Six Things Christians and Muslims disagree about over Jesus

Six Things Christians and Muslims disagree about over Jesus May 30, 2012

mosqueandchurchYesterday I wrote about Eleven things Muslims and Christians agree about over Jesus. Today I share the areas we disagree. This is with the goal of helping us to understand each other better.

  1. Whether or not Jesus should be worshiped (Surah 5:116 , Surah 4:171 vs John 20:28 and Matthew 28:16)
  2. Whether Jesus should be described as the “Son of God” (Surah 19:88-92 vs the many biblical references to Jesus as “son of God”) Note that unless this concept is carefully explained to a Muslim this is tantamount to suggesting God had sex with Mary.
  3. Whether or not Jesus actually died
    • Muslims do not believe that Jesus died on the cross as the Bible says in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19 . Muslims differ among themselves as to exactly how Jesus escaped from death. A key Qur’an verse is as follows:
      • “That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Apostle 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” (Surah 4:157-158)
    • Some Muslims believe that someone was made to appear like Jesus and was crucified in his place. See for example the following quote:
      • Ibn Abbas said, “Just before Allah raised Jesus to the Heavens, Jesus went to his disciples, who were twelve inside the house. When he arrived, his hair was dripping with water (as if he had just had a bath) and he said, ‘There are those among you who will disbelieve in me twelve times after you had believed in me.’ He then asked, ‘Who among you will volunteer for his appearance to be transformed into mine, and be killed in my place. Whoever volunteers for that, he will be with me (in Paradise).’ One of the youngest ones among them volunteered, but Jesus asked him to sit down. Jesus asked again for a volunteer, and the same young man volunteered and Jesus asked him to sit down again. Then the young man volunteered a third time and Jesus said, ‘You will be that man,’ and the resemblance of Jesus was cast over that man while Jesus ascended to Heaven from a hole in the roof of the house. When the Jews came looking for Jesus, they found that young man and crucified him.”
        – Al-Nasa’i, Al-Kubra, 6:489
      • These muslims would usually believe that Jesus was taken to heaven and will one day return.
    • Other Muslims believe that Jesus did not actually die on the cross but merely “swooned“. 
      • Links to articles that explain this position are as follows: 1, 2 and 3.
      • Examples of the Christian view that Jesus must have died on the cross include: 1, 2
    • Some verses in the Qur’an support the idea that at some point Jesus did die.
      • So for example, fascinatingly Surah 19:33 states that Jesus said to his mother:“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)” which taken out of context could even be seen as a support for the Christian view of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
  4. Whether Jesus was substituted for us on the cross or another man was substituted for him.
    • Many Muslims would question the Christian concept that Jesus could justly die as a substitute for us so that we did not have to die. Many of them do, however, believe that God provided a substitute for Jesus so that he should not have to die.
  5. Who Jesus promised as his replacement
    • In John 14 Jesus promises “another comforter.” Some Muslims believe this is a prophecy that refers to Mohammed, Christians believe it refers to the Holy Spirit.
  6. How can people be saved?
      • Muslims and Christians alike believe in moral instruction and have a set of rules to follow. Our lifestyles will often differ very little, and we alike would be criticized by many today. We have much more in common than either group would have in common with the “permissive” society in which we live.
      • However, Muslims believe that it is possible largely to keep God rules, “they are not burdensome,” although asking for forgiveness and submitting to Allah is needed when people do sin.
      • Christians on the other hand believe that it is impossible to keep the commands of the Bible, and especially those of Jesus in the sermon on the mount without Christ’s help. They believe that Jesus fulfilled the law on our behalf, and that faith alone saves. It must of course be stressed, however, that Christians do believe that although faith alone saves, the faith that saves is never alone and will always be accompanied by what the Bible calls “fruit in keeping with repentance.”

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