by Dan Wolf
On 12/21/17 the following letter appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch editorials.
Jesus plays a vital role in Islam
Many people think that Muslims don’t believe in Jesus (peace on him). But this is not true. Muslims do believe in Jesus. We believe he is a prophet. In the Christian community, Jesus’ birthday is celebrated on Dec. 25 every year. Many people also may not know that chapter 19 of the Holy Quran is named after Jesus’ mother, Mary. In this chapter, God states that the birth of Jesus was not in December but it was in the summer.
As an Ahmadi Muslim, I hold the belief that Jesus survived the crucifixion and traveled toward India to continue his mission among the lost tribes of Israel. Thus Jesus’ mission of conveying his message to people of all tribes of Israel was completed. He died a natural death at the approximate age of 120 in Kashmir, India. We believe the tomb of Jesus, known as the tomb of Prophet Yes Asif, still exists in the Khanna quarter of the city of Srinagar, Kashmir.
Islam presents Jesus as a human who believed in absolute unity and indivisibility of God. As a prophet, Jesus is very important to Muslims. We honor and respect him. As Muslims, we read, learn, and try our best to act the way all prophets did. This is why whenever someone mentions the name of any of God’s prophets, a Muslim adds the words of blessing and respect “upon him be peace.”
Underlying the Letter
There are at least three things that should be pointed out about the above letter’s contents.
- First, it is true that Islam considers Jesus to be a prophet, a purely human prophet. This denies the Word’s incarnation within the Bible. Further, while Jesus is important, it is Muhammad that is the example that Islam’s followers are to strive to imitate.
- Second, Islam is an ideology that is contrary to and incompatible with Judeo-Christian principles—the same principles underlying our society. Islam says it is a religion because it defines religion as an ideology.
- Third, while the above letter contains some true points about Islam’s beliefs, they are selective and incomplete—they are propaganda.
The following letter was submitted to the Times-Dispatch a few days latter voicing a different view.
I am grateful to Salma Ahmad’s letter about Jesus’ importance in Islam. As a Muslim, she is a sister as we share the same Creator. However, her views speak to the contradictions and incompatibility between Islam and Christianity.
Jesus was not just a man, but both fully man and fully God. Former imam Mario Joseph states even the Qur’an acknowledges this. In Sura 3 He is called Word of God, Spirit of God, and Jesus Christ. God created the universe through the Word. Jesus also gave life and healed the leper.
The Qur’an further says truth comes from God, the Torah and Bible are truth, and God protects His word from corruption. Sura 10, verse 94 tells Muhammad if he has questions he is to seek answers from the truth revealed before, the Torah and Bible.
The Bible is clear about Jesus. The book of John opens with some of the most beautiful words ever written. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus himself testifies to his nature in Chapter 8, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.”
Many following Islam believe the Bible is corrupted. That is not so. We have full New Testament texts written over two years before Muhammad’s birth, and much of the Old Testament over six hundred years. Those texts underlie today’s translations.
The Bible’s message is peace and love, a perfect message for any time of the year.
One must ask why the media is willing to print opinions containing half-truths, but unwilling to print differing views.
The Media’s Responsibility
President Kennedy said the following about the press in an April 1961 speech. The entire speech can be found here.
“I not only could not stifle controversy among your readers–I welcome it. This Administration intends to be candid about its errors; for as a wise man once said: “An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.” We intend to accept full responsibility for our errors; and we expect you to point them out when we miss them.
‘Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed–and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment– the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution- -not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply “give the public what it wants”–but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.”
One must ask themselves when will the media again take up its responsibilities as an institution. Our society cannot function effectively without it. But like many other things it is largely up to us, will we demand it?
Virginia Christian Alliance Advisory Board