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QUR’AN ON CHRISTIANITY AND JUDAISM

Reference : Dr. Javed Jamil

A Systematic Study of the Holy Qur’an-8

PART II: PHILOSOPHY - Qur'an on Christianity and Judaism, Priesthood and Monasticism in Qur'an

 

Qur'an
on
Christianity
and
Judaism,
Priesthood
and
Monasticism
in Qur'an


Qur'an on Christianity and Judaism
 

As has been clarified before in no uncertain terms, Qur’an describes Muhammad (SAAW) as the last of more than one hundred thousand messengers chosen by God to guide the mankind. They all were true envoys of God; and whatever they preached was in accordance with His commands. The Book of Islam does not only recognise the founders of Christianity and Judaism but also glorifies them as among the greatest of men ever born. But while Qur’an pays them the greatest of honour, it does not fail to criticise their so-called followers who have, for their own selfish ends, distorted their messages. Qur’anic style of criticism however has the unique feature that it is based on facts some of which were not even known to the clergy of these religions; furthermore, it does not show any signs of bias or unwarranted malice   towards them. Some of them are even praised for their candidness and spiritual eminence. Qur’an is extremely severe in its criticism of Jews for failing to follow a large number of God’s Messengers, many of whom had to face harshest possible persecution at their hands; some of them were brutally murdered. It also takes Christian priests to task for converting Jesus, the Apostle, the Word and the Spirit of God into His Only Son, a concept that looks absurd at the very outset. But even in criticism, Qur’an does not fail to condone those People of Book who have been honest in admitting the truth; and have proved the integrity of their character by their actions. God’s intention is not to unnecessarily humiliate them; He prefers to remind them that the founders of their religion were all His messengers; and if they are His real servants, they must waste no time in recognising His Last Messenger, Muhammad PBUH.

 

Christians must realise the fact that out of all those who do not believe in the fundamentals of Christianity it is only Muslims who love all those whom Christians love: God, Mary, Jesus, John the Baptist, Holy Spirit and all other messengers of God including Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Job, Jonas, David and Solomon (Peace be upon them!). Love for them is an inseparable part of Islamic Faith. Not only their belief in Jesus and respect for him and his mother are profound, majority of them also believe that Jesus will come again in the world and will unite Muslims and Christians against the Evil forces ruling the world. And most Muslim scholars believe that the time of Second Advent of Christ is not far away.

 

Qur’an glorifies Jesus (Peace be upon him!) and Mary (Peace be upon her!)) in no uncertain terms. Muslims regard Jesus as the penultimate Prophet of Islam (the last being Muhammad (Peace be upon him!)) and “Word”, “Spirit” and “Messenger of God”.  And though it might sound incredible to Christians but the fact is that apart from several stories common in Qur’an and Bible, there are many events in the lives of Jesus and Mary that are described only in Qur’an; Bible is silent about them. For example, Qur’an describes in detail the story of how Virgin Mary went on to take bath and The Holy Spirit announced to her the birth of Jesus as a miracle of God. It also describes events related to the birth of Jesus, difficulties faced by Mary, the help by God, slandering of Mary by the community and Jesus’ miraculous speaking in the cradle to silence his mother’s detractors. Not only this, Qur’an also describes in detail the birth of Mary herself and her miraculous childhood. It also describes the birth of John the Baptist. These all stories are not present in any of the versions of Gospel. At the same time, Qur’an does also not fail to rectify certain misconceptions about Jesus’ life.

 

Christians and Jews should also know that Qur’an coins for them a very respectable term, “Ahl-e-Kitab”, the People of the Book because they have been reading earlier parts (Torah, Psalm sand Gospel) of the Book of God. To affirm their proximity to Muslims, several practical measures have been taken. The foods of Muslims and People of Book have been declared lawful for both.(5:5). Taking another major leap towards bonding Muslims with the People of Book, Muslims have been permitted to marry Christian and Jew women; they are not required to change their religion. (5: 5) Muslim rulers have also taken care to judge the internal affairs of Christians (as well as of Jews) on the basis of their own laws.

 

As said above, Qur’an pays great respect to all those who are revered by Christianity. But while Christian priests are admired for certain qualities, Qur’an does not fail to put the matter straight by criticising Christianity in matters that dilute or corrupt the absolute monotheism. Jesus was a man of truth like all other messengers of God but he was a chosen human being, who would guide mankind in a way instructed by God. God is Absolute, Infinite and Perfect. Not even for an iota of time can He, in part or as a whole, become limited or bound by space or time. For whatever aim, God can never be caught by human beings and killed. Jesus was very special; whatever he did and said was in accordance with what God wanted him to say or do. This is another matter that many of his sayings or doings were not correctly recorded or interpreted.  He was the SON of GOD, not biologically but metaphorically, because God the Absolute creates and not reproduces. Reproduction is a sign of dependence. It can be proven from Bible that, at several places, Jesus called God as Father of not only himself but also of all humans; he called himself “Son of Man” at several places. Humans were called “sons of God” at several places in both Old and New Testaments. God may be like father in the sense that He is Kind towards His creatures in the same way as a father is expected to be kind to his children. But to call Him Father in the Biological sense would deprive Him of His Absoluteness. God is one that encompasses the whole universe (even any other universes that might be existing) and controls it. One who can create anything need not reproduce. Furthermore, Son of God cannot be a role model for sons of men. Jesus was born without a father as a special miracle of God like Adam was born without parents.

 

Islam (literally meaning PEACE, and defined as TOTAL SUBMISSION TO GOD) is not a new System in the sense that its foundations are the same. It is the same System, which Adam, Abraham, Moses and Jesus (Peace be upon them!) followed, except that God remodelled the constitution to suit new requirements. The basic philosophy of Belief in One God, Belief in His Messengers and Books, Belief in Hereafter and Belief in GOOD ACTIONS remains the same. But as Qur’an is for all times to come, it sets guidelines concerning all matters of life. Unlike Christianity that primarily seeks to reform an individual, Islam also gives well-defined principles about family and social life, including social, political, legal and economic systems.

 

In the name of God, the Kind, the Merciful

 
 

CHRISTIANITY AND JUDAISM IN THE QUR’AN
 

 

Followers of previous scriptures welcome to Islam
Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (2: 62/A)
 

 

Those who believe (in the Qur’an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians, Christians, Magians, and Polytheists,- God will judge between them on the Day of Judgment: for God is witness of all things. ( 22: 17 /A)
 

 

Jesus not biological son

 

They say: “(God) hath begotten a son”: Glory be to Him.-Nay, to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth: everything renders worship to Him. To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth: When He decreeth a matter, He saith to it: “Be,” and it is. (2: 116-117/A)

 

They say: “(God) hath begotten a son!” - Glory be to Him! He is self- sufficient! (10: 68/A)

 

How can He have a son when He hath no consort? He created all things, and He hath full knowledge of all things. (6: 101/A)

 

Mary a woman of truth

 

Christ the son of Mary was no more than an apostle; many were the apostles that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how God doth make His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth! (5: 75/A)

 

Relate in the Book (the story of) Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place in the East. She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent her our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects. She said: “I seek refuge from thee to (God) Most Gracious: (come not near) if thou dost fear God.” He said: “Nay, I am only a  messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son. She said: “How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?” He said: “So (it will be): Thy Lord saith, ‘that is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us’: It is a matter (so) decreed.” So she conceived him and she retired with him to a remote place. (19: 16-22/A)

 

At length she brought the (babe) to her people,   carrying him (in her arms). They said: “O Mary! truly an amazing thing hast thou brought! “O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!” But she pointed to the babe. They said: “How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?” He said: “I am indeed a servant of God. He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet; and He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live; (He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable; So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)”! Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute. It is not befitting to (the majesty of) God that He should beget a son. (19: 27-35/A)

 

Christ the Apostle and Statement (Kalimah) of God

 

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

 

Christ worshipper of God

 

Christ disdaineth not to serve and worship God, nor do the angels, those nearest (to God): those who disdain His worship and are arrogant,-He will gather them all together unto Himself to (answer).(4:172/A)

 

They do blaspheme who say: “(God) is Christ the son of Mary.” But said Christ: “O Children of Israel ! worship God, my Lord and your Lord.” Whoever joins other gods with God,- God will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrongdoers be no one to help. They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One God. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous   penalty will befall the blasphemers among them. (5: 72-73/A)

 

Baptism of God

 

* (Our religion is) the Baptism of God. And who can baptise better than God. And it is He Whom we   worship. (2: 138/A)

 

Christ raised

 

That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of God.;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to    appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:- Nay, God raised him up unto Himself; and God is Exalted in Power, Wise;- And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgement he will be a witness against them. (4: 157-159/A)

 

The Jews call Uzair a son of God, and the Christians call Christ the son of God. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. ( 9: 30 /A)

 

Christians nearest to Muslims

 

Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, “We are Christians”: because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant. And when they listen to the revelation received by the Messenger, thou wilt see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognise the truth: they pray: “Our Lord! we believe; write us down among the witnesses. What cause can we have not to believe in God and the truth which has come to us, seeing that we long for our Lord to admit us to the company of the righteous?” (5: 82-84/A)

 

Religion of Abraham

 

Or do ye say that Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes were Jews or Christians? Say: Do ye know better than God? Ah! who is more unjust  than those who conceal the testimony they have from    God. But God is not unmindful of what ye do! (2: 140/A)

 

They say: “Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (to salvation).” Say thou: “Nay! (I would rather) the Religion of Abraham the True, and he joined not gods with God.” Say ye: “We believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and     another of them: And we bow to God (in Islam).”

 

So if they believe as ye believe, they are indeed on the right path; but if they turn back, it is they who are in schism; but God will suffice thee as against them, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing. (2: 135-137/A)

 

Curse on Rejecters

 

For the iniquity of the Jews We made unlawful for them certain (foods) good and wholesome which had been lawful for them;- in that they hindered many from God’s Way;- that they took usury, though they were forbidden; and that they devoured men’s substance wrongfully;- we have prepared for those among them who reject faith a grievous  punishment. (4: 160-161/A)

 

Curses were pronounced on those among the Children of Israel who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary: because they disobeyed and persisted in excesses. Nor did they (usually) forbid one another the iniquities which they committed: evil indeed were the deeds which they did. (5: 78-79/A)

 

Rabbis must act right 

 

Why do not the rabbis and the doctors of Law forbid them from their (habit of) uttering sinful words and eating things forbidden? Evil indeed are their works.  The Jews say: “(God’s) hand is tied up.” Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for the (blasphemy) they utter! Nay, both His hands are widely outstretched: He giveth and spendeth (of His bounty) as He pleaseth. But the revelation that cometh to thee from God increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. Amongst them we have placed enmity and hatred till the Day of Judgement. Every time they    kindle the fire of war, God doth extinguish it; but they (ever) strive to do mischief on earth. And God loveth not those who do mischief. (5: 64/A)

 

We took the covenant of the Children of Israel and sent them apostles, every time, there came to them an apostle with what they themselves desired not - some (of these) they called impostors, and some they (go so far as to) slay. (5: 70/A)

 

Paradise for believers
 

If only the People of the Book had believed and been righteous, We should indeed have blotted out their iniquities and admitted them to gardens of bliss. If only they had stood fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side. There is from among them a party on the right course: but many of them follow a course that is evil. (5: 65-66/A)

 

The people of the Book ask thee to cause a book to descend to them from heaven: Indeed they asked Moses for an even greater (miracle), for they said: “Show us God in public,” but they were dazed for their presumption, with thunder and lightning. Yet they worshipped the calf even after clear signs had come to them; even so We forgave them; and gave Moses manifest proofs of authority. And for their covenant We raised over them (the towering height) of Mount (Sinai); and (on another occasion) We said: “Enter the gate with humility”; and (once again) we commanded them: “Transgress not in the matter of the Sabbath.” And We took from them a solemn covenant. (They have incurred divine displeasure): In that they broke their covenant; that they rejected the signs of God; that they slew the Messengers in defiance of right; that they said, “Our hearts are the wrappings (which     preserve God’s Word; We need no more)”;- Nay, God hath set the seal on their hearts for their blasphemy, and little is it they believe...(4: 153-155/A)

 

Invitation to People of the Book

 

Say: “O people of the Book! exceed not in your religion the bounds (of what is proper), trespassing beyond the truth, nor follow the vain desires of people who went wrong in times gone by,- who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the even way. (5: 78/A)

 

Say: "O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but Allah. that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah." If then they turn back, say ye: "Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah.s Will). (33” 64/A)

 

Among the People of the Book are some who, if entrusted with a hoard of gold, will (readily) pay it back; others, who, if entrusted with a single silver coin, will not repay it unless thou constantly stoodest demanding, because, they say, "there is no call on us (to keep faith) with these ignorant (Pagans)." but they tell a lie against Allah, and (well) they know it. (33: 75/A)

 

Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (For the right): They rehearse the Signs of Allah all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration. They believe in Allah and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous. (36: 113-114)

 

And there are, certainly, among the People of the Book, those who believe in Allah, in the revelation to you, and in the revelation to them, bowing in humility to Allah. They will not sell the Signs of Allah for a miserable gain! For them is a reward with their Lord, and Allah is swift in account. (45: 199)

 

Social Relations with People of the Book promoted

 

The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. (5: 5/A)

 

(Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time,- when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness...(5: 5/A)

 

 

THE QUR’AN ON PRIESTHOOD AND MONASTICISM

 

Qur’an does not believe in an intermediary between God and ordinary man. Every man is free to pray God without the involvement of a priest.There is no priesthood in Islam as it is there in other religions. Those who specialise in religious knowledge have also to perform all routine works in the same way as other Muslims do. They do not have to adopt celibacy or shun the comforts of life altogether. Islam does not believe in monasticism either; to give away the world and seclude oneself in exclusive worship of God is contrary to the spirit of Islam. If anyone wants to be a truly committed slave of God, he has only got to    perform all the activities of life in accordance with the injunctions of God and the life of the Prophet; for there are also rights of body on every individual which must be fully respected.

 

In the name of God, the Kind, the Merciful

 
PRIESTHOOD AND MONASTICISM IN THE QUR’A

 

Priests not to be taken as lords

 

They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of God,  and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; yet they were  commanded to worship but One God. ( 9: 31 /A)

 

Dishonesty common in priests

 

O ye who believe! there are indeed many among the priests and anchorites, who in Falsehood devour the substance of men and hinder (them) from the way of God. And there are those who bury gold and silver and spend it not in the way of God. Announce unto them a most grievous penalty;- on the Day when heat will be produced out of that (wealth) in the fire of Hell, and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs.- “This is the (treasure) which ye   buried for yourselves: taste ye, then, the (treasures) ye buried!” (9: 34-35/A)

 

Monasticism an invention of men

 

Then, in their wake, We followed them up with   (others of) Our apostles: We sent after them Jesus the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Gospel; and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him Compassion and Mercy. But the Monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them: (We commanded) only the seeking for the Good Pleasure of God; but that they did not foster as they should have done. Yet We bestowed, on those among them who believed, their (due) reward, but many of them are rebellious transgressors. (57: 27/A)

 


 

SERIES: A Systematic Study of the Holy Qur'an

 

CONTENTS

  

PART I: FAITH                                                 

 

 

 

PART II: PHILOSOPHY

 

 

PART III: CONSTITUTION

 

 

PART IV: THE SYSTEM

 

 

PART V: THE HISTORY OF CONFRONTATION

 

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Last Word: The Final Document of Peace

 


 

 

 

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