In this article I am going to use Muhammad’s proclamation regarding Christ to prove that Jesus is the blessed and glorious Servant prophesied in Isaiah 42, 49, 50 and 52:13-53:12, specifically 42. Here is what that prophecy says concerning the coming Messiah:
“Here is My servant, whom I uphold, My chosen one, in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon him; he shall bring forth justice to the nations. He shall not cry out, nor lift up his voice, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed he shall not break, and the smoking flax he shall not quench; he shall bring forth justice faithfully. He shall not be disheartened nor be discouraged, until he has set justice in the earth; and the coastlands shall wait for his law. Thus says God the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and that which comes out of it, who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk in it: I the Lord have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand, and will keep You and appoint You for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and those who sit in darkness out of the prison house.” Isaiah 42:1-7
Let us now contrast the foregoing with Muhammad’s purported teachings concerning Jesus.
According to Muhammad, Jesus is the Word of God who came down from him as a Spirit to be conceived of Mary as a man for the express purpose of becoming God’s Servant:
O People of the Book! Go not beyond the limits in your way of life and say not about God but The Truth: That the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was a Messenger of God and HIS WORD that He cast to Mary and A SPIRIT FROM HIM. So believe in God and His Messengers. And say not: Three. To refrain yourselves from it is better for you. There is only One God. Glory be to Him that He have a son! To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in and on the earth and God sufficed as a Trustee. The Messiah will never disdain that he be a servant of God nor the angels, the ones who are brought near to Him. And whoever disdains His worship and grows arrogant, He will assemble them altogether to Himself. S. 4:171-172 (Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/4/st46.htm)
Jesus said: Truly, I am a servant of God. He gave me the Book and He made me a Prophet. S. 19:30 (Bakhtiar http://islamawakened.com/quran/19/st46.htm)
Muhammad also taught that God strengthened Jesus with the Holy Spirit and sent him to give sight to the blind, and to create and breathe life into inanimate clay objects:
We gave Moses the Scripture and We sent messengers after him in succession. We gave Jesus, son of Mary, clear signs and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit. So how is it that, whenever a messenger brings you something you do not like, you become arrogant, calling some impostors and killing others? S. 2:287 (Abdel Haleem http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/2/st3.htm) – cf. v. 253
When Allah will say, O Jesus son of Mary, remember My blessing upon you and upon your mother, when I strengthened you with the Holy Spirit, so you would speak to the people in the cradle and in adulthood, and when I taught you the Book and wisdom, the Torah and the Evangel, and when YOU WOULD CREATE FROM CLAY the form of a bird, with My leave, and you would BREATHE INTO IT and it would become a bird, with My leave; and YOU WOULD HEAL THE BLIND and the leper, with My leave, and you would raise the dead, with My leave; and when I held off [the evil of] the Children of Israel from you when you brought them manifest proofs, whereat the faithless among them said, ‘This is nothing but plain magic.’ S. 5:110 (Ali Quli Qara’i http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/5/st8.htm)
to be a Messenger to the Children of Israel saying: Surely I drew near you with a sign from your Lord that I WILL CREATE for you OUT OF CLAY a likeness of a bird. Then, I BREATHE INTO IT and it will become a bird with the permission of God. And I CURE ONE WHO IS BLIND FROM BIRTH and the leper and give life to dead mortals with the permission of God. And I tell you what you eat and what you store up in your houses. Truly, in that is a sign for you if you had been ones who believe. S. 3:49 (Bakhtiar http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/3/st46.htm)
Muhammad even taught that Jesus came with the Gospel which gives guidance and light to all nations, and to also become a covenant for all his followers:
From those, too, who call themselves Christians, We did take a covenant, but they forgot a good part of the message that was sent them: so we estranged them, with enmity and hatred between the one and the other, to the day of judgment. And soon will God show them what it is they have done. S. 5:14 Yusuf Ali
We had Jesus, the son of Mary, follow in their footsteps in order to confirm what had come before him from the Torah and We gave him the Gospel which contains guidance AND LIGHT, to confirm what he already had in the Old Testament, and as guidance and a lesson for those who do their duty. S. 5:46 (T. B. Irving http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/5/st47.htm)
and he said, ‘This is what your Lord said: “It is easy for Me- We shall make him a sign to ALL PEOPLE (lilnnassi), a blessing from Us.”’ S. 19:21 (Haleem http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/19/st3.htm)
And she who guarded her private parts, then, We breathed into her Our Spirit and We made her and her son a sign for the worlds (lilAAalameena). S. 21:91 (Bakhtiar http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/21/st46.htm)
Commenting on the last two verses, the late Muslim translator Abdullah Yusuf Ali conceded that Jesus was basically a sign for the entire world:
“Mary the mother of Jesus, chastity was her special virtue: with a son of virgin birth, she and Jesus became a miracle to all nations. This was the virtue with which they (both Mary and Jesus) resisted evil.” (Ali, The Holy Qur’an – Text and Commentary, p. 815, fn. 2748; bold emphasis mine)
“The mission of Jesus is announced in two ways (1) he was to be a sign to men: his wonderful birth and wonderful life were to turn an ungodly WORLD to Allah: and (2) his mission was to bring solace and salvation to the repentant…” (Ibid., p. 748, fn. 2473; bold and capital emphasis mine)
Other Islamic sources confirm that Jesus was given a universal mission and even sent out his disciples to spread his Gospel throughout the entire world. These sources further testify that Jesus sent some of his followers to preach to the Arabs living in the Hejaz, the area of Muhammad’s birth!
Note, for instance, what the oldest extant biography on Muhammad’s life says concerning the mission of Christ:
“‘God has sent me (Muhammad) to all men, so take a message from me, God have mercy on you. Do not hang back from me as the disciples hung back from Jesus son of Mary.’ They asked how they hung back and he said, ‘He called them to a task similar to that which I have called you. Those who had to go a short journey were pleased and accepted. Those who had a long journey before them were displeased and refused to go, and Jesus complained of them to God. (T. From that very night) every one of them was able to speak THE LANGUAGE OF THE PEOPLE TO WHOM HE WAS SENT.’ (T. Jesus said, ‘This is a thing that God has determined that you should do, so go.’)
“Those whom Jesus son of Mary sent, both disciples and those who came after them, in the land were: Peter the disciple AND PAUL WITH HIM, (Paul belonged to the followers and was not a disciple) to Rome. Andrew and Matthew to the land of the cannibals; Thomas to the land of Babel, which is in the land of the east; Philip to Carthage and Africa; John to Ephesus the city of the young men of the cave; James to Jerusalem which is Aelia the city of the sanctuary; Bartholomew to ARABIA WHICH IS THE LAND OF HIJAZ; Simon to the land of Berbers; Judah who was not one of the disciples was put in place of Judas.’” (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press Karachi], p. 653; bold and capital emphasis mine)
Another renowned Muslim scholar/historian/commentator Al-Tabari included this tradition in his comprehensive history on Islam:
“He (Jesus) began to use such language announcing his death. Then he said, ‘The truth is that one of you shall deny me thrice before the cock-crow, and one of you will shall sell me for a few coins, and he shall eat my price.’ They walked out and dispersed. The Jews were looking for him. They seized Simeon, one of the apostles, and said, ‘This one is a companion of his.’ But he denied it, and said, ‘I am not his companion.’ So they left him. Then another caught him, but he denied it again. Then he heard the cock crow, and wept. When morning came, one of the apostles came to the Jews, and said, ‘What will you give me if I lead you to Christ?’ And they set for him thirty pieces of silver. He took those, and led them to him. Before that they were not sure of Christ. But now they seized him, chained him, tied him with cord, and began to lead him away, saying, ‘You revived the dead, chased away the devil, and cured the possessed, will you not set yourself free from this cord?’ They spat upon him and threw thorns upon him, until they brought the wooden board upon which they wanted to crucify him. But God raised him up to Himself and they crucified ‘only a likeness of that shown them.’ A week passed. Then his mother and the woman whom Jesus healed and cured from derangement came weeping at the place of crucifixion. But Jesus came to them and said, ‘Why are you weeping?’ They said, ‘Because of you;’ whereupon he replied, ‘God raised me up to Himself, and nothing but good has happened to me. Only a likeness was shown to them. Instruct the apostles to meet me at place such and such. They met him at that place, eleven of them, as the one who had betrayed him and led the Jews to him was missing. Jesus asked the apostles about him. They said, ‘He rued what he had done, and strangled himself to death.’ Jesus said, ‘Had he repented, God would have forgiven him.’ He asked them about John, a youth who was following them, and said, ‘He is with you. Go! EACH OF YOU WILL SPEAK THE LANGUAGE OF A PEOPLE TO WARN AND SUMMON THEM‘…
“Among the apostles, and the followers who came after them were the Apostle Peter AND PAUL who was a follower and not an apostle; they went to Rome. Andrew and Matthew were sent to the country whose people are man-eaters, a land of blacks, we think; Thomas was sent to Babylonia in the east, Philip to Qayrawan (and) Carthage, that is, North Africa. John went to Ephesus, the city of the youths of the cave, and James to Jerusalem, that is, Aelia. Bartholomew was sent to ARABIA, NAMELY, THE HIJAZ; Simeon to the land of the Berbers in Africa. Judas was not then an apostle, so his place was taken by Ariobus. He filled in for Judas Iscariot after the latter had perpetrated his deed.” (The History of al-Tabari – The Ancient Kingdoms, Vol. IV, trans. Moshe Perlmann [State University of New York Press, Albany 1987], pp. 121-122, 123; bold and capital emphasis mine)
That’s not all that Muhammad is reported to have said about Jesus. There are certain narrations that are attributed to him, which claim that Christ will descend from heaven to rule over the entire earth as a just judge. These same reports affirm that Jesus will slay all the disbelievers by his breath, thereby eradicating unbelief from the entire earth:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Apostle said, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, surely (Jesus,) the son of Mary will soon descend amongst you and will judge mankind justly (as a Just Ruler); he will break the Cross and kill the pigs and there will be no Jizya (i.e. taxation taken from non Muslims). Money will be in abundance so that nobody will accept it, and a single prostration to Allah (in prayer) will be better than the whole world and whatever is in it.” Abu Huraira added “If you wish, you can recite (this verse of the Holy Book): — ‘And there is none Of the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) But must believe in him (i.e. Jesus as an Apostle of Allah and a human being) Before his death. And on the Day of Judgment He will be a witness Against them.” (4.159) (See Fateh Al Bari, Page 302 Vol 7) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 657 http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=55&translator=1&start=0&number=657)
The Hadiths Regarding the Descent of `Isa Just Before the Day of Judgement, and his Mission
In the chapter about the Prophets in his Sahih, under, “The Descent of `Isa, Son of Maryam,” Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said…
<<By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the son of Maryam (`Isa) will shortly descend among you as A JUST RULER, and will break the cross, kill the pig and abolish the Jizyah. Then there will be an abundance of wealth and nobody will accept charitable gifts any more. At that time, one prostration will be better for them than this life and all that is in it.>> Abu Hurayrah then said, “Read if you will…
(And there is none of the People of the Scripture, but must believe in him, before his death. And on the Day of Resurrection, he will be a witness against them.)” Muslim recorded this Hadith… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 4:159 http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/4/155; bold and capital emphasis mine)
In the Hadith that An-Nawwas bin Sam`an narrated…
<<He will descend close to the white minaret to the east of Damascus. He will be wearing two garments lightly colored with saffron, having his hands on the wings of two angels. Whenever he lowers his head, drops will fall off of it. Whenever he raises his head, precious jewels like pearls will fall off of it. No disbeliever can survive `Isa’s breath, and his breath reaches the distance of his sight.>>… (Ibid.; bold emphasis mine)
This last point is pertinent in identifying Jesus as God’s Servant since one of his functions is to judge the nations with equity.
To sum up Muhammad’s teachings concerning Christ:
- Jesus is God’s Servant who was/is empowered by God’s Spirit (cf. Isa. 42:1).
- Jesus shall rule the nations as a just Ruler (cf. Isa. 42:1, 4).
- Jesus is a sign for all mankind and a covenant for all his followers (cf. Isa. 42:6).
- Jesus opened/opens the eyes of the blind and spread light to all the nations by his Gospel (cf. Isa. 42:6-7).
- Jesus gave/gives breath and spirit to creation.
This last function identifies Christ as God since both Isaiah,
“Thus says God the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and that which comes out of it, who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk in it:” Isaiah 42:5
And the Quran assert that it is God who creates and breathes life into his creatures by his Spirit:
When your Lord said to the angels, ´I am creating a human being out of dried clay formed from fetid black mud When I have formed him and breathed My Ruh into him, fall down in prostration in front of him!´ S. 15:28-29 (Aisha Bewley http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/15/st6.htm)
All Scriptural citations taken from the Modern English Version (MEV) of the Holy Bible.