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Persona of Jesus and World Religions

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The persona of Jesus is of great significance in both Islam and Christianity. However, there are differences in terms of beliefs about the nature and life occurrences of this noble Messenger. The Quran was revealed by God to the Prophet Muhammad; he had memorized and documented God’s words throughout his lifetime. Today, anyone who calls him or herself a Muslim believes in the complete authenticity of the Quran as the final revealed guidance from God. For Christians, the Bible is broken down into two parts; New and Old Testaments. These include four narratives covering the life and death of Jesus. They have been written, according to tradition, respectively by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are placed at the beginning of the New Testament and comprise close to half of it. In the perspective of Islam, Jesus (or Isa in Arabic), is considered a prophet or a messenger from Allah, Jesus was not seen as a God or a Lord, “He [Jesus] said: 'I am indeed a servant of God. He has given me revelation and made me a prophet; He has made me blessed wheresoever’s I be; and He has enjoined on me prayer and charity as long as I live.” (Surah 19:30-32). According to Islam, Jesus never died on the cross nor ever wanted to die on the cross, nor was he ever born to die on the cross. Muslims believe that Jesus was sentenced to death, and people thought that he got executed on the cross. The Holy Quran rejects this idea, and claims that it is a false perception of the true events that took place. Jesus never died on the cross, nor did he ever die for anyone's sins. “That they said (in boast): 'We killed Christ Jesus The son of Mary, The Messenger of Allah.' But they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not.” (Surah 4:156-158). The ideology of Jesus or (Yasoa in Arabic) is completely contradictory to the beliefs stated concerning Jesus in the Quran compared to the Holy Bible. Jesus is in the Bible. According to the bible, God sent his only “son” Jesus to live and preach among men as a prophet but not as any prophet for that Jesus and God are one, “Jesus answered them, “I and My Father are one.” (John 10:30-33). Jesus was sent to show the misguided sheep the right way and the truth. “I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6-7). ). Jesus was crucified for people’s sins on the cross that people now idolize and worship as a symbol of their savior. Islam only considers the savior of the Christians to be a prophet nothing more and nothing less. All Christians believe that Jesus is God not just an ordinary prophet, he came to life to spread knowledge, wisdom and show people the way . The two different beliefs originate back to the birth of Jesus, the birth was described differently in Christianity than it was in Islam. The two stories of the birth were stated in Surah (19:16-40) and Luke (1: 26 – 38).

The Quran describes the birth of Jesus in Surah (19:16-40). The first verse describes how Mary was disgraced from her family and exiled to a far place to the east. This shows in the Quran that the pregnancy of Jesus was shameful and Mary was punished for it. The Islamic holy book then goes on to describe how an angel appeared to Mary as a human being not in an angelic form. When the angel appeared to Mary she said “innee aAAoothu bialrrahmaniminka in kunta taqiyyan” which means "I seek refuge from thee to (Allah) Most Gracious: (come not near) if thou dost fear Allah." Showing fear rather than surprise upon seeing he angel, which is understandable since the angel did not appear in his Holly form, in light she must have been afraid thinking he is just a normal man. The angel told her that he was a messenger from God, bearing gifts of a Holy child. At this point, the angel only tells Mary about the birth of a “holy child” not a savior or God. Mary questions the man’s wisdom by asking how shall that happen since no man every touched her and she is not married. The man told her, it is God’s wisdom to send a prophet into the world. Then Mary took the child alone, to a remote place, hiding from the outside world, again emphasizing her shame. During the pain of birth under a palm tree, she yelled “ya laytaneemittu qabla hatha wakuntu nasyan mansiyyan” which translates “I wish that I had died before this! Would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight!". Then a voice beneath the palm tree told her to have no fear and not to be sad for thy Lord hath provided a rivulet beneath thee. The evanescent voice told her to shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm-tree: It will let fall fresh ripe dates upon thee. Furthermore, the mysterious voice told her to eat and drink and if she saw with her eye anyone coming to say 'I have vowed a fast to (Allah) Most Gracious, and this day will I enter into not talk with any human being'". Here the story transitions really fast, after Mary has been exiled from her family and abounded alone. The Quran says that she took the baby back to her people and they rejoiced over the baby “O Mary! Truly an amazing thing hast thou brought!” The Quran, also in the previous part, does not explain how Jesus was born, who was there, what happened or anything specific, generally a normal birth. Her people told her that she the daughter of Aaron, her father and her mother, have not committed any sin for her to be pregnant without being married, but she simply pointed at the newborn. They said: "How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?". At that moment Jesus spoke (as a baby) and said: "I am indeed a servant of Allah: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet;”. This part shows Jesus explaining to people that God (Allah) sent him only as a prophet to the people. Then he further claimed; "And He hath made me blessed wheresoever’s I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live;”.Jesus went further by saying “Wabarran biwalidatee walam yajAAalneejabbaran shaqiyyan” which translates; “he made me kind to my mother not like any other child overbearing or miserable”. The most interesting phrase in this Surah is “Waalssalamu AAalayya yawmawulidtu wayawma amootu wayawma obAAathu hayyan” which caused a lot of controversy because it translates: "So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)"! This phrase shows that Jesus will be born, that he will die, and that he will resurrect back to life alive. Then Jesus said “I Am Esau son of Miriam, of the truth many will dispute” . Then the people replied that God did not have to use Jesus to show his majesty, if something was meant to happen it would have happened. Jesus replied to the people and said Allah is my God and your God, on his will I follow like a straight line. He further said “But warn them of the Day of Distress, when the matter will be determined: for (behold,) they are negligent and they do not believe!” “It is We Who will inherit the earth, and all beings thereon: to us will they all be returned.”

The story of birth of Jesus was narrated differently in Christianity, According to Luke (1:26-38), the angel appeared to Mary in angel form; the angels name was Archangel Gabrielle. To a city from Galle to a City called Nasera. The angel was sent to a virgin engaged to a man from David’s house called Joseph. The name of the virgin was Miriam. The angel entered the house and announced “peace be upon you the blessed one. God with you. Blessed are you between women” (Luke 1:27). When she saw the angel she was confused and thought what would be the reason for this introduction. The angel replied knowing what she was thinking in her mind “do not be afraid that you have found a blessing from God”. The angel told her that she will get pregnant and give birth to a baby and she will call him Yaso or Jesus. He will be great and a son of the highest, that God will give him the chair of David his father. For he will own the house of Jacob forever and he’s kingdom will be endless. Mary replied to the angel “how can this be and I do not know a man”. The angel said “The Holy Spirit will descend on you and the power of the highest will shadow you for that the holy child from you will be called God!” The angel also said that the relative Elizabeth, is also pregnant with a son in her old age and she is in her sixth month after not being able to give birth. For there is nothing impossible with God. Mary told the angel that for she is the mother of God, to be your saying. The angel left her in peace.

As seen from the two descriptions of Jesus’ birth, there are significant differences that lead to a distortion in synchronized beliefs. In Islam, the story tells that Mary was alone, she was not engaged to anyone, which is different than in Christianity since she was engaged to Joseph, later on while Jesus was in the temple on time, the Pharisee questioned ‘who shall he be?’ some replied “Jesus the son of Joseph’. In Islam Mary was abounded by her family to remote place alone to hide her “shame” of being pregnant. In Christianity Mary was blessed and she was carying the son of God and she went to Elizabeth and she took care of her during her pregnancy. When the angel appeared to Mary, the Quran states that he appeared as a man not in the form an angel and she was afraid of him. In Christianity the angel appeared in the form of an angel and said his name and Mary was only surprised that God chose her. In the bible, Mary was considered pregnant from the Holy Spirit. The similarities between the two accounts were that they had both questioned how she could be pregnant and not married. When Mary gave birth to Jesus in Islam, she was shameful, that she wouldn’t speak to anyone. In the bible Mary was rejoiced and full of joy and blessings from his birth. In the Quran it shows that Jesus spoke as a baby to explain to people who he is. In the bible Jesus didn’t need to explain to anyone who he is, because most of the people around him knew already that he is the son of God. The biggest difference is that Muslims consider Jesus to be a prophet to Allah only, this is portrayed by his normal birth, not a glorious one. In Christianity Jesus went further than being just an ordinary prophet, he was a prophet but he was also God. Devout Muslims mainly do not believe that Jesus was crucified because crucifixion was reserved for culprits of thefts and murders. Therefore, for Jesus to die on the cross means he wasn’t holy since he died as a criminal. They kept the image of Jesus as a holy prophet and wouldn’t change it. On the other hand, the crucifixion symbolizes Christians more than a murder dying on the cross. It shows greater love more than any normal love. God sent his only son to die for people’s sin and show them, that even though they sin so much, God’s mercy is far wiser for them to see him as just dying on a cross. Christianity and Islam are completely different religions. Jesus is the protagonist of the bible and Mohamed is the protagonist of Islam. These two religions instill two varied beliefs, therefore they will never have the same side of the story.…...

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