What Is the Meaning of "Messiah" According to Islam? | About Islam
Home > Ask About Islam > What Is the Meaning of “Messiah” According to Islam?

What Is the Meaning of “Messiah” According to Islam?

Questioner

Syed

Reply Date

Apr 20, 2019

Question

Salam. I have a question regarding the word messiah. Why was Prophet `Isa (peace and blessings be upon him) given the title of Messiah? What does Messiah mean according to 1) the Quran and 2) the Arabic dictionary? Are there other people besides Prophet `Isa ibn Maryam (peace and blessings be upon him) who were given the title of Messiah?

Consultant

Answer


Messiah

Short Answer: Muslims accept the Jewish belief that there were prophecies about the coming of the Messiah. They also accept the Christian claim that Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary, was the expected Messiah. Muslims however deny the Christian belief that Jesus was the Son of God. The word messiah in the Old Testament means “to smear, anoint, or spread.” Messiah is exclusively reserved for Jesus the son of Mary (Isa ibn Maryam) in both Islam and in Christianity.

_____________________________________

Salam Dear Syed,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

“Anointed One”

The word messiah is an anglicized form of the Hebrew word, moshiach.

Its root word, mashach, is found about 140 times in the Old Testament. It means “to smear, anoint, or spread.

Mashach in Hebrew or masaha (literally to rub, to massage) in Arabic, has the meaning of anointing someone in a religious ceremony by putting holy water or oil on them.

Priests and kings were anointed when being consecrated to their offices.

Prophets were anointed by God in the sense that they were specially chosen by God for a specific religious mission.

In fact, the Bible is replete with “anointed” ones.

Although every prophet of God is an anointed one of God, the title Messiah or its translation “Christ” is exclusively reserved for Jesus the son of Mary (Isa ibn Maryam) in both Islam and in Christianity.

This is not unusual in religion.

There are certain other titles that can be applied to more than one prophet, yet are specifically used for only one prophet, like Rasul Allah, meaning “Messenger of God.”

This title is applied to both Moses (19:51) and Jesus (61:6) in the Quran. Yet Rasul Allah among Muslims stands for Muhammad, (peace and blessings be upon him).

“Messiah” in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam

Indeed, associating certain titles with certain personages does not make them unique on that score.

In olden days, priests and kings were anointed as part of the consecration ceremony.

In Judaism that mission was crucial to them, namely the restoration of the line of King David—or the establishment of the Law of God on earth.

Christians, on the other hand, give a new meaning to the title “The Messiah” in relation to the concept of the atonement of the Original Sin by the Son of God.

To tWhat Is the Meaning of Messiahhem, the Messiah is a savior who suffered and died to save sinful Man from eternal punishment in Hell.

On the one hand, Muslims accept the Jewish belief that there were prophecies about the coming of the Messiah.

On the other hand, they accept the Christian claim that Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary, was the expected Messiah, though the Jews reject this.

It is also worthy of mention that Muslims deny the Christian belief that Jesus was the Son of God, who was to be crucified to atone for Man’s Original Sin.

And God knows best.

I hope the foregoing answers your question.

Salam and please keep in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

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

The Messiah in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

 

Who Was Jesus?

 

Do The Gospels Present Jesus’ Actual Words?




About Professor Shahul Hameed

Professor Shahul Hameed is an Islamic consultant. He also held the position of the President of the Kerala Islamic Mission, Calicut, India. He is the author of three books on Islam published in the Malayalam language. His books are on comparative religion, the status of women, and science and human values.

Add Comment


find out more!