Short Answer: The Lord’s Prayer and the Last Supper are only “proof” of what Jesus said if you believe that what is recorded in the four Gospels of the Christian Church is actually what he said. This is the first, and probably the major, point of disagreement. Muslims believe that Islam is the natural religion of mankind and that it has existed since the beginning of time. Muslims and many Christian scholars believe that the message revealed to Moses and the message revealed to Jesus were both corrupted over time through translation, or by the way they were originally written down. And it is the belief of Muslims that nowhere do we have a true record of either message.
Salam (Peace) Joshua,
Thank you very much for your question.
First, let’s focus on the importance of inter-religious dialogue.
In a world beset by religious strife, it is most important that people of different faiths understand and talk to one another. And we thank you for opening this door.
Inter-religious dialogue does not mean saying nice things to one another and leaving it at that.
A real inter-religious dialogue means having the greatest respect for the one you are talking to, yet being able to say exactly what you believe.
None of us should feel threatened by goodness and it should be no threat to people of any faith that someone believes something different than them.
Muslim Respect for Christian Beliefs
In this vein, then, I begin by saying how much Muslims respect the beliefs of Christians, but there are many areas where we disagree, as is obvious.
If we didn’t disagree on anything, we would be of the same faith.
But this should not be a cause of animosity, but just a cause of difference.
In explaining what Muslims believe, there is no intention to show any disrespect to what Christians believe.
The Lord’s Prayer and the Last Supper as proof
You say that you see both the Lord’s Prayer and the Last Supper as proof that Jesus said he was the son of God and that he died on the Cross. Muslims do not believe this.
It is only “proof” of what Jesus said if you believe that what is recorded in the four Gospels of the Christian Church is actually what he said.
This is the first, and probably the major, point of disagreement.
Muslims believe that Islam is the natural religion of mankind and that it has existed since the beginning of time.
Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus (peace be upon them all) are all Prophets sent by God.
They were sent to proclaim that there is only one God, Who alone is worthy of worship.
The last of these prophets, Muhammad (peace be upon him-PBUH), was given the final revelation of Almighty God to mankind in the Quran.
Muslims believe that the Quran is the exact and literal word of God (Allah) revealed to Muhammad (PBUH) through the Angel Gabriel.
Historians and scholars have shown repeatedly that the Quran has not been altered since it was first revealed.
Previous prophets were given messages for their particular people, for their particular time in history.
Moses, then, was given a message for the Jews at a time in their history, as was Jesus (PBUH).
It is the belief of Muslims, as many Christian scholars believe, and this is very important in answer to your question, that the message revealed to Moses and the message revealed to Jesus were both corrupted over time through translation, or by the way they were originally written down.
And it is the belief of Muslims that nowhere do we have a true record of either message.
The Four Gospels
As you know, the four Gospels eventually chosen by the Christian Church were just four of many Gospels.
The four writers: Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John—brilliant as they were—each had different aims in putting together their Gospel accounts.
Their audiences, too, were very different.
Muslims see these Gospels as literary works, in many places very beautiful in their content, but not the exact revelation from Almighty God to Jesus (PBUH).
That is why we would never say, “as Jesus says in the Gospel,” since we no longer have any idea what Jesus actually did say in the Gospel.
For someone to say to a Muslim, then, that the words of Jesus are “proof” of something makes no sense.
The proof only depends on you believing that the words in the Gospels were the words of Jesus.
That he says different things about the same incident in the different Gospels further substantiates this view.
For example, Saint Matthew’s Gospel tells us that Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit”.
Whereas, in the Gospel of Luke he says, “Blessed are the poor.”
Which did he say? He couldn’t have said both at the same time.
“Lead Us Not into Temptation” – Quran
Whether or not Jesus said the words of what is now known as the Lord’s Prayer is known to Allah alone.
The words “and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”, are similar to the opening chapter of the Quran, where a translation of the meaning would read as follows:
Show us the straight path, the path of those on whom you have bestowed your Grace, those whose portion is not wrath, and who go not astray. (Quran 1:6-7)
For Muslims, referring to God as Father carries the connotation of there being sons, and the idea of God having sons is abhorrent to Islam.
While Jesus (PBUH) may or may not have had a special, last supper with his friends, the Quran says nothing about this. So, Muslims are unable to comment on such a thing.
Did Jesus Die on the Cross?
As for Jesus dying on the cross, though, Islam is perfectly clear. A translation of the meaning of the original Arabic in the Quran tells us:
[…] but they killed him not, nor crucified him (Quran 4:157)
and later in the same verse it tells us that:
[…] of a certainty they killed him not. (Quran 4:157)
So, you see, Muslims do not believe that Jesus (PBUH) died on the Cross.
In the Quran, we find an account of Jesus’ (PBUH) birth to a virgin named Maryam (Mary), although the account differs somewhat from the narrative accounts of Matthew and Luke.
We also find some words of Jesus (PBUH), where he specifically refutes the suggestion that he is anything more than a messenger.
What Christians and Muslims can both agree on, though, is that Jesus (PBUH) was a truly remarkable man who worked miracles and spoke God’s word.
We can also agree that God is the Creator and the Originator of all things and that nothing exists without His willing it to exist.
I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.
(From AboutIslam’s archives)