Do You Know The Jesus, son of Mary, was only a Messenger of Allah

Surah An Nisa 156 to 176 (end)

Translation only:

(4:156) and for their going so far in unbelief!? as uttering against Mary a mighty calumny           

(4:157) Their saying: ‘We slew the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah: – whereas! in fact, they had neither slain him nor crucified him but the matter was made dubious to them – and those who differed about it too were in a state of doubt! They have no definite knowledge of it, but merely follow conjecture, and they surely slew him not,

(4:158) but Allah raised him to Himself. Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.

(4:159) There are none among the People of the Book but will believe in him before his death,1%° and he will be a witness against them on the Day of Resurrection.

(4:160) Thus,128 We forbade them many clean things which had earlier been made lawful for them, for the wrong-doing of those who became Jews, for their barring many from the way of Allah,

(4:161) and for their taking interest in which had been prohibited to them,2” and for their consuming the wealth of others wrongfully. And for the unbelievers among them We have prepared a painful chastisement.

(4:162) Those among them who are firmly rooted in knowledge and the believers, such do believe in what has been revealed to you and what was revealed before you.28 (Those who truly believe) establish the Prayer and pay Zakah, those who firmly believe in Allah and in the Last Day, to them We shall indeed pay a great reward.                                                                        

(4:163) (O Muhammad!) We have revealed to you as We revealed to Noah and the Prophets after him,2 and We revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the offspring of Jacob, and Jesus and Job, and Jonah, and Aaron and Solomon, and We gave to David Psalms.2

(4:164) We revealed to the Messengers We have already told you of, and to the Messengers We have not told you of; and to Moses Allah spoke directly.

(4:165) These Messengers were sent as bearers of glad tidings and as warners2 so that after sending the Messengers people may have no plea against Allah.28 Allah is All- Mighty, All-Wise.

(4:166) (Whether people believe or not) Allah bears witness that whatever He has revealed to you, He has revealed with His knowledge, and the angels bear witness to it too, though the witness of Allah is sufficient.

(4:167) Those who denied this truth and barred others from the way of Allah have indeed strayed far.

(4:168) Likewise, Allah will neither forgive those who denied the truth and took to wrong-doing nor will He show them any other way.

(4:169) save that of Hell wherein they will abide. And that is easy for Allah.

(4:170) O men! Now that the Messenger has come to you bearing the Truth from your Lord, believe in him; it will be good for you. If you reject, know well that to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth.209 Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.

(4:171) People of the Book! Do not exceed the limits in your religion,“ and attribute to Allah nothing except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was only a Messenger of Allah, and His command211 that He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him (which led to Mary’s conception).213 So believe in Allah and in His Messengers,214 and do not say: (Allah is a) . Give up this assertion; it would be better for you. Allah is indeed just one God. Far be it from His glory that He should have a son.2¢ To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth.217 Allah is sufficient for a guardian.

(4:172) The Messiah neither did disdain to be a servant of Allah nor do the angels who are stationed near to Him, and whoever disdains to serve Him, and waxes arrogant, Allah will certainly muster them all to Him.

(4:173) He will grant those who have believed and done good deeds their rewards in full and will give them more out of His bounty. He will bestow upon those who have been disdainful and arrogant a painful chastisement, and they will find for themselves neither a guardian nor a helper besides Allah.

(4:174) O, men! a proof has come to you from your Lord, and We have sent down unto you an enlightened plea.

(4:175) Allah will surely admit those who believe in Him and hold fast to Him to His mercy and bounty, and will guide them on to a straight way to Himself.

(4:176) People220 asks you to pronounce a ruling concerning inheritance from those who had left behind no lineal heirs (kalalah). Say: ‘Allah pronounces for you the ruling: should a man die childless but have a sister,2! she shall have one half of what he has left behind; and should the sister die childless, his brother shall inherit her.221 And if the heirs are two sisters, they shall have two-thirds of what he has left behind.222 And if the heirs are sisters and brothers, then the male shall have the share of two females. Allah makes (His commandments) clear to you lest you go astray. Allah has full knowledge of everything.

Translation with Commentary:

(4:156) and for their going so far in unbelief!®? as uttering against Mary a mighty calumny 12           

189. This marks the resumption of the main theme of the discourse.

190. The Jews had ho grounds for suspicion regarding the miraculous birth of Jesus. The day he was born God made the entire Jewish people witness that it was the birth of an extraordinary person and that his birth had taken place miraculously rather than as the result of an act of moral corruption. When this unmarried girl, of a highly esteemed and pious was Israelite family, newborn infant, thousands of people of all age groups thronged to her house out of curiosity. Instead of replying to their queries verbally, Mary pointed to the baby, indicating that he would himself reply. The wonder-struck crowd inquired if they were expected to direct their questions to the infant child who lay in the cradle. To their amazement, the child addressed the crowd in a clear and eloquent style: ‘Iam indeed a servant of God, and to me has He vouchsafed Revelation, me has He made a Prophet’. (Surah Maryam 19: 30.)

Thus God demolished every basis for casting doubt on the birth of Jesus. When Jesus was young no one accused Mary of either or of being born illegitimately. When Jesus reached the age of thirty he launched his prophetic mission, censuring the Jews for their misdeeds and reproaching the rabbis and the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. He also called attention to the moral degeneration to which they had sunk, urging people to rise up and engage in the perilous struggle to establish the hegemony of God’s religion. Such a struggle called for all kinds of sacrifices and involved confrontation with Satanic forces on all fronts.

Once Jesus launched this mission these criminals decided to spare no weapon, however base, in their bid to silence this fearless voice of truth. At this point, they flung at Mary the accusation of unchastity and at Jesus that of illegitimate birth. They made these accusations despite full knowledge that both mother and child were absolutely chaste and innocent. That is why this accusation is not characterized as either wrong or Falsehood. It is rather branded as disbelief (kufr) since the calumny was motivated chiefly by the desire to obstruct the path of the rue faith and not just to bring an innocent woman into disrepute.

(4:157) Their saying: ‘We slew the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah: – whereas! in fact, they had neither slain him nor crucified him but the matter was made dubious to them – and those who differed about it too were in a state of doubt! They have no definite knowledge of it, but merely follow conjecture, and they surely slew him not,

191. Their criminal boldness had reached such proportions that they attempted to put an end to the life of the one they themselves knew to be a Prophet and subsequently went around boasting of this achievement. The least reflection on the incident of Jesus talking in his cradle (see the preceding note) makes it clear that there was no strong reason to doubt his prophethood. Moreover, the miracles of Jesus which they themselves witnessed (see Surah Al ‘Imran 3: 49) had firmly established his claim to prophethood. Thus, whatever treatment they meted out to him was not based on any misconception, for they were fully aware that the person whom they were subjecting to criminal treatment had been appointed by God as the bearer of His message. It seems strange that a people should recognize a man to be a Prophet in their hearts and still try to assassinate him. The ways of degenerate nations are indeed strange. Such people are absolutely unprepared to tolerate the existence of those who reproach them for their corruption and seek to prevent them from evil. Hence the reformers, including Prophets, who arise among corrupt nations are always persecuted; they are imprisoned and even put to death. The Talmud mentions that: Nebuchadnezzar laid waste the land of Israel. . . when the city had been captured, he marched with his princes and officers into the Temple … on one of the walls he found the mark of an arrow’s head, as though somebody had been killed or hit nearby, and he asked: ‘Who was killed here?’ ‘Zachariah, the high priest’, answered the people. ‘He rebuked us incessantly on account of our transgressions, and we tired of his words, and put him to death.’ (The Talmud Selections by H. Polano, London, Frederick Warne & Co.) The Bible also mentions that when the corrupt practices of Israel exceeded all limits, and Jeremiah warned them that God would have them overrun by other nations in punishment for their wickedness, his warning was greeted by the Jews with the accusation that he was a collaborator with the Chaldeans and hence a traitor. And under that pretext, Jeremiah was sent to prison. In the same manner, about two and a half years before Jesus’ crucifixion, John the Baptist suffered a cruel fate. On the whole, the Jews knew him to be a Prophet, or at least acknowledged him to be one of the most religious people in the nation. But when he criticized the royal court of Herod, the King of Judah, he was first thrown into prison, and then, in response to the demand of a dancing girl, who was Herod’s favorite mistress, his head was cut off.

If this record of the Jews is kept in mind, it does not seem surprising that, after having subjected Jesus – according to their belief – to crucifixion, they might have been overcome by jubilation and in a fit of self-congratulation might have boastfully exclaimed: ‘Yes, we have put a Prophet of God to death!’ (For similar incidents see Towards Understanding the Qur’an, vol. I, (Surah 2, n. 79 – Ed.)

192. This again is a parenthetical statement.

193. This verse categorically states that Jesus was raised on high before he could be crucified, and that the belief of both the Jews and the Christians that Jesus died on the cross is based on a misconception. As a result of a comparative study of the Qur’anic and Biblical versions we are persuaded that, so far as the trial at the court of Pilate is concerned, it was probably Jesus who was tried. Pilate sentenced him to death after the Jews showed their deep hostility to Truth and righteousness by openly declaring that, in their view, the life of a thief was of higher value than that of a man with such a pure soul as Jesus. It was then that God raised Jesus up to heaven. The person the Jews subsequently crucified was someone else who, for one reason or another, was mistaken for the person of Jesus. The fact that the person who had actually been crucified was someone other than Jesus does not in any way detract from the guilt of those Jews, for in their minds it was Jesus whose head they were crowning with thorns, in whose face they were spitting, and whom they were subjecting to crucifixion. We are not in a position now to find out how and why such a confusion arose.

As no authentic source of information is available to us, it would be inappropriate to conjecture and speculate about the cause of the misapprehension which led the Jews to believe that they had crucified Jesus, the son of Mary, whereas he had already passed far beyond their grasp.

194. “Those who differed’ refers to the Christians. The Christians have dozens of different versions, rather than one universally agreed view, regarding the crucifixion of the Messiah.

This in itself is an eloquent testimony that the Christians were doubtful about the actual event. Some of them held the view that the one who was crucified was someone other than- Jesus and that Jesus himself in fact remained standing somewhere nearby, laughing at their folly. Others were of the opinion that the one who was crucified was certainly Jesus himself, but that he did not die on the cross and was still alive when brought down from it. Others asserted that though Jesus died on the cross, he later returned to life, met his disciples and conversed with them about ten times. Again, some believe that the human body of Jesus suffered death and was buried, while the spirit of godhead in him was taken up on high. Yet others believe that after his death the Messiah was resurrected physically and was subsequently taken up to heaven in physical form. Had the truth been fully known and well-established so many divergent views could not have gained currency.

(4:158) but Allah raised him to Himself.1% Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.

195. This is the truth revealed by God. What is categorically asserted here is mere that the Jews did not succeed in killing the Messiah, but God raised him unto Himself. The Qur’an furnishes no detailed information about the actual form of this ‘raising’. It neither states categorically that God raised him from the earthly sphere to some place in heaven in both body and soul, nor that his body died on earth and his soul alone was raised to heaven.

Hence neither of the two alternatives can be definitely affirmed nor denied on the basis of the Qur’an. If one reflects on the Qur’anic version of the event one gets the impression that whatever the actual form of this ‘raising’, the event was of an extraordinary character. This extraordinariness is evident from three things:

First, the Christians believed in the ascension of the Messiah in both body and soul, which was one of the reasons for large sections of people to believe in the godhead of Jesus. The Qur’an does not refute that idea but employs the same term, raf (i.e. ‘ascension’), employed by the Christians. It is inconceivable that the Qur’an, which describes itself as the ‘Clear Book’, would employ an expression that might lend support to a misconception it seeks to repudiate.

Second, one might assume that either the ascension of the Messiah was of the kind that takes place at every person’s death or that this ‘ascension’ meant merely the exaltation of a Prophet’s position, like that of Idris: ‘And We raised him to an exalted station’ (Surah Maryam 19: 57). Had it been so, this idea would have been better expressed by a statement such as: And indeed they did not kill the Messiah; Allah delivered him from execution and caused him to die a natural death. The Jews had wanted to slight him but Allah granted him an exalted position.

Third, if this raf (exaltation, ascension) is referred to in the verse: ‘Allah raised him to Himself was of an ordinary kind, the statement which follows, namely that ‘Allah is All-Mighty, All- Wise’, would seem altogether out of context. Such a statement is pertinent only in the context of an event that manifested, in a highly extraordinary manner, by the overwhelming power and wisdom of God.

The only Qur’anic argument that can be adduced to controvert this view is the verse in which the expression mutawaffika see (Surah Al ‘Imran 3: 55))is employed. But as we have pointed out (see Towards Understanding the Qur’an, vol. I, (Surah 3, n. 51), this word can denote either God’s taking a man unto Himself in soul or taking him unto Himself in both body and soul. Arguments based on the mere use of this word are not enough to repudiate the arguments we have already adduced. Some of those who insist on the physical death of Jesus support their argument by pointing out that there is no other example of the use of the word tawaffa for God’s taking unto Himself a man in the body as well as in soul. But this argument is not tenable since the ascension of Jesus was a unique event in human history and, therefore, the quest for another example of the use of this term in the same context is meaningless. What is worth exploring is whether or not the use of the word in such a sense is valid according to Arabic usage. If it is, we will have to say that the choice of this particular word lends support to belief in the ascension of Jesus.

If we reflect on this verse in the light of the assumption that Jesus died physically, it appears strange that the Qur’an does not employ those terms which would exclude signifying the simultaneous physical and spiritual ascension of Jesus. On the contrary, the Qur’an prefers a term which, since it is liable to both interpretations (i.e. it can mean both spiritual and physical ascension), lends support to belief in the physical ascension of Jesus, even though that notion was used as a basis to support the false belief in the godhead of Jesus.

Belief in the physical ascension of Jesus is further reinforced by those numerous traditions which mention the return of Jesus, son of Mary, to the world and his struggle against the Anti-Christ before the end of time. (For these traditions see our appendix to Surah 33.) These traditions quite definitively establish the second coming of Jesus. Now it is for anybody to judge which is more reasonable: Jesus’ return to this world after his death, or his being alive somewhere in God’s universe, and returning to this world at some point in time?

(4:159) There are none among the People of the Book but will believe in him before his death,1%° and he will be a witness against them on the Day of Resurrection.1%

196. The death mentioned here could refer either to the death of Jesus or to the death of each and every person among ‘the People of the Book’. The text lends itself to both meanings. We have adopted the first in our translation. If we accept the alternative meaning, the verse would mean: “There is no one among the People of the Book who, before his death, will not believe in Jesus.’ The expression, ‘People of the Book’ here refers to the Jews and possibly even to the Christians. In the light of this latter meaning, the purpose of the verse would be to affirm that at the time when the physical death of Jesus takes place, all the living ‘People of the Book’ would have come to believe in him (i.e. in his prophethood). Alternatively, the verse would mean that the prophethood of Jesus will become manifest to every person among the People of the Book just before he dies so that they will believe in him, but at a time when believing would be of no avail. Both these views have been supported by several Companions, Successors and outstanding scholars of Qur’anic exegesis. The truth of the matter is best known to God alone.

197. This means that on the Day of Judgment Jesus will stand in the court of the Almighty and testify to the treatment meted out to him and to the message he brought. (For the nature of this testimony see (Surah al-Ma’idah 5: 109 ff.) below.)

(4:160) Thus,198 We forbade them many clean things which had earlier been made lawful for them, for the wrong-doing of those who became Jews 199, for their barring many from the way of Allah,200

198. After this parenthetical statement, the main discourse is once again resumed.

199. This may refer to the regulation mentioned in (Surah al-An’am 6: 146), that all beasts with claws, and the fat of both oxen and sheep, were prohibited to the Jews. It might also refer, however, to the highly elaborate set of prohibitions found in Judaic Law. To restrict the choice of alternatives in their life is indeed a kind of punishment for a people. (For a

fuller discussion see (Surah al-An’am 6, n. 122 )below.

200. The Jews, on the whole, are not satisfied with their own deviation from the path of God.

They have become such inherent criminals that their brains and resources seem to be behind almost every movement which arises for the purpose of misleading and corrupting human beings. And whenever there arises a movement to call people to the Truth, the Jews are inclined to oppose it even though they are the bearers of the Scripture and inheritors of the message of the Prophets. Their latest contribution is Communism – an ideology which is the product of a Jewish brain and which has developed under Jewish leadership. It seems ironical that the professed followers of Moses and other Prophets should be prominent as the founders and promoters of an ideology which, for the first time in human history, is professedly based on a categorical denial of, and an undying hostility to God, and which openly strives to obliterate every form of godliness. The other movement which in modern times is second only to Communism in misleading people is the philosophy of Freud. It is a strange coincidence that Freud too was a Jew.

(4:161) and for their taking interest in which had been prohibited to them,2” and for their consuming the wealth of others wrongfully. And for the unbelievers among them We have prepared a painful chastisement.202

201. The Torah categorically lays down the injunction: ‘And if you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be to him as a creditor, and you shall not exact interest from him. If ever you take your neighbor’s garment in pledge, you shall restore it to him before the sun goes down; for that is his only covering, it is his mantle for his body; in what else shall he sleep? And if he cries to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate’ (Exodus 22: 25-7). This is one of several passages of the Torah which embody the prohibition of interest. The followers of the Torah, however, are most conspicuously engaged in transactions involving interest and have become notorious the world over for their meanness and hard-heartedness in monetary matters.

202. God has kept in store a painful punishment both in this world and in the Next for those Jews who have deviated from the course of true faith and sincere obedience to God, and are steeped in rejection of faith and rebellion against God. The severe punishment which has befallen the Jews in this world is unique and should serve as a lesson for all. Two thousand years have gone by and they have remained scattered all over the world and have been treated everywhere as outcasts. There has been no period during the last two millennia when they have not been looked on ignominiously and there is no part of the world where they are respected despite their enormous riches. What is more, this nation has been left dangling between life and death, unlike other nations which once appeared on the stage of history and then vanished. Their condemnation to this state of suspension makes them a lesson for all nations till the end of time. It marks the tragic fate that meets a people who, despite enjoying the guidance of the Book of God, dare to defy God. It would seem that their punishment in the Hereafter must be even more severe than in the present world. (For the questions which arise about the validity of our view, in spite of the establishment of the state of Israel, see Towards Understanding the Qur’an, vol. I, (Surah 3: 112, n. 90.)

(4:162) Those among them who are firmly rooted in knowledge and the believers, such do believe in what has been revealed to you and what was revealed before you.28 (Those who truly believe) establish the Prayer and pay Zakah, those who firmly believe in Allah and in the Last Day, to them We shall indeed pay a great reward.

203. Those well acquainted with the true teachings of the Scriptures, and whose minds are free from prejudice, obduracy, blind imitation of their forefathers and bondage to animal desires, will be disposed to follow those teachings. Their attitude is bound to be altogether different from the general attitude of those Jews apparently immersed in unbelief and transgression. Such people realize, even at first glance, that the Qur’anic teaching is essentially the same as that of the previous Prophets, and hence feel no difficulty in affirming it.

(4:163) (O Muhammad!) We have revealed to you as We revealed to Noah and the Prophets after him,2 and We revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the offspring of Jacob, and Jesus and Job, and Jonah, and Aaron and Solomon, and We gave to David Psalms.205

204. This emphasizes that Muhammad (peace be on him) did not introduce any innovations, and that his essential message was no different from the earlier revelations. What Muhammad (peace be on him) expounded was the same truth which had previously been expounded by the earlier Prophets in various parts of the world and at different periods of time. Wahy means ‘to suggest; to put something into someone’s heart; to communicate something in secrecy; to send a message’.

205. The ‘Psalms’ embodied in the Bible are not the Psalms of David. The Biblical version contains many ‘psalms’ by others and they are ascribed to their actual authors. The ‘psalms’ which the Bible does ascribe to David do indeed contain the characteristic luster of truth.

The book called ‘Proverbs’, attributed to Solomon, contains a good deal of accretion, and the last two chapters, in particular, are undoubtedly spurious. A great many of these proverbs, however, do have a ring of truth and authenticity. Another book of the Bible is ascribed to Job. Even though it contains many gems of wisdom, it is difficult to believe that the book attributed to Job could, in fact, be his. For the portrayal of Job’s character in that book is quite contrary to the wonderful patience for which he is applauded in the Qur’an and for which he is praised in the beginning of the Book of Job itself. The Book of Job, quite contrary to the Qur’anic portrayal of him, presents him as one who was so full of grievance and annoyance” with God throughout the entire period of his tribulation that his companions had to try hard to persuade him that God was not unjust. In fact Job is shown in the Bible as one whom even his companions failed to convince that God was just.

In addition to these, the Bible contains seventeen other books of the Israelite Prophets. The greater part of these seem to be authentic. In Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Amos and certain other books, in particular, one often encounters whole sections which stir and move one’s soul. These sections without doubt have the luster of Divine revelation. While going through them one is struck by the vehemence of moral admonition, the powerful opposition to polytheism, the forceful exposition of monotheism, and the strong denunciation of the moral corruption of the Israelites which characterize them. One inevitably senses that these books, the orations of Jesus embodied in the Gospels, and the glorious Qur’an are like springs which have arisen from one and the same Divine source.

(4:164) We revealed to the Messengers We have already told you of, and to the Messengers We have not told you of; and to Moses Allah spoke directly.

206. Revelation in the case of other Prophets meant either that they heard a voice or received a message from an angel. The privileged treatment accorded to Moses was that God communicated with him directly. This communication was similar to one that takes place between two persons, as is fully illustrated by the conversation reported in (Surah Ta Ha 20:

11 ff). This unique privilege of Moses is mentioned in the Bible as well, and in much the same manner. It mentions that the Lord used to speak to Moses ‘face to face, as a man speaks to his friend’ (Exodus 33: 11).

(4:165) These Messengers were sent as bearers of glad tidings and as warners2 so that after sending the Messengers people may have no plea against Allah.28 Allah is All- Mighty, All-Wise.

207. It is emphasized that the essential function of all the Prophets was the same: to announce good tidings of salvation and felicity to those who believe in the teachings revealed by God and mend their conduct accordingly, and to warn those who persist in false beliefs and evil ways that they will have to face dire consequences.

208. God’s purpose in sending the Prophets was to establish His plea against mankind. God did not want criminals to have any basis on which to plead that their actions were done in ignorance. Prophets were therefore sent to all parts of the world, and many Scriptures were revealed. These Prophets communicated knowledge of the Truth to large sections of people, and left behind Scriptures which have guided human beings in all ages. If anyone falls a prey to error, in spite of all this, the blame does not lie with God or the Prophets. The blame lies rather with those who have spurned God’s message even after having received it, and with those who knew the Truth but failed to enlighten others.

(4:166) (Whether people believe or not) Allah bears witness that whatever He has revealed to you, He has revealed with His knowledge, and the angels bear witness to it too, though the witness of Allah is sufficient.

(4:167) Those who denied this truth and barred others from the way of Allah have indeed strayed far.

(4:168) Likewise, Allah will neither forgive those who denied the truth and took to wrong-doing nor will He show them any other way.

(4:169) save that of Hell wherein they will abide. And that is easy for Allah.

(4:170) O men! Now that the Messenger has come to you bearing the Truth from your Lord, believe in him; it will be good for you. If you reject, know well that to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth.209 Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.210

209. By disobeying one cannot hurt the Lord of the heavens and the earth. One can only hurt one’s own self.

210. They are being told that their Lord was not at all unaware of the wickedness in which they indulged, nor did He lack the capacity to deal severely with those who only violated His commands.

(4:171) People of the Book! Do not exceed the limits in your religion,“ and attribute to Allah nothing except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was only a Messenger of Allah, and His command211 that He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him (which led to Mary’s conception).213 So believe in Allah and in His Messengers,214 and do not say: (Allah is a) 1. Give up this assertion; it would be better for you. Allah is indeed just one God. Far be it from His glory that He should have a son.216 To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth.217 Allah is sufficient for a guardian.218

211. The expression ‘People of the Book’ refers here to the Christians and the word ghuluw denotes the tendency to exceed the limits of propriety in support of something. The fault of the Jews was that they had exceeded the limits of propriety in rejecting and opposing Jesus, whereas the crime of the Christians was that they had gone beyond the proper limits in their love for and devotion to Jesus.

212. What is meant by sending the ‘command!’ to Mary is that God ordered Mary’s womb to become impregnated without coming into contact with sperm. In the beginning the Christians were told that this was the secret of the fatherless birth of Jesus. Later on, under the misleading influence of Greek philosophy, they equated this with the ‘Logos’, which was subsequently interpreted as the Divine attribute of speech. The next step in this connection was the development of the notion that this Divine attribute entered into the womb of Mary and assumed the physical form of Jesus. Thus there developed among the Christians the false doctrine of the godhead of Jesus, and the false notion that out of His attributes God caused that of speech to appear in the form of Jesus.

213. Here Jesus himself is called ‘a spirit from God’. The same idea is also expressed elsewhere in the Qur’an: ‘And We supported him with the spirit of holiness’ (Surah al- Bagarah 2: 87).The import of both verses is that God endowed Jesus with a pure, impeccable soul. He was therefore an embodiment of truth, veracity, righteousness, and excellence. This is what the Christians had been told about Christ. But they exceeded the proper limits of veneration for Jesus. The ‘spirit from God’ became the ‘spirit of God’, and the ‘spirit of holiness’ was interpreted to mean God’s own Spirit which became incarnate in Jesus. Thus, along with God and Jesus, there developed the third person of God – the Holy Ghost. It was this unjustified exaggeration which led the Christians to even greater error. Ironically, however, Matthew contains the statement that: ‘But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.’ (The Bible, Authorized version, p. 771.)

214. The followers of Christ are urged to acknowledge God as the only God and to believe in the prophethood of all the Prophets, and that Jesus was one of them. This was the teaching of Christ and a basic truth which his followers ought to recognize.

215. They are urged to abandon the Trinitarian doctrine, regardless of the form in which it was found. The fact is that the Christians subscribe simultaneously to the unity and the trinity of God. The statements of Jesus on this question in the Gospels, however, are so categorical that no Christian can easily justify anything but the clear, straightforward doctrine that God is One and that there is no god but He. The Christians, therefore, find it impossible to deny that monotheism is the very core of true religion. But the original confusion that in Jesus the Word of God became flesh, that the Spirit of God was incarnate in him, led them to believe in the godhead of Jesus and of the Holy Ghost along with that of God. This gratuitous commitment gave rise to an insoluble riddle: how to combine monotheism with the notion of trinity. For over eighteen centuries Christian theologians have grappled with this self-created riddle. The concept of the trinity is capable of such a myriad of interpretations that literally dozens of sects have arisen as a result of its ambiguity.

And it has been largely responsible for the various Christian churches indulging in mutual Ex-communication. Moreover, it is logically impossible to maintain belief in trinity without impairing belief in One God. This problem has arisen because of the extravagance in which the Christians have indulged. The easiest course to get out of the morass is to give up the innovated belief in the godhead of Jesus and of the Holy Ghost, acknowledge God as the Only God, and accept Jesus as His Messenger rather than as God’s partner in the godhead.

216. This is the refutation of the fourth extravagance in which the Christians have indulged.

Even if the reports embodied in the New Testament are considered authentic, the most that can be inferred from them (particularly those embodied in the first three Gospels) is that Jesus likened the relationship between God and His servants to that between a father and his children, that he used to employ the term ‘father’ as a metaphor for God. But in this respect, Jesus was not unique. From very ancient times the Israelites had employed the term ‘father’ for God. The Old Testament is full of examples of this usage. Jesus obviously employed this expression in conformity with the literary usage of his people. Moreover, he characterized God not merely as his own father but as the father of all men. Nevertheless, the Christians exceeded all reasonable limits when they declared Jesus to be the only begotten son of God. Their strange doctrine on this question is that since Jesus is an incarnation, an embodiment of the Word and Spirit of God, he is, therefore, the only son of God, who was sent to the earth in order to expiate the sins of humanity through his crucifixion. The Christians hold this to be their basic doctrine even though they cannot produce one shred of evidence from the statements of Jesus himself. This doctrine was a later product of their fancies, an outcome of the extravagance in which they indulged as a result of their impression of the awe-inspiring personality of their Prophet.

God does not repudiate here the doctrine of expiation, for this is not an independent doctrine but a corollary of recognizing Jesus as the son of God, and is a mystical and philosophical answer to the query as to why the only begotten son of God died an accursed death on the cross. The doctrine of expiation automatically falls apart by repudiating the the dogma that Jesus was the son of God and by dispelling the misapprehension that he was crucified.

217. This strongly emphasizes that the true relationship between God and His creatures is one between the Lord and His slave. This repudiates the idea that the relationship which exists is one between a father and his offspring.

218. God is Himself sufficiently powerful to govern His dominion and has no need of a son to assist Him.

(4:172) The Messiah neither did disdain to be a servant of Allah nor do the angels who are stationed near to Him, and whoever disdains to serve Him, and waxes arrogant, Allah will certainly muster them all to Him.

(4:173) He will grant those who have believed and done good deeds their rewards in full and will give them more out of His bounty. He will bestow upon those who have been disdainful and arrogant a painful chastisement, and they will find for themselves neither a guardian nor a helper besides Allah.

(4:174) O, men! a proof has come to you from your Lord, and We have sent down unto you an oe/plea light.

(4:175) Allah will surely admit those who believe in Him and hold fast to Him to His mercy and bounty, and will guide them on to a straight way to Himself.

(4:176) People220 asks you to pronounce a ruling concerning inheritance from those who had left behind no lineal heirs (kalalah).2° Say: ‘Allah pronounces for you the ruling: should a man die childless but have a sister,2! she shall have one half of what he has left behind; and should the sister die childless, his brother shall inherit her.221 And if the heirs are two sisters, they shall have two-thirds of what he has left behind.222 And if the heirs are sisters and brothers, then the male shall have the share of two females. Allah makes (His commandments) clear to you lest you go astray. Allah has full knowledge of everything.

219. This verse was revealed long after the revelation of the rest of this surah. According to certain traditions, this verse was the very last Qur’anic verse to be revealed. (For these traditions, see Ibn Kathir’s comments on this verse – Ed.) Even if this is disputed, it shows at least that this verse was revealed in 9 A.H., whereas the Muslims had been reciting the present surah, al-Nisa, for quite sometime before that. It was for this reason that this verse was not included among the verses relating to inheritance mentioned at the beginning of the surah, but was attached to it at the end as an appendix. 220. There is disagreement about the meaning of the word kalalah. According to some scholars, it means one who dies leaving an neither issue nor father nor grandfather. According to others, it refers to those who die without issue (regardless of whether succeeded by either father or grandfather). On this question ‘Umar remained undecided up to the last. But the majority of jurists accept the opinion of Abu Bakr that the former meaning is correct. The Qur’an also seems to support this, for here the sister of the kalalah has been apportioned half of the inheritance whereas, had his father been alive, the sister would not have inherited from him at all. (For relevant traditions on the subject see the commentary on this verse by Ibn Kathir. For legal discussion on the question see the commentaries of Jassas and Qurtubi – Ed.)

221. The apportioned shares in inheritance mentioned here are those of brothers and sisters, whether related through both parents or through a common father only. Abu Bakr gave this interpretation in one of his pronouncements and none of the Companions expressed any dissent. This view is, therefore, considered to be supported by consensus (ijma’).

222. This means that if there is no other legal heir the brother will receive the entire inheritance. In the presence of other heirs (such as husband), the brother will receive all the residual inheritance after the other heirs have received their apportioned shares.

223. The same also applies to more than two sisters.

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Categorized as quran

By Tariq Saleem

I am a student of Quran and keen to make dawah for inviting peoples to save there selves from hellfire. This life is very short then the eternal life after death every body has to think about it and do some research to walk on a true path.

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