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The Gospel According to Islam

Copyright 1979 by Dr. Ahmad Shafaat

Chapter 1 Chapter 4 Chapter 7 Chapter 10 Chapter 13 Chapter 16 Chapter 19 Chapter 22 Chapter 25
Chapter 2 Chapter 5 Chapter 8 Chapter 11 Chapter 14 Chapter 17 Chapter 20 Chapter 23 Chapter 26
Chapter 3 Chapter 6 Chapter 9 Chapter 12 Chapter 15 Chapter 18 Chapter 21 Chapter 24 Chapter 27

CHAPTER 7

  1. And there were in Capernaum many disciples of John the Baptist, (Note 1) and two of them were Andrew and his brother Simon.

  2. And they took Jesus to their house, (Note 2) and there he found that the mother of Simon's wife was sick of a fever.

  3. And Jesus stood over her, took her hand, and prayed to the Lord,

  4. And the fever left her and she arose. (Note 3)

  5. And on the Sabbath day Jesus went to the synagogue and began to preach to the people there,

  6. Saying, O children of Israel, fear the day of the Lord when your father Abraham will be no wise able to save you,

  7. Say not therefore within yourself, We have Abraham to our father: for, as John said to you, God is able of stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

  8. Neither is salvation by the law of Moses alone, but by faith in the One True Living God,

  9. Who is my Creator and your Creator, my Lord and your Lord; so serve Him and Him alone. This is the way that is straight. (Note 4)

  10. As Jesus was speaking these words, there was a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out,

  11. Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with you, you Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?

  12. And Jesus said to the spirit, By the permission of the One True Living God, I command you to come out of him,

  13. And when the spirit had torn him and cried with a loud voice, it came out of him.

  14. And the people there were amazed, (Note 5) but some were offended because of what he said about Abraham and the Law of Moses, even though he had said nothing against them.

  15. But those who admired him took his fame into every place of the country round about.

  16. And at even, when the sun was set, people brought unto him all that were diseased and that were possessed with demons.

  17. And a multitude gathered together at the door of the house of Andrew and Simon.

  18. And he laid his hands on every one of those that were diseased and those that were possessed with demons, and as many as God willed were healed. (Note 6)

  19. And one morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

  20. And Simon and Andrew and other people followed after him.

  21. And when they had found him, they said to him, All men seek you.

  22. And he said to them, Let us go in the next towns, that I may preach there, also; for therefore came I away.

  23. And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee and cast out devils. (Note 7)

  24. And the scribes and the rulers of the synagogue began to be offended by him because of what he preached and because the people admired him for the hearings.

Go to Chapter 8


Notes (Chapter 7)

1That the area of Galilee in which Jesus now moved had many disciples of John is shown by Matt. 11:2-12 and Luke 7:18-30 (see especially Luke 7:28-29). The incident reported in these Gospel passages also shows that John and Jesus did not lose touch with each other and suggest that there was some understanding between them as to what role Jesus was to play in the Baptist movement during John's imprisonment. [return]

2Mark 1:29; Matt. 8:14; Luke 4:38; John 1:35, 40, 41. [return]

3Mark 1:29-31; Matt. 8:14-15; Luke 4:38-39. While Jesus did not perform any miracles in Nazareth because of the unbelief of the people there (Matt. 13:58), in the more receptive Capernaum, he performed many miracles, most of them healing miracles. This is because a miracle is as much a product of the faith of the miracle worker as of his subjects and viewers. Simon's mother-in-law no doubt revered the man who was fit to carry on John's mission and believed that his prayers would be answered. This helped her recovery and also enhanced Jesus' confidence in himself and prepared him for the incident described in subsequent verses. [return]

4The Gospels don't say what Jesus preached in the synagogue at Capernaum, but I have taken the opportunity to introduce the essential elements of his teaching. For v- 9, see Qur'an 3:51. (From other parts of the Qur'an, it is clear that the message of "Tauheed" (Divine Unity) in this verse not only expresses the essence of Jesus' revelatory work but also of all true prophets.) In the canonical Gospels, too, Jesus is heard saying to Israel that the greatest commandment is that "the Lord our God is one Lord, and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy soul" (Mark 12:29-30 and parallels). But, of course, since the children of Israel knew this commandment at the verbal level, Jesus' teachings do not contain frequent statements of it. The explicit concern of his teachings rather is to fight those attitudes that obstructed the way to Tauheed (Divine Unity). These were the Jewish fixation on the past traditions and the law and their religious racialism. John had already spoken against the latter obstruction to the spiritual transformation (metanoia) that he wanted to effect among his people (Matt. 3:9; Luke 3:8). Jesus seems to have followed his teacher in his disapproval of looking for salvation in genetic connections (cf. John 8:31-40). But it is the Jews' obsession with their traditions and the law that is the main object of Jesus' attack. This is not to say that he was against these traditions but only that he disapproved of the Jews' attitude toward them -- their rigidity and extremism, and their disregard of the spirit and purpose behind the laws and traditions. [return]

5Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:33-37. Matthew and John omit the incident. Mark and Luke present it before the healing of Simon's mother-in-law, probably in order to initiate Jesus' public ministry with a more public and dramatic demonstration of his spiritual powers. [return]

6Mark 1:32-34; Matt. 8:14-17, Luke 4:38-40. The earliest Gospel implies clearly that not all the sick touched by Jesus were healed. From the Islamic point of view, this causes no difficulties since Islam regards supernatural powers of the prophets as proceeding from God in accordance with His will and not as necessarily invested in them permanently. [return]

7Mark 1:35-39; Luke 4:42-44. The Gospels suggest that this incident took place the next morning, but this is probably due to the tendency in the Gospel tradition not to allow too much time between various events, so that Jesus does not appear spending same eventless days and leading a less extraordinary life. What we should probably think is that Jesus stayed in Capernaum for some weeks and after some time saw that the number of people who came to him for cures reduced. Only from within a certain convenient distance can people be expected to bring their sick, and within that area the field would be exhausted after a while, especially because the reports of his successful hearings must have partly been countered by those of unsuccessful ones. (It may well be that the Gospel sentence "All men seek you" is meant to cover the drastic reduction in the "crowds" coming to Jesus with their sick to be healed.) Moreover, Jesus had not set out to be a thaumaturge; he, like John, wanted to effect a spiritual transformation among his people. With considerations such as these, he retired to a lonely place in early-morning hours and meditated his future course of action. He decided that he should go to other places, and preach there also. [return]

 


CHAPTER 8

  1. And it came to pass that there came a leper, beseeching him, and saying to him, If you are willing, you can make me clean.

  2. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand and touched him and said to him, Be you clean!

  3. Then, strongly admonishing him, immediately he sent him away,

  4. Saying, See you say nothing to any man, but go and show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded. (Note 1)

  5. And it came to pass on the second Sabbath of the first month, that Jesus and his disciples passed through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked ears of corn and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.

  6. And certain of the Pharisees saw them and said to them, Why do you do that which is not lawful to do on the Sabbath days?

  7. And Jesus, answering them, said, Have you not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungered, and they which were with him,

  8. How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar, the high priest, and did take and eat the shew bread, and gave also to them that were with him, which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests?

  9. And he said to them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for Sabbath; therefore a man is lord of the Sabbath and not Sabbath the lord of man. (Note 2)

  10. And Jesus began to preach out of the synagogues to the poor and to the publicans and sinners. (Note 3)

  11. And one day he went up a mount, and his disciples were gathered around him and a multitude with them.

  12. And he began to preach, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

  13. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

  14. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

  15. Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

  16. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

  17. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

  18. Blessed are the peace makers: for they shall be called the children of God.

  19. Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness sake: for great is their reward in heaven. (Note 4)

  20. And many other things did he preach, and when he was finished, the people were astonished at his doctrine.

  21. For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Note 5)

Go to Chapter 9


Notes (Chapter 8)

1Mark 1:40-44; Matt. 8:1-4, Luke 5:12-16. [return]

2Mark 2:23-28; Matt. 12:1-8; Luke 6:1-5. In the last sentence, the Gospels use the expression "Son of man," which in the Hebrew means "man" or "mankind." The expression is sometimes used to refer to oneself impersonally, just as in our times some writers refer to themselves as "the author" or "the reporter." In addition to these usages, the expression is also used as a title of a figure expected in Jewish messianism, although even there it originally did not refer to a particular figure but to an ideal human being. The Gospel writers and their traditional exegesis often confuse the three usages of the expression. In the present usage, for example, "Son of man" is taken to refer to Jesus as the promised figure, and the following sense is given to Jesus' reply: Jesus, as the expected "Son of man", is the Lord of the Sabbath; hence, the holy day should be dedicated to his worship! [return]

3Luke 5:30; 7:22. [return]

4Matt. 5:1-12. [return]

5Matt. 7:28-29. See Notes 6, 7 to Chapter 4. [return]

 


CHAPTER 9

  1. And Jesus also preached among the publicans who worked for the Roman rulers to collect tax and custom.

  2. And one publican named Levi became his disciple.

  3. And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.

  4. But the scribes and the Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do you eat and drink with publicans and sinners.

  5. And Jesus, answering to what they murmured, said unto his disciples, They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

  6. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Note 1)

  7. And some of the scribes and Pharisees also said, Why do his disciples eat and dine and not fast often as did John.

  8. And Jesus said, Whereunto shall I liken the men of this generation? and unto what are they like?

  9. They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We piped unto you and you did not dance, we mourned and you did not weep.

  10. For John came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and they say, He has a demon.

  11. And I have come eating and drinking and they say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a wine-bibber, and a friend of publicans and sinners.

  12. But wisdom is justified by all her children. (Note 2)

  13. And the disciples of John reported to him of all these things. (Note 3)

  14. And John sent two of his disciples, and said to him, Are you he that should come with me? (Note 4) or look we for another?

  15. When the men were come to him, they said, John has sent us to you, saying, Are you he that should come with me? or look we for another?

  16. And Jesus answered and said, Blessed is he, if he does not doubt me. (Note 5)

  17. I came not to destroy the Sabbath or fasting but only those who make them lords over man. (Note 6)

  18. And I came not to destroy the law or the prophets, but to confirm them. (Note 7)

  19. And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak concerning John, saying, I tell you among those born of women there is none greater than John the Baptist.

  20. And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.

  21. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. (Note 8)

Go to Chapter 10


Notes (Chapter 9)

1Luke 5:27-32. [return]

2Luke 7:31-35. In Luke 7:34, Jesus uses the expression "Son of man" to refer to himself impersonally (cf. Note 2, Chapter 8). [return]

3The incident that follows is reported in Matt. 11:2-11 and Luke 7:18-30. When Jesus started his mission, the disciples of John the Baptist welcomed him, hoping that he would keep the movement of their master alive. But as months passed, Jesus' own personality and views began to show themselves more and more, and some of John's disciples probably started to feel that he was becoming too independent of the master, and they reported to John about this. They probably told John disapprovingly of Jesus' liberal attitude toward the observance of the Sabbath, fasting, etc., and also mentioned how Jesus was becoming popular as a healer. John was influenced by some of these reports to an extent and started to wonder whether his former disciple was really acting in the interest of his movement. Before taking any action, however, he decided to find out what Jesus himself had to say. He called two of his more reliable disciples and sent them to Jesus with the question "Are you he that should come, or look we for another?" The gospels most probably modified the wording of the question (and indeed the whole incident; cf. Note 5 below) to tone down its obvious contradiction with their pretension that John had from the very beginning seen himself as Jesus' inferior, whose main mission was to herald the advent of the Christ Jesus. But what John wanted to know probably was whether he could count on Jesus as his collaborator or whether be should look for someone else. In his reply, Jesus must have tried to remove John's misunderstandings, and with a politeness due from a disciple requested John for his continued support, saying to his disciples, "Blessed is he, if he does not doubt me." It seems that John was satisfied with what his messengers brought back, and the two leaders once again reached some understanding. However, after they died (according to the Gospels), rivalries started again among their followers and did not cease until the Christian church won a complete victory over the Baptist sect. [return]

4The phrase "with me" added to the canonical version of the Baptist's question, reflects the view that John and Jesus were the two Messiahs who were expected in the Essene tradition to come and work together. It is almost certain that Christianity and the Baptist sect grew out of the Essene tradition. [return]

5This is the correct translation of the texts of Matthew (11:6) and Luke (7:23), where the pronoun hos is used demonstratively ("he") and not relatively ("whosoever"; as in many authorized versions), According to Matthew, before speaking these words Jesus says: "Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them." Luke goes even further and makes Jesus perform the whole series of miracles there and then before the eyes of John's messengers. That the words attributed to Jesus by Matthew in the above quotation sound very much like a famous passage from Isaiah (35:5-6) that sets forth the happy circumstances of the future kingdom of God raises a justified suspicion as to their authenticity. And the suspicion is strengthened by the redundancy of showing "John again these things," which the disciples of John are supposed to have already reported to him on their own initiative (Matt. 11:2) and by Luke's over zealousness in showing that those miraculous things actuallv were happening. [return]

6It is hard to believe that Jesus expected to reassure John by merely telling him what he had already heard, namely, about Jesus' "works," as the canonical Gospels would suggest. It is more natural to assume rather that he said something to clarify his position on matters, on which differences arose between him and some of John's disciples. [return]

7Qur'an 61:6, Matt. 5:17. See also Note 1, Chapter 10. [return]

8Matt. 11:11-12; Luke 7:28-30. [return]


Chapter 1 Chapter 4 Chapter 7 Chapter 10 Chapter 13 Chapter 16 Chapter 19 Chapter 22 Chapter 25
Chapter 2 Chapter 5 Chapter 8 Chapter 11 Chapter 14 Chapter 17 Chapter 20 Chapter 23 Chapter 26
Chapter 3 Chapter 6 Chapter 9 Chapter 12 Chapter 15 Chapter 18 Chapter 21 Chapter 24 Chapter 27

 

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