Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Misunderstanding of "the Messiah" in Islam and Its Ramifications


The irony with Islam and its relationship with Christianity and Judaism is that, it agrees on the one hand with Christianity that Jesus is the Messiah over against Judaism, which denies Jesus is the Messiah. However, Islam agrees with the Jews that Jesus was not the Son of God over against Christianity. Muslims believe Jesus was the Messiah, but then agree with Judaism in trying to eradicate the messianic prophecies that point to Jesus as the Messiah! As I noted before, the Qur'an never defines what "Messiah" means which demonstrates that Muhammad simply appropriated that title to Jesus as he heard Arab Christians use it as we would use "Jesus Christ".
There is no indication in the Qur'an that Muhammad even knew what "Messiah" or its Greek equivalent "Christ" meant. Yet the Qur'an claims to be clear in its explanation of its contents, "We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things" (Q 16:89; Yusuf Ali). If this is so, why is Messiah never defined?

What is strange however is that in the Qur'an 4:157 where it records the denial of the crucifixion and death of Jesus, it has the Jews claim that Jesus was the Messiah, 

"And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger - they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain" (Pickthall; italics mine).

We know the "their" is referring to the Jews because in verses 154-156 of surah 4 the Jews are the intended referents. In Q 4:154 (cf. Q 2:63; 7:171) we have the story of Allah raising the mountain over the heads of the Jews and threatening to crush them if they do not keep the Sabbath according to the covenant Allah made with them. This story of course is nothing new as the Jews of Medina would have known about it as it is found in the Babylonian Talmud (Tractate Avodah Zarah 2b-3a), centuries before Muhammad, and the Jews of Medina would have relayed the story to Muhammad. 

In Q 4:155 it speaks of the Jews slaying the prophets and being disbelievers except for a few. Then in Q 4:156 it mentions the Jews "speaking against Mary [the mother of Jesus] a tremendous calumny" (Pickthall). Where in the Qur'an does it mention this "tremendous calumny" against Mary? Nowhere. But scandalous statements are made against Mary (and Jesus) in the Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 106a,b; Shabbath 104b; Yebamoth 49b) including charges of adultery and licentiousness, which again Muhammad would have heard from the Jews of Medina.

In Q 4:157 we have a strange confession of the Jews that they slew "the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary". While it would be understandable for the Jews to have said we slew the false Messiah Jesus, they do not according to the Qur'an. Which Jew in his / her right mind would have knowingly killed their Messiah, the King and Redeemer of Israel? Some Qur'anic translators have noted this peculiarity in the wording of the Qur'an to the point that they have tried to change the sense of 4:157 to mean that the Jews made this claim "in boast". Notice of all the translations below of Q 4:157, they all correctly translate the verse but Yusuf Ali and Hilali-Khan insert the phrase "in boast" which I have highlighted in bold below.

PickthallAnd because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger - they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain.
Yusuf AliThat they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Apostle of God"; - but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-
Hilali-KhanAnd because of their saying (in boast), "We killed Messiah 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allah," - but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but the resemblance of 'Iesa (Jesus) was put over another man (and they killed that man), and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not [i.e. 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)]:
ShakirAnd their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the apostle of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure.
Sher AliAnd for their saying, `We did slay the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of ALLAH;' whereas they slew him not, nor did they bring about his death upon the cross, but he was made to appear to them like one crucified; and those who differ therein are certainly in a state of doubt about it; they have no certain knowledge thereof, but only pursue a conjecture; and they did not arrive at a certainty concerning it.
KhalifaAnd for claiming that they killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of GOD. In fact, they never killed him, they never crucified him - they were made to think that they did. All factions who are disputing in this matter are full of doubt concerning this issue. They possess no knowledge; they only conjecture. For certain, they never killed him.
Arberryand for their saying, 'We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God' -- yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them. Those who are at variance concerning him surely are in doubt regarding him; they have no knowledge of him, except the following of surmise; and they slew him not of a certainty -- no indeed;
Palmerand for their saying, 'Verily, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the apostle of God'.... but they did not kill him, and they did not crucify him, but a similitude was made for them. And verily, those who differ about him are in doubt concerning him; they have no knowledge concerning him, but only follow an opinion. They did not kill him, for sure!
RodwellAnd for their saying, "Verily we have slain the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, an Apostle of God." Yet they slew him not, and they crucified him not, but they had only his likeness. And they who differed about him were in doubt concerning him: No sure knowledge had they about him, but followed only an opinion, and they did not really slay him,
Saleand have said, verily we have slain Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the apostle of God; yet they slew him not, neither crucified him, but he was represented [by one] in his likeness; and verily they who disagreed concerning him, were in a doubt as to this [matter], and had no [sure] knowledge thereof, but followed only an [uncertain] opinion. They did not really kill him;

Why was the word "in boast" added by Yusuf Ali and Hilali-Khan? Obviously because these two translators saw a problem that you and I see. Which Jew with full knowledge would have killed their Messiah? None. However, if the Jews wanted to mock Jesus as a false Messiah they would have boasted with sarcasm much like the Roman soldiers who mocked Jesus as King by crowning Him with a crown of thorns, placing a robe on Him, and giving Him a reed as a mock scepter (Mark 15:17-19; Matthew 27:28-30; John 19:2-4). To add the word "in boast" is to add to the Qur'an words that are not in the original Arabic text which Muslims always tell us is the true and authentic Qur'an. Are these translators guilty of corrupting the text of the Qur'an? The Qur'an claims to "clear" as we see in Q 11:1, "Alif Lam Ra. A Book whose verses are set clear, and then distinguished, from One All-wise, All-aware" (Arberry; italics mine). Did you notice the Arabic letters at the beginning of this verse, "alif", "lam", and "ra"? What do they mean? Hilali-Khan states about these letters, "These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur'an and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings". This is an incredible statement as these letters appear in the same verse that says the verses of the Qur'an are "clear" and yet the meaning of these Arabic letters are ....unclear! You will also notice that the translator Khalifa in his translation above tries to avoid the problem by not translating the quote of the Jews in the first person plural as the Arabic has it, "we" killed, slew, have slain Jesus the Messiah. Khalifa translates the phrase as a reference to the Jews in the third person plural, "And for claiming that they killed the Messiah, Jesus (italics mine)". Notice the quote by the Jews in the first person plural is missing. Is Khalifa guilty of corrupting the Arabic text of the Qur'an here?

One of the reasons that Q 4:157 claims the Jews slew their Messiah knowingly is most likely due to the fact that Muhammad merely assumed that "Messiah" (al-Masih in Arabic) was simply another name or title for Jesus and that Muhammad was completely and utterly unaware of the doctrine of the Messiah in the Old Testament much less the Talmud including its ramifications. The 'redeemer' aspect of the Messiah in Judaism was completely unknown to Muhammad. He clearly did not understand the Jewish doctrine of the Messiah, and even much worse, he did not understand the New Testament understanding of Jesus the Messiah. As a result, Islam presents a Jesus who is completely foreign to the historical Jesus and has reduced Him to a copy cat of Muhammad. As a result Islam has given Muslims "another Jesus" (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).


Mohamed said...

Hi Tony, if you don't mind I have a little to say about this.

Your argument against 4:157 essentially boils down to "why would the Jews say they killed the Messiah if they didn't believe Jesus was the Messiah?"

Your answer is in the Qur'an 33:12 where it explicitly quotes hypocrites (people who inwardly rejected Islam):

"And when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease said: Allah and His Messenger promised us nothing but delusions!"

So clearly, according to the Qur'an (and Hadith) it is historically accurate that people sometimes used the names of things they rejected as a way of mockery or sarcasm or boasting. These hypocrites obviously did not believe in Allah and His Messenger when they mocked Allah and His Messenger in this manner.

And secondly, just as a general point, to refute a historical assertion by relying only on logic would be akin to suggesting the Divinity of Jesus must have been false and his miracles were flawed, otherwise everybody around Jesus would have become Christian.

Jesus is Lord said...

Muslims Are Known For Taking Biblical Verses Out Of Context And Our God Is Clear On That:

"For if he that comes preaches another Jesus (Isa for Muslims), whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him". 2 Corinthians 11:4

"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed". Galatians 1:8

Tom said...

Thanks Tony, for laying out another absurdity of the koran!

Betsy_Ross said...

Here, a Sheikh gives two possible explanations for why the Lord Jesus might be called Messiah. His opening conjecture is as brilliant as any I've ever heard from Islam:

"The word Messiah in the Quran refers to ‘Eesa (Jesus) may Allaah exalt his mention and the scholars may Allaah have mercy upon them stated many reasons for him being named as the Messiah. It was said that he was named the Messiah because his feet were flat ... "

And Allah knows best???!!!

Keith said...

There are many "brilliant" explanations given in Islam. And it seems sometimes you think one is good enough, another one comes and topples it in terms of "brilliance". And every time after these episodes of unbelievable sheer "brilliance", it ends with "Allah knows best"...Islam-speak for: we don't know how to explain this, so don't argue any more and make us look even more stupid than we already are.

Osama Abdallah said...

Dear Tony and Betsy,

The following points will be satisfying answers to you, Insha'Allah:

1- The Glorious Quran does define MASEEH (Messiah) as one that is anointed (rubbed, wiped). In Noble Verse 38:33, we read:

[038:033] "Bring them back to me." then began he to pass his hand over فطفق مسحا (their) legs and their necks.

مسيح, which is what Jesus is called in the Holy Quran is derived from the root word مسح. The latter word is the bottom root. And we've seen how the Glorious Quran defined it.

2- Messiah in the Bible also means anointed and chosen. The anointed (rubbed, wiped) implies that he is chosen by GOD Almighty:

Mark 8:29 And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.

Jesus throughout the Old Testament is called SLAVE (ABD) OF GOD. The English translations translate it as "MY SERVANT", "THE SERVANT". But the word, ABD, is the same exact word used for the Jews' Gentile slaves. And the Old Testament says that the Jews:

1- Have the right to inherit them.
2- Have the right to sell them.
3- Have the right to keep them as slaves forever.
4- Own them forever because they are ******* THEIR PROPERTY.

So Jesus being GOD Almighty's ABD means He is owned by GOD Almighty. Now you would automatically think that GOD Almighty would treat his ABEED (PLURAL OF ABD) with cruelty. No, that's not what ABD implies. The ones chosen by GOD Almighty are His Beloved, and they are treated beautifully.

This is what Islam came to restore and cement. The lies and exaggerations about Jesus being our Creator are all lies and false. Islam came to set this record straight.

For ample proofs on everything I said, please visit:

Take care,
Osama Abdallah

Osama Abdallah said...

And Tony and David Wood, I already have one confirmed debate with Usama Dakdok with ABN on September 22. I would love to debate you both on this day also. This would make it more worth coming in person to MI.

I would like to suggest the following topic:

"Is the Quran a Scientific Miracle?"

If you would like to debate me, please contact ABN and give them your suggested topic(s).

Take care,
Osama Abdallah

Ordinary Logic said...

According to Tafseer Ibn Kathir on Surah 33:12, the context here is about former pagan polytheist people who had became muslim yet being suppressed by enemy in the middle of battle they became dishearten and doubted their 'new religion' till finally they totally rejected this new religion along with its prophet. So in that case when they 'mocked' Muhammad as Messenger of Allah in fact they genuinely believed Muhammad was 'true messenger or spreader' of the belief on Allah however they regarded Allah as just a lame deity.

Objectively based on that there's obviously no logical stand to support your 'boasting' theory. As we all can see the Jews in Christ's time till present day have never rejected nor even mocked monotheism of One God unlike the hypocrite people in Surah 33:12. Moreover, the funny thing is, logically your own example refutes your own argument since the hypocrite in S33:12 and the 'mythical' Jews in S4:157, both genuinely believe in the thing they said which means back to square one, Jesus in the eyes of 'mythical jews' in S4:157 was the real Messiah and he was called that with no intention of sarcasm.

Secondly, it's very subjectively narrow-minded not to say UN-ISLAMIC for assuming the Jews would've easily believed in Jesus if the miracles had been true in order to deny any logical & historical analysis, because if your assumption had been true then the Pharaoh in time of Moses would have not rejected Moses after he saw miracles after miracles eg,river Nile turned into blood, frog&flies surrounded Egypt for several days, or the Israelite would have not rebelled against God and Moses after seeing the miracle of parting the Red Sea. These all also are written in Quran.

Both QURAN and Bible show in many times people responds by hardening their heart instead of believing God when being confronted with miracles.

You need to educate yourself more so someday u could be mature enough in differentiating between being logical subjectively and being logical objectively. When I give you the description of how the Israelite responds toward miracles based on historical events happening in Bible and (presumably) Quran it means I give u every reference to make my logical argument as objective as possible not just throw some baseless assumption such as your comment that Jesus's miracles would've immediately made the Jews as believer.

Speaking of reference. i hope u would provide us with a better logical reference or proof in Quran or hadiths to support your theory on S4:157.

thank you

foofy said...


Actually, the word obd is equally used in regard to Hebrew slaves both in Exodus 21 and Lev 25.

Multiple verses, such as 21:2 confirm this.

Take care!

The Burwell Family Travels said...

Osama please not another scientific debate you always end up stammering " so that's pretty much it, there it is whatever"

Anthony Rogers said...


What in the world are you referring to when you say, "Jesus throughout the Old Testament is called SLAVE (ABD) OF GOD. The English translations translate it as "MY SERVANT", "THE SERVANT". But the word, ABD, is the same exact word used for the Jews' Gentile slaves"?

Where exactly to YOU find Jesus spoken of in this way in the Old Testament? Please don't point to the Servant Songs of the prophet Isaiah. In other words, please don't stick your foot in your mouth by saying those passages are about Jesus rather than Muhammad when you have nauseatingly pretended in article after article and debate after debate that those passages are about Muhammad rather than Jesus. Even though it is preposterous to say those passages are actually about Muhammad, your desperate attempt to find him in the Bible is at least understandable given the position he put you in by pretending that his coming was predicted in our Scriptures. But if you are now using those same passages in the vain effort of running an argument against the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, who humbled Himself to become a servant for the sake of the redemption of His people (Philippians 2), you make it hard not to think that you have no concern for consistency and are only interested in engaging in sophistry in the hopes of duping naive people who won't catch on to your craftiness.

gospelanalytix said...

Mr. Abdallah,

There are two things needed to call Jesus the Messiah:

1. An accurate Old Testament
2. An accurate New Testament

The Old Testament provides the Messianic requirements via the words of the prophets. The New Testament provides the evidence that Jesus met all the
requirements and can rightly be called The Messiah, not just A Messiah. In order for the Koran to call Jesus the Messiah it has to either acknowledge
the accuracy of the Biblical record, or it has to remove the word Messiah from its context and render a bland, generic definition of what Messiah means.

Andrew said...

Osama, I know you have been asked this before, but we are all still waiting for the answer. What is your methodology for which bible verses are corrupt and which ones aren't?