Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Case against Jesus Christ of the Quran

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.” (Matthew 24:4-5)

Jesus Christ is unique

Jesus is unique not only in the Bible. Among all the prophets ever sent to this earth, only Jesus Christ has been given the following titles in the Quran:

  • ‘Kalimatullah’ – ‘The Word of God’ (Surah 4:171; cf. Revelation 19:13 & John 1); it is identical with God.
  • ‘Ruhullah’ – ‘A Spirit from God’ (Surah 4:171).
  • ‘Al Masih’ – ‘The Messiah’ (Surah 4:171; cf. Matthew 16:16); he was promised as the Saviour of mankind.

Both books, the Bible and the Quran, agree that Jesus Christ is unique in the following ways:

  • The virgin birth (Luke 1:26-31 & Surah 19:16-22) It is a greater miracle than when the first humans were created.
  • His sinlessness (1 Peter 2:22 & Surah 19:19) The Quran speaks about the sins of other prophets here: Adam (7:22-23), Abraham (Surah 26:82), Moses (Surah 28:16), Jonah (Surah 37:142), Muhammad (Surah 47:19).
  • His ascension into heaven (Acts 1:9-11 & Surah 4:158)
  • His second coming (Matthew 24:30 & Surah 43:61)

Why is Jesus Christ so unique?

I have read the whole Quran and could not find an answer to this question. However, I found one in the Bible. There Jesus Christ is unique because he provides the ultimate and guaranteed solution to our problems of how to get forgiveness of sins, how to remove shame, how to live a meaningful life, and how to be certain of going to heaven.

Jesus Christ described in the Bible is to be preferred to the account given in the Quran because he is more: - Real  - Accurate  - Fitting

RAF - Let us start with the last letter of the acronym that will help remember the reasons. The Biblical Christ is:

- More Fitting

The Bible presents us with a story. The Jesus Christ of the Bible fits much better into it than the Jesus described in the Quran. Here is a brief summary of God’s story with this world:

1. God’s love
God creates human beings because he loves them and desires to have a personal relationship with them.

2. Our choice
Since the terms, ‘love’ and ‘personal relationship’ by definition are based on choice, God tested Adam and Eve by forbidding them to take from one particular tree, the tree of knowledge of good and evil in Paradise. They were tempted by Satan and chose to disobey God. Since He is holy and pure, he could not continue to have a personal relationship with them any longer and banned them from Paradise. (Genesis 3; Surah 7:19-27; 20:115-124)   

3. God’s rescue
The rest of the Bible describes how God brings people back into a personal relationship with him again. First he said to the devil that one day a child of a woman would destroy him! God’s main way to achieve this victory was through the concept of sacrifice which he himself provided. (Genesis 3:14-15,21; 4:3-7; Hebrews 11:4; Revelation 20:2)

God called Abraham and told him that one day his seed would be a blessing to the whole world. (Genesis 12:1-3; 15:6; 16; 21)  He tested Abraham’s faith by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac. Later he miraculously intervened by telling Abraham in the last moment not to kill Isaac. (Genesis 22:13-14 and 18) The Quran mentions the same story and summarizes it by saying: “And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice”. (Surah 37:107)

Why is the sacrifice which Muslims, Jews and Christians believe to have been a ram called ‘momentous’, especially when compared with Abraham’s son? Surely a boy is greater, more important, than a ram! The greatness of this sacrifice cannot be found in that it serves as a symbol for an act of men’s self purification or devotion, or to commemorate Abraham’s faithfulness. If that was the case, there would be no need for God to provide a sacrifice at all after the troubled father passed the test. The answer to the question lies in the word ‘ransom’. It means that a person, in this case Abraham’s son, is set free in exchange for someone or something else. When compared with Abraham’s son, the ram by itself is not very special; in that sense it is not great. Therefore, the real importance of it has to lie somewhere else. It symbolically points to an ultimate sacrifice in the future, presented again by God himself.

God’s promise continued via Isaac through the nation of Israel.  The concept of sacrifice shows up again in the way God delivered his people from the tyranny of the Egyptians. Each family had to sacrifice a lamb and smear some of its blood on the doorposts and lintels of their houses. At the same night God would kill all the firstborn of those who did not follow his orders. (Exodus 12)  

Next, God chose the Israelites to serve the surrounding nations as an example of who their Creator is, of how to get back into a relationship with Him and by what principles He wanted everyone to live by. At the heart of God’s relationship with His people was an elaborate system of various sacrifices. By way of offering animals they were assured to get their sins forgiven. (Numbers 19:1-10; confirmed in Surah 2:67-74; 17:1-3)

Both, Muslims and Christians, agree that the blood of animals cannot take away sin. The Tawrah, Zabur and the Injeel indicate that the sacrifices in the past point to a perfect sacrifice that was to come. It was to be Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins. (Lev 23:19-27: ‘atonement’ = from root ‘to cover’, Psalm 22; Mark 10:45; Hebrews 9:13-14,28; 10:1-4; Isaiah 53:5-12; Daniel 9:24-26; 7:13; Mark 14:61-62; Surah 4:172; Luke 24:44ff)

He is God in the flesh since ordinary humans can not die for the sins of others (Ezekiel 18:20; John 8:58f). The message of the Bible cannot have been abrogated; otherwise it would have to be replaced with something similar or better according to Surah 2:106. What better could be offered to us than God personally dealing with our sins and with the shame we brought upon Him and ourselves, by supplying a great sacrifice for us in Jesus Christ?!

- More Accurate

The account of Jesus Christ in the Bible is more accurate. It is based on reliable, primary sources (see here). The Quran was written about 600 years after the Gospels. Why should we believe a witness that is so far away from when the actual events happened? It even states:

Say: “O People of the Book! Ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Law, the Gospel and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord.” ... (Surah 5:68, see also here)

The Quran contains stories from apocryphal sources. These are writings that were of questionable authenticity and are not accepted by Christians as God’s word (see here).

- More Real

Since both, the Quran and the Bible, agree that Jesus is alive today one would expect to be able to experience his power and his presence in a real, practical way. That is exactly what happens to me and countless other followers of Jesus today. I find myself beautifully described in the following verse of the Quran:

ثُمَّ قَفَّيۡنَا عَلَىٰٓ ءَاثَـٰرِهِم بِرُسُلِنَا وَقَفَّيۡنَا بِعِيسَى ٱبۡنِ مَرۡيَمَ وَءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُ ٱلۡإِنجِيلَ وَجَعَلۡنَا فِى قُلُوبِ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّبَعُوهُ رَأۡفَةً۬ وَرَحۡمَةً۬ وَرَهۡبَانِيَّةً ٱبۡتَدَعُوهَا مَا كَتَبۡنَـٰهَا عَلَيۡهِمۡ إِلَّا ٱبۡتِغَآءَ رِضۡوَٲنِ ٱللَّهِ فَمَا رَعَوۡهَا حَقَّ رِعَايَتِهَا‌ۖ فَـَٔاتَيۡنَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مِنۡہُمۡ أَجۡرَهُمۡ‌ۖ وَكَثِيرٌ۬ مِّنۡہُمۡ فَـٰسِقُونَ

Then We caused Our messengers to follow in their footsteps; We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow, and gave him the Gospel, and placed compassion and mercy in the hearts of those who followed him (57:27)

I sometimes hesitate to call myself a Christian because many bad things have been done and sadly continue to be done in the name of ‘Christianity.’ I prefer to call myself a follower of Jesus. I believe that people like me have more things in common with practicing Muslims than with the average Westerner. By their bad actions they prove that they do not know Christ. God placed compassion and mercy in the hearts of people like me. He wants us to act in that way also towards others. However, you can only pass on what you yourself have received first.

The literal meaning of the Arabic word “Injeel” is “Good News”. Jesus said that the way to properly respond to it is to repent (meaning: a change of mind resulting in turning away from sin and shame) and to simply believe that Jesus died for us and rose again. This sacrifice was necessary to satisfy the demands of God’s attributes of justice and love. The former asks for punishment, separation from God and death for sin. The latter requires forgiveness of the sinner. In accepting God’s way of dealing with our sin and shame a person receives Jesus and his mercy in their life by trusting what he did and said. Nothing is impossible to God! He will produce in them assurance of forgiveness instead of uncertainty, joy instead of sadness, selfless love and forgiveness instead of hatred and fear and good deeds instead of bad ones.

For a free Bible and correspondence course or for more information please write to me at: oskar1(at)