View Printable Version :: Email to a Friend
Jesus (sws)  in the Qur’ān
Book Review
Khurshid Ahmad Nadeem


Publishers: Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 1996

Pages: 187

ISBN:  1-85168-094-2

Price: UK £ 9.99; US $ 14.95



In the string of scriptures, the Qur’ān is the last one, the Final Testament. By the same token, Islam represents the last and final version of the Abrahamic religious tradition. From this perspective, the Qur’ān not only provides the final statement of the religious doctrines and norms of Judaism and Christianity, but also modifies their notions regarding sacred personalities: the Prophets. Jesus Christ (sws) is one of the those personalities who has been grossly misunderstood not only by his ‘opponents’, the Jews, but also by his professed followers, the Christians.

The Qur’ān regards Jesus (sws) as one who had announced his prophethood miraculously, for he did so while he was in the cradle (Qur’ān 19:30). Similarly, it declares his mother, Maryam, a chosen one, who was exalted over the whole of womanhood (3:24). The Qur’ān makes it clear that in spite of being endowed with miracles, Jesus (sws) was virtually like others as regards his being a human was concerned: he was created by God and was, therefore, God’s servant (‘abd) as were all other Prophets. The Qur’ān also tells us that Jesus’ birth took place in an extraordinary manner. In that respect his birth was like Adam’s in so far as the latter too had no father. Adams’ birth took place by dint’ of just one word of God – ‘kun’ (be) (the Qur’ān 3:59). Jesus’ birth, therefore, challenged people’s understanding. As a result a large number of people questioned the virginity of his mother, and declined for that reason to acknowledge him as a legitimate child. This made it impossible for them to accept him as a prophet. In time, Jesus’ followers retorted by declaring him to be a son of God, a belief that does not seem to be supported by the Gospels.

In his deeply researched work, Jesus in the Qur’ān, Geoffrey Parrinder attempts to present the Qur’ānic view of Jesus (sws). He deals with almost every dogmatic and biographical aspect of Jesus’ life and makes an earnest effort to understand the Qur’ānic standpoint. The author does not raise any questions about the textual authority of the Qur’ān as he mentions in his introduction (p.10). To the author, the present work is an exclusively theoretical study of the Qur’ānic view of Jesus (sws) and undoubtedly he succeeds in vindicating the claim. Further, in dealing with every issue, the author makes very informative and valuable comparisons between the Qur’ānic statements and those of the Gospels. Thus, this study lies in the domain of comparative religion.

There are some aspects of this subject, however, which are debatable, even among Muslim academics. The death of Jesus (sws) is one of them. The Qur’ān does not state categorically that Jesus (sws) did not die a natural death.1 In fact, some verses of the Qur’ān seem to suggest his natural demise (3:55, 5:17, 19:15). Parrinder observes that ‘there is no futurity in the grammar of the Qur’ān to suggest a post-millennial death. The plain meaning seems to be his physical death at the end of his present human life on earth’. (p. 105). Here Parrinder is referring to the Qur’ānic verses 19:33-34. But at another place the Qur’ān apparently provides grounds for some ambiguity about the matter since there Jesus’ crucifixion by the Jews has been denied. The Qur’ān, notwithstanding the claim of the Jews, says ‘though they did not kill him and did not crucify him, but he was counterfeited for them… though they did not certainly kill him. Nay, God raised him to Himself’ (4:157-158). Both the Jews and the Christians believe that Jesus (sws) was killed by the Jews. The Qur’ān, however, explicitly denies this assertion. Then, what is it that happened? The Qur’ān tells us that Jesus (sws) was saved from the hands of his tormentors and God raised him to Himself. This leads one to ask: What does the Qur’ān mean by ‘God raised him to Himself?’ (4:158). According to most interpreters of the Qur’ān, Jesus (sws) was raised to the heaven alive. They adduce a number of arguments in support of this, but does the Qur’ān also expressly support this doctrine?

There is another verse which is often quoted to support the idea that Jesus (sws) was raised to the heavens alive. It reads: ‘And there is none among the people of the Book but will surely believe in him before his death’ (4:159). According to some commentators, the pronoun ‘him’ here stands for Jesus (sws). They believe that Jesus (sws) is alive and will return to the earth before the end of this world. Hence, after Jesus (sws) returns to the world, as this verse says, all the people of the Book (including the Jews), will believe in him. However, according to a contemporary tafsīr, Tadabbur-i-Qur’ān, by a Pakistani scholar, Amīn Ahsān Islāhī (d. 1997), this verse does not refer to Jesus (sws) but to the Qur’ān and the Prophet Muhammad (sws). He contends that the word, ‘him’ in the verse alludes to the Qur’ān, and the word ‘his’ to the Prophet Muhammad (sws).2

If this interpretation were to be accepted, then this verse does not confirm Jesus’ second coming. The ambiguity that seems to prevail here (4:159) does make sense. These verses actually deny the Jewish claim that they killed Jesus (sws). Since the Qur’ān asserts the universal principle that God and his Messengers (rusul) must prevail over their opponents (58:21), it would be a contradiction in terms to believe that Jesus (sws) was crucified by Jews. It may be remembered that according to Islāhī, while this principle does not apply to anbiyā’ (Prophets) who belong to a category different from the rusul (Messnegers). Every rasūl, as we know, is a nabī but every nabī is not necessarily a rasūl. Since Jesus (sws) was a rasūl, it would have been against the sunnat Allāh (God’s way) to allow one of His rusul to be defeated or killed by his opponents.3 In this context, it does not seem proper to discuss Jesus’ advent at this point. By the same token, one would expect that the strange and unusual incident, which is said to have taken place should have been stated explicitly. Parrinder discusses different interpretations of this Qur’ānic verse and seems to have a point in his conclusion that ‘the cumulative effect of the Qur’ānic verse is strongly in favor of a real death’. (p. 221).

One of the most significant debates in this book is about the alleged biological relationship between God and Jesus (sws), as believed by the Christians. Parrinder tries to give a non-biological interpretation of a expression ‘Son of God’, and he seems to be right in saying that the Christian belief in Christ as the ‘son’ of God leads to the idea of the Trinity, which is of course a non-Biblical doctrine. In his opinion, ‘to say God is Christ is a statement not found anywhere in the New Testament or in the Christian creeds’ (p. 133). Significantly, with regard to the debates on the Trinity the author points out that the early Christians used the expression ‘Son of God’ to denote close relationship to God (p. 139). This view seems to be in harmony with the Islamic doctrine on the matter because, according to a tradition, the last Prophet Muhammad (sws) called all creatures to be the children of God (‘ayāl Allah)4. Quite obviously, this expression does not signify any biological relationship between God and His creates; it simply signifies God’s compassion and care for His creatures.

Elaborating the Qurānic view of Injīl, the author observes that the Qurān does not attribute the corruption of Injīl to the Christians. In this view, this is a polemical statement that was made by Muslims sometime after the revelation of the Qurān. Parrinder mentions Abu Rayhān al-Bīrūnī (d. after 442/1050) as one of the early exponents of this viewpoint. It is correct in the sense that the Qurān does not say this categorically, but it blames the Christians to have distorted God’s message. As evidence it quotes their belief in Christ as ‘Son of God’ (9:30).

It is certainly the need of the hour to build bridges between the different branches of the Abrahamic religious tradition. In this context, the present work is a serious and thought-provoking study which should contribute to that purpose. The author has made a sustained effort to establish the Qurānic teachings about Jesus (sws). In conclusion, he rightly says the following about Islam: ‘Its prophetic witness to the unity of God, and in general to the humanity of Jesus (sws) and his mother, was a needful corrective which the church largely ignored’ (p. 171).






1. We do not wish to enter into any theological debate. Nevertheless, it seems pertinent to point out that the overwhelming majority of Muslim scholars is of the firm view that Jesus (sws) was indeed raised by God to heaven alive and that he will have a second coming before the end of time.

2. Amīn Ahsān Islāhī, Tadabbur-i- Qur’ān, 1st ed., vol. 2, (Lahore, Faran Foundation, 1983), p. 243.

3. Amīn Ahsān Islāhī, Tadabbur-i- Qur’ān, 1st ed., vol. 8, (Lahore, Faran Foundation, 1983), p. 273

4. Ismā‘il ibn Muhammad al-‘Ajlūnī, Kashf al-Khafā, vol.1, (Cario: Maktabat al-Qudsī, 1351 AH), p. 380


For Questions on Islam, please use our

Replica Handbags Bottega Veneta fake Bvlgari fake Celine fake Christian Dior fake Gucci fake Gucci Bag fake Gucci Wallet fake Gucci Shoes fake Gucci Belt fake Hermes fake Loewe fake Louis Vuitton fake Louis Vuitton Belt fake Louis Vuitton Calf Leather fake Louis Vuitton Damier Azur Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Damier Ebene Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Damier Graphite Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Damier Infini Leather fake Louis Vuitton Damier Quilt lamb fake Louis Vuitton Embossed Calfskin fake Louis Vuitton Epi fake Louis Vuitton Game On Monogram Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Jewellery fake Louis Vuitton Key Holder fake Louis Vuitton Mahina Leather fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Denim fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Eclipse Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Empreinte fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Seal fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Shadow fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Vernis fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Watercolor fake Louis Vuitton New Wave fake Louis Vuitton Shoes fake Louis Vuitton Since 1854 fake Louis Vuitton Strap fake Louis Vuitton Taiga Leahter fake Louis Vuitton Taurillon leather fake Louis Vuitton Transformed Game On canvas fake Louis Vuitton Utah Calfskin fake Louis Vuitton X Supreme fake Mulberry fake Prada fake YSL fake