The Story of Jesus

Question and answer details
Mohamed Haris
Assalamualaikum,I would like to know the real story about Prophet Isa(Jesus) (as) from his birth till his death & also about his return back to earth before the day of judgment. Thank you
Shahul Hameed
Dear Haris,
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

We know about Isa (peace be upon him) is based on the two sources of the Holy Qur'an and hadith. With this, we can judge the material in the Gospels and in the books of history; and we can sift what could be true from what is evidently false there.

On the above basis, the following can be said about Jesus Christ or Isa ibn Maryam (peace be upon him), and of course Allah knows best:

Jesus was born in Nazareth (could be Bethlehem) miraculously (i.e. without a father) as the son of Maryam, during the reign of Tiberius Caesar, the Roman Emperor. When Mary, his mother carried the baby to her people, they questioned her and as a baby in her arms, he gave them the answer. Read the 19th chapter of the Qur'an called Maryam, in the following verses

He said: "I am indeed a servant of God: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet;

"And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live;

"(He) hath 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)"!

Surah 19 Verses 30-33

Allah appointed Isa (peace be upon him) to be a prophet to the Children of Israel; he preached to the people what Allah revealed to him in His Book called the Injil (Gospel of the Kingdom of God; not the Gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, which were composed in Greek language by people who lived later on). Jesus preached to the Jews or the Children of Israel; he himself was a Jew; he was a follower of Moses' Book, the Torah (Taurat in Arabic).

Jesus never said that he was the Son of God (in a special sense); or that he was God; he never said that his mission was to replace the Torah with Injil (the Bible) either. Rather he said that there cannot be any change in the Word of God. He came to fulfill what was incomplete in the previous books. But at the same time, he also said that his mission was not, to reveal everything to his followers; but he said that another would come in his place, after his departure, to complete the divine guidance. He called that messenger, Paracletos or Perycletos (Greek for "The Spirit of Truth" = the Comforter): Read the Gospel according to John:
“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you …” (John 16: 12 - 14)
This prediction by Jesus of another messenger, who was coming after him, corresponds to the coming of the Last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Though Jesus, by the grace of Allah was able to perform many miracles, the people, even his own disciples (according to the Gospel accounts), forsook him at the critical moment. This was when he was about to be captured by the Roman soldiers, at the instigation of the Jewish high priests. Christians came to accept the belief, at the instance of one Saul of Tarsus (who was not a disciple of Jesus; though he later became St. Paul--the real founder of modern Christianity), that he was crucified by the Romans.

The Holy Qur'an very clearly states that they did not crucify or kill him; but so it appeared to many of them. Someone else was crucified in his place; and there were few witnesses to this. Though the Christians insist that the crucifixion of Christ was witnessed by “thousands”, still their own Gospels say:
“There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Mag'dalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salo'me; who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him; and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem..” (Mark 15: 40, 41).
This means that apart from the Roman soldiers, there were some women who watched the crucifixion “afar off”. That was all.

Again, Matthew says:
“And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him; among which was Mary Mag'dalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zeb'edee's children.” (Matthew 27: 55, 56)
Then where were his own disciples?
The Gospel says:
“… and they all forsook him and fled. And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: and he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.” (Mark 14: 50, 51, 52)
“But all this was done, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled. And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Cai'aphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.” (Matthew 26: 56, 57)
Thus, the Bible makes it clear that there were no witnesses among Jesus' disciples to what happened after his arrest. This is because they had all forsaken him and fled at the time of his arrest. Therefore, there was no means of knowing what exactly happened after his arrest, except depend on hearsay.

The Qur'an (the Word of God) categorically says that Jesus was neither crucified nor killed. God saved him from such a shameful death. This is quite in keeping with the Biblical view that Jesus had prayed to God to save him. Also the Bible says death by crucifixion is an accursed death. All this simply points to the fact that Jesus, who was a prophet of God, must have been saved by God from the shame and curse of crucifixion.

There are a number of hadiths, which say that Isa (peace be upon him) was raised up and he has not died; and that he will come back to earth once again. This matches with the second coming of Christ believed in by the Christians. But about this point, there is a difference of opinion and understanding of this return, among our ulema (scholars). And Allah knows best.

The foregoing is the story of a Jesus in a nutshell, as we can understand.
Thank you and jazakallah, wassalam.


Useful Links:

What We Know About Jesus

Is Jesus Dead or Alive?

Jesus between Islam and Christianity

The Meaning of "Messiah"