Jesus in the Quran
The Quran refers to Jesus (Isa) in 15 chapters (sūras) and 93 verses (āyāt) are devoted to him. Jesus is mentioned by name twenty-five times in the Qur’an referring to Him as the “son of Mary” or “Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary”.
Is the Jesus of the Quran the same Jesus Christians follow? At first glance, there appear to be many similarities between Jesus in the Quran and the biblical Jesus. However, when you take a careful look, it turns out that the Jesus in the Quran is different from the Jesus of the Bible who lived in the 1st century.
List of References to Jesus in the Quran1
- Jesus was conceived supernaturally (Quran 2:87,253; 3:47,59; 5:110; 19:20ff.; 21:29; 66:12).
- Jesus spoke from Mary’s womb (Quran 5:110; 19:24, 29-33)
- Jesus is of Allah’s Spirit (Quran 4:171; 19:17; 21:29,91; 66:12)
- Jesus is without sin (Quran 3:38; 19:19,32)
- Jesus is righteous (Quran 3:46; 6:85)
- Jesus is called the messiah (Quran 3:45; 4:157,171,172; 5:17 [2x]; 5:72[2x],75; 9:30,31)2
- Jesus is the gospel or good news (Quran 3:45)
- Jesus is a mediator (Quran 3:45)
- Jesus is an intecessor (Quran 2:255, 21:28)
- Jesus is noble now and hereafter (Quran 6:85)
- Jesus breathed life into clay (Quran 3:49; 5:110)
- Jesus is the word of Allah (Quran 3:39,45; 4:171)3
- Jesus is the word of truth (Quran 19:34)
- Jesus was not more than a slave (Quran 4:172; 19:30; 43:59)
- Jesus was sent from heaven (Quran 5:114-115)
- Jesus was led by a spirit/Gabriel? (Quran 2:87,253,5:110)
- Allah’s favor was on Jesus (Quran 5:110; 43:59)
- Jesus received revelation from Allah (Quran 2:136; 3:59; 19:30)
- Allah revealed his will to Jesus (Quran 4:163)
- Jesus is a mercy from Allah (Quran 19:21)
- Jesus had power to raise the dead (Quran 3:49, 5:110)
- Jesus a clear sign to mankind (Quran 2:87, 3:49–50, 5:115, 19:21, 21:93, 43:61)
- Jesus showed clear signs of Allah (Quran 2:253, 5:110, 43:63)
- Allah gave clear miracles to Jesus (Quran 2:253)
- Jesus healed the sick and lepers (Quran 3:49, 5:110)
- People of the Scripture must believe in Jesus before their death or before Jesus dies (Quran 4:159)
- The Quran refers to Jesus’ death and resurrection (Quran 19:33)4
- Jesus is present at Resurrection Day (Quran 3:55, 4:159)
- Jesus ascended up to Allah in heaven (Quran 3:55, 4:158)
- Jesus coming back to judge the world (Quran 3:55, 4:159, 4:173, 43:61)
- Jesus a sign of the hour of judgment (Quran 43:61)
- Jesus is one of those near to Allah (Quran 3:45)
- Allah blessed Jesus wherever he went (Quran 19:31)
- Jesus given wisdom of the Old Testament and sent with the Gospel/Injeel (Quran 3:48, 3:110, 19:30; 57:27)
- Jesus had the favor of Allah (Quran 43:59)
- Jesus is a servant and prophet of Allah went with wisdom (Quran 4:172, 19:30; 43:63)
- Jesus miraculously fed His disciples with food from heaven (Quran 5:112–118)
- Jesus’ teaching is a straight path (Quran 43:61)
- Jesus is to be believed by the People of the Book/Jews & Christians (Quran 4:159)
- Unbelievers say Allah is Messiah [Jesus] (Quran 5:72)
- Jesus was no more than a messenger (Quran 5:75)
- Jesus taught unitarian monotheism (Quran 5:117)
- Jesus is among other prophets Allah made a covenant with (Quran 33:7)
- Jesus did not die by crucifixion on the cross, but was raised by Allah (Quran 4:157-158)
- Jesus an example to the children of Israel (Quran 43:59)
- Jesus attested confirmed the Law and made lawful part of what had been forbidden (Quran 3:50)
- Jesus is created (not God), and like Adam was created directly by God (Quran 3:59)
- Jesus is to be obeyed (Quran 3:50; 4:159; 5:111; 43:61,63)
- The disciples of Jesus bore witness that they were Muslims (Quran 3:52; 5:111) and became dominant (Quran 61:14)
- Disciples are witnesses to the truth of Jesus (Quran 5:113)
- Jesus did not teach mankind to take him and his mother for two gods beside Allah (Quran 5:116)
- Followers of Jesus acceptable (true believers) to Allah (Quran 57:27, 85:4)
The historical Jesus that is not in the Quran
The Jesus in the Quran is lacking several key things one finds concerning the historical Jesus in the Bible:
- The Quran does not contain the Scriptures Jesus believed and lived by.
- The Quran does not affirm Jesus’ sworn testimony that He is the Son of God (Matthew 26:63-66).
- The Quran categorically denies that Jesus is God.
- The Quran does not affirm the historic event of Jesus’ death on the cross for sin.
- The Quran does not affirm the historic event of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead for the righteousness of those who believe in Him.
- The Quran does not affirm Jesus as Lord.
- The Quran does not affirm Jesus as Savior.
Is the Jesus of the Quran the Jesus of history?
After looking at the Jesus in the Quran and the Jesus not in the Quran we must conclude:
- Muslims honor what Muhammad said about Jesus in the 7th century.
- Muslims do not honor what Jesus taught, or did in the 1st century.5
There is an historical gap of about 600 years between the Jesus of history and the Jesus of the Quran:
- The Jesus of the Bible is rooted in the history of the 1st century.
- The Jesus of the Quran and Islam is rooted in what Muhammad said in the 7th century.
Not only is there a 600 year historical gap, but more importantly, there is an eternal difference between what Muhammad said and did not say about Jesus in the 7th century and the real Jesus Who lived and died in the 1st century.
- This list was adapted from Mark D. Siljander, A Deadly Misunderstanding – A Congressman’s Quest to Bridge the Muslim – Christian Divide; Appendix 1 pp.223-225. [↩]
- The Quran and the Bible refers to Jesus as the “Messiah.” But does this Quranic title mean the same thing as the title rooted in the Hebrew Bible Jesus believed and lived by? [↩]
- There are two verses which clearly state that Jesus is God’s word, namely Quran 3:45 and Quran 4:171. It is sometimes held that Quran 3:39 and 19:34 also imply this. Christian apologists have argued these passages echo the teaching of John’s Gospel, which states that God’s divine Word (logos), which was with God in the beginning and through whom he created all things, became flesh in Jesus Christ (John 1:1-18). However, the Quran does not endorse the orthodox Christian view of the Incarnation (Neal Robinson, “Jesus” in the Encyclopaedia of the Quran. General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe. Brill [Leiden and Boston], 2005, CD-ROM version). [↩]
- Muslims do not interpret this to mean that Jesus died on the cross. If Jesus did not die on the cross, then when does the Quran teach Jesus died? “In Quran 19 the child Jesus speaks of the day of his birth, the day he will die, and the day he will be raised alive (Quran 19:33). From the similar statement about John (Quran 19:15), and from subsequent verses that deal with eschatology (Quran 19:37-9, 66), it has been inferred that Jesus will be raised alive at the general resurrection. There is not the slightest hint, however, that his death also lies in the future. On the contrary, given only this sūra, the assumption would be that it already lay in the past like John’s” (Neal Robinson, “Jesus” in the Encyclopaedia of the Quran. General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe. Brill [Leiden and Boston], 2005, CD-ROM version). [↩]
- Muslims give many reasons for not honoring the historical Jesus of the 1st century (e.g. alleged corruption of the Bible). However, their reasons are theological, doctrinal, philosophical, and speculative. Their reasons are not historical. [↩]