“I was in the coffee shop at Waterstone’s a couple of days ago, and got talking to another old boy. I was remarking on a book by an ex-nun. It’s a history of Christianity; and the review in the London Review of Books says she has a bee in her bonnet about Jesus never being shown in the New Testament of the Bible, to have claimed divinity for himself, i.e, she says he never said he was God. The other chap said that was an unremarkable claim, and that indeed Muslims must claim exactly that: a prophet but never one who claimed to be God. So, I told this man I would consult you on this matter. There’s my question: is that what Islam teaches re Jesus: he never said he was God; or maybe the thinking is that he did claim Godhood but was just deluded on this point?”
(John P. S.)
In Islam Jesus Christ is revered as a mighty prophet of God that was miraculously born to the Virgin Mary.
The Quran describes Jesus and his birth in the following verses:
“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 in the next, and of those who are granted nearness to God;
‘And he shall speak to the people in the cradle, and when of middle age, and he shall be of the righteous.
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;” — Qur’an, Surah 3:38-48
In Islam there is no dispute as to Jesus’ divinity as it clearly states, in the Quran, that he was the Messiah and a prophet and that God would never have ‘taken’ a son for himself.
Furthermore the Quran uses very sharp statements in dismissing such claims and also warns the people against such belief:
(O People of the Book (Christians and Jews) ! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an apostle of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His apostles. Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah. Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. Nisa 171)
Muslims have always disagreed with the Christians’ view that Jesus is the the literal ‘SON‘of God or a Deity of any kind. ( The word Begotten ,often found in the Bible, was never found to be in the original Greek manuscripts but was a later addittion in order to ‘better’ explain Jesus’ postion in relation to the Father)
When trying to prove this assertion to the Christians, some have pointed to the Bible as a further proof,claiming that nowhere in the New Testament has Jesus claimed divinity, far from it Jesus keeps referring to his human nature. (Not knowing the Day of Judgment, Praying/pleading to/with the Father, claims the he did not come but was SENT and many more such statements/actions).
The point that Jesus never claimed divinity in the New Testament is true to the extent that he never said ‘I am God’ or ‘Worship me’ but rather he was more concerned with people’s relationship with the Father.
The Christians say that the ‘ I am the way the life and the truth’ is THE statement that proves Jesus was God himself.
However, Muslims would say that every prophet was ‘the way and the life’ for their people.
Furthermore a question arises if Jesus ‘was’ the way and the life in the time of Moses, Abraham or Noah?
If you look at how a valid argument the Bible is for the Muslims then you will see that the Muslims believe that the Bible was changed/altered as time went by, due to many Versions and possible alterations made, therefore the Bible can not be seen as a credible source of information.
Muslims accept that God had sent revelations to prophets and messengers before, however these texts have been altered, changed and got lost therefore the Bible (Old and New Testament) that we have today are not the ‘Books’ referred to in the Quran as being ‘sent’ by God before the Quran.
Stating that “Muslims MUST claim that Jesus never claimed divinity” is not true.
The belief of a Muslim is according to the Quran and the Sunnah (the teachings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad) therefore the claims of the Bible have no real effect on a Muslims’ belief.
In conclusion Muslims believe in Jesus the Messiah (Christ in Greek) as a prophet of God and the Quran teaches them that he was one of the mightiest messengers and prophets.
The Quran states that Jesus said :
He [Jesus] said: ‘I am indeed a servant of God. He has given me revelation and made me a prophet; He has made me blessed wheresoever I be; and He has enjoined on me prayer and charity as long as I live. He has made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable. 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)!’ Such was Jesus the son of Mary. It is a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute. It is not befitting to (the majesty of) God that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is” (19:30-35).
In an attempt to prove this some Muslims have used the Bible (New Testament) as a further proof to their claim.
However, Muslims do not rely on the accuracy of the Bible as such as they accept fully what the Quran teaches them.