God and his messengers and do not say: 'trinity. 'Refrain, it is better for you. God is only one god. Exaltations to him that he should have son! To him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth, it is sufficient that God is the guardian" (The Qur‘an, 4:171)
According to the Old Testament (God speaking to Moses):
"I will give them a prophet from among themselves, like you, and I will put my words in his mouth, and he will say to them whatever I give him orders to say. And whoever does not give ear to my words which he will say in my name, will be responsible to me." (The Bible, Deuteronomy 18:18-19)
The new Bible Testament affirms that Jesus (P) was, in effect, the Prophet promised in these verses. Thus God speaks of a Prophet and not of "his son". This statement is confirmed in Peter‘s address to the people of Jerusalem from the gates of the Temple of Salomon, as documented by Luke in the (reference)
"So then, (…) Who is to be kept in heaven till the time when all things are put right, of which God has given word by the mouth of his holy prophets, who have been from the earliest times. For Moses said, The Lord will give you a prophet from among your people, like me; you will give ear to everything which he will say to you. And every soul who does not give attention to that Prophet, will be cut off from among the people." (The Bible, Acts 3:19-23)
JEWS, CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS
Muslims not only believe in the Qur‘an, the Revelation of God through the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), his messenger, but in prior revelations as well: the Torah of Moses, the psalms of David and the gospel of Jesus. But these are consolidated in the Qur‘an, [a later and therefore ratified version] as Definitive Revelation, referred to as follows:
" That is the (holy) book, where there is no doubt. it is a guidance for the cautious (of evil and hell). Who believe in the unseen and establish the (daily) prayer; who spend out of what we have provided them. Who believe in that which has been sent down to you (Prophet Muhammad) and what has been sent down before you (to Prophets Jesus and Moses) and firmly believe in the everlasting life." (The Qur‘an, 2:2-5)
"Say: 'we believe in God and in what is sent down to us and in that which was sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the tribes, and in that which was given to (prophets) Moses and Jesus, and the prophets from their lord. We do not differentiate between any of them. to him we are submitters (Muslims). '" (The Qur‘an, 3:84)
"Say: 'people of the book, let us come to a common word between us and you that we will worship none except God, that we will associate none with him, and that none of us take others for lords besides God. ' if they turn away, say: 'bear witness that we are Muslims. '" (The Qur‘an, 3:64)
This is the oldest known call contained in a Sacred Text expressing an inter-religious dialogue, an appeal to common cause as recourse against the imposition of worldly powers, therefore a call to join forces in the belief in the One and Only God Almighty.
Recently Hans Küng, an eminent Catholic theologian, in his book Islam, History Present and Future, stated: "After the time of Jesus, real and legitimate Prophets appeared and it is only dogmatic prejudice which prevents Christians from recognizing Muhammad as such. Recognition would do much to encourage an understanding between Christians and Muslims."
CHRISTIANS IN THE QUR'AN
Amicable relations between Christians and Muslims are documented from the beginning of the existence of Islam, more than fourteen centuries ago:
"You will find that (…) the nearest in affection to the believers are those who say: 'we are Christians.' That is because amongst them there are priests and monks; and because they are not proud. When they listen to that which was sent down to the messenger, you will see their eyes fill with tears as they recognize its truth. They say: 'lord, we believe. Write us among the witnesses. Why should we not believe in God and in the truth that has come down to us? Why should we not hope for admission among the righteous? '" (The Qur‘an, 5:82-84)
"Yet they are not all alike. There are among the people of the book an upstanding nation that recite the verses of God (the Qur‘an) throughout the night and prostrate themselves, who believe in God and the last day, who order honor and forbid dishonor and race in good works. These are the righteous. Whatever good they do, for them it shall not be denied. God knows the cautious. As for those who disbelieve, neither their riches nor their children shall help them a thing from God. They are the people of the fire, and there they shall remain for ever. The wealth they spend in this worldly life is like a freezing wind that smites the harvest of a people who have wronged themselves and destroys it. God has not wronged them, but they wronged themselves." (The Qur‘an, 3:113-117)
Source: "This Is Islam" book by Dr Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri
Part three: Mary And Jesus (P) In Islam - Part three