There is a popular notion that the Jesus of the Bible is the same person as Isa of the Quran. When there is so much hostility between Christians and Muslims, there is an understandable tendency to try and find common ground between the two religions. One example of this is in the attempted harmonization between Jesus and Isa, combining them into a single character.
So what does the Bible say about Jesus? What does the Quran say about Isa? We will compare the two characters using the Bible (all references in RED) and the Quran (all references in GREEN). Lets start with the birth of Jesus.
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
From this text we learn that Jesus was the Son of God. The Holy Spirit caused Mary to supernaturally become pregnant, since she was a virgin, and that the child to be born would be holy.
From the Quran, we read
And she who remained chaste, protected her cleft (farjaha), so We blew into her from Our Spirit, and We created her and her son (as) a sign to world.
And Mary Amran’s daughter who remained chaste, protected her cleft (farjaha) between her legs, so We blew in it from Our Spirit (roohina), and she confirmed the truth of her Lord’s words, and His Books , and she was of the devoutly obedient.
The references to “Our Spirit” (roohina) perhaps indicate that this was all done through the the angel Gabriel (or Jibril).
The Quran records that Isa was born in a desolate place, where Mary was alone under a palm tree.
She said, “How can I have a son, when no man has touched me, and I was never unchaste?” He said, “Thus said your Lord, `It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign for humanity, and a mercy from Us. It is a matter already decided.”
So she carried him, and secluded herself with him in a remote place. The labor-pains came upon her, by the trunk of a palm-tree. She said, “I wish I had died before this, and been completely forgotten.” Whereupon he called her from beneath her: “Do not worry; your Lord has placed a stream beneath you. And shake the trunk of the palm-tree towards you, and it will drop ripe dates by you.”
This is quite different from the Bible, which records Jesus being born in Bethlehem in a place where animals were kept. According to the Bible, Mary was not alone, but was with Joseph during the time she gave birth to Jesus.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a feeding trough, because there was no guest room available for them.
The Bible records the first instance where Jesus is worshiped as a small child. This occurred when Magi (Kings or wise men) from the East visited him.
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Jesus is worshiped on multiple occasions throughout the Bible, and never rejects the worship being given to him.
Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.
Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
Jesus is referred to as “The Word” in both the Quran and the Bible.
O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion, and do not say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Isa, the son of Mary, is the Messenger of Allah, and His Word that He conveyed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Here we can see that the Bible clearly expresses the deity of Jesus – “the Word was God.“
Perhaps the most striking difference between Jesus and Isa is in how they died. Jesus predicts his own death and resurrection multiple times in the Bible
And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly.
As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed.
And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”
And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Isa also references his own death and resurrection in the Quran
“And peace is on me (Isa) the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive.”
But then, in a shocking revelation, the Quran tells us that Isa didn’t actually die on the cross, it only looked that way.
And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Isa, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them.
Allah fooled those who were present that day, witnessing the crucifixion. According to the Quran, Isa was not killed, but rather, another person who looked like Isa was crucified on that day. Today, billions of people believe that Jesus died by crucifixion. If Isa and Jesus are the same person, and Jesus didn’t actually die on the cross, then this is undoubtedly the greatest deception in the history of the world.
Further, since Jesus predicted his own death, that would make him a false prophet since he predicted his own death. Without the crucifixion, there is no resurrection. Without the resurrection, there is no Christianity. Perhaps there are other sources we can look at to determine whether or not Jesus actually died by crucifixion. Besides the Bible, what do other historical sources say when it comes to this issue? The following sources all confirm the crucifixion of Jesus:
Mara Bar Serapion (73AD)
Lucian of Samosata (165AD)
If Jesus did not die on the cross, then we would expect to see some sort of historical evidence that refutes the crucifixion of Jesus from that time period. But there is no such evidence, and it’s not until the Quran was written over 600 years later that there is any mention of an impostor in the place of Jesus on the cross.
For this reason alone, we can conclude that Jesus and Isa are not the same person.
Jesus died by crucifixion.
Isa did not.
Jesus went beyond simply predicting his own death. Jesus predicted his own resurrection, to prove that he had power even over death. This was how Christianity started, because hundreds of people claimed to have seen Jesus alive days after he was executed. Many of those people would be persecuted, tortured, or even killed for this belief.
So who was this Jesus?
I believe that is the most important question any of us will ever ask.
A Muslim named Nabeel Qureshi dared to ask that very question, and it took him on a journey that challenged his faith and ultimately changed his life. You can watch him tell his story here, or listen to it below
If you would like a free copy of Nabeel’s book “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus”, please click here and I will send this book to you by mail.