ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY
Our Sentiment Regarding the Torah, Psalms and the Gospel
It may baffle some Muslims that I often quote passages from the Bible. Islam regards the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament), Psalms and Gospels as the sacred sources of guidance before the arrival of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). However, some Muslims of our time target these holy books with the sentiment of vengeance against the Christians' targeting the Quran. This kind of attitude is completely unacceptable; targeting the sacred verses of these books out of ignorance may jeopardize one's faith in Islam. The current versions of these three books do not correspond to their original versions with a hundred percent precision because they had sustained a long period of oral transmission before they were written down and they have gone through multiple translations (nobody reads the Gospels in Aramaic although it was the language that Jesus spoke because even the oldest known Gospels were already translated from Aramaic into other languages). There are similar problems in the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), some traditions are known to be weak or fabricated, but it would be wrong to reject all traditions on account of a few fabricated ones. Just like this, the partial problems in the Torah, Psalms, and Gospels shouldn't lead us to reject them altogether. Criticizing the verses that we do not know the wisdoms of in these holy books is similar to speculating ignorantly about the vague verses of the Quran and it is pretty dangerous. "And when it is said to them (Jews and Christians), ‘Believe in what God has revealed,' they say, ‘We believe [only] in what was revealed to us.' And they disbelieve in what came after it, while it is the truth confirming that which is with them. (Qur'an 2:91)" As this verse states, the Quran validates the holy books that Jews and Christians now have, not the imaginary holy books that disappeared thousands of years ago like some Muslims falsely think.
The major difference between Islam and Christianity is that Christianity holds that God exposed himself to mankind in three different forms as opposed to the firmly monotheistic stance of Islam. Even Christians cannot clearly identify the Trinity, they think it is not possible for the human mind to thoroughly grasp it, therefore, it should be accepted without questioning. Why would God force people to believe in a dogma that is completely mysterious? Shouldn't the religion of God be superior to and more logical than all other beliefs? If that is the case, we must be able to reach the true faith of God just by using our reason.
According to Christianity, Jesus Christ is the God in human form and is equal to God. In reality, Jesus (pbuh) was a human; he needed to sleep, to eat, to breathe and to use the toilet in order to sustain his life. Is it possible for a god to have these necessities for survival? Jesus (pbuh) was a weak creation; he couldn't ward off the Jews who attempted to kill him, he couldn't resist those who prevented him from preaching his message, he concealed his Messiahship for a long time in fear of possible hostile reactions. Is it possible for a god to dread the actions of men? Jesus (pbuh) was tested with Satan for forty days in the wilderness. How can anyone dare test a god? God has sent humans to the world for testing them because humans are imperfect creatures, it is unthinkable to test a perfect entity like God. Jesus the Messiah (pbuh) was very fond of worship, he would seclude himself and pray to God whenever he was distressed or troubled. There are lots of examples of this in the Bible. "Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray."He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Couldn't you men keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done." When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. (Matthew 26:36-44)" Is it possible for a god to have his soul overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death although he is capable over everything? Is it possible for a god to pray? The essence of prayer is seeking help from God upon one's concession of his own incompetence. How can Jesus (pbuh) be a god if he is so incompetent as to seek help from another entity?
We could extend the logical reasons that refute the divinity of Jesus (pbuh). Well, what do the Gospels narrate in regards to this matter? Does this huge and unreasonable claim of Christians have any basis in the Gospels? We first need to understand the character of Jesus (pbuh) correctly for understanding the Gospels correctly. Jesus (pbuh) was a man who talked little but was very concise in his speech with deep meanings embedded in his words, and who had fabulous spirituality. Jesus (pbuh) would usually speak implicitly; he would often use metaphors like the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Since Jesus (pbuh) would use metaphors and similes quite often, "The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?’ He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables: ‘Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.' ”(Matthew 13:10-13)" This remark of Jesus (pbuh) reveal that he used similes and refrained from talking explicitly until the last phases of his life: " ‘Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.’ Then Jesus' disciples said, ‘Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech.’ (John 16:25-29)" Jesus Christ had begun to talk openly only when he was about to leave this world as narrated by the Gospels. It is very difficult to comprehend Jesus (pbuh) since he had a deep spiritual relationship with God that none of us have, that's why he couldn't be understood correctly in his time nor after his departure. Although he was physically in this world, he always was spiritually with God. This is why he told the Jews: "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. (John 8:23)"
The concept of the Trinity is never mentioned anywhere in the Bible. This belief is made up by some priests who wanted to reconcile the monotheistic verses of the Bible with the verses that are thought to establish the divinity of Christ (pbuh). The Old Testament which comprises 4/5 of the Bible is firmly monotheistic; it emphasizes that there is nothing equivalent or similar to God, and God cannot be seen in this world. Jews, as the followers of the Old Testament, have no claim against monotheism anyway. Christians, on the other hand, disregard the firmly monotheistic stance of the Old Testament because they do not value the Old Testament despite claiming to believe in it. It is meaningless to discuss the Trinity via the Old Testament because even Christians admit that there is no implication whatsoever to the Trinity in the Old Testament. Some verses of the Gospels are interpreted to refer to the Trinity by Christians because of their misunderstanding of the metaphoric language of Christ (pbuh). The superficial evaluation of sentences may result in misunderstandings like the case of the ninth-century Sufi scholar Mansur al-Hallaj who was charged with the death penalty for saying "I am God". However, what he had actually meant by saying this is that there is no existence other than or without God; he hadn't literally equated himself with God.
The following verse is cited as evidence for the divinity of Christ (pbuh). ""We are not stoning you for any good work," they replied, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God." Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are "gods"'? If he called them ‘gods,' to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God's Son'? (John 10:33-36)" These verses seem to imply that Jesus did claim to be God. However, Jesus explains this situation by saying "he called them ‘gods,' to whom the word of God came". This reply reveals that this title is not exclusive to Jesus (pbuh). The word of God (divine revelations and Holy scriptures) also came to Moses, David, and Muhammad (pbut), should all these prophets be called "gods" in this case? Since this cannot be the case, the word "god" as used in the verse is a metaphor. The angels who gave Abraham (pbuh) the good tidings of a son and the angel who wrestled with Jacob (pbuh) are called gods in the Torah because all these angels had the word of God come upon them, otherwise it is unthinkable that these angels were God himself. The title "god" is used in the Torah for Moses (pbuh) as well when the word of God came to him: "Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country.' (Exodus 7:1-2)" This verse makes clear the rhetoric of Jesus (pbuh) for us.
Another verse that is cited as evidence for the divinity of Christ (pbuh) by Christians is the following quote from Jesus (pbuh): "I and the Father are one. (John 10:30)" However what is actually meant here is that it is impossible to reach God without believing in Christ and belief in God cannot be separated from belief in his messenger. It is similar to the following verse of the Quran: "He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed God (Qur'an 4:80)". In some other verse, Jesus reveals that the attribute of being one with God is not exclusive to him, anyone who believes in him will be one with God: " ‘My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.’ (John 17:20-22)" This verse makes it clear that being one with God doesn't mean being God himself, it means spiritually uniting with God who is the source of our soul.
Another popular verse often quoted by Christians is this: " ‘You are not yet fifty years old,’ they said to him, ‘and you have seen Abraham!’ ‘Very truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’ (John 8:57-58)" Christians allege that the fact that Jesus had existed before he was born is evidence of his divinity. However, Islam teaches us that all of our spirits were created long before we were born. We all bore witness that God is our lord when we were spirits and waited until our arrival in the world. "And [mention] when your Lord took from the children of Adam - from their loins - their descendants and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them], "Am I not your Lord?" They said, "Yes, we have testified." [This] - lest you should say on the day of Resurrection, "Indeed, we were of this unaware." (Qur'an 1:172)" Also we were present and alive in the knowledge of God even before we came to this World. God created us as knowledge when he wrote the fate of everything that is going to happen in the Book of Destiny (The Preserved Slate). The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) told in a narration: "I was a Prophet while Adam was between clay and water", thus stating that the prophethood was given to him even before the creation of Adam (pbuh). No Muslim claimed that Muhammad (pbuh) is God by looking at this narration because what is meant here is that he was ordained as a prophet in destiny before the creation of Adam (pbuh).
As we have seen, those who attribute divinity to Jesus Christ (pbuh) misinterpret the verses due to their prejudice in approaching the verses. In fact, Jesus (pbuh) emphasizes the oneness of God in the Gospels and introduces this as the primary principle: "he asked him (Jesus), "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' (Mark 12:28-30)" Jesus (pbuh) told that God is superior to him: "You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. (John 14:28)" Jesus (pbuh) and God are not the same entity as one cannot be superior to himself. God is superior to all creation including Jesus (pbuh) and he has undisputed dominion over everything. Jesus (pbuh) was a quite modest man, he even objected to people calling him good, let alone calling him God: " ‘Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. ‘No one is good except God alone.' (Mark 9:18)" Finally, let's remember God's words in the Quran: "They have certainly disbelieved who say that God is Christ, the son of Mary. Say, "Then who could prevent God at all if He had intended to destroy Christ, the son of Mary, or his mother or everyone on the earth?" And to God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them. He creates what He wills, and God is over all things competent. (Qur'an 3:17)"
The chapters of the New Testament other than the Gospels contain signs that reject the divinity of Christ (pbuh) although these chapters are completely independent of the life of Christ (pbuh) and are largely fabricated. For example in the following verse, Jesus is referred to as the "servant" of God. : "Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. (Acts 4:27)" Remember that Christians get very irritated when Muslims state that Jesus was a servant of God.
IS JESUS THE SON OF GOD?
One other thing that Christians attribute to Jesus Christ (pbuh) is that he is the son of God. Although most Christians merge this belief with the Trinity, some Christian denominations believe that Jesus (pbuh) is the son of God but not God himself, thus rejecting the Trinity. Now, let's evaluate this belief based on logic. What does the title "the son of God" mean in the first place? There are four possibilities that can explain this title:
The first possibility: Jesus (pbuh) was born as a result of a sexual intercourse that God engaged in with Mary (pbuh) and he is literally the son of God. This possibility has no basis and it attributes weak human characteristics to God. This possibility is rejected by most Christians as it has no basis in the Gospels.
The second possibility: The title of "the son of God" means that Jesus (pbuh) is part of the Trinity. Being the son of God means being another person of the same God, namely, it is tantamount to being God himself. This possibility is the one that is accepted by most Christians today. I am not going to elaborate on this possibility because I have already proven above the logical and scriptural problems with the Trinity.
The third possibility: Jesus (pbuh) has divine attributes but he is not equal to God. God is above all existence and he has no equivalent, but Jesus (pbuh) is similar to him although not equal. This belief rejects the Trinity which says that God and Christ (pbuh) are the same entity, and it is accepted by some small groups such as Jehovah's Witnesses. In reality, there can be nothing equal to or similar to God, nothing that is not as great as God can have divine attributes. It is unthinkable for a God to have the slightest impotence. If Jesus (pbuh) is below God –and he is below God according to this belief-, Jesus (pbuh) has no power over God but God has infinite power over him. A person who is completely under something else's dominion and power can only be a slave. If we divide both 1 and 1,000,000,000 by infinity, the result will be zero in either case. Namely, regardless of how great someone is, he is nothing but zero when compared to God, he is great only when compared to other finite human beings. Although Jesus (pbuh) is way greater than us, he is nothing but zero when compared to God who is infinite.
The fourth possibility: The title "the son of God" is a metaphor and it expresses God's love for Jesus Christ (pbuh) who is one of the five greatest Prophets. The Quran calls Abraham (pbuh) "the Friend of God"; this doesn't mean that they literally are friends. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is called in one narration "the Beloved of God" and he has been referred to by this title throughout the Islamic history; this doesn't mean that God and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) are on a date. Khalid ibn al-Walid was honored with the nickname "the Sword of God" by the Prophet himself, this doesn't mean that Khalid ibn al-Walid is literally a sword and God needs a sword for victory. Jesus Christ (pbuh) was given the nickname "the son of God" because he was created directly by God without using a father as an intermediary and because he had a firm faith in God. This phrase isn't beyond a metaphorical nickname. If we were to take the word "Father" that Jesus (pbuh) would use to refer to God literally, then we would get the impression that God is male which is contrary to all major religions as God cannot have a gender. This fourth possibility does not contradict the teachings of Islam and it is the one that most accurately and logically explains the title "the son of God".
I have evaluated until now the rational aspect of the concept of "the son of God", now let's look at how this concept is constructed in the Gospels. It is pretty weird that Jesus (pbuh) consistently uses the phrase "the Son of Man" when referring to himself in the Gospels, and this phrase is used for Jesus (pbuh) 88 times in total throughout the New Testament. He occasionally uses this nickname instead of his own name. It is as if he is answering those who will call him the son of God in the future. It is similar to the Quran's usage of the phrase "Messiah the son of Mary" when referring to Christ (pbuh) in order to implicitly oppose Christians. One example of these 88 verses is this: "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40)"
It is true that the phrase "son of God" is used for Jesus (pbuh) in the Gospels. However, this title is not used exclusively for Jesus (pbuh); God is likened to a father, and all servants who love him are likened to his children in the Gospels. Namely, this phrase is merely a metaphor. Let's give some examples to these verses:
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)"
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)"
"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:44-45)"
"Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' (John 20:17)"
We can extend these examples. There are similar similes in the Torah as well:
"When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. (Genesis 6:1-2)"
Moreover, Adam (pbuh) is called the son of God in the Gospels: "…the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. (Luke 3:38)"
No Christian scholar has claimed that Adam (pbuh) is the son of God despite this last verse. It is possible that the fact that both Adam and Jesus (pbut) were created without a father caused them to be likened to the sons of God. The Quran correlates Adam and Jesus on this basis: "Indeed, the example of Jesus to God is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, "Be," and he was. (Qur'an 3:59)" It is not surprising for Jesus (pbuh) to introduce himself as a son of God in that period of time. When the Jews would question Jesus (pbuh) by asking "Whose son are you? Who is your father?", answering them by saying "I was created miraculously without a father" might have caused him to be ridiculed by the Jews. Jesus (pbuh) preferred answering them by saying "My father is God", thereby giving them a more profound and thought-provoking reply. People were called along with the names of their fathers (like Muhammad the son of Abdullah, Cane the son of Adam…) in Middle Eastern culture, and there are many countries that still use the father's name instead of the surname. Jesus (pbuh) might have demanded that people call him "Jesus Christ the son of God" since he has no actual father. What is important here is that Jesus (pbuh) did this with no cruel intention, how could have he anticipated that millions of people will think of him as the literal son of God for thousands of years?
WHY WAS JESUS (PBUH) DEIFIED?
Jesus (pbuh) is not the only person in history that has been idolized and deified. People tend to magnify those they love to the point that they no longer evaluate them logically and objectively. Even our societies have people that are idolized by some groups. It is a known fact that some Muslim groups deify the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), who spent his entire life preaching monotheism. Many people in history have been called "the son of God", even Alexander the Great was called the son of God although he was not a religious figure at all. The Quran lets us know this: "The Jews say, ‘Ezra is the son of God'; and the Christians say, ‘The Messiah is the son of God.' That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved [before them]. May God destroy them; how are they deluded? (Qur'an 9:30)" I am not going to confine myself to blaming the human nature that is inherently disposed to idolizing and deifying, I am going to look into the special reasons for the case of Jesus (pbuh):
1-) It was difficult to attain accurate and reliable information from Jesus (pbuh) because he had only a few believers (disciples). He wasn't very popular and recognized in his time, and this opened the way for the emergence of lots of inaccurate and fabricated knowledge about him. We see that Jesus (pbuh) was already a legendary figure in the 2nd century when we look at the Gospels written in that period. For example, The Gospel of Thomas which was written in that period accounts that Jesus murdered a small kid. This historical knowledge is not accepted by Christians as it doesn't serve their purpose, but many of the historical accounts that they accept are not indeed more reliable than this. On the other hand, the fact that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was a recognized man and the ruler of Arabia when he died with tens of thousands of believers prevented him from becoming a legendary figure circled by fabricated information, because one fabricated account could easily be negated by thousands of other accounts.
2-) The Gospels focus on the miracles of Christ (pbuh) rather than his daily life, and this is one of the reasons why he was later fancied as a divine figure. Jesus (pbuh) had daily needs and practices just like everyone, but these are barely mentioned in the Gospels. The Gospels conjure up in our minds the image of an extraordinary entity who performs miracles in every moment of his life because the Gospels merely narrate the noteworthy incidents that Jesus (pbuh) went through like diaries we keep. Jesus (pbuh) explains the secret of his miracles as following: "Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. (Mark 11:23)" Namely, the secret of his miracles is his deep faith and trust in God. Anyone who reaches his level of faith can perform these miracles with the permission of God. It is known both from the religious scriptures and historical accounts that many Prophets and scholars had performed miracles, and this capability is not exclusive to Jesus (pbuh). There were countless extraordinary miracles in the life of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as well, but we know his life to the slightest detail since we have more than ten books of traditions narrating his life. We have in our books a figure of a Prophet who would play with kids, make jokes, laugh, cry and sustain a family. Namely, the fact that we know the human aspects of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) along with his Prophetic aspects prevented us from elevating him to a divine position.
3-) Jesus' abstinence from marriage contributed to his deification. His marriage and children could have damaged his divine position (as if his eating, sleeping, urinating doesn't damage it enough!) There is no special reason why he remained single, it is quite normal considering that he left this world at a young age. Islamic traditions foretell that he is going to marry and have a kid when he comes back to the world in the end times.
4-) The profound, metaphorical and indirect rhetoric of Jesus (pbuh) with frequent usage of similes caused many to misunderstand him.
5-) The fact that the Christians regarded the priests and saints that came after Christ almost as prophets and held their opinions above the clear injunctions of the Bible is the primary reason why they deviated from the path of God. The parts of the New Testament besides the Gospels comprise half of the New Testament and they are written by priests who had no connection with Jesus (pbuh) at all. These people had never seen Jesus (pbuh) in their lives. Even Christians admit that the founder of Christianity is not Jesus (pbuh), it is Saint Paul. Paul, who is the author of almost half of the New Testament, interpreted Christ (pbuh) by his own biased judgments and added many things to Christianity that were neither mentioned nor commanded by Christ (pbuh) himself. Most differences between Islam and Christianity stem from the writings and opinions of Paul. We do not know if Paul had good intentions, but it is not acceptable for someone who is not guided by a divine revelation to lay the foundations of a divine religion and to put his own writings in the Holy Book. Priests have interpreted Christianity as they liked for centuries and have treated any dissent quite harshly. This made Christianity into a paganism shaped by priests over time. "They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides God, and [also] the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him. (Qur'an 9:31)"
THE CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS (PBUH)
Another major difference between Islam and Christianity is their disagreement about the resurrection of Christ (pbuh). According to Islamic belief, God saved Jesus (pbuh) miraculously from the Jews and raised him up to heaven so that he can come back and complete his messianic duty in the end times. Christianity, on the other hand, claims that the crucifixion of Christ (pbuh) was a ransom for the sins of people, therefore those who believe in him will not be punished for their sins. In reality, Jesus (pbuh) said that evil deeds will cause one to enter Hell, therefore we must avoid sins as much as possible: "If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell. (Mark 9: 43-47)" How rational is it to believe that faithful people will be saved from the punishment no matter what sins they commit in spite of a prophet who warns fearfully against defying the rules of God? How rational is it to build the entire Christian doctrine on the resurrection of Jesus (pbuh) when Jesus (pbuh) never talked openly about his resurrection and his disciples had no idea about it during his lifetime? If the death of Jesus (pbuh) was for the salvation of those who believe in him, what is going to happen to those that lived before Jesus (pbuh)? If God had a plan for saving people from their sins by sacrificing Jesus (pbuh), why didn't he do this at the beginning of mankind but caused people to live in unawareness of Christ (pbuh) for thousands of years before Christ (pbuh)?
Christians go even further to say that the Jewish law is not binding anymore. All sins have been forgiven at the end of the day, there is no point in observing the rules for them. Though Jesus (pbuh) never told that he was crucified as a ransom for the sins of people, Saint Paul founded the entire Christian doctrine on this. In fact, Jesus did not annul the Jewish law completely despite easing some of its difficult rules and allowing some practices that were considered impermissible before him. These verses of the Gospels are strong evidence for this: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-20)" The violation of even the smallest law is a crime as per Jesus (pbuh). In contrast, Paul's Christianity refuses following the law, it defies important injunctions such as circumcision and the impermissibility of eating pork. Those who practice religious laws most strictly have always been Muslims throughout history, this reality alone suffices to demonstrate that the genuine followers of Christ (pbuh) are Muslims, not Christians.
The Gospels do not reject the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus (pbuh) although they no way assign as much importance as the Christian doctrine to these events. It is written in the canonical Gospels that Jesus (pbuh) did get crucified and was resurrected three days later, and this account clearly contradicts the Quran. Islam holds that Jesus (pbuh) was miraculously saved by God and someone who was made to resemble him in terms of physical appearance was crucified instead. We can enumerate some reasons to explain this contradiction:
1-) It is not realistic to expect from the witnesses of crucifixion to realize that the crucified man wasn't Jesus (pbuh) although he was made to resemble him in appearance, and to interpret the following events in awareness of this trick of God. These people wrote down what they witnessed and they quite expectedly misinterpreted the extraordinary unnatural events. The accounts revealed by God with respect to this are certainly more accurate than those of humans who have limited perception. If God had revealed in the Quran that God resurrected Jesus after his death with the purpose of sending him back to the world in the end times, we would have believed that and this still wouldn't have meant that Jesus is divine. God did not allow the disbelievers to kill one of his greatest Prophets; just like he turned the fire into a garden when Abraham (pbuh) was thrown into it, like He parted the sea when Moses (pbuh) was about to be caught by the armies of Pharaoh, like He blinded the pagans when they had besieged the house of the Muhammad (pbuh) so that the Prophet could escape.
2-) It could be asked why all of the four Gospel authors made the same mistake about the resurrection. This question is an ignorantly-asked one because it is known that the Gospel authors depended on and copied from each other while writing the Gospels. A mistake in one Gospel was automatically copied into the others. It is written in the preface of the Gospels in "The Jerusalem Bible", a famous translation of the Bible, as follows: "It is clear that Luke depends on Mark, and although it was held for a long time that Mark depends on Matthew, a number of indications now suggest the reverse." So we can see that the Gospel of Mark is the mainstay for the other Gospels, the authors of the other Gospels depended on Mark about what they didn't know. There is this footnote present in the Gospel of Mark of the same Bible under the chapter narrating the resurrection of Jesus (pbuh): "Many manuscripts omit vv. 9-20 (the verses about the resurrection) and this ending to the gospel may not have been written by Mark, though it is old enough." When we combine these two pieces of information that we took directly from Christian sources, we can't help but think this possibility: The part about the resurrection is added by someone else to the Gospel of Mark, and the other three Gospel authors might have copied this account into their own Gospels.
3-) The story of the resurrection in the Gospels is highly contradictory. Jesus (pbuh) recounts the things that will happen to him as such: "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40)" Jesus (pbuh) tells that he is going to stay in the tomb for three days and three nights until he returns to the people. However, the Gospels narrate that Jesus (pbuh) was crucified on Friday night and was resurrected before Sunday morning. His resurrection must have taken place before the Sunday morning because his tomb was found empty in the Sunday morning. So Jesus (pbuh) must have stayed beneath the ground for at most two nights and one day. This amount clearly contradicts the "three nights and three days" duration that Christ (pbuh) had stated before. It is also weird that Jesus (pbuh) compares the things that he is going to go through to what had befallen Jonah (pbuh), because Jonah (pbuh) was alive in the belly of the whale, whereas Christians believe that Jesus (pbuh) was dead below the ground before his resurrection.
4-) Is there any evidence in the Gospels implying that the crucified man wasn't actually Jesus (pbuh)? Yes. Jesus told his disciples during the last supper that he is not going to drink wine anymore: "I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. (Matthew 26:29)" In contrast, the Gospels narrate that the crucified man drank wine shortly before he died: "Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. (Matthew 27:48)" Jesus' vow in the previous night would have turned out to be a lie if the crucified man were really Jesus (pbuh), and lying is not befitting for a prophet. It is also narrated that the crucified man cried out these words before he was put to death: "About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli,[c] lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"). (Matthew 27:46)" In reality, it is never befitting for a prophet who accepts the destiny of God and knows the value of martyrdom to reproach God, revolt against his destiny and fear martyrdom. This shout neither befits the Christ (pbuh) of the Gospels nor Christ (pbuh) of the Quran. These attitudes prove that this shouter –the crucified man- is not actually Jesus (pbuh).
5-) There is also historical evidence in favor of the belief that the crucified man was not Jesus (pbuh). The sect called Docetism that appeared in the first centuries of Christianity accords with the Islamic teachings in this regard. Basilides, a Christian religious teacher that lived in the early second century, was one of the leading figures of this trend. He emphasized in his writings that Jesus was neither crucified nor resurrected. He defended that the crucified man was Symon of Cyrene, who assumed Jesus' form and was crucified in Christ's place. As Simon was crucified, Jesus returned to God laughing at those who mourned his suffering. You can search for Basilides on your own if you seek firsthand knowledge about him. We can undoubtedly say that there were tens of sects, cults, and interpretations in Christianity that were starkly different from each other in the first three centuries. The Christianity that we have today is only a single branch of this tree, others were somehow suppressed and extinguished over time.
The Quran's Miraculous Account of Jesus' Unknown Miracles
The Quran narrates us an important miracle of Jesus (pbuh): "So she (Mary) pointed to him (Jesus). They said, "How can we speak to one who is in the cradle a child?" [Jesus] said, "Indeed, I am the servant of God. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet. (Quran 19:29-31)" Jesus (pbuh) replied to the accusations of the Jews when he was a baby, thus proving that he is not an ordinary human being. This miracle is mentioned as follows in another verse: "He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous. (Quran 3:46)" Another famous miracle of Jesus that is mentioned in the Qur’an is his making of birds from clay and giving them life. This is narrated in the Qur’an as follows: “And [make Jesus] a messenger to the Children of Israel, [who will say], 'Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you from clay [that which is] like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by permission of God (Qur’an 3:49)” However, these miracles are not narrated in any of the four canonical Gospels that Christians believe in; therefore Christians had regarded these as fabrications of the Quran throughout history. But a newly discovered historical Gospel with the name "The First Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ" shattered their posture. This Gospel includes the incident that was only mentioned in the Quran until then. At the beginning of this Gospel, the following passage is narrated by a priest: "He (The Priest) relates that Jesus spoke even when he was in the cradle and said to his mother: Mary, I am Jesus the Son of God, that word which you brought forth according to the declaration of the angel Gabriel to you, and my Father has sent me for the salvation of the world. (Chapter 1:2-3)" As you see, the miracle narrated in the Quran is present in a later-discovered Gospel too. Moreover, another passage from the same Gospel is very similar to what the Quran narrates about Jesus giving life to birds made of clay: “And when the Lord Jesus was seven years of age, he was on a certain day with other boys his companions about the same age. Who when they were at play, made clay into several shapes namely, asses, oxen, birds, and other figures, Each boasting of his work and endeavouring to exceed the rest. Then the Lord Jesus said to the boys, I will command these figures which I have made to walk. And immediately they moved and when he commanded then to return, they returned. He had also made the figure of birds and sparrows, which when he commanded to fly, did fly, and when he commanded to stand still, did stand still; and if he gave them meat and drink they did eat and drink. When at length the boys went away, and related these things to their parents, their fathers said to them, Take heed children, for the future, of his company, for he is a sorcerer; shun and avoid him, and from henceforth never play with him. (Chapter 15:1-7)”
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was illiterate. He couldn't have known the Bible even if he were literate because in that age, the knowledge of the Bible was virtually kept hidden by the clergy. What is even more interesting is that these incidents are not mentioned in the Bible, they are mentioned in an unknown Gospel that was discovered much later. It is impossible for an illiterate man to be aware of an unknown Gospel that is not in the Bible in a time period when ordinary people had almost no access to the Holy Scriptures. This miracle is strong evidence that the Quran is the word of God.
Why will Jesus (pbuh) Return to the World in the End Times?
Jesus' return to the world unlike all other prophets doesn't prove his divinity or superiority over all of them. There are particular reasons as to why Jesus (pbuh) will come back the second time unlike all other prophets.
1-) Jesus (pbuh) lived as a prophet for only two years, and he later ascended to heaven when the Jews intended to kill him. This prophet who was sent for guiding the Jews with the title "The Messiah" couldn't actually yet fulfill his duty. The preaching of Jesus (pbuh) didn't guide the Jews; instead, it deviated them even more. It would be such a waste if a great prophet like Jesus (pbuh) had preached people just for two years and not availed them enough. The other four great prophets (Muhammad, Moses, Noah, Abraham (pbut)) had enlightened this world for decades and they had died in a state of worldly victory over disbelief. In contrast, Jesus (pbuh) was aggrieved and overpowered when he left the world, and God wouldn't allow a great prophet of his to leave this world aggrieved and overpowered.
2-) Jesus (pbuh) is one of the most misunderstood people in history. This misunderstanding has reached the crime of equating this modest man with God. It is quite expected of someone who was misunderstood to the point of blasphemy to seek to correct this misunderstanding, answer the slanders against him and guide those who worship him out of excessive love for their own benefit. Nobody can be more effective than Jesus Christ (pbuh) in guiding contemporary Christians because he is the one that Christians revere the most. If Christians were to join Islam one day, the most suitable person who could establish this union is Jesus Christ (pbuh).
3-) Jesus (pbuh) was sent to a nation in which ignorance, bigotry and misuse of religion were quite rampant. The Jews of that period would not associate partners with God, but they had added lots of superstition to their religion and had neglected its essence. The state of the Muslim nation of our time is identical to that of the Jewish nation two millennia ago. Muslims, unfortunately, have followed the footsteps of the children of Israel and repeated their mistakes one by one, that's why the message of Christ (pbuh) is an incredible prescription for today's Muslims as well. The messages of Christ (pbuh) address our problems more than the messages of other prophets because most other major prophets were sent to pagan societies with messages that are somewhat less relevant to modern times since paganism and idolatry are not popular anymore. Our problems as the Muslim nation is similar to those of the ancient Jews, and we need the Messiah as much as they did. Jesus Christ (pbuh) is a unique medicine for the Muslim nation whom God vowed not to withhold.
Did The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Receive Revelation from Satan?
The most popular accusation of Christians against Islam throughout their history is that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) received his revelation from Satan, and the Quran was written through Satanic inspiration. The same accusation was made against Jesus (pbuh) by the Jews. We can paraphrase Jesus's argument for refuting them in Luke 11:14-19 and Matthew 12:22-29 as such: "If devils help me with my affairs, how can I exorcise the devils that possess humans? Isn't this a contradiction given that devils are not enemies of each other? Why should devils help someone who combats other devils?" This argument of Christ (pbuh) applies to Muhammad (pbuh) as well. What kind of a devil inspired Muhammad (pbuh) that he ordered millions of people to hate and curse devils every day. What kind of a devil inspired Muhammad (pbuh) that he created a nation that adheres to the Mosaic law in a time when Christians turned away from religion. What kind of a devil inspired Muhammad (pbuh) that he caused millions of pagans to believe in God alone, to love Jesus (pbuh) and hate Satan? Jinns (devils are a branch of Jinns) are less intelligent than humans, it is more impossible for Jinns to write the miraculous Quran than it is for humans. If Satan created Islam to deviate as many people as possible, why did he make it a difficult religion to practice? More people might have preferred Islam if things like alcohol and fornication were not forbidden in it; why didn't Satan allow these and have more people choose his religion?
Jesus (pbuh) validates the prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh). Jesus says in the Gospel: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (Matthew 7:15-20)" Jesus (pbuh) gives here a method for judging the truthfulness of prophets. If there wouldn't be any prophet after him, he would have stated it outright and cleared the ambiguity; the fact that he gives a method for distinguishing true prophets from false prophets in and of itself proves that there will be a prophet after him. Like Jesus (pbuh) describes, it is impossible for a false prophet to have billions of followers because a lie never lives to be old. The billions of good fruits of Muhammad (pbuh) are clear signs of his genuine prophethood.
Why is there almost no mention of the afterlife in the Torah?
The first thing that will likely surprise a Muslim or a Christian reading the Torah is the rarity of the verses about the afterlife in comparison to the Quran and the Gospels. Although there is some mention of the afterlife in the Old Testament books that are written after the Torah, the Torah itself (The first five books of the Old Testament) virtually never speaks of the afterlife. Consequently, some Jewish sects have rejected afterlife altogether. Let's try to explain the reasons behind the lack of mention of the afterlife in the Torah:
1-) The frequently repeated punishment of "being cut off from his people" and the repeated prize of "being with his people" in the Torah are references to an afterlife. Here are a couple of these verses: "If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. (Leviticus 23:28-30)" "And any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. (Leviticus 17:10)" "For whoever eats the fat of the animal from which an offering by fire is offered to the Lord, even the person who eats shall be cut off from his people. (Leviticus 7:25)"
This punishment is not a legal punishment because God has taken it on himself instead of instructing people to execute it. This punishment isn't about worldly daily life because it is emphasized that it will be executed in the future. Since we know that the Torah uses other phrases for death penalty and banishment, we can deduce that "being cut off from people" relates to the hereafter, and it refers to the punishment of hell.
2-) Scriptural knowledge manifested to humans increase through the succession of prophets. God doesn't manifest all knowledge, and he reveals knowledge according to the intellectual and spiritual level of the nation. Just like we study primary school, high school and university in sequence and cannot skip from primary school to university, the knowledge revealed to mankind through prophets is gradual. What is revealed to Jesus (pbuh) built upon what is revealed to Moses and elaborated it, what is revealed to Muhammad (pbuh) as the final Messenger built upon all previous prophets and elaborated them. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is similar to the university in this gradual succession and the sources of Islam are broader and more elaborate than previous revelations. In particular, the concept of the hereafter in Islam is clearer and more detailed than those of the previous revelations. It is not surprising that the concept of an afterlife is vaguer and more superficial in the Torah compared to the Quran, just like the knowledge taught in primary schools is vaguer and more superficial than those taught in universities. It is important here to mention this Quranic verse in which God is speaking to Moses (pbuh): "Indeed, the Hour (the day of judgment) is coming. I almost conceal it so that every soul may be recompensed according to that for which it strives. (Qur'an 20:15)" God is saying here that he almost concealed from people the knowledge of the hereafter so that people may not worship him out of the fear of hellfire and out of the desire for Paradise, but worship him only because he is worthy of worship.
3-) A huge portion of the Torah recounts the world history chronologically until the time of Moses (pbuh) like a history book. The following portion of the Torah is about rules that people should follow, it imparts the Jewish law in detail. The primary focus of the Torah is not the hereafter because the Jews of that time were already believers in the hereafter, God didn't need to prove the existence of the hereafter to them in the Torah. On the contrary, the Arab nation that the Quran came down upon were not believers in monotheism and an afterlife; therefore, God focuses in the Quran on monotheism and belief in the afterlife in order to instill these new concepts in them. This explains why the Quran incorporates more frequent mention of monotheism and the afterlife than the Torah does.
4-) Every prophet comes with glad tidings of an upcoming important event. Moses (pbuh) brought glad tidings of the coming of Jesus (pbuh), and Jesus (pbuh) brought glad tidings of the coming of Muhammad (pbuh). Since the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the final prophet, there is no prophet glad tidings of whom he can give. The only important upcoming event left that he can foretell and draw people's attention to is doomsday. There is nothing weird about the end time-prophet concentrating on doomsday and the Day of Judgement in his teachings considering that his coming was very close to doomsday, for this reason, the Quran mentions doomsday and the afterlife more frequently than the previous holy books. In summary, one of the reasons why the Torah has much less discussion of doomsday and the afterlife compared to the Quran is that it is more distant to doomsday than the Quran in our timeline.
 Aclûnî, 2/129
 Jones, Alexander. "Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels." Introduction. The Jerusalem Bible. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1966. Page 3. Print.
 Jones, Alexander. "New Testament." The Jerusalem Bible. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1966. Page 69. Print.
 “Basilides.” Jama Masjid, Delhi - New World Encyclopedia, www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Basilides.