Jesus And Christianity in Islam
What does Islam think of Jesus and Christianity?
There's no word in Arabic "Jesus". There's no word in Hebrew "Jesus", there's no word in Aramaic "Jesus", there's no word "Jesus" in Koine Greek. Those were the choices of language back at the time of Prophet Jesus (Peace be upon him).
There was a word, still is by the way, Isa, and Yahshua which Joshua comes from, the name Joshua is exactly the same as Jesus, and Jessie is the same root. The pronunciation of 'Ja' is Latinizing these Semitic languages. My name is 'Yusuf'. Can you guess what it is in English? Put a 'J' there, 'Joseph'.
We have somebody in the Quran named Isa, Isa ibn Maryam and 'ibn' means the son of and Maryam is Mary, Jesus the son of Mary.
Now the story that we have is a story about a virgin girl from a religious family. The family has dedicated her to the synagogue. They thought they were going to have a boy, but it was a girl and still they said we want our girl to be this donation that we promised to give our child to God. This girl has amazing things that happened to her. They find her with food out of season, the best foods and they can't figure out how she's getting it. An angel visits her and tells her she's going to have a baby, and she tells the angel, "Stay back away from me, if you fear God get away from me", and he says, "No, no I'm an angel and I'm telling you you're going to have a baby." She says, "And how is this possible when no man has touched me?" The angel says, "For God, all these things are easy. He merely says, 'Be' and it is." And this is the miracle birth, Immaculate Conception is accepted in Islam, its part and parcel of Islam, it's in the Quran, no Muslim can deny it.
Many miracles are coming with Isa ibn Maryam, the first miracle is he speaks and defends his mother while he's still a tiny baby. They said, "How can a baby talk?" But he spoke to them and said, "Peace be upon me the day I'm born, peace be upon me the day that I die and peace be upon me on the day that I am resurrected. I've never been undutiful to my mother." He describes then the condition of belief that there's only One God, worship has to be for God. This is a baby telling them about this.
Then other miracles are assigned to him in the Quran. People who have skin diseases are cured, lepers are cured, the lame walk again, the blind can see, and even a dead man is brought back to life. All by the permission of Almighty God, similar to the Gospel of John if you've read it, it says the same thing.
What does Islam say about Christianity? It says that when Jesus came that he was preaching the same message as the people who were following the Abrahamic faith, that God is One, He has no partners, and that the worse sin is to break the first commandment 'Thou shalt not have any other gods beside Me'.
When I was a Christian preacher, some people asked me some questions and I couldn't answer, so I went to somebody who I knew had a lot of answers. He was a famous Evangelist in our area, I won't mention his name and he'd be just as happy that I wouldn't. But he told me don't worry about what the old testament says because it was about eating pork and some of the other commandments mentioned in the old testament, you can’t eat pork. He said, "Jesus came to cancel the law in the Old Testament, we go by the New Testament." I said, "Then why we're carrying this heavy book around, just rip all that old part away, and just keep the New Testament." Even with the 16 books in there that Paul wrote, it's still pretty small.
But then one day I read it for myself, this is something a lot of Christians don't bother to do. Read it for yourself because it says in chapter 5 of the Book of Matthew verses 17, 18, 19 that Jesus said, "Do not think that I came to destroy the law, the Torah, the Old Testament, don't think I came to destroy the law and the Prophets. I came not to destroy but to fulfill. Not until the coming of the kingdom and all things be accomplished shall a single dot, jot, tittle, iota of the law being any wise lessened, and whoever breaks the least commandment and teaches this will be the least in the kingdom but whoever teaches the commandments and teaches this will be the highest in the kingdom, and unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees you will not enter paradise." The Pharisees were the leaders of the synagogue, the Jewish religion at that time, they're the same ones who later got the Romans to come out and go after Jesus (Peace be upon him).
So, our view of Christians, I want to quote to you from the Quran in English, its in chapter 3, verse 110, the last part. It said, "And if the People of the Book had believed it would've been better for them, from them you will find those who do have faith, but most of them are disobedient to God".
I asked some of my Christian friends whom I used to be with before Islam, "Is that a true statement? Do you consider that some of the Christians are believers?" They said, "Sure" I said, "But that most of them are disobedient." They said, "Yeah, absolutely."
And think about it, first commandment, "Don't have any other gods besides God."
Second commandment, "Don't make any idol statues or anything that flies in the air above, walks on the earth beneath or swims in the sea beneath that." Can't do that! Does that include, the dove, the bird of peace? Does it include the fish and you see it on the back of the car? Does it include having a statue of a man hanging there with a cross or something? Does it include that? Think.
Third commandment says, "That you won't take God's name in vain." Do people do that?
Fourth commandment is to "Remember the seventh day of the week, Saturday, Sabbath." 'Sab'ah' means what? Seven. It's Jewish for seven. It's also Arabic for seven. Three hundred years later at the Counsel of Nicaea they said, "No change it to Sunday."
Who has the authority to break God's commandments? Not Jesus, he couldn't say that. Paul did, Paul said it, he said you can break commandments, in fact he said, "Circumcision is only of the heart", so they don't have to do circumcision any more, and pork and wine and all these things became okay for Paul, but not for Jesus.
In seminary school you learn what they call Pauline doctrine, and you find out why because the synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, do not in any way shape or form match up with what Paul is talking about, concept is different, it's considered two different doctrines.
Islam teaches us that Christians in their original form, following their original Book at the time of Jesus are the best of the believers. Those who followed Abraham at his time, and Moses at his time, and David at his time, and Solomon at his time are the best of the believers.
Islam teaches us Jesus will come back in the Last Day and lead the true believers to victory and I hope all of us are there when it happens, I hope all of us are with him, that's my prayer.
Sheikh Yusuf Estes