Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Jesus Christ – An Essential Pillar of Islamic Monotheism

Sam Shamoun

According to specific Islamic sources Allah exalted Muhammad’s fame by conjoining the latter’s name to his own person thereby making him one of the pillars of Tawhid, or Islamic monotheism:

Qatada said, “Allah exalted his fame in this world and the Next. There is no speaker, witness nor anyone doing the prayer who fails to say, ‘There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’”

Abu Sa’id al-Khudri related that the Prophet said, “Jibril came to me and said, ‘My Lord and your Lord says, “Do you know how I have exalted your fame?”’ I said, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’ He said, ‘When I am mentioned you are mentioned with Me.’”

Ibn ‘Ata quoted a hadith qudsi saying, “I completed belief with your being mentioned with Me.” And another one which says, “I have made your mention part of My mention so whoever mentions Me, mentions you.”

Ja'far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq, “No one mentions you as the Messenger but that he mentions Me as the Lord.”

Some of the people of knowledge, such as al-Mawardi, suggested that the Station of Intercession was being referred to by this. 

The fact that mention of the Prophet is directly connected to mention of Allah also shows that obedience to the Prophet is connected to obedience to Allah and his name to Allah's name. Allah says, “Obey Allah and His Messenger” (2:32) and “Believe in Allah and His Messenger.” (4:136) Allah joins them together using the conjunction wa which is the conjunction of partnership. It is not permitted to use this conjunction in connection with Allah in the case of anyone except the Prophet. (Qadi Iyad, Kitab Ash-shifa bi ta'rif huquq al-Mustafa, Part One. Allah’s great estimation of the worth of His Prophet expressed both in word and action, Chapter One: Allah’s praise of him and his great esteem for him, Section 1. Concerning praise of him and his numerous excellent qualities, pp. 7-8; underline emphasis ours)


“… He coupled his name with His own name, and his pleasure with His pleasure. He made him one of the two pillars of tawhid.” (Ibid., Chapter One: Allah’s praise of his Prophet, Section 9. Concerning the marks of honour given to the Prophet in Sura al-Fath, p. 27; underline emphasis ours)

To sum up the points made by this particular Islamic reference concerning how Allah exalted Muhammad,

  • Allah coupled Muhammad’s name with his.
  • Allah connected obedience to Muhammad with obedience to him.
  • Allah connected belief in Muhammad with belief in him.
  • Allah joined Muhammad to himself through the use of the Arabic conjunction wa (“and”).

However, what these Muslim scholars failed to mention is that according to both the Quran and certain Islamic narratives Allah also exalted Jesus. For example, Allah joins Jesus to himself by the same conjunction wa in the context of belief, something which the foregoing source said couldn’t be done for anyone other than Muhammad:

When Allah 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 (an aminoo bee WA birasoolee)’; they said, ‘We believe; witness Thou our submission.’” S. 5:110-111

Allah further uses this particular conjunction in relation to fearing him and obeying Christ, which is said to be the straight path, or the path which leads to salvation:

Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah; He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be (of the company) of the righteous.” She said: “O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?” He said: “Even so: Allah createth what He willeth: When He hath decreed a plan, He but saith to it, ‘Be,’ and it is! And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel, And (appoint him) an apostle to the Children of Israel, (with this message): ‘I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah's leave: And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by Allah's leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe; (I have come to you), to attest the Law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was (Before) forbidden to you; I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So fear Allah, AND obey me (fa ittaqoo Allaha WA ateeaooni). It is Allah Who is my Lord and your Lord; then worship Him. This is the straight path (hatha siratun mustaqeemun).’” When Jesus found unbelief on their part He said: “Who will be My helpers to Allah?” Said the disciples: “We are Allah’s helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims. Our Lord! we believe in what Thou hast revealed, and we follow the Apostle; then write us down among those who bear witness.” S. 3:45-53


And when the son of Mary is cited as an example, behold, thy people turn away from it and say, 'What, are our gods better, or he?' They cite not him to thee, save to dispute; nay, but they are a people contentious. He is only a servant We blessed, and We made him to be an example to the Children of Israel… And when Jesus came with the clear signs he said, “I have come to you with wisdom, and that I may make clear to you some of that whereon you are at variance; so fear you Allah AND obey you me (fa ittaqoo Allaha WA ateeaooni). Assuredly Allah is my Lord and your Lord; therefore serve Him; this is a straight path (hatha siratun mustaqeemun).” S. 43:57-58, 63-64

These specific texts provide the answer to Muslims who pray daily to Allah to guide them to the straight path, the path of those who are blessed and not those who are cursed and astray:

Guide us in the straight path (Ihdina al-sirata al-mustaqeema) the path of those whom Thou hast blessed, not of those against whom Thou art wrathful, nor of those who are astray. S. 1:6-7

The path of Allah’s favor is to believe and obey Jesus, not just Muhammad. In fact, Muhammad is reported to have taught his followers that the real Islamic confession of faith is not the one recited by Muslims daily where only Allah and Muhammad are mentioned. Rather, Islam’s true testimony of belief must necessarily include confessing Jesus as Allah’s Servant, his Word which he cast into Mary and His Spirit: 


"O People of the Book! Do not go to excess concerning your deen. Say nothing but the truth about Allah. The Messiah, 'Isa son of Maryam, was only the Messenger of Allah and His Word, which He cast into Maryam, and a Spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His Messengers. Do not say, 'Three.' It is better that you stop. Allah is only One God. He is too Glorious to have a son! Everything in the heavens and everything in the earth belongs to Him. Allah is enough as a Guardian." (4:171)

Abu 'Ubayd said that "His Word" is “Be” and it is. Someone else said that "a Spirit from Him" means that He gave him life and gave him a spirit, "Say not 'Three'" [about Allah].

3252. It is related from 'Ubada that the Prophet said, “Whoever testifies that there is no god but Allah alone with no partner and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, that ‘Isa is the slave of Allah and His Messenger and a Word which He cast into Maryam and a Spirit from Him, and that the Garden is real and the Fire is real will enter the Garden whatever his actions.” (Aisha Bewley, The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 64. Book of the Prophets)


It is narrated on the authority of Ubadah b. Samit that the messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) observed: He who said: “There is no god but Allah, He is One and there is no associate with Him, that Muhammad is his servant and His messenger, that Christ is servant and the son of His slave-girl and he (Christ) is His word which He communicated to Mary and is His Spirit, that Paradise is a fact and Hell is a fact,” Allah would make him (he who affirms these truths) enter Paradise through any one of its eight doors which he would like. (Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 0043)

Another important point to note from these particular Islamic texts which mention belief in and obedience to Christ is that they recall some of the great favors which Allah bestowed on Jesus, blessings which he didn’t grant to anyone else not even Muhammad. For instance, Jesus is said to be Allah’s Word and his Spirit, the Messiah who was born supernaturally to the blessed virgin Mary, a miracle worker who was able to raise the dead, give life to impersonal objects, grant sight to the blind, open deaf ears, cleanse lepers, is illustrious or glorious both in this life and the hereafter etc.

Muhammad, however, was incapable of performing any miracles to substantiate his prophetic claims:

And nothing stops Us from sending the signs but that the people of old denied them. And We sent the she-camel to Thamud as a clear sign, but they did her wrong. And We sent not the signs except to warn, and to make them afraid (of destruction). S. 17:59

But (now), when the Truth has come to them from Ourselves, they say, “Why are not (Signs) sent to him, like those which were sent to Moses?” Do they not then reject (the Signs) which were formerly sent to Moses? They say: “Two kinds of sorcery, each assisting the other!” And they say: “For us, we reject all (such things)!” S. 28:48

Nay, but they, the clear signs are preserved in the breasts of those who have been given knowledge. And none but the wrongdoers deny Our signs. And they say: “Why are not signs sent down to him from his Lord?” Say: “The signs are only with Allah, and I am only a plain warner.” Is it not sufficient for them that We have sent down to you the Book (the Qur'an) which is recited to them? Verily, herein is mercy and a reminder for a people who believe. S. 29:49-51

The Quran further attests that Muhammad was lost/straying before Allah supposedly guided him, uncertain of his own salvation, constantly rebuked for his sins, and told specifically that he would die,

Muhammad is nothing more than a messenger; Messengers have passed away before him. Why, if he should die or is slain, will you turn about on your heels? If any man should turn about on his heels, he will not harm Allah in any way; and Allah will recompense the thankful. S. 3:144

May Allah forgive you (O Muhammad). Why did you grant them leave (for remaining behind, you should have persisted as regards your order to them to proceed on Jihad), until those who told the truth were seen by you in a clear light, and you had known the liars? S. 9:43

Verily, you (O Muhammad) will die and verily, they (too) will die. Then, on the Day of Resurrection, you will be disputing before your Lord. S. 39:30-31

So be thou patient; surely Allah’s promise is true. And ask forgiveness for thy sin, and proclaim the praise of thy Lord at evening and dawn. S. 40:55

Say (O Muhammad):”I am not a new thing among the Messengers nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am but a plain warner.” S. 46:9

So know (O Muhammad) that there is no god but Allah and ask forgiveness for your sin, and also for (the sin of) believing men and believing women. And Allah knows well your moving about, and your place of rest. S. 47:19

Verily, We have given you (O Muhammad) a manifest victory. That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and the future and complete His Favour on you, and guide you on the straight path. S. 48:1-2

Did He not find you (O Muhammad) an orphan and gave you a refuge? And found you astray/lost, and guided you? S. 93:6-7

Yet in the case of the blessed Christ the Muslim scriptures testifies that he was sinless and pure from conception and never needed to be guided since he was born a prophet proclaiming Allah’s word from the cradle!

And make mention of Mary in the Scripture, when she had withdrawn from her people to a chamber looking East, And had chosen seclusion from them. Then We sent unto her Our Spirit and it assumed for her the likeness of a perfect man. She said: Lo! I seek refuge in the Beneficent One from thee, if thou art God-fearing. He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless/pure/holy son. She said: How can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste? He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained. S. 19:16-21


Then she brought the child to her folk carrying him; and they said, 'Mary, thou hast surely committed a monstrous thing! Sister of Aaron, thy father was not a wicked man, nor was thy mother a woman unchaste.' Mary pointed to the child then; but they said, 'How shall we speak to one who is still in the cradle, a little child?' He said, 'Lo, I am Allah’s servant; Allah has given me the Book, and made me a Prophet. He has made me blessed wherever I may be; and He has enjoined me to pray, and to give the alms, so long as I live, and likewise to cherish my mother; He has not made me arrogant, unprosperous. Peace be upon me, the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I am raised up alive!' S. 19:27-33  

Christ was also raised alive by Allah to personally dwell with him!

And (the unbelievers) plotted and planned, and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah. Behold! Allah said: “O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute. As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help. As to those who believe and work righteousness, Allah will pay them (in full) their reward; but Allah loveth not those who do wrong.” S. 3:54-57

Nay, Allah raised him [Jesus] up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise; - S. 4:158

Thus, according to the foregoing Jesus has been exalted in the same way that the Muslims claim Muhammad has been exalted since,

  • Allah coupled Jesus’ name with his own.
  • Allah joined Jesus to himself through the use of the Arabic conjunction wa (“and”).
  • Allah connected belief in and obedience to Jesus with believing and fearing him.
  • Allah also enjoined his followers to confess Christ as his Word and Spirit as part of the shahadah or Islamic testimony of faith, thereby making Jesus a vitally important component and an essential aspect or pillar of Tawhid

And according to the Islamic sources Allah bestowed on Jesus certain qualities and gifts which he never gave to Muhammad, such as the following,

  • Jesus was born of the virgin Mary who is said to be the greatest woman ever (cf. Q. 3:42). Muhammad, however, was born through the normal way and his mother is said to be burning in hell according to allegedly sound Islamic narratives (*; *; *).
  •  Jesus was pure from his conception and was a prophet proclaiming Allah’s revelations from the cradle. Muhammad, however, was born a sinner who was lost and needed Allah to guide him.
  • Jesus is Allah’s Word and Spirit sent to Mary. Muhammad, however, is simply a mortal prophet and messenger.
  • Jesus knew and announced from the cradle that his birth, life and subsequent resurrection or exaltation to heaven would be peaceful and blessed. Muhammad, however, was uncertain of his destiny.
  • Jesus performed miracles such as raising the dead and breathing life in inanimate clay objects. Muhammad, however, failed to perform a single miracle.
  • Jesus was taken physically alive to dwell in Allah’s presence. Muhammad, however, died like any other man and remains buried in the earth. 

In light of the above it is obvious that the One whom Allah exalted and made famous is not Muhammad, but the Lord Jesus Christ. At the very least it shows that Allah made Jesus more famous and exalted him higher than Muhammad!


The message of God’s true Word concerning Jesus

As far as Bible-believing Christians are concerned the testimony of the Quran and Muhammad’s statements in respect to Christ are irrelevant since the true God inspired neither one of these sources. True believers only accept those parts of the Muslim scripture and narrations of Muhammad regarding Jesus that agree with and do not contradict the essential teachings of the Holy Bible, God’s truly inspired and inerrant Word.

As Christians who follow and love the risen Lord Jesus we don’t need the Quran or Muhammad to tell us of the exalted status of Christ. We already know this from the Scriptures that the true and living God inspired. According to God’s revealed Scriptures the Lord Jesus is God’s beloved Son whom the Father is always pleased with,

“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’” Matthew 3:16-17

“While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!’” Matthew 17:5

“And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.” John 8:29

Being the unique Son whom the Father conjoins to himself as a necessary object of saving faith,

“‘Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.’” John 14:1-6

“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: ‘Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.’” John 17:1-3

"After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, AND to the Lamb!’” Revelation 7:9-10

And the Risen Lord of glory who lives forever as the exalted King of all creation and whom every creature will eventually worship:

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

“Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden girdle round his breast; his head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters; in his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth issued a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand upon me, saying, ‘Fear not, I am the First and the Last, and the Living One; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.’” Revelation 1:12-18

“And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints; and they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and has made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.’ Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’ And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, ‘To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!’ And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.” Revelation 5:8-14

Amen! Come Lord Jesus, come! You are indeed the risen and exalted Son of the Most High, the Beloved of the Father whom all your saints truly love and adore, He whom we all eagerly desire to see and live with forever and ever. Amen.


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