❝ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) ― The Prophet who Didn’t Die❞
The detailed account of the death of ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) is provided in detail by the Noble Qur’ān along with an account of his birth, miracles, and his ascent to the heavens before his alleged crucifixion.
ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) was born to Maryam (Mary), the daughter of Imran, an Imam of Bayt Al-Maqdis (the holy place in Jerusalem). As Maryam’s mother was childless, she prayed and vowed to Allāh, that if He blessed her with a child, she would dedicate her child to His worship and in taking care of holy places in Bayt Al-Maqdis.
Her prayers were granted and she was blessed with a baby girl, Maryam, who was given under the guardianship of Zakariyyā (Zachariah) a very pious man.
One day, Allāh sent the angel Jibrīl (Gabriel) to Maryam (Mary) to give her the news about the birth of a child named ʿĪsā (Jesus), who would later speak from the cradle.
This piece of news shocked her, and she questioned:
❝annā yakūnu lī ghulāmun wa-lam yamsasnī basharun wa-lam ʾaku baghiyya❞
[‘How shall I have a child seeing that no human being has ever touched me, nor have I been unchaste?’]
― Sūrah Maryam (Mary), Chapter 19, verse 20.
To this, Allāh replied:
❝ʿalayya hayyinun wa-li-najʿalahū ʾāyatan li-n-nāsi wa-raḥmatan minnā wa-kāna ʾamran maqḍiyya❞
[“It is simple for Me.” And so that We may make him a sign for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a matter [already] decided.’]
― Sūrah Maryam (Mary), Chapter 19, verse 21.
Thus, she withdrew from people to hide her pregnancy and when she finally delivered the baby, she was commanded by Allāh to go back to Jerusalem with the baby.
When Maryam (Mary) was reproached by people for committing a sin, she pointed towards the baby who said:
❝ʾinnī ʿabdu llāhi ʾātāniya l-kitāba wa-jaʿalanī nabiyya❞
[‘Indeed I am a servant of Allah! He has given me the Book and made me a prophet]
― Sūrah Maryam (Mary), Chapter 19, verse 30.
❝wa-jaʿalanī mubārakan ʾayna mā kuntu wa-ʾawṣānī bi-ṣ-ṣalāti wa-z-zakāti mā dumtu ḥayya❞
[He has made me blessed, wherever I may be, and He has enjoined me to [maintain] the prayer and to [pay] the zakāt as long as I live,]
― Sūrah Maryam (Mary), Chapter 19, verse 31.
❝wa-barran bi-wālidatī wa-lam yajʿalnī jabbāran shaqiyya❞
[and to be good to my mother, and He has not made me self-willed and wretched.]
― Sūrah Maryam (Mary), Chapter 19, verse 32.
❝wa-s-salāmu ʿalayya yawma wulidtu wa-yawma ʾamūtu wa-yawma ʾubʿathu ḥayya❞
[Peace is to me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I am raised alive.’]
― Sūrah Maryam (Mary), Chapter 19, verse 33.
Speaking from the cradle was ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām)’s first miracles but it was intentionally kept secret by many Jews of the time. This is because they feared that the son of Mary could be an impending threat to Judaism. Therefore, instead of believing in the miracle of Allāh, they accused her of a great misdeed and hid this truth from the rest of the people out of fear that people would turn away from Judaism towards ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) and his teachings.
SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE REAL TEACHINGS OF JESUS AND ISLAM
Through ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām), Allāh the Almighty wanted to revive the true message of Prophet Mūsā (ʿalay-hi salām) #Moses and all other prophets who had been sent before ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām). Mostly, the message of all prophets was the same: to believe in the oneness of Allāh and not to associate anyone in His deity, and to follow His commandments. Thus, it is clear that the real teachings of ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām), in general, were the same as the religions that preceded Christianity and as were brought later by Islām.
As ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) grew, he realized that the children of ‘Israel had forgotten the teachings of Mūsā (ʿalay-hi salām) and that many of the Jews had changed the religion to a great extent. They also had monopolized the religion to serve their material desires and interests, while the people suffered. ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām), therefore, was sent by Allah the Almighty to show the children of ‘Israel the right path. In this regard, it can be stated that ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) was an ethnic prophet – a messenger of Allāh for the children of ‘Israel only, unlike Prophet Muḥammad (ṣall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam), who was sent later by Allāh for the entire humanity.
Some of Allah’s commandments preached by Prophet ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) were the same as were preached by Prophet Muḥammad (ṣall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam) and that became part of Islāmic teachings. These include prohibition of eating pork and consuming alcohol, circumcision in flesh, ablution before prayers, prostration in prayers, and covering of heads and bodies by women (to practice modesty). Fasting is also a common act of worship in Islām, Christianity and Judaism. ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) also forbade his people not to take or give interest (usury) on money, which is also strictly forbidden in Islām.
However, later, according to Islāmic teachings, the true message of ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) along with the text of the Injīl (Bible) was changed by people causing them to deviate from the true teachings of ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām). For example, many Christians believe that circumcision is in heart and not in flesh.
MIRACLES OF PROPHET JESUS
ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām)’s birth and his speech in the cradle are clear manifestations of his miracles. The Fifth chapter of the Noble Qur’ān ‘al-Māʾidah (The Table)’ is named after another miraculous incident in the life of ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām). Once, his disciples asked him to request Allāh for a table laden with food. His request was granted and his disciples witnessed how the heavenly table laden with heavenly food, descended from the skies for them.
ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) was also blessed by Allāh the Almighty with the miracle of healing lepers and blinds. He could also breathe life into objects made of clay and raise the dead from their graves, as willed by Allāh the Almighty. He could tell what people had eaten and what they had stored in their houses.
The Qur’ān in chapter 3, verse 49, clearly states that his miracles were purely granted by Allāh and in no way it could be inferred that he had Godly powers, as believed by Christians.
ISLAMIC VIEWS THAT REFUTE THE CLAIM THAT JESUS WAS THE ‘SON OF GOD’
Allāh strongly refutes in the Qur’ān about ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) being the son of God. Allāh the Almighty has always referred to ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) as ― ʿĪsā Ibn-e-Maryam ― Jesus, the son of Mary, in the Noble Qur’ān. Allāh states in the Qur’ān, that it does not befit Allāh, the Creator of the universe, to bear children. ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) was born without a father because of the miracle of Allāh, a power that only Allāh holds. Allāh states in the Qur’ān, that the birth of ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) is similar to Adam (ʿalay-hi salām), who was born without parents. Therefore, Islāmic teachings hold that ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) was a prophet and messenger, similar to all other prophets that came before him and also similar to Prophet Muḥammad (ṣall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam) who came as the final prophet and messenger of Allāh to revive Allāh’s message. The Muslims, therefore, do not attribute any divinity to ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) as Christians do.
MISINTERPRETATIONS ABOUT THE TERM ‘SON OF GOD’
Even if it is accepted that ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) was called ‘Son of God’ in the Bible, it is important to recognize that even in the Hebrew Bible, God called other prophets His sons too. This is because in the Hebrew tradition, this term was used in the metaphoric sense only.
Therefore, literal translation of this term may have actually led to the misinterpretation of the reality of ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) and other teachings in Christianity. According to many narrations, ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) himself called himself a ‘Son of Man’ rather than ‘Son of God’ (Bible, Luke 9:22) and rebuked those who called him so. (Bible, Luke: 4:41).
DEATH OF JESUS
The Islāmic and the Christian views differ greatly regarding the death of ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām). The Noble Qur’ān clearly states that ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) did not die. Allāh the Almighty made him ascend to the heavens before his alleged crucifixion, and the person who was instead crucified was not Jesus but a man of his resemblance. [Qur’ān 4:156-158]
THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS
The Qur’ān also states that ʿĪsā (ʿalay-hi salām) would return to this world before the Day of Judgement. He would come as the follower of Prophet Muḥammad (ṣall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam) because he had brought the last message of the One God, Allāh.
On his return, Jesus will also refute the Jewish claim that he was crucified and the Christian claim that he was ‘God’ or ‘Son of God’. Prophet Muḥammad (ṣall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam) also asserted that Jesus then would die his natural death after his second coming and then, the Islamic perspective about Jesus would be believed by everyone.