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Was Jesus a Muslim?

In an attempt to get Islam accepted by Christians, some Muslims say that Jesus was a Muslim. They refer to verses in the Gospel about Muslim practices of Jesus, his status only a messenger, and his obedience to the Law of Moses. Let’s have a look below at the verses Muslims use as evidence that Jesus is a Muslim.

Matthew 5:17-20: Jesus did not preach not only Law obedience as way to Paradise

Jesus said that his guidance are the way to Paradise, not following the Law of Moses: "Why do you call me ’Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). It is a call to follow Jesus Christ and to become his disciple and a call to love and on judgment [1]. A man asked Jesus about eternal life. Jesus said: “Come and follow me” (Mark 10:21).

Matthew 5:17: Jesus changed the Law and was not a strict follower of it

Some Muslims refer to Law driven verses in the Gospel to show that Jesus preached law practices over grace: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). Moses presented the Law of God in the Torah, but Jesus changed many laws, for example: “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment...“ (Matthew 5:21-22). See also Matthew 5:27-28, 31-39, 43-44. When a woman committed adultery, the Jews asked Jesus to stone her according the Law in the Torah, but Jesus refused. The disciples of Jesus had permission to harvest corn on Sabbath. Also this was against the Torah. Jesus performed healing miracles on Sabbath, this was according to the Jews against the Torah. Matthew 5:17 is not evidence of all laws in the Torah, because Jesus did not follow all Torah practices according the Jews in his time.

Mark 12:29: Jesus did not deny he is united with God

One of the most frequent used Gospel verses used by Muslims to deny the divinity of Jesus Christ is: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one." (Mark 12:29). But when we look at the context we see that the word “one” has been used in Matthew 19:3-6 in “the two shall become one flesh”. The word “one” is not a mathematical term, but a spiritual term that Jesus and the Father are one God.

Luke 18:19: Saying all goodness is in God is no denial of Jesus’ divinity

Muslims refer to the following Gospel verse: "No one is good - except God alone.” (Luke 18:19, also in Matthew 19:17 and Mark 10:18). However, this is not a denial that Jesus is God because the intention of the conversation of Jesus was in agreement with Jewish habits that using titles is without a meaning, is a compliment. Therefore it is not a denial of the divinity of Jesus Christ.

John 5:30: Jesus did not only say all miracles were performed only by God

Muslims refer to the following Gospel verse to explain that Jesus is not God: “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. (John 5:30). Jesus said he did what the Father is also doing, making him equal to God: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17). Therefore the Gospel says about Jesus: “God was his Father, making himself equal with God”. (John 5:18). Jesus the Messiah is faultless as also the Qur’an confirms (Qur’an 19:19). He only works in God’s will. In a further verse, Jesus says: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). Therefore there is a unity between Jesus as the Word of God (Qur’an 3:45, 4:171) and Jesus as the Spirit of God (Qur’an 4:171, 5:110).

John 7:28, 8:42, 17:3: Jesus is more than a messenger of God

The claim that Jesus is not God, but only a messenger of God comes from: “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). However the interpretation that Jesus is not God is incorrect, because in other Gospel verses Jesus says he is God, for example: “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in you sins” (John 8:24) and “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). In other words: Jesus, the Son of God is God.

Mark 3:35, John 7:16: Jesus’ will to God no denial of his divinity

For Muslims Jesus is only a prophet or messenger. That means that Jesus submitted his will to God and cannot be God. Some references are the following Gospel verses: “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:35) and "Jesus answered, ‘My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me’" (John 7:16). However, the Jews accused Jesus that he was not a certified teacher from a Jewish leader. Jesus told them his teachings are divine. Jesus explained that his education is revelation from God [2]. This is opposite of what Islam teaches about Jesus.

Luke 22:36: Jesus did not preach Jihad

Muslims try to refer to a Gospel verse in which Jesus calls to buy a sword: “Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one” (Luke 22:36). But Jesus Christ did not mean real physical weapons, but weapons of the spiritual warfare. The Greek word for sword can also mean the emblem of judicial vengeance or punishment, or of authority and power [3]. Jesus preached peace and was against violence: “Put your sword away!” (John 18:11). Jesus was against Jihad.

John 13:10: Jesus did not perform unique Muslim rituals

The following verse may remind to Muslim cleaning rituals: “Jesus answered, ‘Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you’” (John 13:10). However, Jesus Christ used Jewish rituals and Islam did not exist in the time of Jesus. Jesus Christ was born about 600 years before Islam did not perform unique Muslim rituals.

Matthew 4:2: Jesus fasted for more than a month as Moses and Elijah

Muslims have a fasting period of one month called Ramadan. The Gospel mentions that Jesus als fastened at least one month: “After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry” (Matthew 4:2). But this fasting was according the examples of Moses (Exodus 34:28) and Elijah (1 Kings 19:8). The Torah, written by Moses was earlier than Islam, so again Jesus followed Jewish practices and this has nothing to do with Islam.

Matthew 26:39: No evidence that Jesus always prayed with his face on the ground

There is only one verse saying that Jesus prayed with his face to the ground: “He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed …" (Matthew 26:39). But this was in an extreme difficult situation, when Jesus knew he will be executed soon. One verse is not enough to prove that Jesus always prayed with his face to the ground as Muslim do.

Luke 10:5, John 20:19: Jesus learned from Torah to greet with peace

“Peace be upon you” is the standard greeting for Muslims. Also Jesus used this habit: “When you enter a house, first say, "Peace to this house” (Luke 10:5). After his resurrection he greeted his disciples again with peace: “Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19). However, also this practice of Jesus goes back to the Torah: “And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks …” (Genesis 43:23). We can conclude that Jesus used oriental habits from the Torah, not Islam.

Conclusion

Jesus was not a Muslim but a Jew with many new lifestyle practices. When Jesus Christ was on earth , he was a genuine Jew. That he had disputed with other Jews is not so important. It is a common practice under Jews to disagree on some issues and there were may Jewish sects in his time. Islam inherited many rituals and practices from Judaism. Because Islam came 600 years after Jesus, Muslims cannot claim Jewish practices of Jesus as Muslim practices. Jesus Christ was more than a prophet or messenger, because he has a divine nature. There are many claims that Jesus is God in the Bible, this is opposite common thinking of Muslims. Jesus was not a Muslim.

Notes

  1. John Nolland, Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 35A, Luke 1-9:20, Dallas, 1989, 309.
  2. George R. Beasley-Murray, Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 36, John, Waco, 1987, 108.
  3. Noah Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language, Sword.

Matthew 19:17, Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19: Did Jesus say no one is good except God alone?

Mark 12:29: Did Jesus deny Trinity?

John 5:30: Did Jesus say I can of myself do nothing?

John 7:16: Does Jesus deny he is God by following God's doctrine?

John 17:3: Did Jesus say that the Father alone is the only true God?

Matthew 18:8: Better to be maimed than with two hands in hell?

Qur’an 56:61: Renewal of faith by transformation of the soul?

Comments

fouad 14/02/2021 16:51:

Jesus's acts of worship and statements constitute clear evidence that he has come as a God-fearing person in this world by a miracle with the virginal conception and that he preached Islam. He did miracles with God's permission. In addition, since I am Muslim, I experience a much stronger relationship with God.

michael 15/02/2021 21:53:

The Prophet Isa in the Qur'an not the same as the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the Bible. Are you sure you have kept always all the commandments? Therefore Jesus said: “One thing you lack”. Jesus Christ is the Word of God, while the prophets are just shadows of the Word of God. Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. Only the righteous Jesus Christ is the final sacrifice for sin. Jesus Christ died for the sin of the people. Accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. To make the decision to start a new life by following Jesus Christ: “Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21). Be motivated to become a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Trying to keeping the laws and doing a lot of goodwill or other religious rules will never bring certainty. Being sure about going to heaven is only possible by faith in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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