A Photo ofthe Valley of Kashmir
“And We made the son of Mary and his mother a Sign, and gave them shelter on an elevated land of green valleys and springs of running water. “
(The Holy Quran: Chapter 23, Verse 51)
We now examine the debates that are occurring within the religion of Islam. DO Muslims believe in Jesus? Those unfamiliar with the religion of Islam might be surprised to discover they do, and also there is great controversy surrounding his position.
Islamic teaching on Jesus Christ is that he was indeed the Messiah sent to the Jews,who were the chosen people of God at that time. Jesus, referred to as ‘Isa’ inthe Islamic scripture, the Quran, was sent to remove the corruption andhypocrisy that had crept in to Judaism. The Quran makes very bold claims aboutJesus diametrically opposed to the orthodox Christian view. The view of Jesusas a literal Son of God, as well as the third part of a holy trinity areexplicitly mentioned and rejected.
Yet, even in the Muslim world there is still division about other aspects of Jesus’ life. What is the contention with Jesus in the Muslim world?
Interestingly enough it boils down to three things that many will have thought were purely Christian beliefs: The Crucifixion, the ascension, and the Second Coming.
Jesus in the Quran
The Quran says:
“That they said (in boast), ‘We killed Jesus Christ the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah,’ 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, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.”
(Quran, Chapter 4, vs.157-158)
The Quran speaks of a future meeting between Jesus and God in the following words:
“And when Allah will say, ‘O Jesus, son of Mary, didst thou say to men, ‘Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah?’ he will answer, ‘Holy art THOU, I could never say that which I had no right. If I had said it, Thou wouldst have surely known it. Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I know not what is in Thy mind. It is Thou alone Who art the Knower of all hidden things; “
(Quran, Chapter 5, vs.117)
Below are some Islamic written traditions regarding the life span of Jesus.
“During his last illness, the Holy Prophet (saw) said to his daughter Hazrat Fatima (ra), “Once in every year, Gabriel recited the Quran to me. This year he recited twice. He also told me that every succeeding prophet has lived to half the age of his predecessor. He told me that Jesus, son of Mary, lived to 120 years. Therefore, I think, I may live to about 60 years.” (Mawahib-ud-Duniya by Qastalani, Vol. I, p. 42); (Kanzul Ummal, Vol. VI, p. 120, 160 from Hazrat Fatima (ra)); (Hujjaj al-Kiramah, p. 428); (Hakam)
“Tabarani says regarding this Hadith, “Its narrations are reliable, and it is reported in a number of different versions.” Moreover, Hazrat Ayesha (ra), Hazrat Fatima (ra), and Hazrat Ibn Umar (ra) all related it.”
“Hazrat Aishah [a wife of Muhammad’s], God be pleased with her, relates from the Holy Prophet Muhammad: ‘Jesus, son of Mary, lived to the age of 120 yars.’” (Hujaj al-Kirama, p 428)
“Hazrat Fatimah [a wife of Muhammad’s], God be pleased with her, relates from the Holy Prophet: ‘Jesus, son of Mary, lived to the age of 120 years.’” (Kanz-ul-Ummal, vol. vi, p. 120)
“In the Mustadrak (a Hadith collection) it is reported from Ibn Umar that Jesus lived to the age of 120 years. It is likewise also in the Asabah.” (Tafsir Kamalain).
The Jesus Debate
So what is the fuss about? Current day Islamicorthodox thinking in regards to Jesus holds fast to the idea that he willreturn as an apocalyptic Prophet. In his book “Jesus Will Return”popular Islamic scholar Harun Yahya states:
“From what has been related so far, it is clear that Jesus (as) did not die but was raised to the presence of Allah. However, there is one more point that is underlined by the Quran: Jesus will come back to earth.”
Authentic sayings of the Holy Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, are reported to have said:
“..the son of Mary will soon descend among you as a just judge, and he will break the cross, kill the pig and bolish Jizyah (taxation)…”
“Then Isa son of Mary peace be upon him will descend..”
“There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Isa, peace be upon him. He will descend. When you see him recognise him..”
If Jesus in buried in Kashmir are these prophecies incorrect? In what sense could they still hold meaning?
Judas on the Cross?
Some orthodox interpretations have proposed the “Substitution Theory” This states that Allah replaced Jesus with Judas Iscariot so rapidly that the switch was not noticed.
While Judas was crucified, Jesus was taken up to heaven. This is said to explain the Quran’s words that Jesus was not killed nor crucified but it was made to appear this way.
Another possibility is that Jesus survived the Crucifixion and was made to appear dead but in fact had survived.
Imam Shaltut’s Fatwa
Remember the time when Allah said, ‘O Jesus, I will cause thee to die a natural death and will raise thee to Myself, and will clear thee of the charges of those who disbelieve, and will exalt those who follow thee..”
(The Holy Quran Chapter 3, Verse 56)
Perhaps the single largest threat to the orthodox Islamic view of Jesus from its own community is from Imam Shaltut a deep and powerful Islamic scholar who became the highest Islamic authority of the most prestigious Muslim school on earth, Al-Azhar University. In October, 1958, he became Rector of Al-Azhar University. His religious and scholastic credentials within the world of Islam were impeccable. He issued a “fatwa” (decree) stating that God promised Jesus a natural death.
The full text of the Fatwa can be downloaded here Below is a summary of Imam Shaltut’s fatwa:
1. The Holy Quran and Sacred sayings of the Prophet of Islam do not support the belief that Jesus is alive in heaven now.
2. The Quranic verses show that God had planned for Jesus to die a natural death and not die at the hand of those trying to crufify him
3. Anyone not believing Jesus to be alive in heaven is not contravening any Islamic belief.
What is left of the second coming?
The Ahmadi Muslims believe that the hadithreferring to the return of Jesus are metaphorical, and point to some otherindividual who will appear. This individual will be someone who will carry thesame peaceful qualities of Jesus
In support of this viewpoint of a spiritual, rather than a physical, return of Jesus Christ, it is very interesting that the Ahmadis reference a Christian source—the Gospels—as an example:
“Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matthew 11: 11-15)
In Matthew 11:11-15 Jesus Christ claims thatJohn the Baptist, a contemporary of Jesus who baptized Jesus, actually is the“return” of Elias, who the Old Testament foretold would return. Drawing aparallel, the Ahmadiyya viewpoint claims Jesus Christ will not returnphysically—as orthodox Muslims and orthodox Christians believe—since hisphysical body is here on earth at the Rozabal.