Sunday, May 29, 2016

Jesus - among those near God

In response to a question about evidence regarding Jesus' death in the Quran: 

Based on what I've understood of the Quran, I believe that Jesus [Essa Ibn e Mariam] was raised alive and brought near to Allah. 

Surah Al-Waqiah mentions three categories of people, among which the foremost in faith will be those brought near [أُولَٰئِكَ الْمُقَرَّبُونَ]. Interestingly, in the Quran, the only human being mentioned by name as among those brought near is Jesus:
إِذْ قَالَتِ الْمَلَائِكَةُ يَا مَرْيَمُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُبَشِّرُكِ بِكَلِمَةٍ مِّنْهُ اسْمُهُ الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ وَجِيهًا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَمِنَ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ
When said the Angels, "O Maryam! Indeed, Allah gives you glad tidings of a word from Him, his name (is) the Messiah, Isa, son (of) Maryam, honored in the world and (in) the Hereafter, and of those brought near (to Allah).

In Surah Nisa, the angels and Jesus are mentioned as those worshipping Allah: 
لَّن يَسْتَنكِفَ الْمَسِيحُ أَن يَكُونَ عَبْدًا لِّلَّهِ وَلَا الْمَلَائِكَةُ الْمُقَرَّبُونَ وَمَن يَسْتَنكِفْ عَنْ عِبَادَتِهِ وَيَسْتَكْبِرْ فَسَيَحْشُرُهُمْ إِلَيْهِ جَمِيعًا
[Literal (word-by-word)] Never will disdain the Messiah to be a slave of Allah and not the Angels, the ones who are near (to Allah). And whoever disdains from His worship and is arrogant then He will gather them towards Him all together.
[Shakir] The Messiah does by no means disdain that he should be a servant of Allah, nor do the angels who are near to Him, and whoever disdains His service and is proud, He will gather them all together to Himself. 
[Yusuf Ali] Christ disdaineth nor to serve and worship God, nor do the angels, those nearest (to God): those who disdain His worship and are arrogant,-He will gather them all together unto Himself to (answer).

Interestingly, in Arabic grammar, present and future tense are both represented by the same verb. And so, the above verse can be understood as either in the present tense or the future tense. I understand it in the present tense.  

Word by word grammatical analysis: 

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