Copyright 1996 by M. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Jesus The Light And The Fragrance Of God

by M. Anderson

Part 2: The Christ of History

    Chapter 6: The Testimony of God is Greater

The Prophets Wrote of Him

The prophets gave serious consideration to two important figures: they prophesied of the true Christ and they warned of the false one, the Dajjal. Razi says that according to certain Muslim scholars:

Jesus was called the Word of God, because it was prophesied of him in the books of the prophets before him. [1]

In contrast, the Hadith speaks of the Dajjal, the false Christ against whom the prophets warned their nations thus:

I warn you of him and there is no prophet who has not warned his people against the Dajjal. Even Noah warned [against him]. [2]

Jesus was not prophesied about just in passing by one or two of the prophets. Rather, the prophecies about him must have been so numerous, significant, and specific that He was called the Word of God. The prophets can only speak that which is communicated to them by God, so it is vitally significant that the prophets prior to Jesus should prophesy concerning him. No other prophet deserved such Divine attention.

If such attention was given to the Dajjal, it was because he represented the greatest darkness and deception in the history of mankind. Concerning Jesus the opposite is equally true. The great prophetic attention given to Jesus was because he was the greatest manifestation of divine light and truth in the history of mankind.

If evil and ignorant men vehemently resist Christ, the prophets, inspired by God acknowledge his importance. The prophet Yehia (John the Baptist) is one example.

Christ Was Bowed Down To In The Womb

Jesus is the only prophet who was believed upon while still in his mother's womb. The commentators agree that Yehia (John the Baptist) was the first to believe that Jesus is the Word of God. [3] In fact, he did so while both he and Jesus were still in their mother's wombs. Razi reported the following:

... the mother of Jesus met the mother of Yehia, peace be upon them. Both were pregnant: one with Jesus; the other with Yehia.
Yehia's mother said to Mary, 'Do you feel I am pregnant?'
Mary said, 'I am also pregnant.'
The wife of Zekaraiah said, 'I found that he who is inside me bows down to the one inside of you.'
This is what is meant by John's confirming (or believing in) the Word of God which is Jesus, found in the Qur'an, 3:39 ... John who shall confirm a Word from God. [4]

Ibn Kathir also reported the same story.

Ibn Abbas confirms that belief when he says that Yehia was older than Jesus by six months, and that he was the first to believe and confirm that Jesus is 'the word of God' and 'His Spirit'. [5]

Although Yehia was a great prophet [6] who is called in the Qur'an a sayed [7] (meaning 'leader of the believers', [8] and 'the prominent one who is sought as the authority and the example in religion') [9], he bowed down in the womb to Jesus. Yehia was also older than Jesus by six months. According to custom, one would expect Jesus, because he is younger, to bow down to Yehia, but instead we find Yehia bowing down to Jesus.

It is interesting to note that we are not told that Jesus believed or confirmed that Yehia is a prophet, yet we are told that Yehia, despite being older than Jesus, is the first to acknowledge that Jesus is the Word of God. Although both were prophets, Yehia bowed down to Jesus. Jesus deserved respect and honour above that of a prophet because he was more than a prophet. He is the Word of God.

Christ Was Given Complete Revelation

The Qur'an speaks of Jesus as having been taught by God the whole of God's revealed word:

And He will teach him [Jesus], the Book [Al-Kitab], the Wisdom, the Torah, the Injil [the Gospel]. [10]

Commenting on this verse, Razi says that:

He who mastered the secrets of the book that God the Most High has revealed and then God reveals to him another book after that, and made plain to him its secrets, then this is the ultimate goal, and the high degree in knowledge, understanding and the mastering of the intellectual and religious secrets, and the knowledge of wisdom high and low. [11]

Baidawi explains that the 'Book' mentioned in the above verse is 'a generic word for the revealed Scriptures'. To the Qur'anic statement 'the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah, the Injil (the Gospel)' nothing else could be added, for this includes all of the revealed word of God.

It is clear from the above that none of the other prophets were given the total revelation of the Holy Books except Jesus.

Christ Was Confirmed By The Holy Spirit

Another distinguishing characteristic of Jesus is that he and he alone was confirmed and fortified by the Holy Spirit. Jesus was continuously accompanied by the Holy Spirit from his conception to his ascension. As the Qur'an states:

We gave Jesus Son of Mary the clear signs, and confirmed him with the Holy Spirit. [12]

Razi comments on this verse as follows:

The Exclusive allotment of Gabriel [that is, the Holy Spirit] to Jesus is a most distinguishing characteristic, so that not a single prophet among the prophets was thus distinguished. [13]

Razi also states that it was Gabriel

who ... proclaimed the good news to Mary concerning her birth [of Jesus], and Jesus was conceived by the breathing of Gabriel; he brought him up in all situations, and he used to walk with him [with Jesus] wherever he walked. [14]

It is clear then that the Holy Spirit accompanied Jesus and was the overseeing power throughout all of his life. As Razi states, Gabriel 'did not leave Jesus [even] for one hour'. [15]

Mohammad, on the other hand, was only visited by Gabriel. He once asked Gabriel, 'What prevents you from visiting us more than you visit us now?', to which Gabriel replied, 'We angels descend not but by the command of your Lord'. [16]

The accompanying of Jesus by the Holy Spirit was uninterrupted. To understand this togetherness of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we need to know something about the place of the Holy Spirit [Gabriel] in God's kingdom.

According to Razi, Gabriel is the chief of the archangels, who themselves are the most superior among angels. This position is accompanied by certain privileges and responsibilities given to Gabriel by God.

First, Gabriel was entrusted with relaying God's message to the prophets. [17]

Second, God the Most High mentioned him in the Qur'an before any other angel. Gabriel is the archangel concerned with Inspiration and knowledge, while Michael is the one concerned with providing subsistence and food. Knowledge, that is spiritual food, is more honoured than physical food, so it follows that Gabriel is more honoured than Michael.

Third, God made Gabriel second to Himself.

Fourth, God called him the Holy Spirit.

Fifth, Gabriel was given the power to make the friends of God victorious and to destroy His enemies.

Sixth, God commended Gabriel, saying: 'Truly this is the word of a noble Messenger having power, with the Lord of the throne secure, obeyed, moreover trusty.' (Q. 81: 20). Gabriel's mission is therefore to be the messenger of God (rasul Allah) to all the prophets ... his domain ('umah) is all the prophets. He is honoured before God because God made him the mediator between Himself and His noblest servants ... the prophets ... God made him second to Himself ... Gabriel is the Imam and the example of the angels. He is trustworthy. [18]

We can deduce from the above that the Holy Spirit (Gabriel) is the leader and Imam of all the angels. He is more honoured than Michael, he occupies the highest possible place because he is second to God the Most High, and he is the messenger to the prophets, that is, the prophet to the prophets.

Because Jesus was sinless, he was constantly accompanied by the Holy Spirit. Had there been any blemish in Jesus, the Holy Spirit would have left Jesus at least for that time or in that aspect of his life. But Jesus was constantly the centre of attention of the chief of angels, who is second to the Most High God. This is a unique honour which belonged only to Jesus.

Christ Is Near-Stationed To God

Razi says that the spirit of Jesus was:

holy, high, heavenly, shining intensely with Divine lights, and of great proximity to the spirits of the angels (or somuch like the spirits of the angels). [19]

The Qur'an does not say that the spirit of Jesus is like the spirits of the angels, rather that Jesus is near-stationed to God Himself. Razi's expression implies that Jesus' spirit is near-stationed to the angels, but the Qur'anic expression states that Jesus is near-stationed to none other than God. We read in the Qur'an, 3: 45-47 that the angels said to Mary:

God gives thee good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is the Messiah, Jesus Son of Mary; high honoured shall he be in this world and the next, near stationed to God.

Razi's explanation of the meaning of 'near-stationed to God' gives us a clearer picture of this nearness:

This is the same great praise given to the angels, so God by this description has ranked Jesus with the same degree and place as the angels. [20]

It is important to note that the angels mentioned in Razi's comment are not ordinary angels; rather, they are angels who surround the Throne of God.

How near then is Jesus to God? The answer is clearly found in the fact that God sent the closest one to Himself, the Holy Spirit (Gabriel), to dwell with Jesus. God did not send Mikhaiel or Israfil but the Imam of all the angels, and the one who is next only to the Most High God.

According to Razi, Gabriel is not only next to God in rank, but he also enjoys an intimate relationship with God. Explaining the meaning of the expression 'Our Spirit', [21] Razi writes:

He [God] called him [Gabriel] His Spirit because he is the cause of the life of religion or to indicate His love and nearness to him, as you would say to your beloved 'my spirit'. [22]

Thus Gabriel is both ranked next to God and the most loved by God. God's allotment of Gabriel to accompany Jesus is an indication of how precious Jesus was to God, for the value of the gift is an indication of the worth of the recipient. There is nothing more precious than the permanent company of the Holy Spirit, except the presence of God Himself.

Christ Was Lifted Up To Be With God

The Qur'an clearly states that Jesus was lifted up to be with God and is alive today:

... they slew Him not of certainty - no indeed; God raised him [Jesus] up to Him, God is All-mighty, All-wise. [23]

... God said, 'Jesus I will take Thee to Me and will raise thee to Me'. [24]

The Qur'an also uses the words "raise" or "lift up" in relation to Mohammad:

Did we not exalt [literally "raise"] thy fame?' [25]

In this instance, however, it is Mohammad's fame that is being lifted up, rather than Mohammad himself.

The word "raise" is also used in relation to the prophet Idris, who was said to have been 'raised ... up to a high place'. [26] The place up to which Idris was lifted is not identified. Furthermore, the fact that he was lifted up to a "place" suggests that it was a physical location rather than in the spiritual realm. Razi says that the preferred meaning of "raised" is "lifted", because lifting of Idris is associated with a physical place rather than being raised in rank. [27]

In the case of Jesus, however, the Qur'an states that:

... God said, Jesus 'I will take Thee to Me and will raise thee to Me.' [28]

Clearly, Jesus was not lifted up to a high place like the prophet Idris. Rather, he was lifted up to be with God.

Razi says of the Qur'an, 4:158:

The lifting up of Jesus ... is attested to by this verse and its equivalent in the Qur'an, 3: 55. That proves that the lifting up of Jesus to God as a reward is greater than Paradise and all that is in it of physical pleasures. And that verse opens to you the door of the knowledge of the spiritual joys. [29]

Thus, according to Razi, the lifting up of Jesus to God is greater than Paradise, with all of its hundred levels, [30] its lowest and its highest. And what is greater than Paradise and all that is in it of physical pleasures? The answer is: God's presence. [31]

Razi adds elsewhere that the meaning of 'I will raise thee to Me' is 'I am raising thee to the Presence of My Honour', [32] the highest honour for all eternity. Unlike the prophet Idris, Jesus was not lifted up to a place, for the above verse does not specify a place. Instead, it repeats that Jesus was 'lifted up to God', or (as Razi puts it), 'Jesus was lifted up to the presence of God's honour' - that is, to be with God. He is higher than all. During his life on earth, Jesus was distinguished and favoured by the continuous presence of God's Spirit. Now he is enjoying the ultimate: God Himself.

Christ Is The Knowledge Of The Hour

Christ being the knowledge of the hour has been dealt with in Part One, but we will briefly reiterate some of the points relevant to this section. Although the Hadith mentions numerous signs of the Hour of Doom, the Qur'an singles out Jesus as the knowledge of the hour:

He is knowledge of the Hour; doubt not concerning it, and follow me. [33]

Some commentators say that in this verse the knowledge of the Hour is the Qur'an. However, the majority of reputable commentators say that the verse refers to Jesus, as the following explainations show:

It is he, meaning Jesus, [who] is a condition by whom the Hour is known. [34] The Last Hour is known by His appearing; that is, by the appearing of Jesus, the knowledge of the Hour. [35] He [Jesus] is the sign or mark of the Hour, that is, the Last Hour; or he is a condition and a requirement of its happening. [36]

According to these statements, Jesus is either a mark of the Hour or a requirement for its happening.

Some say he is the knowledge of the Hour because of his mighty miracles. Shokani, in Fath al-Qadeer says that:

... the virgin birth of Jesus, and his raising of the dead is a proof of the truth of the final resurrection. [37]

Ibn-Kathir says that:

The miracles God performed by the hands of Jesus of raising the dead, and healing the sick, are the sufficient proof for the certainty of the Hour of Doom'. [38]

Ibn-Kathir then goes on to reject the opinion that the verse is talking about the Qur'an:

The truth is that the verse refers to Jesus, for the context of the verses is about him, and the meaning is that Jesus will come before the Resurrection Day. [39]

Commenting on the second part of the verse Ibn-Kathir says:

Doubt not concerning it; that is, do not doubt it, for it certainly will take place. [40]

Thus, both Shokani and Ibn-Kathir say that the miracles of Jesus dispel every doubt about the reality of the Hour. Some may deny the certainty of the Hour, but the Qur'an singles out Jesus to be the hope of the resurrection and God's just recompense.

Christ, God's Choice For The Last Battle

The Hadith repeatedly speak of the Dajjal who will appear before the Hour of Doom, cause a lot of trouble in the world and claim to be God the Almighty. One Hadith says:

There would be no creation [creating more trouble] than the Dajjal right from the creation of Adam to the Last Hour. [41]

On the authority of Hazifah, it is claimed that:

When the false Christ appears even those in their graves will believe in him. [42]

Al-Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-'Arabi (543H) says:

These Hadiths in which the Dajjal is mentioned by Muslim [in Sahih Muslim] and others is a proof to the followers of the Truth of the reality of his existence, and that he is a particular person by whom God will afflict His servants. God will enable the Dajjal to manifest some of God's omnipotent powers, such as raising the man which he kills, the appearing of the "world's blossom and fertility" with him, his Paradise and Hell and his two rivers, the following of the earth's treasures behind him, his command to the sky to rain and the earth to sprout. [43]

The Hadith, however, also speaks of Jesus coming again to kill the Dajjal, establish peace and restore faith in the only true God. This has been dealt with in detail in Part One.

So, according to the Hadith, a false Christ will appear before the Hour of Doom. His appearing will be the greatest deception ever experienced by people, the ultimate manifestation of evil and the worst assault on faith in the only true God from the time of creation to the Hour of Doom. Also according to the Hadith, only Christ is able to destroy Dajjal and restore faith in the true and living God.

When God sees humanity on the brink of disaster, He will not send a prophet or even Gabriel the chief of the angels. The battle of the ages will be won by Jesus single handedly, for the Hadith says:

Jesus son of Mary will descend ... and he will lead the people in prayer. When the enemy of God (Dajjal) sees him, he will dissolve like salt dissolves in water. [44]

Why is Jesus the only person qualified to destroy the Dajjal? Why will God send Jesus and not Moses, Abraham or Idris? The answer is found in the following Hadith:

When temptations are presented to the hearts like a straw mat, straw by straw, in the heart which receives it a black dot will be fixed. And whose heart rejects it will have a white dot fixed in it, until the heart becomes one of two; either white like pure marble, with no deception able to affect him as long as heaven and earth remain. The other will be black, dusty, like an upturned vessel that can not hold anything. [45]

Suyuti quotes Ibn 'Abbas who said:

... amongst those who were born, only over Jesus, son of Mary, Satan had no power; nor had he the ability to touch. [46]

Thus Jesus is above the Dajjal's powers which cannot influence or touch him. He is therefore God's choice for the Hour of Doom. He is the only one qualified to save the world from the greatest evil and deception.

Christ Is Forever Eminent

The Qur'an describes only two persons as being eminent: Moses and Jesus. Of Moses it says:

O believers, be not as those who hurt Moses, but God declared him quit of what they said, and he was high honoured (eminent) with God. [47]

And of Jesus it stated that the angels:

Mary, God gives thee good tidings of a Word from Him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, Son of Mary; high honoured (eminent) shall he be in this world and the next, near stationed to God. [48]

Moses was eminent, but the eminence of Jesus is eternal. He is eminent (wajih) not only in this life but also in the life to come.

Razi quotes some of the comments of the Arabic linguists on the word 'wajih':

The 'wajih' is he who is distinguished. Because the most honourable part of the body is the face (the root word of 'wajih' is face - 'wajh'), so the face was made a metaphor for nobility and perfection. [49]

Moses was the most distinguished of all the prophets until Jesus came. Jesus' distinction is superior to that of Moses. It will never be surpassed, for the Qur'an states that Jesus was 'wajih' both during his earthly life and is going to be 'wajih' in the life to come. If anyone else is more distinguished than Jesus, then it could not be said that Jesus shall be 'wajih' in the life to come.

This is reinforced by Razi's metaphor. There is only one face to any body and hence there is only one who is distinguished both in earthly life and the life to come. Jesus then is the 'face' of this life, that is, the most honourable member in this life. And he is also the 'face' of the life to come, that is, the most honourable person in the life to come. Jesus' distinction above all is continuous, incontestable and final throughout all eternity.

Commenting on the meaning of 'eminence', Shokani says:

eminence is power and authority. [50]

What is the nature of this eminence? Baidawi and the other commentators say that:

eminence in this life is prophecy, and in the life to come is intercession. [51]

Elaborating on this, Razi says:

Jesus is distinguished (wajih) in this life, because his requests are granted. He raised the dead, healed the blind and the leper by his prayers. He is distinguished in the life to come because He [God] made him intercede on behalf of his true people, and [God] accepts his intercession for them. [52]

According to Razi, we can get some idea of the kind of intercession Jesus is granted in the life to come by looking at his acts of intercession during his life on earth. During that time, Jesus, through intercession, brought the dead back to life. His acts of intercession were more powerful than death. His intercession in the life to come is more powerful than Hell. Jesus' eminence (wajahah) in his earthly life is a measure of hisemin ence in the life to come. His words produce results with men and with God because they are powerful to cleanse them from their sins and to raise the dead. His words are stronger than sin, death and Hell because Hell derives its power from sin.

Concerning one of the aspects of Jesus' eminence in his earthly life, Baidawi said:

God made his miracles the reason for his preferment because they are clear signs and great miracles. When put together those miracles, were not performed by anyone else. [53]

In Baidawi's view, then, just as Jesus' eminence in his earthly life was not matched by any one else, his eminence in the life to come will not be matched either.

1. Razi, at-Tafsir a l-Kabir, commenting on the Qur'an 3:39.
2. Sahih Muslim, (English translation), Kitab al-Fitan wa ashrat 'as-Sa'ah, Hadith No. 7000.
3. Razi, commenting on Q. 3:39 that says '... John who shall confirm a Word from God' said that 'What is meant by "Word of God" is Isa, peace be upon him. This is the choice of the majority of commentators.'
4. Razi, commenting on Q. 3:39
5. Razi, at-Tafsir al-Kabir, commenting on Q. 3: 39. (See also Suyuti commenting on the same verse.)
6. Suyuti, commenting on Q. 3: 39 said 'A caller called from heaven saying that Yehia is the greatest amongst those born of women.'
7. The Qur'an, 3:39.
8. Galalan, commenting on Q 3:39.
9. Razi, at-tafsir al-Kabir, on Q. 3:39.
10. The Qur'an, 3:48.
11. Razi, at-tafsir al-Kabir, commenting on Q. 3:48.
12. The Qur'an, 2:87.
13. Razi, at-tafsir AL-Kabir, commenting on Q. 2:87.
14. Razi, at-tafsir Al-Kabir, commenting on Q. 2:87.
15. Razi, at-tafsir al-Kabir, commenting on Q. 3:52-55.
16. Sahih Bukhari, M. Muhsin Khan (English translation), vol.VI, Hadith 255. 17. Razi, at-tafsir al-Kabir, commenting on on Q. 2:30.
18. Razi, at-tafsir al-Kabir, commenting on Q. 2:30.
19. Razi, at-Tafsir al-Kabir, commenting on Q. 4:157.
20. Razi, at-Tafsir al-Kabir, commenting on Q. 3:45.
21. The Qur'an, 19:17: 'We sent unto her Our Spirit that presented himself to her a man without fault.'
22. Razi, at-Tafsir al-Kabir, commenting on Q. 19:17.
23. The Qur'an, 4:157, 158.
24. The Qur'an, 3:55.
25. The Qur'an, 94:4.
26. The Qur'an, 19:57.
27. Razi, at-Tafsir al-Kabir, commenting on Q.19:57.
28. The Qur'an, 3: 55.
29. Razi, at-Tafsir al-Kabir, commenting on Q. 4:158.
30. Yousef Al-Qaradawi, 'Elewah Mostafa' and 'Ali Gammar, at-Twahid, Qatar, 1968, p. 205.
31. This is not foreign to Islamic theology. Razi said that the Muslims who follow the Moshabaha theology 'hung on to the above verse and deduced from it that God must be in some particular place, in heaven since Isa was lifted up bodily to be with God.' (Razi, at-Tafsir Al-Kabir, on Q. 3:55.)
32. Razi, at-Tafsir al-Kabir, commenting on Q. 4:158.
33. The Qur'an, 43:61.
34. Razi, at-Tafsir al-Kabir, commenting on Q. 43:61.
35. Razi, at-Tafsir al-Kabir, commenting on Q. 43:61.
36. Razi, at-Tafsir al-Kabir, commenting on Q. 43:61.
37. Shokani, commenting on Q. 43:61.
38. Ibn-Kathir, commenting on Q. 43:61.
39. Ibn-Kathir, commenting on Q. 43:61.
40. Ibn-Kathir, commenting on Q. 43:61.
41. Kitab al-Fitan Wa Ashrat as-sa'ah, translated into English by Sahih Muslim, Hadith No. 7037.
42. Al Hendy, Kanz al 'Ommal, vol. 18, Hadith No. 771.
43. Sahih Muslim, Kitab Al-Fitan wa Ashrat as-sa'ah, footnote no. 4 of section 20 of the Arabic version. Note that the English translation is not true to the Arabic original Arabic. The phrase 'the Dajjal manifests some of God's omnipotent powers' was incorrectly translated into: 'he would possess certain unnatural powers in him'.
44. Sahih Muslim, Kitab Al-Fitan Wa Ashrat As-sa'ah, (the Arabic edition), section 9, Hadith no. 34-(2897).
45. 'Abd Al-'Aziz 'Ez Al-Din Al-Sirawany in Ahadith Said Al-Morsalin' An Hawadeth 'Al-Qarn 'Al-'Eshrin (1st ed.), Dar Al-Afaq Al-Jadidah, Beirut, 1982, p. 32. (from Sahih Muslim)
46. Suyuti, commenting on Q. 3:36.
47. The Qur'an, 33:69.
48. The Qur'an, 3:45.
49. Razi, at-Tafsir al-kabir, commenting on Q. 3:45.
50. Shukani, Fath al-Qadir, commenting on Q. 3:45.
51. Baidawi, commenting on Q. 3:45.
52. Razi, at-Tafsiral-Kabir , commenting on Q. 3:45.
53. Baidawi, commenting on Q. 2:253.

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