Jesus as the Mercy of Allah

More Quranic Evidence for the Divinity of Christ

Sam Shamoun

The Quran says that Muhammad was sent as a mercy to creation:

We have only sent thee as a mercy to the worlds (rahmatan lil-`alamin). S. 21:107

Thou wast not upon the side of the Mount when We called; but for a mercy from thy Lord (rahmatan min rabikka), that thou mayest warn a people to whom no warner came before thee, and that haply they may remember. S. 28:46

The Quran also states that Allah’s mercy embraces everything and that it draws near to the believers:

And prescribe for us in this world good, and in the world to come; we have repented unto Thee.' Said He, 'My chastisement -- I smite with it whom I will; and My mercy embraces all things (wa rahmatee wasiaat kulla shay-in), and I shall prescribe it for those who are godfearing and pay the alms, and those who indeed believe in Our signs, S. 7:156

Do not corruption in the land, after it has been set, right; and call on Him fearfully, eagerly -- surely the mercy of God is nigh (rahmata Allahi qaribun) to the good-doers; S. 7:56

As a side note, there is a grammatical mistake in the above text since the word for "nigh" is masculine in Arabic which doesn’t correspond to the word for "mercy" since it is in the feminine gender. As one Arab Christian writer put it:

In this verse, the Arabic for "nigh" is qaribun. This predicate is masculine while the subject rahmah ("mercy") is feminine. Had the Qur'an preserved the agreement between the subject and the predicate, it would say, qaribatun. (‘Abdallah Abd al-‘Fadi, Is the Qur’an Infallible? [Light of Life, P.O. Box 13, A-9503 Villach, Austria], p. 175)

As we shall shortly see, Muslims will use this grammatical blunder to their advantage.

Astonishingly, there are some Muslims who try to connect these passages with one another in order to make a case for their belief in Muhammad’s prehuman existence!

Bismillaahi Rahmaani Raheem

These are some of the thoughts in my mind. Allah (swt) says in the Holy Qur'an:

warahmatee wasiAAat kulla shay
My mercy extendeth to all things. [Holy Qur'an 7:156]

Now, what is this Mercy of Allah (swt). Allah (swt) gives the answer:

(O beloved prophet!) We sent you not but as a mercy and blessing for the entire universe (al-Alameen). [Holy Qur'an 21:107]

Notice the word "al-Alameen". Is it derived from the word "Alam", which means "world". In this universe, there is a world of plants, a world of animals, a word of sea creatures, a world of planets, a world of stars etc. etc. Now when you join every kind of world in the universe, they became "worlds" i.e. "ALAMEEN".

This is why in the opening of the Holy Qur'an, Allah says,"All Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds".

Therefore, in the same that Allah (swt) is the Lord of the Worlds (i.e. the Universe), so is Muhammad (pbuh) the MERCY to all the Universe (Al-Alameen).

From the verse 7:156 that I quoted in the beginning, it is clear that there is NOTHING in the universe that DOES NOT have Mercy of Allah (swt). And Muhammad (pbuh) has been called Mercy to the Universe, therefore, it can be concluded that Muhammad (pbuh) EXISTED BEFORE THE VERY FIRST CREATION OF ALLAH (swt).

Not only that, he must have existed before the very first command of Allah that He gave when He desired to create something. In other words, When Allah (swt) said "Be" the very first time to create what He desired, Muhammad (pbuh) WAS ALREADY IN EXISTENCE!!! Otherwise, it doesn't make sense that how can the "Mercy to all the creation" be not in existence when there was a created thing in the universe that HAD to be subject to Allah's Mercy (whose essence was Muhammad [pbuh], from the above verses).

Let's go one step further. How did Muhammad (pbuh) exist and in what form? Allah (swt) says that when He DESIRES something, He says, "'Be' and it is". Now notice that there was something in existence before the very first creation. Yes it was the DESIRE of Allah (swt). Another word for desire is "LOVE". Therefore, Muhammad (pbuh) was the BELOVED of Allah (swt) that existed before the creation. Now, Allah (swt) DESIRED that His desire would come into existence and take a physical shape and form. He desired that the veil that was covering His Beloved should be removed, and He said "Be!", and Muhammad (pbuh) came into existence in the form of Noor (Light). Now whatever Allah (swt) desired to create, He began to say to His Desire (i.e. His beloved Muhammad [pbuh]), "BE", and those things began to come into existence.

Now, from this Noor (Light) of Muhammad (pbuh), Allah (swt) created the Divine Tablet, the Divine Pen, the Divine Throne, and with the fourth part, everything else in the universe…

PrinceZed. (Essence of Muhammad, posted on the Bismikaallahuma forum on July 28, 2004, 06:57:48 AM; source)

Without entering a discussion of some peculiarities of the above posting, I want to point out that the doctrine of Muhammad’s prehuman existence has been taught by Muslim writers throughout history. The following Muslim source illustrates this point clearly:

Qatada said that the Prophet said, "I was the first of the Prophets to be created and the last of them to be sent." That is why he was mentioned before Nuh and the others. (Qadi 'Iyad Ibn Musa al-Yahsubi, Kitab Ash-shifa bi ta'rif huquq al-Mustafa (Healing by the recognition of the Rights of the Chosen One), translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley [Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K.; third reprint 1991, paperback], p. 23)

Ibn 'Abbas said that the spirit of the Prophet was a light in the hands of Allah two thousand years before He created Adam. That light glorified Him and the angels glorified by his glorification. When Allah created Adam, He cast light into his loins.

The Messenger of Allah said, "Allah brought me down to earth in the loins of Adam, placed me in the loins of Nuh and then cast me into the loins of Ibrahim. Allah continued to move me from noble loins and pure wombs until He brought me out of my parents. None of them were ever joined together in fornication."

The famous poem of al-'Abbas in praise of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, testifies to the soundness of this tradition. (Ibid., p. 43)

Ibn 'Abbas reported from the Prophet that he said, "When Allah created Adam, He made me descend to the earth in his loins. He put me in the loins of Nuh in the Ark and cast me into the fire in the loins of Ibrahim. Then he continued to move me from noble loins to pure wombs until He brought me out from my parents. None of them ever met in fornication."

This is what al-'Abbas ibn 'Abdu'l-Muttalib was indicating when he said:

Before you came to the world,
you were excellent in the shadows and in the repository
in the time (of Adam)
when they covered themselves with leaves.
Then you fell through the ages-
not as a mortal nor a lump of flesh nor as a clot.
Rather as a drop which rode the ships-
and put a bridle on the idol
Nasr while its people were drowned
(in the time of Nuh).
The drop was transferred from loin to womb.
As the world proceeded, the next era appeared.
Then your guardian house contained loftiness from Khindif
When you were born, the earth shone
and the horizon was illuminated by your light.
We travel in that illumination
and in the light and the paths of right guidance.
O coolness of the fire of Ibrahim!
O cause of the protection in the blazing fire! (Ibid., pp. 85-86)

Abu Muhammad al-Makki, Abu’l-Layth as-Samarqandi and others related that when Adam rebelled, he said, "O Allah, forgive me my error by the right of Muhammad!" Allah said to him, "How do you know Muhammad?" He said, "I saw written in every place in the Garden, ‘There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’ So I knew that he was the most honoured of creation in Your eyes." So Allah turned to him and forgave him. It is said that this is the interpretation of the words of Allah, "Adam learned some words from his Lord." (2:27)

Another variant has that Adam said, "When you created me, I lifted my gaze to Your Throne AND WRITTEN ON IT WAS: 'There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,' so I knew there would be no one held in greater esteem by You than the one whose name You placed alongside Your own name." Allah then revealed to him, "By My might and majesty, he is the last of the prophets among your descendants. IF IT HAD NOT BEEN FOR HIM, I WOULD HAVE NOT CREATED YOU." It is said that Adam was given the kunya, Abu Muhammad. Some people say that it was Abu'l-Bashar (the father of mankind)…

Ibn Qani’, the Qadi, related from Abu’l-Hamra’ that the Messenger of Allah said, "When I was taken on my Night Journey to the heavens, written on the Throne was: ‘There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; I have supported him with ‘Ali.’" (Ibid., p. 89; capital emphasis ours)

See the linked series of articles for additional evidence for this belief (1, 2, 3, 4).

And here is how one Muslim explains the grammatical error in Q. 7:56:

"And My Mercy embraceth all things, therefore I shall ordain It for those who ward off (evil) and pay the poor due, and those who believe Our revelations" (7:156); and He said "truly the Mercy of Allah is near those who do good": "Inna rahmat Allahi qaribun min al-muhsinin" (7:56) without putting qaribun in the feminine (qaribatun) although rahma is feminine, because in reality that rahma is the Prophet (SAWS), as explicated in the verse: "wa ma arsalnaka illa rahmatan lil-`alamin": "And We did not send you (Muhammad) except as a Mercy to the worlds" (21:107);

"Say: In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy: therein [alone] let them rejoice. It is better than what they hoard" (10:58). Ibn `Abbas said: "The bounty of Allah is Knowledge [of Tawhid], and His mercy is the Prophet (SAWS)." Abu al-Shaykh narrated it as stated by al-Suyuti in al-Durr al-Manthur (4:367). Al-Alusi in Ruh al-Ma`ani (10:141) and Abu al-Su`ud in his Tafsir (4:156) said that the bounty is general while the mercy is specific and therefore emphasized. Al-Razi in al-Tafsir al-Kabir (17:123) said the command is emphatically restrictive, meaning that a human being should not rejoice in anything else than the mercy. (G.F. Haddad, The Prophetic Title "Best of Creation"; sources: 1; 2; underline emphasis ours)

In other words, the reason why qaribun is masculine even though it should have been feminine in order to agree with the word rahma, which is in the feminine case, is because the word for mercy here actually refers to a masculine subject, namely Muhammad!

Hence, the Muslim logic goes something like this:

  1. Allah’s mercy existed with him before creation.
  2. Muhammad is Allah’s mercy.
  3. Therefore, Muhammad existed with Allah before creation.

There are two main points which we would like to make in light of the above claims. First, anyone that reads Q. 21:107 and 28:46 can plainly see that neither citation is saying that Muhammad existed with Allah as his mercy, but that the sending of Muhammad is a sign of Allah’s mercy to mankind. In other words, the advent of Muhammad was a manifestation, a physical or visible proof of Allah being merciful to his creatures since he sent a prophet to recite to them his revelations. (Now we obviously don’t believe that Muhammad was a sign of Allah’s mercy since to follow Muhammad is to incur the wrath of the true God and therefore leads to eternal destruction, which is anything but merciful!).

Second, if this logic is true and if it is applied consistently then the Muslims must accept the fact that the Quran explicitly affirms the prehuman existence of Jesus. The Quran expressly says that Allah sent Jesus as both a sign to men and a mercy from him:

And mention in the Book Mary when she withdrew from her people to an eastern place, and she took a veil apart from them; then We sent unto her Our Spirit that presented himself to her a man without fault. She said, 'I take refuge in the All-merciful from thee! If thou fearest God ... He said, 'I am but a messenger come from thy Lord, to give thee a boy most pure. She said, 'How shall I have a son whom no mortal has touched, neither have I been unchaste?' He said, 'Even so thy Lord has said: "Easy is that for Me; and that We may appoint him a sign unto men (ayatan lil-nassi) and a mercy from Us (wa rahmatan minna); it is a thing decreed."' S. 19:16-21

Hence, if being a mercy from Allah implies preexistence than Jesus must have existed with Allah long before he became a man in time and space. Again, note the Muslim logic:

  1. Allah’s mercy existed with him before creation.
  2. Jesus is Allah’s mercy.
  3. Therefore, Jesus existed with Allah before creation.

Moreover, unlike the arguments used to prove Muhammad’s prehuman existence, the Quran provides corroborating evidence that Jesus did in fact personally exist before his birth from the virgin Mary. The Quran ascribes two specific titles to Jesus which prove that he didn’t come into being but was always there with Allah even before creation, those titles being the Word of/from Allah and a Spirit from him:

When the angels said, 'Mary, God gives thee good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary (bi-kalimatin minhu ismuhu al-Maseehu Isa ibnu Maryam); high honoured shall he be in this world and the next, near stationed to God. S. 3:45

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 (wa kalimatuhu) that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him (roohun minhu). 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

Islamic tradition even calls Jesus the Word and Spirit of Allah:

"… ‘Go to Moses, the slave to whom Allah spoke (directly) and gave him the Torah.’ So they will go to him and he will say, ‘I am not fit for this undertaking.’ And he will mention (his) killing a person who was not a killer, and so he will feel ashamed thereof before his Lord, and he will say, ‘Go to Jesus, Allah's Slave, His Apostle and Allah's Word and a Spirit coming from Him. Jesus will say, ‘I am not fit for this undertaking, go to Muhammad the Slave of Allah whose past and future sins were forgiven by Allah.’ …" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 3)

Allah says: "Confirming a word from Allah." (3:39)

Yahya confirmed ‘Isa when he was three years old. He testified that he was the word of Allah and His Spirit. It is said that he confirmed him when he was in his mother’s womb. Yahya’s mother said to Maryam, "I feel what is in my womb bowing to what is in your womb to greet him." (Qadi Iyad, p. 51; underline emphasis ours)

The above references present a conclusive case for Jesus existing with Allah before creation. After all, for Jesus to be identified as God’s Word which was committed to Mary indicates that he was with God even before he was given to his blessed mother. Furthermore, both Christians and Muslims agree that God’s Word is uncreated since he has never lacked his communicative ability. Thus, for Jesus to be God’s Word he must by necessity be uncreated, must be eternal. Notice, again, the logic behind this:

  1. God’s Word is eternal.
  2. Jesus is God’s Word.
  3. Therefore, Jesus is eternal.

The expression, "a Spirit from Him", further supports this position. The phrase is used only one other time in the Quran:

Thou shalt not find any people who believe in God and the Last Day who are loving to anyone who opposes. God and His Messenger, not though they were their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their clan. Those -- He has written faith upon their hearts, and He has confirmed them with a Spirit from Himself (roohin minhu); and He shall admit them into gardens underneath which rivers flow, therein to dwell forever, God being well-pleased with them, and they well-pleased with Him. Those are God's party; why, surely God's party -- they are the prosperers. S. 58:22

Here, the Spirit from Allah is present with all true believers in order to strengthen them in faith. This presupposes that this Spirit is both omnipresent and omnipotent, qualities which belong only to God. This may account for the late Muslim commentator Abdullah Yusuf Ali describing this Spirit as a Divine Being:

… Cf. ii 87 and 253, where it is said that God strengthened the Prophet Jesus with the holy spirit. Here we learn that all good and righteous men are strengthened by God with the holy spirit. If anything, the phrase used here is stronger, ‘a spirit from Himself’. Whenever any one offers his heart in faith and purity to God, God accepts it, engraves that faith on the seeker's heart, and further fortifies him with the Divine Spirit, which we can no more define adequately than we can define in human language the nature of God. (Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Quran, p. 1518, fn. 5365; bold emphasis ours)

Since the Quran uses the same expression to describe Jesus as a Spirit from Allah this therefore means that Christ is one who "we can no more define adequately than we can define in human language the nature of God." The Quran, at this point, is confirming the Deity and prehuman existence of the Lord Jesus in unambiguous language.(1)

All citations taken from the Arthur J. Arberry version of the Quran.

Further Reading


(1) It is interesting that this same logic can be applied to the NT to prove Christ’s prehuman existence, specifically his eternal preexistence. Paul writes that Jesus’ appearance was the manifestation of the grace of God:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11-14

Seeing that God’s grace is eternal this would therefore mean that Jesus is eternal as well since he is the grace of God:

  1. God’s grace is eternal.
  2. Jesus is God’s grace.
  3. Therefore, Jesus is eternal.

Notice that Paul even identifies Jesus as our great God and Savior!

Now it is rather apparent that Paul didn’t mean that Jesus is literally God’s grace, but rather that the grace of God was revealed in and through Christ’s earthly life. In other words, Christ’s appearance in time and space perfectly and fully manifested the grace of God. This is similar to what the apostle John wrote:

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, ‘This was he of whom I said, “He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.”’) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:14-17

We only mentioned this example in order to show what would happen if the logic of this particular Muslim were to be consistently applied to other persons or cases.

Articles by Sam Shamoun
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