The three most influential books in human history, the holy books of the three main Abrahamic religions, share a common though checkered history. With a string of familiar figures and incidents, each book builds upon its predecessor, sometimes retaining the exact nature of the story and sometimes giving it a new version. Each book seems to have been influenced by its specific purpose and the circumstances of the time it was revealed, with the stories meeting the demands of the day. I believe that the Quranic treatment of Jesus was to establish a firm monotheistic belief.
Jesus, the central character of the New Testament, makes a prominent appearance in the Quran. His purpose in the New Testament differs considerably from that in the Quran as can be observed in the level of importance attributed to him in the two texts. While Jesus is the protagonist of the New Testament, the Quran makes no such observations. The Quran claims to undo the distortions (called tafrih in Arabic) that had crept into the Injil (the Gospels) and the Torah. It further claims to restore the monotheistic nature of the Abrahamic religion, and thus directly refutes the Biblical depiction of Jesus.
But this certainly does not mean that they do not share common beliefs or stories about Jesus (Isa in Arabic). In fact both the books agree totally on the
events leading to the birth of Jesus including the concept of virginal conception of Mary. Sura Maryam of the Quran specifically talks about this virginal conception
as well as how God has chosen Mary “above the women of all nations” (3.42). Similarly the Gospel by Luke shows the angel Gabriel visiting Mary and telling
her that “The holy Sprit will come upon yo...
... middle of paper ...
...d. Nowhere in the New Testament is there a mention of Ahmad.
The Quran and the Bible deal with Jesus during two different periods and with different purposes. It is interesting to note how the two largest religions of the world share so much in common and yet are so different. Yet for the purpose of their followers, both the religious texts are perfect in their own way.
The New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha. Eds. Michael D. Coogan, et al. 3rd Ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
The Meaning Of The Holy Quran. Trans. Abdullah Yusuf Ali. 11th Ed. Beltsville, Md.: Amana Publications, 2006.
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