𝐃𝐨 𝐌𝐮𝐬𝐥𝐢𝐦𝐬 𝐁𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐞 𝐉𝐞𝐬𝐮𝐬 𝐖𝐚𝐬 𝐒𝐢𝐧𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬?
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐒𝐢𝐧?
From the Christian point of view, sin is a state of being. It is not a matter of choice for us; it is human nature to sin.
They believe that we inherit the Original Sin committed by our Parents, Adam and Eve, in primordial time.
To Muslims, sin is a deliberate violation of a divine commandment, and humans are answerable for it because they choose to sin despite their ability to avoid it.
For Christians, it is absurd for humans to judge or even consider Jesus’ nature as to whether it is sinful or pure. Indeed, for them, Jesus is sinless, as he is God, and isn’t it ridiculous to say that God is sinful?
𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐀𝐥𝐥 𝐇𝐮𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐬
Controversy arises when Christian apologists claim that the Muslim position on Jesus, peace be upon him, as regards his ‘sinless’ state ought to be the same as the Christian one.
But to a Muslim, human nature at birth is fitrah, i.e the state of innate goodness. No one is born a sinner. All are basically and intrinsically pure. In other words, all are born ‘Muslims’(those who willingly submit to God’s laws).
Our God-given nature demands that we do not deviate from it.
But as humans are gifted with choice and free will in this world, they may be seduced from their inherent nature of goodness and fall into sin.
In that case, Divine Guidance still helps them to remain true to their original status of intrinsic goodness. Their pure nature does not change.
All are accountable for what they earn, and in the ultimate reckoning, each gets the credit or the blame for what he or she has done by his or her own willful choice.
𝐉𝐞𝐬𝐮𝐬, 𝐀𝐜𝐜𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐈𝐬𝐥𝐚𝐦
For Muslims Jesus is not God; he was only a prophet of God. And this belief is true to the original Abrahamic (Semitic) tradition of pure monotheism.
Indeed, Christians cannot consider Jesus to be God without violating the First Commandment:
The Lord our God, the Lord is one. (Deuteronomy 6:4)
You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3)
𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐚𝐬𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐟𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰 𝐰𝐚𝐬, 𝐉𝐞𝐬𝐮𝐬 𝐬𝐚𝐢𝐝:
The most important one is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ (Mark 12:29, 30)
𝐉𝐞𝐬𝐮𝐬 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐜𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐦𝐬 𝐨𝐫 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐆𝐨𝐝 𝐚𝐬 𝐰𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐨𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐚𝐬𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐞. 𝐇𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐡𝐞𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐆𝐨𝐝, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐌𝐮𝐬𝐥𝐢𝐦𝐬 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐚𝐜𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐥𝐞𝐝𝐠𝐞 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐚𝐬 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐆𝐨𝐝:
Behold! The angels said: ‘O Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah.’ (Quran 3:45)
𝐉𝐞𝐬𝐮𝐬 𝐖𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐇𝐮𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐡𝐞𝐭
In short, Jesus was a human prophet. And, as a human, he had a human nature.
The Quran’s repetition of his name as ‘Jesus, son of Mary’ is a strong negation of the Christian claim that he was the Son of God: The son of Mary ought to be fully human.
The Christian claim that Jesus was fully human and fully divine should leave us with two separate beings: one divine and the other human, which is absurd.
The attempt of the Christian apologists to foist a ‘divine’ sinless status upon the Muslim Jesus is, to put it mildly, unreasonable.
But the key here is the fact that Islam sees all prophets as infallible as regards intentional, active sin, not because they were divine, but because God created them with a super-human ability to resist sin. They made mistakes, and they got angry, but they did not sin.
Jesus, peace be upon him, is included in this lot.
And so they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own house.”
What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.
The crowd answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
But, let’s talk about this from a Christian perspective.
Sharon Houk answered this question quite well in her article, Did Jesus Really Live a Sinless Life?
It seems impossible for any person to live a sinless life as even the smallest wrongdoing would disqualify us from the “sinless” category. We are correct in concluding it is impossible for a person to be sinless unless that person was also God.
𝐋𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫, 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐲𝐬:
The Bible teaches that he grew in maturity, he knew hunger, he knew thirst, he needed sleep, and, eventually, he died. He was a complete and perfect man who had physical limitations as all humans have. The difference, however, is that he was born of a woman, but supernaturally conceived of God.
The only problem Islam would have with this statement can be found in the last part of the quote: “…that he was born of a woman, but supernaturally conceived of God.”
In order to convincingly present the doctrine that Jesus was fully human and fully God, the theologians had a hard time. The idea that Jesus was “supernaturally conceived of God” is another way of saying that Jesus was “the only begotten of God”—begotten, not created.
𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐛𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐝𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐃𝐮𝐚𝐥 𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞
The inherent proneness of humans toward sin is of piece with all the weak characteristics of humans mentioned in the quote above. And that would mean that Jesus is fully human and had a tendency to sin.
However, their reply is that he is fully divine too! Fully human and fully divine! The contradiction in language reflects the contradiction in the concepts involved.
Muslims believe that Jesus was a human who was protected by God from falling into serious sins like all other prophets were.
Allah knows Best.
Source: Br. Ismail Jacobs