The Holy Prophet on Idolatory

16 Jesus and the Holy Quran “And we made the Son of Mary and his mother a sign; and we gave them refuge on an elevated land with springs of running water” (23:51) The Holy Quran is the sacred religious scripture of Islam and according to the belief of 800 million Muslims, the literal word of God. It was revealed to Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, over a period of 23 years — from AD 610 to 622 — it was committed to memory as well as recorded in writing. It is pure revelation of God and does not contain words of Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, which are collected in separate books of Traditions called Hadith. Its text has been fully preserved and there is no doubt about a single word or sentence. A non-Muslim may not believe it to be the word of God but even hostile scholars and critics of Islam agree that the Quran is the same as Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, gave to the world about fourteen centuries ago. Apart from its textual purity, its meaning and interpretation was explained first by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and later by reformers which God raised in every century of Islam. The world is dynamic and so is the Holy Quran. Changing circumstances and new scientific discoveries have not been able to refute the teachings of Quran. This universe, with its natural laws is the work or creation of God and the Holy Quran, the word of God. There is no conflict between the two. In Islam there is no conflict between religion and true science. Just as knowledge of the universe is inexhaustible, so is the knowledge of the Holy Quran. Its full meaning and interpretation can not be confined to a single person or age. Unity of God The fundamental teaching of Quran is the Unity of God. He is One and has no associates in His Person or in His attributes. He is all Powerful, Mighty, and Wise, He is free from human conditions like being born, suffering, or death. He does not beget, nor is He Begotten. He is self Existing, Eternal and Independent. He is the wise Creator of the whole universe. He is the first cause of all causes. The whole system of cause and effect in this universe ends with Him. He is the Creator and Sustainer of everything. Without His support the whole universe would collapse. The unity and uniformity of laws of nature point to One Creator. He is Beneficient and Merciful. He forgives the repentant. His attributes of mercy and justice are not in any conflict. His justice is part of His mercy. He is the Master. He forgives whomsoever He wishes. His 17 JESUS AND THE HOLY Q U R A N are the most beautiful attributes which can not be confined within human reason. We read in Holy Quran: “God is He beside whom there is no God, the Sovereign, the Most Holy, the Source of Peace, the Bestower of Security, the Protector, the Mighty, the Subduer, the Exalted. Holy is God, far above that which they associate wi th Him. He is God, the Creator, the Master, the Fashioner; His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him. He is the Mighty, the Wise” (59:23-25). God is unique in all His attributes. Reason can not fully comprehend Him. Where reason can not reach Him, He reaches the mind or soul and enlightens it with revelation. He sends His revelation to His chosen servants and continues to do so even today. Thus He Himself provides guidance through His prophets who lay the foundations of new cultures and civilizations in different ages. The Holy Quran emphatically rejects doctrines like Trinity or sonship of any human being. He is Gracious and Merciful. His grace and beneficience extends to everything in the universe. He is the Creator who has given everything a nature appropriate to its condition. He brings everything to perfection in stages. He is the Praiseworthy and the Creator and Master of everything in the Universe. Through His grace, He has provided means for man’s physical, intellectual, moral and spiritual development. Just as man’s physical evolution had become established, so has moral evolution culminated in revelation of Quran — the ultimate law of God for mankind. Thus we can appreciate the need of the Holy Quran in the presence of older scriptures and religions. When the Quran was revealed, the scriptures of Judaism, Christianity and Hinduism already existed. Budhaism and Confucianism held sway in China and Tibet but the Holy books of these religions had suffered through interpolations and time. The Quran aff irms the truth of prophets before Islam who founded the previous great religions but all these religions and prophets were national in character. This division demanded a universal religion and scripture. And this was provided by Islam and the Holy Quran. The Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, testified the truth of the previous prophets and He was raised by God as the greatest of all prophets — the seal of prophets (may peace be upon him). The Holy Quran contains the essential truths revealed in earlier scriptures and also others needed to bring it to perfection for a universal spiritual guidance. After this brief introduction, the following verses of Holy Quran are quoted which explains the life and teachings of Jesus. Most of the verses are self- explanatory, a few may need some interpretation. Allah is the God of the Holy Quran. REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 18 Jesus Born to Virgin Mary The Holy Quran And remember when the angels said “O Mary, Allah has chosen thee and purified thee and chosen thee above all women of the time. (3:43). “O Mary, be obedient to thy Lord and prostate thyself and worship the One God with those who worship Him”. This is the tidings of things unseen which We reveal to thee. And thou was not with them when they cast their arrows, as to which of them should be guardian of Mary, nor wast thou with them when they disputed with one another. (3:44-45). When the angels said ‘ ‘O Mary, Allah gives thee glad tidings of a son through a word from Him; his name shall be the Messiah, Jesus, Son of Mary; honoured in this world and the next, and of those who are granted nearness to God. And he shall speak to the people in his youth and when of middle age, and he shall be righteous. (3:46-47). Jesus, A Prophet for Israelites She said, “My Lord, how shall I have a son, when no man has touched me?”. He said, “Such is the way of Allah. He creates what He pleases. When He decrees a thing, He says to it, “Be,” and it is. And He will teach him the Book and the Widsom and the Torah and the Gospel. And will send him as a Messenger to the children of Israel with the message, “I come to you with a sign from your Lord, which is that I will fashion out for you a creation out of clay after the manner of a bird; then I will breathe into it a new spirit and it will become a soaring being by the command of Allah; and I will heal the night blind and the leprous and I will quicken the dead, by the command of Allah. And I will announce to you what you will eat and what you will store up in your houses. Surely, there is a sign for you, if you are believers. And I come fulfilling that which is before me, namely, the Torah; and allow you some of that which was forbidden unto you. And I come to you with a sign from your Lord; so fear Allah and obey me. Surely Allah is my Lord and your Lord; so worship Him; this is the right path.” (3:48-52). And when Jesus perceived their disbelief, he said ‘ ‘Who will be my helpers in the cause of Allah?”. The disciples answered, “We are the helpers of Allah. We have believed in Allah. And bear thou witness that we are obedient. Our Lord, we believe in that which Thou hast sent down and we follow this messenger. So write us down among those who bear witness.” (3:53-54). And Jesus’s enemies planned and Allah also planned, and Allah is the best planner. 19 JESUS AND THE HOLY QURAN Remember the time when Allah said, ” I will cause thee to die a natural death and will exalt thee to myself, and will clear thee of charges of those who disbelieve, and I will exalt those who follow thee above those who disbelieve, until the Day of Resurrection, then to Me shall be your return, and I will judge between you concerning that wherein you differ. Then as for those who disbelieve, I will punish them with a severe punishment in this world and in the next; and they shall have no helpers. And as for those who believe and do good works, He will give them their full rewards. And Allah does not love the wrongdoers”. (3:55-58). That is what We recite unto thee of the signs and reminder, full of wisdom. Surely the case of Jesus with Allah is like the case of Adam. He created him out of dust, then He said to him “Be” and he was. This is the truth from thy Lord, so be tho.u not of those who doubt. (3:59-61). Now who so disputes with thee concerning him, after what has come to thee of knowledge, say to him, “Come, let us call our sons, and your sons, and our women, and your women, and our people, and your people; then let us pray fervently and invoke the curse of Allah on those who lie. This certainly is the true account. There is none worthy of worship save Allah; and surely it is Allah Who is the Mighty, the Wise. But if they turn away, then remember that Allah fully knows the mischief-makers. (3:62-64). Say, “O people of the book!, come to a word equal between us and you — that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partner with Him, and that some of us take no others for Lords beside Allah.” But if they turn away, then say “bear witness that we have submitted to God”. (3:65). In the above verses, the Holy Quran upholds the virtue of Mary, mother of Jesus and bears evidence that the birth of Jesus was a miraculous decree of Allah. Jesus has been likened to Adam in the expression “Son of Man” and as Jesus was declared to be mortal. He is presented as a messenger for the Israelites, destined to die like all other prophets. His name in Arabic is Isa (Jesus) and Al- Masih (Messiah or Mashiah in Hebrew). “Al-Masih” has two meanings in Arabic; one annointed or blessed and one who travels much. Thus by giving this name to Jesus, prophesy was inherent that Jesus will be a prophet of God and will travel widely. Enemies of Jesus will plan to kill him to prove that he was a false prophet but God will save him from death on the cross and thus exalt him and honour him. The Holy Quran states that Jesus would be honoured in this world and the next but in Palestine, Jesus was not honoured and the Jews rejected him and tried to prove that he was an accursed of God. God saved him from an accursed death at the hands of Jews. Jesus then left Palestine and emigrated to Kashmir where he was accepted and greatly honoured. Like all other prophets, Jesus performed miracles and some miracles of Jesus have been mentioned in the Holy Quran. It is probable that Jesus may have healed some physically sick persons with his prayers to God. But the primary function of messengers of God is that of healing those who are spiritually sick or dead. Thus Jesus healed the spiritually blind and dead. Quickening of dead does not mean bringing dead back to life but reforming those who are spiritually dead. REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 20 The Holy Quran declares that a dead person does not return to life in this world. This is an absolute decree of God. There is life after death and a day of judgement, but these have nothing to do with life in this world. The words that Jesus will fashion a creation out of clay like birds does not mean creating birds. Clay means the pliable nature of his disciples who under his influence will soar up high and progress spiritually. At the end of the above verses, the Holy Quran invites “people of the book” to worship none other than Allah and not to associate any one with God. In other words, to desist from worshipping Jesus or any other creature or thing besides Allah. In the idiom of the Quran “people of the book” refers to the Jews and the Christians. Jesus Did Not Die On The Cross The Holy Quran: And for their saying, “We did slay the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”, whereas they slew him not, nor did they bring about his death on the cross, but he was made to appear to them like one crucified, and those who differ therein are certainly in a state of doubt about it; they have no certain knowledge there of, but only pursue a conjecture, and they did not arrive at a certainty concerning it. On the contrary, Allah exalted him to Himself and Allah is mighty wise. (4:158-159). Thus the Holy Quran is quite clear in declaring that God saved Jesus from the death on the cross. The Holy Quran does not deny that Jesus was put on the cross but the manner of his death became obscure or dubious to his enemies. Thus their assertion that they killed him on the cross is mere conjecture on their part. God exalted him to Himself, meaning that He honoured him by rescuing him from his enemies. There is no mention in the Holy Quran of a physical ascension to heaven. Unfortunately, many Orthodox Muslims believe in a physical ascension of Jesus due to an influence of Christian tradition. The Holy Quran Jesus said: ” I am a servant of Allah. He has given me the book and has made me a prophet. And He has made be blessed wheresoever I may be, and has enjoined upon me prayer and alms-giving so long as I live. And He has made me dutiful towards my mother and has not made me arrogant and graceless. And peace was on me the day I was born and peace will be on me the day I shall die and the day I shall be raised up to life again”. That was Jesus, son of Mary. This is a statement of the truth concerning which they entertain doubt. It does not befit the majesty of Allah to take unto Himself a son. Holy is He. When He decrees a thing, He says to it, “Be” and it comes into being. Jesus said, “Allah surely is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him alone. This is the right path.” But the parties differed among themselves. So woe to those who disbelieve, because of meeting of a grevious day. (19:31-38) 21 JESUS AND THE HOI.Y Q U R A N Allah is He beside whom there is none worthy of worship, the living, the self- subsisting and the all sustaining. He has sent down to thee the book containing the truth and fulfilling that which precedes it; and He sent down the Torah and the Gospel before this, as a guidance to the people; and He has sent down the Discrimination. (3:3-4). Refutation of Trinity Indeed, they are disbelievers who say, “Allah, He is Messiah, son of Mary”, whereas the Messiah himself said, “O children of Israel, worship Allah Who is my Lord and your Lord. Surely whoso associates partners with Allah, him has Allah forbidden Heaven and the Fire will be his resort. And the wrong doers shall have no helpers. (5:73). They surely disbelieve who say “Allah is the third of three”. There is no God but one God. And if they do not desist from what they say, a grievous punishment shall surely befall those of them that disbelieve. Will they then turn to Allah and ask His forgiveness, while Allah is Most Merciful and Forgiving. (3:74-75). The Messiah, son of Mary was only a messenger; surely messengers like unto him had passed away before him. And his mother was a truthful woman. They both used to eat food. See how we explain the signs for their good and see how they are turned away. Say, will you worship beside Allah that which has no power to do you harm or good? And Allah is all hearing, All knowing. Say, “O people of the Book, exceed not the limits in the matter of your religion unjustly, nor follow the low desires of a people who went astray before and caused many to go astray and who have strayed away from the right hand. (5:76-78). And we caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow in their footsteps, fulfilling that which was revealed before him in Torah; and we gave him the Gospel which contained guidance and light, fulfi l l ing that which was resurrected before him in the Torah; and a guidance and an admonition for the Godfearing. And let the people of the Gospel judge according to what Allah has revealed therein, and who so judged not by what Allah has revealed, these it is who are the transgressors. (5:47-48). (On the day of judgement). And when Allah will say, “O Jesus, son of Mary, did you say to men, “Take me and my mother for two Gods besides Allah?”. He will answer, “Holy art thou, I could never say that to which I had no right. If I had said it, Thou would have surely known it. Thou knowest what is in my mind and I know what is in Thy mind. It is Thou alone Who art the Knower of all hidden things. I said nothing to them except that which Thou command me — “worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord”. And I was a witness over them as long as I remained among them but since Thou caused me to die, Thou hast been the Watcher over them, and Thou art witness over all things. If Thou punish them, they are Thy servants; and if Thou forgive them, Thou surely are the Mighty, the Wise.” (5:117-119). REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 22 Allah will say, “this is the day when only the truthful shall profit by their truthfulness. For them are gardens beneath which streams flow; therein shall they abide forever. Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him. That indeed is the supreme achievement. To Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and what ever is in them; and He has power over all things. (5:120-121). Jesus Emigrated to a Hilly Land And We made the son of Mary and his mother a sign; and We gave them refuge on an elevated land with springs of running water. (23:51). In this verse of the Holy Quran, it is mentioned that God gave refuge to Jesus and Mary in a high plateau which has springs of running water. This is quite an apt description of the beautiful valley of Kashmir to which Jesus emigrated after the event of the cross. Kashmir is situated on the high ground on the foothills of the Himalayas and contains abundant fountains and streams. He preached to the lost tribes of Israelites there and lived a long life. Allah in His infinite Wisdom did not name Kashmir but gave its description. Perhaps it was destined that this fact be discovered in this age. Holy Quran: In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. He to Whom belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. And He has taken unto Himself no son, and has no partner in the kindom, and He has created everything and has determined its proper measure. Yet they have taken beside Him Gods who create nothing but are themselves created, and who have no power to harm or benefit themselves, nor have they any power over death, or life, or Resurrection. (25:1,3-4). We end this article by quoting the SURA AL-IKHLAS from the Holy Quran. In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful, Say He is Allah, the One; Allah, the Independent and Besought of All. He begets not, nor is He Begotten. And there is none like unto Him. (112:1-5). REFERENCES: 1. Introduction to the study of the Holy Quran by Hazrat Mirza Bashir-Ud- Din Mahmud Ahmad. 2. Holy Quran with English translation and commentary. Edited by Malik Ghulam Farid.