Islam has stories about Jesus which it claims are true. Where they differ from the Gospel account, they say it is because the account in the Gospel have been altered by later writers. The Qur’an and the Hadith were written between 600 – 900 years after Jesus by people who lived in a different time and a different place with different culture to the people who wrote the New Testament. So, which is more likely to have the correct account?
There are things which the Qur’an says about Jesus which are wrong. For example Mary, the mother of Jesus is called the ‘sister of Aaron’ (Sura 19.28-29) and the ‘daughter of Imran’ (Sura 66.12). Imran is an Arabic form of the Hebrew Amram, who was the father of ‘Aaron, Moses and Miriam’ (Numbers 26.59). This Miriam was Aaron’s sister (Exodus 15.20). Therefore, not only was Miriam / Mary a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus, she was also about 1500 years old!
Some Muslim writers have attempted to explain this by saying that Miriam was miraculously preserved alive, purposely to become the mother of Jesus, quoting a Jewish tradition that the angel of death did not have power over Miriam the sister of Moses and Aaron. The obvious explanation is that the writer of the Qur’an simply confused the identity of these two women, whose names in Hebrew (Miriam) and Arabic (Maryam) are very common.
The Islamic Jesus was never crucified and therefore did not rise from the dead: ‘And because of their saying (in boast), ‘We killed Messiah Jesus, son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allah,’ — but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but it appeared so to them the resemblance of Jesus was put over another man (and they killed that man), and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not: But Allah raised him up unto Himself (and he is in the heavens). And Allah is ever all powerful, all wise’(al-Nisaa’ 4:157-158).
This rips out the very heart of the message of the Gospel and contradicts everything that the New Testament teaches about Jesus.
It also connects to the teaching of heretical Gnostic sects. In the ‘Second Treatise of the Great Seth’, a Gnostic text from the 2nd century, a false Jesus says, ‘I did not die in reality but in appearance … Those in error and blindness saw me; they punished me. It was another, their father, who drank the gall and vinegar; it was not I. It was another, Simon, who bore the cross on his shoulder. I was rejoicing in the height over all. And I was laughing at their ignorance.’
There are other connections to Gnostic writings in the Qur’an, like the story of Jesus as a child making clay birds, breathing on them and they flew away. This suggests that whoever put it together had some contact with Gnostic sects which deviated from mainstream Christianity. The Qur’an also contains Talmudic stories like Abraham destroying the idols in Ur and Solomon knowing the language of birds, so he may also have picked up influences from Jewish teachers of the time.
The Islamic Jesus is not God in the flesh, in fact anyone who believes that God is three in one will be thrown into hell according to the Qur’an. ‘Surely, disbelievers are those who said: ‘Allah is the third of the three (in a Trinity).’ But there is no AIlah (god) but One AIlah. And if they cease not from what they say, verily, a painful torment will befall on the disbelievers among them’. [al-Maa’idah 5:73]. He is simply another prophet: ‘Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them’: Surah 2.136, 2.84.
The Islamic Jesus is a created being: ‘The similitude of Jesus before Allah is that of Adam: he created him from dust, then said to him, ‘Be’: and he was.’ [Qur’an: Sura 3:59] In the Bible Jesus is revealed as an eternal being who said of himself:
He is the creator not a created being:
The New Testament teaches that Jesus is Lord, entirely different from the prophets and is above them all:
John equates Jesus with the Word who is God.
Muslims have a number of beliefs about the second coming of Jesus based on the Hadith (traditions) rather than the Qur’an.
The Islamic Jesus will come back as ‘a man of medium height, reddish hair, wearing two light yellow garments’ (Sunan Abu Dawud Book 37, Number 4310); he will land on the minaret of the mosque in Damascus when he will invite the whole world, including Jews and Christians, to become Muslims (Hadith 814). He will then destroy the Dajjal (a kind of Muslim Antichrist figure) and ‘kill all pigs and break all crosses’, confirming Islam as the only true religion, abolishing Christianity. He will then live for 40 years, marry and have children and perform the Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca. Then he will die and be buried beside the grave of Muhammad.
All of this contradicts what the Bible tells us about the second coming of Jesus. He will return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords with all the power of God at his disposal to the Mount of Olives outside Jerusalem.
Then He will set up his 1000 year reign of peace and justice on the earth prior to the eternal state in which He is glorified and worshipped for eternity (see Zechariah 12-14, Revelation 19-21).
Behind the Qur’an is a spirit which denies the identity of the Lord Jesus as revealed in the New Testament. The New Testament identifies this as the spirit of antichrist.
In 1 John 2.19-23 we read:
It is a central belief of Islam that God is an absolute unity. It denies the Christian concept that God is a tri-unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that the Lord Jesus Christ is Emmanuel / God with us / Son of God.
Islam is destined to play a role in the events of the last days as a persecutor of true Christians. It is also involved in the end time conflict over who should rule Jerusalem.
When Jesus returns, He will come to Jerusalem (not Damascus) and make the world submit to one God through Jesus the Messiah, as He brings peace and justice to the world (Isaiah 2.1-4, Zechariah 14, Revelation 20). He will rule as King of kings and Lord of lords and establish His kingdom of peace and justice on earth for 1000 years. When the 1000 years are over, He will dissolve this world and create the new heavens and new earth where all true believers will dwell for eternity (2 Peter 3, Revelation 21).
We would like to see many people who now follow Islam turn to Jesus to find true salvation and a glorious hope for the future.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. Acts 16.31