The Islamic Jesus

Behold! The angels said: “O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah”. Surah 3:45

إِذْ قَالَتِ الْمَلآئِكَةُ يَا مَرْيَمُ إِنَّ اللّهَ يُبَشِّرُكِ بِكَلِمَةٍ مِّنْهُ اسْمُهُ الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ وَجِيهًا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ وَمِنَ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ٤٥

Al-Qur’an Al-Kareem. (2004) Surah 3:45

Here in Surah 3:45 we see the start of the Islamic lie about Jesus. We are told that Allah has given Mary a word from him and that his name will be Christ Jesus.

Sahih International translation of Al-Qur’an Al-Kareem  says:

[And mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah ].

Islam makes a claim to encompass the Messiah and that Messiah is intentionally presented to mean Jesus Christ. Seeing that Jesus Christ is Jesus the Nazarene of Judea, and predates Muhammed by very nearly six centuries, the first thing we need to establish is who is the Hebrew Messiah. Jesus was a Hebrew and not an Arab.

The Hebrew Messiah

The Hebrew noun מָשִׁיחַ (mashiach), and the verb מָשַׁח (mashach) appear in the Hebrew manuscripts more than seventy times. The root of the word means to anoint, smear or else to consecrate, hence the verb mashach of “אֲשֶׁ֨ר מָשַׁ֤חתָּ שָּׁם֙ מַצֵּבָ֔ה” Genesis 31:13 [Heb] “where you [Jacob] mashach (anointed) a pillar &c” [Eng], and the noun mashiach of “אִ֣ם הַכֹּהֵ֧ן הַמָּשִׁ֛יחַ יֶחֱטָ֖א” Leviticus 4:3 [Heb] “if the mashiach (anointed) priest sin’s &c” [Eng]. The first usage in Hebrew scriptures of the verb mashach is found in Genesis 31:3, and the first use of the noun mashiach is found in Leviticus 4:3.

The transliterated noun mashiach is translated into English as Messiah, and the literal meaning is anointed one. The transliterated verb mashach is translated into English as anointed. Therefore “הַמָּשִׁ֛יחַ & מָשַׁ֤חְתָּ”, variously present as anoint (action) anointed (condition) and anointed one (being).

The Hebrew word in the manuscript that gives rise to the term Messiah is הַמָּשִׁ֛יחַ (mashiach) and not the Arabic مسح. Therefore regardless as to the Arabic usage of masih, the Hebrew words mashach and mashiach derive their meaning from Old Testament Hebrew and not from Arabic.

Mashiach or Masih?

The Jesus of the Qur’an is essentially a confused personality to the mind of the Muslim. In some Qur’anic verses, the name Jesus is indeed given a place of respect, and nowhere is this more evident than in Al-Qur’an Surah 3:45  اسْمُهُ الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى where Jesus is identified as al’Masih Isa. However, ho Christos, as the Greek equivalence for the English translation, is not Arabic. Nor is the Arabic al-masih sufficiently expressive of the weight of meaning attached to the Hebrew word mashiach. Philologically speaking, I believe that Classical Arabic cannot easily express a proper understanding of Messiah because the Muslim mind cannot comprehend true Christ.

The Arabic, al-masih, is grounded in a morphological conflict between the development and use of the Arabic word masih, and the Hebrew word mashach. This is because the Arabic root word masah مسح is the root word for, wiped, cleaned away, removed, stroked, washed with (water), and anointed with (oil), in a similar way that the Hebrew verb mashach, means to anoint, or consecrate. Unlike Hebrew however, the Arabic masah does not carry the actual meaning of the Hebrew word in its morphologically rendered term al-masih. This means that the Qur’anic الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى carries no more weight of meaning that to say that Jesus was anointed by God.

Apart from saying that مسح is unused in the Qur’anic text in its verb form, it is also necessary to look at why Imams make such a case for expressing the root meaning of مسح, rather than attempting to seriously explore the Hebrew meaning from which the Qur’anic المسيح al-masih is morphologically derived.

The greek word for Christ is Christos (Χριστός), from which every single instance of Christ in the English New Testament is translated, without exception. In the Qur’anic English translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Surah 3:45, the English translation rendered from al-Masih is Christ. Imams choose to ignore that the Hebrew transliterated noun, mashiach, and the transliterated verb, mashach, are different. Islam prescribes the same precise weight of meaning to both words (regardless of grammatical qualification). They also choose to overlook that in Classical Arabic of the Qur’an, the definite article Ji, which is transliterated el (el-masih), is al (al-masih), and renders the term al-masih much more significant in meaning than masih would be without the definite article.

Imams selectively ignore that in the original Arabic text, Al Qur’an Al Kareem, the term الْمَسِيحُ, is presented with the definite article, thereby ensuring that الْمَسِيحُ transliterates as al-masih and not simply masih (مسح). This point is profoundly important because the Hebrew word from which Messiah is derived is the articulated noun, הַמָּשִׁ֛יחַ (mashiach), and not the verb, מָשַׁ֤חְתָּ (mashach). In short, the semantic direction of הַמָּשִׁ֛יחַ (mashiach) points to a Saviour in keeping with Jewish prophetic expectations and not simply an anointed prophet. Only Islam is intent on denying the need for a Saviour, and therefore only Islam is found to be specifically directed against Christ Jesus Himself. Indeed, Islam, is antichrist.

Imams present their ignorance of Hebrew and Greek by inferring that the transliteration of الْمَسِيحُ is masih instead of al-masih and that masih is from the Arabic root word masaha. In this semantic presentation, the Hebrew word mashiach, from which the term the Messiah is correctly derived, with the definite article, becomes mashach instead of mashiach, and the Qur’anic al-Masīḥ becomes masih, without the definite article.

The Qur’anic Scholar

Abú Sa’íd ‘Abdu’llah bin Abú-l Hasan ‘Alí Baizáwí, in his commentary on the Qur’an (Anwáru-t Tanzíl wa asrára-t Táwíl) says that al-masihis originally a Hebrew word, signifying ‘the blessed one.” The interesting thing about this comment, by Al Baizáwí, is that he recognised that the meaning of al-masih comes from mashiach and not from the Arabic root word مسح masah. However the belief or else the claim that مسح is the root meaning of المسيح continues to be promoted as a way of diminishing a true understanding of both Messiah (mashiach) and Christ (Christos).

T. P Hughes says:

“An evident corruption of the Heb. מָשִׁיחַ, which answers to the Χριστὸς of the New Testament, and our English Christ. It occurs seven times in the Qur’ān as the surname of Jesus. Al-Baiẓāwī, the commentator, says, “It is originally a Hebrew word, signifying ‘the blessed one,’ although some have (erroneously, as he thinks) held it to come from Masah, ‘to anoint,’ either because Jesus healed people with his touch, or because he had been anointed by Gabriel as a prophet.”

Hughes, T. P. (1885). In A Dictionary of Islam (p. 328).  W. H. Allen & Co.

One key to understanding this problem may be found in a comprehending of the root concept contained in the Arabic word masah, and how that relates to the Islamic faith. We may need to remember that the root word for, wiped, wiped away, removed, stroked, washed with (water), and anointed with (oil), is مسح masah, which can also be written masaha.

Muslims are very familiar with the idea of removing uncleanliness by an act of rubbing, through a conscious process of using the hand to prepare the body itself for prayer. In the same way, in the Hebrew meaning of mashach, the hands are involved in anointing with oil in consecration, whether of a pillar for remembrance, or a shield for battle, or a priest for service, or a king for governance. In Islam this directly corresponds to wuẓū’ (وضوء); the ablution made before saying the appointed prayers. Both in a strictly ceremonial jurisprudence of Shari’ah, as illuminated from the Mishkāt, as well as the more sacred nīyah of the wuẓū, the action is that of rubbing, rather than washing. This distinction is not a trivial one, albeit that it is easily lost in explanation.

The Shia washes in a more literal sense for prayers, whereas the Sunni rubs مسح with water for prayers. In either case, the central meaning is the same. It is to sanctify the body, ear, nose and mouth for prayer.

The Qur’anic Jesus

The real implication in all of this explanation is that the Qur’anic Jesus is not the Messiah of Israel, and the Christ of the New Testament Scriptures. The Greek title ho Christos is said to have its cognate equivalence in the Qur’an, as Al-Masīḥ, however, its true Hebrew meaning, cannot be found in the Qur’an at all. The outcome is a false cognate equivalence in the mind of the Muslim, who thinks that they are comprehending the true Christ, whereas from the Qur’an it is not possible to conceive of Christ as He really is.

Western nations founded on a European enlightenment informed by Judeo-Christians principles cannot easily see through the Islamic lie, that Islam loves Jesus. It is clear therefore that such a claim gives rise to a disarming of Western minds to the real character of Islam, and lends itself to believing the lie. Islam sublimates an Islamic meaning of a Redeemer, by presenting an allusion to Christ as an act of Dawa in the presentation of Islam – whereas Islam emphatically denies, through the recitation of Muhammad – by transmission of Qur’an – that Jesus either died for sin or that He is the Saviour of mankind.

Those who say that the root of the word masih is masaha, meaning to wash, smear or else anoint, as a mechanism for saying that Messiah simply means annointed are making a false argument – since masah, مسح is the root word with no prior declension. A short look at how this root word is used in the Arabic Old Testament will give some insight as to how the word is applied biblically by Christian linguists and etymologists who understood the limitation and implication of the Arabic root itself, where an Arabic root word is deemed transitionally correspondent to a Hebrew similar meaning.

In the Arabic-Hebrew Old Testament, masah is found numerous times. On five of these occurrences, it is used in transposition to the manuscript Hebrew equivalence of mashach מָשַׁח. On two occasions a different Hebrew equivalence is used. The first variant usage is to be found in Esther 4:3 where the manuscript Hebrew equivalence is saq שַׂק, of “וּבְכִ֖י וּמִסְפֵּ֑דשַׂ֣ק וָאֵ֔פֶר יֻצַּ֖ע לָֽרַבִּֽים׃,” [Heb] “weeping and wailing; and many masah (lay) on sackcloth and ashes &c” [Eng]. The second variant usage is to be found in Isaiah 3:24 where the manuscript Hebrew equivalence is also saq שַׂק, of “וְתַ֥חַת פְּתִיגִ֖יל מַחֲגֹ֣רֶת שָׂ֑ק,” [Heb] “Instead of fine clothes, a machagoreth (putting on) of sackcloth &c” [Eng].

I believe that the underlying meaning of these two variant applications rests on the idea of applying sackcloth as a mantle of repentance. It may be masah in the sense of an act of purification through the use of burlap. It is similar in meaning to the use of a bandage applied to a wound. It is clear then that in the Arabic-Hebrew Old Testament, the Arabic verb form and root word مسح has a limited, and specific application to Hebrew biblical meanings. The root itself, in Arabic literature, has numerous applications beyond the Hebrew meaning of mashach. In Hebrew and Old Testament revelation of God, therefore, مسح has clear linguistic limitations when applied to the Hebrew mashiach or the Greek ho Christos.

The Arabic Calligraph مسح (masah) verb form, does not appear in the Qur’anic text. Whereas the noun المسيح (al-masih), being literally translated the Christ or else the Messiah, appears in Surah 3, 4, 5, and 9 as the Christ Jesus (al’Masih Isa).

The Islamic Lie     

Islam is a falsehood from end to end. It is theologically at odds with both Biblical Judaism and Christianity, and yet the claim is that Islam is a coequal faith in the Abrahamic prophetic line. If we are to address that claim, then we have no choice but to examine Theological Islam before we can necessarily make sense of Political Islam.

In speaking about الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى of Surah 3:45, we are told that Gabriel commanded Mary to call her son “Christ Jesus, the son of Mary.” Yet when we read the Greek Scriptures, we find another account.  

“In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favoured one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom, there will be no end.”” (Luke 1:26–33)

وها انت ستحبلين وتلدين ابنا وتسمينه يسوع. (Lk 1:31)

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”” (Matthew 1:18–21

فستلد ابنا وتدعو اسمه يسوع لانه يخلّص شعبه من خطاياهم. (Matthew 1:21)

The first thing to comprehend about both of these direct accounts of the visit by Gabriel to Mary, and the visit of an angel to Joseph, is that neither of them are told to call the child, Christ Jesus. They are both commanded to call the child, Jesus.

The name Jesus means “He shall save His people from their sins”. In that meaning, and the evidence of it (obedience unto death), this same Jesus, is revealed as the Son of God. That is the clear Christian meaning expounded through the entire New Testament and prophetically held more than 210 times in the Old Testament.

The ministry of John the Baptist expressly sets Jesus in the context of Biblical prophetic meanings and leaves no room for another interpretation.

“I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptising with water was that he might be made known to Israel.” John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptise with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptise with the holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.” (John 1:31-34)

“وانا لم اكن اعرفه. لكن ليظهر لاسرائيل لذلك جئت اعمد بالماء. وشهد يوحنا قائلا اني قد رأيت الروح نازلا مثل حمامة من السماء فاستقر عليه. وانا لم اكن اعرفه. لكن الذي ارسلني لاعمد بالماء ذاك قال لي الذي ترى الروح نازلا ومستقرا عليه فهذا هو الذي يعمد بالروح القدس. وانا قد رأيت وشهدت ان هذا هو ابن الله” (John 1:31–34)

Why the name Jesus?

An angel (Gabriel) tells Mary, and an angel similarly tells Joseph to call the child Jesus. In the case of Joseph, however, the angel says that the reason why he is to call the child Jesus is because He will save His people from their sins.

Not only does this account tell us why Jesus is so named, but Mary is told, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom, there will be no end.” It is this revelation of the name of the unborn baby, that both Mary and Joseph are shown that the child will be the Saviour of His people, and the Messiah and Christ of Israel.

The Scriptures never make the mistake of calling Jesus, Christ Jesus before we are first shown that he is Jesus. Nowhere in the Scriptures can we find a single reference to Jesus, as Christ Jesus, before His death and Resurrection.

The Ministry of Angels

 “for today in the city of David, there has been born for you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

“انه ولد لكم اليوم في مدينة داود مخلّص هو المسيح الرب.” Luke 2:11

In this passage from Luke chapter two, we see that the angel of the Lord, in bearing witness to the birth of a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. The angel said to Joseph “you shall call His name Jesus because He will save His people from their sins,” and finally the angel of the Lord spoke to Mary “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end,” Both the command of the angel to Joseph and Mary, as well as the proclamation of the angel of the Lord to the shepherds agree in precise meaning.

It is only after the resurrection that Jesus is called Christ Jesus in the Scripture. The Qur’an makes this account to be the other way round. In the Scriptures, before the cross, and before the resurrection, we read of Christ, and we read of Jesus Christ – We also read of Jesus – But we never read of Christ Jesus until the Lord is raised from the dead. It is not until Acts 24:24 that we first see the name, Christ Jesus. Yet in the Qur’an (Surah 3:45) the very first mention of Isa (Jesus) is as Christ Jesus.

Jesus, born of a woman according to the flesh can forgive sin, and He can die for sin as a sinless man. As the Christ, Jesus has authority to lay down His life and the authority to take it back again. But it is only after His death and resurrection from the dead that Jesus can give life freely to all who ask Him. He is planted in a physical body and raised a life-giving Spirit. It is for this reason that we never read that Jesus possesses men. It is always Christ in you. Jesus cannot possess a man and be his life. Christ not only gives life, but He is our life if we have believed in Him. For those who are born again of the Spirit of God, are in Christ Jesus, and by the Spirit of God, He becomes our life. To live is Christ and to die is gain.

The thing that injures Islam, as a result of believing Surah 3:45 is that the name of Jesus (Isa) is lost to its real meaning for the one who expresses the meaning of Christ, as the anointed one, and do not see that it is Jesus who saves, and Christ that anoints with the Holy Spirit.

 ““I am the good shepherd, and I know My own, and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father, and I lay down My life for the sheep. “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice, and they will become one flock with one shepherd. “For this reason, the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”” (John 10:14–18)

“اما انا فاني الراعي الصالح واعرف خاصتي وخاصتي تعرفني كما ان الآب يعرفني وانا اعرف الآب. وانا اضع نفسي عن الخراف. ولي خراف أخر ليست من هذه الحظيرة ينبغي ان آتي بتلك ايضا فتسمع صوتي وتكون رعية واحدة وراع واحد. لهذا يحبني الآب لاني اضع نفسي لآخذها ايضا. ليس احد يأخذها مني بل اضعها انا من ذاتي. لي سلطان ان اضعها ولي سلطان ان آخذها ايضا. هذه الوصية قبلتها من ابي.” (John 10:14–18)

This power and authority which Jesus spoke of in John chapter ten (above) are the power and authority of the Christ of Israel. It takes an obedient sinless Jesus to prove who Christ is. Hence why it is written that at the River Jordan, after thirty years of a sinless life, the Father spoke from heaven, “This is My beloved Son in Whom I Am well pleased”. Gabriel said to Mary “you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” It is not possible that Gabriel could have commanded Mary to call Jesus by any other name, then the name of Jesus.

The name Jesus means He shall save His people from their sins. Jesus, means Saviour. Christ, means The Anointed One. Islam focuses on the anointed aspect of Jesus. How simple is that? Who could deny that Jesus was anointed? Not even Islam would have had the presumption to deny that Jesus was anointed of God. Hence why Islam is able to say Jesus was a prophet.

Jesus asked the disciples “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”” (Matthew 16:13–16).

The distinction that makes for a separation unto eternal life is knowing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”” (John 11:25–27) This is the confession that separates the natural mind from the spiritual mind. To know that Jesus is a prophet is a thing naturally acquired, to know that He is the Christ, the Son of God, is to have a part in His resurrection.  It is this reality that Islam expressly and wilfully denies and persecutes.

The Hebrew Jesus

I would like to draw a simple but profound thread of understanding in speaking about Jesus our Salvation. This has to do with the last words which Jacob يعقوب spoke to his sons before he died as recorded in Genesis Chapter forty-nine.   

This is the first time in the Scriptures that salvation by God Himself is made direct reference to. The Hebrew says לִֽישׁוּעָתְךָ֖ קִוִּ֥יתִי יְהוָֽה׃ Genesis 49:18, I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord [Eng]. The word ישׁוּעָתְ is used in speaking of God’s deliverance. Yeshua’s (יְשׁוּעָה) or יְשׁוּעָה (yâshuwʿah) from the root yasha (יָשַׁע,)

This same deliverance of God is used in other passages of Scripture, but here in this verse, this is the first time the word is used. It is the same in meaning as God is my deliverer. The Hebrew word ישׁוּעָתְ, used in Exodus 17:9 וַיֹּ֨אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֤ה אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֙עַ֙ בְּחַר־לָ֣נוּ, is translated, Joshua. The Greek name Iesous (Ιησου̂ς) [Jesus] is a transliteration of the Hebrew name, Joshua, meaning, Jehovah is salvation. Literally, Saviour. As it is written, “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21).

When Jacob spoke to his sons, he was just moments away from death. In his last words, Jacob talked about the Saviour. His hope is evidenced “For thy salvation, I wait, O Lord”. What is singularly profound about Jacob’s words, is that he identifies in his faithful prophetic speech that salvation is the name of the Lord Himself. The Lord is salvation. This is precisely in keeping with the words of Simeon, who while under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, said “for my eyes have seen Your salvation”, as he lifted Jesus in his arms at his circumcision. (Luke 2:25-30).

The Greek Jesus

The Greek name Iesous, Ιησου̂ς is a transliteration of the Hebrew, Joshua, meaning Jehovah is salvation. Literally, it means God is my salvation.

The Qur’anic YA‘QŪB (يعقوب) (Jacob)

To address the profound reality of the deception of Islam we are of necessity required to speak to the root problem in the minds of those who are unable to believe in Jesus, the Saviour of mankind. Whether by men or by angels, if that which is taught does not agree with the Hebrew and Greek Scripture, then it has a poor effect on those who believe such things.

“Were ye witnesses when death appeared before Jacob? Behold, he said to his sons: “What will ye worship after me?” They said: “We shall worship Thy Allah and the Allah of thy fathers, of Abraham, Isma’il and Isaac—the one (True) Allah: To Him, we bow (in Islam).” Surah 2:133

أَمْ كُنتُمْ شُهَدَاء إِذْ حَضَرَ يَعْقُوبَ الْمَوْتُ إِذْ قَالَ لِبَنِيهِ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن بَعْدِي قَالُواْ نَعْبُدُ إِلَـهَكَ وَإِلَـهَ آبَائِكَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَقَ إِلَـهًا وَاحِدًا وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ ١٣٣

Al Qur’an Al Kareem Surah 2:133

At the hour of his death, Jacob spoke of the Messiah of Israel, or else he spoke of Allah of Islam. There cannot be two truths. Either Gabriel commanded Mary the mother of Jesus, to name her Son “Jesus“, or else she was commanded to name her son “Christ Jesus, the son of Mary” Either the word spoken to Mary, by Gabriel, “O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary” is the Word, as the Qur’anic Calligraph says, or else we accept that the Word is ‘Jesus, who is Christ the Lord.


Robert Chisholm