In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- Jesus is a great Prophet and Messenger of Allah. He, like all prophets before him, taught people about Allah, His existence, His Beautiful Names and show people by words and deeds how to be moral.
2- Jesus is not neither a god nor son of god. He is a man but infallible and righteous. He made miracles like all Allah’s prophets. He was born miraculously without father. He was also called in the Qur’an Jesus son of Mary. He neither said that he was god nor son of god.
Coming to your question, Dr. Muhammad M. Abu Laylah, Professor of Islamic Studies & Comparative Religions at Al-Azhar University, states:
Dear brother, thank you very much for your genuine attempt to help someone understand Islam and discover the truth about this great and influential religion. You seem to be very sincere and active in helping your friend to appreciate your religion or to accept it as his own.
So far, you have performed your part and please talk to him in general terms and keep your hope that he becomes a Muslim. Your duty is to deliver the message and it is purely for Allah to guide someone to accept it.
With regard to Jesus, we Muslims believe that He is the son of Mary but not the Son of God. He was conceived and born miraculously.
In his cradle, he talked to people who accused his mother of fornication and testified that his mother was absolutely pure.
He is not a Son of God in any sense and he no other being fathered him. He is a spirit from Allah and a word from Him that came to Mary, and he was directly created by the power of this word. He is a spirit from Allah in the sense that, unlike other humans, his spirit was given to Mary before his body. That is why Allah calls him a spirit from Him.
Allah cannot take a shape or any form of substance; nothing in His creation is similar to Him. He is above time and space, shape or physical qualities.
If we say that Jesus was the Son of God, we would do something totally against our mind and reasoning and we would totally ignore the very nature of God. God has not got a wife or any carnal and intimate relationship with any of His creation, nor any kind of physical touch.
To say Jesus is the Son of God is to say that Mary was the wife of God and no one accepts this. Since no one accepts this, it is against our reasoning and intellectual persuasive.
If Jesus was created without a father, this does not mean that God is his father, simply because of the difference in nature between Jesus and God. Jesus was born in time and in a certain place; he grew up from babyhood to adolescence to maturity.
The description of Jesus we have in the four Gospels and in the New Testament is a description of a man, not of God. Jesus cried, felt tired, suffered and became fatigued. Like all humans, he sought rest and comfort. He felt hungry and searched for food and even got angry because of his hunger, as in the Gospel when he went to the fig tree to find some fruit to eat and when he did not find any, he hit the tree and cursed it.
Jesus once felt very tired and some ladies came and massaged him and anointed his feet with perfume. He felt fresh and satisfied as any human. He suffered sickness and even when, according to the Gospel, he was taken by the Roman soldiers to the cross, he was totally unable to carry his own cross. When he was hanged, he cried loudly: “My God! My God! Why have You have forsaken me!” He did not say, “My father.”
Again, according to the Gospel, before he was taken to the cross, he prayed to God to save him from this plight. But finally he surrendered himself to the will of God. What we are telling is taken from the four Gospels. We ask again why should God beget a son? And why one son only? And why not a daughter as well? And how did God send His Son Jesus to be treated inhumanely and let people mock at him and spit in his face?
One may say that he was sent and underwent all of these actions in order to release us from the bondage of the original sin committed by Adam and to take our sin away and to reconcile ourselves to our Creator.
Unfortunately, there is no direct statement by Jesus himself that he came to fulfill this mission. He was very clear to tell people that God is my God and yours. He used to pray to God and ask Him for support and comfort. He never said, “I am God” or “I am the Son of God.” Rather, he was called several times in the Gospels “a prophet” and “a mighty prophet”. He was also called “the servant of God” like Prophet Muhammad after him. People used to shout, “Here a prophet has risen among us” and repeated this phrase whenever Jesus performed a miracle in front of people.
In the Gospel, he is also called the son of man. “Man” here could be a reference to Mary or Mary’s father, as an indication to trace Jesus’ genealogy to his mother since he has no father.
The Christian theologians understand very well that it is beyond reason to prove the that Jesus is a Son of God or that Jesus is divine; but it is very easy and straightforward to prove the manhood and the prophethood of this great Messenger of God.
We hope we do not offend anyone. We are in an age of discovering facts and exchanging views and experiences with full respect to everyone’s human dignity.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.