Which Record of Jesus Would Be Most Accurate?

20 May, 2017
Q What records would be most accurate about Jesus, those written by those who knew him 1:1 and wrote about him a few years after he lived on earth, or someone who lived 600+ years later?

Answer

Salam (Peace),

Thank you very much for your question.

Muslims believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) is one of the prophets sent by God (Allah) to guide people to the worship of the One True God.

Muslims believe that Allah revealed a book to Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) and they believe that the name of that book is Al-Injeel (The Gospel). This is a basic principle in Islam.

We read in the Quran:

{The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in God and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], “We make no distinction between any of His messengers.” And they say, “We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination.”} (Quran 2:285)

When Angel Gabriel asked Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) about the meaning of faith, the Prophet said:

Faith means to believe in Allah [God], His angels, His books, His messengers, the Last Day, and to believe in His divine will and decree, both good and bad. (Al-Bukhari- emphasis added)

Muslims believe that Jesus never claimed divinity. Jesus never claimed that he is God or even the son of God. Jesus preached the same message that all previous prophets preached; i.e. to worship God alone.

We read in the Quran:

{[…] the Messiah has said, “O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Indeed, he who associates others with Allah – Allah has forbidden him Paradise, and his refuge is the Fire. And there are not for the wrongdoers any helpers.”} (Quran 5:72)

And:

{[Jesus said] I said not to them except what You commanded me – to worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took me up, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness.} (Quran 5:117)

With regard to the authenticity of the history of Jesus, Muslims believe that the Christians themselves believe that the books that they have were not revealed in that form from God, nor do they claim that the Messiah wrote the Gospel we find today or that it was written during his lifetime.

Imam Ibn Taymiyyah said:

With regard to the Gospels that the Christians have, there are four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are agreed that Luke and Mark did not see the Messiah; rather he was seen by Matthew and John. These four accounts which they call the Gospel, and they call each one of them a Gospel, were written by these men after the Messiah had been taken up into heaven. They did not say that they are the word of God or that the Messiah conveyed them from God, rather they narrated some of the words of the Messiah and some of his deeds and miracles. (Al-Jawab al-Saheeh 3/21)

Ibn Hazm said: 

With regard to the Christians, there is no dispute among them or anyone else that only one hundred and twenty men believed in the Messiah during his lifetime… and all of those who believed in him concealed themselves and were afraid during his lifetime and afterwards they called people to his religion in secret and none of them disclosed himself or practised his religion openly, because any of them who was caught was executed. 

They continued in this manner, not showing themselves at all, and they had no place where they were safe for three hundred years after the Messiah was taken up into heaven. 

During this time, the Gospel that had been revealed from Allah disappeared, apart from a few verses which Allah preserved as proof against them and as a rebuke to them. Then when the Emperor Constantine became a Christian, the Christians prevailed and started to practise their religion openly and assemble in safety. 

If a religion is like this, with its followers practicing it in secret and living in constant fear of the sword, it is impossible for things to be transmitted soundly via a continuous chain of narrators and its followers cannot protect it or prevent it from being distorted. (Al-Fasl 2/4-5)  

Muslims also believe that these books did not remain in the languages in which they were originally written; rather they were translated, more than once, by people whose level of knowledge and honesty is unknown.

The contradictions in these books and their shortcomings are among the strongest evidence that they have been distorted and that they are not the Gospel (Injeel) that Allah revealed to His slave and Messenger Jesus (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

Let me raise the following questions:

Could the writers of the Bible, namely- Mark, Luke, Mathew, John, and Paul be pen names?

What are their family names? When did they write the Bible? Did they know Jesus? Did they walk with Jesus? Did they eat with Jesus? Did they talk to Jesus? Who did invent the word “trinity”?

They wrote the Bible, and they often say, “according to”. When you write a letter, do you say, “according to”?

According to means there is a third party. Where in the world would a document with one name attributed to it, with four different writers who did not meet the man they are writing about, be accepted as sound and authentic?

Yet, in their words, the first mentioning of the trinity came from them. The first mentioning of Jesus being divine or a man-God came from them. The first mentioning of Jesus being the son of God came from them. Jesus never said in his own words any such thing.

Some Bible scholars and some Church fathers agree that Mark, Luke, Mathew, John, and Paul never met Jesus and they were not his disciples. They were not even followers of the disciples. They were just writers and historians.

This is what Muslims believe about the records of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him).

I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.

Salam.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/bible-word-god/

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/the-history-of-the-bible-and-the-quran-part-1/

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/the-history-of-the-bible-and-the-quran-part-2/

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/biblical-changes-part-1/