Mary And Jesus (‘a)
Before we go into detail discussing Jesus (‘a) Christ, peace with him and his virtuous virgin mother, let us highlight the major differences between Christianity and Islam in as far as Jesus (‘a) Christ and his mother are concerned. In the next chapter, these differences will be itemized and briefly discussed.
The Church has taught that Jesus (‘a) is the Messiah whom the Jews were expecting but whom they rejected, accusing him of being born of fornication:”You dishonor me. Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it and He will be the judge” (John 8:49-50). In 4:155-156, the Holy Qur’an condemns and curses all those who blasphemed the honor of Mary. Islam accepts Jesus (‘a) son of Mary as the Masih (the one anointed with oil), advocating the prophecy of Christ and recognizing his virgin birth as one of his miracles, even calling him the”Word of Allah (SwT)”.
It defends his mission and reproaches all those who rejected it, endorsing the original Bible1 as a revelation from the Almighty to him. Islam does not preach that Jesus (‘a) was crucified or killed but did ascend to heaven.2 Many Christians regard Jesus (‘a) as a deity and worship him as a god, addressing him as”Lord”, a title fit only for the Almighty God. But they differ a great deal among themselves with regard to his deification, yet they all certainly regard him as much more than a human being.
They call him”the son of God”, part of the Trinity. The UnitarianChurch3 stresses the Unity of God (what Muslims call Tawhid), and the fact that Jesus (‘a) was a human being. For this reason, it is not considered”Christian” and is not a member of the Federal Council of Churches, nor is it a member of any church federation. Islam repudiates in the strongest of terms the divinity or deity of Jesus (‘a) Christ and the concept of the Trinity. The Christian doctrine preaches that Jesus (‘a) died voluntarily, nailed to the cross, in order to atone for mankind’s sins. Jesus (‘a) is believed as having offered himself as an atoning sacrifice in order that mankind might earn salvation.
Islam unequivocally rejects the notion that sins can be transferred from some to others by any means, holding each and every individual accountable for his or her actions. The Almighty, Islam teaches, forgives the sinners who repent and make amends. Repentance, then, in addition to prayers, fast, and charity can atone for one’s sins. God does not overburden any of us;
He fully knows our weaknesses and limitations. Christianity considers Jesus (‘a) as a mediator between man and God. Christians pray Ain the name of our Lord, Jesus (‘a) Christ, appealing to God through him. Islam recognizes no mediator between man and God: everyone can be in direct contact with God and actually does so when he performs his prayers. Intercession, however, is permitted by the Almighty Who grants it to individuals whom He chooses and who will intercede, with His permission, on behalf of their friends.
As a matter of fact, the Almighty’s mercy will reach on the Day of Judgment the ultimate limit when God permits ordinary people with whom He is pleased or whom He forgives to intercede on behalf of others.
Such is His mercy... There are many other Christian beliefs and practices which we cannot discuss here due to the limitation of space and which include the belief in the reincarnation, the cremation of the dead, a tradition which the Christians have learned from Hindus and Buddhists, the singing and dancing at their churches, the choir (an adaptation from the pagan chorus), the appointment of women as top church”officials”, the endorsement of homosexuality and the appointment of gay and lesbian”ordained ministers”, supposedly”representatives” of Christ... Does Christ accept such “representatives”? We do not think so.
The Major Differences Between Islam And Christianity
Following are ten points marking the major differences between Islam and Christianity4:
1. Today’s Christianity preaches belief in the Triune God; Islam, contrariwise, stresses the Unity of God, Tawhid. Muslims everywhere declare: La ilaha illa Allah! (There is no god except Allah (SwT)). Not to accept Tawhid implies shirk, apostasy.
2. Christians preach that Jesus (‘a) is the only begotten son of God. Islam preaches that Jesus (‘a) was a human being who received Divine inspiration and was thus empowered to perform all the miracles which he, by permission of his Creator and Maker, was able to perform. He was a prophet and a great teacher of mankind, a man of God.
3. Christians claim that Eve was the first to be deceived by Iblis in the garden of Eden, that she was responsible for tempting Adam (‘a) into eating the forbidden fruit.
They, therefore, place the curse of God on woman, calling her”the organ of the Devil,”“the foundations of the arms of the Devil whose voice is the hissing of the serpent,”“the gate of the Devil,”“the road of iniquity,”“the sting of the scorpion,”“a daughter of falsehood, a sentinel of hell, the enemy of peace and of the wild beasts the most dangerous...,” etc.
These are the words of renown Christian Saints: St. Bernard, St. Anthony, St. Bonaventure, St. Cyprian, St. Jerome, St. John Damascene, and others.
In Islam, Adam (‘a) and Eve both were simultaneously deceived. Women, therefore, enjoy equal status with men in as far as their rights and obligations are concerned. The Almighty does not distinguish between His servants based on their sex. Christians, however, accuse Muslims of pushing women back into their harems and discouraging them from educating themselves and competing with men in all fields and professions.
This is one of their numerous false charges which are all based on ignorance of the religion of Islam and a genuine feeling of prejudice if not sheer malice and spitefulness. Christians have been encouraging their women to bare themselves so that they would look at them, fornicate with them and beget millions of illegitimate children who are either killed by abortion or who grow up not knowing who their parents are.
At the same time, they do not pay women the same wages they pay men, and they discriminate against them in all fields and professions. In fact, they enslave women.
4. The sin of Adam (‘a) and Eve was not forgiven; therefore, every child is born in sin. Such is the belief held by Christians. In Islam, Adam (‘a) and Eve regretted, repented, and were given the chance to be forgiven even while they were here on earth. Every child is born sinless and capable of achieving the ultimate limit of human perfection. Parents often corrupt their children, causing them to deviate from the right creed, victimizing them, thus adding their children’s sins to those of their own. Sin is acquired by one’s intentional desire to ignore God’s laws, to surrender to temptation, and to acquire by vile means what rightfully belongs to others. Sins are committed by one’s misdeeds and miscalculations; nobody inherits sin.
5. Jesus (‘a)’ mission was”to redeem humanity’s sins through his own blood,” Christians claim. In Islam, his mission was: to teach mankind the right way of leading an upright life. He was not sent to atone for humanity’s alleged sin. He is regarded as one of the greatest prophets of God, and the original Bible revealed to him was surely the Word of God. He was born to Virgin Mary who is described in Islam as one of the four most perfect of all women of mankind in each and every aspect of human perfection.
6. Christianity claims that man can attain salvation only by believing in Jesus (‘a) as the only begotten son of God, and that Jesus (‘a) had given his blood to wash the sins of mankind. In Islam, the essential condition for attaining salvation is to combine righteous deeds with a sound belief. Mere passive belief is meaningless. The Islamic system, which comprehends all problems of mankind and provides solutions for them, must be followed in its entirety.
7. Christians say that we cannot approach God without the mediation of a priest. In Islam, everyone, man or woman, is his or her own priest or priestess and can approach God without the mediation of anyone. God is near to everyone and the gates of His mercy are always wide open to receive those who repent and are willing to make amends. Islam strongly stresses the significance of one’s dignity and self-respect.
One who admits his sins to someone else will in all reality be humiliating himself before another human being. He should do so before his Maker, and only before his Maker, each and every hour of his life. Muslims seek Allah (SwT)’s forgiveness every day before, during, and after their five daily prayers. Humility before God is what Islam condones, not self-humiliation before another human being, even if such a human wears a collar and is a man of the Church.
8. Ascetic life according to Christianity is a saintly one; Jesus (‘a) and the saints are models in this regard, and celibacy is preferable over marriage for the attainment of spiritual eminence. Not so in Islam. Asceticism is unnatural; it clashes with our human nature and deprives us of enjoying the lawful pleasures of this life - including and especially sexual pleasures - so that we may thank the Almighty Who provides us with them. Life is to be enjoyed; it is the greatest gift of the Almighty to the living.
Take His gifts and thank Him for them; do not deprive yourself of what is lawful.”I have not enjoyed of your world,” says Prophet Muhammad (S),”except three: prayers, perfumes, and women!” Prayers bring one closer to his Maker, provide him with comfort against his worries, and pave the way for his salvation.
They also are healthy daily physical exercises. Perfume, for both men and women, is very highly commended in Islam; one who wears it and thus smells good will not be shunned by others; rather, he or she will be loved, cherished and respected not only by other people, but also by the angels and by God Himself; He surely loves those who are clean physically and spiritually. Sex is one of the blessings of the Almighty on His servants as long as it is lawful and is not followed by remorse. No pleasure is pleasing if it is followed by remorse or, worse, by AIDS...! Whenever you cohabit with your wife, the Prophet teaches us, you earn a blessing, a good deed... Such is the beauty of Islam.
9. Christianity preaches the separation of the religion from the State, from politics. Islam, contrariwise, provides a socio-political system wherein politics are mixed with religion just as water is mixed with milk; they are inseparable. Today’s”Muslim” governments are mostly hypocritical because they are not trying to please Allah (SwT) but to please the enemies of Allah (SwT): Western politicians, who are Christian only by name and who wish to suck the blood of the Muslims dry, buying their natural resources, especially oil, for very cheap prices while refusing to sell them their technology5.
They sell them their manufactured goods at very high prices and do everything to keep them backward.
The mosque used to be the place where people’s problems were solved and criminals punished, the place where couples get their marriage blessed. It is the place where they learn their creed. Nowadays, in many Muslim countries, there are more”security” and”intelligence agents” frequenting mosques than there are worshippers! Pro-Western hypocritical rulers of the Muslim world fear nothing more than Islam even as they lie and claim to be its adherents and defenders.
This is so because they are constantly pressured by”Christian” Western politicians to keep people away from Islam, to encourage the opening of more bars and night clubs and the closing of more mosques and religious centers.
10. According to the admission of many Biblical scholars, the Bible contains”irrational beliefs, crude science and indecent tales.”6 Today’s Bible is far from being the revelation that descended on Jesus (‘a). It was not put together during the lifetime of Jesus Christ, so it cannot be regarded as representative of the message of Christ.
The Holy Qur’an, on the other hand, was written down during 23 years under the direct supervision of Prophet Muhammad (S), and not a single syllable in it has been changed. It is divinely protected against any distortion, alteration, addition, or deletion. Moreover, it essentially is rational, scientific, and modern in its spirit and shall always remain so. No other sacred scripture can ever be described as such, ever...
These are the basic differences between Islam and Christianity presented to the reader in brief. Now let us research the life of Jesus (‘a) and his saintly mother, starting from the latter, then learn something about the Bible, its authors and message.
Maryam (Mary) Daughter Of ‘Imran (Amram)
Allah (SwT) Almighty has said the following in the Holy Qur’an,
Surely Allah favored Adam and Noah and the descendants of Abraham (‘a) and the descendants of ‘Imran over the nations: offspring, one from the other, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing. ‘Imran’s woman said: Lord! Surely I vow to dedicate to You what is in my womb, to be devoted (to Your service); accept, therefore, from me; surely You are the Hearing, the Knowing. So when she gave birth to her, she said: Lord! Surely I have given birth to a female - and Allah knew best what she had given birth to - and the male is not like the female; I have named her Maryam, and I commend her and her offspring into Your protection from Satan the accursed. So her Lord accepted her with a good acceptance and made her grow up a good growth and gave her into the charge of Zakariyya (Zacharias). Whenever Zakariyya entered the sanctuary (to see her), he found with her food. He said: O Maryam! Whence comes this to you? She said: It is from Allah. Surely Allah bestows His grants unto whomsoever He pleases without measure. (Qur’an, 3:33-37)
Scholars have said that Mary’s mother was Hanna daughter of Faqooth, grandmother of Jesus Christ, peace with him. As regarding ‘Imran, Ibn ‘Abbas has said that his name is ‘Imran (Amram) son of Mathan. There is no kinship between him and ‘Imran father of Moses (‘a) since one thousand and eight hundred years separate one from the other.
The descendants of Mathan were the chiefs of the Children of Israel; they were their rabbis and kings. Muhammad ibn Ishaq7 has said, AHe is ‘Imran son of Sahim son of ‘Amoor son of Meeshan son of Izekiel son of Aharef son of Baoom son of Izarya son of Amsiy son of Nawoos son of Nootha son of Baridh son of Yehusha Faz son of Radim son of Abiyya son of Rehobom son of Solomon (‘a) son of David (‘a), peace with him. Zakariyya (‘a)8 (Zacharias or Zachary) son of Barkhiya and ‘Imran son of Mathan were married to sisters. One of those sisters was the wife of Zakariyya (‘a) son of Barkhiya, namely Eisha (Elizabeth) daughter of Faqooth, Yahya’s mother. The other was the wife of ‘Imran: Hanna daughter of Faqooth, Maryam’s mother.
Hanna had almost lost hope of having a son when she became very old. Hers was a family on whom Allah (SwT) had bestowed His favors and whom He held in high esteem. While she was sitting under a tree, she saw a mother bird feeding her chicks. The instinct of motherhood stirred within her, and she invoked Allah (SwT) Almighty to grant her a son. She, as the Holy Qur’an tells us, said,
Lord! Surely I vow to dedicate to You what is in my womb to be devoted (to Your service) (Qur’an, 3:35),
that is, that her child would be free from the bondage of this life and its entanglements, and he will dedicate his time for the worship of Allah (SwT) and for the service of His cause. It was the custom then to bring such a dedicated person to Jerusalem to worship Allah (SwT) and to serve His creed.
Always males, those dedicated servants of Jerusalem were not expected to leave the house of worship till they reached their adolescence. Once one of them reached his adolescence, he would be given the choice to either stay or go wherever he wanted. There was hardly any family among the Children of Israel that did not make such a dedication. Only boys were dedicated; girls would not be fit for such a service due to the menstruation and the inconvenience associated with it. But Maryam’s mother had already made that dedication, so her husband ‘Imran said to her, ALook what you have done! Did you consider the possibility that you were big with a female, and the female is not fit for such a dedication? He was quite distressed. ‘Imran died while his wife was pregnant with Maryam.
When she delivered, she found out that her child was a girl. She had prayed for a son. Seeking to apologize to Allah (SwT) Almighty, she said, ALord! Surely I have given birth to a female, and the male is not like the female, that is, she is not fit for the service of the house of worship in Jerusalem due to her weakness and menstruation. She named her Maryam (Mary). In their tongue, it meant Athe worshipper, the one who serves her Lord. Maryam was the most beautiful of all her contemporary ladies and her conduct was the very best.
The Messenger of Allah (S) is quoted as saying, Four among the women of mankind are most cherished: Maryam daughter of ‘Imran, Asiya wife of Pharaoh, Khadija daughter of Khuwaylid9 (wife of Prophet Muhammad (S)), and Fatima daughter of Muhammad (S). She continued to implore her Lord saying that she sought refuge with Him on her behalf to forbid Satan the accursed from having any access to her progeny. The Messenger of Allah (S) is also quoted as saying, There is no infant born except that Satan would touch it, so it would scream because of such a touch, except Maryam and her son. It is recommended to recite the following verse at the birth of any newborn female:
... and I commend her and her offspring into Your protection from Satan the accursed (Qur’an, 3:36).
Shu’ayb ibn Muhammad, according to his chain of narrators, has said, Every human being is hit by Satan on the side at birth except Jesus (‘a) and his mother, peace be on them. A barrier was placed to protect them. Satan could not penetrate it; therefore, they were not harmed. Neither one of them committed any of the sins commonly committed by humans. Allah (SwT) Almighty has said,
So her Lord accepted her with a good acceptance and made her grow up a good growth (Qur’an, 3:37).
The meaning of this verse is that He created her without any increase or decrease of her physique, so she was growing during a short period as much as an ordinary infant would grow during quite a lengthy one.
When Maryam was born, her mother Hanna carried her to the temple. The descendants of Aaron, who then numbered thirty, looked after the temple at Jerusalem in the same zeal the caretakers look after the Ka’ba. They placed her in the hands of the rabbis. She said to them, Do look after this dedicated infant, whereupon they competed with one another in looking after her since she was the daughter of their leader. Zakariyya (‘a) said to them, I am more worthy of her than you since her aunt lives in my house. The rabbis said, We shall not let you decide that, for if she were to be left with the person who is most worthy of her and her nearest in kin, she should have been left with her mother who gave birth to her. But we shall cast the lots about her, and she will be looked after by the one whose arrow wins. They agreed to do so.
Nineteen men came to the Jordan river. They threw their arrows, or their pens whereby they used to write the Torah, in the water. The pen or arrow belonging to Zakariyya (‘a) surfaced over the water while the rest were submerged. Ibn Isaq and a group of other scholars, including al-Suddi, have all said that Zakariyya (‘a)’s pen pierced the water and stood up in it as though its water were mud, while their pens were washed away by the tide. Allah (SwT) Almighty has said,
You were not with them when they cast their pens (to decide) which of them should have Maryam in his charge (Qur’an, 3:44).
Thus did Zakariyya (‘a), who was their high rabbi and prophet, win, and this is why Allah (SwT) Almighty has said that Zakariyya (‘a) took charge of her, adopted her, looked after her.
Muhammad ibn Isaq has said, When Zakariyya (‘a) took charge of her, he gave her to her aunt, Yahya’s mother, and asked her to nurse her till she reached womanhood. It was then that he built a room for her in his mosque to be her sanctuary, placing its door in the middle. Whenever he entered to see her, he noticed that she had unseasonable fruits, that is, summer fruits were with her during the winter, and vice versa, so he would ask her where she had received them from, and she would say that they were from Allah (SwT), from the fruits of Paradise.
Muhammad ibn Isaq has also said that the Children of Israel were then inflicted with a famine, yet she kept receiving her sustenance thus, as Zakariyya (‘a) was becoming increasingly unable to look after her. He, therefore, went out to the Children of Israel and said, O Children of Israel! You know, by Allah (SwT), that I have become quite old and too weak to look after the daughter of ‘Imran; so, which one of you will look after her when I am gone? They said, By Allah (SwT) we, too, are worn out and are in difficulty as you can see. Each one of them would recommend to the other to be the one to look after her, and they kept doing so till they did not find anyone ready to do it.
They decided to cast their lots this time too, and the arrow this time came to be that of a righteous carpenter from among the Children of Israel named Joseph son of Jacob son of Matan, and he was Maryam’s cousin. So he took her. Maryam saw in his face the weight of the burden, whereupon she said to him, O Joseph! Think well of Allah (SwT), for He will sustain us. Joseph started receiving sustenance on account of her, and he would bring her every day of what he had earned to take care of her needs.
Whenever he brought it to her and she was in the house of worship at Jerusalem, Allah (SwT) would multiply it for him and increase it. Whenever Zakariyya (‘a) entered to see her, he used to see a remnant of sustenance that was more than what Joseph had brought her, hence his question to her,
O Mary! Whence comes this to you? She said: It is from Allah. Surely Allah gives to whomsoever He pleases without measure (Qur’an, 3:37).
Christians have for years been debating about Mary, whether she was the mother of God, as some call her, or whether she was an ordinary pious lady. We do not wish to contribute to such a debate, preferring to leave them wandering forever in their wilderness as they please...
Birth Of Jesus (‘A) Son Of Mary
Allah (SwT) Almighty has said,
And mention Mary in the Book when she drew aside from her family to an eastern place; so she took a veil (to screen herself) from them; then We sent her Our spirit, and he appeared to her as a perfectly ordinary man. She said: Surely I seek refuge against you with the Beneficent God, if you are God-fearing. He said: I am only a messenger of your Lord to give you [the glad tiding of] a pure boy. She said: How can I have a boy and no mortal has yet touched me, nor have I been unchaste? He said: Even so; your Lord says: It is easy for Me, and so that We may make him a sign to men and a mercy from Us, and it is a matter already decreed. So she conceived him [Jesus], then withdrew with him to a remote place. And the throes (of childbirth) compelled her to betake herself to the trunk of a palm tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died before this and had been a thing quite forgotten! Then (the newly-born) called out to her from beneath her: Do not grieve! Surely your Lord has made a stream flow beneath you, and shake towards you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop on you fresh ripe dates; so eat and drink and refresh the eye. Then if you see any mortal, say: Surely I have vowed a fast to the Beneficent God, so I shall not speak to any human today. And she came to her people carrying him. They said: O Mary! Surely you have done a strange thing! O sister of Aaron! Your father was not a bad man, nor was your mother unchaste! But she pointed to him. They said: How should we speak to one who is a child in the cradle? He [Jesus] said: Surely I am a servant of Allah; He has given me the Book and made me a prophet, and He has made me blessed wherever I may be, and He has enjoined on me prayers and zakat as long as I live, and dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me insolent, unblessed. And peace be on me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I am raised (back) to life. Such is Jesus son of Mary; (this is) the saying of truth about which they dispute. (Qur’an, 19:16-34)
Prophets’ biographers have said that when three days had passed since Mary was pregnant with Jesus (‘a), she was fifteen, or thirteen, years old. One of those dedicated for the service of the temple with her was her above-mentioned cousin Joseph the carpenter. He was a thoughtful man who used to offer charity from his earnings. Joseph and Mary used to take turns in serving the temple.
When they ran out of water, each would take the pitcher and go to the cave to obtain water then return to the temple. The day that she met Gabriel was the longest and the hottest day of the year. She had run out of water, so she asked her cousin, Shall we go together, O Joseph, to obtain water? He said, I have some water left which will suffice me for today. She said, But I, by Allah (SwT), am out of water! She took her pitcher and went out alone till she came to the cave where she met Gabriel whom Allah (SwT) made to appear to her as an ordinary man. He told her that Allah (SwT) had sent him to grant her a pure boy. She said,
Surely I seek refuge from you with the Beneficent God if you are God-fearing (Qur’an, 19:18),
that is, a pious, obedient to his Lord. Imam Ali has said, I have come to know that a pious person is one who has compassion for others and is merciful, and she thought that he (Gabriel) was a man, a human. ‘Ikrimah has said, Gabriel appeared to her in the form of a young beardless man with curly hair, and in perfect form.
Wise men have said that Allah (SwT) Almighty sent him in human form so that Mary would be able to remain self-composed and listen to his speech. Had he appeared in his normal form, she would have been frightened by him and would have shunned him. When Mary sought refuge with Allah (SwT) against him, he said to her,
I am only a messenger of your Lord to give you (the glad tiding of) a pure boy. She said: How can I have a boy while no mortal has yet touched me, nor have I been unchaste? He said: Even so; your Lord says: It is easy for Me, and so that We may make him a sign to men and a mercy from Us, and it is a matter already decreed (Qur’an, 19:19-21).
Having heard his statement, she submitted to Allah (SwT)’s decree, whereupon Gabriel blew in the pocket of her loose outer garment. By then, she had taken it off. Once he had left, Mary filled her pitcher with water, put her outer garment on, instantly and unconsciously conceiving of Jesus (‘a), then went back to the temple.
Another story of how Mary conceived is narrated, or say suggested, by al-Suddi and ‘Ikrimah who have said that Mary used to remain in the temple as long as she was clean. Once she started her period, she would go to her aunt’s house till she became clean again and would then return. While Mary was bathing after her period was over, having chosen a sunny spot because it was then winter and that day was the shortest day of the year and placed a curtain between her and the rest of the house residents, arch-angel Gabriel appeared. He gave her the glad tiding of Jesus (‘a), then he blew in the pocket of her outer loose garment.
Al-Hasan says that the Nazarenes had taken the east as their qibla because Mary had taken a place facing the east [prior to her conception]. When she was big with Jesus (‘a), her cousin Joseph the carpenter was in her company, and they were both going to the temple one day near Mount Zion. That temple was their greatest. They used to repair it, heat it, and sweep it, and nobody knew anyone more diligent or dedicated that both of them. The first person who found it objectionable that she should be pregnant was this same cousin and fellow servant of the temple, Joseph the carpenter.
When he saw what had happened to her, he thought it was monstrous and horrible, and he did not know what to do or what to say to her. Whenever he contemplated on charging her, he remembered her uprightness, adoration, and innocence and the fact that she was never out of his sight even for one hour. If he desired to think of her as innocent, he saw the signs of her pregnancy. When he could not keep it to himself any longer, he decided to discuss it with her.
The first thing he said to her was, AI have noticed something about you to which I have found myself reacting, and I have been trying to keep it to myself, but I finally decided that discussing it with you may set my mind at ease. She said to him, Say it nicely. He asked her, Tell me, Mary, has there been any trees growing without seeds? She said, Yes! He asked her again, Then has there been trees growing without rain? She said, Yes! Then he said, Can there be children without parents?
She said, Yes! Don’t you know that Allah (SwT) Almighty caused all the trees to grow when He created them without first sowing their seeds, for seeds come from trees? Have you not come to know that Allah (SwT) caused the trees to grow without rain, and through His might He caused the rain to sustain the species of trees after having created each species separately? Or do you say that Allah (SwT) is not able to grow trees without the help of water and without it He could not have been able to grow them?!
Joseph said to her, No, I do not say that, but I say that Allah (SwT) Almighty is capable of doing anything; all He has to do is to say to it, ‘Be!’ and it is! Mary then said, Don’t you know that Allah (SwT) created Adam (‘a) and his wife without parents?
He answered in the affirmative. Her last statement convinced him that what had happened to her must have been something which Allah (SwT) Almighty had decreed, and that it was not fitting for him to ask her about it due to the secrecy she seemed to maintain in its regard. Then Joseph took charge of all the maintenance chores needed to be performed at the temple and spared her having to do anything at all.
Scholars say that when Mary came close to delivering, Allah (SwT) Almighty inspired her that the Jerusalem temple was one of His houses which was pure and was built so that His Name would be praised therein.
Go to a place where you can seek seclusion, the Almighty inspired her. Mary went to the house of her aunt, the mother of Yahya (John the Baptist). When the latter stood up to greet her and welcome her, she found herself in need of Mary to support her to stand up. Then she asked her,”O Mary! Can you imagine me being pregnant?! Mary said, I, too, am pregnant! Zakariyya’s wife said,”Then I find the one in my womb prostrating to the one in yours! To this does the Almighty refer in the verse saying,”... testifying to a Word from Allah (Qur’an, 3:39).
When she felt comfortable at her aunt’s house, the Almighty inspired her, If you give birth among your people, they will taunt you, charge you, and kill both you and your son; so, get away from them.
Scholars have differed regarding how long it took Mary to conceive and deliver. Some say that the duration of her pregnancy was nine months like all other women, while others say it was eight, and that that was another miracle: no new-born who stayed in his mother’s womb for only eight months survived except Jesus (‘a).
Other scholars say it was six months, still others say it was three hours, and some even say it was only one hour. Ibn ‘Abbas has said, It was only conception then delivery, and the time from the conception to the delivery and the seclusion she sought was only one hour, for Allah (SwT) Almighty did not mention any separation between them when He said,
‘So she conceived him then withdrew with him to a remote place’ (Qur’an, 19:22),
that is, far away from her people. Muqatil10 has said, His mother conceived him in one hour; he was formed in one hour; he was delivered in one hour when the sun had just set, and she was twenty years old, having had only two menstrual periods before conceiving Jesus (‘a).
Mujahid11 has said, Mary, peace be on her, has said, ‘Whenever I sought seclusion, Jesus (‘a) would speak to me, and I would speak to him. If a human distracted me from that, he would praise the Almighty while being in my womb, and I would hear his praising,’ and Allah (SwT) knows best.
When the pain of childbirth intensified, she sought to support herself with the trunk of a tree, and it was a dry palm tree with neither leaves nor a live trunk but a dead stump. The angels did not like the sight of that palm tree, and they were surrounding her in rows, and that palm tree was at a village called Bethlehem12. When her crisis reached its zenith, she said in agony,
Oh! Would that I had died before this and had been a thing quite forgotten (Qur’an, 19:23),
whereupon she was addressed,
Grieve not! Surely your Lord has made a stream flow beneath you, and shake towards you the trunk of the palm tree, it will drop on you fresh ripe dates (Qur’an, 19:24-25).
The original Arabic text of the first verse, that is,
Then he called out to her from beneath her (Qur’an, 19:24),
can be recited in two different ways: min tatiha, that is, from under her, connotes a reference to the one who called on her from the mountain side, namely Gabriel. Or it can be recited man tatiha, the one who was underneath her, that is, Jesus (‘a) Christ, after having emerged from his mother’s womb. He addressed her by the Will of Allah (SwT). Allah (SwT) caused a river to flow for her after she had given birth to Jesus (‘a). Its water would be sweet and cool if she wanted to drink of it, lukewarm if she wanted to wash herself with it. Ibn ‘Abbas has said, Jesus (‘a), or Gabriel, struck the earth, whereupon water gushed forth, and the dry tree was brought back to life after its dryness. Its branches cascaded, and it brought forth its produce and excelled in it. She was told to shake the trunk of the palm tree to her so that it would cause fresh dates to fall on her.
Al-Rabee’ ibn Khaytham has said, There is nothing better for a woman in her postnatal period than fresh dates, nor for any patient better than honey. Umar ibn Maymoon has said, I cannot think of anything better for a woman having difficulty delivering than fresh dates.
Wahab has said, When he [Jesus (‘a)] was born, all idols were seen falling on the ground headlong in each and every land, so much so that the demons were frightened and did not know why. They rushed to Iblis the accursed who was on a throne he had made for himself on the surface of a lake mocking the Almighty’s Throne when it was first on the water.
They came to him when six hours of the day had passed. When Iblis saw their throngs, he felt very upset and alarmed because he had never seen them assembling like that since he scattered them throughout the world to do their mischievous deeds. He used to see some of them now and then but never all of them at the same time.
He asked them what had happened. They told him that something must have happened on earth that caused all the idols to be smashed without any human touching them. Nothing was more instrumental than those idols in bringing destruction to the descendants of Adam (‘a). Now this new event that has occurred caused humans to think very low of those idols, and the devils were concerned that humans were not going to worship idols any more.
Be informed, they said, that we have not come to you here before looking for its cause throughout the world, in the seas, and everywhere else, but we did not increase but in ignorance regarding what has happened. Iblis said to them, This must have been a momentous event; so, remain where you are.
Iblis immediately flew away for three hours during which he passed by the place where Jesus (‘a) was born. When he saw the angels gazing at that spot, he realized that that was the scene of the event. He wanted to approach it from above, but the heads of the angels and their shoulders acted as a shield. He wanted to approach it from under the ground, but he noticed that the angels’ feet were planted firmly in it. He then wanted to penetrate through their ranks, but they forbade him from doing so as testified to this fact by the statement of the Prophet saying, Every human being is hit by Satan on the side on its birth except Jesus (‘a) son of Mary, peace with him; Allah (SwT) Almighty shielded Jesus (‘a) from him, so he kept trying [unsuccessfully] to penetrate the shield.’
Having facilitated the delivery for Mary, Allah (SwT) Almighty prepared Mary to meet her people.
Eat, O Mary, the Almighty inspired her, of the fresh dates, and drink of the sweet and cool water; cool your eyes and be contented. If you see any human, and he asks you about your son, or makes a serious charge against you in his regard, tell him that you pledged to abstain (from speaking to anyone) for the sake of achieving the Pleasure of the Most Merciful One. (Qur’an, 19:26)
The fast referred to in chapter 19 (Surah Maryam), verse 26, meant abstention from speaking. Fast during that period was abstention from eating, drinking, and speaking,
.. so I shall not speak to any man today (Qur’an, 19:26),
Mary was instructed to say. Another reference to abstention from speaking to people is made in the first verses of the Qur’anic Chapter named after Mary, the same Surah Maryam referred to above:
He (Zakariyya (‘a)) said: Lord! Give me a sign (aya). He said: Your sign is that you will not speak to the people for three nights though being in sound health (Qur’an, 19:10).
Sometimes staying away from people and remaining in constant contact with the Almighty enables one to reach a very high spiritual plain. Remember how Prophet Muhammad (S), prior to the initiation of his historic mission, used to seek seclusion from people at the ira cave of Mount Thawr in order to meditate and to clear his thoughts. Mary brought her infant Jesus (‘a) to her people carrying him.
Al-Kalbi13has said, Joseph the carpenter took Mary and Jesus (‘a) inside a cave and kept them there for forty days till she recovered fully from the pains of childbirth, then he brought her back carrying him, being forty days old, whereupon Jesus (‘a) spoke to her on the way saying, ‘Mother! Congratulations! I am the servant of Allah (SwT) and His Messiah!’ When she came to her family with the infant, all members of her family were so grieved, they wept. It was a family of righteousness. They said to her,
‘O Mary! You surely have done a strange thing’ (Qur’an, 19:27),
that is,’Where did you get this son from?’ She beckoned to them to ask Jesus (‘a). They were now angry and said,
‘How can we speak to one who is a child in the cradle?’ (Qur’an, 19:29).
Wahab has said that Zakariyya (‘a) came to her while she was debating with the Jews about him; he said to Jesus (‘a), ‘Speak up and produce your proof if you were indeed ordered to do so.’ Jesus (‘a), who was then forty days old, spoke and said,
‘I am a servant of Allah (SwT); He has given me the Book and made me a prophet, and He has made me blessed wherever I may be. He has enjoined on me prayer and zakat as long as I live, and (to be) dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me insolent, unblessed. And peace be on me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I am raised to life’ (Qur’an, 19:30-33).
Thus did Jesus (‘a) admit his submission to the Will of Allah (SwT) at the very beginning of his speech, belying the claim of the Christians and making his argument against them.
Imam Muhammad ibn Ali al-Baqir14, is quoted as saying, When Jesus (‘a) was born, in each day he grew up as much as infants would grow in a month. When he was nine months old, his mother took him by the hand and brought him to the class and seated him before the teacher. The teacher asked him to say Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim, which Jesus (‘a) repeated. The teacher then required him to repeat the alphabets after him, whereupon he raised his head and asked him whether he knew what the alphabets meant.
The teacher raised his stick aiming to hit him, but he quickly said to him, ‘Do not hit me, O teacher! If you do not know, ask me, and I shall explain them to you.’ The teacher asked him to explain them to him, so he stated the following,
• Alif is derived from La ilaha illa-Allah (there is no god except Allah (SwT));
• Ba is derived from Behjatullah (the Splendor of Allah (SwT));
• Jeem is derived rom Jalal-Allah (SwT) (the Greatness of Allah (SwT));
• Dal is derived from Din-Allah (SwT) (the Creed of Allah (SwT));
• Ha is derived from Hawiya, Hell, the pit;
• Waw is derived from Waylun li ahlin-nar (Woe unto the people of the Fire!);
• Za is derived from Zafeeru-Jahannam, the exhalation of Jahannam (or ge hen Hinnom15), Hell, the eternal Fire;
• Hui is derived from Huatil khaaya ‘anil mustaghfirin (the sins have been removed from those who seek His forgiveness);
• Kilman is derived from Kalamullahi ghayr makhlooq wala mubaddila li kalimatih (the Speech of Allah (SwT) is not created, and there is no alteration to it);
• a’af is derived from a’ bi a’ wal jaza bil jaza (a measure for a measure, and a reward for each good deed);
• Qirshat is derived from taqrushuhum hina tashuruhum (it gathers them together as it inflicts its pain on them).’
The teacher said to Mary,”Woman, take your son away, for he needs no teacher.”
Al-Husayn ibn Muhammad ibn al-Husayn, a scholar of exegesis, has informed us through his chain of narrators which goes back to Abu Sa’id al-Khudri who quotes the Messenger of Allah (S) as saying, Jesus (‘a) was sent by his mother to learn, so the teacher required him to say Bismillah (in the Name of Allah (SwT)), whereupon Jesus (‘a) asked him what that meant. The teacher told him he did not know, so Jesus (‘a) explained it to him. He said, ‘The B means Bahaullah (the Splendor of Allah (SwT)), the sin [the ‘s’ in bismillah] means Sanaullah (the Majesty of Allah (SwT)), and the mim [the ‘m’ in Bismillah] means Mamlakatullah (the Kingdom of Allah (SwT), the Exalted, the Sublime),’ and Allah (SwT) knows best.
Jesus (‘A) And Mary Leave For Egypt
Jesus (‘a) was born forty-two years after the ascension of Augustus16 (of the Roman empire), fifty-one years after the king of the Ashkanites17, kings of the sects, had passed away. Today’s Syria and its surrounding areas were under the authority of Caesar of Rome who had appointed Herod18 as the king on his behalf. When Herod, who was ruling over the areas then inhabited by the Children of Israel, came to know the story of the Messiah, he wanted to kill him. The Children of Israel saw a star according to whose appearance they, utilizing their books, calculated the date of his birth. Allah (SwT) sent an angel to Joseph the carpenter to warn him against Herod and his evil scheme, ordering him to flee with the boy and his mother to Egypt and to return once Herod was dead. Joseph transported Mary and her son on a donkey till they reached a place in Egypt to which the Almighty refers in this verse:
And We made the son of Mary and his mother a sign, and We gave them a shelter on a lofty ground having meadows and springs (Qur’an, 23:50).
Mary And Jesus (‘A) Return Home
Wahab has said that when Herod died, twelve years after the birth of Jesus (‘a)19, Allah (SwT) inspired Mary telling her of Herod’s death, ordering her to return with her son Jesus (‘a) and cousin Joseph the carpenter to Syria. They did, settling near the Galilee mountain at a village in north-northeast of Bethlehem (Bayt Laam) called Nazareth after which Christians are called Nazarites or Nazarenes. Its Arabic name is al-Naira. There, Jesus (‘a) kept learning in one hour what others would learn in a day, and in a day what others would in a month, and in a month what others would in a year, and such is the Almighty’s design with His messengers.
When he became thirty years old, Allah (SwT) inspired him to come out to the public and to invite them to worship the One and Only God, Allah (SwT), through the medium of parables, empowering him to heal the sick, to cure those afflicted with permanent handicaps, to give sight back to the blind, to heal the mentally retarded, to suppress the power of evil, to forbid people from committing misdeeds, and to subject the devils to humiliation by permitting goodness to thus prevail.
He did as he was ordered, so people loved him and enjoyed his company. His followers started increasing in number. Soon he became quite famous, and at times he may have had as many as fifty thousand patients or handicapped persons to heal.
Those who could walk to him did so, and those who could not he himself sought, the messenger of God that he was20. Those who could not reach him, he managed to reach them, and such is the mark of distinction of men of God. The only medicine he applied to the patients who had a full conviction in him and in his Lord was his supplication.
Mary’s Death And The Prophethood Of Jesus (‘A)
According to a number of accounts, Mary conceived Jesus (‘a) when she was thirteen years old. She gave birth to him at Bethlehem, a suburb of Jerusalem, fifty-one years after the beginning of the reign of the Ashkelonites (or Ashkenazim). Allah (SwT) sent the wai (inspiration) to him at the age of thirty, and He raised him up from the temple at Jerusalem on Laylatul-Qadr (the Night of Power) during the month of Ramadan when he was thirty-three years old; so, his prophethood continued for only three years. His mother lived after his being raised to heavens for six years, and Allah (SwT) knows best.
Allah (SwT) Almighty has said,
But when Jesus perceived disbelief on their part, he said: Who will be my helpers in Allah’s way? The disciples said: We are helpers (in the way) of Allah: We believe in Allah and bear witness that we submit (to Him in Islam) (Qur’an, 3:52).
The Almighty has also said,
And when I inspired the disciples saying: Believe in Me and in My messenger, they said: We believe and (you) bear witness that we are Muslims (submitters to the will of Allah) (Qur’an, 5:111),
that is, Allah (SwT) enabled the disciples to believe in His messenger. They were the elite from among those who believed in Jesus (‘a) son of Mary and who followed him. They were his supporters and viziers, and they were twelve in number. Their names are: Simon al-Safa who is also called Peter, his brother Andrews, Jacob son of Zebedee, his brother John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew al-Ashshar (collector of the ‘ushr tax, the tithe21), Jacob son of Halfa, Leah who is also called Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot. Biblical lists of them, however, differ from this one.
The Asaints who wrote the Gospels named after them are: John, Mark, Luke, and Matthew. Let us see what Christians tell us about them22:
St. Mark was a friend of Saints Peter, Paul, and Luke. He is John Mark; his mother is believed to be the owner of the house where the Last Supper (where the Table of Viands, or al-Ma’ida) was held. His Gospel is the shortest and simplest, the only one which stands out from among all the other three in context and in spirit. Some Biblical critics are of the view that it was the first to be composed. It narrates the life of Jesus (‘a) from his baptism by John the Baptist to the passion and alleged resurrection.
St. Luke, a man from Antioch23,Syria, was said to be a doctor, a physician, and a friend and companion of Saints Paul and Mark. Christian tradition, however, says that he was a painter and that he died as a martyr. He is described as a disciple of the apostles24 which clearly means he learned not directly from Jesus (‘a) but from his twelve apostles. His Gospel provides an account of the birth of Jesus (‘a), tells of his ministry and ends with the passion and alleged resurrection. He is author of a twelve-volume literary work, the Gospel and the Acts, and is the most literary of the New Testament writers. The approximate date of his death or Amartyrdom is given as 66 A.D.
St. Matthew, also named Levi, is said to be a publican (tax collector) of Capernaum, a city in northeast Palestine on the Sea of Galilee. He was employed as a tax collector by Herod Antipas, tetrach of Galilee. He is described as one of the twelve disciples of Jesus (‘a) Christ. He is author of the first synoptic Gospel which, like the rest, gives an account of the birth of Jesus (‘a), tells of his ministry, and ends with the passion and alleged Aresurrection. The Bible offers scanty and uncertain information about him. Everything about his character, conduct, conviction, and life is subject to debate and is never ascertained... He wrote his Gospel, the first of the four, in Hebrew. His Gospel is also attributed to Matthew who is said to be one of the twelve apostles.
St. John is the son of Zebedee, a fisherman from the Galilee, and Salome. He is the younger brother of St. James the Greater, also one of the twelve disciples of Jesus (‘a). Jesus (‘a) Christ, we are told, also had a brother named James...! Ancient Christian tradition claims that John is the author of all the four Gospels comprising the Bible..., in addition to three epistles and the Book of Revelation. Is he really?! This is the subject of debate among Christians; so, let us leave them debating and arguing till the Day of Judgment! He is described in Christian books as a Adivine, theologian, and as an Evangelist, a writer of the four Gospels. No date of his birth or death is available, and even the place where he died is not known for sure. Some writers admit that what is written about him is more of a legend than a fact.
One is tempted to ask: Why is there four Gospels instead of one? Why is there so much duplication and difference between one Gospel and another? Whose Gospel is the right or the more reliable one? Since they cannot all be right, which one is right?
If those Gospels were all written by St. John, as stated above, why, then, are they divided into four with each one of them bearing the name of an apostle? Had they all be written by St John, why was not the Bible called the Book of John?
According to the Gospel of Matthew, and to be exact Ch. 10, verse 4, the list of the twelve disciples of Jesus (‘a) Christ is as follows: Simon (or Peter), Andrew (Peter’s brother), James (son of Zebedee), John (James’ brother), Philip, Batholomew, Thomas, Matthew (the tax collector), James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus, another Simon who is said to be Aa member of ‘The Zealots,’ a subversive political party, and Judas Iscariot. Why is the name of Saint Barnabas not among them, and how did he come to write his own Gospel, the only one accepted by Muslims as the true Bible? With all their prejudices, speculations, sectarian motivations, it is unwise to accept what today’s or yesterday’s Christians tell us about Saint Barnabas and his Bible, or about the other disciples.
The Encyclopedia Britannica III, for example, describes those who believed that Christ was human and not divine as heretics, and so do many Christian writers and theologians. An independent research, therefore, will yield better results, that’s for sure. One such research has been undertaken by M.A. Yusseff who published his findings in a very interesting book titled The Dead Sea Scrolls, the Gospel of Barnabas, and the New Testament which was published in 1405 A.H./1985 A.D. by the American Trust Publications of Indianapolis, Indiana.25 Saint Barnabas was originally called Joseph the Levite or Joses the Levite and is better known as Matthai or Matthias. In the Christian document known as Recognitions, Matthias is identified as another name for Apostle Barnabas, which is correct. In another document known as Homilies, Barnabas is said to be a personal Apostle of Jesus (‘a), a strict servant of the Law, and, hence, one of the original twelve Disciples (or Apostles) of Jesus (‘a) Christ. The Jews, too, list his name among not twelve but five apostles, the remaining four being: Naki, Nester, Buni, and Todah. But we find the name ALebbacus among these disciples in Matthew 10:13, that of AJudas son of James in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13, both contradicting other Biblical accounts; so, which one is correct and which one is not?!
Saint Barnabas was born in Cyprus in the first century A.D. Other references to him are recorded in the Bible in Acts 11:19 and 15:41. He is said as having joined the Jerusalem church Aafter the alleged crucifixion of Jesus (‘a)26, which is not true, sold his property, and gave the proceeds as a donation to his community. He founded the church in Antioch (Turkish Antakya), where he preached. Inviting Paul of Tarsus (Turkey) to be his assistant, he undertook missionary activity and then went to Jerusalem. Shortly after 48 A.D., a conflict separated both men, and Barnabas sailed home to Cyprus. Where did he write his Gospel and when? Nobody seems to know. How did he die? Nobody seems to know, yet he is called a martyr... We are also told that he knew St. Mark. In 488 A.D., his grave was discovered near the Monastery of St. Barnabas in the Cypriot city of Salamis. A copy of his Gospel was found buried with him27. The accurate list of the twelve disciples of Jesus (‘a) exists in the Gospel of St. Barnabas himself who records the following:
Jesus (‘a), having returned to the region of Jerusalem, was found again of the people with exceedingly great joy, and they implored him to abide with them, for his words were not as those of the scribes, but were with power; for they touched the heart.
Jesus (‘a), seeing that great was the multitude of them that returned to their heart for to walk in the law of God, went up into the mountain, and abode all night in prayer. When the day came he descended from the mountain and chose twelve whom he called apostles, among whom is Judas, who was slain on the cross28. Their names are: Andrew and Peter his brother, fishermen; Barnabas, who wrote this, with Matthew the publican, who sat at the receipt of custom; John and James, son of Zebedee; Thaddaeus and Judas29; Bartholomew and Philip; James, and Judas Iscariot the traitor. To these he always revealed the divine secrets. He made Iscariot Judas his dispenser of that which was given in alms, but he stole the tenth part of everything (The Gospel of Barnabas 14).
The Gospel of St. Barnabas is the one that contains the true teachings of Jesus (‘a) Christ; it will be discussed later how it refers to Prophet Muhammad (S) as the Paraclete, a Greek word meaning AMessenger and Comforter, in Arabic al-Amin... Even if you set aside the Gospel of St. Barnabas, a good Greek translation of the original of John 14:16 will be: And I will Pray the Patera, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you forever.
The Greek word Patera is erroneously translated into the Father, a reference to the Almighty, in a Amodern version of the Bible which gives the following text for John 14:16-17: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever the Spirit of Truth.30 No man of righteousness has earned the title of the Spirit of Truth (in Arabic al-Sadiq) more tha prophet Muhammad (S).
A good scholar of Greek will do better than that; he will translate Patera into Nourisher or Sustainer, and Paraclete into Comforter, al-Amin in Arabic, a title given to Prophet Muhammad (S) even before he had started his mission. The translation of what John has in 14:16-17 should instead run as follows:
And I will request the Nourisher (God) to send you another Messenger, so that he may be (your) guide always, the inspired, the Truthful, whom the world at large will not welcome because it will not comprehend or appreciate him, but you (believers) will recognize him. He will dwell with you and (his message) will find a place in your hearts.
A testimony to the truth of the statement saying... and (his message) will find a place in your hearts is that most converts to Islam used to follow one sect of Christianity or another. On acceptance of Islam, such converts do not abandon Christ; they simply rediscover him and get to know the real Christ whose message has been and is still being distorted.
The best Christians in the world are the Muslims. Muslims wholeheartedly honor Jesus (‘a) Christ and his true and pristine message presented by Prophet Muhammad (S); read the following verses of the Holy Qur’an and see for yourself how such message is described:
Allah said: O Jesus! I am going to terminate the period of your stay (on earth) and cause you to ascend unto Me and purify you of those who disbelieve and make those who follow you above those who disbelieve to the Day of Resurrection... (Qur’an, 3:55)
Carefully examine the above verse especially this portion:... and make those who follow you above those who disbelieve to the Day of Resurrection and see how the Almighty raises the status of those who follow Jesus (‘a) above those who disbelieve in him till the Day of Judgment.
Those who believe in Jesus (‘a) Christ and who follow his pristine message are none other than the Muslims, whereas the rest may be divided into two groups: 1) those who have distorted the message of Jesus (‘a) Christ and lied about it one generation after another and are still doing so, and 2) the Jews who disbelieved in him and in his message and disbelieved in his virgin birth. Although the Jews now are the masters of the world, thanks to the West in general and to the U.S. in particular, but such power they will not keep forever. They will eventually weaken because the promise of the Almighty is true and irreversible; they will be exposed for what they really are: the anti-Christ, the Dajjal, the disseminator of falsehood through their absolute control over the news and information media.
Let us go back to the argument about the Paraclete. This is not the first time such an argument is raised. ‘Allama al-Majlisi records an incident narrated by al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Nawfali involving Imam Ali ibn Mousa ar-Ridha debating with a Catholic about the authenticity of the existing four Gospels comprising the Bible. It went on as follows:
The Imam asked the Catholic, O Christian! Are you familiar with a statement in the Bible wherein Jesus (‘a) says, ‘I am going to my Lord and your Lord, and the Paraclete is coming who shall testify to my truth just as I testified for him, and he shall explain everything to you, and he shall be the one to expose all the sins of nations, and he shall be the one to smash the pillar of apostasy’?31 The Catholic said, We admit all what you have just quoted of the Bible. The Imam asked him, Do you testify that such a statement is actually fixed in the Bible?
Yes, said the Catholic. Imam ar-Ridha said, O Catholic! Could you tell me about the first Bible, how you lost it then found it, and who put your existing Bible together? The Catholic said, We did not lose the Bible except for one single day then we found it fresh; John and Matthew brought it back to us. Imam ar-Ridha said, How little your knowledge of the Bible and its scholars is! If such is your claim, then why do you dispute with one another about the Bible? Rather, controversy has always revolved around the Bible which is in your hands today. Had it been the same as the first one was, you would not have thus disputed (with one another) about it, but I shall inform you of such controversy myself.
The Imam (‘a) went on to state the following:
“Be informed that when the first Bible was lost, the Christians gathered around their scholars and said to them, ‘Jesus (‘a) son of Mary has been killed, and we do not know where the Bible is. You are the scholars; so, what do you have with you?’ Luke and Mark said to them, ‘We have learned the Bible by heart; so, do not grieve in its regard, and do not forsake the churches, for we shall recite to you one Gospel after another on each Sunday till we put it all together.’ Luke, Mark, John and Matthew sat together, and they put this Bible of yours for you after you had lost the first (original) one.
These four men were students of the early disciples; are you aware of that?! The Catholic answered, This I did not know and now I do. It is also now clear to me how much you know about the Bible, and I have heard from you things with which I was familiar and to which my heart testifies to be the truth. I have, therefore, gained a better understanding.
Imam ar-Ridha then said to him, How do you, then, find the testimony of these men? Accurate, said the Catholic, since they are the scholars of the Bible, and everything to which they testified is the truth. Imam ar-Ridha then turned to al-Mamoon and his company and said, Bear witness to what he has just said. They said, We testify.
Then the Imam turned to the Catholic and said, I challenge you to swear by the son and his mother whether you know if Matthew had said, ‘The Messiah is David (‘a) son of Abraham (‘a) son of Isaac son of Jacob son of Yehud (‘a) son of Khadrun’, and that Mark said about the lineage of Jesus (‘a) son of Mary that he was ‘The word of God which He placed in the human body, so it became human’, and that Luke said, ‘Jesus (‘a) son of Mary and his mother were humans of flesh and blood, so the Holy Spirit entered into them’.
Then you testify that Jesus (‘a) had himself said the following about his creation, ‘I tell you the truth: None ascends the heavens except that he descends therefrom except the man who rides the camel, the seal of the prophets, for he shall ascend to the heavens then shall he descend;’ so, what do you say about that? The Catholic said, This is the speech of Jesus (‘a), and we do not deny it. Imam ar-Ridha said, If so, what do you say about the testimony of Luke, Mark, and Matthew with regard to Jesus (‘a) and what they had attributed to him? The Catholic said, They lied about Jesus (‘a)... Imam ar-Ridha turned to the audience and said, O people! Has he not (a moment ago) testified to their truthfulness and said that they were the scholars of the Bible and what they said is the truth?!
The Catholic said to the Imam, O scholar of the Muslims! I would like you to excuse me from discussing these men. After a while the Imam turned to that Catholic, who was an arch-bishop, and said, In the Bible, it is written: ‘The son of the virtuous woman is departing, and the Paraclete is coming after him, and he shall lighten the burdens and explain everything to you, and he shall testify for me as I have testified to you.
I have brought you the parables, and he shall bring you the interpretation.’ Do you believe that such a text exists in the Bible? The Catholic answered in the affirmative.”32
The Holy Qur’an, moreover, tells us in Surah al-aff (Ch. 61) that
Jesus son of Mary said: O Children of Israel! I am the prophet of Allah to you testifying to that which is before me of the Torah and giving the glad tidings of a Prophet who will come after me; his name is Amed; but when he came to them with clear arguments, they said: This is clear magic (Qur’an, 61:6).
Compare this Qur’anic verse with the following text in the Gospel of St. Barnabas:
Thereon said the disciples, O master, it is thus written in the book of Moses (‘a), that in Isaac was the promise made.
Jesus (‘a) answered with a groan, It is so written, but Moses (‘a) wrote it not, nor Joshua, but rather our rabbins, who fear not God. Verily, I say to you that if you consider the words of the angel Gabriel, you shall discover the malice of our scribes and doctors.
For the angel said: ‘Abraham (‘a), all the world shall know how God loves you, but how shall the world know the love that you bear to God? Assuredly it is necessary that you do something for the love of God.’ Abraham (‘a) answered, ‘Behold the servant of God, ready to do all that which God shall will.’
Then spoke God, saying to Abraham (‘a), ‘Take your son, your firstborn Ishmael, and come up the mountain to sacrifice him.’ How is Isaac firstborn, if when Isaac was born Ishmael was seven years old?
Then answered Jesus (‘a), Verily I say to you that Satan ever seeks to annul the laws of God. Therefore he with his followers, hypocrites and evildoers, the former with false doctrine, the latter with lewd living, today have contaminated almost all things, so that scarcely is the truth found. Woe to the hypocrites, for the praises of this world shall turn for them into insults and torments in hell.
I therefore say to you that the messenger of God is a splendor that shall give gladness to nearly all that God has made, for he is adorned with the spirit of understanding and of counsel, the spirit of wisdom and might, the spirit of fear and love (of God), the spirit of prudence and temperance.
He is adorned with the spirit of charity and mercy, the spirit of justice and piety, the spirit of gentleness and patience, which he has received from God three times more than He has given to all his creatures. O blessed time, when he shall come to the world. Believe me that I have seen him and have done him reverence, even as every prophet has seen him. Seeing that of his spirit God gives to them prophecy.
And when I saw him my soul was filled with consolation, saying, O Muhammad (S), God be with you, and may he make me worthy to untie your shoe latchet, for obtaining this I shall be a great prophet and holy one of God. (The Gospel of Barnabas 44)
“... unworthy to untie your latchet” above brings to memory what St. Mark said in 1:7: And this was his message: ‘After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.
The speaker is undoubtedly Jesus (‘a) and the one whose coming he is predicting is none other tha prophet Muhammad (S). But people look at things and make them appear as they would like them to. Such is the truth which all other disciples, with the exception of Barnabas, had deliberately hidden.
The reader is encouraged to obtain a copy of the Gospel of Saint Barnabas33 and compare it with other existing Bibles, be they those accepted by the Catholics or those endorsed by the Protestants and judge for himself as to how much distortion the message of Christ has suffered and is still suffering...
Al-Dahhak has said that the disciples (in Arabic hawariyyun) were called so due to their pure hearts. Apparently he gave them more credit than they deserve, seeing how much distortion they inflicted on the message of Jesus (‘a) even as early as the very first century. As a matter of fact, one very famous Christian writer, George Bernard Shaw, described these disciples very well when he said the following on p. 72 of The Adventures of a Black Girl in Her Search for God: Jesus (‘a) could be reproached for having chosen his disciples very unwisely if we could believe that he had any real choice.
There are moments when one is tempted to say that there was not one Christian among them and that Judas was the only one who showed any gleams of common sense. Imagine! Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak has said that they were called so because their faces were shining with the mark of adoration, its glow and whiteness. The Arabic root word, r, means: intense whiteness. Al-Hasan has said that it means supporters or Ahelpers, while Qatadah thinks that it means the ones most fit to be successors of their master.
Did those disciples or apostles deserve all these compliments? Let us examine how they dealt with their master:
The night preceding the”imprisonment” of Jesus (‘a) Christ was truly a testing night for the faith of those disciples. On that night, those disciples joined him in his concealment. Jesus (‘a) knew perfectly well what they were; so, he recommended them to devote themselves to prayer so that they might not fail the test. On that occasion, they made a great profession of faith and integrity. One said, I will shed my blood where a drop of your perspiration falls. Another said, I will die before anyone hurts a hair of your body.
Despite all these protests and professions, they could not keep even the night’s vigil along with Jesus (‘a). Jesus (‘a) said to them, Stay here with me keeping the night’s vigil along with me... Then he came to the disciples and saw them fallen asleep. He then said to Peter, Can you not keep even a moment’s vigil with me? Keep vigil and keep yourself engaged in prayers lest you should fail the test...
Then, coming out again, he saw them sleeping the second time, and their eyes were heavy with sleep..., and he saw them the third time sleeping. If you have a copy of The New Testament in Today’s English Version (third edition, New York), go to p. 73 and see for yourself.
Ibn ‘Abbas has said that they were fishermen. Some of them were. Jesus (‘a) passed by them once and asked them what they were doing. Fishing, said they. He asked them, Would you like to come with me so we may fish for people? They asked him, How can that be?! He said, We invite them to the way of Allah (SwT).
They asked him who he was, and he answered them that he was Jesus (‘a) son of Mary, a servant and Messenger of Allah (S). Is there any other prophet whose status is higher than yours? they asked him. Yes, he answered, the Arabia prophet, so they followed him, believed in him, and joined his march. This is what we, Muslims, would like to think of these disciples, but how do Christians look at us?
Contrary to what we, Muslims, are taught by our Islamic code of ethics, Christians do not recognize our religion or any other religion besides theirs. To them, anyone who does not recognize Jesus (‘a) as the son of God, His only begotten son, and who is not baptized, can have no place in heaven. Such is their wishful thinking. Compare this attitude with the tolerance Islam demonstrates in the following verse of Surah al-Baqara and judge for yourself:
Surely those who believe (Muslims), and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabean34 (Sabians), whoever believes in God and in the Last Day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve. (Qur’an, 2:62)
Such is the tolerance of Islam, and such is the perfect code of Islamic ethics.
The Holy Spirit
Among the signs of the prophethood of Jesus (‘a) is that he was assisted by the Holy Spirit. The Almighty has said,
We gave Jesus son of Mary clear arguments and strengthened him with the holy spirit (Qur’an, 2:87);
Allah will say: O Jesus son of Mary! Remember My favor on you and on your mother when I strengthened you with the Holy Spirit (Qur’an, 5:110).
Scholars have differed regarding the Holy Spirit (al r al qudus). Al-Rabee’ ibn Anas has said that it is the spirit that blew the breath of life into him, and that Allah (SwT) attached it to His own Name as an act of honoring. The qudus is Allah (SwT) Almighty according to the verse,
... and a spirit from Him (Qur’an, 4:171),
... so We breathed into her of Our ruh (Qur’an, 21:91).
Other scholars have said that what is meant by the qudus is purity, hence al qudus means the pure spirit. Jesus (‘a) is also called for the simple reason that he was not carried in men’s loins, nor was he carried by the wombs of married women; rather, he was an order decreed by the Almighty.
Al-Suddi says that al ruh al qudus, the Holy Spirit, is Gabriel, and that this phrase means: supporting Jesus (‘a) through Gabriel, peace be on both of them, since he was his companion, friend, and guard, walking with him wherever he walked till he ascended to heavens. Sa’id ibn Jubayr and ‘Ubayd ibn ‘Umayr say that it is Allah (SwT)’s Greatest Name, and through it did he (Jesus (‘a)) bring the dead back to life and perform those miracles to people.
Miracles Of Jesus (‘A)
Al-Suddi has said that when Jesus (‘a) was at his class, he used to tell his fellows what their parents were doing. He would tell one of them, Go home and see that your family has eaten such-and-such food, or they have left such-and-such for you, so he would go home and ask his parents to let him have it. The family would in turn ask him how he came to know about it, and he would say that Jesus (‘a) had told him.
For this reason, the parents prohibited their children from having anything to do with Jesus (‘a), telling them that he was a sorcerer. They once gathered them all together at a house, and Jesus (‘a) came and wanted to see them. When he asked who were confined inside the house, it was maliciously said to him, Pigs. He said, So shall they be, whereupon the door of the house was opened and indeed pigs came out of the house, and the news of the incident became widespread.
The Children of Israel felt fed up with Jesus (‘a). They wanted to get rid of him. When his mother sensed the danger, she conveyed him on a donkey and went out to Egypt35.
When Jesus (‘a) and his mother, peace be on both of them, came out wandering about in the land, they left the Children of Israel behind them and came to a villager who hosted them and was very kind to them. The king during that time was a stubborn oppressor, so their host one day came back home looking very depressed.
He entered his house while Mary was in his wife’s company. Mary asked his wife why her husband looked so depressed, whereupon she said to her, Our king compels every man to take care of feeding him and his soldiers and serve them wine; anyone who refused would be penalized. Today is our turn to host him, and we are not able to handle such a burden. Mary asked her to tell her husband not to worry, since he was kind to her and to her son, and that she would ask her son to invoke Allah (SwT) on his behalf, and that his invocation would alone be sufficient.
Then Mary told Jesus (‘a) of it, whereupon he said that if he were to do so, there would be some mischief [due to wine drinking]. It does not matter, Mary said, for he has surely been very kind to us. Then Jesus (‘a) told his host to have his pots and containers filled with water, then to inform him once they were all full.
The man did so, whereupon Jesus (‘a) invoked his Lord and the water in the pots turned into meat and gravy, while the water in the containers turned into wine36. People had never tasted anything like it before. When the king came, he and his men ate, and when he drank of that wine, he asked his host where he had obtained it from.
When the man told the king where he had obtained it from, the king said to him, The wine I am served at my palace is brought to me from that land, and it surely does not taste like this one. The host had to change his story, but the king pressured him to tell him the truth. Finally, the man gave up and said, The truth is that there is, at my house, a child who is granted by Allah (SwT) the answer to any of his pleas, and he is the one who invoked Him to turn the water into wine.
It so happened that that king had a son whom he very much wished to succeed him as monarch, but that son had died only a few days ago. He loved him more than anyone else. The king said, A man who invokes Allah (SwT) to turn water into wine and Allah (SwT) answers his plea is surely capable of bringing my son back to life. Jesus (‘a) was brought to him, and he discussed the matter with him.
Jesus (‘a) said to him, Do not do that, for if he is brought back to life, a great deal of evil shall take place. The king said, I am not concerned about that after seeing him again. Jesus (‘a) asked him, If I bring him back to life, are you all going to leave me and my mother go wherever we want? The king said, Yes. Jesus (‘a), therefore, invoked Allah (SwT) Who did, indeed, bring that son back to life.
When the king’s subjects saw him, they rushed to grab their weapons and said, This king has plundered our wealth and now wants to appoint his son as his successor over us so that he, too, will do what his father has been doing... They fought among themselves. Jesus (‘a) and his mother left them and continued their journey.
Another of his miracles is that he created out of clay birds, as Allah Almighty tells us in the Holy Qur’an, (Qur’an, 3:49)
... I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, that I determine for you out of mud like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird with Allah’s permission, and in (Qur’an, 5:110)
... and when you determined out of mud a thing like the form of a bird by My permission, then you breathed into it and it became a bird by My permission.
Among his other miracles was his curing the leprous and those born blind, as Allah (SwT) Almighty has said,
... and you healed the [born] blind and the leprous by My permission (Qur’an, 5:110).
The reason why these two ailments were particularly mentioned is due to the fact that nobody among the physicians of the time could find any cure for them. Jesus (‘a) lived during a time when medicine was considered the most prominent branch of knowledge, so he was able to demonstrate to them miracles in it which nobody else could.
Still another of his miracles was his bringing the dead back to life by the Permission of Allah (SwT) Who says,
... and when you brought forth the dead [back to life] by My permission (Qur’an, 5:110).
Among the dead whom he brought back to life was Lazarus (as he is called in Latin, a word which means one helped by God, or Eleazar in Hebrew), a friend of his. He, his sisters Martha and Mary were friends of Jesus (‘a). His sister Mary sent Jesus (‘a) a message saying that her brother had died three days ago.
Some people suggested to her to escort them to his grave. She did, and it was inside a closed vault. Jesus (‘a) supplicated to his Lord saying, Lord! Creator of the seven heavens and the seven earths! You have sent me to the Children of Israel to invite them to your creed, and I have told them that I can bring the dead back to life with Your permission; therefore, do bring Eleazar back to life, O Lord! Lazarus came back to life and got out of his grave on his own.
He lived and even fathered a number of children. References to this incident exist in three of modern day’s versions of the Gospels37: Matthew, John, and Luke.
The son of an old woman was another. This story says that while touring the land in the company of his disciples, Jesus (‘a) passed by a city and said,”This city has a treasure; who among you would like to go and take it out?” They said,”O Ruullah (spirit of Allah (SwT))! No stranger enters this town without being murdered by its people.” Jesus (‘a) said,”Stay here, all of you, till I come back.” He went and entered it.
He came to the door of a house and said,”Assalamo ‘Alaikum, O residents of the house! This is a stranger asking you to feed him!” An old woman said to him,”Are you not satisfied with the fact that I do not go to the governor and tell him about you, yet you have the courage to ask for food?!” While Jesus (‘a) was thus standing at the door, her young son joined them.
Jesus (‘a) said to him,”Please do host me tonight!” The young man repeated what his old mother had said. Jesus (‘a) then said to him,”But if you do host me, I will enable you to marry the king’s daughter.” The young man said,”You must be either a mad man or Jesus (‘a) son of Mary!” Jesus (‘a) said,”I am Jesus (‘a),” whereupon he agreed to host him. He offered to let him stay there for the night.
The next morning, he said to his host,”Go to the king’s palace and tell him that you had come to ask for his daughter’s hand. He will order to have you beaten and kicked out.” The young man stood before the king and told him that he wished to ask him for his daughter’s hand. The king ordered him to be beaten; he was beaten and kicked out.
The youth came back and told Jesus (‘a) what had happened, whereupon Jesus (‘a) said to him,”Tomorrow, go back and ask for his daughter’s hand; what will happen to you will be different from what has happened to you today.”
The youth did as he was told, and he was given a beating worse than the one he had received the day before. He told Jesus (‘a) about what had happened to him, and Jesus (‘a) said to him,”Go one more time back to him, for he will tell you that he will marry her to you on his own terms, and that his terms will be a gold and silver mansion with everything in it made of gold, silver and chrysolite.
Tell him that you will do that. If he sends someone with you, you will find your quest, and do not talk to him anything about it.”
The youth entered the king’s palace for the third time and again approached the king regarding his marriage to his daughter. The king asked him,”Do you accept to pay her dower if I decide it?” He asked him what the dower was, and the king told him what Jesus (‘a) had already told him to expect. He said,”Yes, I do; so send someone to see it.” The king sent a number of men with him, and he did, indeed, show them what he had promised, and people were quite impressed. The king married him to his daughter, and the youth found it hard to believe that he finally married into the royal family.
He said to Jesus (‘a),”O Rullah! How can you do all of this while you yourself look in such a (shabby) condition?!” Jesus (‘a) said,”I have preferred what will last to what will perish.” The youth said to him,”I, too, am willing to abandon what perishes, and I desire to accompany you.” He actually renounced this vanishing world and became a follower of Jesus (‘a) who took him by the hand and introduced him to his disciples.
“This,” said Jesus (‘a),”is the treasure I had told you about!” The son of that old woman remained in the company of Jesus (‘a) till he died. Jesus (‘a) passed by and saw his corpse lying in state on a bed, so he invoked Allah (SwT) and the dead man came back to life, sitting on the edge of the bed.
He was carried by other men from the bed and given clothes to wear. He put the carrier on his shoulders then went back home. He remained with his family and fathered a number of children.
Another miracle of Jesus (‘a): He brought Sam son of Noah (‘a) back to life. Jesus (‘a) was once describing the ark of Noah (‘a) to his disciples when the latter asked him,”Is it possible that you bring to life one of those who were aboard it so that he may describe it for us?” Jesus (‘a) stood up and went to a hill, took a handful of its soil and said,”This is the grave of Sam son of Noah (‘a).
If you wish, I can bring him back to life for you.” They welcomed the idea, so he invoked Allah (SwT) by His Greatest Name, struck the hill with his staff then said,”Come back to life by the Will of Allah (SwT),” whereupon Sam came out of his grave with half of his hair looking gray.
Immediately Sam asked,”Has the Day of Judgment come?” Jesus (‘a) said,”No, but I have called on you in Allah (SwT)’s Greatest Name.” During the time of Noah (‘a), old age never changed the color of people’s hair; only during the time of Abraham (‘a) did all of that start to change. Sam lived five hundred years maintaining his youthful look. He told them about the story of the ark. After that Jesus (‘a) ordered him to die, and Sam responded with,”On one condition! That Allah (SwT) spares me the agony of death!” Jesus (‘a) invoked Allah (SwT) and included Sam’s wish in his invocation, and Allah (SwT) responded favorably to his plea.
Another of the miracles of Jesus (‘a) was his walking on water. Jesus (‘a) once went out on one of his trips accompanied by a short and faithful follower of his. When Jesus (‘a) reached the sea38, he said,”Bismillah, in health, and in conviction,” then he started walking on the water.
The man was quite amazed and said to himself,”This is Jesus (‘a), the spirit of Allah (SwT), walking on the water’s surface!” Having inaudibly said so, he fell into the water. Fearing drowning, he sought help from Jesus (‘a) who took hold of him and pulled him out.
Jesus (‘a) said to him,”O Shortie!39 What did you say to yourself?!” He told him about it, whereupon Jesus (‘a) said,”You placed yourself in a position in which Allah (SwT) did not place you; therefore, Allah (SwT) despised you for having said what you said; so, do regret and repent.” The man regretted and repented, so he went back to the status with which Allah (SwT) had blessed him. Thus did Jesus (‘a) provide us with a lesson in piety and admonish us not to envy one another.
Another tale says that Jesus (‘a) passed once by a man who used to sit quite often by a grave. He saw him doing so quite often; therefore, he decided to find out why. Jesus (‘a) came to him and said, O servant of Allah (SwT)! I see that you spend a lot of time sitting by this grave.
The man said,”O Ruhullah! This grave contains my wife’s corpse, a woman of beauty and affinity, and I have a trust with her. He asked him,”Do you like that I pray Allah (SwT) and He brings her back to life for you?” The man warmly welcomed the suggestion.
Jesus (‘a) made his ablution, offered two prostrations, then invoked Allah (SwT) Almighty to bring the person inside that grave back to life. A coal-black man came out of the grave looking like a burnt stump of a tree.
He asked him who he was, so he answered him by saying,”O Ruhullah! I am a man being tormented for the past forty years, and at this hour, it was said to me to respond to your call, so I did,” adding,”O messenger of God! I have seen so much torment that if God ever returns me to this world, I will grant Him my covenant that I shall never disobey Him in anything; so, please do pray Him on my behalf.”
Jesus (‘a) felt sorry for him, and he invoked Allah (SwT) Almighty on his behalf, then he told him to go away, and he did. The man who used to frequently sit by the grave then said,”O Messenger of Allah (S)! I have made a mistake about identifying this grave! Her grave is over there!”
Jesus (‘a) invoked Allah (SwT) again, and a very beautiful young woman came out of the grave. Jesus (‘a) asked him,”Do you know her?”“Do I know her?!” the man retorted, adding,”Of course I do! She is my wife.” Jesus (‘a) invoked Allah (SwT) to reunite her with her husband, and the latter took her by the hand till they came to a tree under which he slept, putting his head on her lap. The son of the king happened to pass by, and he looked at her and she looked at him, and they instantly admired each other. He beckoned to her, so she moved her husband’s head away from her lap and followed the prince.
Later, her husband woke up. He looked for her and could not find her, so he went out looking for her till he was able to get hold of her. He held her and said that she was his wife, while the prince kept saying that she was his bondmaid. As they argued thus, Jesus (‘a) happened to pass by. The husband said to the prince that that man was Jesus (‘a).
Having heard the husband tell his story, Jesus (‘a) asked the woman,”What do you have to say?” She said,”I am the bondmaid of this man, and I do not know the other.” Jesus (‘a) said to her,”Give us back what we have given you.”
She said,”I have done so,” falling dead. Jesus (‘a) retorted,”Have you seen anything more strange than this?! A man whom Allah (SwT) caused to die as a disbeliever is brought back to life to believe, and a woman whom Allah (SwT) caused to die as a believer, then He brought life back to her, chose to disbelieve!”
The Table Of Viands
Allah (SwT) Almighty has said,
The disciples said: O Jesus son of Mary! Will your Lord consent to send down to us food from heavens? He said: Be careful of (your duty to) Allah if you are believers. (Qur’an, 5:112)
What was that table all about? How was it sent down and what did it contain? These questions are answered differently by different people, each according to the extent of his knowledge or depth of his imagination! Qatadah has quoted Jabir quoting ‘Ammar ibn Yasir citing the Messenger of Allah (S) saying,”The table was sent down with bread and meat on it because they had asked Jesus (‘a) for food to eat, and that it would not be exhausted. He said to them, ‘I shall do so, and it shall always come to you as long as you do not become malicious or betray (me), for in the latter case, you will be tormented.’ It was only one day after its descent on them that they became malicious, and they betrayed (Jesus (‘a)).”
‘Ata ibn Abu Rabah40 is quoted citing Salman al-Farsi (the Persian) saying that Jesus (‘a) never committed any wrong deed, nor did he rebuke an orphan, nor did he burst laughing, nor did he drive flies away from his face41... When the disciples asked him to bring them tables of viands, he said,
“Lord! Do send down to us food from heavens to be for us an ever-recurring happiness, to the first of us and to the last, and a sign from You, and grant us means of subsistence, and You are the best of Providers” (Qur’an, 5:114).
A red table between two clouds, one above it and one underneath it, came descending on them as they looked at it till it settled on the ground before them. Jesus (‘a) wept and said,”Lord! I implore You to count me among those who are grateful to You! Lord! Make it a sign of mercy from You rather than a sign of penalty!”
When they saw it, they found it something which they had never seen before, and similar to its fragrance they had never inhaled. Jesus (‘a) said to them,”Whoever is most righteous in deeds among you should uncover it and mention the Name of Allah (SwT) over it then eat of it.” Shemon (Simon) al-Safa said,”You are more fit to do so than any of us.”
Jesus (‘a) stood up, made his ablution, offered lengthy prayers and kept weeping for quite some time. Then he removed the sheet that had covered it saying,”Bismillah (in the Name of Allah (SwT)), the best of sustainers.” It was a roasted fish the scales and the bones of which had already been removed.
So fat it was that it seemed as if it was floating over oil. At its head there was salt, and at its tail there was vinegar, and it was surrounded by many types of vegetables with the exception of leek. There were five loaves of bread on it. On the first there were olives. On the second there was honey. On the third there was oil, and on the fourth there was jerked meat. On the fifth there was cheese.
Simon said,”O Ruhullah! Is this earthly, or is it from the food of the afterlife?” Jesus (‘a) said,”What you see is neither the food of the life of this world nor of that of the Hereafter, but it is something which Allah (SwT) has innovated through His overwhelming Might; so, eat of what you have asked for, and He will provide you with an increase of His favors.”
They said,”O Ruhullah! Could you please show us a miracle derived from this one?” Jesus (‘a) said,”O fish! Come back to life by the permission of Allah (SwT)!” The fish shook and its scales and bones came back to it, whereupon the disciples were frightened of it.
Jesus (‘a) asked them,”What is the matter with you that you ask for things which, when granted, you dislike?” Then he added,”How worried I am about you that you should ever be chastised! O fish! Go back to your former state by the permission of Allah (SwT)!” The fish resumed its former state, a roasted fish, just as they had seen it before. They said,”O Ruhullah! Be the first to eat of it, then we will eat after you.” Jesus (‘a) said,”God forbid that I should eat of it; rather, those who asked for it shall eat of it.”
But they were apprehensive of eating of it; so, Jesus (‘a) invited the indigent, the sick, the leprous, and those afflicted with other ailments to come and eat of it. He said to them,”Eat of the sustenance of your Lord! Yours shall be the joy, and affliction shall be the lot of others!” So they ate of it, and as many as one thousand and three hundred men and women from among the poor, the sick, the handicapped, and those afflicted with ailments ate of it to their fill. Then Jesus (‘a) looked at the fish, and it appeared just as it had come the first time from the heavens.
The table after that ascended as they looked on and disappeared. All those who were sick and ate of it were healed, and so were all those with permanent handicaps, and Allah (SwT) enriched of His favor the poor who partook of it till their death. The disciples regretted having missed the opportunity to eat of it, and so did those who could not. Whenever it descended, the young and the old, the men and the women, would crowd around it.
It kept coming to them for forty days in the late morning and before noon. It would remain with them till they all had enough, then it would fly away before their very eyes. It used to come one day and skip another, just as the she-camel of the people of Thamud. Allah (SwT) Almighty inspired Jesus (‘a) to”Make My table and sustenance for the benefit of the poor rather than the rich,” whereupon the rich were very displeased about that, so much so that they complained about it and started casting doubt about the table, saying,”Do you believe that a table can really come down from the heavens?!” Jesus (‘a) said to them,”Prepare yourselves, then, to receive the penalty of Allah (SwT).”
Allah (SwT) Almighty inspired to Jesus (‘a):”I have made two provisions regarding those who belie it. Those who disbelieve after I have sent it down will be tormented a torment with which I will not torment anyone else from among the people of the world.”
Jesus (‘a), thereon, said, as the Holy Qur’an tells us,
“If You chastise them, surely they are Your servants, and if You forgive them, surely You are the Mighty, the Wise” (Qur’an, 5:118).
He, therefore, turned three hundred men from among them, who had spent their night in bed with their wives, into pigs running in the alleys and frequenting the places where garbage is collected, eating filth. When people saw that, they were alarmed, and they came to Jesus (‘a) son of Mary horrified. They wept over those of their families who were turned into pigs. When the pigs saw Jesus (‘a), they wept and kept turning around him. Jesus (‘a) called them by their names, and they came, one by one, crying and nodding with their heads as he called out their names, unable to speak. They lived for three days, then they perished.
The Almighty Admonishes Jesus (‘A)
Abu Buayr quotes Abu Abdullah, Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (‘a), saying that the Almighty, Glory and Exaltation are His, admonished Jesus (‘a) son of Mary thus:
O Jesus (‘a)! You are the Messiah by My command; you bring the dead back to life by My Word, so let your desire be My Pleasure, and be fearful of Me, for you shall find no refuge from Me except to Me. O Jesus (‘a)! I admonish you as one Who is Compassionate to you: Seek My mercy though I granted you authority, and seek whatever pleases Me, for blessed you are as a grown-up, and blessed you are as a child, wherever you may be.
I testify that you are My servant and the son of My bondmaid. O Jesus (‘a)! Let My status with you be your ultimate concern, and remember Me so that such remembrance will be treasured when you return to Me. Seek nearness to Me through optional (nafl) acts of worship; rely on Me so that I may make you independent of others; do not rely on others else My Wrath should overtake you.
O Jesus (‘a)! Be patient when tried, and be satisfied with your lot. Be as I would like you to be, and I would like to be pleased with you, for My pleasure is that I am obeyed and never disobeyed. O Jesus (‘a)! Let your tongue ever mention My Name, and let your heart ever be filled with love for Me.
O Jesus (‘a)! Be aware in the times of heedlessness, and judge with beautiful wisdom seeking My Pleasure. O Jesus (‘a)! Desire My Pleasure, fear My wrath, and kill your heart with fear of Me. O Jesus (‘a)! Observe the night as means to seeking My Pleasure, and deprive yourself of water during your day seeking to treasure it for the Day when you will very much be in need of Me.
O Jesus (‘a)! Compete with others in the paths of goodness as much as you can so that you will be identified with goodness wherever you go. O Jesus (‘a)! Judge among My servants as I have advised you, and effect My justice among them, for I have revealed to you that which heals the hearts from Satan’s ailments. O Jesus (‘a)! Do not sit with one who is tried with tribulations. O Jesus (‘a)! What I say is the truth: No creature truly believes in Me except that he humbles himself to Me, and no creature feels awe of Me except that he is hopeful of My rewards.
I, therefore, testify to you that such a person is secure against My punishment so long as you do not alter My way. O Jesus (‘a) son of the righteous Virgin! Weep over your soul like one who bids his family farewell, who has no desire for this life, who leaves life for those who seek it, desiring only what is with Allah (SwT).
O Jesus (‘a)! Be, moreover, kind in speech, disseminating the greeting, awake when the eyes of the doers of good are asleep, being apprehensive of the Hereafter, of the tremendous quakes, of the horrors of the Day of Judgment when no family nor offspring nor wealth will be of any avail.
O Jesus (‘a)! Beautify your eyes with grief when the idle ones laugh. O Jesus (‘a)! Be submissive and persevering, for congratulations to you when you obtain what those who persevere shall receive. O Jesus (‘a)! Live your life day by day, and taste what lost its taste, for the truth is what I say: You have only your hour and your moment, so derive lessons from the passage of time, and let what is coarse (of clothes) and what is most simple (of food) suffice you, for you have seen what your final destiny shall be, and that whatever you take and whatever you consume is already preordained.
O Jesus (‘a)! You shall be questioned, so have mercy on the weak just as I have been Merciful unto you, and do not cause any grief to the orphan.
O Jesus (‘a)! Mourn your own soul when you perform your prayers, and let your feet take you to the places where prayers are held, and let Me hear the sweetness of your mentioning My Name, for I have treated you beautifully.
O Jesus (‘a)! How many nation have I caused to perish on account of a sin from which I protected you? O Jesus (‘a)! Be kind to the weak, and raise your exhausted eyes to the sky and supplicate to Me, for I am near to you, and do not supplicate to Me except when you are pleading to Me, having one and only concern, for whenever you thus call on Me, so shall I answer your call.
O Jesus (‘a)! I never wanted the life in this world to be the reward of those who preceded you nor a penalty to those against whom I sought revenge. O Jesus (‘a)! You shall perish, whereas I shall always remain; from Me comes your sustenance, and with Me is the time of your death, and to Me is your return, and on Me is your judgment; so, plead to Me and to none else so that your plea may be good, and so that I will be the One to answer it.
O Jesus (‘a)! How numerous are people, yet how few are those who persevere! Trees are many, yet those that bear tasty fruit from among them are few; so do not let the beauty of a tree allure you till you taste of its fruit.
O Jesus (‘a)! Do not be allured by one who is rebellious against My wish; he eats My sustenance while worshipping someone else other than Me, then he calls on Me at the moment of affliction, and I still respond to his call, then he goes back to what he used to do! Is it against Me that he rebels, or is he challenging My wrath? By My own Self do I swear that I shall take him in a way from which he shall have no recourse, nor shall he have any refuge. Where shall he flee? From My sky, or from My earth?! O Jesus (‘a)! Tell the unjust ones from among the Children of Israel: Do not supplicate to Me as long as you harbour usury and the idols are at your homes, for I have sworn never to answer the prayer of anyone who thus prays to Me, and that I shall make My answer to their prayers a curse on them till they disperse.
O Jesus (‘a)! How beautiful is My patience and how beautiful is what I seek, yet people are heedless, returning not to Me! Words come out of their mouths without their hearts comprehending them till they become the object of My contempt, and till they try to please the believers seeking My pleasure.
O Jesus (‘a)! Be merciful seeking mercy for others, and treat the servants as you wish them to treat you, and quite often remember death and separation from the family. Do not be distracted, for distraction corrupts, and do not be heedless, for the heedless are distant from Me, and remember Me with good deeds so that I may likewise remember you.
O Jesus (‘a)! Seek My forgiveness after you commit any sin, and remind those who often return to Me of Me. Believe in Me, and seek nearness to Me by being near to those who believe in Me. Enjoin them to join you in supplicating to Me, and beware of the supplication of the oppressed one, for I took on Myself to open for it a gate in the heavens, and that I shall answer his call even if it may be after a while.
O Jesus (‘a)! Be informed that the wrongdoer entices others, and that befriending the evildoer hurls one into the pit; so, know who your friend is before you befriend him, and choose for your own company brethren from among the believers. O Jesus (‘a)! Repent to Me, for there is no sin too great for My forgiveness, and I am the most Merciful of those who have mercy.
O Jesus (‘a)! Perform acts of righteousness for your soul as long as you live and before time comes when none else can do so on your behalf, and worship Me for the sake of a Day as lengthy as a thousand years of your own calculation, for I reward a good deed with ten-fold, and the sin stains the sinner. Compete with others in the doing of good deeds, for how many meeting adjourned with a safeguard from the fire!
O Jesus (‘a)! Keep away from that which shall perish and cease to be, and visit the ruins of those who were before you: call on them and ask them to respond to you; can you feel the presence of any of them at all? So seek wisdom from them, and be informed that you shall soon join their company together with those who soon will.
O Jesus (‘a)! Tell whoever rebels and revolts and deceives to await My punishment and to expect My annihilation; he shall be burnt among those who shall perish. Congratulations to you, O son of Mary, and many congratulations if you emulate the manners of your Lord Who, out of His Mercy, is Compassionate unto you, Who starts the giving out of His generosity, Who is always there for you during your each and every calamity.
Do not disobey Him, O Jesus (‘a), for it is not lawful for you to disobey Him. I have taken a covenant from you just as I had taken it from those before you, and I am for that a Witness.
O Jesus (‘a)! I have never granted My creation anything better than My religion, nor have I blessed them with anything better than My Mercy! O Jesus (‘a)! Wash with water that which appears of your parts, and heal with good deeds those that do not, for to Me you shall surely return. O Jesus (‘a)! I have granted you of My blessings an abundance without dreariness, and I have sought of you a loan for the goodness of your own soul, but you were too miser to do so, hence you may be one of those who perish.
O Jesus (‘a)! Decorate yourself with the decoration of faith, with love for the needy, and walk on earth gently, and perform your prayers on all the tracts of the earth, for they are all clean.
O Jesus (‘a)! Be prepared, for whatever comes is near, and recite My Book when you are pure, and let Me hear you reciting it in a somber voice. O Jesus (‘a)! There is no good in a pleasure which does not last, nor in life that will depart.
O son of Mary! Had your eyes only seen what I have prepared for My good friends, your heart will dissolve and your soul will come out of your body out of anxiety for it, for there is no home like the Hereafter where the righteous are neighbours of one another; angels near to Me visit them, and they are secure from the horrors of the Day of Judgment, a home wherein happiness never changes, nor does it ever depart from its people.
O son of Mary! Compete for its sake with those who compete, for it is the desire of those who have a desire; it pleases those who see it. Congratulation to you, O son of Mary, if you are among those who work for it from among those who do so in the company of your fathers: Adam (‘a) and Abraham (‘a), in the Gardens and felicity with which you do not wish to trade anything else at all and from which you never desire to be diverted; thus do I deal with the pious.
O Jesus (‘a)! Flee to Me with those who flee from a fire with flames, a fire with chains and torment; no rest shall there ever enter it, nor any of its torments shall be diminished; it is as though it were pieces of pitched darkness. Whoever is saved from it is a winner, and none will be spared from it if he is written down as those who shall perish; it is the abode of the tyrants and oppressors and everyone who is rude and haughty, conceited and arrogant.
O Jesus (‘a)! Evil is the abode of those who feel comfortable with it, and evil, indeed, is the abode of the wrongdoers. I warn you against your own soul; so, take admonishment from Me.
O Jesus (‘a)! Wherever you may be, you should be on your guard concerning Me, and testify that I created you, and you are My servant; I shaped you and to the earth sent you. O Jesus (‘a)! No mouth can have two tongues, nor one chest can have two hearts, and such are the minds, too.
O Jesus (‘a)! Do not wake up in disobedience, and do not come to your senses finding yourself heedless, and wean yourself from desires that cause you to sin. Any desire that distances you from Me you should abandon, and be informed that you are to Me as a trusted messenger; so, be forewarned of Me, and be informed that your life shall in the end bring you to Me, and that I shall take you with My knowledge, and be humble whenever My Name is mentioned, submissive of heart whenever you yourself mention Me, awake when the heedless sleep. O Jesus (‘a)! This is My advice to you and My admonishment; so, take it from Me, for I am the Lord of the Worlds.42
If you discern these exhortations, and if you compare them with what the Almighty admonished His prophet and messenger Moses (‘a) or His Prophet and Messenger Muhammad (S), or any of His prophets and messengers, you will find a great deal of similarity between them. The Almighty is One and the same, and so is His Wisdom and Creed. Very few, however, realize this simple and pristine fact.
Invocations By Jesus (‘A)
Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, is quoted as saying that Jesus (‘a) son of Mary was the first person to speak as an infant. He glorified Allah (SwT) a good deal in a way no ear had ever heard before, leaving no sun, nor moon, nor mountain, nor spring, without including it in his glorification. He said,
You are the One Who is near despite Your Sublimity, High in nearness, Above everything You have created. You are the One Who created seven [heavens] in the space by Your Words in complete level formations; in awe of You did they respond to Your call even when they were mere smoke, so they came in obedience to Your Command.
In them are angels glorifying Your Holiness. And You made in them a light despite the blackness of the dark, and a light from the light of the sun during daytime. You made in them the thunder that glorifies Your praise; so, it is through Your Might that it came to shatter the darkness which You created. You made in them [stars as] lanterns whereby one seeks guidance when puzzled and lost.
So Blessed be You, Lord, in the way You have raised the heavens, in the way You spread the earth, causing it to float above the water, holding it against the torrent of overwhelming sea waves, bringing all things to submit to You as they appeared. Their stiffness became softened through submission to You; their affairs submitted to Your Command; their waves surrendered to Your Greatness.
You caused rivers following seas to gush forth, then You made small rivulets succeeded by brimful springs, then You brought out of the rivers and the trees fruits, then You placed on the surface of the earth the mountains as pegs even above the water, and their stones and rocks submitted to You.
So blessed be You, Lord! Who can ever be called as You are called, or who can ever reach Your status? You spread the clouds, free those in bondage, and effect equity, and You are the best of those who judge.
There is no god but You; You ordered us to seek Your forgiveness for each and every sin of ours; there is no god but You; You have veiled the heavens from the (vision of the) people; there is no god but You; the wise among Your servants are the ones who fear You; we bear witness that You are not a god whom we invented, nor one whose worship comes to an end, nor is there any partner with You to call on while forsaking You, nor to help You in creating anyone so that we might suspect Your having created us.
We testify that You are the One and Only One, on Whom all depend, the One Who does not beget, nor is He begotten, and none at all is like Him.
Supplication By Jesus (‘A) Whereby He Brought The Dead Back To Life
As regarding his supplication whereby he used to cure the sick and bring the dead back to life, it was as follows:
Lord! You are the Lord of those in the heavens and those on earth; there is no god in them except You. You are the Omnipotent in the heavens and the Omnipotent on earth; there is no Omnipotent in them except You. You are the King of those in the heavens and the King of those on earth; there is no king in them except You.
You are the Judge of those in the heavens and the Judge of those on earth; there is no judge in them except You. Your Might on earth is the same as it is in the heavens; Your Authority on earth is the same as it is in the heavens; I plead to You by Your Glorious Attributes, for You can do anything at all.
And here is another supplication of his for the kind reader:
Lord! I have dawned unable to avoid what I hate to face; I do not have the benefit of what I wish to have, and the decision is out of my hands. I have become pawned by my deeds, so none is needier than I am.
Lord! I invoke You not to make my foe feel pleased at my own expense, nor a friend of mine to think ill of me, and do not cause me to undergo a catastrophe related to my creed, and do not make the life of this world the greatest of my concerns, and do not place me at the mercy of one who will have no mercy on me, O ever-Living One, O self-Sustaining!
Was Jesus (‘A) Crucified?
Sa’id ibn Jubayr is quoted citing Ibn ‘Abbas saying that when Allah (SwT) wanted to raise Jesus (‘a) to heaven, Jesus (‘a) went out to meet his followers at a house where all his twelve disciples assembled. He went out to them from a well in the house and his hair was dripping with water. He said,”Among you are those who will disbelieve in me twelve times even after having believed in me.”
Then he added,”Which one of you agrees to look like me and be killed in my place and enjoy the status reserved for me with my Lord?” Their youngest stood up, but Jesus (‘a) told him to sit down. He repeated the question to them, and the same young man stood up again, whereupon Jesus (‘a) said,”Then you shall be the one.” He immediately was made to look just like Jesus (‘a), then Jesus (‘a) was raised to heaven.
The Jews43 came and took the disciple who looked just like Jesus (‘a), killed him then crucified him; thus, some of them disbelieved in him twelve times after having believed in him, and they were divided into three sects: One of the sects said that God was among them, then He ascended to the heavens. These are the Jacobites44.
The other sect said that”the son of God” stayed with them as long as God willed, then God raised him up to Him, and they are called the Nestorians45. The third sect said that”the servant of Allah (SwT) 46 and His messenger” remained among them for as long as Allah (SwT) willed, then Allah (SwT) raised him up to Him, and these are the Muslims.
Both previous sects collaborated against the Muslim one, wiping the latter out. Islam, hence, remained hidden, obscure, forgotten till Allah (SwT) sent Prophet Muhammad (S) to revive it.
Allah (SwT) Almighty has said,
“Such is Jesus son of Mary; (this is) the saying of truth about which they dispute47. It does not befit Allah to take to Himself a son; Glory to Him; when He decrees a matter, He only says to it: ‘Be!’ and it is. And surely Allah is my Lord and your Lord; therefore; worship Him; this is the right path. But parties from among them disagreed with one another, so woe unto those who disbelieve because of their presence on a great Day” (Qur’an, 19:34-37).
Abu ali Shu’ayb ibn Muhammad al-Bayhaqi, through his chain of narrators, has informed us that the Messenger of Allah (S) had said,”Prophets are brothers of one another: their mothers may be different, but their creed is one (and the same).
I am the most worthy of Jesus (‘a) son of Mary, peace with them, because there is no prophet separating me from him. The son of Mary is about to be sent to you as a just judge, and he shall come to my nation and be my khalifa over them; so, if you see him, you will find him square of face, his complexion is reddish white, his hair is straight as though it drips although it is not wet.
He shall come down between two scepters to smash the cross, kill the pig, enforce the jizya (protection tax), receive the funds (religious taxes) and make the pilgrimage or the ‘umra or both, and he will fight people in the defense of Islam, so much so that all creeds will be vanquished except Islam, and everyone will prostrate to Allah (SwT), the Lord of the World, and Allah (SwT) will annihilate during his time the lying anti-Christ.
Security shall prevail over the earth to the extent that lambs will graze side by side with lions, tigers with cattle, and wolves with sheep. Children will play with snakes, and neither one will harm the other. After that, he shall remain on earth for forty years. He shall marry and have children, then he shall die and the Muslims shall perform the funeral prayers for him and bury him in Medina.”
Al-Husayn ibn Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn Ali, through his chain of narrators, quotes Ibn ‘Abbas citing the Messenger of Allah (S) saying,”How shall Allah (SwT) annihilate a nation in whose vanguard is myself, and among whose last generation is Jesus (‘a), while al-Mahdi is in its midst?”
After Jesus (‘A): The”Son Of God” And “The Trinity”
Jesus (‘a) Christ never claimed to be the Ason of God, nor did he ever say that he was God. The concept of the Trinity (God the father, God the son, and the Holy Spirit) was foreign to Christianity for about three hundred years.
Anyone who conducts a research to find out how this concept crept into the Christian faith will conclude that it is one of several Pagan concepts that somehow found their way to Christianity, the faith not of Christ but of his disciples barring St. Barnabas. A small number of Biblical scholars testify to this fact. Let us read what one of them says:
There is ample evidence in the Bible that the Israelites had always regarded Yahweh (Jahovah) as the Creator of all. Another original characteristic of the Israelite God was that He stood alone, without any family connections, whether consort, son or daughter.48
Such Israelites include Jesus (‘a)’ apostles. Another scholar, Col. J. Garnier, clearly points out to the fact that Pagan gods have incorporated three deities in one god. So is the concept of the Trinity.
It is of importance to notice first that all the various gods and goddesses of the ancients, though known by many names and different characteristics, can yet all be resolved into one of the persons of a Trinity composed of a father, mother and son; and that this fact was well known to the initiated.
It should also be observed that the father and the son constantly melt into one; the reason being that there was also a fabled incarnation of the son who, although identified with him, was yet to be his own son by the goddess.49
We will not discuss the Trinity here but will instead concentrate on the concept of Jesus (‘a) as the Ason of God, a concept more emphasized by St. John than any other disciple, that is to say, if we regard these authors of the Gospels as disciples of Jesus (‘a) Christ.
St. John’s Gospel has since the dawn of Christianity been the subject of controversy, debate, and discussion, and it still stands out as quite different from all other Gospels. The lack of credibility of what St. John wrote in his Gospel is doubted by numerous scholars of the Bible in the past and in the present:
I do not think the writer [St. John] distinguished in his own consciousness between what he remembered (or had derived from the reminiscences of others) and what he felt must have been true, and I greatly doubt whether we can distinguish often in that Gospel what is derived from tradition and what is derived from imagination.50
In the Pagan theology of the fertility cult, that is, of agricultural propagation, the god is said to be incarnated as his own son to walk on the earth in human form and be slain and resurrected as the personification of the harvest and plant life.
This same Pagan theme occurs in John 1:14 where we read the following: And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the father), full of grace and truth. This clearly reflects the fact that St. John was fully knowledgeable of Pagan doctrines to the extent that he sometimes borrowed his themes from them.
We can go on and on highlighting the sharp differences between the Gospel of St. John and those of the other Saints, but this will be an undertaking that will surely be laborious and exhaustive. Let us, instead, read the following from the only true though”unofficial” Gospel:
Jesus (‘a) departed from Jerusalem after the passover, and entered into the borders of Caesarea Philippi51. There the angel Gabriel having told him of the sedition which was beginning among the common people, he asked his disciples, saying,”What do men say of me?” They said,”Some say you are Elijah, others Jeremiah, and others one of the old prophets.”
Jesus (‘a) asked,”And you, what do you say that I am?”
Peter answered,”You are Messiah, Son of God.” Then Jesus (‘a) was angry and rebuked him, saying,”Begone and depart from me, because you are the Devil and seek to cause me offence!”
And he warned the eleven saying,”Woe to you if you believe this, for I have won from God a great curse against those who believe this.”
And he was ready to cast away Peter, but the eleven besought Jesus (‘a) for him, who did not cast him away but again rebuked him saying,”Beware that you never again say such words, because God would reprobate you.”
Peter wept and said,”Sir, I have spoken foolishly. Beseech God that He pardons me.”
Then said Jesus (‘a),”If our God willed not to show himself to Moses (‘a), His servant, nor to Elijah, whom he also loved, nor to any prophet, do you think that God should show Himself to this faithless generation? But do you not know that God created all things of nothing with one single word, and all men have had their origin out of a piece of clay? Now, how shall God have a likeness to man? Woe to those who suffer themselves to be deceived of Satan!”
Having said this, Jesus (‘a) besought God for Peter, the eleven and Peter weeping, and saying,”So be it. O blessed Lord our God.”
Afterward Jesus (‘a) departed and went into Galilee in order that this vain opinion which the common folk began to hold concerning him might be extinguished. (The Gospel of Barnabas 70)
This text agrees with what we, Muslims, have in our Holy Qur’an where Christ will on the Day of Judgment deny having required people to worship him and his mother besides the One and Only God:
Allah (SwT) will say (on the Day of Judgment):
“O Jesus son of Mary! Did you say to men: Take me and my mother for two gods besides God?” He will say:”Glory to You! It did not befit me to say what I had no right to say; had I said it, You would indeed have known it; You know what is in my mind, and I do not know what is in Your mind; surely You are the great One Who knows the unseen.” (Qur’an, 5:116)
In fact, the Holy Qur’an strongly condemns those who attribute godhead to Jesus (‘a) or call him Athe son of God, labelling them as apostates, disbelievers in Him:
Certainly they disbelieve those who say: Surely God is the Messiah son of Mary, and the Messiah (himself) said:”O Children of Israel! I worship God, my Lord and your Lord. Surely whoever associates (others) with God, then God has forbidden him from (entering) the garden, and his abode is the fire, and there shall be no helpers for the unjust.” Certainly they disbelieve those who say:”Surely God is the third (person) of the three”52; and there is no god but the One God, and if they do not desist from what they say, a painful chastisement shall befall those among them who disbelieve. Will they not then turn to God and His forgiveness? And God is Forgiving, Merciful. The Messiah son of Mary is but a prophet; prophets before him have indeed passed away, and his mother was a truthful woman; they both used to eat food53. See how We make the Signs clear to them, then behold how they are turned away! (Qur’an, 5:72-75)
Allah (SwT) Almighty has also said the following Qur’anic verses in this regard:
The Jews say: Uzair54 is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away! (Qur’an, 9:30)
O People of the Book! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, and do not speak (lies) against Allah, but (speak) the truth; the Messiah son of Mary is only a prophet of Allah and His Word which He communicated to Mary and a spirit from Him; believe, therefore, in Allah and in His prophets, and do not say Three. Desist, it is better for you; Allah is only One God: far be it from His Glory that He should have a son; whatever in the heavens and on earth is His, and Allah is sufficient for a Protector. The Messiah does by no means disdain that he should be a servant of Allah, nor do the angels who are near to Him, and whoever disdains His service and is proud, He will gather them all together to Him. As for those who believe and do good deeds, He will pay them fully their rewards and give them more out of His Grace; as for those who disdain and are proud, He will chastise them with a painful chastisement. And they shall not find for themselves besides Allah a guardian or a helper. (Qur’an, 4:171-173)
Surely the likeness of Jesus is with Allah as the likeness of Adam: He created him from dust then said to him:”Be!” and he was. (Qur’an, 3:59)
All praise is due to Allah Who revealed the Book to His servant (Muhammad) and did not make in it any crookedness, rightly directing, so that he might give warning of a severe punishment from Him and give glad tidings to the believers who do good deeds that they shall have a goodly reward (Paradise), staying in it forever. And warn those who say: Allah has taken a son. They have no knowledge of it, nor had their fathers; a grievous word it is that comes out of their mouths; they speak nothing but a lie. (Qur’an, 18:1-5)
They say: Allah has taken a son! Glory to Him; He is the self-Sufficient; His is whatever in the heavens and on earth; you have no authority for this; do you say against Allah what you do not know? Say: Those who forge a lie against Allah shall not be successful. (It is only) a provision in this world, then to Us shall be their return, then shall We make them taste a severe punishment because they disbelieved. (Qur’an, 10:68-70)
And they planned and Allah (also) planned, and Allah is surely the best of planners. And Allah said: O Jesus! I am going to terminate the period of your stay (on earth) and cause you to ascend unto Me and purify you of (the charges of) those who disbelieve and make those who follow you above those who disbelieve till the Day of Resurrection; then to Me shall be your return, so I shall decide between you concerning that in which you differed. (Qur’an, 3:54-55)
In the following verses, the Almighty starts by chastising the Jews then the Christians:
Therefore, for the breaking of their covenant and their disbelief in the Signs of Allah and their killing the prophets wrongfully and their saying: Our hearts are covered. Nay! Allah set a seal on them because of their disbelief, so they shall not believe except a few. And for their disbelief, and for their having uttered against Mary a grievous calumny. And (for) their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, the prophet of Allah, and they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so, and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge in its regard but only follow conjecture, and surely they did not kill him at all. Nay! Allah took him up to Him, and Allah is Mighty, Wise. And there is not one of the People of the Book but most certainly believes in this before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he (Jesus) shall be a witness against them. (Qur’an, 4:155-159)
When Qur’anic texts such as these agree with what St. Barnabas had written in his Gospel, the truth will shine, but how many sincere seekers of the truth are there in our world?
Finally, Is It Christianity Or Paganism?
Is Today’s form of Christianity really the creed revealed by the Almighty to Jesus (‘a) son of Mary, or is it a revival of ancient Paganism? This question may raise some eyebrows, and it may wake up a drowsy reader, but it is a question quite valid and relevant.
If one traces pagan doctrines, he will be struck with similarities between what the pagans used to practice (and some still do) and what today’s Christians practice at their churches. The traces of paganism in Christianity can be seen in: 1) the concept of Christ as the Ason of God, 2) the Trinity, 3) the Incarnate Saviour, 4) the Second Advent, 4) the Virgin Birth, 5) the Sacraments, and 6) the Communion of Saints.
You can also add to this list the organized order of saints, the choir (an offspring of the pagan chorus), the singing and dancing..., etc. All these are very well known practices of paganism in various parts of the world and by various cultures. Were we to discuss each one of them, we would need not one but many volumes; so, let us be contented with discussing the most important of all of them: the concept of Jesus (‘a) Christ as the son of God.
This concept is directly linked to the pagan sun god, or god of the sun, hence Sunday55, the day when the sun god, in his various names and attributes, is worshipped. If we study these sun gods, we will see the link between their worship and the concept of Jesus (‘a) Christ as the son of God.56
When Jesus (‘a) Christ came to this world, sun worship was a religion that prevailed throughout the world. Well known sun gods whose worship had been popular throughout the Mediterranean countries at one time or another are: Attis of Phrygia (central Asia Minor), Adonis of Syria, Dionysius or Bacchus of Greece, Bel (or Baal) of Babylon, Osiris and Horus of Egypt, and Ithras or Mithra of Persia.
Here is a brief account of these sun gods, one from which the reader can see the link between these sun gods and the son of God concept introduced into the Christian faith and officially endorsed at the Nicaea Conference referred to above:
Attis was born of a virgin named Nana and was regarded as the Aonly begotten son and Asaviour. He was bled to death on March 24th at the foot of a pine tree and his votaries believed that his blood had renewed the fertility of the earth and thus brought a new life to humanity. He, however, rose from the dead, and his resurrection along with his death was celebrated by his votaries. Every year on the 24th day of March, they would first fasten his image to a pine tree and then lay it in a tomb with wailing mourning. On the next day, they would find the tomb empty and celebrate the resurrection with great rejoicing. Sacramental meal and baptism of blood were special features of his Achurch.
Adonis Or Tammuz
Adonis was a young man loved by the goddess Aphrodite. When he was killed by a wild boar, goes on the legend, Aphrodite persuaded the gods to let him live for six months of each year. His death and resurrection, hence, were celebrated in midsummer festival in Adonia, Greece, symbolizing yearly growth and decay. He was the virgin-born Asaviour of Syria.
He suffered death for the redemption of mankind but rose again in the Spring. His resurrection was commemorated by a great annual festival. The Old Testament, in Izekiel, VIII:14, refers to the weeping and wailing of women over his idol. On p. 113, Vol. 2, of Mythology of the Aryan Nations, Rev. Sir G.W. Cox calls him the crucified Tao (that is, divine love personified).
In his Hebrew Lexicon, Dr. Parkhust remarks: AI find myself obliged to refer Tammuz to that class of idols which were originally designed to represent the promised Saviour [meaning Jesus (‘a)], the desire of all nations.
Dionysius Or Bacchus
Bacchus is the”god of wine”. He was the”only begotten son of Jupiter” and was born of a virgin named Demeter (or Semele) on December 25th... Christians celebrate Christmas, the supposed birth of Christ, on December 25th. He was a Aredeemer, liberator and saviour. It is I, says Bacchus to mankind, who guide you; it is I who protect you and who save you; I am Alpha and Omega.57 Wine had an important place in the festivals of his cult. It is today in the Christian theology, representing Athe blood of Jesus (‘a).
Imagine one drinking the blood of...! He was slain for redeeming humanity and was called the slain one, the sin-bearer, the redeemer. Notice the striking similarity between these words and what Christians preach. Is it a coincident? We do not think so. Bacchus’s passion play was celebrated every year representing his death, descent into hell and resurrection. Passion plays used to be part of the Christian festivals during the Middle Ages. The main surviving Passion Play is that of Oberammergau, Bavaria.
God of the underworld, he was born on December 29th of a virgin called by the Egyptians the virgin of the world. He preached the gospel of gentleness and peace. Wine and corn were regarded as his celebrated discoveries. He was betrayed by Typhen, slain and dismembered. He was interred but came again to life after remaining in hell for two or three days and three nights. After his death, it was the custom of his votaries to keep his image in a box and bring out the image at the time of worship with the cries of Osiris is risen!
The sufferings and death of Osiris, says Rawlingson in a footnote on p. 260, Vol. 3, of Herodotus, were the great mystery of the Egyptian religion. His being the divine goodness, and the abstract idea of ‘good’, his manifestation on earth (like an Indian god), his death and resurrection, and his office as judge of the dead in a future life, look like the early revelation of a future manifestation of the deity converted into a mythological fable. Needless to say, the early revelation of a future manifestation of the deity in this quotation is a reference to the alleged incarnation of God in Jesus (‘a).
Belief in the god-man in the form of Osiris, says Sir Richard Gregory on p. 54 of his book Religion in Science and Civilisation, Abecame the chief element in Egyptian religion, and remained for thousands of years the faith of the people through the tangled skein of religious life in Egypt until Osiris passed into the form of the god-man Jesus (‘a) Christ.
Mithras Or Mithra
His name in ancient Persian means Afriend, and he was an ancient cultic god of Persia and India who became in the 5th century B.C. the chief Persian god. His cult extended into Mesopotamia and Armenia, thus becoming a world-wide religion. He was the virgin-born sun god of the Persians, the perfect prototype of Jesus (‘a) Christ and the founder of an international Church, Mithraism, in which Christmas and Easter were two most important festivals. This divine saviour came into the world as an infant.
His first worshippers were shepherds; and the day of his nativity was December 25th. His followers preached a severe and rigid morality, chief among their virtues being temperance, chastity, renunciation and self-control. They kept the seventh day holy, and the middle day of each month was a special feast of Mithra, which symbolised this function of Mediator. They had seven sacraments of which the most important were baptism, confirmation, and Eucharistic supper, at which the communicants partook of the divine nature of Mithra under the species of bread and wine.58
Bel or Baal: Striking Similarities Between the Babylonian and the Christian Passion Plays
Bel (or Baal) in the Old Testament is a term used for god or gods of Canaan. He is symbolized by the sun, and he was gradually promoted to become the chief deity, the source of life and fertility. His worship extended beyond Babylon; Baalbek (the city of Baal, Lebanon) was devoted to his worship, hence it is called in Greek Heliopolis, the city of the sun, or of the sun god.
The story of his life is extremely astonishing: his passion play has a very close resemblance with the Christian passion story even in details. The Jews had passed a long time in captivity in Babylon during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, and this accounts for the close resemblance. Here is the proof for such striking similarities:59
Modern archaeological researches have brought to light very bewildering facts which go to prove that Babylonian mythology played a very important role in the early stages of Christianity. In 1903-4, German excavators at Kala Shergat (the site of Assur, the ancient Assyrian city whose surrounding areas are also called Nimrud and is located in today’s Iraq) discovered two cuneiform documents.
When deciphered, they were found to contain the narrative of the Passion Play of Baal. An English journal, namely The Adventures of a Black Girl in Her Search for God, published its translation along with the story of the Christian Passion Play. In its text, he is referred to as Bel; so, henceforth we will keep referring to him as such. On the next two pages is an exact reproduction of what page 72 of that journal had included; this is what the journal stated:
|The Babylonian Passion Play||The Christian Passion Play|
|1. Bel is taken prisoner.||1. Jesus (‘a) is taken prisoner.|
|2. Bel is tried in the House on the Mount (the Hall of Justice).||2. Jesus (‘a) is tried in the House of the
High Priest and the Hall of Pilate.
|3. Bel is smitten (wounded).||3. Jesus (‘a) is scourged.|
|4. Bel is led away to the Mount.||4. Jesus (‘a) is led away to crucifixion in Golgotha.|
|5. Together with Bel a malefactor is led away and put to death. Another, who is also charged as a malefactor, is released, thus not taken away with Bel.||5. Together with Jesus (‘a), two malefactors are led away water and blood (John). Mary Magdalene was put to death. Another (Barnabas) is released to the people and thus not taken away with Jesus (‘a).|
|6. After Bel had gone to the Mount, the city breaks out into tumult, and fighting takes place in it.||6. At the death of Jesus (‘a), the veil in the temple is rent (Synopt.), the rocks are rent asunder, the graves are opened and the dead come forth into the holy city. (Matthew)|
|7. Bel’s clothes are carried away.||7. Jesus (‘a)’ robe is divided among the soldiers. (Synopt., John Cp. Ps. XXII, 18)|
|8. A woman wipes away the heart’s blood of Bel flowing from a drawn-out weapon.||8. The lance-thrust in Jesus (‘a)’ side and outflow of two other women busy themselves with the (washing and) embalming of the body. (Mark, Luke)|
|9. Bel goes down into the Mount away from sun and light, disappears from life and is held fast in the Mount as in a prison.||9. Jesus (‘a), in the grave, in the rock tomb (Synopt.), goes down into the realm of the dead (1 Pet. III, XII, 40; Acts, II, 24; Rom. X, 17;”the descent into hell” dogma).|
|10. Guards watch Bel imprisoned in the stronghold of the Mount.||10. Guards are set over the tomb of Jesus (‘a). (Matthew)|
|11. A goddess sits with Bel; she comes to tend to him.||11. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary sit before the tomb. (Matt., Mark)|
|12. They seek for Bel where he is held fast. In particular, a weeping woman seeks for him at the”Gate of Burial.” When he is being carried away, the same lamented:”O my brother! O my brother!”||12. Women, in particular Mary Magdalene, come to the tomb to seek Jesus (‘a) where he is behind the door of the tomb. Mary stands weeping before the empty tomb because they have taken her Lord away. (John)|
|13. Bel is again brought back to life (as the sun of spring); he comes again out of the Mount.||13. Jesus (‘a)’ restoration to life, his rising from the grave (on a Sunday morning).|
|14. His chief feast, the Babylonian New Year’s festival in March at the spring equinox, is celebrated also as his triumph over the powers of darkness.||14. His festival approximately at the spring equinox is also celebrated as his triumph over the powers of darkness (Cp., e.g., Col. II, 15).|
Having stated all the above, it really leaves no room for doubt that Christianity has suffered so much distortion and alteration, it definitely is no longer the faith of Jesus (‘a) Christ. Even if you set aside all the theological controversies with which the Church is rife, a look at the conduct of average Christians today, especially here in the West, will make wonder whether Jesus (‘a) Christ can ever be proud of those who claim to be his followers.
Fornication and adultery boyfriend and girlfriend, common law marriagesare the practice of the day, abortions take place daily and, thus, thousands of babies are being killed, promoters of homosexuality are not ashamed but are proud of their abnormality and are vocal in demanding their rights...
Family ties are very loose, children hardly respect their parents, wives hardly respect their husbands, students hardly respect their teachers, those who have money can do anything at all, including buying themselves government offices, the legal system is bought, sold, and traded, the news media creates demons and angels, pornography is so widespread, it is sickening...
All these immoralities and injustices are quite common and widespread, yet the Church”officials” stand spectators and, much worse, sometimes get themselves involved in many of them. Is this the product of a healthy creed? We do not think so. Is this the faith Jesus (‘a) Christ introduced to the world? Certainly not. True and authentic Christianity or Judaism is nothing but Islam, rest assured.
Jesus (‘a) son of Mary is mentioned by name in the Holy Qur’an thirty-six times; twenty-five of which as Jesus (‘a), and eleven times as the Messiah, the Maseeh, anointed one. The name of his mother occurs in the Holy Qur’an thirty four times, and surely Allah (SwT) knows best.
- 1. “Bible” is a Greek word meaning”books”. The original Bible, which was written in Aramaic, mother tongue of Jesus (‘a) Christ, was lost. John, Mark, Matthew and Luke rewrote it from memory, putting a great deal of their own personal views in it, thus altering the original pristine message brought by Jesus (‘a).
- 2. Jesus (‘a) is not the only one who is believed to be alive and living in heaven. Enoch (Idris) is also believed to be alive. Both al-Khidr (perhaps Andreas in English) and Imam al-Mahdi, peace with them both, are believed to be alive and living on earth.
- 3. Beliefs of the UnitarianChurch are referred to as Unitarianism. This branch of Christianity began in Reformation under leaders such as Michael Servetus (1511 - 1553 A.D.), a Spanish theologian and physician who is known in Spanish as Miguel Serveto, and Fausto Sozzini (1539 - 1604), nephew of Laelius Socinus (or Lelio Sozini), an Italian religious reformer. Both men organized this anti-Trinitarianism movement because of which they were subjected to a great deal of persecution by other Christians. In order to escape the merciless Catholic court of Inquisition, Servetus had to flee to Lyons where he edited Ptolemy's geography works, and to Paris, where he studied medicine. He was jailed by orders of the Inquisition but escaped and made for Italy where he was seized on orders issued by John Calvin, tried then burnt alive at the stake. The religious belief of this Church (or Christian sect) is based on the concept that God is one person, thus contrasting that of the one in three persons, or Trinitarianism.
- 4. Here, I have to some extent utilized Fazlul-Rahman Ansari's book Islam and Christianity in the Modern World (The World Federation of Islamic Missions, Karachi, Pakistan, 1965 [1384 A.H.]), but most of this text is mine. This is one of the best books written by Muslims on this subject. May Allah reward Ansari with the best of His rewards, Allahomma Amin.
- 5. Westerners seldom acknowledge Muslims' contributions to science and technology. One is tempted to say that they are ingrates. During my stay in the U.S., which lasted from 1972 to 2003, I noticed that the best minds in the U.S. are not Americans, and that the latter do not work as hard as foreigners; they feel they do not have to. Why should they, especially since there are many, including heads of Arab and MuslimStates, who are ready to be their obedient servants and faithful lackeys?! These servants and lackeys are the ones who facilitate for the enemies of Islam to spy on or even attack other Muslim countries, thus becoming their accomplices and disclosing to the world and to history their ugly hypocrisy. May the Almighty condemn them and rid the world of them.
- 6. This is the statement of Canon Barnes.
- 7. Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ishaq (d. 151 A.H./768 A.D.) is a well known scholar from Medina who was contemporary to the ‘Abbasid ruler Abu Ja’far Abdullah al-Mansur who came to power in June 754 A.D./Dhul-Hijjah 136 A.H. and who commissioned ibn Ishaq to write the very first complete biography of Prophet Muhammad. His work, however, which became the basis of Ibn Hisham's Seerat, had to be continued by Muhammad ibn Umar al-Waqidi (747 - 822 A.D./129 - 206 A.H.), mentor of Muhammad al-Zuhri, better known as Ibn Sa’d, who died in 230 A.H./845 A.D. and who is a traditionist and a historian born in Basra and died in Baghdad. Ibn Sa’d's most famous work is Kitab at-Tabaqat al-Kabir, or Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d.
- 8. Zacharias was father of John the Baptist (prophet Yahya). His name in Hebrew is Zachariah, the same as it is in Arabic.”Zakariyya” is a variation of it.
- 9. Her full name is: Khadija daughter of Khuwaylid son of Asad son of Abdul-’Uzza son of Quayy, of the clan of Banu Hashim, of the tribe of Banu Asad. Quayy was the ancestor of all clans belonging to Quraysh, Prophet Muhammad's tribe. Quraysh's real name was Fahr, and he was son of Malik son of Maar son of Kananah son of Khuzaimah son of Mudrikah son of Ilyas son of Maar son of Nazar son of Ma’ad son of ‘Adnan son of prophet Ishmael son of prophet Abraham son of prophet Sam son of prophet Noah (‘a). Khadija was born in 565 A.D. and, according to a number of historians, died in 623 A.D. at the age of 58. Her mother, a distant relative of Prophet Muhammad, was Fatima daughter of Za'idah son of al-Asam, of Banu ‘Amir son of Luayy son of Ghalib. Her mother's date of birth is not known but historians say that she died in or around 575 A.D. Khadija's father, Khuwaylid, belonged to the ‘Abd al-’Uzza clan of the tribe of Quraysh. He died in 585 A.D. Needless to say, Khadija, through both of her parents, was a distant cousin of Prophet Muhammad who also belonged to Banu Hashim. I included my research of the life of this great lady, the events involving her marriage with Prophet Muhammad, as well as the chronology of her past marriages and offspring, in what proved to be the most interesting and popular 11-page essay I have so far written, and it is posted on many Internet sites.
- 10. He is Abu al-Hasan Muqatil ibn Sulayman al-Balkhi (d. 150 A.H./767 A.D.), a mufassir who moved to Baghdad then to Barah where he died. His most important work is Al-Tafsir al-Kabir.
- 11. He is Abu Bakr Mujahid ibn Ahmed ibn Mousa (d. 324 A.H./936 A.D.), a qari, actually the imam of qaris of his time, a traditionist, and a linguist from Baghdad. All the books he wrote deal with the Holy Qur’an.
- 12. “Bethlehem” is a Hebrew word with two meanings: 1) the house (Hebrew beth, Arabic bayt) of bread, or 2) the house of the goddess Lahmu, twin deity of Lahamu. In Mesopotamian mythology (which spread beyond the valley of the Tigris and the Euphrates), these were the first gods to be born from the chaos created by the merging of the watery deep surrounding the earth and the salt waters. They represent silt, but in some texts they seem to take the form of serpents. Bethlehem is located in south Jerusalem. In Genesis 35:16-20 and 48:7, in 1 Samuel 16:17, and in 2 Samuel 23:13-17, it is referred to as Ephrath or Ephratah.
- 13. His full name is Muhammad ibn al-Sa'ib al-Kalbi (d. 763 A.D.), a genealogist, traditionist, linguist, and chronologist from Kufa. He fought Mis’ab ibn al-Zubayr then retired and dedicated his entire time to study Arabic and history. He studied in Kufa and lived for some time in Bara.
- 14. He is great grandson of Prophet Mammed and one of the most brilliant persons who ever walked on the face of earth, with knowledge so vast, he was said to”pierce through the knowledge of prophets.” He was Imam Muhammad son of Imam ‘Ali son of Imam al-usain son of Imam ‘Ali son of Abu alib, peace and blessings of Allah be on all of them. He was born in Medina on Rajab 1, 57 A.H./May 10, 677 A.D. and was killed on Dhul-ijjah 7, 114 A.H./January 28, 733 A.D. by a poisoned saddle given to him as a present by the Umayyad tyrant Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik.
- 15. AGe hen Hinnom, Hebrew for Athe valley of the son of Hinnom, the Jews believe, is a place near Jerusalem where, according to Jeremiah 19:5, [Gentile] children were burnt in sacrifice to Baal. The latter was the fertility god of then polytheist Canaanites (Arabs, descendants of Ken’an, who inhabited Greater Syria. According to Vol. 1, p. 24 of Civilization Past and Present, APhoenician is the name the Greeks gave to those Canaanites who dwelt along the Mediterranean coast of Syria, an area that is today Lebanon.). The Greeks, then, were the ones who called those Arabs Phoenicians. Ge hen Hinnom is Arabized as AJahannam. Before the advent of Islam, Arabs believed neither in heaven nor in hell. They, therefore, did not have any concept of the afterlife and had no words for Paradise or hell in their very rich and extensive vocabulary. AJanna, by the way, means: a garden, an orchard, but it really does not describe Paradise fully. Paradise is a lot more than an orchard or a garden. It is a whole world by itself. Incidentally, the word AParadise (firdaws) is also a loan word, some say from Persian, others from Babylonian.
- 16. “Augustus” is his title which means: revered. His name was Octavius or Caius Octavius, and he lived from 63 B.C. to 14 A.D. He was a contemporary of Jesus (‘a) Christ and a grand nephew of Julius Caesar. He also was the first Roman emperor. (Caius) Julius Caesar (102 B.C. - 44 B.C.), who extended Rome's control to France (then land of the Gauls, original inhabitants of the France before Celtic Germanic tribes kicked them out and occupied their land in the third century B.C.) and Britain, adopted him and nAhmed him Caius Julius Caesar Octavianus. After his (Caesar's) assassination, Augustus gained power in Rome. In 31 B.C., he defeated Queen Cleopatra of Egypt (69 B.C. - 31 B.C.) at Actium, Greece, on September 2, 31 B.C. It was then that he became master of the Roman world.
- 17. Or Ashkenazim, one of the two major Jewish sects; the other is the Sephardim.
- 18. It was through Marc Antony (83 B.C. - 30 B.C.), a protege of Julius Caesar, that Herod (or Herod the Great) secured such a position which he maintained from 37 B.C. to 4 B.C. In his last years, he fell a victim to insanity, executing his sons Aristobulus, Alexander, and Antipater. He is the one who ordered the mass massacre of children.
- 19. There is no definite date given for the birth of Jesus (‘a) Christ even by Christians themselves! Most books say that he was Aprobably born between 8 B.C. and 4 B.C. The angel referred to above is described in Christian books as Athe heavenly host. In Islam, this may either be arch-Angel Gabriel or one of the angels working under his command. AJesus (‘a) is a Greek name derived from the Hebrew Joshua which means: Asaviour. AChrist is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah which means Aanointed. In Arabic, his name is ‘Isa. Jesus (‘a) Christ is cousin of John the Baptist who is described by the People of the Book as Aan ascetic preacher. In Islam, he is a prophet referred to in the Holy Qur’an as Yahya son of Zakariyya (Zacharias). He is mentioned in 3:39 where he is described as Aan honorable, chaste, a prophet from among the good ones, in 6:85 and 19:12-15 where he is described as one whom the Almighty granted wisdom even as a youth, and in 21:90 where he and his family are described as those who Aused to hasten, one with another, in (the doing of) deeds of goodness.
- 20. This brings back to me sour memories of the time I spent in Atlanta, Georgia, among those who called themselves”muballighs,” propagators, Muslim missionaries, yet they were too arrogant to pickup the telephone receiver to call their brethren, let alone going to their homes to visit them when they were sick. Such were the organizers of Islamic activities in the M.S.A. (Muslim Students Association of the U.S. and Canada) of Atlanta who gave me the worst impression about them in particular and about their nation-wide M.S.A. in general. They are still there, doing the same thing; time has not changed them; their”knowledge” never improved their attitudes, and it never will. The fountain of their knowledge is certainly polluted with arrogance, fanaticism, intolerance, and disrespect for all those with whose views they differ. I recorded these sour memories in Vol. One of my autobiography in order to advise the reader as to how he can distinguish between true servants of Islam and those who treat da’wah as a hobby, a pastime, a distraction. Only humble and modest community leaders who do not seek praise and who serve their communities selflessly are worthy of respect. Others are not better than hypocrites.
- 21. It is a tax on agricultural produce, goods, or personal items set aside as an offering to God. Very few Christians nowadays pay it. Here in the U.S., taxes collected by federal, state, social security, insurance, etc. take out about 30% of one's hard earned income, leaving him in need for charity himself!
- 22. The following text material is excerpted from two sources: The Columbia Viking Desk Encyclopedia (The Viking Press, New York, 1968), and the Encyclopedia Britannica III.
- 23. The city of Antioch is situated on the banks of the river al-’Sahih (Orontes). It was founded about 300 B.C. by Celeucus I (Nicator) who died in 280 B.C. Celeucus I was a general of Alexander the Great. Antioch is the city where the followers of Jesus (‘a) Christ were called AChristians (rather than Nazarines) for the first time. It is the seat of a Melchite, or Maronite, and a Jacobite patriarch. It fell to the Persians in 538 A.D., to the Arabs in 637 (16 A.H.), to the Byzantians from 969 - 1084 (358 - 477 A.H.), to Seljuk Turks in 1085 (478 A.H.), to the Crusaders in 1098 (491 A.H.), to Egyptian Mamlukes in 1268 (666 A.H.), and to Ottoman Turks in 1516 (922 A.H.). It was transferred to Syria by Western powers in 1920 (1339 A.H.) but restored to Turkey in 1939 (1358 A.H.). This is why the reader sometimes sees Antioch identified as a Syrian town and sometimes as a Turkish one! What a busy little town!
- 24. Encyclopedia Britannica II, Vol. 11, p. 178.
- 25. For the benefit of our reader, the full address of the said Publisher is: ATP, 10900 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN46231. This book deserves to be in every personal and public library.
- 26. This misleading statement exists in Vol. One of the world renown Encyclopedia Britannica III. How many other errors exist in this Encyclopedia?
- 27. That copy was later deposited at the Imperial Library at Vienna. It was at a much later date translated into English and edited by Lonsdale and Laura Ragg.
- 28. This statement, among many others in the Gospel of St. Barnabas, agrees with what we, Muslims, have in the Holy Qur’an. Jesus (‘a) Christ was not crucified.
- 29. The reader can easily see that there were two men among the disciples of Jesus (‘a) nAhmed Judas; one of them was crucified, so he was rewarded in heaven, and the other was not, so he was rewarded by the Romans for his treachery. The latter is Judas Iscariot.
- 30. The Great News: The New Testament (Colorado Springs, Colorado: International Bible Society, 1984).
- 31. This is a rough translation of the original Arabic text. A thorough research of the Bible may yield better results and reveal the exact Biblical verse the Imam was referring to. Unfortunately, the Imam did not specify which of the four Gospels he was quoting. Consulting a Bible in Arabic may also produce the same anticipated result: the number of the exact verse and the name of the Gospel the Imam had in mind.
- 32. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 14, pp. 331-333. Again, since this text is my translation from the Arabic original, the Imam's quotations may not be exact. Consulting a Bible written in Arabic will be worthwhile and will provide the numbers of the chapters and verses to which the Imam here refers. Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of the Bible in Arabic.
- 33. Since there is no copyright on The Gospel of Barnabas, the copy of it consulted for this book contains neither the Publisher's name nor the place nor the date of publication.
- 34. Some Arab writers say that the Sabeans (or Sabians) were a certain sect of unbelievers who worshipped the stars secretly and openly professed to be Christians. According to others, they are followers of the religion of Sabi' son of Seth son of Adam (‘a), which is more accurate, for the Holy Qur’an includes them in the above quoted verse among the believers. Other writers say that their religion is pretty much what Christianity teaches except that their qibla was towards the south. Still others say that they followed the religion of prophet Noah (‘a), and surely Allah knows best.
- 35. The discreet reader realizes that reference to Egypt does not mean today's Egypt. We are talking not about now but about two thousand years ago. At that time, Egypt was a Asuperpower that had extended its domination to a large part of the then world. This statement means:Mary conveyed Jesus (‘a) on a donkey and went out to the lands under Egypt's control. Mary was avoiding the brutality of the Romans and those who worked for them. Some parts of Palestine at that time fell under Egypt's control.
- 36. This incident can be found in the Bible. Some Christians find no harm in wine drinking, basing their argument on Jesus (‘a) turning water into wine, but little do they consider the fact that Jesus (‘a) never drank that wine nor any other wine.
- 37. These Gospels have continuously been undergoing changes, editings, distortions, etc. due to mistranslation, sectarian biases and prejudices and other factors. The only Gospel accepted by Muslims as accurate is that of St. Barnabas, a Cypriot companion of St. Paul (originally Saul), which was not canonized by the Council of Nicaea of 325 A.D. That Council was called for by the Byzantine emperor Constantine I (288 - 337 A.D.), or Constantine the Great, who built the Turkish city Constantinople in 330 A.D. to dedicate it to Jesus (‘a)' mother, Virgin Mary. Constantine's objective was to settle the disputes among various Christian sects as to what constituted Christianity, but the said Conference created more problems than it solved. It was also boycotted by a number of Christian sects who did not endorse its decisions.
- 38. Most likely, this is the Sea of Galilee, or Tiberias (in Arabic Bar abariyya) in northeast Palestine. During the lifetime of Jesus (‘a) Christ, nine cities were flourishing on its shores. Some of his disciples, the fishermen, were from that area.
- 39. Jesus (‘a) Christ had a most beautiful and attractive conduct and a brilliant sense of humour. This quotation testifies to this fact.
- 40. Ata’ ibn Abu Rabah (d. 114 A.H./732 A.D.) was a renown tabi’i who learned from the sahaba and reported hadith from them. He was once the mufti of Mecca.
- 41. This is an expression meaning:”He never hurt anyone.”
- 42. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 14, pp. 289-293. There is a lot more text of the same, but the lack of space does not allow me to provide the reader with more.
- 43. According to the distorted story of Jesus (‘a), soldiers of the Roman empire (which then dominated Palestine) crucified Jesus (‘a). Muslims believe that: 1) the Jews, not the Romans, crucified a man thinking that he was Jesus (‘a), that the plot against him was not politically but religiously motivated; 2) the real Jesus (‘a) was not crucified but was raised to heaven and is still alive. He will come back near the end of the life on this planet to fight those who distorted his message. There are millions of Christians who believe in this second coming of Jesus (‘a), but they, as usual, differ among themselves as to how it will be. Some claim that Jesus (‘a) will not come back in person but there will be a revival of his faith...
- 44. Named after Jacob Baradaeus, this sect of Christianity spread in the 6th. century throughout Syria, Iraq, and India. Its views sharply contradict those held by Roman Catholics and by Orthodox. Its head is the patriarch of Antioch (at Syrian Homs), and it uses Syriac as its sacred language. Christ spoke (Northwest Semitic) Aramaic. Syriac is an Aramaic language, a dialect of the Semitic subfamily of Afro-Asiatic languages. Some Syrian Christians still speak Aramaic even today. The first and authentic Bible was written in Jesus (‘a)' mother tongue, Aramaic, but it was lost... Greater Syria, by the way, used to be called the land of Aram, hence Aramaic means Athe language spoken in Aram. It is nAhmed after Aram, a descendant of Nahor, grandfather of prophet Abraham (Ibrahim), peace with him. Its capital Damascus is one of the most ancient cities in the world. It dates back to three thousand B.C., hence it is now about four thousand years old.
- 45. NAhmed after Nestorius, 5th century patriarch of Constantinople.Followers of this Church reject calling Virgin Mary, mother of Christ,”the Mother of God,” saying that she bore Jesus (‘a) as a man. It flourished in Syria and ancient Persia, and one of its adherents, Nestor, met young Prophet Muhammad when he was in the company of his uncle Abu alib who was on a business trip. Salman al-Farisi, one of Prophet Muhammad's early disciples and traditionists, had converted from Zoroastrianism to Nestorianism then to Islam.
- 46. Notice that I did not use the word AAllah for the previous sects. This is due to the fact that those sects did not have the correct concept of the Almighty. The word AAllah here refers to the complete and perfect concept of God.
- 47. Christians have been disputing with one another about Jesus (‘a) Christ and will continue doing so till the end of time. Some of them went as far in their apostasy as charging him of being homosexual..., Astaghfirullah (I seek refuge with Allah). Some Christian Achurches here in America have been solemnizing Amarriages wherein men marry men or women marry women...
- 48. William F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity, Doubleday & Co., Inc., Garden City, New York, 1957, p. 261.
- 49. Col. J. Garnier, The Worship of the Dead, Chapman & Hall, Ltd., 1904, p. 12.
- 50. History of Christianity in the Light of modern Knowledge, A Collective Work, p. 209.
- 51. Caesarea Philippi is an area in north Palestine at the foot of Mt.Hermon built by Philip the Tetrarch.
- 52. This is the Almighty's reference to the concept of the Trinity. Advocates of the Trinity claim that the God exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
- 53. Reference to Jesus (‘a) Christ and to his pious mother eating food, as we read in al-Qummi's Tafsir, is also reference to their using the toilet, that is, to defecate. No”god” or”son of god” can be imagined as being unable to avoid having to defecate! This is only to underscore their being physically created as human as anyone else.
- 54. Uzair is Arabic for Hebrew Ezra. This is the only verse in the Holy Qur’an where such a reference is made. Who is this alleged Jewish Ason of God? After the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnessar, the Torah was lost. Since there was none who remembered the law when the Jews returned from captivity, God raised up Ezra from the dead a hundred years after his death. When the Jews saw him thus raised from the dead, they said he must be the son of God. This is the contested view of some scholars. This raising from the dead is confused with another incident which actually took place to someone else and which is narrated in the Holy Qur’an in 2:261. It involves Bal’am (Balam) ibn Ba’r, a learned Israelite, who passed by a dead town (some say Antioch or one of its suburbs) and wondered how God would bring it back to life. The Almighty caused him to die then raised him back to life to see for himself that He can do anything at all.
- 55. According to The Columbia Viking Desk Encyclopedia, early Christians observed the first day of the week (Monday) as their Sabbath Ain commemoration of the Resurrection. Some sects, such as Seventh-Day Baptists, have reverted to Saturday. AMonday, by the way, was the Babylonian day when the moon - hence moon-day, Monday - was worshipped. Saturday was”Saturn's day”, the day when Saturn, god of the harvest, was to be worshipped. This is another proof of the pagan roots in Christianity.
- 56. In the text to follow, I have benefitted from Fazlul-Rahman Ansari's book Islam and Christianity in the Modern World.
- 57. Godfrey Higgins, Anacalypsis, Vol. 1, p. 322.
- 58. The Nineteenth Century, September 1905, p. 496.
- 59. In the following text, I have utilized Fazlul Rahman Ansari's excellent book Islam and Christianity in the Modern World, pp. 70-72.