Teachings About Jesus in the Quran and Hadiths

Why is it important to know what the Quran teaches about Jesus?

There is a tremendous amount of material in its teaching about Jesus that could assist Christians to witness effectively to Muslims. The only two negative aspects of this teaching are the two denials of his deity and resurrection. The rest is all positive and much vital Biblical teaching about Jesus is repeated in the quran. The virgin-birth, sinlessness, ascension and second coming of Jesus are all mentioned in the book and are basic Islamic doctrines There are other teachings which, together with a series of very meaningful titles given to Jesus, make the final image of the man far superior to the dogma that he was nothing more than a prophet. Even a cursory analysis of the whole perspective of Jesus in the quran must lead to the conclusion that he was far greater than the other prophets and that he was unique among men.

The end result in the quran, however, is that its image of Jesus does not coincide with its dogma. It denies his deity and crucifixion clearly enough yet, in its acceptance of Jesus' unique birth, ascension and second coming and in some of the exclusive titles it attributes to him, it most certainly contradicts itself. These features and titles lose their meaning when Jesus is no longer acknowledged as the Lord and Saviour of the world. They seem to have no real significance and one finds Muslim writers more eager to explain them away than to truly understand their implications.

We analyzed Paul's approach to the Athenian Gentiles we saw that he did not hesitate to use the proverbs of their own poets to strengthen his own message, and there is perhaps no more opportune example of how this approach can be applied to Muslim evangelism than the quran’s positive teaching about Jesus.

His exclusive sinlessness

The Quran testifies to the exclusive sinlessness of Jesus

While the quran tells us that other prophets have sinned, there is not a hint there, or anywhere else in Islamic literature, of sin in Jesus.

An angel from God announced to Mary .-that she was to receive a "holy son" (19:19). The Quran relates an interesting story about the birth of the Virgin Mary. Her mother placed her newborn daughter and her future issue under a special protection of God saying: "Lord, verily I have brought forth a female [and God well knew what she had brought forth], and a male is not like a female; I have called her Mary; and I commend her to thy protection and also her issue, against Satan driven away with stones" (3:36). In this vein there is a suggestive tradition about Mary and her child:

Every child that is born, is touched [or stung] by Satan, and his touch makes it cry, except Mary and her Son. (Bukhari-Anbiya, Bab44, tafsir sura 3, b.2. Muslim-Fadail, tradition 146, 147. Ahmad b. Hanbal. Musnad H: 233, 247 sq, 288, 292, 319, 523).

And the quran  itself makes Gabriel say to Mary that she is to have "a holy son", ghulaman zakiyyan, 19 : 19; which baidhawi interprets to mean pure from sin, and active in goodness.

According to the quran when the angel came to Mary he said to her: "I am only a messenger from your Lord (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son" (Surah 19.19). The word for "holy" in this verse, zakiyya, is applied to no other prophet in the book. The angel announces to Mary that she is to conceive a uniquely holy child.

The Quran also seem to teach that even prophets are not free from sin. Here are some of the references that show that even the prophets sin.

Adam and Eve : Surah 7:23
Noah : Surah 11:47
Abraham : Surah 26:80-82
Moses : Surah 28:16
Muhammad : Surah 40:55

It is interesting to note that there is no mention whatsoever of sin in connection with Jesus Christ even in the Quran.

His unique birth
Virgin birth

Both the quran and the Bible teach that he was conceived of a woman only, his mother Mary, before she had known any man. The virgin-birth of Jesus, taught so plainly in the Bible, is no less clearly taught in the quran. In his Gospel Matthew (1.18-25) states that he was conceived in Mary of the Holy Spirit in fulfilment of a prophecy in Isaiah 7.14 ("a virgin shall conceive and bear a son"), while Luke also records the unusual conception, stating unambiguously that Mary was a virgin whom no man had touched when Jesus was conceived in her by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1.26-35). In the quran likewise we find much the same teaching. In one passage we read:

Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! God giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to God; He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be (of the company) of the righteous". She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?" He said: "Even so: God createth what He willeth: when He hath decreed a Plan, He but saith to it, 'Be', and it is!" Surah 3.45-47.

Another passage also records the visitation of an angel to Mary and the response that she gave him when he announced to her the conception of Jesus:

Then We sent to her Our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects. She said: "I seek refuge from thee to (God) Most Gracious: (come not near) if thou cost fear God". He said: "Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son". She said: "How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?" He said: "So (it will be): Thy Lord saith, 'That is easy for Me : and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us': it is a matter (so) decreed". Surah 19.17-21.

Muslims argue that if the creation of Jesus without a father is a unique phenomenon, then the creation of Adam without a father or a mother must surely be regarded as even more unique. Sayyid Effendi, quoted earlier, says on this point:

Because of this strange fact the Christians have thought of Him to be the Son of God. Yet He cannot necessarily be so. He can only be like Adam. Adam also was created of dust by the word of God. Moreover Adam had no mother also, and therefore he is still more wonderful than Jesus. As Adam cannot be called the Son of God because of his having been created without a father or mother, likewise Jesus also, who was only without a father cannot be called the Son of God. (Effendi in "The Problem of the Birth of Jesus", The Muslim World, Vol. 15, p. 228).

A Christian can readily agree that the virgin-birth, as an expression of God's power, is indeed no more wonderful than the creation of Adam. It can even be said that it required a negligible exercise of this power in comparison with the creation of Adam, but this tends to suggest all the more that there was some other specific reason for it. Adam was created without father or mother as the first man on earth and so could not have had earthly parents. Someone had to be created first. On the contrary Jesus was born without a father when God's natural process of procreation had long been in existence. What reason was there for this unique conception? The comparison with Adam does not answer this question at all.

No other prophet has been thus miraculously born into the world. Adam, it is true, was created without father or mother. Such an act of creation was necessary in the beginning of the world; but here we see (in the case of Jesus) God interrupting the course of nature, and overriding the very laws of procreation which He had Himself established, in order that Christ might thus have a virgin birth. Surely such an act could not have been meaningless: rather we know that it points to the great fact that Jesus Christ held a special relationship to the Deity which is shared by no other prophet. (Goldsack, Christ in Islam, p. 7).

His mother – the greatest among women

Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! God hath chosen thee and purified thee - chosen thee above the women of all nations". Surah 3.42

The thing that strikes us is the whole pre-eminence of the woman - chosen above all the women of the nations. This preference is repeated in the words of Elizabeth to her cousin as recorded in the Bible, but here a further exclamation follows which gives the real meaning behind the greatness of Mary and her superiority over all other women:

"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!" Luke 1.42

Mary, in both the quranic and Biblical passages quoted, is declared to be the greatest among women, but now we discover why - because she mothered the greatest among men, because she was the virgin-mother of Jesus. A Christian writer says of the quranic verse quoted above: "Does this passage not clearly signify that her son Jesus was to be the greatest prophet?" (Goldsack, Christ in Islam, p. 5). It is to the son of Mary that we must surely look to find the meaning of her greatness.

The creation of Adam was in this respect similar to the creation of the world, plants, and the lower animals; whereas the quran itself says that Christ's supernatural birth took place through God's purpose to give men a sign, and this is not said of any other prophet's birth. . . . The quran therefore represents Christ's birth as without a parallel. (Tisdall, Muhammadan Objections to Christianity, p. 131).

His birth not touched by Satan

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The satan touches every son of Adam on the day when his mother gives birth to him with the exception of Mary and her son. (Sahih Muslim, Vol. 4, p. 1261).

It is surely logical to conclude that the birth of Jesus was the only birth that Satan could not interfere with because the object of that birth was no ordinary mortal but one who is far greater than the devil (1 John 4.4), one who was no less than the Son of God himself.

Implications of His unique birth

Some Muslims believe that because Jesus was born without a father, we Christians automatically conclude that God was his Father and that the doctrine of Jesus as the Son of God arose from this assumption. Christians must be quick to point out that it is really the other way around - because he always was the Son of God it was not possible that he could be born in any other way.

It is clear from the New Testament that the virginal conception played no part at all in the earliest Christian preaching. It is described in the infancy narratives in the First and Third Gospels, but is not referred to in the sermons in the Acts of the Apostles nor in the Epistles of Saint Paul nor elsewhere in the New Testament. It is a story which came to be meaningful for Christians after they had come to believe in the divinity of Jesus on other grounds. (Watt, Islam and Christianity Today, p. 102).

Jesus had a unique beginning to his life on earth solely because he himself is unique in that he is the only Son of God. This is, according to the Bible, precisely what the angel said to Mary when he originally came to her to explain the miraculous conception:

"He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High . . . therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God". Luke 1.32,35.

His second coming

It must come as something of a surprise to Christians to hear that the return of Jesus to earth is as much a basic belief of the Muslims as it is ours. Once again the vast majority of the Muslims of the world hold to this belief. As with the ascension the Quran does not treat the subject at any length and, as with so much of its teaching about Jesus, it is somewhat ambiguous. The one passage invariably brought forth to justify the doctrine is this one:

And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): Therefore have no doubt about the (Hour), but follow ye Me: this is a Straight Way. Surah 43.61

The key words in the original Arabic are Wa innahuu lailmil lissaaati la'ilmil-lissaa'ati which, literally interpreted, mean only "And there is knowledge (ilm) of the Hour (saah sa'ah)". Arberry thus translates it, viz. "It is knowledge of the Hour", as does Pickthall: "Verily there is knowledge of the Hour". At first sight Yusuf Ali's interpretation in the quote above, to the effect that Jesus himself is the sign of the Hour of Judgment to come, appears to be broadly read into the text which would not otherwise yield it.

Another writer, however, accepts that if the pronoun built into the word innahuu refers to Jesus, then it may well be that this text is intended to allude to his return to the earth towards the end of time.

It is also significant that Christ is spoken of as a sign of the "Hour" (Sure xliii.61) which would appear to be a reference to His second advent (in which Muslims believe) if the pronoun refers back to Christ. (Sweetman, Islam and Christian Theology, Part One, Vol. 1, p. 34).

Commenting on the same verse a Muslim writer seeks support for the interpretation in favour of the return of Jesus to earth in some of the expressed views of some of Muhammad's own followers as they have been recorded in the traditions:

Distinguished Companions of the Holy Prophet Sallallaho alaihe wasallam, such as Hazrat Ibne-Abbas, Hazrat Hasan and Hazrat Qatawa have opined that there is a specific allusion in the above quoted wordings to the appearance of Jesus Christ before the Last Day. (Alam, Nuzul-e-Esa: Descension of Jesus Christ, p. 28).

In another place, referring to the opinions of the early Muslim interpreters of the Quran, he says:

Another commentator, Ibne-Atya, goes on to state that Moslem theologians are unanimous in holding that Jesus Christ is physically alive at present in Heavens and is destined to return to this world in the same condition towards the approach of the Last Day. (Alam, Nuzul-e-Esa: Descension of Jesus Christ, p. 37).

When the text is placed in its context in the Surah there does appear to be much to support the argument that it is Jesus himself who is spoken of as the knowledge or sign of the Hour. The passage begins by saying that Muhammad's people ridicule him when he seeks to hold up the son of Mary as an example (Surah 43.57), goes on to quote their objection that their gods are better than he (v.58), and asserts In huwa illa abdun - "He was no more than a servant" - who was made an example to the Children of Israel (v.59). Thereafter Jesus himself is quoted (w .63-64) and, analysing the key verse in this context, it is hard to see what else could be the "knowledge" or sign of the Hour of Judgment if it is not Jesus himself, the subject of the whole passage. Yusuf Ali has the following comment appended to the text:

This is understood to refer to the second coming of Jesus in the Last Days just before the Resurrection, when he will destroy the false doctrines that pass under his name, and prepare the way for the universal acceptance of Islam, the Gospel of Unity and Peace, the Straight Way of the Quran. (Yusuf Ali, The Holy Quran, p. 1337).

Another Muslim translator of the Quran has a similar comment on this verse: "The reference is to the second advent of Jesus" (Daryabadi, The Holy Quran, Vol. 2, p. 493B). Going on from the Quran to the Hadith we find that there are a wealth of traditions in support of the doctrine of the return of Jesus to earth. There are no less than seventy in fact and they are regarded as mutawatir, "universally attested" traditions of unquestioned reliability. One reads:

Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: By Him in Whose hand is my life, the son of Mary (may peace be upon him) will soon descend among you as a just judge. He will break crosses kill swine and abolish Jizya, and the wealth will pour forth to such an extent that no one will accept it. (Sahih Muslim, Vol. 1, p. 92).

Another tradition states that "spite, mutual hatred and jealousy against one another will certainly disappear" during his reign when he returns (Sahih Muslim, Vol. 1, p. 93) and in yet another tradition we read that Surah 4.159, which teaches that "there is none of the People of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) but must believe in him before his death", is also a proof that Jesus will return to earth to receive the homage of all to whom the Scriptures have been given (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 4, p. 437). Throughout the various works in the Sirat and Hadith literature we find similar traditions supporting the return of Jesus, another of which reads: 

Islam teaches that he will return from heaven, that he will destroy the Antichrist and all his host, that he will lead all true believers into an era of unprecedented bliss and prosperity, that he will rule over all the earth, and that he will establish a universal faith in God during his reign.

The return of Jesus to earth at the end of time is yet another of those unique features that implies that Jesus was far greater than the other prophets. Christians and Muslims may differ in what they expect Jesus to accomplish on his return but both expect him in any event to take control of all the earth with himself as Judge of all. This alone puts him head and shoulders above all other men in accomplishment and again makes him unique among men - a uniqueness which is vested in heavenly majesty and glory.

Jesus is the Messiah
Only Jesus has the title Messiah in the Quran

The full Quranic  name for Jesus is Al-Masihu Isa - "the Messiah Jesus" (cf. Surah 4.157, 4.171).

In fact we even read that when the angels first appeared to Mary they said of the holy child they had been sent to announce: Ismuhul Masihu Isabnu Maryam - "his name shall be the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary" (Surah 3.45). Even before the conception of Jesus, therefore, the angels gave him the one title that is applied to him on no less than eleven occasions in the Quran, namely Al-Masih - "the Messiah". The strange thing is that, whereas the Quran unflinchingly attributes to Jesus the one title claimed for him by the Christians and rejected by the Jews, it attempts no explanation of it. The following quote hints at the three anomalies surrounding the use of this title in the book:

Jesus receives the title Messiah (Christ) eleven times in the Quran, all in Medinan suras . . . While no explanation is offered of the title Messiah, and it is applied to Jesus at all periods of his life from birth to exaltation, yet it appears to have a particular sense. (Parrinder, Jesus in the Quran, p. 30).

The first of the three intriguing features that strikes us is that Jesus only receives this title after Muhammad had completed his twelve years of preaching at Mecca and had migrated to Medina. In none of the Meccan surahs is the name of Jesus qualified by the title Al-Masih. A Christian writer advances the probable reason for this phenomenon in saying:

It is important to mention that the title "Al-Masih" only occurs in the late chapters of the quran at a time when the prophet's knowledge about the people of the Book was much advanced. (Abdul-Haqq, Sharing Your Faith with a Muslim, p. 82).

The most plausible explanation is that Muhammad was unaware of the title until he moved to Medina and, as his contacts with Christians and Jews increased, so he came to learn of the unique appellation given to Jesus and, being unaware of its meaning but seeing no reason to reject it, simply adopted it himself and included it in the Quran without any further ado.

The second feature that draws our attention is the lack of any explanation of its meaning in the Quran. Islam only accepts Jesus as a prophet like all the other prophets. In one passage he is joined with Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and Moses as simply one of the prophets (an-nabiyyin) between whom no distinction of any kind is made (Surah 2.136). In another verse he is said to have been no more than a servant (abd - Surah 43.59) and in yet another as nothing more than a messenger (rasul - Surah 5.78). One would therefore expect to find the Quran denying that Jesus was the Messiah, especially as the Jews and Christians have always regarded the title as signifying more than prophethood. When Jesus on one occasion asked his disciples who the people thought he was, they answered that it was generally believed that he was one of the prophets (Mark 8.28). But when he asked them the same question, Peter replied: "You are the Messiah" (Mark 8.29). His answer was clearly intended to be in contrast with the general opinion that Jesus was just one of the prophets.

Nevertheless, as said before, the Quran's acknowledgement that Jesus was indeed the Messiah comes as a surprise, for it denies that Jesus was anything more than a prophet, whereas the promises of God about the coming Messiah had made it plain that he would be far greater than just a prophet.

Why, then, does the Quran also acknowledge that Jesus was the Messiah if it denies that he was anything more than a prophet' It seems hard to avoid the conclusion that the Quran is contradicting itself here, especially when it offers no alternative explanation of the title.

What is most significant is that the title is applied solely to Jesus in the Quran and that its definitive quality is carefully defined by the use of the article - Al-Masih, namely, the Messiah. Indeed the title is never used in the Quran without the definite article. This rules out any possibility that the title can be applied to anyone else. No one else in the Quran is, or accordingly possibly could be, the Messiah. Jesus is not a messiah or one of the messiahs, he is Al-Masih - the Messiah.

Furthermore one struggles to find in Arabic any roots for the title which might give some indication of its meaning. It is true that its three consonants, mim, sin and hah, are also the root letters of the word masaha meaning "to rub, wipe or stroke", which appears four times in the Quran. There is no hint, however, that the title as applied to Jesus carries any meaning remotely connected with this word, which appears only as a verb in the Quran. Some Muslim authorities have even sought other words with similar roots (not identical, as in masaha) to explain its meaning, yet we find that the greatest Muslim scholars, such as Zamakhshari and Baidawi, "rejected these theories and admitted that it was a borrowed word" (Jeffery, The Foreign Vocabulary of the Quran, p. 265).

We are bound to conclude that the Quran unwittingly gives Jesus a title which has momentous implications when studied in the light of its use in both the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, but which otherwise has no meaning when considered solely in the light of its use in the book.

Only Jesus is the Messiah in the New Testament

The common word used for Messiah in the New Testament, in the original Greek texts, is ho Christos. Twice it is said to be a translation of the word Messias (John 1.41, 4.25). Just as the Quran uses the definite article al to apply the title to Jesus alone, so in the Christian Scriptures he is constantly called ho Christos, that is, the Messiah.

The word christos occurs about 350 times in the NT. It is often found in the combinations “Jesus Christ” and “Christ Jesus,” and sometimes functions as a second name.

1 John 2:20,27 refers to the anointing of believers but do not call them “christoi”. By giving Jesus alone the title “Christ”, it is clear that the title refers to God’s Anointed One.

The meaning of “Messiah” is not explained in the Quran

Islam believes that Jesus is the Messiah, e.g. S. 3:45, although it never explains or comments on the term.  In such a case, the general rule of the Quran applies. That is, when in doubt, refer to the People of the Book.

Surah 10:94. If thou wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee: the Truth hath indeed come to thee from thy Lord: so be in no wise of those in doubt.

We will see below what the word “Messiah” means in the Old and New Testament of the Bible.

The general meaning of the word “Messiah” in the Old Testament

The word “messiah” is a transliteration of Hebrew word meaning, "anointed one" that was translated into Greek as “Christos”.

“Anointed” carries several senses in the Old Testament. All have to do with installing a person in an office in a way that the person will be regarded as accredited by Yahweh, Israel's God.

Prophets such as Elisha were set apart in this way (1 Kings 19:16). Israel probably saw a close link between the anointed persons and God's spirit though the link is specifically mentioned only occasionally (2 Kings 2:9). Israelite kings were particularly hailed as Yahweh's anointed compare (Jud. 9:8), beginning with Saul (1 Sam. 9-10 NIV) and especially referring to David (1 Sam. 16:6,13; see 2 Sam. 2:4; 5:3) and Solomon (1 Kings 1:39).

The special use of the title “Messiah”

In the exilic and postexilic ages, the expectation of a coming Messiah came into sharper focus, commencing with Jeremiah's and Ezekiel's vision of a Messiah who would combine the traits of royalty and priestly dignity (Jer. 33:14-18; Ezek. 46:1-8; see, too, Zech. 4:1-14; 6:13).

"Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off, and shall have nothing; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary". Daniel 9.25-26.

Twice in this passage we read of a mashiah, "an anointed one", a prince who would appear, but who would suddenly be cut off. Right throughout the prophetic writings of the Old Testament one finds predictions of a coming one, a supreme deliverer, God's chosen servant, who would rule over his kingdom forever. The use of the word mashiah in Daniel 9.25-26 led the Jews to coin a title for the coming Prince - ha Mashiah, "the Anointed One", the Messiah. A typical prophecy of his greatness and the extent of his dominion is found in this passage:

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. Be shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist, and faithfulness the girdle of his loins. Isaiah 11.1-5.

The prophet Isaiah went on to say of him: "In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall the nations seek, and his dwellings shall be glorious" (Isaiah 11.10).

The prophecy clearly could not be applied to any of the prophets who were appearing at times among the people. It spoke of one man alone who would rule the whole earth and who, by the breath of his mouth alone, would slay the wicked.

"Behold the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall grow up in his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord. It is he who shall build the temple of the Lord, and shall bear royal honour, and shall sit and rule upon his throne". Zechariah 6.12-13.

Understanding of the special title “Messiah” in the New Testament times

It is clear that during Jesus’ time, the people are looking for a special Messiah.

(John 4:29 NIV)  "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"

From the verse below, we know that the people were waiting for the Christ that is not just an ordinary prophet.

(John 7:40-42 NIV)  On hearing his words, some of the people said, "Surely this man is the Prophet." {41} Others said, "He is the Christ." Still others asked, "How can the Christ come from Galilee? {42} Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David's family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?"

Who is this Christ they were talking about and what verse in the Old Testament are they referring to? This one below.

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Micah 5.2

The Christ they are referring to is no ordinary prophet but someone whose origin is from ancient days.

(Mark 8:27-29 NIV)  Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?" {28} They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets." {29} "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ."

Even the high priest understood that when Jesus claimed to be the Messiah (Christ), it is a claim of Godhood, not normal prophethood.

(Mat 26:63-65 NIV)  But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." {64} "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." {65} Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.

Other verses

(Luke 4:41 NIV)  Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, "You are the Son of God!" But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ.

Jesus is the intercessor

Muslims believed that Muhammad would be an intercessor on the Last Day. The Christians challenged this, for Muhammad, they said, is not mentioned by name in the Quran as an intercessor.  They pointed out that only one whom God approves may intercede (suras 19:87/90; 20:109/108; 53:26/27).  The Injil (Gospel), which the Quran affirms, says that God approved of Jesus (Mt. 3:17; Mk. 1:11; Lk. 3:22) and states that he is the only mediator between God and humanity (1 Tim. 2:5).  This would fit in with the common interpretation of sura 43:61 as designating that the return of Jesus will be a sign of the Last Hour.

Jesus is the Word of God
Jesus is referred to as the word in the Quran

Surah 3

45. Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah.

39. While he was standing in prayer in the chamber, the angels called unto him: "(Allah) doth give thee glad tidings of Yahya, witnessing the truth of a Word from Allah, and (be besides) noble, chaste, and a prophet,- of the (goodly) company of the righteous."

Surah 4:171. O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an apostle of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His apostles. Say not "Trinity" : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah. Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.


Muslims say the word refers to Jesus only because he was created by the word (ie command) of God.

Al Baidhawi says that the expression "Word from God" refers to Jesus Christ who is so called because He was conceived by the word of the command of God, without a father (Sale, quran, p. 48, n. 4).

Surah 3:59. The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be". And he was.

If Jesus is called the Word of God simply because he was created out of a word from Allah, then Adam too should be called "the Word from God" because he also was created out of dust by a word of the command of God (see Sura 3:59). But nowhere does the quran mention him by that designation. It is an expression uniquely used of Jesus Christ.

It is true that according to the Quran the original creation was, and the final resurrection will be, also brought about by the same word 'Be' (kun), but then neither of these events are called the Word of God in themselves, as Jesus certainly is.

Jesus is called “Kalimah” not because He was created by the word “Kun” because he was called Kalimah long before the word “Kun” was spoken;

i) he was called Kalimah long before he was born;

ii) he was called Kalimah long before he spoke to the people in defense of his mother from the cradle.

Muslims say the word refers to Jesus because he was the fulfillment of the word (i.e. prophesy) spoken by the prophets

If this is true, then Muhammad would also qualify to be called the word of God since Muslims believe that there were many prophecies about his coming by former prophets. Yet Muhammad was also never called by this title.

Implications of Jesus being the Word of God

Muslim Scholars try to belittle the importance of the title “His Word (Kalimatuhu) [Surah 4:171], Word from Him (Kalimatim min hus)  [Surah 3:45],  Word from Allah (Kalimatim minallaahi) [Surah 3:39] as  a Word (Singular) of Allah, one of the many Words of Allah.  This is futile because every Word of God is uncreated and eternal  and this would include Jesus who is “a Word from Allah”.

The use of singular “Kalimah” as “Word” or “A Word” does not been a created word of Allah. In fact, the uncreated Quran has also been called “Kalimatunaa”[Our[na] Word[kalimah] in the singular]  and not kalimat [Words in plural] in Surah 37:171:“Already has Our Word[Kalimatunaa] been passed before (this to our Servants sent (by us)”

There is difference in meaning between the “Word of Allah” and “Word from Allah”. This is similar respectively with “Spirit of God” and “Spirit from Him”. If we say Jesus is a Word of Allah, we can mean it in the symbolical sense. However, if we say Jesus is a Word from Allah, we meant that it is the actual Word, which proceeds out of Allah.

Jesus is the Spirit from God