The True Message Of Jesus


  • bookcover

  • The True Message Of Jesus



  •  THE TRUE MESSAGE OF JESUS

     BY

    DR. BILAL
    PHILIPS

    (St.
    David’s College,
    University of Wales,U.K.)

     © Copyright 1996 Dar Al
    Fatah

     All rights
    reserved.  No portion of this book may be
    reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by
    any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or
    otherwise—without prior permission of the copyright owner.

     Printed in the
    United Arab Emirates

     Dar Al Fatah Printing, Publishing & Distribution Co.
    Llc.

    P.O.Box 23424, Sharjah,
    U.A.E.

    Tel: (9716) 322308 / Fax: 322526

     

     

     
    INTRODUCTION

     Jesus
    Christ represents the common link between the two religions having the
    most followers on the earth today, Christianity and Islam. The
    following study of Jesus’ message and his person is based on this link.  It is hoped that through this study, both
    Muslims and Christians will better understand the significance of Jesus
    and the importance of his message.

               
    However, for us to accurately identify the true message of
    Jesus Christ, an objective point of view must be maintained throughout
    the course of our research. We should not allow our emotions to cloud
    our vision and thereby blind us from the truth.  We
    must look at all of the issues rationally and separate the truth from
    falsehood—with the help of the Almighty.

               
    When we look at the variety of false religions and deviant
    beliefs around the world and the zeal with which their followers uphold
    these beliefs, it becomes quite evident that these people are not able
    to find the truth because of their blind commitment to their beliefs.  Their tenacious adherence is usually not based
    on an intellectual understanding of the teachings, but on powerful
    cultural and emotional influences. Because they were brought up in a
    particular family or society, they firmly cling to the beliefs of that
    society, believing that they are upholding the truth.

               
    The only way that we may find the truth about anything is
    to approach it systematically and logically.  First,
    we weigh the evidence and then we judge it by the intelligence which
    God has given us.  In the material world,
    it is fundamentally intelligence that distinguishes humans from
    animals, which act purely on instinct.  After
    determining what the objective truth is, we must then commit ourselves
    to it emotionally. Yes, there is a place for emotional commitment, but
    emotional commitment must come after a reasoned comprehension of the
    issues. Emotional commitment is essential, because it is evidence of a
    true understanding. When one fully and properly understands the reality
    of the issue, one is then mentally and spiritually prepared to
    vigorously uphold that reality.

               
    It is from this intellectual and spiritual point of view
    that the subject of Jesus’ message and his relevance to those who
    desire to follow God will be analyzed in the following pages.

     

    Dr. Bilal Philips

    Saudi
    Arabia, 1989

     

     CHAPTER
    ONE:

     

    THE SCRIPTURES

     

    The topic ‘The True Message of Jesus Christ’
    is comprised of two basic parts: 1.The Message and 2.The
    Person of Jesus Christ.  Each one is
    inseparable from the other.  In order to
    understand Jesus’ message, we must know who he was. 
    However, for us to understand who he was, it is also
    necessary to identify and comprehend his message.

               
    There are two possible avenues which may be taken to look
    into the identity of Jesus Christ and the content of his message.  One is based on the historical record compiled
    by modern historians from the writings and relics of that period and
    the other is based on the reports contained in the revealed Scriptures. 

               
    In reality, there is very little historical evidence
    available to inform us about who Jesus Christ was or to determine what
    his message was.  The official historical
    documents of that time contain virtually no record of Jesus. A biblical
    scholar, R.T. France, writes, “No 1st century inscription mentions him
    and no object or building has survived which has a specific link to
    him.”[1] 
    This fact has
    even led some Western historians to mistakenly claim that Jesus Christ
    never actually existed.  Therefore,
    research has to be primarily based on the scriptures which address the
    person and the mission of Jesus Christ.  The
    scriptures in question are those officially recognized by both
    Christianity and Islam.  However, to
    accurately analyze the information contained in these religious texts,
    it is essential to first determine their validity. 
    Are they reliable sources of documentary evidence, or
    humanly concocted tales and myths, or a mixture of both? Are the
    Bible’s Old and New Testaments divinely revealed scriptures?  Is the Qur’aan (Koran) authentic?

               
    For the Bible and the Qur’aan to be the divine word of
    God, they must be free from inexplicable contradictions, and there
    should be no doubt about their content nor about their authors. If this
    is the case, the material contained in the Old and New Testaments and
    the Qur’aan can then be considered reliable sources of information
    concerning the message and the person of Jesus Christ.

     

    Authentic Manuscripts

               
    It has been documented by many scholars from various
    branches and sects of Christianity that much of the material in the
    Bible is of doubtful authenticity. 

               
    In the preface of The Myth of God Incarnate, the
    editor wrote the following: “In the nineteenth century, Western
    Christianity made two major new adjustments in response to important
    enlargements of human knowledge: it accepted that man is a part of
    nature and has emerged within the evolution of the forms of life on
    this earth; and it accepted that the books of the Bible were
    written by a variety of human beings in a variety of circumstances, and
    cannot be accorded a verbal divine authority.
    [2]

               
    In the international news magazine, Newsweek[3], which
    carried an article entitled ‘O
    Lord, Who Wrote Thy Prayer?’
    , a group of  theologians
    from the major Protestant sects, along with noted Roman Catholic
    Biblical scholars in the United States, after a detailed examination of
    the earliest manuscripts of the New Testament, concluded that the only
    words of the “Lord’s prayer”[4]
    that can be accurately attributed to Jesus
    Christ is “father”.  That is, according to
    these learned church scholars, all the words that came after the
    beginning phrase, “Our father”, of the most fundamental Christian
    prayer, were added centuries later by church scribes who copied the
    early manuscripts of the Gospels[5].
    U.S. News & World Report, further
    quotes the team of scholars as saying that over 80 percent of the
    words ascribed to Jesus in the Gospels may be apocryphal[6]
    . That includes Jesus’ Eucharistic[7] speech at the
    Last Supper (“Take, eat. This is  my body
    ...”) and every word he is said to
    have uttered from the cross.[8]

               
    Dr. J.K. Elliott, of the Department of Theology and
    Religious Studies at Leeds University, wrote an article published in The
    Times,
    London  (10th Sept., 1987)
    entitled “Checking the Bible’s Roots”. In it, he stated that: “More
    than 5,000 manuscripts contain all or part of the New Testament in its
    original language.  These range in date
    from the second century up to the invention of printing. It has been
    estimated that no two agree in all particulars. Inevitably, all
    handwritten documents are liable to contain accidental errors in
    copying. However, in living theological works it is not surprising that
    deliberate changes were introduced to avoid or alter statements that
    the copyist found unsound. There was also a tendency for copyists to
    add explanatory glosses[9].  Deliberate
    changes are more likely to have been introduced at an early stage
    before the canonical status of the New Testament was established.”

               
    The author went on to explain that “no one manuscript
    contains the original, unaltered text in its entirety,” and that, “one
    cannot select any one of these manuscripts and rely exclusively on its
    text as if it contained the monopoly the original words of the original
    authors.” 

               
    He further said: “If one further argues that the original
    text has survived somewhere among the thousands of extant[10] manuscripts,
    then one is forced to read all
    these manuscripts, to assemble the differences between them in a
    systematic way, and then to assess, variant by variant, which
    manuscripts have the original [text] and which the secondary text. Such
    a prospect has daunted[11]
    many biblical scholars who have been content
    to rely on the printed texts of earlier ages, in which the evidence of
    only a few favored manuscripts were used. Even many recent printed
    editions of the Greek New Testament, and modern translations based on
    these, usually follow this practice of building their text on a narrow
    base that is unlikely to be entirely original.”

     

    Versions
    of the English Bible

               
    In the preface of the most widely used version of the
    Bible, the Revised Standard Version, the authors wrote the
    following:

               
    The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is an
    authorized revision of the American Standard Version, published
    in 1901, which was a revision of the King James Version,
    published in 1611... 

               
    “The King James Version had to compete with the Geneva
    Bible
    (1560) in popular use; but in the end it prevailed, and for
    more than two and a half centuries no other authorized translation of
    the Bible into English was made.  The
    King James Version
    became the “Authorized Version” of the
    English-speaking peoples...Yet the King James Version has
    grave defects
    . By the middle of the nineteenth century, the
    development of Biblical studies and the discovery of many manuscripts
    more ancient than those upon which the King James Version was
    based, made it manifest that these defects are so many and so
    serious
    as to call for revision of the English translation
    .  The task was undertaken, by authority of the
    Church of England, in 1870.  The English
    Revised Version
    of the Bible was published in 1881-1885; and the American
    Standard Version
    , its variant embodying the preferences of the
    American scholars associated in the work
    , was published in 1901.”[12]

               
    “The King James Version of the New Testament was
    based upon a Greek text that was marred by mistakes, containing the
    accumulated errors of fourteen centuries of manuscript copying.  It was essentially the Greek text of the New
    Testament as edited by Beza, 1589, who closely followed that published
    by Erasmus, 1516-1535, which was based upon a few medieval manuscripts.  The earliest and best of the eight manuscripts
    which Erasmus consulted was from the tenth century, and he
    made the least use of it because it differed most from the commonly
    received text
    ; Beza had access to two manuscripts of great value,
    dating from the fifth and sixth centuries, but he made very little
    use of them because they differed from the text published by Erasmus
    .”[13]

               
    “...The American Standard Version was
    copyrighted, to protect the text from unauthorized changes.  In 1928 this copyright was acquired by the
    International Council of Religious Education, and thus passed into the
    ownership of the churches of the United States and Canada which were
    associated in this Council through their boards of education and
    publication. The Council appointed a committee of scholars to have
    charge of the text of the American Standard Version and to
    undertake inquiry as to whether further revision was necessary...  [After two years] the decision was reached
    that there is need for a thorough revision of the version of 1901,
    which will stay as close to the Tyndale-King James tradition as
    it can...In 1937 the revision was authorized by vote of the Council.”[14]

               
    “Thirty-two scholars have served as members of the
    Committee charged with making the revision, and they have secured the
    review and counsel of an Advisory Board of fifty representatives of the
    co-operating denominations...The Revised Standard Version of
    the New Testament was published in 1946.”[15]  “The Revised
    Standard Version
    of the Bible, containing the Old and New
    Testaments, was published on September 30, 1952, and has met with wide
    acceptance.”[16]

               
    In the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, a
    number of key verses from the King James Version of the Old
    and the New Testaments, which Biblical scholars concluded were added in
    later centuries, were removed from the text and placed in the
    footnotes. For example, the famous passage in the Gospel of
    John 8.7 about an adulteress who was about to be stoned. 
    Jesus was supposed to have said: “Let him who is
    without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
    The
    footnotes of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible (1952)
    state “The most ancient authorities omit 7.53-8.11”.[17] Since the Vatican manuscript no. 1209 and the
    Sinaitic manuscript codex from the 4th century do not contain these
    twelve verses, Biblical scholars have concluded that these words cannot
    be attributed to Jesus.  Another example is
    the passage attributed to Jesus and used as evidence of reference to
    the Trinity in the Scriptures. In 1 John 5.7, Jesus was supposed to
    have said: “There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father,
    the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
    [18] The well-known
    Biblical scholar, Benjamin
    Wilson, writes that this text concerning the “heavenly witness” is not
    contained in any Greek manuscript which was written earlier than the
    15th century! Consequently, in the Revised Standard Version, this
    verse was deleted from the text without even so much as a footnote
    .
    However, in order to keep the total number of verses in the Revised
    Standard Version
    the same as that of the King James Version, the
    revisers split verse 6 into two verses.

               
    The Second Edition of the translation of the New Testament
    (1971) profited from textual and linguistic studies published since the
    Revised Standard Version New Testament was first issued
    in 1946.[19] Consequently,
    some previously deleted
    passages were reinstated, and some accepted passages were deleted. “Two
    passages, the longer ending of Mark (16.9-20) and the account of the
    woman caught in adultery (John 7.53-8.11), were restored to the text,
    separated from it by a blank space and accompanied by informative
    notes...With new manuscript support, two passages, Luke 22.19b-20 and
    24.51b, were restored to the text, and one passage, Luke 22.43-44, was
    placed in the footnotes, as was a phrase in Luke 12.39.”[20]

     

    Authorship

               
    According to Biblical scholars, even the authorship of the
    Old Testament books and the Gospels themselves is in doubt.

    Torah

               
    The first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch)[21] are
    traditionally attributed to Prophet Moses,[22] however, there are many verses within these
    books which indicate that Prophet Moses could not possibly have written
    everything in them.  For example,
    Deuteronomy 34.5-8 states: “5 So Moses the servant of the
    Lord died there in the land of Moab
    , according to the word of the
    Lord,
    6 and he buried him in the valley of the
    land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows the place of his
    burial to this day
    7 Moses
    was a hundred and twenty years old when he died;
    his eye was not
    dim, nor his natural force abated. 
    8
    And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of
    Moab thirty days; then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses ended.
    ”  It is quite obvious that someone else wrote
    these verses about Prophet Moses’ death.

    Some Christian scholars have explained these
    discrepancies by suggesting that Moses had written his books, but that
    later prophets, as well as inspired scribes, had made the additions
    previously mentioned. Consequently, according to them, the text, in its
    entirety, remained an inspired scripture of God. However, this
    explanation did not stand up to scrutiny, because the style and
    literary characteristics of
    the
    interpolated verses are the same as the remainder of the text.

               
    In the 19th century, Christian Bible scholars began to
    debate the meaning of “doublets” that appeared in the Torah. These are
    stories which appear twice, each time with different details. Among
    these are the two versions of the creation of the world, of the
    covenant between God and Abraham, of God changing Jacob’s name to
    Israel and of Moses getting water from a rock.[23] 

               
    Defenders of Moses’ authorship said that the doublets were
    not contradictory, but instructive. Their intent was to teach us about
    the deeper, subtler meanings of the Torah. However, this claim was soon
    brushed aside by open-minded scholars who noted that, not only were
    some accounts clearly contradictory, but also that when the doublets
    were separated into two separate accounts, each account consistently
    used a different name for God.  One would
    always refer to God as Yahweh / Jehovah, This document was
    called “J”.  The other always referred to
    God as Elohim, and was called “E”.[24]  There were
    various other literary characteristics found to be common to one
    document or the other.  Modern linguistic
    analyses, according to Professor Richard Friedman,[25] indicate that the five books of Moses are a
    mixture of Hebrew from the ninth, eighth, seventh and sixth centuries
    B.C. Therefore, Moses, who was alive in the 13th century B.C., was
    further away from the Hebrew of the Bible than Shakespeare was from the
    English of today.

               
    Further study of the Pentateuch led to the discovery that
    it was not made up of two major sources but of four. 
    It was discovered that some stories were not only doublets
    but triplets. Additional literary characteristics were identified for
    these documents.  The third source was
    called “P” (for priestly), and the fourth called “D” (for Deuteronomy).[26]

               
    The extent to which less obvious additions were made to
    the original text is very difficult to determine.  Consequently,
    a great shadow of doubt has been cast on the authorship of the books as
    a whole.

               
    In the appendix of the Revised Standard Version
    entitled “Books of the Bible,” the following is written concerning the
    authorship of over one third of the remaining books of the Old
    Testament:

     

    Books

    Authors

    Judges

    Possibly Samuel

    Ruth

    Perhaps Samuel

    First Samuel

    Unknown

    Second Samuel

    Unknown

    First Kings

    Unknown

    Second Kings

    Unknown

    First Chronicles

    Unknown

    Esther

    Unknown

    Job

    Unknown

    Ecclesiastes

    Doubtful

    Jonah

    Unknown

    Malachi

    Nothing known

    Apocrypha

               
    More than half of the world’s Christians are Roman
    Catholics. Their version of the Bible was published in 1582 from
    Jerome’s Latin Vulgate, and reproduced at Douay in 1609. 
    The Old Testament of the RCV (Roman Catholic Version)
    contains seven more books than the King James Version recognized
    by the Protestant world.  The extra books
    are referred to as the apocrypha (i.e., of doubtful authority)
    and were removed from the Bible in 1611 by Protestant Bible scholars.

     

    The Gospels

               
    Aramaic was the spoken language of the Jews of Palestine.  Consequently, it is believed that Jesus and
    his disciples spoke and taught in Aramaic.[27]  “The earliest
    oral tradition of Jesus’ deeds and sayings undoubtedly circulated in
    Aramaic.  However, the four Gospels were
    written in an entirely different speech, common Greek, the spoken
    language of the civilized Mediterranean world, to serve the majority of
    the Church, which was becoming Hellenistic (Greek-speaking) instead of
    Palestinian.  Traces of Aramaic survive in
    the Greek Gospels.  For example, in Mark
    5:41, “Taking her by the hand he said to her, ‘Tal’itha cu’mi’;
    which means ’Little girl, I say to you, arise.’
    ” and Mark 15:34, “And
    at the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘E’lo-i, E’lo-i,
    la’ma sabachtha’ni?
    ’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou
    forsaken me?’
    [28]

               
    The New Testament Gospel of Mark, though considered by
    Church scholars to be the oldest of the Gospels, was not written by a
    disciple of Jesus.  Biblical scholars
    concluded, based on the evidence contained in the Gospel, that Mark
    himself was not a disciple of Jesus.  Furthermore,
    according to them, it is not even certain who Mark really was. The
    ancient Christian author, Eusebius (325 C.E.), reported that another
    ancient author, Papias (130 C.E.), was the first to attribute the
    Gospel to John Mark, a companion of Paul.[29] Others suggested that he may have been the
    scribe of Peter and yet others hold that he was probably someone else. 

               
    The same is the case with the other Gospels. 
    Although Matthew, Luke and John are the names of disciples
    of Jesus, the authors of the Gospels bearing their names were not those
    famous disciples, but other individuals who used the disciples’ names
    to give their accounts credibility. In fact, all the Gospels originally circulated anonymously.
    Authoritative names were later assigned to them by unknown figures in
    the early church.[30]

     

    Books

    Authors

    Gospel of Matthew

    Unknown[31]

    Gospel of Mark

    Unknown[32]

    Gospel of Luke

    Unknown[33]

    Gospel of John

    Unknown[34]

    Acts

    The author of Luke[35]

    I, II, III John

    The author of John[36]

    J.B. Phillips, a prebendary[37] of the Chichester Cathedral, the Anglican
    Church of England, wrote the following preface for his translation of
    the Gospel according to St. Matthew: “Early tradition ascribed this
    Gospel to the apostle Matthew, but scholars nowadays almost all reject
    this view.  The author, whom we can
    conveniently call Matthew, has plainly drawn on the mysterious “Q”,[38] which may have
    been a collection of oral
    traditions. He has used Mark’s Gospel freely, though he has rearranged
    the order of events and has in several instances used different words
    for what is plainly the same story.”[39]  The Fourth
    Gospel (John) was opposed as heretical in the early church, and it
    knows none of the stories associated with John, son of Zebedee.[40] In the judgement
    of many scholars, it was
    produced by a “school” of disciples, probably in Syria in the last
    decade of the first century.[41]

     

    Contradictions

     
    Evidence for the unreliability of much of the material in
    the Bible can also be found in the many contradictions in the texts of
    the Old and New Testaments.  The following
    are only a few examples:

     

    The Old
    Testament

    1. The authors of Samuel and Chronicles
    relate the same story about Prophet David taking a census of the Jews.  However, in 2nd Samuel, it states that Prophet
    David acted on God’s instructions, while in 1st Chronicles, he
    acted on Satan’s instructions.

     

     

    II
    SAMUEL 24

    The Numbering

    And
    again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he
    moved David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”

     

     

    I CHRONICLES 21

    The Numbering

    And
    Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to
    number Israel.

     

     

    2. In describing the length of a plague
    prophesied by Gad[42], the author of
    2nd Samuel listed it as seven
    years, while the author of 1st Chronicles listed it as three
    years.

     

     

    II SAMUEL 24:13

    The Plague

    So
    Gad came to David and told him, and said unto him, “Shall seven
    years of famine
    come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three
    months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee?”

     

    I CHRONICLES 21:11

    The Plague

    11 So Gad came to David, and said
    unto him, “Thus saith the Lord, ‘Choose thee 12 Either three
    years’ famine
    ; or three months to be destroyed before thy foes,
    while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee;’ “

    3. In 2nd Chronicles, Jehoiachin was
    described as being eight years old when he began to reign,
    while in 2nd Kings he is described as being eighteen years old.

     

     

    II CHRONICLES 36:9

    The Age

    Jehoiachin
    was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned
    three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil
    in the sight of the Lord.

     

     

    II KINGS 24:8

    The Age

    Jehoiachin
    was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned
    in Jerusalem three months. And his mother’s name was Nehushta, the
    daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.

     

     

    4. The author of 2nd Samuel described the
    number of Syrians who died during a battle with Prophet David as being seven
    hundred
    , while the author of 1st Chronicles gave their number as seven
    thousand
    .

     

     

    II SAMUEL 10:18

    The Dead

    And
    the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven
    hundred
    chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the
    captain of their host, who died there.

     

    I CHRONICLES 19:18

    The Dead

    But
    the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew of the Syrians seven
    thousand
    men which fought in chariots, and forty thousand footmen,
    and killed Shophach the captain of the host.

    Although some may say that the adding or
    dropping of a ‘1’ or a zero is not significant, as it is only a copying
    mistake, here that is not the case because the Jews spelled out their
    numbers in words and did not use numerals.

               
    Such descrepancies cannot be accepted as part of a
    divinely revealed text.  Moreover, they
    prove the fallability of the human authors and further prove that the
    texts of the Old Testament were not divinely preserved.  

     

    The
    New Testament

    In the New Testament many similar
    contradictions may also be found.  The
    following are but a few:

     

    1.The Gospel accounts vary regarding who
    carried the cross on which Jesus was supposed to have been crucified.  In Matthew, Mark and Luke, it was Simon of
    Cyrene, and in John, it was Jesus.

     

     

    LUKE, 23:26[43]

    The Cross

    As
    they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was
    coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him and made
    him carry it
    ...

     

     

    JOHN, 19:16

    The Cross

    Then
    he (Pilate) handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took
    Jesus; and carrying the cross himself
    , he went to what is called
    the Place of the Skull, ...

     

     

    2. After Jesus’ “crucifixion”, the Gospel
    accounts differ as to who visited his tomb, when the visit took place,
    as well as the state of the tomb when it was visited. 
    The Gospels of Matthew, Luke and John state that the visit
    took place before sunrise, while the Gospel of Mark states that
    it was after sunrise.  In another
    three Gospels (Mark, Luke and John) the women found the stone door of
    the tomb rolled away, but in one (Matthew) the tomb was closed until an
    angel descended before them and rolled it away.

     

     

    MARK, 16:1-2

    The Visit

    And
    when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the Mother of
    James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.
    2And very early on the first day of the
    week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen

    JOHN, 20:1[44]

    The Visit

    Now
    on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while
    it was still dark
    , and saw that the stone had been taken away from
    the tomb.

     

    MATTHEW, 28:1-2

    The Visit

    Now
    after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the
    week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre. 2And
    behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord
    descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon
    it.

     

    3. The New Testament accounts vary regarding
    the fate of Judas Iscariot and the money he received for betraying
    Jesus. In Matthew, he hung himself, while in Acts, he fell in a field
    and died there.

     

     

     

    MATTHEW, 27:3-6

    The Fate of
    Judas

    When Judas, his
    betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back
    the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, ...And
    throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he
    went and hanged himself
    .

     

     

    ACTS, 1:18

    The Fate of
    Judas

    Now this man
    acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling
    headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out.

     

     

    4. When the genealogy of Jesus from David in
    Matthew 1:6-16, is compared to that of Luke 3:23-31, there are major
    discrepancies.  Firstly, Jesus in Matthew
    has 26 parents between himself and David, but in Luke he has 41.  Secondly, the names in both lists vary
    radically after David, and only two names are the same: Joseph, and
    Zorobabel. Both lists start off with Joseph, strangely enough, as
    the father of Jesus
    , but in Matthew, the author records Jesus’
    paternal grandfather as being Jacob, while in Luke he is Heli.  If one were to accept the suggestion of some
    that one of the lists is actually the genealogy of Mary, it could not
    possibly account for any differences after their common ancestor David.  Both lists meet again at Abraham and between
    David and Abraham most of the names are the same. However, in Matthew’s
    list, Hezron’s son’s name is Ram, the father of Ammin’adab,
    while in Luke’s list, Hezron’s son’s name is Arni, whose son’s
    name is Admin, the father of Ammin’adab.[45]  Consequently,
    between David and Abraham there are 12 forefathers in Matthew’s list
    and 13 in Luke’s list. 

               
    These discrepancies and many others like them in the
    Gospels are clearly errors that cast a shadow of doubt on their
    authenticity as divinely revealed texts.  Consequently,
    most Christian scholars today look at the Old and New Testament books
    as human accounts which they believe were inspired by God. However,
    even the claim that they were inspired by God is questionable as it
    implies that God inspired the authors to write mistakes and
    contradictions in His scriptures.

               
    Having established that the authenticity of both the New
    and the Old Testament is questionable, it can then be said with
    certainty that the Bible cannot be used by itself as an authentic
    reference source for establishing who Jesus was, nor the content of his
    message.

     

    The
    Qur’aan

               
    On the other hand, the Qur‘aan—believed by Muslims to be
    the word of God revealed to Prophet Muhammad(
    e)—was written down and memorized, from
    beginning to end, during the lifetime of the Prophet himself.

               
    Within a year after his death, the first standard written
    text was produced.[46] 
    And within 14
    years after his death, authorized copies (the ‘Uthmanic Text) made from
    the standard codex[47] were sent to the
    capitals of the Muslim
    state, and unauthorized copies were destroyed.[48] 

    Since the Prophet’s death in 632 CE, an
    increasing number of people in each successive generation have
    memorized the complete text of the Qur’aan from beginning to end. Today
    there exist tens of thousands of people around the world who recite the
    whole text, from memory, during the month of Ramadaan every
    year, as well as on other occasions.

               
    One of the leading orientalists, Kenneth Cragg, said the
    following regarding the memorization and preservation of the Qur’aanic
    text, “This phenomenon of Qur’anic recital means that the text has
    traversed the centuries in an unbroken living sequence of devotion. It
    cannot, therefore, be handled as an antiquarian thing, nor as a
    historical document out of a distant past.”[49]  Another
    orientalist scholar, William Graham, wrote: “For countless millions of
    Muslims over more than fourteen centuries of Islamic history,
    ‘scripture’, al-kitab has been a book learned, read and passed
    on by vocal repetition and memorization. The written Qur’an may ‘fix’
    visibly the authoritative text of the Divine Word in a way unknown in
    history, but the authoritativeness of the Qur’anic book is only
    realized in its fullness and perfection when it is correctly recited.”[50] Yet another,
    John Burton, stated: “The method
    of transmitting the Qur’an from one generation to the next by having
    the young memorize the oral tradition of their elders had mitigated
    somewhat from the beginning the worst perils of relying solely on
    written records...”[51] At the end of a
    voluminous work on the
    Qur’aan’s collection, Burton stated that the text of the Qur’aan
    available today is “the text which has come down to us in the form in
    which it was organised and approved by the Prophet...What we have today
    in our hands is the mushaf[52]
    of Muhammad.”[53]

     

    Scriptural
    Criticism      

               
    The same principles of analysis which were applied to
    Bible manuscripts by Bible scholars and which exposed the flaws and
    changes, have been applied to Qur’aanic manuscripts gathered from
    around the world. Ancient manuscripts found in the Library of Congress
    in Washington, the Chester Beatty Museum in Dublin, Ireland, the London
    Museum, as well as Museums in Tashkent, Turkey and Egypt, from all
    periods of Islamic history, have been compared. The result of all such
    studies confirm that there has not been any change in the text from its
    original writing. For example, the “Institute fur Koranforschung
    of the University of Munich, Germany, collected and collated over
    42,000 complete or incomplete copies of the Qur’aan. After some fifty
    years of study, they reported that in terms of differences between the
    various copies, there were no variants, except occasional mistakes of
    copyists, which could easily be ascertained.  The
    institute was destroyed by American bombs during the Second World War.[54]

     

    Contradictions
    in the Qur’aan

               
    The Qur’aan remains in itoriginal language, Arabic, and
    the Qur’aan challenges its readers in Chapter an-Nisaa, (4):82, to find
    any errors in it, if they do not believe it is really from God.

     

    } أَفَلاَ يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ
    عِنْدِ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ

    لَوَجَدُوا
    فِيهِ اخْتِلاَفًا كَثِيرًا
    {

    “Will
    they not consider the
    Qur’aan carefully?  Had it been from other
    than Allaah, they would have found many contradictions in it.”

     

    The few
    “apparent contradictions” commonly mentioned by those who attempt to
    reduce the Qur’aan to the level of the Bible are easily explained.  For example, the “first believer” in the
    following two verses:

     

     

    Chapter al An‘aam
    (6):14

     

    “Say
    (O Muhammad): ‘Shall I adopt as my lord someone other
    than Allaah, Creator of the heavens and earth, though it is He who
    feeds but is not fed?’  Say: ‘Indeed I
    am commanded to be the first of those who submit themselves (to Allaah
    ),
    and not to be among the idolators.’ ”

     

     

    Chapter al-A‘raaf
    (7):143

     

    “...But
    when his Lord appeared to the mountain, it crumbled
    to dust, and Moses fell down unconscious.  When
    he regained consciousness, he said, ‘Glory be to You, I turn to you in
    repentance and I am the first of the believers.’ ”

     

    The earlier verse refers to Prophet Muhammad,
    who was told to inform the pagans of his time that he could never
    accept their idolatry and would be the first of those in his time to
    submit to Allaah. In the second verse, Prophet Moses declares himself
    among the first in his time to submit to Allaah upon realizing that it
    was impossible to see Allaah.  Each prophet
    was the first in his own era to submit to Allaah.

               
    Similarly, the “day with God” mentioned in the following
    two verses:

     

     

    Chapter as-Sajdah (32):5

     

    “He
    arranges (every) affair from the heavens to the earth,
    then it goes up to Him, in a day equivalent to a thousand years
    according to your reckoning
    .”

     

     

    Chapter al-Mi‘raaj
    (70):4

     

    “The
    angels and the Spirit ascend to Him in a day
    equivalent to fifty thousand years
    .”

     

    The two verses refer to two completely
    different events. The first refers to the destiny that is sent down and
    reported back in a day governing a thousand years of human life.[55] The second
    refers to the ascent of the angels
    from the world to the highest of the heavens, which for them takes a
    day equivalent to 50,000 human years.[56]
    Allaah is not governed by time. He created
    time and made it relative to the creatures it governs. 
    Consequently, according to the calculation of modern
    scientists, one year on Mars is equivalent to 687 earth days, while one
    year on Uranus is equal to 84 earth years.[57]

               
    The Qur’aanic text is remarkably consistent in its thought
    and presentation. In the preface of one of the best orientalist
    translations of the Qur’aan, the translator, Arthur John Arberry,
    writes: “There is a repertory of familiar themes running through the
    whole Koran; each Sura[58]
    elaborates or adumbrates[59]
    one or more—often many—of these. 
    Using the language of music, each Sura is a rhapsody
    composed of whole or fragmentary leitmotivs;[60] the analogy is reinforced by the subtly
    varied rhythmical flow of the discourse.”[61]

               
    Scientific references in the Qur’aanic text have proven to
    be consistently and inexplicibly accurate.  In
    a lecture given at the French Academy of Medicine, in 1976, entitled
    “Physiological and Embryological Data in the Qur’an”, Dr. Maurice
    Bucaille said, “There is no human work in existence that contains
    statements as far beyond the level of knowledge of its time as the
    Qur’an.  Scientific opinions comparable to
    those in the Qur’an are the result of modern knowledge.”[62]

               
    Speaking about the authority of the Qur’aan, Professor
    Reynold A. Nicholson said, “We have [in the Koran] materials of unique
    and incontestable authority for tracing the origin and early
    development of Islam, such materials as do not exist in the case of
    Buddhism or Christianity or any other ancient religion.”[63]

               
    Consequently, it is only the Qur’aan that represents an
    accurate means of determining who Jesus was and what his message was.
    Moreover, the Qur’aan can also be used to determine to what degree some
    of the revealed word of God exists within the Bible.

               
    In the Qur’aan, God commands the believers to accept, as a
    part of their faith, the divine word revealed to Prophet Moses, known
    as the Torah; to Prophet David in the original Psalms; and to Jesus in
    the original Gospel. All Muslims are obliged to believe in all of the
    revealed scriptures.  However, as stated in
    the Qur’aan, all scriptures revealed before the Qur’aan have not
    remained as they were revealed. People changed parts of them to suit
    their own desires.

     

    }
    فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يَكْتُبُونَ الْكِتَابَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ
    يَقُولُونَ هَذَا مِنْ عِنْدِ اللهِ لِيَشْتَرُوا بِهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلاّ
    فَوَيْلٌ لَّهُمْ مِّمَّا كَتَبَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَوَيْلٌ لَّهُمْ مَّمَّا
    يَكْسِبُونَ
    {

    “Woe to
    those who write the scripture with their own hands and then say: ‘This
    is from Allaah,’ to purchase with it [worldly gain] at a cheap price.  Woe to them for what their hands have written
    and woe to them for what they earned by doing it.”   
    Qur’aan,
    (2):79

     

    Furthermore, in the Old Testament, God is
    quoted in Jeremiah 8:8 as saying, “How can you say, ‘We are wise,
    and the law is with us’?  But,
    behold, the false pen of the scribes has made it into a lie.
    [64]

     

    CHAPTER TWO:

      JESUS, THE PERSON

     

    As has been
    shown in the previous chapter, the Biblical scriptures, both New and
    Old Testaments, are unreliable sources and cannot, therefore, be used
    as an authentic means of knowing the truth about the man called Jesus
    Christ or about his mission and message.  However,
    a close examination of these scriptures in the light of Qur’aanic
    verses will reveal some of the truths about Jesus that have survived in
    the Bible.

     

    A
    Messenger

               
    Throughout the Qur‘aan, Jesus is identified fundamentally
    as a Messenger of God. In Chapter as-Saff (61):6, God
    quotes Jesus as follows:

     

    }
    وَإِذْ قَالَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ يَابِنِي إِسْرآئِيلَ إِنِّي رَسُولُ
    اللهِ إِلَيْكُمْ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيَّ مِنَ التَّوْراةِ
    {

    “And
    [remember] when Jesus,
    son of Mary, said: ‘O Children of Israel, I am the messenger of Allaah
    sent to you, confirming the Torah [which came] before me.”

     

    There are many
    verses in the New Testament supporting the messengership / prophethood
    of Jesus. The following are only a few: In Matthew 21:11, the people of
    his time are recorded as referring to Jesus as a prophet: “And the
    crowds said, ‘This is the prophet Jesus of Nazareth of
    Galilee.’
    ”  In Mark, 6:4, it is
    stated that Jesus referred to himself as a prophet: “And Jesus said
    to them, ‘A prophet is not without honour, except in his own
    country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.’
    ”  In the following verses, Jesus is referred to
    as having been sent as a messenger is sent. In Matthew 10:40, Jesus was
    purported to have said: “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he
    that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me
    .” 
    In John 17:3, Jesus is also quoted as saying: “And this
    is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus
    Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
    [65]

     

    A
    Man

                   
    The Qur’aanic revelation not only affirms Jesus’
    prophethood, but it also clearly denies Jesus’ divinity. 
    In Chapter al-Maa’idah, (5): 75, God points out that Jesus
    ate food, which is a human act, obviously not befitting to God.

     

    }
    مَا الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ إِلاَّ رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ
    الرُّسُلُ وَأُمُّهُ صِدِّيقَةٌ كَانَا يَأْكُلاَنِ الطَّعَامَ انْظُرْ
    كَيْفَ نُبَيِّنُ لَهُمُ اْلآيَاتِ تُمَّ انْظُرْ أَنَّى يُؤْفَكُونَ
    {

    “The
    Messiah, Son of Mary, was
    no more than a messenger and many messengers passed away before him.  His mother was exceedingly truthful, and they
    both ate food.  See how I have made the
    signs clear for them, yet see how they are deluded.”

     

    There are numerous accounts in the New
    Testament which also deny Jesus’ divinity.

               
    For example, in Matthew 19:17, Jesus responded to one who
    addressed him as “O good master”, saying: “Why callest thou me good?  There is none good but one, that is God.”  If he rejected being called “good”,[66] and stated that
    only God is truly good, he
    clearly implies that he is not God.

               
    In John 14:28, Jesus was saying: “The Father is greater
    than I.
    ” By stating that the “Father” is greater than himself,
    Jesus distinguishes himself from God.  Also
    in John 20:17, Jesus told Mary Magdalene to tell his followers: “I
    ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God.
    ”  Jesus’ reference to God as “my Father and your
    Father” further emphasizes the distinction between himself and God.
    Furthermore, by referring to God as “his God”, he left no room for
    anyone to intelligently claim that he was God. 

               
    Even in some of the writings of Paul, which the Church has
    taken to be sacred, Jesus is referred to as a “man”, distinct and
    different from God. In 1st Timothy, 2:5, Paul writes: “For there is
    one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus
    .”

               
    There are also verses in the Qur‘aan which confirm Prophet
    Muhammad’s humanity, in order to prevent his followers from
    elevating him to a divine or semi-divine status, as was done to Prophet
    Jesus.  For example, in Chapter al-Kahf
    (18):110, Allaah instructs the Prophet Muhammad (
    e) to inform all who hear his message:

     

    }
    قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَاْ بَشَرٌ مِثْلُكُمْ يُوحَى إِلَىَّ أَنَّمَا
    إلَـهُكُمْ إِلهٌ وَاحِدٌ
    {

    “Say:
    ‘Indeed, I am only a man
    like you to whom it has been revealed that your God is only one God.’ ”

     

    In Chapter al-A‘raaf (7):187, Allaah also
    directed Prophet Muhammad (
    e) to acknowledge that the time of the
    Judgement is known only to God.

     

    }
    يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ السَّاعَةِ أَيَّانَ مُرْسَاهَا قُلْ إِنَّمَا
    عِلْمُهَا عِنْدَ رَبَّي لاَ يُجَلِّيهَا لِوَقْتِهَآ إِلاَّ هُوَ
    {

    “They
    ask you about the Final
    Hour: 'When will its apointed time be?’ Say: ‘Knowledge of it is with
    my Lord.  None can reveal its time besides
    Him.’ ”

     

    In the Gospel according to Mark 13:31-32,
    Jesus is also reported to have denied having knowledge of when the
    final hour of this world would be, saying: “Heaven and the earth
    shall pass away but my word shall not pass away, but of that day or
    hour no man knoweth, neither the angels in the heaven nor the Son but
    the Father
    .”
    One of the attributes of God is omniscience,
    knowledge of all things.  Therefore, his
    denial of knowledge of the Day of Judgement is also a denial of
    divinity, for one who does not know the time of the final hour cannot
    possibly be God.[67]

     

    An
    Immaculate Conception

               
    The Qur‘aan confirms the Biblical story of Jesus’ virgin
    birth. However, in the Qur‘aanic account of Jesus’ birth, Mary was an
    unmarried maiden whose life was dedicated to the worship of God by her
    mother.  While she was worshipping in a
    place of religious seclusion,  angels came
    and informed her of her impending pregnancy.

     

    } إِذْ قَالَتِ الْملآئِكَةُ يَا مَرْيَمُ إِنَّ اللهَ
    يُبَشِّرُكِ بِكَلِمَةٍ مِنْهُ اسْمُهُ الْمَسِيْحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ
    وَجِيهًا فِي الدُّنْيا وَ اْلآخِرَةِ وَمِنَ الْمُقَرَّبينَ
    {

    “When
    the angels said: ‘O
    Mary, indeed Allaah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him, whose
    name will be the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary.  He
    will be honored in this world and the next and will be of those close
    to Allaah.’ ” Qur’aan, (3):45

     

     

     

    }
    قَالَتْ رَبِّ أَنَّى يَكُونُ لِي وَلَدٌ وَلَمْ يَمْسَسْنِي بَشَرٌ قَالَ
    كَذَلِكِ اللهُ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَآءُ إِذَا قَضَى أَمْرًا فَإِنَّمَا
    يَقُولُ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ
    {

    “She
    said: ‘O my Lord, how can
    I have a son when no man has touched me?’ He said: ‘Even so—Allaah
    creates what He wishes. When He decrees something, He only has to say
    to it: “Be!”  and it is.’ ” Qur’aan, (3):47

     

    However, the
    Qur’aan clarifies that Jesus’ virgin birth did not change the state of
    his humanity.  His creation was like the
    creation of Aadam, who had neither father nor mother.

     

    }
    إِنَّ مَثَلَ عِيسَى عِنْدَ اللهِ كَمَثَلِ آدَمَ خَلَقَهُ مِنْ تُرَابٍ
    ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ
    {

    “Surely,
    the example of Jesus,
    in Allaah’s sight, is like that of Aadam.  He
    created him from dust and said: ‘Be!’ and he was.” Qur’aan, (3):59

     

    The
    Miracles

    The Qur‘aanic account of Jesus’ ministry
    confirms most[68] of his miracles
    mentioned in the Bible and
    identifies some not mentioned in the Bible. For example, the Qur‘aan
    informs that Jesus was a messenger of God from his birth, and
    his first miracle was speaking as a child in the cradle. 
    After Mary had given birth to Jesus, people accused her of
    fornication. Instead of responding to their accusations, she pointed to
    her newly born child:

     

    }
    فَأَشَارَتْ إِلَيْهِ قَالُوا كَيْفَ نُكَلِّمُ مِنْ كَانَ فِي الْمَهْدِ
    صَبِيًّا قَالَ إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللهِ آتَانِيَ الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلَنِي
    نَبِيًّا
    {

    “[When] she pointed to him, they asked, ‘How
    can we talk to a child in the cradle?’ He [Jesus] said: ‘Indeed, I am a
    servant of Allaah. He gave me the scripture and made me a prophet.’ ”

    Qur’aan, (19):29-30

     

    Among his other
    miracles of bringing the dead back to life, healing lepers, and making
    the blind see, the Qur‘aan records another miracle not mentioned in the
    Bible.  Prophet Jesus fashioned birds out
    of clay, blew on them and they flew away, living birds. But the point
    which is emphasized throughout the Qur‘aan is that whenever Jesus
    performed a miracle, he informed the people that it was by God’s
    permission. He made it clear to his followers that he was not doing the
    miracles by himself, in the same way that the earlier Prophets made it
    clear to those around them.

               
    Unfortunately, those who claim divinity for Jesus, usually
    hold up his miracles as evidence.  However,
    other prophets were recorded to have done the same or similar miracles
    in the Old Testament.

     

    Jesus
    fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two
    fishes.

    Elisha
    fed 100 people with twenty barley loaves and a few
    ears of corn (II Kings 4:44)

    Jesus
    healed lepers.

    Elisha
    cured Naaman the leper (II Kings 5:14).

    Jesus
    caused the blind to see.

    Elisha
    caused the blind to see (II Kings 6:17&20).

    Jesus
    raised the dead.

    Elijah
    did the same (I Kings 17:22).  So
    did Elisha (II Kings 4:34).  Even Elisha’s
    bones could restore the dead (II Kings 13:21).

    Jesus
    walked on water.

    Moses
    and his people crossed the dead sea (Exodus 14:22).

     

               
    There are also texts in the New Testament which confirm
    that Jesus did not act on his own.  Jesus
    is quoted in John 5:30, as saying: “I can of mine own self do
    nothing...
    ” and in Luke 11:20, as saying, “But if I with the
    finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the Kingdom of God is come upon
    you.
    ”  In Acts 2:22, Paul writes: “Men
    of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you
    by God with mighty works and wonders and signs which God did
    through him
    in your midst, as you yourselves know...”

    &nnbsp;

    “Evidence” for
    Jesus’ Divinity

               
    There are a number of verses which have been interpreted
    by the Catholic and Protestant Churches as evidence for the Divinity of
    Jesus Christ. However, on close examination of these verses, it becomes
    evident that, either their wordings are ambiguous, leaving them open to
    a number of different interpretations, or they are additions not found
    in the early manuscripts of the Bible.  The
    following are some of the most commonly quoted arguments.

     

    1. The
    Alpha and Omega

               
    In the Book of Revelation 1, verse 8, it is implied that
    Jesus said the following about himself: I am Alpha and
    Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and
    which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
    ” These are the
    attributes of God. Consequently, Jesus, according to early Christians,
    is here claiming divinity. However, the above-mentioned wording is
    according to the King James Version.  In
    the Revised Standard Version, biblical scholars corrected the
    translation and wrote: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the
    Lord God
    , who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” 
    A correction was also made in the New
    American Bible
    produced by Catholics. The translation of that verse
    has been amended to put it in its correct context as follows: “The
    Lord God
    says: ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the one
    who is and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’ ”
    With
    these corrections, it becomes evident that this was a statement of God
    and not a statement of Prophet Jesus.

     

    2. The
    Pre-existence of Christ

               
    Another verse commonly used to support the divinity of
    Jesus is John 8:58: “Jesus said unto them, ‘Verily, verily, I say
    unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.’
    ” 
    This verse is taken to imply that Jesus existed prior to
    his appearance on earth. The conclusion drawn from it is that Jesus
    must be God, since his existence predates his birth on earth. However,
    the concept of the pre-existence of the prophets, and of man in
    general, exists in both the Old Testament, as well as in the Qur‘aan.
    Jeremiah described himself in The Book of Jeremiah 1:4-5 as follows: “
    5Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, 5Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
    and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet
    to the nations
    .’ ”

               
    Prophet Solomon is reported in Proverbs 8:23-27, to have
    said, “
    23Ages ago I was set up at the first, before
    the beginning of the earth
    .
    24When there were no depths I was brought
    forth, when there were no springs abounding with water,
    25Before the mountains had been shaped, before
    the hills, I was brought forth;
    26before he had made the earth with its fields,
    or the first of the dust of the world
    27When he established the heavens, I was there.” 

               
    According to Job 38:4 and 21, God addresses Prophet Job as
    follows: “
    4Where were you when I laid the foundation of
    the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding...
    21You Know, for you were born then, and the
    number of your days is great!”

               
    In the Qur‘aan, Chapter
    al-A‘raaf, (7):172, God informed that man existed in the spiritual form
    before the creation of the physical world.

     

    }
    وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِنْ بَنِي آدَمَ مِنْ ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ
    وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ قَالُوا بَلَى
    شَهِدْنَا أَنْ تَقُولُواْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّا كُنَّا عَنْ هَذَا
    غَافِلِينَ
    {

    “When
    your Lord gathered all
    of Aadam’s descendants [before creation] and made them bear witness for
    themselves, saying: ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They all replied: Yes indeed,
    we bear witness. [That was] so you could not say on the Day of
    Judgement: ‘We were unaware of this.’ ”

     

    Consequently, Prophet Jesus’ statement, “Before
    Abraham was, I am,
    ” cannot be used as evidence of his divinity.  Within the context of John 8:54-58, Jesus is
    purported to have spoken about God’s knowledge of His prophets, which
    predates the creation of this world.

     

    3. The Son
    of God

    Another of the evidences used for Jesus’
    divinity is the application of the title “Son of God” to Jesus.  However, there are numerous places in the Old
    Testament where this title has been given to others.

    God called Israel (Prophet Jacob) His “son”
    when He
    instructed Prophet
    Moses to go to Pharaoh in Exodus 4:22-23,
    22 And you shall say
    to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is my first-born son,
    23and I say to you, ‘Let my son go that he may
    serve me.’ ” [69]

               
    In 2nd Samuel 8:13-14, God calls Prophet Solomon His son, “13
    He [Solomon] shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the
    throne of his kingdom for ever.
    14I will be his father, and he shall be my
    son
    .

               
    God promised to make Prophet David His son in Psalms
    89:26-27: “26 He shall cry unto me, ‘Thou art my father, my
    God, and the rock of my salvation,’
    27Also I will make him my first-born,
    higher than the kings of the earth.”
    [70]

               
    Angels are referred to as “sons of God” in The Book of Job
    1:6, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to
    present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.
    [71]

               
    In the New Testament, there are many references to “sons
    of God” other than Jesus.  For example,
    when the author of the Gospel according to Luke listed Jesus’ ancestors
    back to Adam, he wrote: “The son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son
    of Adam, the son of God.”
    [72]

               
    Some claim that what is unique in the case of Jesus, is
    that he is the only begotten[73]
    Son of God, while the others
    are merely “sons of God”. However, God is recorded as saying to Prophet
    David, in Psalms 2:7, “I will tell the decree of the Lord: He said
    to me, ‘You are my son, today I have begotten you.’ ”

               
    It should also be noted that nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus
    actually call himself “Son of God”.[74]  Instead, he is
    recorded to have repeatedly called himself “Son of man” (e.g. Luke
    9:22) innumerable times. And in Luke 4:41, he actually rejected being
    called “Son of God”: “And demons also came out of many, crying, ‘You
    are the Son of God!’   But he rebuked
    them, and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was
    the Christ.

               
    Since the Hebrews
    believed that God is One, and had neither wife nor children in any
    literal sense, it is obvious that the expression “son of God” merely
    meant to them “Servant of God”; one who, because of his faithful
    service, was close and dear to God, as a son is to a father. Christians
    who came from a Greek or Roman background, later misused this term. In
    their heritage, “son of God” signified an incarnation of a god or
    someone born of a physical union between male and female gods.[75] When the Church
    cast aside its Hebrew
    foundations, it adopted the pagan concept of “son of God”, which was
    entirely different from the Hebrew usage.[76]          

               
    Consequently, the use of the term “son of God” should only
    be understood from the Semitic symbolic sense of a “servant of God”,
    and not in the pagan sense of a literal offspring of God. In the four
    Gospels, Jesus is recorded as saying: “Blessed are the peace-makers;
    they will be called sons of God.
    [77]

               
    Likewise, Jesus’ use of the term abba, “dear
    father”, should be understood similarly. There is a dispute among New
    Testament scholars as to precisely what abba meant in Jesus’
    time and also as to how widely it was in use by other Jewish sects of
    that era. 

               
    James Barr has recently argued forcefully that it did not
    have the specially intimate sense that has so often been attributed to
    it, but that it simply meant “father”.[78]
    To think of God as “our heavenly Father” was
    by no means new, for in the Lord’s prayer he is reported to have taught
    his disciples to address God in this same familiar way.

     

    4. One with God 

    Those who claim that Jesus was God, hold that
    he was not a separate god, but one and the same God incarnate.  They draw support for this belief from verse
    30 of the Gospel according to John, chapter 10, in which Jesus is
    reported to have said, “I and the Father are one.” 
    Out of context, this verse does imply Jesus’ divinity.  However, when the Jews accused him of claiming
    divinity, based on that statement, “Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not
    written in your law, “I said, Ye are gods?”
    [79]-[80]
    He clarified for them, with a
    scriptural example well known to them, that he was using the
    metaphorical language of the prophets which should not be interpreted
    as ascribing divinity to himself or to other human beings.

               
    Further evidence is drawn from verses ten and eleven of
    the Gospel according to John, chapter 14, where people asked Jesus to
    show them the Father, and he was supposed to have said: “Do you not
    believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me?  The words that I say to you I do not speak on
    my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
    11Believe me that I am in the Father and
    the Father in me
    ; or else believe me for the sake of the works
    themselves.
     

               
    These phrases would
    imply Jesus’ divinity, if the remainder of the same Gospel is ignored.
    However, nine verses later, in John 14:20, Jesus is also recorded as
    saying to his disciples, “In that day you will know that I am in my
    Father, and you in me, and I in you.
    ” Thus, if Jesus’
    statement “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” means
    that he is God, then so were his disciples.  This
    symbolic statement means oneness of purpose and not oneness of essence.
    The symbolic interpretation is further emphasized in John 17:20-21,
    wherein Jesus said, “20 I do not pray for these only, but
    also for those who believe in me through their word,
    21that they may all be one; even as thou,
    Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us
    , so that the world may believe that thou has
    sent me.
    [81]

     

    5. “He Accepted Worship”

    It is argued that since Jesus is reported to
    have accepted the worship of some of his followers, he must have been
    God. However, a closer examination of the texts indicates both a case
    of dubious translation, as well as misinterpretation. The term
    “worship” can be found in the King James Version and The
    Revised Standard Version
    accounts of the three wise men who came
    from the east.  They were reported in
    Matthew 2:2, to have said, “Where is the baby born to be the king of
    the Jews? We saw his star when it came up in the east, and we have
    come to worship him
    .
    [82]
    However, in The New American Bible (Catholic
    Press, 1970), the text reads: “Where is the newborn king of the
    Jews? We observed his star at its rising and have come to pay him
    homage
    .
    ”      

               
    In The Revised Standard Version, John 9:37-38,: “37
    Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you.’
    38He said, ‘Lord, I believe’; and he
    worshipped him
    .
    [83] 
    However, in The
    American Bible,
    the scholarly translators added a footnote which
    read:

    9:38           
    This verse, omitted in important MSS [manuscripts], may be
    an addition for a baptismal liturgy.

    This verse is not found in important ancient
    manuscripts containing this Gospel. It is probably a later addition
    made by Church scribes for use in baptismal services.

               
    Furthermore, as a renowned authority on the Bible and its
    original language, George M. Lamsa, explained, “The Aramaic word sagad,
    worship, also means to bend or to kneel down.  Easterners
    in greeting each other generally bowed the head
    or bent down.[84] ...‘He
    worshipped him
    ’ does not imply
    that he worshipped Jesus as one worshipped God. Such an act would have
    been regarded as sacrilegious and a breach of the First Commandment in
    the eyes of the Jews, and the man might have been stoned. But he knelt
    before him in token of homage and gratitude.”[85] 

               
    The final scripture, the Qur’aan, clarifies the issue of
    worshipping or not worshipping Jesus, by quoting a conversation which
    will take place between Jesus and God on the Day of Judgement.  Allaah states in Chapter al-Maa’idah,
    (5):116-7:

     

    }
    وَإِذْ قَالَ اللهُ يَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ ءَأَنْتَ قُلْتَ لِلنَّاسِ
    اتَّخِذُونِي وَأُمِّيَ إِلَهَيْنِ مِنْ دُونِ اللهِ ... مَا قُلْتُ
    لَهُمْ إِلاَّ مَآ أَمَرْتَنِي بِهِ أَنِ اعْبُدُواْ 
    اللهَ ربّي وَرَبَّكُمْ ...
    {

    “When
    Allaah will say: ‘O
    Jesus, son of Mary, did you tell people: “Worship me and my mother as
    two gods instead of Allaah?” ’...[Jesus will say]: ‘I only told them
    what You commanded me to say: “Worship Allaah, my Lord and your Lord
    ...” ”

     

    6. “In the beginning was
    the Word”

    Perhaps the most commonly quoted ‘evidence’
    for Jesus’ divinity is John 1:1&14, “1 In the beginning
    was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God....
    14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
    full of grace and truth...
    ”  However, these statements were not made by
    Jesus Christ, nor were they attributed to him by the author of the
    Gospel according to John. Consequently, these verses do not constitute
    evidence for Jesus’ divinity, especially considering the doubts held by
    Christian scholars about the Fourth Gospel. The Bible scholars who
    authored The Five Gospels said: “The two pictures painted by
    John and the synoptic gospels (i.e., the Gospels of Matthew, Mark &
    Luke) cannot both be historically accurate.[86]...The words attributed to Jesus in the Fourth
    Gospel are the creation of the evangelist for the most part, and
    reflect the developed language of John’s Christian community.”[87]

               
    The Greek term used by the anonymous author of the Fourth
    Gospel for “word” is logos.[88]  In doing
    so, the author identifies Jesus with the pagan logos of Greek
    philosophy, who was the divine reason implicit in the cosmos, ordering
    it and giving it form and meaning.[89]

               
    The idea of the logos in Greek thought may be
    traced back at least to the 6th-century-BC philosopher, Heracleitus,
    who proposed that there was a logos in the cosmic process
    analogous to the reasoning power in man.  Later,
    the Stoics[90] defined the logos
    as an active,
    rational and spiritual principle that permeated all reality.[91] 
    The
    Greek-speaking Jewish philosopher, Judaeus Philo of Alexandria (15 BC -
    45 CE), taught that the logos was the intermediary between God
    and the cosmos, being both the agent between God and the cosmos, being
    both the agent of creation and the agent through which the human mind
    can comprehend God.[92] 
    The writings of
    Philo were preserved and cherished by the Church, and provided the
    inspiration for a sophisticated Christian philosophical theology. He
    departed from Platonic thought regarding the logos (Word) and
    called it “the first-begotten Son of God”.[93]

               
    The identification of Jesus with the logos, was
    further developed in the early Church as a result of attempts made by
    early Christian theologians and apologists to express the Christian
    faith in terms that would be intelligible to the Hellenistic world.  Moreover, it was to impress their hearers with
    the view that Christianity was superior to, or heir to, all that was
    best in pagan philosophy.  Thus, in their
    apologies and polemical works, the early Christian Fathers stated that
    Christ was the preexistent logos.[94]

               
    The Greek word for ‘God’ used in the phrase “and the
    Word was with God
    ,” is the definite form hotheos, meaning
    ‘The God’.  However, in the second phrase “and
    the Word was God
    ”, the Greek word used for ‘God’ is the indefinite
    form tontheos, which means ‘a god’.[95] Consequently, John 1:1, should more
    accurately be translated, “In the beginning was the Word, and the
    Word was with God, and the Word was a god.
    ” Therefore, if the Word
    was a ‘god’ in the literal sense, it would mean that there were two
    Gods and not one. However, in Biblical language, the term ‘god’ is used
    metaphorically to indicate power.  For
    example, Paul referred to the devil as “god” in 2nd Corinthians 4:4, “In
    their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the
    unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the
    glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God.
    ” Moses is also
    referred to as “god” in Exodus 7:1, “And the Lord said unto Moses,
    ‘See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh; and Aaron thy brother
    shall be thy prophet.
    [96]

     

    Ancient Thoughts

               
    There was serious conflict between the Pauline and the
    Jerusalem interpretations of Jesus and his message. This conflict,
    after simmering for years, finally led to a complete break, by which
    the Pauline Christian Church was founded, comprising, in effect, a new
    religion, separated from Judaism. On the other hand, the Jerusalem
    Nazarenes did not sever their links with Judaism, but regarded
    themselves essentially as practicing Jews, loyal to the Torah, who also
    believed in Jesus, a human Messiah figure.[97]

               
    When the Jewish insurrection was crushed by the Romans and
    their Temple destroyed in 70 CE, the Jewish Christians were scattered,
    and their power and influence as the Mother Church and center of the
    Jesus movement was ended.[98]
    The Pauline Christian movement, which up
    until 66 CE had been struggling to survive against the strong
    disapproval of Jerusalem, now began to make headway. 

               
    The Jerusalem Church, under the leadership of James,
    originally known as Nazarenes, later came to be known by the derogatory
    nickname Ebionites (Hebrew evyonium, “poor men”), which some
    Nazarenes adopted with pride as a reminder of Jesus’ saying, “Blessed
    are the poor.” After the ascendency of Graeco-Roman Church, the
    Nazarenes became despised as heretics, due to their rejection of the
    doctrines of Paul.[99]

               
    According to the ancient Church historian, Irenaeus (c.
    185 CE), the Ebionites believed in one God, the Creator, taught that
    Jesus was the Messiah, used only the Gospel According to Matthew, and
    rejected Paul as an apostate from the Jewish Law.[100]

               
    Ebionites were known to still exist in the 4th century.
    Some had left Palestine and settled in Transjordan and Syria and were
    later known to be in Asia Minor, Egypt and Rome.[101]

               
    Monarchianism,[102]
    a Gentile Christian movement which developed
    during the 2nd and 3rd centuries continued to represent the “extreme”
    monotheistic view of the Ebionites. It held that Christ was a man,
    miraculously conceived, but was only ‘Son of God’ due to being filled
    with divine wisdom and power. This view was taught at Rome about the
    end of the 2nd century by Theodotus, who was excommunicated by Pope
    Victor, and taught somewhat later by Artemon, who was excommunicated by
    Pope Zephyrinus. About 260 CE it was again taught by Paul of Samosata,[103] the bishop of
    Antioch in Syria, who openly
    preached that Jesus was a man through whom God spoke his Word (Logos),
    and he vigorously affirmed the absolute unity of God. 

               
    Between 263 and 268 at least three church councils were
    held at Antioch to debate Paul’s orthodoxy. The third condemned his
    doctrine and deposed him. However, Paul enjoyed the patronage of
    Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, to whom Antioch was then subject, and it was
    not until 272 when the emperor Aurelian defeated Zenobia that the
    actual deposition was carried out.[104]

               
    In the late third and early fourth centuries, Arius (b. c. 250,
    Libya - d. 336 CE), a presbyter of Alexandria, Egypt,
    also taught the finite nature of Christ and the absolute oneness of
    God, which attracted a large following, until he was declared a heretic
    by the council of Nicaea in May 325 CE. During the council, he refused
    to sign the formula of faith stating that Christ was of the same divine
    nature as God. However, influential support from colleagues in Asia
    Minor and from Constantia, the emperor Constantine’s daughter,
    succeeded in effecting Arius’ return from exile and his readmission
    into the church.[105] The movement
    which he was supposed to have
    begun, but which was in fact an extension of Jerusalem Nazarene/Jewish
    Christian belief, came to be known as Arianism and constituted the
    greatest internal threat to the Pauline Christian orthodoxy’s belief in
    Jesus’ divinity.

               
    From 337 to 350 CE, the emperor in the West, Constans, was
    sympathetic to the orthodox Christians, and Constantius II, sympathetic
    to the Arians, was Emperor in the East. Arian influence was so great
    that at a church council held in Antioch (341 CE), an affirmation of
    faith was issued which omitted the clause that Jesus had the “same
    divine nature as God”. In 350 CE Constantius II became sole ruler of
    the empire, and under his leadership the Nicene party (orthodox
    Christians) was largely crushed. After Constantius the Second’s death
    in 361 CE, the orthodox Christian majority in the West consolidated its
    position. However, the defense of absolute monotheism and the
    suppression of orthodox Christian trinitarian beliefs continued in the
    East under the Arian emperor Valens (364-383 CE).  It
    was not until Emperor Theodosius I (379-395 CE) took up the defense of
    orthodoxy that Arianism was finally crushed. The unitarian beliefs of
    Arius, however, continued among some of the Germanic tribes up until
    the end of the 7th century.[106]

     

    Modern Thoughts

               
    Today, there are many modern scholars in Christianity who
    hold that Jesus Christ was not God. In 1977, a group of seven biblical
    scholars, including leading Anglican theologians and other New
    Testament scholars, published a book called The Myth of God
    Incarnate
    , which  caused a great uproar
    in the General Synod of the Church of England.  In
    the preface, the editor, John Hick, wrote the following: “The
    writers of this book are convinced that another major theological
    development is called for in this last part of the twentieth century.
    The need arises from growing knowledge of Christian origins, and
    involves a recognition that Jesus was (as he is presented in Acts 2.21)
    ‘a man approved by God’ for a special role within the divine purpose,
    and that the later conception of him as God incarnate, the Second
    Person of the Holy Trinity living a human life, is a mythological or
    poetic way of expressing his significance for us.”[107]

               
    There is a broad agreement among New Testament scholars
    that the historical Jesus did not make the claim to deity that later
    Christian thought was to make for him; he did not understand himself to
    be God, or God the Son, incarnate [in the flesh].[108]  The late
    Archbishop Michael Ramsey, who was himself a New Testament scholar,
    wrote that “Jesus did not claim deity for himself.”[109]  His
    contemporary, the New Testament scholar C.F.D. Moule, said that, “Any
    case for a ‘high’ Christology that depended on the authenticity of the
    alleged claims of Jesus about himself, especially in the Fourth Gospel,
    would indeed be precarious.”[110] 

               
    In a major study of the origins of the doctrine of the
    incarnation, James Dunn, who affirms orthodox Christology, concludes
    that “there was no real evidence in the earliest Jesus tradition of
    what could fairly be called a consciousness of divinity.”[111] Again, Brian
    Hebblethwaite, a staunch
    upholder of the traditional Nicene-Calcedonian Christology,
    acknowledges that “it is no longer possible to defend the divinity of
    Jesus by reference to the claims of Jesus.”[112]  Hebblethwaite
    and Dunn, and other scholars like them who still believe in Jesus’
    divinity, argue instead that Jesus did not know he was God incarnate.
    This only became known after his resurrection.

               
    Most famous among the Church of England bishops, who doubt
    Jesus’ divinity, is the outspoken Reverend Professor David Jenkins, the
    Bishop of Durham in England, who openly states that Jesus was not God. [113]

               
    The following article, which appeared in The Daily
    News
    some years ago, clearly indicates the degree to which there
    are doubts among the clergy regarding Jesus’ divinity.

      

     

    Shock survey

    Of Anglican
    bishops

     

    LONDON: More than half of England’s Anglican bishops
    say Christians are not obliged to believe that Jesus Christ was God,
    according to a survey published today.

     The poll of 31 of
    England’s 39 bishops shows that many of them think that Christ’s
    miracles, the virgin birth and the resurrection might not have happened
    exactly as described in the Bible.

     

      Only 11 of the
    bishops insisted that Christians must regard Christ as both God and
    man, while 19 said it was sufficient to regard Jesus as “God’s supreme
    agent”. One declined to give a definite opinion.

      The poll was
    carried out by London Weekend Television’s weekly religion show, Credo.

     

    “DAILY NEWS”
    25/6/84

     

     CHAPTER
    THREE:

    THE MESSAGE

     

    The second issue, ‘The Message of Jesus’,
    is perhaps the most important point to consider.  For,
    if Jesus was not God incarnate, but a prophet of God, the message which
    he brought from God is the essence of his mission.

     

    Submission 

               
    The foundation of Jesus’
    message was submission to the will of God, because that is the
    foundation of the religion which God prescribed for man since the
    beginning of time. God says in Chapter Aal ‘Imraan, the third chapter
    of the Qur‘aan, verse 19:

     

    } إِنَّ
    الدِّينَ عِنْدَ اللهِ اْلإِسْلاَمُ

    {

    “Truly,
    the religion in the
    sight of Allaah is Islaam [submission].”

     

    In Arabic, submission to God’s will is
    expressed by the word ‘Islaam’. In the Gospel according to
    Matthew 7:22, Jesus is quoted as saying: Not everyone who
    says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who
    does the will of my Father in heaven.
    ” In this statement,
    Jesus places emphasis on “the will of the Father”, 
    submission of the human will to the will of God. 
    In John 5:30, it is narrated that Jesus also
    said: “I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and
    my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of
    him who sent me
    .

     

     

    The
    Law

               
    The “will of God” is contained in the divinely revealed
    laws which the prophets taught their followers. Consequently, obedience
    to divine law is the foundation of worship. The Qur’aan affirms the  need for obedience to the divinely revealed
    laws  in chapter al-Maa’idah, verse 44.

     

    }
    إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَا التَّوْرَاةَ فِيهَا هُدًى وَنُورٌ يَحْكُمُ بِهَا
    النَّبِيُّونَ الَّذِينَ أَسْلَمُوا ... وَمَنْ لَمْ يَحْكُمْ بِمَا
    أَنْزَلَ اللهُ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ
    {

    “Indeed,
    I did reveal the
    Torah in which was guidance and light, by which the prophets, who
    submitted to God’s will, judged (the Jews) ... and whoever does not
    judge by what Allaah has revealed is a disbeliever,”

     

    Jesus was also reported in the Gospel
    according to Matthew 19:16-17, to have made obedience to the divine
    laws the key to paradise: “16 Now behold, one came and said
    to him,“Good teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have
    eternal life?”
    17So he said to him, “Why do
    you call me good?  No one is good but One,
    that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the
    commandments
    .”
    [114]
    Also in Matthew 5:19, Jesus Christ was reported to have insisted on
    strict obedience to the commandments saying, “Whoever therefore
    breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so,
    shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven
    ; but whoever does
    and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven
    .”

    Divine law represents guidance for humankind
    in all walks of life. It defines right and wrong for them and offers
    human beings a complete system governing all of their affairs. The
    Creator alone knows best what is beneficial for His creation and what
    is not. Thus, the divine laws command and prohibit various acts and
    substances to protect the human spirit, the human body, and human
    society from harm. In order for human beings to fulfil their potential
    by living righteous lives, they need to worship God through obedience
    to His commandments.[115]

               
    This was the religion conveyed in the message of Jesus;
    submission to the will of the one true God by obedience to His
    commandments.  Jesus stressed to his
    followers that his mission did not cancel the laws received by Prophet
    Moses. As the prophets who came after Moses maintained the law, so did
    Jesus. Chapter al-Maa’idah, verse 46 of the Qur’aan indicates that
    Jesus confirmed the Laws of the Torah in his message.

     

    }
    وَقَفَّيْنَا عَلَى آثَارِهِمْ بِعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ مُصَدِّقًا لِمَا
    بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَآتَيْنَاهُ اْلإِنْجِيلَ فِيهِ هُدًى
    وَنُورٌ وَمُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ التَّوْرَةِ
    {

    “And
    in their footsteps, I
    sent Jesus, son of Mary, confirming the Torah that had come before him,
    and I gave him the Gospel, in which was guidance and light and
    confirmation of the Torah that had come before it,”

    In Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus stated: “17 Think
    not that I have come to abolish the law and the [way of] the prophets;
    I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.
    18For,
    I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot,
    will pass from the law until all is accomplished.
    ” However, Paul,
    who claimed to be a disciple of Jesus, systematically cancelled the
    laws.  In his letter to the Romans, chapter
    7:6, he stated, “But now we are discharged from the law, dead
    to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old
    written code but in the new life of the Spirit.

     

    Unitarianism

               
    Jesus came as a prophet calling people to worship God
    alone, as the prophets before him did. God says in chapter an-Nahl
    (16):36, of the Qur‘aan:

     

    }وَلَقَدْ
    بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَسُولاً أَنِ اعْبُدُواْ اللهَ
    وَاجْتَنِبُواْ الطَّاغُوتَ
    {

    “Surely, I[116]
    have sent to every nation a messenger
    (saying): ‘Worship Allaah and avoid false gods.”

     

               
    In Luke 3:8, the Devil asks Jesus to worship him,
    promising him the authority and glory of all of the kingdoms of this
    world, “And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, You shall worship
    the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’
    ”  Thus, the essence of the message of Jesus was
    that only God deserves to be worshipped and that the worship of anyone
    or anything besides God or along with God is false. Jesus not only
    called people to this message but he also practically demonstrated it
    for them by bowing down in prayer and worshipping God himself. In Mark
    14:32, it states: “And they went to a place which was called
    Gethsemane; and he [Jesus] said to his disciples, ‘Sit here, while I
    pray.’
    ” And in Luke 5:16, “But he withdrew to the wilderness
    and prayed.
    ” 

               
    Jesus called them to worship the one true God who is
    unique in His qualities.  God does not have
    the attributes of His creation, nor does any creature share any of His
    attributes.  In Matthew 19:16-17, when the
    man called Prophet Jesus ‘good’, saying, “Good teacher, what good
    thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?
    ” Prophet Jesus
    replied, Why do you call me good? No one is 
    good  but  One,
    that is, God.
    He denied the attribution
    of ‘infinite goodness’ or ‘perfect goodness’ to himself, and affirmed
    that this attribute belongs to Allaah alone.

               
    The vast majority of Christians today pray to Jesus,
    claiming that he is God. The Philosophers among them claim that they
    are not worshipping Jesus the man, but God who was manifest in Jesus
    the man. This is also the rationale of pagans who bow down in worship
    to idols.  When a pagan philosopher is
    asked why he worships an idol which was made by human hands, he replies
    that he is not really worshipping the idol. Furthermore, he may claim
    that the idol is only a focal point for the presence of God, and
    thereby claim to be worshipping God who is manifest in the idol, and
    not the physical idol itself. There is little or no difference between
    that explanation and the answer given by Christians for worshipping
    Jesus. The origin of this deviation lies in the false belief that God
    is present in His creation. Such a belief justifies the worship of
    God’s creation. 

    Jesus’ message, which urged mankind to
    worship one God alone, became distorted after his departure. Later
    followers, beginning with Paul, turned that pure and simple message
    into a complicated trinitarian philosophy which justified the worship
    of Jesus, and then the worship of Jesus’ mother, Mary,[117] the angels[118] and the saints.  Catholics
    have a long list of saints to whom they turn in times of need. If
    something is lost, Saint Anthony of Thebes is prayed to in order to
    help find it.[119] St. Jude
    Thaddaeus is the patron saint of
    the impossible and is prayed to for intercession in incurable
    illnesses, unlikely marriages or the like. [120]
    The patron saint of travelers was Saint Christopher, to whom travelers
    used to pray for protection up until 1969, when he was officially
    struck off the list of saints by papal decree, after it was confirmed
    that he was fictitious. [121]
    Although he was officially crossed off the list of saints, there are
    many Catholics around the world today who are still praying to St.
    Christopher. 

               
    Worshipping ‘saints’ contradicts and corrupts the worship
    of One God; and it is in vain, because neither the living nor the dead
    can answer the prayers of mankind. The worship of God should not be
    shared with His creation in any way, shape or form. 
    In this regard, Allaah said the following in Chapter al-A
    ‘raaf (7):194:

     

    }
    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللهِ عِبَادٌ أَمْثَالُكُمْ
    {

    “Surely,
    those whom you call
    on in prayer besides Allaah are slaves like yourselves.”

     

    This was the message of Jesus Christ and all
    the prophets before him.  It was also the
    message of the last prophet, Muhammad—may peace and blessings be
    upon all of them.  Thus, if a Muslim or a
    person who calls himself a Muslim prays to a saint, he has stepped out
    of the bounds of Islaam. Islaam is not merely a belief, wherein one is
    only required to state that he or she believes that there is no God
    worthy of worship but Allaah and that Muhammad was the last of
    the messengers, in order to attain paradise.  This
    declaration of faith allows one who declares it to enter the doors of
    Islaam, but there are many acts which may contradict this declaration
    and expel the doer from Islaam as quickly as he or she came in. The
    most serious of those acts is praying to other than God.

    Muslim not “Mohammedan” 

    Since Jesus’ religion, and that of all of the
    earlier prophets, was the religion of submission to God, known in
    Arabic as Islaam, his true followers should be called
    submitters to God, known in Arabic as Muslims. In Islaam,
    prayer is considered an act of worship. Prophet Muhammad (
    e) was reported to have said, “Supplication
    is an act of worship.
    [122]
    Consequently, Muslims do not accept being
    called Mohammedans, as followers of Christ are called Christians and
    followers of Buddha are called Buddhists. Christians worship Christ and
    Buddhists worship Buddha. The term Mohammedans implies that Muslims
    worship Muhammad, which is not the case at all. In the Qur‘aan,
    God chose the name Muslim for all who truly follow the
    prophets. The name Muslim in Arabic means “one who submits to
    the will of God.”

     

    } هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ مِنْ قَبْلُ وَفِي هَذَا {

    “...It is He who named you Muslims both
    before and in this [scripture, the Qur’aan].” Qur’aan, (22):78

     

               
    Consequently, the essence of Jesus’ message was that man
    should worship God alone.  He should not be
    worshipped through his creation in any way.  Consequently,
    His image cannot be painted, carved or drawn.  He
    is beyond human comprehension.

     

    Images   

               
    Jesus did not condone the pagan practice of making images
    of God. He upheld the prohibition mentioned in the Torah, Exodus 20
    verse 4: “You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any
    likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth
    beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
    ” Consequently,
    the use of religious images, called icons,[123] was firmly opposed by the early generation
    of Christian scholars. However, in time, the Greek and Roman tradition
    of image-making and portraying God in human form eventually won out.
    The prohibition is to prevent the eventual deterioration of worship of
    God into the worship of His creation. Once a human being makes a
    picture in his or her mind of God, the person is, in fact, trying to
    make God like His creation, because the human mind can only picture the
    things which it has seen, and God can not be seen in this life.

               
    Christians with a tradition of worshipping through images
    often question how God can be worshipped without visualizing Him. God
    should be worshipped based on the knowledge of His attributes which He
    revealed in authentic scripture. For example, Allaah describes Himself
    in the Qur’aan as being All-Merciful, so His worshippers should reflect
    on God’s many mercies and give thanks to God for them. They should also
    contemplate on the nature of His mercy to them and show mercy to other
    human beings. Likewise, Allaah refers to Himself as being
    Oft-Forgiving, so His worshippers should turn to Him in repentance and
    not give up hope when they commit sins. They should also appreciate
    God’s forgiveness by being forgiving to other human beings.

     

    Prophesy

               
    Part of Prophet Jesus’ message was to inform his followers
    of the prophet who would come after him. As John the Baptist heralded
    the coming of Jesus Christ, Jesus in turn heralded the coming of the
    last of the prophets of God, Muhammad. In the Qur’aan, Chapter as-Saff
    (61):6, God quotes Jesus’ prophesy about Muhammad (
    e).

     

    }
    وَإِذْ قَالَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ إِنِي رَسُولُ
    اللهِ إِلَيْكُمْ مُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيَّ مِنَ التَّوْراةِ
    وَمُبَشِّرًا بِرَسُولٍ يَأْتِي مِنْ بَعْدِي اسْمُهُ أَحْمَدُ ..
    {

    “(Remember) when Jesus, son of Mary, said, ‘O
    Children of Israel, I am the Messenger of Allaah sent to you,
    confirming the Torah before me, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger
    coming after me, whose name will be Ahmad.[124]

     

    There are also some references in the Gospels
    which seem to refer to the coming of Prophet Muhammad—may God’s
    peace and blessings be on all the prophets. In the Gospel according to
    John 14:16, Jesus is quoted as saying, “And I will pray the Father,
    and he will give you another Counselor,
    [125] to be with you for ever.”

    Christian laymen usually interpret the
    “Counselor” mentioned in John 14:16 as the Holy Spirit.[126] However, the
    phrase “another Counselor
    implies that it will be someone else like Jesus and not the Holy Spirit,[127] especially
    considering John 16:7, in which
    Jesus is reported to have said, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth:
    it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away,
    the Counselor will not come to you
    ; but if I go, I will send him to
    you.
    ”  The term “Counselor” could not
    be referring to the Holy Spirit here, because—according to the
    Gospels—the Holy Spirit was already present in the world prior to
    Jesus’ birth,[128] as well as
    during his ministry.[129]
    This verse implies that the “Counselor” had
    not already come.

               
    Jesus’ declaration that the prophet-counselor “will be
    with you forever,
    ” could be interpreted to mean that there would be
    no need for additional prophets to succeed this Counselor. He would be
    the last of the Prophets of God, whose message would be preserved until
    the end of the world.[130]

               
    Jesus’ foretelling the coming of Muhammad— may
    God’s peace be upon both of them—confirmed the prophesies about Prophet
    Muhammad (
    e) in the Torah. In Deuteronomy 18:18
    & 19, it is written that the Lord said to Moses, “I will raise
    up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren
    [131]; and I will
    put my words in his mouth
    [132],
    and he shall speak to them all that I
    command him.
    19And whoever will not give heed to my words
    which he shall speak in my name
    [133], I myself will require it of him.” In Isaiah 42, Isaiah prophesies about a
    chosen “Servant of the Lord” whose prophetic mission would be to all
    mankind, unlike the Hebrew prophets whose missions were limited to
    Israel. “1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in
    whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring
    forth justice to the nations
    ...
    4He will not fail or be discouraged till he
    has established justice in the earth
    ; and the coastlands wait for his law...
    11Let the desert and its cities lift up their
    voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits.
    ” This particular servant of the Lord is the
    only one identified with Kedar, [134]
    the Arabs.[135]

     

     

     

     CHAPTER
    FOUR:

     

    THE WAY

     

    The other aspect of Prophet Jesus’ message
    was his invitation of people to follow his ‘way’. Prophets brought
    divine laws or confirmed those brought by previous prophets, and
    invited people to worship God by obeying the divinely revealed laws.  They also practically demonstrated for their
    followers how one should live by the law. Consequently, they also
    invited those who believed in them to follow their way as the correct
    way to come close to God.  This principle
    is enshrined in the Gospel according to John 14:6: “Jesus said to
    him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the
    Father, but by me.
    ” Although those who worship Jesus commonly quote
    this verse as part of the evidence for his divinity, Jesus did not
    invite people to worship himself instead of God, or as God.  If these words were actually spoken by Jesus,
    what they mean is that one cannot worship God except in the  way defined by the prophets of God. Jesus
    emphasized to his disciples that they could only worship God by the way
    which he had taught them. In the Qur’aan, Chapter  Aal
    ‘Imraan  (3):31, God instructs Prophet Muhammad
    (
    e) to instruct mankind to follow him if they
    truly love God:

     

    }
    قُلْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللهُ
    وَيَغْفِرْلَكُمْ  ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللهُ
    غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
    {

    “Tell [the people]: If you really love
    Allaah, then follow me and Allaah will love you and forgive your sins,
    for Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

     

    The way of the prophets is the only way to
    God, because it was prescribed by God Himself and the purpose of the
    prophets was to convey Allaah’s instructions to mankind. 
    Without prophets, people would not know how to worship
    Allaah. Consequently, all prophets informed their followers of how to
    worship God.  Conversely, adding anything
    to the religion brought by the prophets is incorrect. 

               
    Any changes made to the religion after the time of the
    prophets represents deviation inspired by Satan. In this regard,
    Prophet Muhammad (
    e) was reported to have said, “Whoever adds
    anything new to the religion of Islam, will have it rejected [by God].
    [136] Furthermore,
    anyone who worshipped Allaah
    contrary to Jesus’ instructions, would have worshipped in vain.

     

    Jesus’ Way

               
    First and foremost, it must be realized that Jesus Christ,
    the son of Mary, was the last in the line of Jewish prophets. He lived
    according to the Torah, the law of Moses, and taught his
    followers to do likewise. In Matthew  5:17-18,
    Jesus stated: “17 Think not that I have come to abolish the
    law and the [way of] the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but
    to fulfil them.
    18For, I say to you, till
    heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the
    law until all is accomplished.
    ” Unfortunately, about five years
    after the end of Jesus’ ministry, a young rabbi by the name of Saul of
    Tarsus, who claimed to have seen Jesus in a vision, began to change
    Jesus’ way. Paul (his Roman name) had considerable respect for Roman
    philosophy and he spoke proudly of his own Roman citizenship. His
    conviction was that non-Jews who became Christians should not be
    burdened with the Torah in any respect. The author of Acts
    13:39 quotes Paul as saying, “And by him every one that believes is
    freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of
    Moses.
    ” It was primarily through the efforts of Paul that the
    Church began to take on its non-Jewish character. Paul[137] wrote most of the New Testament letters
    (epistles), which the Church accepts as the official doctrine and
    inspired Scripture.  These letters do not
    preserve the Gospel of Jesus or even represent it;[138] instead, Paul transformed the teachings of
    Christ into a Hellenic (Graeco-Roman) philosophy.

               
    The following are some examples of teachings which Prophet
    Jesus followed and taught, but which were later abandoned by the
    Church. However, most of these teachings were revived in the final
    message of Islaam brought by Prophet Muhammad (
    e) and remain a fundamental part of Muslim
    religious practices until today.

     

    Circumcision

    Jesus was circumcised. According to the Old
    Testament
    , this tradition began with Prophet Abraham, who was
    himself neither a Jew nor a Christian. In Genesis 17:10, it is written,
    9And God said to Abraham, ‘As for you, you shall
    keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their
    generations.
    10This is my covenant, which you
    shall keep, between me and you and your descendants after you: Every
    male among you shall be circumcised.
    11You
    shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins and it shall be a
    sign of the covenant between me and you.
    12He
    that is eight days old among you shall be circumcised
    ; every male
    throughout your generations, whether born in your house, or bought with
    your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring,
    13both
    he that is born in your house and he that is bought with your money,
    shall be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an
    everlasting covenant
    .”

               
    In the Gospel according to Luke 2:21: “And at the end
    of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name
    given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
    ”  Consequently, to be circumcised was a part of
    Jesus’ way. However, today most Christians are not circumcised, because
    of a rationale introduced by Paul.  He
    claimed that circumcision was the circumcision of the heart.  In his letter to the Romans 2:29, he wrote: “He
    is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of
    the heart, spiritual and not literal
    .
    ” In his letter to the
    Galatians 5:2, he wrote: “Now I, Paul, say to you that if you
    receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you
    .
    [139] This was Paul’s
    false interpretation. On the
    other hand, Jesus was not circumcised in the heart nor did he say
    anything about circumcision of the heart; he kept the “everlasting
    covenant” and was circumcised in the flesh. Thus, an important part of
    following the way of Jesus is circumcision. 

               
    Prophet Muhammad (
    e) was quoted as saying, “There are five
    practices which constitute the prophetic way:
    [140] circumcision, shaving pubic hair and
    underarm hair, clipping fingernails and toenails; and trimming the
    moustache.
    [141]

     

    Pork

               
    Jesus did not eat pork. He followed the laws of Moses and
    he did not eat pork. In Leviticus 11:7-8, “7 And the swine,
    because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the
    cud, is unclean to you.
    8Of their flesh you
    shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch; they are
    unclean to you.
    [142]
    Jesus’ only dealing with pigs was his
    permission to the unclean spirits which were possessing a man to enter
    them.  When they entered the herd of pigs,
    they ran into the water and drowned.  However,
    most people who call themselves Christians today not only eat pork,
    they love it so much that they have made pigs the subject of nursery
    rhymes [e.g. This little piggy went to market...] and children’s
    stories [e.g. The Three Little Pigs]. Porky Pig is a very popular
    cartoon character and recently a full-length feature movie was made
    about a pig called “Babe”. Thus, it may be said that those who call
    themselves followers of Christ are not in fact following the way of
    Christ. 

               
    In Islamic law, the prohibition of pork and its products
    has been strictly maintained from the time of Prophet Muhammad (
    e) until today. In the Qur’aan, Chapter
    al-Baqarah (2):173, God says:

     

    }إِنَّمَا
    حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةَ وَالدَّمَ وَلَحْمَ الْخِنْزِيرِ وَمَا
    أُهِلَّ بِهِ لِغَيْرِ اللهِ فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ غَيْرَ بَاغٍ وَلاَ عَادٍ
    فَلاَ إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ إِنَّ اللهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
    {

     

    “He has only forbidden you animals which die
    of themselves, blood, swine and animals sacrificed for others besides
    Allaah. But if one is forced by necessity and not wilful disobedience
    nor transgression, then there is no sin on him.  Truly,
    Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”[143]

     

    Blood

    Jesus also did not eat anything containing
    blood, nor did he eat blood.  God is
    recorded as having instructed Prophet Moses in the Torah, Deuteronomy
    12:16, “Only you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it upon the
    earth like water,
    ” and in Leviticus 19:26, “You shall not eat
    any flesh with the blood in it. You shall not practice augury or
    witchcraft.
    ” This prohibition has been preserved in the final
    revelation in Chapter al-An‘aam (6):145 until today:

     

    }
    قُلْ لاَّ أَجِدُ فِي مَا أُحِيَ إِلَىَّ مُحَرَّمًا عَلَى طَاعِمٍ
    يَطْعَمُهُ إِلاَّ أَنْ يَكُونَ مَيْتَةً أَوْ دَمًا مَسْفُوحًا أَوْ
    لَحْمَ خِنْزِيرٍ فَإِنَّهُ رِجْسٌ
    {

    “Say (O Muhammad): I do not find in
    what has been revealed to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who
    wishes to eat, except for animals which die of themselves, flowing
    blood and swine flesh, for they are indeed impure.”

     

    Consequently, particular rites of slaughter
    were prescribed by God for all the nations to whom prophets were sent,
    in order to ensure that most of the blood was effectively removed from
    the slaughtered animals and to remind human beings of God’s bounties.
    The Qur’aan refers to these instructions in chapter al-Hajj (22):34 as
    follows:

     

    }
    وَ لِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ جَعَلْنَا مَنْسَكًا لِيَذْكُرُواْ اسْمَ اللهِ عَلَى
    مَا رَزَقَهُمْ مِنْ بَهِيمَةِ اْلأَنْعَامِ
    {

    “For every nation I have appointed rites of
    slaughter in order that they may mention Allaah’s name over the cattle
    He has provided them.”

     

    Jesus and his early followers observed the
    proper method of slaughter by mentioning God’s name and cutting the
    jugular veins of the animals while they were living to allow the heart
    to pump out the blood.  However, Christians
    today do not attach much importance to proper slaughter methods, as
    prescribed by God.

     

    Alcohol

    Jesus consecrated himself to God and
    therefore abstained from alcoholic drinks according to the instructions
    recorded in Numbers 6:1-4: “And the Lord said to Moses, 2‘Say
    to the people of Israel, When either a man or a woman makes a special
    vow, the vow of the Nazirite,
    [144]
    to separate himself to the Lord,
    3he
    shall separate himself from wine and strong drink
    ; he shall drink
    no vinegar made from wine or strong drink, and shall not drink any
    juice of grapes or eat grapes, fresh or dried.
    4All
    the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the
    grapevine, not even the seeds or the skins.
    ” 

               
    In the Qur’aan, Chapter al-Maa’idah (5):90, Allaah
    prohibits intoxicants irrevocably.

     

    }
    يَأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ
    وَاْلأَنْصَابُ وَاْلأَزْلاَمُ رِجْسٌ مِنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ
    فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
    {

    “O
    you who believe,
    intoxicants, gambling, sacrificial altars, and divination are an
    abomination of Satan’s handiwork, so avoid them in order to be
    successful.”

     

               
    As to the ‘miracle of turning water into wine’,[145] it is found only in the Gospel of John,
    which consistently contradicts the other three gospels. As mentioned
    earlier, the Gospel of John was opposed as heretical in the early
    Church,[146] while the other
    three Gospels were referred
    to as the Synoptic Gospels because the texts contained a similar
    treatment of Jesus’ life.[147]
    Consequently, New Testament scholars have
    expressed doubt about the authenticity of this incident.

     

    Ablution before Prayer

    Prior to making formal prayer, Jesus used to
    wash his limbs according to the teachings of the Torah. 
    Moses and Aaron are recorded as doing the same in Exodus
    40:30-1, “30 And he set the laver between the tent of
    meeting and the altar, and put water in it for washing,
    31with which Moses and Aaron and his sons washed
    their hands and their feet
    .... as the Lord commanded Moses.
    ” 

               
    In the Qur’aan, Chapter al-Maa’idah, (5):6, ablution for
    prayer is prescribed as follows:

     

    }
    يَأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلاَةِ
    فَاغْسِلُواْ

    وُجُوهَكُمْ
    وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُواْ بِرُءُوسِكُمْ
    وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَينِ ...
    {

    “O
    you who believe, when you
    intend to pray, wash your faces and fore-arms up to the elbows, wipe
    your heads and wash your feet up to the ankles ...”

     

    Prostration in Prayer

    Jesus is described in the Gospels as
    prostrating during prayer. In Matthew 26:39, the author describes an
    incident which took place when Jesus went with his disciples to
    Gethsemane: “And going a little farther he fell on his face and
    prayed
    , ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me;
    nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt
    .”

               
    Christians today kneel down, clasping their hands, in a
    posture which cannot be ascribed to Jesus.  The
    method of prostration in prayer followed by Jesus was not of his own
    making.  It was the mode of prayer of the
    prophets before him. In the Old Testament, Genesis 17:3, Prophet
    Abraham is recorded to have fallen on his face in prayer; in Numbers
    16:22 & 20:6, both Moses and Aaron are recorded to have fallen on
    their faces in worship; in Joshua 5:14 & 7:6, Joshua fell on his
    face to the earth and worshipped; in I Kings 18:42, Elijah bowed down
    on the ground and put his face between his knees. This was the way of
    the prophets through whom God chose to convey His word to the world;
    and it is only by this way that those who claim to follow Jesus will
    gain the salvation which he preached in his Gospel.

               
    Chapter al-Insaan (76):25-6, is only one of many Qur’aanic
    examples of God’s instructions to the believers to bow down in worship
    to Him.

    }
    وَاذْكُرِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلاً وَمِنَ الَّيْلِ فَاسْجُدْ
    لَهُ وَسَبِّحْهُ لَيْلاً طَوِيلاً
    {

    “Remember
    the Name of your
    Lord in the morning and evening, and prostrate to Him and glorify Him
    for a long time nightly.”

     

    Veiling

    The women around Jesus veiled themselves
    according to the practice of the women around the earlier prophets.
    Their garments were loose and covered their bodies completely, and they
    wore scarves which covered their hair.  In
    Genesis 24:64-5: “And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw
    Isaac, she alighted from the camel,
    65and said to the servant, ‘Who is the man
    yonder, walking in the field to meet us?’ The servant said, ‘It is my
    master.’ So she took her veil and covered herself.
    ” Paul wrote in his first letter to the
    Corinthians, “5 But any woman who prays or prophesies with
    her head unveiled dishonours her head—it is the same as if her head
    were shaven.
    6For if a woman will not veil herself, then
    she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to be
    shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil.
    ”  Some may argue
    that it was the general custom of those times to be completely veiled.  However, that is not the case. 
    In both Rome and Greece, whose cultures dominated the
    region, the popular dress was quite short and revealed the arms, legs
    and chest.  Only religious women in
    Palestine, following Jewish tradition, covered themselves modestly.

               
    According to Rabbi Dr. Menachem M. Brayer (Professor of
    Biblical Literature at Yeshiva University), it was customary that
    Jewish women went out in public with a head-covering which, sometimes,
    even covered the whole face, leaving only one eye free.[148] He further
    stated that “during the Tannaitic
    period, the Jewish woman’s failure to cover her head was considered an
    affront to her modesty. When her head was uncovered she might be fined
    four hundred zuzim for this offence.”[149]

               
    The famous early Christian theologian, St. Tertullian (d.
    220 CE), in his famous treatise, ‘On The Veiling of Virgins’ wrote,
    “Young women, you wear your veils out on the streets, so you should
    wear them in the church; you wear them when you are among strangers,
    then wear them among your brothers...” Among the Canon laws of the
    Catholic church until today, there is a law that requires women to
    cover their heads in church.[150]
    Christian denominations, such as the Amish
    and the Menonites for example, keep their women veiled to the present
    day.

               
    In the Qur’aan, Chapter an-Noor (24):31, the believing
    women are instructed to cover their charms and wear veils on their
    heads and chests.

     

    } وَقُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ
    وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلاَ يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلاَّ مَا
    ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ...
    {

    “Tell
    the believing women to
    lower their gaze and protect their private parts and not to expose
    their adornment, except only what normally shows, and to draw their
    head-scarves over their bosoms...”

     

    In Chapter al-Ahzaab (33): 59, the
    reason for veiling is given. Allaah states that it makes the believing
    women known in the society and provides protection for them from
    possible social harm.

     

    Greetings

    Jesus greeted his followers by saying “Peace
    be upon you”. In chapter 20:19, the anonymous author of the Gospel
    according to John wrote the following about Jesus after his supposed
    crucifixion: “Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.
    As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’
    ” 
    This greeting was according to that of the prophets, as
    mentioned in the books of the Old Testament. For example, in 1st Samuel
    25:6, Prophet David instructed emissaries whom he sent to Nabal: “And
    thus you shall salute him: ‘Peace be to you, and peace be to
    your house, and peace be to all that you have.’
    ” The Qur’aan
    instructs all who enter homes to give greetings of peace;[151] and those
    entering paradise will be greeted
    similarly by the angels.[152]  In Chapter
    al-An‘aam (6):54, God instructs the believers to greet each other with
    peace:

     

    }
    وَإِذَا جَآءَكَ الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِآيَاتِنَا فَقُلْ سَلاَمٌ
    عَلَيْكُمْ
    {

    “When
    those who believe in my
    signs come to you, greet them: Peace be upon you.”

     

    Whenever Muslims meet each other, they use
    this greeting.

    Jesus confirmed the institution of compulsory
    charity, known as “the tithe (tenth)”, which was required from the
    annual harvest to be given back to God in celebration. In Deuteronomy
    14:22: “You shall tithe all the yield of your seed, which comes
    forth from the field year by year.
    ” 

    In the 6th chapter, al-An‘aam, verse 141, God
    reminds the believers to pay the charity at the time of harvest:

     

    }
    وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنْشَأَ جَنَّاتٍ مَعْرُوشَاتٍ وَغَيْرَ مَعْرُوشَاتٍ
    وَالنَّخْلَ وَالزَّرْعَ مُخْتَلِفًا أُكُلُهُ وَالزَّيْتُونَ
    وَالرُّمَّانَ مُتَشَابِهًا وَغَيْرَ مُتَشَابِهٍ كُلُواْ مِنْ ثَمَرِهِ
    إِذآ أَثْمَرَ وَآتُواْ حَقَّهُ يَوْمَ حَصَادِهِ وَلاَ تُسْرِفُواْ
    إِنَّهُ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ
    {

    “It is He who produces trellised and
    un-trellised gardens, date palms and crops of different shapes and
    tastes, and olives and pomegranates, similar yet different. Eat of
    their fruit when they bear, but pay the due[153] at the time of harvest without being
    extravagant, for, surely He does not like those who are extravagant.”

     

    The system of compulsory charity (in Arabic, zakaah)
    is well organized, with different rates for cash and precious metals
    than that for agricultural products and cattle. Also, those who are
    eligible to receive are clearly defined in the Qur’aan, Chapter
    at-Tawbah (9):60. It is mainly distributed among various categories of
    the poor and is not used to provide a comfortable living for priests.

     

    Fasting

    According to the Gospels, Jesus fasted for
    forty days.  Matthew 4:2: “And he fasted
    forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry.
    [154] 
    This was in
    accordance with the practice of the earlier prophets. 
    Moses is also recorded in Exodus 34:28, to have fasted: “And
    he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate
    bread nor drank water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the
    covenant, the ten commandments.
    ” 

               
    In the Qur’aan, Chapter al-Baqarah (2):183, the believers
    are instructed to observe regular fasting.

     

    } يَأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ
    الصِّيَامُ  كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ
    مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
    {

    “O
    you who believe, fasting is
    prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, in order
    that you may become pious.”

     

    The  purpose of
    fasting is clearly defined as being for the development of
    God-consciousness. Only God knows who is actually fasting and who is
    not. Consequently, one who is fasting refrains from eating and drinking
    based on an awareness of God. Regular fasting heightens that awareness,
    which subsequently leads to a greater inclination towards righteousness.

    The believers are required to fast from dawn
    until dusk for the whole month of Ramadaan (the ninth month of the
    lunar calendar).  Prophet Muhammad (
    e) also said, “The best fast [outside of
    Ramadaan] is that of my brother [Prophet] David who used to fast every
    other day.
    [155]

     

    Interest

    By upholding the Law, Prophet Jesus also
    opposed the giving or taking of interest because the texts of the Torah
    expressly forbade interest.  It
    is recorded in Deuteronomy 23:19 that, “You shall not lend upon
    interest to your brother, interest on money, interest upon victuals,
    [156] interest on
    anything that is lent for
    interest.
    [157] Interest is
    also strictly forbidden in
    Chapter al-Baqarah (2):278 of the Qur’aan:

     

    }يَأَيُّهَا
    الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللهَ وَذَرُواْ مَا بَقِيَ مِنَ الرِّبَآ
    إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ
    {

    “O
    you who believe, fear
    Allaah and give up what interest remains due to you, if you really are
    believers.”

     

    In order to fulfill this divine requirement,
    Muslims developed an alternative system of banking, commonly known as
    ‘Islamic Banking’, which is interest-free.

     

    Polygamy

    There is no record of Prophet Jesus opposing
    polygamy. If he did so, it would have meant that the condemned the
    practice of the prophets before him. nbsp; There
    are a number of examples of polygamous marriages among the prophets
    recorded in the Torah. Prophet Abraham had two wives, according
    to Genesis 16:13: “So after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of
    Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and
    gave her to Abram her husband as a wife
    .
    ”  So
    Prophet David, according to the first book of Samuel 27:3, “And
    David dwelt with Achish at Gat, he and his men, every man with his
    household, and David with his two wives, Ahin’o-am of Jezreel, and
    Abigail of Carmel, Nabal’s widow
    .
    ” In 1st Kings 11:3, Solomon
    is said to have “...had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three
    hundred concubines.
    ”  Solomon’s son,
    Rehobo’am, also had a number of wives, according to 2nd Chronicles
    11:21, “Rehobo’am loved Ma’acah the daughter of Absalom above all
    his wives and concubines (he took eighteen wives and sixty concubines,
    and had twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters).
    ” In fact, the Torah
    even specified laws regarding the division of inheritance in
    polygamous circumstances. In Deuteronomy 21:15-16, the law states: “15
    If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other
    disliked, and they have borne him children, both the loved and the
    disliked, and if the first-born son is hers that is disliked,
    16then
    on the day when he assigns his possessions as an inheritance to his
    sons, he may not treat the son of the loved as the first-born in
    preference to the son of the disliked, who is the first-born.
    ” The
    only restriction on polygamy was the ban on taking a wife’s sister as a
    rival wife in Leviticus 18:18, “And you shall not take a woman as a
    rival wife to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is
    yet alive.
    ” The Talmud advises a maximum of four wives as was the
    practice of Prophet Jacob.[158]

    According to Father Eugene Hillman, “Nowhere
    in the New Testament is there any explicit commandment that marriage
    should be monogamous or any explicit commandment forbidding polygamy.”[159] He further
    stressed the fact that the Church
    in Rome banned polygamy in order to conform to Graeco-Roman culture
    which prescribed only one legal wife while tolerating concubinage and
    prostitution.[160]

    Islaam limited polygamy to a maximum of four
    wives at one time and stipulated the maintenance of justice as a basic
    condition for polygamy. In Chapter an-Nisaa (4):3, God states:

     

    }
    فَانْكِحُواْ مَا طَابَ لَكُمْ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ مَثْنَى وَثُلاَثَ
    وَرُبَاعَ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُواْ فَوَاحِدَةً ...
    {

    “Marry
    of the women that
    please you two, three or

    four.
    But if you fear that you
    will not be able to deal justly, then [marry only] one ...”

     

    CONCLUSION

    There is only One God who created one race of
    human beings, and communicated to them one message: submission to the
    will of God—known in Arabic as Islaam. That message was
    conveyed to the first human beings on this earth, and reaffirmed by all
    of the prophets of God who came after them, down through the ages.  The essence of the message of Islaam was that
    humans should worship only One God by obeying His commandments, and
    should avoid worshipping God’s creation in any way, shape or form.

    Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary,
    performed miracles and invited the Israelites to the same message of
    submission (Islaam), as did all of the prophets who preceded him. He
    was not God, nor was he the ‘Son of God’, but was the Messiah, an
    illustrious prophet of God.  Jesus did not
    invite people to worship himself; rather, he called them to worship
    God, and he himself worshipped God.  He
    confirmed the laws of the Torah which Prophet Moses taught; he
    lived by them, and instructed his disciples to follow them to the
    finest detail. Before his departure, he informed his followers of the
    last prophet, Muhammad of Arabia (
    e), who would come after him, and instructed
    them to observe his teachings.

    In the generations after Jesus’ departure
    from this world, his teachings were distorted and he was elevated to
    the status of God.  Six centuries later,
    with the coming of Prophet Muhammad (
    e), the truth about Jesus Christ was finally
    retold and preserved eternally in the last book of divine revelation,
    the Qur’aan.  Furthermore, the laws of
    Moses, which Jesus followed, were revived in their pure and
    unadulterated form, and implemented in the divinely prescribed way of
    life known as Islaam.

    Consequently, the reality of the prophets,
    their uniform message, and the way of life which they followed, can
    only be found preserved in the religion of Islaam, the only religion
    prescribed by God for man.  Furthermore,
    only Muslims today actually follow Jesus and his true teachings. Their
    way of life is much more in tune with the way of life of Jesus than any
    of the modern day “Christians”.  Love and
    respect of Jesus Christ is an article of faith in Islaam. Allaah
    stressed the importance of belief in Jesus in numerous places in the
    Qur’aan.  For example, in Chapter an-Nisaa
    (4):159, He said:

     

    }
    وَ إِنْ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ إِلاَّ لَيُؤْمِنَنَّ بِهِ قَبْلَ
    مَوْتِهِ وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا
    {

    “And
    all of the people of the
    scripture must believe in him [Jesus] before his death, and on the Day
    of Resurrection, he will be a witness against them,”

     

    Jesus’ Return

    Even the expected return of Jesus, which
    Christians are awaiting, is a part of the Islamic faith. 
    However, he will not return to judge the world as modern
    Christians believe, because judgement only belongs to God. The Qur’aan
    teaches that Jesus was not killed by the Jews, but was instead raised
    up alive by God into the heavens.

     

    }
    وَ قَوْلِهِمْ إِنَّا قَتَلْنَا الْمَسِيحَ عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولَ
    اللهِ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ

    وَمَا
    صَلَبُوهُ وَلَكِنْ شُبِّهَ لَهُمْ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ
    لَفِي شَكٍّ مِنْهُ وَمَا لَهُمْ بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِلاَّ اتِّبَاعَ
    الظَّنِّ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ يَقِينًا بَلْ رَفَعَهُ اللهُ إِلَيْهِ وَكَانَ
    اللهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا
    {

    “And their
    (the Jews) saying: ‘We killed the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary,’ but they
    did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, rather it was made to seem
    that way to them. And those who differ about it are full of doubts.  They have no knowledge about it, and follow
    instead conjecture. They certainly did not kill him, [for], Allaah
    raised him up to Himself.  And Allaah is
    All-Powerful, All-Wise.”

     

    Among the things which Prophet Muhammad (e) was recorded to have said regarding Prophet
    Jesus’ return is the following, “There will be no prophet between me
    and Jesus, and he will return.  When he
    does, you will know him. He will be a well-built man of ruddy
    complexion and he will descend wearing a two-piece garment.  His hair will look wet, though no water
    touched it.  He will fight people to
    establish Islaam  and he will break the
    cross, kill the pig and cancel the jizyah.
    [161] During his time, Allaah will destroy all
    religions except Islaam and the False-Christ will be killed. Jesus will
    remain on earth for forty years, and when he dies, Muslims will pray
    the funeral prayer for him.
    [162]

               
    Jesus’ return will be one of the signs of the coming of
    the Day of Judgement

     

    Bibliography

     

    Arberry, Arthur J., The Koran
    Interpreted,
    London: George Allen & Unwin, 1980.

    Barr, James, “Abba Isn’t ‘Daddy’,” in Journal
    of Theological Studies,
    vol. 39, 1988.

    ------------, “Abba, Father”, in Theology,
    vol. 91, no. 741, 1988.

    Brayer, Menachem M., The Jewish Woman in
    Rabbinic Literature: A Psychosocial Perspective,
    Hoboken, N.J:
    Ktav Publishing House, 1986.

    Burton, John, An Introduction to the
    Hadith,
    UK: Edingurgh University Press, 1994.

    ------------, The Collection of the
    Qur’an,
    Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977.

    Cragg, Kenneth, The Mind of the Qur’an, London:
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    Deedat, Ahmed, Christ in Islam, Durban,
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    Dunn, James, Christology in the Making, London:
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    Friedman, Richard, Who Wrote the Bible?, U.S.A.:
    Summit Books, 1987.

    Funk, Robert W., Roy W.  Hoover
    and The Jesus Seminar, The Five Gospels, New York: Polebridge
    Press, Macmillan Publishing Co., 1993.

    Graham, William, Beyond the Written Word,
    UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

    Hamidullah, Mohammed, Muhammad
    Rasullullah,
    Lahore, Pakistan: Idara-e-islamiat, n.d.

    Hasan, Ahmad, Sunan Abu Dawud,
    (English Trans.), Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf Publishers, 1st ed., 1987.

    Hastings, J., Dictionary of the Bible, New
    York: Chas. Scribner’s Sons, revised ed., 1963.

    Hebblethwai, Brian, The
    Incarnation,
    England: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

    Hick John, ed.,  The
    Myth of God Incarnate,
    London: SCM Press Ltd, 1977.

    ------------, The Metaphor of God
    Incarnate,
    London: SCM Press Ltd, 1993.

    Hillman, Eugene, Polygamy Reconsidered:
    African Plural Marriage and the Christian Churches,
    New York:
    Orbis Books, 1975.

    Hornby, A.S., The Oxford Advanced
    Learner’s Dictionary,
    England: Oxford University Press, 4th ed.,
    1989.

    Khan, Muhammad Muhsin, Sahih Al-Bukhari,
    (Arabic-English), Lahore: Kazi Publications, 6th ed., 1986.

    Gibb, H.A.R. and J.H. Kramers, Shorter
    Encyclopaedia of Islam,
    Ithaca, New York: Cornell University
    Press, 1953.

    Maccoby, Hyam, The Myth-maker: Paul and
    the Invention of Christianity,
    New York: Harper & Row, 1987.

    Mayfield, Joseph H., Beacon Bible
    Commentary,
    Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1965.

    Moule, C.F.D., The Origin of Christology,
    U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1977.

    Mufassir, Sulayman Shahid, Biblical
    Studies from a Muslim Perspective,
    Washington: The Islamic Center,
    1973.

    ------------, Jesus, A Prophet of Islam, Indianapolis:
    American Trust Publications, 1980.

    Nicholson, Reynold A., Literary History
    of the Arabs,
    Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Philips, Abu Ameenah Bilal, The Purpose
    of Creation,
    Sharjah, U.A.E.: Dar Al Fatah, 1995.

    Ramsey, Michael, Jesus and the Living
    Past,
    UK: Oxford University Press, 1980.

    Ruether, Rosemary R., ed., Religion and
    Sexism: Images of Woman in the Jewish and Christian Traditions,
    New
    York: Simon and Schuster, 1974.

    Spray, Lisa, Jesus, Tucson, AZ:
    Renaissance Productions, 1987.

    Siddiqi, Abdul Hamid, Sahih Muslim,
    (English Trans.) Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf Publishers, 1987.

    The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 15th
    Edition, 1991.

    The World Book Encyclopedia, Chicago: World Book, Inc., 1987.

     

     

    p.31

    and unauthorized copies were destroyed.48

     p.34

    to the level of the Bible are easily
    explained.  For ex-

     p.38

    authority  for  tracing  the  origin and  early
    develop-

     p.46

    The
    Biblical story of Jesus turning water into wine (John 2:1-10) is con-

     

    p.50

    “When your Lord gathered all of Aadam’s
    descendants [before creation] and made them bear witness  
    for   themselves, 
    saying :  ‘Am  
    I  not  your

    Lord?’  They  all  replied: Yes  indeed, we  bear
    wit-

    p.53

    of
    these speeches is that they accurately reflect the original belief and
    termi-

     

    p. 74

    “Surely, I116
    have sent to every nation a messen-

     

    p.77

    was officially struck off the list of saints
    by papal de-

     

    p. 80

    portraying God in human form eventually won
    out.

     

    p.91

    nor did he eat blood.  God
    is recorded as having in-

     

    p.92

    eaten by one who wishes to eat, except for
    ani-

    Consequently, particular rites of slaughter
    were pre-

     

    p.95

    little farther he fell on his face and
    prayed
    , ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me;
    never-

     

    p96

    The women around Jesus veiled themselves
    accord-

     

    p.98

    Clara M.
    Henning, “Canon Law and the Battle of  the
    Sexes,” in Relig-

     

    p.99

    sent me, even so I send you.’ ”  This greeting
    was ac-

     

    p.103

    interest remains due to you, if you  really are be-

    However, in the
    verse following this one, the Jews made lending on in-

     

    p.105

    cus 18:18, “And you shall not take a woman
    as a ri-

     

    p.109

    “And their (the Jews) saying: ‘We killed the
    Mes-

     

     

     

     


    [1]  Time, December
    18, 1995, p. 46.

    [2]  The Myth of
    God Incarnate,
    p. ix.

    [3]  October
    31, 1988, p. 44.

    [4]  Luke 11:2 and
    Matthew  6:9-10.

    [5] The word gospel is derived from the
    Anglo-Saxon term god-spell, meaning “good story,” a rendering of the
    Latin evangelium and the Greek euangelion, meaning
    “good news” or “good telling.” (The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol.
    5, p. 379). 

    [6] Apocryphal: not likely to be genuine; untrue
    or invented. (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, p. 45).

    [7]  The Eucharist is
    the bread and wine taken at the Christian ceremony based on Christ’s
    last supper. (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, p. 410.)

    [8]  July 1, 1991, p.
    57.

    [9] A ‘gloss’ is an explanatory comment added to a
    text. (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, p. 528).

    [10]  Extant:
    surviving.

    [11]  Daunt:
    discourage; frighten.

    [12]  The Holy
    Bible: Revised Standard Version,
    p. iii

    [13]  Ibid., p.
    v.

    [14] The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version,
    p. iii-iv.

    [15]  Ibid., p.
    iv.

    [16]  Ibid., p. vi

    [17] The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version,
    p. 96.

    [18]  Holy Bible:
    (King James Version )

    [19]  The Holy
    Bible: Revised Standard Version,
    p. vi.

    [20]  Ibid., p. vii.

    [21]  Genesis, Exodus,
    Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

    [22] Orthodox Jews claim that the Torah, the
    Jewish name for the first five books, was created 974 generations
    before the creation of the world.  According
    to them, God dictated the Torah during the 40 days Moses was on Mount
    Sinai, in such a final and irrevocable form that it is sinful to claim
    that Moses wrote even one letter of it by himself.

    [23]  Who Wrote the
    Bible,
    pp. 54-70.

    [24] The late 19th century German scholar, Julius
    Wellhausen, was the first to identify the multiple sources for the five
    books.

    [25] Richard Elliot Friedman is a professor in the
    University of California at San Diego.  He
    earned his Doctorate in Hebrew Bible at Harvard University, and is the
    author of the controversial work, Who Wrote the Bible.

    [26] The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the
    Bible,
    vol. 1, p. 756, and vol. 3, p.617.  See
    also The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol. 14, pp. 773-4.

    [27] Aramaic is a Semitic language which gradually
    supplanted Akkadian as the common tongue of the Near East in the 7th
    and 6th centuries BC.  It later became the
    official language of the Persian Empire.  Aramaic
    replaced Hebrew as the language of the Jews; portions of the Old
    Testament books of Daniel and Ezra are written in Aramaic, as are the
    Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds.  Its
    period of greatest influence extended from 300 BC until 650 CE, after
    which it was gradually supplanted by Arabic. (The New Encyclopaedia
    Britannica,
    vol. 1, p. 516)

    [28]  Encyclopedia
    Americana,
    vol. 3, p. 654.

    [29] The Five Gospels, p. 20, and The
    New Encyclopaedia Britannica,
    vol. 14, p. 824. For references to
    various Marks in the New Testament, see the following: Acts 12:12, 25;
    13:5; 15:36-41; Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24; and I
    Peter 5:13.

    [30]  The Five
    Gospels,
    p. 20.

    [31] “Although there is a Matthew named among the
    various lists of Jesus’ disciples...the writer of Matthew is probably
    anonymous.” The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol. 14, p. 826.

    [32] “Though the author of Mark is probably
    unknown...”The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol. 14, p. 824.

    [33] “The Muratorian Canon refers to Luke, the
    physician, Paul’s companion; Irenaeus depicts Luke as a follower of
    Paul’s gospel. Eusebius has Luke as an Antiochene physician who was
    with Paul in order to give the Gospel apostolic authority.” The New
    Encyclopaedia Britannica,
    vol. 14, p. 827.

    [34] “From internal evidence the Gospel was
    written by a beloved disciple whose name is unknown.” The New
    Encyclopaedia Britannica,
    vol. 14, p. 828.

    [35]  The New
    Encyclopaedia Britannica,
    vol. 14, p. 830.

    [36]  Ibid., vol.
    14, p. 844.

    [37] A priest who receives income from the revenue
    of a church, especially a cathedral. (Oxford Advanced Learner’s
    Dictionary,
    p. 973.)

    [38] There are about two hundred identical verses
    found in both Matthew and Luke (e.g. Matt 3:7-10 & Luke 3:7-9;
    Matt. 18:10-14 & Luke 15:3-7), with no equivalent in either Mark or
    John.  As a way of explaining this striking
    agreement, a German scholar hypothesized that there once existed a
    source document, which he referred to as a Quelle (German for
    “source”).  The abbreviation “Q” was later
    adopted as its name.

       
    The existence of Q was once challenged by some
    scholars on the grounds that a sayings gospel was not really a gospel.  The challengers argued that there were no
    ancient parallels to a gospel containing only sayings and parables and
    lacking stories about Jesus, especially the story about his trial and
    death. The discovery of the Gospel of Thomas changed all that. (The
    Five Gospels,
    p. 12.) Thomas contains one hundred and fourteen
    sayings and parables ascribed to Jesus; it has no narrative framework:
    no account of Jesus’ exorcisms, healings, trial, death, and
    resurrection; no birth or childhood stories; and no narrated account of
    his public ministry in Galilee and Judea.  The
    Coptic translation of this document (written about 350 C.E.), found in
    1945 at Nag Hammadi in Egypt, has enabled scholars to identify three
    Greek fragments (dated around 200 C.E.), discovered earlier, as pieces
    of three different copies of the same gospel.  Thomas
    has forty-seven parallels to Mark, forty parallels to Q,
    seventeen to Matthew, four to Luke, and five to John. 
    About sixty-five sayings or parts of sayings are unique to
    Thomas. (The Five Gospels, p.15).

    [39] The Gospels in Modern English.

    [40] Since the late 18th century, the first three
    Gospels have been called the Synoptic Gospels, because the texts, set
    side by side,  show a similar treatment of
    the life and death of Jesus Christ. (The New Encyclopaedia
    Britannica,
    vol. 5, p. 379).

    [41] The Five Gospels, p. 20.

    [42] “And the Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer,
    saying,” I Chronicles, 21:9l.  According to
    this text, Gad was the name of Prophet David’s personal fortuneteller.

    [43]  See also,
    Matthew 27:32 and Mark 15:21.

    [44]  See also, Luke
    24:1-2.

    [45] Also in Matthew’s list, Nahshon’s son’s name
    is Salmon, while in Luke’s list, Nahshon’s son’s name is Sala.

    [46]  Shorter
    Encyclopaedia of Islam,
    p. 278.

    [47]  A handwritten
    book of ancient texts (pl. codices).

    [48] Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam, p.
    279.  See also The New Encyclopaedia
    Britannica,
    vol. 22, p. 8.

    [49]  The Mind of
    the Qur’an,
    p. 26.

    [50]  Beyond the
    Written Word,
    p. 80.

    [51]  An
    Introduction to the Hadith,
    p. 27.

    [52]  The Arabic term
    used to refer to the text of the Qur’aan.

    [53]  The
    Collection of the Qur’an,
    p. 239-40.

    [54]  Muhammad
    Rasullullah,
    p. 179.

    [55]  Tafseer al-Qurtubee,
    vol. 8, pp. 5169-70.

    [56]  Fat-hul-Qadeer,
    vol. 4, p. 349.

    [57]  The New
    Encyclopaedia Britannica,
    vol. 27, pp. 551 & 571.

    [58]  Qur’aanic
    chapter.

    [59]  Indicate faintly
    or in outline.

    [60]  Recurring
    features.

    [61]  The Koran
    Interpreted,
    p. 28.

    [62]  The Qur’an
    and Modern Science,
    p. 6.

    [63]  Literary
    History of the Arabs,
    p. l43.

    [64]  Revised
    Standard Version.

    [65]  See also, John
    4:34, 5:30, 7:16 & 28, 11:42, 13:16, 14:24.

    [66] Jesus here rejects being called ‘perfectly
    good’, because perfection belongs only to God.  He
    was ‘good’, but, being the “Son of man”(Mat. 19:29)—as he liked to call
    himself—he was capable of error.

    [67] It should be noted that, in spite of the
    Qur’aanic warnings and other statements of Prophet Muhammad himself,
    some Muslims have elevated him to semi-divine status by directing their
    prayers to or through him.

    [68] The Biblical story of Jesus turning water
    into wine (John 2:1-10) is conspicuously absent from the Qur’aan.

    [69] See also, Hosea 1:10, of the King James
    Version.

    [70] In the Revised Standard Version, it
    states: “And I will make him the first-born, the highest of
    the kings of the earth.
    ” See also Jeremiah 31:9, “...for I am a
    father to Israel and Ephraim is my first-born.

    [71] See also, Job 2:1 and 38:4-7. 
    Other references to sons of God can also be found in
    Genesis 6:2, Deuteronomy 14:1 and Hosea 1:10.

    [72]  Luke 3:38.

    [73] The term “begotten” in Old English meant ‘to
    be fathered by’ and it was used to distinguish between Jesus, who was
    supposed to be the literal son of God, from the figurative use of the
    term ‘son’ for God’s “created sons”.

    [74] In the New Testament Book of Acts, there are
    several outlines of speeches of the early disciples of Jesus, speeches
    which date from the year 33 CE, almost forty years before the Four
    Gospels were written.  In one of these
    discourses, Jesus is referred to specifically as andra apo
    tou theou:
    “a man from God.” (Acts 2:22). 
    Not once do these early confessions of faith use the
    expression wios tou theou: “Son of God”, but they do speak
    several times of Jesus as God’s servant and prophet (Acts 3:13, 22, 23,
    26).  The significance of these speeches is
    that they accurately reflect the original belief and terminology of the
    disciples, before the belief and terminology were evolved under the
    influence of Roman religion and Greek philosophy.  They
    reflect a tradition which is older than that used by the Four Gospels,
    in which Jesus is not invested with godship or divine sonship. (Bible
    Studies From a Muslim Perspective,
    p. 12).

    [75] See Acts 14:11-13. In the city of Lystra
    (Turkey), Paul and Barnabas preached, and the pagan peoples claimed
    that they were gods incarnate.  They called
    Barnabas the Roman god Zeus, and Paul the Roman god Hermes.

    [76]  Bible Studies
    from a Muslim Perspective,
    p. 15.

    [77]  Matthew 5:9.

    [78]  Journal of
    Theological Studies,
    vol. 39 and Theology, vol. 91, no.
    741.

    [79] Jesus is quoting Psalms 82:6 “I have said,
    Ye are gods: and all of you are the children of the Most High.’

    [80]  John 10:34.

    [81]  See also John
    17:11.

    [82] See also, Matthew 2:8.

    [83] See also Matthew 28:9, “And behold, Jesus
    met them and said, ‘Hail!’ And they came up and took hold of his feet
    and worshipped him.

    [84] See, for example, I Samuel 25:23, “When
    Abigail saw David, she made haste, and alighted from the ass, and
    fell before David on her face, and bowed to the ground
    .

    [85]  Gospel Light,
    (1936 ed.), p. 353, quoted in Jesus, p. 21.

    [86] The Gospel of John differs so radically from
    the other three Gospels (the Synoptic Gospels) that its authenticity is
    in doubt.  For example:

    The Synoptic Gospels

    The Gospel of John

    Jesus’ public ministry lasts one year

    Jesus’ public ministry lasts for three years

    Jesus speaks in brief one-liners and parables

    Jesus speaks in lengthy philosophic discourses

    Jesus has little to say about himself

    Jesus reflects extensively on his mission and
    his person

    Casting out money changers from the temple is
    the last event of his earthly mission

    Casting out money changers from the temple is
    the first incident of his mission

    Jesus defends the causes of the poor and the
    oppressed

    Jesus has little or nothing to say about the
    poor and oppressed

    Jesus is an exorcist

    Jesus performs no exorcisms

    Jesus is crucified on 15 Nisan

    Jesus is crucified on 14 Nisan, the day of the
    Jewish passover sacrifice

     

    [87]  The Five
    Gospels,
    p. 10.

    [88]  Its plural is logoi
    and it also means “reason” or “plan”.

    [89] The concept defined by the
    term logos is also found in Indian, Egyptian, and Persian
    philosophical and theological systems.  (The
    New Encyclopaedia Britannica,
    vol. 7, p. 440).

    [90] Stoics were philosophers who
    followed the teacings of the thinker Zeno of Citicum (4th-3rd century
    BC).

    [91] They called the logos
    providence, nature, god, and the soul of the universe.

    [92] According to Philo and the
    Middle Platonists, philosophers who interpreted in religious terms the
    teachings of the 4th-century-BC Greek master philosopher Plato, the logos
    was both immanent in the world and at the same time the transcendent
    divine mind. (The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol. 7, p. 440).

    [93] The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol.
    9, p. 386.

    [94] Ibid.,
    vol. 7, p. 440.

    [95]  Christ in
    Islam,
    pp.40-1.

    [96] This is according to the King James
    Version
    and the Authorized Version.  In
    the Revised Standard Version, the translation of this verse is
    rendered, “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I make you as God
    to Pharaoh; and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.

    [97] The Myth-maker, p. 172.

    [98] Seventy years later a Christian Church was
    reconstituted in Jerusalem, after the city had been devastated by the
    Romans for a second time and rebuilt as a Gentile city called Aelia
    Capitolina.  This new Christian Church had
    no continuity with the early ‘Jerusalem Church’ led by James.  Its members were Gentiles, as Eusebius
    testifies, and its doctrines were those of Pauline Christianity.
    (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, III. v. 2-3, quoted in The
    Myth-maker,
    p. 174).

    [99]  The
    Myth-maker,
    p. 175.

    [100]  The New
    Encyclopaedia Britannica,
    vol. 4, p. 344.

    [101]  Ibid., vol.
    4, p. 344.

    [102]  Also known as
    Dynamic or Adoptionist Monarchianism.

    [103]  The New
    Encyclopaedia Britannica,
    vol. 8, p. 244.

    [104]  The New
    Encyclopaedia Britannica,
    vol. 9, p. 208.

    [105]  Ibid., vol.
    1, pp. 556-7.

    [106]  The New
    Encyclopaedia Britannica,
    vol. 1, pp. 549-50.

    [107]  The Myth of
    God Incarnate,
    p. ix.

    [108]  The Metaphor
    of God Incarnate,
    pp. 27-8.

    [109]  Jesus and
    the Living Past,
    p. 39.

    [110]  The Origin of  Christology, p. 136.

    [111]  Christology
    in the Making,
    p. 60.

    [112]  The
    Incarnation,
    p. 74.

    [113]  The
    Economist,
    April 1, 1989, vol. 311, no. 7596, p. 19.

    [114]  King James
    Version
    and The Authorized Version.

    [115]  The Purpose
    of Creation,
    pp. 42-3.

    [116] Literally “we”, known as the “royal we” or
    the “majestic we”, refers to Allaah.

    [117] Called Saint Mary, she became an object of
    veneration in the Christian Church since the apostolic age.  She was given the title theotokos, meaning
    “God-bearer” or “mother of God” in the 3rd or 4th century. 
    Popular devotion to Mary—in the form of feasts, devotional
    services, and the rosary—has played a tremendously important role in
    the lives of Roman Catholics and the Orthodox. (The New
    Encyclopaedia Britannica,
    vol. 7. pp. 897-8 and vol. 16, pp.
    278-9).

    [118] The angels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael
    were made saints and the religious celebration known as Michaelmas
    (called, “the Feast of St. Michael and All Saints” by the Anglicans)
    was dedicated to them on the 29th of September by the Western churches,
    and 8th of November by the Eastern Orthodox Church. The cult of St.
    Michael began in the Eastern Church in the 4th century CE. Because of
    St. Michael’s traditional position as leader of the heavenly armies,
    veneration of all angels was eventually incorporated into his cult. (The
    New Encyclopaedia Britannica,
    vol. 8, p. 95). 
    He became the patron saint of soldiers.

    [119]  The World
    Book Encyclopedia,
    vol. 1, p. 509.

    [120]  The World
    Book Encyclopedia,
    vol. 11, p. 146.

    [121]  Ibid., vol.
    3, p. 417.

    [122]  Sunan Abu
    Dawud,
    vol. 1, p. 387, no. 1474.

    [123] The Iconoclastic Controversy was a dispute
    over the  use of religious images (icons)
    in the Byzantine Empire during the 8th and 9th centuries. The
    Iconoclasts (those who rejected images) objected to icon worship for
    several reasons, including the Old Testament prohibition against images
    in the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:4) and the possibility of idolatry. The
    defenders of icon worship insisted on the symbolic nature of images and
    on the dignity of created matter.

                   
    In the early church, the making and veneration of
    portraits of Christ and the saints were consistently opposed. The use
    of icons, nevertheless, steadily gained in popularity, especially in
    the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire. Toward the end of the 6th
    century CE and in the 7th, icons became the object of an officially
    encouraged cult, often implying a superstitious belief in their
    animation. Opposition to such practices became particularly strong in
    Asia Minor. In 726, the Byzantine emperor Leo III took a public stand
    against icons and by 730 their use was officially prohibited. This led
    to the persecution of icon worshippers that reached great severity in
    the reign of Leo’s successor, Constantine V (741-775 CE).

                   
    In 787, however, the empress Irene convoked the seventh
    ecumenical council at Nicaea, at which Iconoclasm was condemned and the
    use of images was reestablished. The Iconoclasts regained power in 814
    after Leo V’s accession, and the use of icons was again forbidden at a
    council (815 CE). The second Iconoclast period ended with the death of
    the emperor Theophilus in 842. In 843 his widow finally restored icon
    veneration, an event still celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as
    the Feast of Orthodoxy. (The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol.
    6, p. 237)

    [124] “Ahmad” like “Muhammad” is a
    derivative from the Arabic root hamd meaning “praise;
    thanks”.  Prophet Muhammad (e) was
    also known by this name.

    [125] The Greek word paraclete is
    translated as “Comforter” in the King James Version, and as
    “Advocate” and “Helper” in other translations.  Parakletos
    means one who pleads the cause of another, one who counsels
    or advises another from deep concern for the other’s welfare. (Beacon
    Bible Commentary,
    vol. 7, p. 168).

    [126] See John 14:26, “But the Counselor,
    the Holy Spirit
    , whom the Father will send in my name, he will
    teach you all things...
    ”  However, in
    1st John 4:1, the term “Spirit” is used to refer to a prophet, “Beloved,
    believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God;
    because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

    [127] In English, “another” may mean “one more of
    the same kind” or “one more of a different kind.” The
    Greek text of the New Testament uses the word allon, which is
    the masculine accusative form of allos: “another of the same
    kind”.  The Greek word for
    “another of a different kind” is heteros, but the New
    Testament does not use this word in John 14:16. (Jesus, a Prophet of
    Islam,
    pp. 15-6).

    [128] John the Baptist was filled with the Holy
    Spirit while in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15); Elizabeth was filled
    with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:41); John’s father, Zacharias, was also
    filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke:1:67).

    [129] The Holy Spirit was on Simeon (Luke 2:26)
    and it descended in the shape of a dove on Jesus (Luke 3:22).

    [130] Jesus, A Prophet of Islam, p. 13.

    [131] The brethren of the Jews—who are themselves
    descendants of Abraham’s son Isaac—are the Arabs, descendants of
    Isaac’s brother Ishmael.

    [132] The Qur’aan literally means “the recital”.  Prophet Muhammad (e) taught
    that the Qur’aan was the words of God. His own explanations and
    instructions are referred to as hadeeth.

    [133] Each of the 114 chapters of the Qur’aan
    begins with the prayer: “In the name of Allaah, the Beneficient, the
    Most Merciful,” except one, chapter 9.

    [134] Ishmael’s descendants came to be known as
    Arabs, a term which, in Hebrew, meant those who inhabited the ‘arabah
    or desert (Dictionary of the Bible, p. 47). The most
    prominently mentioned of Ishmael’s twelve sons is Qaydar (Kedar in
    Hebrew). In some Bible verses Qaydar is synonymous with Arabs in
    general (Jeremiah 2:10; Ezekiel 27:21; Isaiah 60:7; Song of Solomon
    1:5).

    [135]   Jesus,
    A Prophet of Islam,
    p. 11.

    [136] Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 3, p. 535,  no. 861, and Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, p.
    931, no. 4266.

    [137]  He was beheaded
    in Rome 34 years after the end of Jesus’ ministry.

    [138]  Biblical
    Studies From a Muslim Perspective,
    p. 18.

    [139]  See also
    Galatians 6:15.

    [140]  The Arabic term
    used is fitrah, which literally means ‘nature’.

    [141] Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 7, p. 515,
    no. 777 and Sahih Muslim, vol. 1, p. 159, no. 495.

    [142]  See also,
    Deuteronomy 14:8.

    [143]  See also
    Chapter al-Maa’idah, (5):3.

    [144]  That is one
    separated
    or one  consecrated.

    [145]  John 2:1-11.

    [146]  The Five
    Gospels,
    p. 20.

    [147]  The New
    Encyclopaedia Britannica,
    vol. 5, p. 379.

    [148]  The Jewish
    Woman in Rabbinic Literature,
    p. 239.

    [149]  Ibid., p. 139.

    [150]  Clara M.
    Henning, “Canon Law and the Battle of  the
    Sexes,” in Religion and Sexism, p. 272.

    [151]  Chapter
    an-Noor, (24):27.

    [152]  Chapter
    al-A‘raaf, (7):46.

    [153] One tenth if the field is naturally
    irrigated and one twentieth if it is artifically irrigated.

    [154]  See also
    Matthew 6:16 and 17:21.

    [155] Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol.3, pp.113-4,
    no.200 and Sahih Muslim, vol.2, p.565, no.2595.

    [156]  Food or
    provisions.

    [157] However, in the verse following this one,
    the Jews made lending on interest to non-Jews permissible: “To a
    foreigner you may lend upon interest, but to your brother you shall not
    lend upon interest.
    ” (Deuteronomy 23:20)

    [158] Women in Judaism, p. 148.

    [159] Polygamy Reconsidered, p. 140.

    [160] Ibid., p. 17.

    [161] The tax taken from Christians and Jews
    living under Muslim rule in lieu of zakaah (compulsory
    charity) and military service.

    [162] Sunan Abu Dawud, vol. 3, p. 1203,
    no. 4310 and authenticated in Saheeh Sunan
    Abee Daawood,
    vol. 3, p. 815-6, no. 3635.

     

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