Dr. Peter Riddell delivered a lecture on the Jesus of Islam during a CIU course. Here, Riddell presents the Islamic view of Jesus (Isa) as a prophet found in the traditions and within the Qur’an. 


  Here starts the auto-generated transcription of Dr. Peter Riddell’s Lecture: The Jesus of Islam: 


Welcome back to understanding the Quran. In the last couple of lectures, we’ve dealt with the issue of prophethood in Islam. And in that, we considered various prophets giving particular attention to Muhammad, who Muslims considered to be the last and the greatest prophet of Islam. Another key prophet in the Islamic accounts is, the prophet Isa, usually translated as Jesus. And in this lecture, we’re going to focus on the Islamic Jesus, looking at various sources that help us to understand the Quran on this particular theme.


Now if you turn to your Moodle page to see what resources are there, the resources include some quite diverse readings on the question of Jesus in Islam. You have a selection by, that’s been compiled by F. E. Peters in which he gathers together, various readings on Jesus from the Quran, drawing on the commentators as well. So that will give you a snapshot of a different kind of, different kinds of, materials that help us to understand the quranic account of Jesus.


You also have a reading by Seferta in which he deals with modern commentators and their treatment of the Jesus theme. Modern commentators, Mohammed Abdul and Rashid Rida. And you also have an interesting writing by an Indonesian writer called Hasbulla Bakri. Also linked to the middle page for this lecture is a film about which I’ll say more later. And as always, you have a couple of readings by Christian writers giving a Christian response to this particular theme.


So we’re dealing with the Jesus of Islam, best known as Isa. That’s the name that’s used for him in the Quran. Now the fact is that Jesus is interwoven throughout the fabric of Islam. The biblical account is drawn on and adapted. And the Muslim starting point is a specific view of Jesus that’s similar in some respects to Christianity.


We do hear echoes of the Christian account of Jesus, but there are significant differences and they should not be ignored. In the Quran, Jesus is understood in the usual prophetic terms, the kind of prophetic language and prophetic function that is allocated to to other prophets in Islam. But we should also note the sheer brevity of references relating to Jesus in the Quran. There’s not there’s barely 90 verses in the Quran which contains over 6,000 verses, barely 90 verses make reference to Jesus, and most of these verses relate to Jesus’ birth narrative. It should be noted that Jesus is the last prophet before Mohammed.


He’s penultimate. His prophethood is penultimate to that of Mohammed. And he’s seen in the Quran as a subject of controversy. The Quran itself makes the statement the person of Jesus the person of Jesus, so the Quran sets out to set the record straight. Apart from the Quran, of course, Jesus appears in the hadith collections, and these serve to supplement the quranic account, adding a lot more detail to what the Quran has to say about Jesus.


For example, hadith number 652 from volume 4 of the collection by Al Bukhari has Mohammed saying, both in this world and the and in the hereafter, I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, the son of Mary. The prophets are paternal brothers. Their mothers are different, but their religion is 1. There are really from a Christian perspective, there are really two manifestations of misunderstanding about Jesus in the Quran. Firstly, there’s a misunderstanding by Muslims of the true character of Jesus, of who he was, and there is also a misunderstanding by Muslims of what Christians believe about Jesus.


The Quran, from a Christian perspective, explains away all the unusual characteristics of Jesus. The virgin birth is not seen as a sign of divine incarnation. It’s merely a sign of Allah’s omnipotence. Surah 112, that that oft repeated surah of the Quran, it rejects the Christian doctrine of incarnation as does surah 18 verses 4 to 5. These are key verses within the Quran for challenging and rejecting the Christian account of Jesus and the biblical account of Jesus.


The Quran says that Jesus performed many miracles in verse, 49 of surah 3 as well as verses 113 to 108 of 5. But that his miracles are not seen as evidence of Jesus being more than human. Rather, they’re, again, pointing to seen as pointing to Allah. So Jesus’ miracles and the virgin birth merely point to Allah as to how powerful Allah is. He can do anything.


Those events do not point to something special about Jesus. 4 verses 171 to 172 represent a firm condemnation of the claims of the trinity, and I would encourage you to read those verses. But the trinitarian concept within the Quran does not seem to reflect the Christian understanding of the trinitarian concept. The Quran seemed to imply that the trinity consisted of god the father, Mary the mother, and Jesus the son, which, of course, is not how the Bible betrays the trinity. Surah 4 verses 157 to 159 are key verses that reject the crucifixion of g Jesus.


Jesus. And in rejecting the crucifixion of Jesus, these verses therefore side step any claims of resurrection from death. Now the vast majority of Muslims, the orthodox dogma is that Jesus did not die. He was not crucified. So, again, this represents a clear misunderstanding of biblical claims and teaching about the person of Jesus.


I’d like you to consult reference materials and online sources to draw up a list of those Quranic verses that refer to Jesus. And you’ll find a good selection of Quranic verses on the Jesus account in the reading by Peters on the Moodle site. I’d like you to read all the verses on the Jesus story in the Quran and consider how the Quranic account compares and contrasts with the biblical account of Jesus’ life and ministry. We’re definitely into a a stage where comparison and contrast is relevant because Jesus the Jesus story is so central to the Christian story. Jesus makes an appearance in the Quran in a form, but how connected is it with the biblical account?


I leave that for you to make that comparison from the materials. And I would also encourage you to watch the film the Jesus of Islam or the Muslim Jesus, for which a link is provided on your Moodle page and to respond to that. That presents a Muslim account of the Jesus story, and you will be assisted in your response by the readings by the Christian writers also provided on the Moodle page.