Summit Lecture Series: Who Is Jesus Christ, According to Islam? with Nabeel Qureshi

Summit Lecture Series: Who Is Jesus Christ, According to Islam? with Nabeel Qureshi April 12, 2016

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Christianity and Islam have one central pivot point. That is the person of Jesus.

Islam says you can believe all the things that the Bible says about Christ: He performed miracles, He’s a prophet, He’s the Messiah, He was virgin-born, and is coming at the end of days.

However, Muslims cannot believe that Jesus died on the cross as stated in Surah 4:157,

“And because of their saying: we slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger – they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them…”

Muslims cannot believe Jesus rose from the dead, and they cannot believe that He is God. (Surah 5:1-16 and 5:17-23).

Yet, the Christian faith says that in order to be saved, you must believe Jesus died on the cross, rose from the dead and claimed to be God – the very things Islam prohibits.

The exact things that Christianity deems as necessary for salvation are the things that Islam denies.

This is no accident.

We know through secular historical documentation that Surah 4:157 is simply not true. In fact, there is so much evidence concluding that Jesus Christ was put to death on the cross that even the most skeptical modern scholars agree that if we can know anything about Jesus Christ, it’s that He died on the cross under Pontius Pilot. It’s the most firm fact that we have regarding the life of Jesus.

Therefore, when we consider what the Qur’an has to say about Jesus’ death, it ignores all the historical evidence that the world has collected over the past 2,000 years. And, this evidence isn’t exclusive to Christian testimony. Jewish writings, such as the Talmud and the writings of Josephus also attest that Jesus was killed on the cross. If anything, you would think that Jewish historians would also deny the historical death of Jesus Christ. Yet they agree that He did die on the cross. There are also pagan Gentile historians like Tacitus that claim the exact same truth regarding Jesus’ death.

All these historians, from Jews to Gentiles, Christians to Pagans, all know that no one survived a full Roman crucifixion. No one ever did.

Yet, Muslims have come up with alternative theories on how to explain what happened to Jesus. There’s the Substitution Theory – that it wasn’t actually Jesus that was put on the cross, but someone else. But this isn’t even theologically possible. If God allowed someone else to die on the cross, that means that God caused the Christian religion. Christians all believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead because the earliest Christ-followers saw it happen. But, if God was the one who pulled one over on them and had someone else die on the cross so that Christ-followers would believe that He died and rose again, then Muslims would have to conclude that it was Allah who caused Christianity.

Then there’s the Swoon Theory – that Jesus actually survived the crucifixion, but was unconscious and near-death and then revived. But, firstly, history proves that not a single person ever survived a full Roman crucifixion. Secondly, if He revived while inside the tomb, it would be impossible for Him to have the strength to roll away the stone from the inside of the tomb and take on the Roman centurions standing guard outside.

Image: Dr. Zakir Naik
Image: Dr. Zakir Naik

But, most important to me is the fact that Jesus did claim to be God. The Qur’an says in Surah 5:72,

“They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah (himself said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Lo! Whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden paradise). His abode is the fire. For evil-doers there will be no helpers.”

According to the Qur’an, God is saying here that if you believe that Jesus is Lord

(ascribe partnership with Jesus and God), then you will go to hell. And there is not help for you at all. This is the only unforgivable sin in Islam.

Then, in Surah 5:116, the Qur’an says:

“And when Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Didst thou say unto mankind: take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah? He saith: be glorified! It was not mine to utter that to which I had no right. If I used to say it, then Thou knewest it. Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I know not what is in thy mind.”

In other words, the Qur’an is describing the Trinity as: Father, Son and Wife; and Jesus very clearly denies that He ever claimed to be God.

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