Friday, September 18, 2009

The Kingdom of Peace

The Kingdom of Peace

by Memsuah Mansoor

Jesus Christ is generally recognized as one who has promoted and lived peace and who has brought much peace to the world.

When Jesus Christ lived on this earth, he came teaching about the Kingdom--the Kingdom of God. This was a kingdom that did not divide along religious, ethnic, or sectarian lines. It was the Kingdom of God. You couldn't look around and say with total accuracy that this person is in the kingdom and this person isn't. Yes, there were indications about who was in the kingdom, but basically the kingdom of God was a kingdom whose total membership was only known to God. And each member of that kingdom was ultimately answerable to God. As a result many leaders were fearful of him which caused them to be angry at him. The religious leaders were fearful and angry at him. The political leaders were fearful and angry at him. So did Jesus really bring peace? Yes, he brought peace of heart to the humble and repentant. But it didn't stop there. Even the proud, arrogant and unrepentant were affected by his life.

One writer in the second century wrote about those who he regarded as members of this kingdom--the kingdom of God, " 'They dwell in their own countries simply as sojourners ... They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time, they surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men but are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned. They are put to death, but [will be] restored to life. They are poor, yet they made many rich. They possess few things; yet, they abound in all. They are dishonored, but in their very dishonor are glorified ... And those who hate them are unable to give any reason for their hatred.' " (Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up, p. 17) The Bible also gives the same description of people who belong to God's true kingdom.

But are these actions unique to the teachings of Christ? How exactly do the teachings of Christ promote peace?

First, we need to look at what Jesus taught about how to get into the kingdom and see two ways this promotes peace. First, it brings personal peace for the individual with regard to being in the kingdom. Jesus taught that the way we get into the kingdom is to admit from our heart that we don't deserve it. The reason why Jesus said we don't deserve it is because of the universal knowledge that every human falls short of God's standard. Some people may challenge that. They may say they don't believe in sin or even in God. But I find these same people criticizing others for failing in one thing or another, yet they themselves fail in the same things. So even though they don't believe in God or a violation of God's commandments, they have adopted an unwritten standard which may or may not change from time to time. Nevertheless, in the process they themselves have set themselves up as lords over other people and have judged them according to their own standard. What this does is condemn and bring judgment upon themselves, because sooner or later they will commit the same error and will stand condemned by their own words on the day of judgment when all is revealed.

Second, peace is shown by the individual members of the kingdom toward others around them. The following account is of one man's entrance into the kingdom of God. When he first entered the kingdom of God. He was possessed by a great love toward my fellow human beings, especially one individual who had been unkind to him and many others. The reason why he was possessed with this love was because he was full of the knowledge of the love of God toward him. For a short time he had been aware that he was a sinful being and therefore separated from God. He didn't know what to do about this. A couple of religious people had given him their advice but in the end he sensed he should simply express to God what he felt the need of my heart was. Having done that he sensed a peace that he had been honest with God. He also sensed that God heard and cared. Obviously, he knew this much about God. Only an hour or two later he was struck with a strong sense of his sin. Verses from the Holy Bible came to his mind. He simply agreed with God in his heart and mind. Then he was reminded of the words of the Holy Bible that spoke of God's love for him--how God had sent Jesus Christ to come and die in his place to ransom him from eternity separated from God in hell. He acknowledged this to be true. At that very moment he realized he was no longer separated from God. He was included in God's family--God's kingdom. The very next day he saw another person struggling with a heavy load. Suddenly a thought came to mind, "Why don't you go help him?" to which he responded in his heart, "Why should I? He's been mean to me all week long." Immediately another thought came, "But didn't Jesus Christ love you when you didn't deserve it?" To that he could not reply. The only way to be true to God and himself was to help the person. He did this out of respect to God and found great joy in the process. Love had conquered. The love of God received had stimulated love for others. This is the experience of the author who writes this. It is also the revelation of God to mankind.

1 John 4:7-13
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

God not only asks us to love our brother, those who are close to us, agree with us, and are apart of the same kingdom (which is usually quite easy to do) ...

1 John 4:19-21
We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, "I love God,'' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

... but he also asks us to love our neighbour also (which is again quite easy to do seeing that our neighbours may help us in return when we are in a difficult position).

Matthew 19:19b
" 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' "

But even further, he asks us to love our enemies, not those whom we hate but those who hate us and who we might be tempted to hate. This is much more difficult to do.

Matthew 5:38-48
"You have heard that it was said, `An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' "But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."

People may argue that other religious leaders have also encouraged their followers to love their enemies. That is certainly true. Yet Jesus did this from a personal position of no political or economic power or influence. He also died for the cause of peace. Because he refused to cause harm to others or encourage his followers to harm others, he willingly gave up his life even when accused unjustly.

John 18:36-37
Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.'' Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?'' Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.''

Are Jesus' followers doing this today? Many people who claim to be Jesus' followers are not doing this today because they really aren't his followers. Others are his followers but in this area aren't following him or haven't realized the promises that God gives to those who follow these instructions. They fail to realize the promises God has given to them, that when we give up our own power, God steps in and exerts his power. When we allow him to do this, people see that it is God at work. As a result God is praised, remembered and glorified; but also the person realizes they have seen the work of God and they sense the presence of God. Therefore they fulfill the purpose that God put them here on earth for, to experience God in truth. It is the sense of God's presence that brings repentance and the power to live a life pleasing to God.

Furthermore, Jesus Christ is unique in this. By giving up his very life, he gave the greatest expression of love that any man can give, setting the greatest example of love for others. Yet in his resurrection he cleared the way for the greatest power for a life of love, because the only thing that keeps us out of God's kingdom is sin. The just result of sin is death and death is the greatest enemy and greatest fear for the common man. When love is required, the follower of Jesus has an example that causes him to love to the point of death, not dying in physical aggression toward others but dying because he chose to live in peace with his fellow man. But in that example he has the assurance that death is not the end, that as Jesus Christ rose from the dead, he too will rise to eternity with God on the Day of Resurrection. These very facts cause anger in the hearts of some people. They are jealous of the peace they see in the followers of Christ, yet they don't have the faith in God and the courage to join them. However, the true follower of Jesus Christ presses on knowing that he must follow truth.

The way to peace is to believe the promises of God that he has given through trust in the life and work of Jesus Christ. It brings peace with God to the individual but also puts him at peace with others. Societies that have truly embraced Jesus' teachings on peace have been affected in mass by this truth, have not only provided a good place for themselves to live but have also shown love on those who have not chosen this way of peace.

Articles by Memsuah Mansoor

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NIV®
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by
IBS. All rights reserved.

Qur'anic references from the Yusuf Ali translation
Revised and Edited by The Presidency of Islamic Researches,
IFTA, Call and Guidance, 1413 H.

Contact Memsuah Mansoor.

Copyrighted sources are quoted and used for comment and education in accord with the nonprofit provisions of: Title 17 U.S.C., Section 107. Fair Use.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Son of God in the Bible and the Qur'an

The Son of God in the Bible and the Qur'an

Memsuah Mansoor

Frequently one will hear the statement, "What you believe is very similar to what we believe except we don't believe Jesus was the Son of God." Although Muslims and true Christians both believe in Jesus as a Prophet, yet the difference in the understanding of this word, son, causes them to believe different things about this great Prophet. Why is this? What does the word really mean? Why is there such great misunderstanding?


Part of the misunderstanding has arisen because of a misunderstanding of the word ibn, ﺍﺑﻦ .Though not specifically addressed to Christians, but people in general, and most likelyidolators who referred to their idols as sons and daughters of God, the issue of whether God can have sons or daughters is addressed in the Qur'an in Sura 6:100 and the following verses. Verses 100 and 101 state,

Yet they make
Jinns equals
With Allah, though Allah
Did create the
And they falsely,
Having no knowledge,
Attribute to Him
Sons and daughters,
Praise and glory be
To him (for He is) above
What they attribute to Him!
To Him is due
The primal origin
Of the heavens and the earth:
How can He have a son
When He hath no consort?
He created all
And He hath full knowledge
Of all things.

It states that those who have no knowledge say that God has offspring, ﺑﻧﻴﻦ and ﺑﻨﺖ , male and female, coming from the Arabic word, ibn ﺍﺑﻦ , having a spiritual or physical meaning.(1) It follows directly on by stating that God could have no son walad ﻮﻟﺪ (also having a spiritual or physical meaning)(2) since he has no wife (sahiba). So we see from the context that the term, ibn ﺍﺑﻦ , which can have a physical or spiritual meaning, was understood to have a physical meaning. It was this physical meaning that was negated. Since the Bible never refers to Jesus as the physical son of God, it is clear that the Qur'an is not addressing what the Scriptures (the Holy Bible) of true Christians say. Instead the Qur’an is most likely addressing pagan beliefs or perhaps the beliefs of those who claimed to be Christians but who had erroneous beliefs that were not taken from the Bible. If it was intended to refute what the Christian scriptures state, then it is clear that there was a misunderstanding of what the Christians scriptures actually said about the Prophet Jesus. How do we know there was a misunderstanding?

All but one reference in the Qur'an that negate the Sonship of Jesus Christ, 'Isa al-Masih,ibn Miriam, in the negation use the Arabic word, walad ﻮﻟﺪ , generally meaning a physical son in the nominative but also able to have a spiritual/metaphorical meaning.(3) Sura 9:30, “The Jews call 'Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!”, is the only place in the Qur'an where Jesus Christ is referred to as the Son of God using the word, ibn ﺍﺑﻦ . However, the second part of the verse containing the actual statement denouncing the confession of Christians that “the Messiah is the Son of God”, uses neither the word ibn ﺍﺑﻦ nor the word walad ﻮﻟﺪ in its denunciation. Since ibn ﺍﺑﻦ can have either a physical or spiritual meaning, without a specific word used in the negation it is unclear whether the physical or spiritual meaning, is denounced. There are three possibilities in it's interpretation. Either only the physical meaning is denounced, only the spiritual meaning is denounced or both are denounced. When one applies the context in Sura 6:100-101 and Sahih Muslim Vol. 1, chapter 81, number 0352 (see footnote 13) to determine the correct interpretation of Sura9:30, then only physical sonship was understood from the word ibn ﺍﺑﻦ in this situation and only physical sonship was denounced because both passages state and then negate the presence of a wife in the process.


The Prophet David was anointed to be King of the bani-Israel. In Psalm 2:7 of the Zabur زبور , the Prophet David is referred to as “son”, an anointed King, who would rule with God’s authority, “I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, ‘You are my Son [ben]; today I have become your Father [yawlad].’ ” Psalm 2:12 says, “Kiss the Son [ben], lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way.” From the context it is very clear that no physical sonship is implied. In referring to the Prophet David, this verse also refers to the descendant of the Prophet David who was prophesied to be the Messiah, al-Masih المسيح , the King who would have an everlasting kingdom. (1 Chron. 17:11-14) The Injil clearly proves that Jesus is the Messiah that would come. This reference from the Psalms, Zabur زبور , is cited 3 times in the Injil as the proof of Jesus’ nature and authority as the promised Messiah, المسيح .(4) The Hebrew word “ben” in Psalm 2:7, 12 corresponds to the Arabic word ibn ﺍﺑﻦ . To show the source of the anointing, the word, “yawlad” is used. This is the verbal form of the Hebrew word “walad” which corresponds with the Arabic word walad ﻮﻟﺪ. Therefore to refuse to use the verbal form of the word walad ﻮﻟﺪ in the proper spiritual sense when referring to the source of the divine nature of Jesus Christ is to contradict the Holy Bible--Taurat, Zabur, Anbia (Writings of Jewish Prophets) and Injil.

In both the Hebrew and the Arabic, the verbal form of “walad” is used to refer to physical birth or a spiritual anointing.(5) Although the noun form “walad” is not used in the Hebrew Scriptures when referring to the source of Jesus’ divine nature, the verbal form “yawlad” is used in this meaning. As already cited, “ben” is regularly used to refer to the “son-messiah”المسيح. This is the precedent that God has set in his word. The context in Psalm 2 is the key to understanding the message. It is absolutely clear that this was no physical birth. This psalm speaks of a grown person who is inaugurated as the king of God’s people, and the term “yawlad” denotes the giving of the authority and power of God’s Spirit. When Psalm 2:7 is quoted in the Injil as referring to Jesus Christ, the Greek word “gennao” which can have a physical or spiritual meaning is used for “yawlad.”(6) Again the context is very clear. A spiritual anointing is proclaimed. The source of Jesus Christ’s immaterial nature is proclaimed as being not only from God but actually God in him.

No one, Muslim or Christian, would deny that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, المسيح in Arabic. This Messiah, المسيح , is clearly referred to as “the Son of God” in both the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. It is these scriptures that the Qur’an affirms throughout as true revelation from God.(7)

Surah 21:26 states, “And they say: ‘The Most Gracious has taken a son.’ Glory to Him! theyare (but) servants raised to honour.” Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Ph.D. and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan in their translation state that “son” here refers to angels, Jesus, Ezra and others. Here the word “son” is the Arabic word ﻮﻟﺪ, walad. It is interesting that the response to this is that these are “servants raised to honour.” The Bible also teaches that prophets are honoured servants. That is a significant part of the meaning behind the term, “son of God”. The issue is this, how and why are they honoured?

From its first mention, "son of God" is a term of honour in the Holy Bible. King David,Hazrat Daoud, and King Soloman, Hazrat Suliman, are each specifically referred to as a "son" of God in the Holy Bible.(8) In each of these references it is clear to see that "son" meant one who was loved, chosen and given authority and power through the Spirit of God. "Spirit" here does not refer to an angel or even the breath of God, but the very being,nature and essence of God. However, the Qur'an never addresses their sonship specifically. Their sonship was different than that of Jesus Christ. They were called sons of God because the Spirit of God came upon them to give them power, wisdom and authority to reign as kings over the bani Israel. This type of sonship is one particular type of spiritual sonship. It is that of any human being upon whom God's Spirit came. However, the sonship of Jesus Christ is different. It also is spiritual but in a significantly different way. Jesus was not just a grown human being upon whom the Spirit of God came. He was the very nature and essence of God who came in human flesh.(9) Since God is spirit, as stated in John 4:24, this nature and essence of God is spiritual.

This idea of God in flesh is, also, often expressed in the Injil by the use of the term “Son” on its own, or the term “Son of Man.” This term “Son of Man” is derived from the revelation of “one like a son of man", revealed to the prophet Daniel over 500 years before Jesus lived.(10) It is obvious that this “Son of Man” is no ordinary man. He was one who received worship and honour due only to God, though he has the form and appearance of a man. In fact Jesus used this term to describe himself more often than "Son of God" since "Son of Man" did not carry the connotation of an earthly political and military kingship that some people understood the term “Son of God” to mean.(11) Instead, it expressed a real but spiritual authority and pointed back to the prophecy of the prophet Daniel. The Son of Man in Daniel's prophecy was one who had the form of man but who had the authority and character of God and who rightfully received worship due only to God. It was because Jesus used this term, "Son of Man", that the Jews accused him of blasphemy. Yet using this term, he continued to do miracles, rise from the dead and ascend into heaven, which allowed the people only two choices. Either they must believe he was God in the flesh or they must believe he was from the devil. Since there is no doubt that he claimed to be God, to simply believe he was only a prophet or a good man would be claiming that God allowed this power to be used by one who was rivaling God. This would be impossible for God to do.


In his biography of Muhammad, Sirat Rasul Allah, Ibn Hisham quotes the Qur'an as stating that the Christians used the term ibn allah, ﺍﺑﻦ in reference to Jesus.(12) This is strongly denounced right along with the Jew, 'Uzayr, being denounced as the ibn allah ﺍﺑﻦ with no distinction between the two. Yet there is a large difference between the two. 'Uzayr (Ezra) even as a true prophet of God, would have been no more than a human being on whom God's authority, power, or Holy Spirit (not Jibra’il) came. However the Holy Bible teaches that Jesus existed from eternity as a divine spiritual being, the Word, who was God (John 1:1), and at a point in time he took on flesh (John 1:14). Yet, the Qur’an never states in Sura 9:30 nor in its immediate context why the sonship of 'Uzayr or Jesus is denounced norwhich meaning, the physical or the spiritual, is being denounced. One must go to SahihMuslim to find the reason that calling Jesus Christ ibn allah ﺍﺑﻦ is denounced--because he is not the walad ﻮﻟﺪ , physical son, of God.(13) In fact every time that the sonship of Jesus Christ is denounced in the Qur’an and the reason why the denunciation is given, an inaccurate view of the Bible is evident. Ibn Hisham brings further light to this by pointing out that Muhammad thought that the statements of the Christians from Najran about Jesus, diminished God's power and authority, denied the Oneness of God and made Jesus a rival to God.(14) Yusuf Ali, too, shows this same understanding of the phrase "son of God" by his comment on Sura 9:30, equating Christians with blasphemers by accusing them of, "Taking men for gods or sons of God."(15) However, Jesus' Sonship in the Bible which is alwaysspiritual in nature is never presented as diminishing God's power or authority, denying the Oneness of God nor making himself a rival to God. The will, authority and power of Jesus' divine spirit is never in conflict with the will, authority and power of God, because Jesus was the Word. This eternal Word of God became flesh without ceasing to be God or beginning to compete with God.

A few observations are necessary here. First, Ibn Hisham states that the Christians fromNajran believed that Jesus was the walad of God ﻮﻟﺪ .(16) Second, there is no evidence inIbn Hisham’s Sirat Rasul Allah that they claimed to believe this in the physical sense. IbnHisham states here also that, starting at the beginning of Sura 3, more than 80 verses were revealed as a result of the visit of the Christians from Najran. The fact that there is no specific refutation to their claim using the word walad ﻮﻟﺪ in the Qur’an in the whole of Sura3 makes it difficult to ascertain what they said or meant. We only know that it would be against their scriptures to use walad ﻮﻟﺪ in the physical sense. This is plain when we examine the Scriptures in their original languages as well as the commentaries written by early Jewish and Christian scholars.(17) No honest scholar ever understood the Biblical passages speaking of “the Son of God” in a physical way. Third, it is clear that the Qur'an and the Bible do not agree regarding Jesus' nature. The Bible presents him not only as a prophet, but actually more than a prophet--his spiritual nature being the very nature of God.

When we look at Sura 5:18, we see that when men claimed to be "ibn allah" ﺍﺑﻦ theQur'an presents its understanding of the phrase "ibn allah" ﺍﺑﻦ as those who were more than men and who were without sin or at least not subject to punishment for sin. Ibn Hishamconfirms this understanding. We see this because it is stated that they were "but mortals, of those men He [Allah] has created" and were subject to punishment for sin.(18) Yet theQur'an, the Muslim traditions and the Bible all agree that Jesus, unlike any other prophet, had no sin or even a fault or mistake ever in his life.

Ibn Hisham records the following, concerning the verses that came down, denying Jesus being the Son of God in the context of the coming of the Christians from Najran toMuhammad:

They argue that he is the son of God in that they say he had no known father; and he spoke in the cradle and this is something that no child of Adam has ever done.(19)

As a result of what these Christians said, Ibn Hisham records that the revelation concerning Jesus speaking in childhood in Sura 3:45-49 and Sura 19:27-35 came along with other verses about Jesus' life. However, as already mentioned when we look at what the Christians are reported to have said, we see that the reason the Christians from Najran gave, is not the reason the Bible gives why God called Jesus his Son.

In response to this, Norman Anderson, formerly Professor of Oriental Laws and Director of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in the University of London states,

Christians, moreover, do not claim that Jesus was the Son of God because he was born of a virgin. On the contrary, it was because he was Son of God, when that term is properly understood, that he was born in that miraculous way.(20) (Bold emphasis, mine.)

Professor Anderson's statement is in absolute agreement with the Bible.


In his article, “Jesus the Son of God: A Study of the Terms Ibn and Walad in the Qur’an and the Tafsīr Tradition”, Mahmud Mustafa Ayoub cites the writings of a number of Muslim scholars from different eras and persuasions of Islam. The following is a table based on the specific statements he highlights showing their understanding of “divine sonship” and therefore why they objected to it.

Understandings of and Reasons for

Muslim Commentators’ Objections to “Divine Sonship”

Sonship would imply a creative act

Possibility of having a consort

God’s need for an offspring or child

To beget is to be begotten —Creator cannot do this

Equal Partner implies separate wills

Physical offspring is limited to time and space










Ismailī Haqqī


abū Ja’far al-Tūsi




















Ayoub sums up his observations by stating, “ . . . It must be observed that the language in most of them is the same. They contrast God’s transcendence, omnipotence, origination of all things, and sovereignty over all His creation with human non-self-sufficiency, and hence the need for offspring.”(21) As we look at the reasons for which these Muslims scholars reject their understanding of the “sonship” of Jesus Christ, we see that none of these are even in the slightest way implied in the Holy Bible. God’s taking on flesh was not out of his need but ours!

The Arabic word walad corresponds to the Hebrew word walad which shares a common root with the Hebrew word “yawlad” in Psalm 2 in the Holy Bible. Ayoub makes some important observations. Though he fails to specifically address the use of the Hebrew word “yawlad” in Psalm 2, he does state that the Arabic word walad ﻮﻟﺪ , “primarily signifies physical generation and sonship.”(22) This is important for two reasons. First, it does acknowledge the fact that even though, primarily, the Arabic word walad ﻮﻟﺪ is used for a physical sonship, like the Hebrew word walad this is not the only meaning for which it must be used. Second, from this we can begin to see that the meaning that God clearly ordained for the word walad in Psalm 2, referring to a real but spiritual sonship, has usually been taken by Muslims in a physical sense and therefore clearly misunderstood. This helps us understand why in the Qur’an only the term walad ﻮﻟﺪ was used to denounce the sonship of Jesus, except in Sura 9:30, as cited above. Ayoub points out that Abū Qurra, a Syro-Arabic Christian theologian and cleric,

. . . would leave no doubt in the mind of a Muslim reader that Jesus is the son of God, engendered by Him from eternity. For, while Abū Qurra uses ibn for son, he always uses the verb walada, to engender, or give birth to, when speaking of God the father and Jesus His son.(23)

As we have seen, it is very clear that this “engendering” in the Holy Bible refers to the divine nature of Jesus Christ and never the physical nature of Jesus Christ. Ayoub also states that most Muslim commentators agree “that the word ibn, ﺍﺑﻦ is used metaphorically in the Gospel to express a relationship of love and intimacy.”(24) He further cities Muhammad Mahmud Hijāzī, Muhammad Rashīd Ridā, Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī and al-Alūsī as making specific statements to this affect using words such as love, high honour, and favour. Again, two things are important in this statement. First, it acknowledges that the word ibn, ﺍﺑﻦ was legitimately in the Christian scriptures and was rightfully used by them. Second, it acknowledges one important aspect in the meaning of Jesus’ sonship. Unfortunately, as we have already seen and as we will further see, the significance and the reason behind that supreme relationship of love, favour, high honour and intimacy as clearly stated in the Holy Bible has been misunderstood by Muslims.


When a human father has a physical son, that son reflects the humanness of his father but he has a separate spirit, will and mind. Therefore he would have a separate accountability before God. Because he has a separate spirit, will and mind, he could at some time or another contend, rival and seek to oppose his father. If the "sonship" of Jesus Christ were seen in the same way, he also could eventually oppose and rival God.

However, that is definitely not the view of "sonship" that the Bible teaches. The Bible neverteaches that the "sonship" of Jesus Christ was the result of any physical union of two partners. Nor does it imply that God is a created being. The Bible clearly teaches that God is eternal.(25) The "sonship" of Jesus Christ was purely spiritual in nature. The immaterial nature of Jesus Christ was made of the same substance as God--his will, purpose and mind being the same as that of God with no conflict, but perfect harmony. His flesh was flesh and was not God--it was only where the essence of God dwelt to reveal himself to the world without the essence itself being physically seen. The Bible also clearly teaches that God is spirit.(26) Jesus himself said that flesh comes from flesh but spirit comes from spirit.(27) The immaterial essence of God that dwelt in him according to the will of God, was God’s immaterial essence--not separated from God nor in conflict with God. The flesh of Jesus Christ responded perfectly to God in every situation of life because that God’s immaterial essence in him kept his flesh pure. This is why it is important to realise that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man--human emotions being expressed without human sin. His flesh was not God even though the nature or essence, which indwelt that flesh was the very essence of God to whom he would return shortly. Perhaps it was for this reason that Jesus rarely asked people to worship him though he never refused their true worship. He asked people to worship God, yet claiming to be equal with God and deserving the honour that is due only to God.(28) He wanted people to understand the true character of God before they worshipped God. He wanted people to realise that the essence of God was in him. This is why it is important to first understand what the Holy Bible--Taurat, Zabur, Anbia (Writings of the Jewish Prophets) and Injil teach about the nature of God, so we can understand the true spiritual nature of Jesus Christ in the Injil.

GOD IS LIGHT ( ﺭﻭﻧ )

Those who have a difficult time understanding these things, should remember the fact thatGod is light.(29) Since God uses the illustration of light to describe himself, we must think about this. What kind of light is meant? Is it like the light in the sun or light bulb that people squint to look at or like the light that falls on a page and enters the eye, illuminating the words? Is it like the light that we back away from or like the light that comes to help us? In reality we know that they are one and the same light. One is simply concentrated in one spot--the source--which needs to be bright so that the light that falls on the page is the right intensity to meet our needs and relate to us as men. Yet, when we turn the light switch off, we realise they are one and the same light. Since they are one intrinsically, they areintrinsically inseparable but they are also practically inseparable in completing the work they do. In the same way when some people saw Jesus, they didn't realise he was God because he didn't have the appearance of God--the God that appeared to the Prophet Moses ﻤﻮﺳﻰ ﺤﺿﺮﺖ was too bright to look at. Only after Jesus Christ had ascended up into heaven did many people realise fully who he was.


It is also helpful to note the difference between the "trinity" of the Qur'an and the "trinity" of the Bible. The "trinity" is alluded to in the Qur'an in Sura 5:73 in such a way that Yusuf Aliin his translation of the meaning of the Qur'an after, "They disbelieve who say: Allah is one of three " adds the phrase "(In a Trinity)". Sura 5:116 states,

"And behold! Allah will say:
"O Jesus the son of Mary!
Didst thou say unto men,
'Take me and my mother
For two gods beside Allah'?"

In light of the context of the verses that follow this verse, we see that this is the Qur'an'spresentation of the “Christian trinity”. Ibn Hisham states that this presentation of the "trinity" was being promoted by the Christians from Najran.(30) Yet, the Qur'an's presentation of the "trinity" is definitely not what God has revealed about himself, Jesus Christ, or Mary (Miriam), the mother of Jesus, in the Bible. From the Bible we know that God has no other equal, Mary is not God's wife nor was she divine and Jesus Christ was not God's physical Son.

Again in Sura 4:171 it states,

Christ Jesus the son of Mary
Was (no more than
A Messenger of Allah,
And His Word,
Which He bestowed on Mary,
And a Spirit proceeding
From Him: so believe
In Allah and His Messengers.
Say not "Three": desist
It will be better for you:
For Allah is One God:
Glory be to Him:
(Far Exalted is He) above
Having a son.

This portion is addressed to the People of the Book, which could include Jews and Christians. Since the Jews did not refer to Jesus as the Son of God, this has to be in response to Christians. Here, again, in the last line in the negation of God having a son, the Arabic word, walad ﻮﻟﺪ , is used. As we have seen, the scriptures of the Christians teach that there is One God and never refers to Jesus as the physical son, walad, ﻮﻟﺪ of God. The phrases "Son of God" or "son of God" in the Christian scriptures is only used in a spiritual, metaphorical sense.


The term "Son of God" is used so often by those who follow Jesus and believe on him that some people may think that the phrase "Son of God" is part of a creed that must be recited by anyone who wants to be a Christian, in a similar way that Muslims must recite a creed to become a Muslim and to declare their continued allegiance to their faith. Because many Muslims have been taught that Christians believe that Jesus was the physical son of God, they naturally find this very repulsive. Though some might long to believe in Jesus they would never seriously think to do so for the reason that they may be expected to use this term. This term would be misunderstood and very repulsive to their family and friends. The fact is, no one is required to refer to Jesus using the term, the Son of God, to be a true Christian. Of course, one would need to understand the true meaning behind the term and definitely believe the true meaning behind the term. But there are other words to describe the same concept, such as a proper understanding of the prophet Daniel's "Son of Man" prophecy or the expression, "the most beloved vice-regent of God who was the very nature and essence of God, making him God Himself in human flesh."


Some people ask, “Was Jesus Christ God or the son of God?” As we have seen, referring to someone using the term "son of God" does not mean that person is God. But the term "theSon of God" points to the fact that, spiritually, Jesus Christ was God. As we have already seen, this term refers to his eternal nature and essence. It also many times refers to him being an anointed vice-regent of God, endued with the power, blessing and authority of God because of this eternal nature and essence. "Son" is also used to express the fact that he was not just a servant. Even though he submitted as a servant, he was considered a son, who had inheritance, privilege, honour and special love. He was not just in the house, but of the house.(31) Jesus Christ was also called "the Son", which not only included these last three meanings but also the concept of "the Son of Man" given in the prophecy of the prophet Daniel. (Daniel 7:13-14)


As we have already seen, "son" can be used in difference ways. Egyptians are called "sons of the Nile." The Qur'an refers to a traveler as a "son of the road" (ibn al-sabeel, ﺍﻟﺴﺑﻴﻝ ﺍﺑﻦ).(32) Daughters are called "sons" in many cultures by fathers who love them very much. InPakistan and Iran devout followers of God are called farzandan-i-tawheed, ﺗﻮﺣﻴﺪ ﻔﺮﺯﻨﺪﺎﻦِ , meaning "sons of unity."(33) Any English dictionary shows that "son" is used in a figurative or metaphorical sense as the "inheritor of a quality."(34) So it is clear that there is no problem in using the term "son of God" in referring to Jesus Christ. The Bible even refers to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, which not only suggests a special relationship with God but it also means that he is the Son above all sons--the one whose relationship with God is superior to anyone's relationship with God. This kind of claim definitely needs the evidence to back it up. To understand what kind of relationship Jesus had with God we need to look at what the Holy Bible says about him.


As we have seen, the Bible presents Jesus as the beloved Son of God and the Son of Man. This Son was prophesied by the prophets; he had a human nature but was called “the Son of God" because of his indestructible, spiritual nature, which was proved by his resurrection from the dead.(35) His message was for all people for all times.(36)

The Injil states,

. . . in these last days [God] has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father"? Or again, "I will be his Father and he will be my Son"? And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him." In speaking of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire." But about the Son he 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 also says, "In the beginning, O Lord 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. To which of the angels did God every, "Sit at my right hand until I made your enemies a footstool for your feet"?(37)

Because through him and for him all things, mankind included, were made,(38) and because of his unique origin and power which caused him to rise victoriously back to life from the dead, he has been appointed to be the judge of all mankind.(39) These and many more things about him are recorded in the Injil.


The result of him being the Son of God, is that eventually he might destroy the devil and his works. Being God, he had all the power and authority that was needed. Being man he could identify with the sufferings of man, and offer the sacrifice of his life that never needed to be repeated, rescuing man from spiritual death--separation from God--giving him eternal life and peace from the shame of sin and disobedience.(40)

This message is a message of hope because as human beings we deserve the wrath of God. God says that everyone deserves his wrath and even if we kept the whole law and yet failed in only one point, we would be guilty of breaking the whole law.(41) Because Jesus Christ has been appointed to be the final judge, we know that we will not escape God's judgment. Therefore, we must recognize the seriousness of just one sin and it's full penalty--eternal separation from God--and humbly receive in thanks the gift of Jesus' right standing with God that Jesus Christ is willing to share with us. Because of this Son, Jesus Christ, we have the possibility of spending eternity in the presence of God. Only through this process can true repentance and salvation take place that truly gives glory and honour and credit to God.(42)

May God bless you with his peace!

Contact the author


(1) Wehr, Hans. A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. London: MacDonald and Evans Ltd. ©1961, p.76.

(2) Ibid, pp. 1097-1098.

(3) The following are the verses that negate the possibility of God having a son using the word walad ﻮﻟﺪ :
Sura 2:116 -- They say: "Allah hath begotten a son": Glory be to Him.-Nay, to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth: everything renders worship to Him.
Sura 4:171 -- O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not "Trinity": desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.
Sura 6: 100,101 -- Yet they make the Jinns equals with Allah, though Allah did create the Jinns; and they falsely, having no knowledge, attribute to Him sons and daughters. Praise and glory be to Him! (for He is) above what they attribute to Him!; To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth: How can He have a son when He hath no consort? He created all things, and He hath full knowledge of all things.
Sura 10:68 -- They say: "Allah hath begotten a son!" - Glory be to Him! He is self-sufficient! His are all things in the heavens and on earth! No warrant have ye for this! say ye about Allah what ye know not?
Sura 18:4 -- Further, that He may warn those (also) who say, "Allah hath begotten a son":
Sura 19:35 -- It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! when He determines a matter, He only says to it, "Be", and it is.
Sura 19:88-92 -- They say: "(Allah) Most Gracious has begotten a son!" Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous! At it the skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin, That they should invoke a son for (Allah) Most Gracious. For it is not consonant with the majesty of (Allah) Most Gracious that He should beget a son.
Sura 21:26 -- And they say: "(Allah) Most Gracious has begotten offspring." Glory to Him! they are (but) servants raised tohonour.
Sura 23:91 -- No son did Allah beget, nor is there any god along with Him: (if there were many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have lorded it over others! Glory to Allah! (He is free) from the (sort of) things they attribute to Him!
Sura 25:2 -- He to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth: no son has He begotten, nor has He a partner in His dominion: it is He who created all things, and ordered them in due proportions.
Sura 39:4 -- Had Allah wished to take to Himself a son, He could have chosen whom He pleased out of those whom He doth create: but Glory be to Him! (He is above such things.) He is Allah, the One, the Irresistible.
Sura 43:81 -- Say: "If (Allah) Most Gracious had a son, I would be the first to worship."
Sura 72:3 -- 'And Exalted is the Majesty of our Lord: He has taken neither a wife nor a son.
Sura 112:3 -- He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;

(4) The Holy Bible, Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5; 5:5.

(5) Harris, Walke, and Archer. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Moody Press: Chicago, Ill. ©1980, p. 378-380 shows that the Hebrew word “walad” can have a physical or metaphorical meaning. It states the following concerning its metaphorical meanings: “The word is often used in a figurative sense. Thus it may refer to a city or nation as having given birth to its inhabitants. . . .” “In most every instance actual paternity is represented by the Hiphil and a more general relationship like relationship of peoples . . . uses the Qal. Thus Ps 2:7 is not causative, but refers to a relation of love.” It goes on to say, “ ‘yālad in Ps. 2:7 (note that it is not Hiphil) refers to the relationship of love between the Father and the Son.” Wehr, Hans. A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. London: MacDonald and Evans Ltd. ©1961, pp. 1097-1098 shows that the Arabic word walad ﻮﻟﺪ can have a physical or metaphorical meaning. It gives the following metaphorical meanings of “walada”, the root word for walad ﻮﻟﺪ : “to be produced; to cause, occasion, originate, grow, develop, arise, proceed, follow, result.”

(6) Thayer, Joseph H., Thayers’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Baker Book House: Grand Rapids, Michigan.© 1977 p. 113.

(7) The following verses from the Qur’an show the Torah to be true at the time of Jesus: Sura 19:12, 3:48, 66:12, 3:49-50, 61:6,5:49, 5:113

The following verses from the Qur’an showing that the Torah and the Gospel were true and unchanged at the time of Muhammad: Sura 34:31, 35:31, 10:37, 12:111, 6:154-157, 40:69-70, 46:12, 46:29-30, 2:91, 3:3, 4:162-163, 9:111, 5:51

The following Muslim scholars admit that the text of the Bible hasn’t been changed: Ahmed, Sir Syed . The Seventh Discourse. (Reprinted from The Mohamedan Commentary on the Holy Bible). ©1911. Regarding the scriptures of the Jews and Christians, Sir Syed Ahmed cites Iman Muhammad Isma’il Bukhari stating in his book that “there is no man that could corrupt a single word that has proceeded from God”; Ibn Taimiya in his Fathu’l-Bari when questioned on the meaning oftahreef stating that “doctors of former times had taken it in two senses; some maintaining that it meant an interpolation of words; and some that it meant the misrepresentation of the meaning of a subject; and that many arguments had been adduced in support of the latter opinion.”; Shah Wali Ullah in his Fuzu’l-Kabir saying that “the original text was not tampered with”;Iman Fakhru’d-din Razi in his commentary on the authority of ibn ‘Abbas stating “. . . in the opinion of eminent doctors and theologians, it was not practical thus to corrupt the text; because these scriptures were generally known and widely circulated having been handed down from generation to generation. No interpolation therefore could be made in them . . .”

(8) The Holy Bible, Psalm 2 and 1 Chronicles 17:13.

(9) The Holy Bible, John 1:1,14, Micah 5:2, Luke 1:35, John 4:24, Philippians 2:5-8.

(10) The Holy Bible, Daniel 7:13-14. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B.Eerdmans Publishing Co., © 1979, Vol. 1, p. 859, states, “The last recorded vision of Daniel occurred on the banks of the riverTigris in the third year of Cyrus (536 B.C.) . . .”

(11) Eisenman, Robert and Michael Wise. Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered. New York: Penguin Books, Ó 1992, pp. 68-71.

(12) Ibn Hisham, translated by A. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, Karachi: Oxford University Press, p. 163, 271, 272, Ó 1955.

(13) Sahih Muslim, Vol. 1, chapter 81, Number 0352. Rendered into English by Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, Idara Isha’at-e-Diniyat (P) Ltd., New Delhi, India. Ó 2001, p. 132. In Sahih Muslim when Christians state that Jesus is the Son, ibn ﺍﺑﻦ of God it is negated by the statement, “You tell a lie: Allah did not take for Himself either a spouse or a son [walad ﻮﻟﺪ].”

(14) Ibn Hisham, translated by A. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, Karachi: Oxford University Press, p. 272. Ó 1955.

(15) In his commentary in The Holy Qur'an: English translation of the meanings and Commentary, Revised and Edited by The Presidency of Islamic Researches, IFTA, Call and Guidance, Ó 1413 H. , p 507, Yusuf Ali states, “Taking men for gods or sons of Allah was not a new thing. All ancient mythologies have fables of that kind. There was less excuse for such blasphemies after the Prophets of Allah had clearly explained out true relation to Allah than in the times of primitive ignorance and superstition.”

(16) Ibn Hisham, translated by A. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, Karachi: Oxford University Press, p. 271-272, Ó 1955. For the Arabic, Sirat Rasul Allah, go to

(17) The British Library contain the Greek manuscripts, Siniaticus and Alexandrinus, which date to the 4th and 5th century respectively. A complete Hebrew text of the Old Testament called the Aleppo Manuscript dates to A.D. 930. In addition, all but the book of Esther is verified by fragments dating from before Muhammad. Almost all of the New Testament can be reproduced from the writings of the early Christian scholars.

(18) Ibn Hisham, translated by A. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, Karachi: Oxford University Press, p. 266, Ó 1955.

(19) Ibid, p. 271.

(20) Anderson, Norman, Islam in the Modern World, chapter 5, Ó 1990.

(21) Haddad, Y. Y and W. Z. Haddad (ed.) Christian-Muslim Encounters, “Jesus the Son of God: A Study of the Terms Ibn and Walad in the Qur’an and the Tafsīr Tradition”, by Mahmud Mustafa Ayoub, University Press of Florida, Ó1995, p. 74.

(22) Ibid, p. 66.

(23) Ibid, p. 70.

(24) Ibid, p. 72-73.

(25) The Holy Bible, Deuteronomy 33:27, 1 Timothy 1:17, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 9:14, 1 Peter 5:10.

(26) The Holy Bible, John 4:24.

(27) The Holy Bible, John 3:6.

(28) The Holy Bible, Matthew 2:11; Matthew 14:33; Matthew 21:12-17; John 5:16-23; Matthew 8:2; Matthew 9:18; Matthew 15:25; Matthew 28:9,17; This is in contrast to the Apostle Peter refusing worship in Acts 10:25 because he was “only a man”.

(29) The Holy Bible, Exodus 33:18; 34:29-35, Ezekiel 10:4; Psalm 104:30-31, John 1:18, John 4:24, 1 Timothy 6:16, 1 John 1:5; 4:12, Revelation 21:23.

(30) Ibn Hisham, translated by A. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, Karachi: Oxford University Press, p. 272, Ó 1955.

(31) The Holy Bible, John 8:34-36.

(32) Sura 2:215.

(33) "The Pakistan Post", 14 February 2003 (Picture with words underlined in red).

(34) Thompson, Della, (ed.), Oxford Dictionary of Current English, Oxford University Press, © 1993, p. 870.

(35) The Holy Bible, Romans 1:1-4.

(36) The Holy Bible, Romans 1:5; Romans 10:9-12; Hebrews 3:7.

37) The Holy Bible, Hebrews 1:2-13.

(38) The Holy Bible, Colossians 1:15-18.

(39) The Holy Bible, Acts 17:31.

(40) The Holy Bible, Hebrews chapter 2 and following.

(41) The Holy Bible, Isaiah 53; Ezra 9:15; Psalm 143:2; Romans 3; Romans 6:23; James 2:10.

(42) The Holy Bible, Romans 3:9-20, 23; 6:23; James 4:10, 1 John 1:7-9; John 3:16; Colossians 1:9-14.

Articles by Memsuah Mansoor

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NIV®
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by
IBS. All rights reserved.

Qur'anic references from the Yusuf Ali translation
Revised and Edited by The Presidency of Islamic Researches,
IFTA, Call and Guidance, 1413 H.

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