Open Challenge to Muslims

Jesus in Islamic Theology

Sam Shamoun

In the tradition of keeping Muslim dawagandists honest and consistent we issue some additional challenges for them to answer. Our earlier challenges are found in these articles: [1], [2], [3].

Discussion of the Challenges

Even though the Quran says that Jesus is the Word and the Spirit of Allah:

People of the Book, go not beyond the bounds in your religion, and say not as to God but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His Word that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him. So believe in God and His Messengers, and say not, 'Three.' Refrain; better is it for you. God is only One God. Glory be to Him -- That He should have a son! To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth; God suffices for a guardian. S. 4:171

And also cites angels telling Mary that Jesus is Allah’s Word and the Messiah:

When the angels said, 'Mary, God gives thee good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary; high honoured shall he be in this world and the next, near stationed to God. He shall speak to men in the cradle, and of age, and righteous he shall be.' 'Lord,' said Mary, 'how shall I have a son seeing no mortal has touched me?' 'Even so,' God said, 'God creates what He will. When He decrees a thing He does but say to it "Be," and it is. S. 3:45-47

It never puts these words in the mouth of Jesus, i.e. Jesus never told people that he is the Word and Spirit of Allah.

Moreover, despite having Jesus say that he is an apostle and prophet of Allah (cf. Q. 19:30, 61:6) the Muslim scripture never once quotes him stating that he is the Messiah of God. Nor are his followers ever quoted as identifying him as the Messiah:

And when Jesus perceived their unbelief, he said, 'Who will be my helpers unto God?' The Apostles said, 'We will be helpers of God; we believe in God; witness thou our submission. Lord, we believe in that Thou hast sent down, and we follow the Messenger. Inscribe us therefore with those who bear witness.' S. 3:52-53

Amazingly, the Quran doesn’t even quote Allah calling Jesus the Messiah in direct address:

When God said, 'Jesus, I will take thee to Me and will raise thee to Me and I will purify thee of those who believe not. I will set thy followers above the unbelievers till the Resurrection Day. Then unto Me shall you return, and I will decide between you, as to what you were at variance on. S. 3:55

When God said, 'Jesus Son of Mary, remember My blessing upon thee and upon thy mother, when I confirmed thee with the Holy Spirit, to speak to men in the cradle, and of age; and when I taught thee the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel; and when thou createst out of clay, by My leave, as the likeness of a bird, and thou breathest into it, and it is a bird, by My leave; and thou healest the blind and the leper by My leave, and thou bringest the dead forth by My leave; and when restrained from thee the Children of Israel when thou camest unto them with the clear signs, and the unbelievers among them said, "This is nothing but sorcery manifest." And when I inspired the Apostles: "Believe in Me and My Messenger"; they said, "We believe; witness Thou our submission." And when the Apostles said, "O Jesus son of Mary, is thy Lord able to send down on us a Table out of heaven?" He said, "Fear you God, if you are believers." And when the Apostles said, "O Jesus son of Mary, is thy Lord able to send down on us a Table out of heaven?" He said, "Fear you God, if you are believers."’ S. 5:110-112

Finally, even though the Quran has Jesus denying that he and his mother are two gods besides Allah and further has him warning people against associating partners with God:

They are unbelievers who say, 'God is the Messiah, Mary's son.' For the Messiah said, 'Children of Israel, serve God, my Lord and your Lord. Verily whoso associates with God anything, God shall prohibit him entrance to Paradise, and his refuge shall be the Fire; and wrongdoers shall have no helpers.' They are unbelievers who say, 'God is the Third of Three. No god is there but One God. If they refrain not from what they say, there shall afflict those of them that disbelieve a painful chastisement. S. 5:72-73

And when God said, 'O Jesus son of Mary, didst thou say unto men, "Take me and my mother as gods, apart from God"?' He said, 'To Thee be glory! It is not mine to say what I have no right to. If I indeed said it, Thou knowest it, knowing what is within my soul, and I know not what is within Thy soul; Thou knowest the things unseen. I only said to them what Thou didst command me: "Serve God, my Lord and your Lord." And I was a witness over them, while I remained among them; but when Thou didst take me to Thyself, Thou wast Thyself the watcher over them; Thou Thyself art witness of everything. S. 5:116-117

It never puts words in his mouth where he denies that Allah could have a son.

In light of the foregoing we challenge Muslim polemicists to show us where Jesus claimed he was God’s Christ, Word and Spirit. We also insist that they quote Jesus saying that it is not possible for Allah to have a son since it is beneath his dignity. If Muslims fail to provide such verses from their scripture we will take this to mean that Jesus didn’t think he was God’s Messiah, Word and Spirit and that he didn’t believe for a moment that it was unbefitting to the majesty of God that he should have a son.

The Biblical Witness to the Person of Jesus

Muslims may retort that it isn’t necessary for the Muslim scripture to quote Jesus making such claims or denials since the testimony of the Quran is sufficient to establish the Islamic view.

If they do make such an assertion then consistency demands that they also be content with the Biblical witness to the Divinity of Christ. After all, if it isn’t necessary for the Quran to have Jesus espousing Islamic theology in order to establish the Muslim position concerning him then it shouldn’t be necessary for the NT writers to quote Jesus saying he is God in those exact words in order for the Christian view to be correct.

After all, the NT supplies testimony from multiple witnesses which conclusively establishes the absolute Deity of the Lord Jesus. For example, God personally testifies that Jesus is his unique, beloved Son, the Maker and Lord of creation:

"At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’" Mark 1:9-11

"After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: ‘This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!’" Mark 9:2-7

"And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God's angels worship him.’ … But about the Son he [God] says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.’ He [God] also says, ‘In the beginning, O Lord [Jesus], you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.’" Hebrews 1:6, 8-12

Angels themselves confess and worship that Jesus as the exalted Lord and Son of God, the Savior of sinners:

"This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’" Matthew 1:18-21

"In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.’ ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’" Luke 1:26-35

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’" Luke 2:8-12

"And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.’ Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’ Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!’ The four living creatures said, ‘Amen,’ and the elders fell down and worshiped." Revelation 5:8-14

Moreover, Christ’s own followers bore witness concerning his Divinity and went so far as to worship him:

The Disciples in general

"During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It's a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.’ ‘Lord, if it's you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come,’ he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’ And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’" Matthew 14:25-33

"Suddenly Jesus met them. ‘Greetings,’ he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him… Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’" Matthew 28:9, 16-17

The Baptist

"John wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: ‘After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’" Mark 1:6-8

"John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, ‘This was he of whom I said, "He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me."’ … The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, "A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me." I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.’ Then John gave this testimony: ‘I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, "The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit." I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.’" John 1:15, 29-34

"To this John replied, ‘A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, "I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him." … He must become greater; I must become less. The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.’" John 3:27-29, 30-34


"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But what about you?’ he asked. "Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.’" Matthew 16:13-18

"The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this." Acts 3:13-15

"You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all… He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead." Acts 10:36, 42

"Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: … and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:1, 11

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." 2 Peter 3:18


"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men… He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:1-4, 10, 14

"The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." John 3:35-36

"Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John 20:30-31

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life. The Life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the Eternal Life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ." 1 John 1:1-3


"Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.’ A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’" John 20:24-29


"Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God." Acts 9:19b-20

"In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." Acts 17:30-31

"For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man…He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" Romans 8:3, 32

"Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen." Romans 9:5

"That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’" Romans 10:9-13

"If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living." Romans 14:8-9

"None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." 1 Corinthians 2:8

"So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live." 1 Corinthians 8:4-6

"while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." Titus 2:13-14


"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings." James 1:1

"My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory." James 2:1


"For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord… But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold… Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life… to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen." Jude 1:4, 17, 21, 25

Even evil spirits/demons worshiped Jesus as the Divine Son of God and recognized his power to destroy them:

"For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, ‘You are the Son of God.’ But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was." Mark 3:10-11

"They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!’ For Jesus had said to him, ‘Come out of this man, you evil spirit!’" Mark 5:1-8

As if the above testimony wasn’t clear enough to establish the Christian position, Jesus’ own enemies knew that he was claiming to be God:

"So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.’ For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God." John 5:16-18

"‘My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one.’ Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’" John 10:27-33

"The Jews insisted, ‘We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.’" John 19:7

Hence, if Muslims believe that the testimony of others, i.e. the author of the Quran, Muhammad, angels etc., is valid and sufficient evidence for their respective beliefs concerning Jesus then they should have no problem with Christians accepting or appealing to the witness of God, angels, demons, and the statements of Jesus’ contemporaries – both hostile and friendly – to prove the Divinity of Christ.

However, if they refuse to acknowledge that eyewitness testimony is sufficient and valid evidence to support the Deity of Jesus since Christ never said he was God or his Word in those exact words then they must be consistent at this point and prove their beliefs concerning Jesus by quoting statements from Christ himself. To quote someone else’s opinion concerning Jesus, whether the author of the Quran or Muhammad, will not be sufficient evidence to support the Muslim position.

Articles by Sam Shamoun
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