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Dr.Jamal Badawi:

Last week’s program we started the discussion of comparative Christology especially in respect to the portrait of Jesus in the Quran and comparing that to what Christian theologians usually present. We indicated that their there are of important similarity between Muslims and Christians at least so far as accepting, loving, and honoring Jesus Peace Be Upon Him and the authority of the Quran for the Muslims. We indicated also that there are areas of difference relating to the scope of his mission, the question of crucifixion, second coming, the nature of his message, but most importantly it was indicated that all of these differences really center around the question of divinity. Whether Jesus was a human or divine and in order to analyze and study this issue we suggested that you can either scrutinize the authority, authenticity, and history of both scriptures the Quran and the Bible to see how they are used for a support for one position or the other. Secondly, to scrutinize the positions themselves which are based on these holy books to see if they have a sound basis and to whether they make sense, and to whether they have any valid proof. Thirdly, is to begin with something even more fundamental, to find out whether any claim made by Muslims or Christians for that matter is substantiated by their own scriptures. More specifically, we can assume that the Muslim has no basis in the Quran to say Jesus was a human and the Quran says he was divine for example, or to again assume on the other hand the Christians may not have a strong sound basis from the Bible to say that Jesus indeed was divine. We began with the first assumption that Muslims and we indicated the points that some Christian writers say that they claim the Quran implies that Jesus was divine and we indicated that this was absolutely incorrect and we went through some of the discussion of issues such as: Jesus being called holy and pure, spirit from Allah, a word from Allah, Maseeh or anointed, and we explained that none of these really implied any divinity and that the Quran is very explicit when describing him as a messenger, a Prophet, and a faithful servant of Allah.

Host: Well Dr.Jamal I have realized that there have been a lot of literature on this particular issue, but I would like to ask you however to explain the main reason for the erroneous estimations suggested by some Christian writers.

Dr.Jamal Badawi:

Well to start with, I do not make any claim that I have read all or even most of that literature but from the little I have read for Christian missionaries, especially Christian missionaries in Muslim countries, and by reading what they have said and trying to analyze it I noted that there are a number of reasons or number of category of errors. First, there are sometimes fictitious quotations that is referring to something and saying that this is in the Quran and if you go and check in the Quran you see it does not exist anywhere. Secondly, there are problems with misquotations. The Quran says something but the quotation says something different and it doesn’t give the meaning that is being implied. Thirdly, there is a problem with partial quotations in a sense that stopping in the middle in a way that changes the meaning. The fourth type of error is to make claims or statements without quoting specific verses of the Quran just giving a general reference to the Quran, but if you refer to the text they are referring to you find their claim is not really substantiated by the Quran. The fifth type of error is basically is what I call hellenization of the language of the Quran.

Host: What are the specifics of the matter then? Maybe you can give us an example of the first type of error, in other words where the passage does not actually exist in the Quran

Dr.Jamal Badawi:

Alright, this is something that really struck me and I wouldn’t believe unless I saw it with my own eyes. I have seen an article that was distributed recently when I was giving a lecture at MIT and the title of the article was The Significance of Jesus Christ in Islam and it was written by Elvin Gill who was identified in the article as the national director of campus crusade for Christ in Pakistan and it says also that this article is condensed from his book The Christ in Islam. He says and I’m quoting, “According to Surah Yaseen and Mary, these are two chapters in the Quran, Jesus is the only one who can advise God concerning each individual on The Day of Judgment.” The chapter that he refers to Yaseen is Chapter 36 in the Quran and I went through the entire chapter several times there is absolutely no verse in the chapter that has anything to do with Jesus Peace be Upon Him. Then we went to the second Surah he refers to without giving a verse number 19 and while Surah 19 is called Mary it obviously speaks about the story of Jesus but there is no single verse in the entire Surah that refers in a direct or indirect way to the statement that Jesus is the only one who will advise God on The Day of Judgment on the fate of every human being. I would suggest for any viewer to examine that by himself and again the Chapter number is 36 and 19, find any verse that says what he has been quoting. He gives the Surah so the readers think and he even gives the name of the Surah but you look into it and find it is not true. It is very difficult to explain why would a responsible writer like this in this position write something like this. Did he read the Quran? Did he even read the Surahs he made reference to? Is it right to make a fictitious quotation that does not exist in the others scripture.

Host: Okay, how about misquotations now?

Dr.Jamal Badawi:

Well in the same reference and this is not the only one but it provides clearer examples, the writer also says that the Quran refers to Jesus as and I quote him, “The greatest above all in this world and in the world to come.” This time instead of just giving the Surah number he gives the verse number or the passage number. That is Surah 3 Passage 45, and if you actually refer to that text you find that it does not say that at all. It simply describes Jesus as

Which means in English that Jesus is held in honor in this world and the hereafter and of those, or in company of those, nearest to God. It is obvious be referring to the original text of the Quran that the big difference between what the Quran says and what the author is quoting and putting between brackets as if it is a verbatim quotation from the Quran. I really adhere also that the text of the verse, aside from being than what he quotes, simply described that Jesus in honored and among those who are nearest to God and this means there are others who are near God also. Where did he get that restriction?

Host: Okay, maybe I’ll ask you to elaborate on that last point. In other words, maybe you can give us evidence from the Quran if it is available.

Dr.Jamal Badawi:

Yes there are lots of available evidence. For example, there are two very nice words that are used to refer to Jesus. That is Wajeehan and Min Al-Muqarabeen, and Wajeehan in Arabic means honored and the very exact term that is used to refer to Jesus was used to refer to Prophet Moses. The reference to that is Surah 33 Passage 69. The other term describing Prophet Jesus Peace be Upon Him is not unique to Jesus because it says Min Al-Muqarabeen and that is in the company of those who are close to God. The word Muqarabeen or close to God is used in the Quran to refer to the angels in Surah 4 Passage 172, it is also used to refer to other humans or Prophets like Jesus an example is Prophet Moses it also talks about him in Surah 19 Passage 52 where Allah speaks of drawing him near to him. It is even used to describe people other than angels and Prophets just pious people and some examples of that among many are Surah 56 Passage 11, Surah 82 Passages 21 and 28. The point that I am trying to make is the problem with the writer is not interpretation but it is a straight misquotation and as indicated earlier he is not the only one. In fact, I saw another publication it’s called Isa or Jesus In The Quran and The Bible and there is no name of author or authors but is says it was published by an organization called  Fellowship of Isa or Jesus based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. On page seven of that publication it says and I quote, “Jesus Christ is the word of God, God’s revelation of himself to us.”  The reference given to the Quran here is again the same verse I mentioned before another part of it Surah 3 Passage 45. (As seen above) If you go back to that and read it, it simply says in the Quran, “Behold the angel said O Mary, God gives you glad tidings of a word from him his name will be Christ Jesus the son of Mary.” Not the word, a word and where does it say in that quotation that Jesus is Gods revelation to us. Obviously again it is not a problem of differential translation it is not just a matter of different type of translation it is a clear misquotation also.

Host: Dr.Jamal maybe I’ll ask you to give us a few examples of one other kind of errors you mentioned. Those of which the author only gives partial quotations

Dr.Jamal Badawi:

Okay, first of all I’d like to make a comment about when you say partial quotations and what that actually means because we know that any writer does not have to quote everything in full a writer usually chooses something that relates to the topic. That is legitimate in general, but what I meant here in an error in the form of partial quotations is when you break the verse or saying of the Prophet in the middle in such a way it gives it a different meaning altogether. You will get a completely different meaning if you keep reading the complete passage. I will give an example for that: if the weather outside is quite miserable and I asked you how was the weather outside and you tell me well it’s pretty bad. If I quote you and say that Dr.Maneesh says that the weather is pretty I am exactly giving the opposite. Even by misquoting one word the meaning is exactly opposite and that is what I mean by partial quotation giving half-truths which can be misleading. An example in that especially in the writings of Christian missionaries is the same publication I referred to Jesus in The Quran and Bible published in Minnesota and he makes a reference of a saying of the Prophet Peace be Upon Him in Bukhari, and he used verbatim quotations. He quotes the following, “By him whose hand my soul is Jesus son of Mary will shortly descend among you (among you O Muslims) as a just ruler.” Then he stops there and does not complete the Prophetic saying. The writer then concludes and I quote him from page 5, “No other prophets before or after Jesus Christ is mentioned in the Quran to fulfill two functions: ruler and judge.” What is obvious in the intent of the writer is to say according to the saying of the Prophet Jesus actually was divine. I referred to that quote he was saying and I discovered he omitted a very important concluding statement and one that would contradict what he was trying to conclude. The missing statement which he didn’t quote which completes the saying the Prophet says, “Then he (Jesus) will break the cross and kill the swine” The elimination of that statement from the Prophetic saying is very serious because it shows the first task that Jesus will do in his second coming is to express his displeasures and disapproval of those who defied him rather than to consider him as a servant and messenger of Allah as he actually was. The cross is the symbol of the divine who died on the cross. In addition to the omission of this important part of the quotation it is noted that the saying of the Prophet when he says, “Jesus the son of Mary” he didn’t say the son of God, and also his statement that no Prophet before or after Jesus will fulfill the function of being a judge and a ruler. I think it is erroneous because Jews, Muslims, and Christians all know that there are many Prophets or there were many Prophets in the past that actually were judges and ruled. Prophets David and Solomon were both rulers and judges and a reference in the Quran to that is Surah 21 Passage 78. Prophet Moses also was a ruler we all know that and he judged among his people. Prophet Muhammad Peace be Upon Him was both a ruler and a judge and a Prophet. Just to give a few examples in the Quran in Surah 5 Passage 52 Prophet Muhammad is a ruler and judge among them according to what Allah has revealed. Similar statements are found in Surah 5 passage 51, Surah 4 Passage 65, and Surah 4 Passage 105 and the evidence is overwhelming and I wonder how the writer came with that statement that in the Quran no other Prophet other than Jesus is mentioned to be a ruler and a judge. I would also like to say a person can be a ruler and a judge but still a follower of Prophet Muhammad Peace be Upon Him and we discussed in the second coming of Jesus the topic led into that Prophet Jesus is coming in the capacity of a follower of Islam which was taught by all of the Prophets in its final form as completed through the mission of the last Prophet Muhammad Peace be Upon Him.

Host: Now you also mentioned to us that there are some claims that are not sustained by the text of the Quran. Could you elaborate on that?

Dr.Jamal Badawi:

Okay the thing again in Jesus in the Quran and Bible they also have described Jesus on page 7 and it says according to the Quran because he puts quotations from the Bible on one hand and the Quran on the other hand and he says Jesus is the author of creation. He gives the evidence not only from the Bible but also from the Quran and he gives the reference Surah 5 Passages 113 and 114. Now let us read the translation and let us see if that says Jesus was the author of creation. “Then God will say O Jesus son of Mary recount my favor to you and your mother. Behold I strengthened you with the Holy Spirit so you did speak to the people in childhood and immaturity. Behold I taught you the book and wisdom and the law and the Injeel and behold you make out of clay as it were the figure of a bird by my leave and you breathe into it and it becomes a bird by my leave And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I

wake up the dead, by Allah’s leave.” It is very clear and very interesting to notice that in this citation of the Quran the term “by my leave” is mentioned four times. I think anyone can easily conclude that this repetition of by my leave or by the name of God negates that Jesus is the author of creation. Every time Jesus says that this is simply a favor from Allah not something on my own. The fact is that this is not too much different if you look objectionably to what Jesus is quoted in the Gospel of John. For example in Chapter 5 Verse 30 he says I do nothing by myself and in Chapter 6 Verse 38 he says he is not doing his own will but the will of he who sent him. So what the verse is obviously saying is that I am not doing anything by my own I am only a messenger of Allah and God or Allah speaks to him that he is his servant and messenger and you are not my equal obviously. Again the author forgot as he forgot in another place that the very quote that he uses to show Jesus is divine and the author of creation begins with Ya Isa Ibna Maryam O Jesus son of Mary it does not say son of God or my divine son or my equal in essence Godhood. It means that you are one of my favorites or one of my holiest and one of my most honored creatures, but still a creature.


Host: Now let us move to the last category that you mentioned earlier in the program about the Hellenization of the language of the Quran. Now what is meant by that?


Dr.Jamal Badawi:

Well to explain that I think we have to begin with pointing out that the Quran unlike other scriptures is still available in the exact original language it was uttered. It has not been lost it is still there, and the language the Quran has been revealed was not English it was not Hebrew or Greek it was the Arabic language. What happened was that some writers take the translations of the Quran for example taking an English term which is a translation of the meaning of the Quran and try to seek the definition of that term in the English dictionary. Then pretend the English dictionaries definition not the Arabic as the meaning which is intended in the Quran without any consideration to what the term means in Arabic and without consideration to the context which that term is used in the Quran. An example of this is one of the verses we cited earlier but I am looking at it now from a different angle. The Quran describes Jesus as a word from Allah and that is in Surah 3 Passage 45. We have explained before in a previous program that all of the creatures are words of Allah. You are the word of Allah, I am a word from Allah, all creatures and the Quran sometimes uses the word in plural. That is we are all created by the creative command of God Kun or Be the word of God. However we find that the author of that publication Jesus in the Quran and the Bible says that according to the Quran Jesus is and I quote him, “Gods revelation of himself to us” Not Gods revelation of his will or command, Gods revelation of himself to us. Well we have already indicated in a previous question that the text does not say that at all and any viewer can check on their own in Surah 3 Verse 45. Where does it say Jesus is Gods revelation of himself to us? He based it on a very roundabout type of erroneous reasoning. He refers to Webster’s dictionary and he says that Webster’s dictionary defines Word as a “manifestation and expression of the mind and will of God. The mind of God is what God is. His expression of himself to us, the will of God, deals with what God requires and desires on us.” Well this to me is a clear example of what I called the Hellenization of the language of the Quran. Instead of taking the original word, the Arabic word, trying to find out the proper usage of the word in the Quran in its context, he tried to give an English definition from an English writer who himself is influenced by the Hellenistic philosophy. This approach has not only been criticized by Muslims, it is criticized by other fair Christian theologians. For example, Razanen and I made reference to him before in his article in the Muslim World indicated that in the Quran Jesus is a word from Allah and this a reference to Gods creation word of command to create Jesus. Then he says on page 146 and I quote, “It is due time to engage in a dialogue at this point in attempt to Christianize he language of the Quran.


Host: Earlier in this program you spoke of the errors Non-Muslim writers have in explaining the Quran, how about if there was similar problems with Non-Christians interpret the Bible?


Dr.Jamal Badawi:

Well first of all I would like to say that the point will become clearer if we refer back just for a quick reference to the ninth program in this series on that particular topic. It was indicated that in any comparative study is not enough for a Muslim for example to quote from the Quran or a Christian to quote from the Bible because it is a problem sometimes with one or the other excepting the authority the other person is quoting from. We indicated that one of the means to examining this is to examine both the Quran to see if Muslims misinterpreted the Quran perhaps and the divinity of Jesus is established, on the other hand looking at it the other way around by examining the Bible itself from a Biblical perspective and finding out whether the claim for the divinity of Jesus is really based on a sound and strong Biblical context. Now, in our discussion so far we have already explained           in full I hope even though we didn’t cover all points but at least some of the major areas were discussed in full to show that the Quran is quite clear and conclusive. Any argument that is made to show that the Quran is in any way shown to support the divinity of Jesus Peace be Upon Him is erroneous and we gave specific reasons for that. In addition to this, the Quran is consistent and clearly repeats that Jesus was a Prophet of Allah, as a messenger of Allah, and as a servant of Allah and we believe that there is absolutely no room to make an argument on the basis of the Quran that Jesus was actually divine. Like I said this was attested to by well-known Christian theologian Razanen and I was recently speaking to a well-known friend of mine again a Christian theologian and again I asked him what he thought about the Christian writers that try to show that the Quran supports the claim of the divinity of Jesus. His answer was I don’t sympathize with them because their claim does not have any basis at all.

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