How Does Islam View Baptism?
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How Does Islam View Baptism?

Questioner

Asma Brown

Reply Date

Dec 25, 2017

Question

As-salamu `alaykum. We know that the Bible has spoken about the Baptism of Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him. How should we as Muslims respond to questions from Christians about Baptism and whether we believe in that event, since, as far as I know, there is no mention of that in the Qur'an or Hadith. This question comes up because we as Muslims believe in Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him, his life, and the Gospels.

Mufti

Answer


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- For Jesus (peace and blessings be upon him) and his followers, Baptism was just a bath or ablution to purify themselves physically, ritually and spiritually, but, with Pauline interpretation, it became a symbol of belief in Jesus’ so-called death and resurrection.

2- We, as Muslims, accept the early tradition and that is what Islam has preserved and reaffirmed. We do not accept the later interpretation and doctrinal aberrations.


In his response to this question, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, former president of the Islamic Society of North America, states:

The word ‘Baptism’ comes from the Greek ‘Baptein’ which means ‘to plunge, to immerse, or to wash.’ It was an ancient custom to wash or to make ablution.

Islam has preserved this tradition in the form of ablution and ritual Ghusl for purification purpose.

Allah mentions in the Qur’an that He made water a source for purification. Allah Almighty says, “And He it is Who sends the winds, glad tidings heralding His mercy, and We send down purifying water from the sky.” (Al-Furqan 25:48)

Like all other Prophets of Allah, Jesus (peace and blessings be upon him) also washed himself to purify himself. During his time, Yahya (John, the Baptist) used to call people to repent and purify themselves in the River Jordan.

It is mentioned that Jesus also went to him and took a bath of purification (Mark 1:9-11).

After that Allah appointed Jesus as His prophet and messenger and he began preaching Allah’s Message. Jesus was a servant of Allah. He used to pray and for his prayers he must be purifying himself.

Jews in his time also used to do a lot of ritual washings. The Old Testament speaks a lot about the use of water for the purpose of purification. (See Numbers 19:1-22; Leviticus 14-15-16:24-28)

After Jesus left this world, Paul became a leader of some Christians. It was he who gave a new interpretation of Jesus’ Baptism. He told them that when a person takes a Baptism in water, actually he immerses himself in Jesus’ blood and dies with him and then he is resurrected like Jesus into a new person. (See Romans 6:3-4).

Paul gave a new definition of Baptism. For him, it was something to do with Original Sin and then the alleged death and resurrection of Jesus. (See Colossians 2:12).

For Jesus (peace and blessings be upon him) and his followers the Baptism was just a bath or ablution to purify themselves physically, ritually and spiritually, but, with Pauline interpretation, it became a symbol of belief in Jesus’ so-called death and resurrection.

We, as Muslims, accept the early tradition and that is what Islam has preserved and reaffirmed. We do not accept the later interpretation and doctrinal aberrations.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.




About Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi

Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi is the Chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America

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