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Is Jesus the greatest prophet according to the Quran?

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There are certain missionaries who like to play the game of divide and conquer when it comes to Jesus (pbuh) in Islam. They always like to somehow pit Jesus against the prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and they do this by using Quranic passages.

For instance the missionary Sam Shamoun has written an article trying to claim that Jesus according to Islam is the most exalted of all, that he is basically the best and greatest prophet.

Now even if that was true, a Muslim would have no problem with that, as Muslims believe in Jesus, as a prophet of God. Therefore if Islam teaches that he is the greatest prophet and the most exalted of all we would have no problems with this.

Shamoun’s article can be found here:

http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/jesus_most_exalted_q.htm

So with that said let us look at the passages that Shamoun has raised to try and prove that Jesus is the most exalted prophet in Islam, and even better than the Prophet Muhammad.

The missionary writes:

By stating that Allah exalted David, the Quran is basically agreeing that God chose Jesus' ancestors above all the rest, a point confirmed by this next text:

Lo! Allah preferred Adam and Noah and the Family of Abraham and the Family of 'Imran above (all His) creatures. They were descendants one of another. Allah is Hearer, Knower. (Remember) when the wife of 'Imran said: My Lord! I have vowed unto Thee that which is in my belly as a consecrated (offering). Accept it from me. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Hearer, the Knower! And when she was delivered she said: My Lord! Lo! I am delivered of a female - Allah knew best of what she was delivered - the male is not as the female; and lo! I have named her Mary, and lo! I crave Thy protection for her and for her offspring from Satan the outcast. S. 3:33-36 Pickthall

RESPONSE

So Shamoun is trying to claim that Jesus is superior to Prophet Muhammad because Jesus descends from the family of Imran, a family whom Allah has blessed and has chosen above all other families.

It is amazing how the missionary couldn't even read what he was quoting. Let’s quote the passage for you again, and this time highlight the parts that Shamoun conveniently and intentionally left out:

Lo! Allah preferred Adam and Noah AND THE FAMILLY OF ABRAHAMand the Family of 'Imran above (all His) creatures

So as you can see Allah has chosen two families above all other families and creatures, and that is the family of Ibrahim, as well as the family of Imran.

As we all know the Prophet Muhammad descends from Ibrahim through his first born son of Ismael. Here is the genealogy of the Prophet Muhammad from Ibn Ishaq's biography, a book which Shamoun himself loves to quote.

This is the book of the biography of the apostle of God.

Muhammad was the son of Abdullah, b. Abdul Muttalib, b. Hashim, b. Abdu Manaf, b Qusayy, b. Kilab, b. Murra, b, Ka'b, b. lu'ayy, b. Ghalib, b. Fihr, b. Malik, b. al-Nadir, b. Kinana, b. Khuzayma, b. Mudrika, b. Ilyas, b. Mudar, b. Nizar, b. Ma'add, b. ?Adnan, b. Udd, b. Muqawwam, b. Nahur, b. Tayrah, b. Ya'rub, b. Yashjub, b. Nabib, b. ISMAEL, b. IBRAHIM THE FRIEND OF THE COMPASSIONATE (Pg.3)

As you can see the Prophet Muhammad is part of the family of Abraham.

Also in Sahih Bukhari we see that the prophet Muhammad descends from Ibrahim:

Volume 1, Book 8, Number 345:

Narrated Abu Dhar:

Allah's Apostle said, "While I was at Mecca the roof of my house was opened and Gabriel descended, opened my chest, and washed it with Zam-zam water. Then he brought a golden tray full of wisdom and faith and having poured its contents into my chest, he closed it. Then he took my hand and ascended with me to the nearest heaven, when I reached the nearest heaven, Gabriel said to the gatekeeper of the heaven, 'Open (the gate).' The gatekeeper asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel answered: 'Gabriel.' He asked, 'Is there anyone with you?' Gabriel replied, 'Yes, Muhammad I is with me.' He asked, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel said, 'Yes.' So the gate was opened and we went over the nearest heaven and there we saw a man sitting with some people on his right and some on his left. When he looked towards his right, he laughed and when he looked toward his left he wept. Then he said, 'Welcome! O pious Prophet and pious son.' I asked Gabriel, 'Who is he?' He replied, 'He is Adam and the people on his right and left are the souls of his offspring. Those on his right are the people of Paradise and those on his left are the people of Hell and when he looks towards his right he laughs and when he looks towards his left he weeps.'

Then he ascended with me till he reached the second heaven and he (Gabriel) said to its gatekeeper, 'Open (the gate).' The gatekeeper said to him the same as the gatekeeper of the first heaven had said and he opened the gate. Anas said: "Abu Dhar added that the Prophet met Adam, Idris, Moses, Jesus and Abraham, he (Abu Dhar) did not mention on which heaven they were but he mentioned that he (the Prophet ) met Adarn on the nearest heaven and Abraham on the sixth heaven. Anas said, "When Gabriel along with the Prophet passed by Idris, the latter said, 'Welcome! O pious Prophet and pious brother.' The Prophet asked, 'Who is he?' Gabriel replied, 'He is Idris." The Prophet added, "I passed by Moses and he said, 'Welcome! O pious Prophet and pious brother.' I asked Gabriel, 'Who is he?' Gabriel replied, 'He is Moses.' Then I passed by Jesus and he said, 'Welcome! O pious brother and pious Prophet.' I asked, 'Who is he?' Gabriel replied, 'He is Jesus.

Then I passed by Abraham and he said, 'Welcome! O pious Prophet and pious son.' I asked Gabriel, 'Who is he?' Gabriel replied, 'He is Abraham.

Notice the Prophet Muhammad meets several prophets and they all welcome him by saying ‘welcome o pious prophet and brother.’ Yet when the Prophet Muhammad meets Abraham he is called pious prophet AND SON, rather than brother. The reason to this is because the Prophet Muhammad descends from Abraham hence the prophet is called a son rather than a brother.

So as you can see the Prophet Muhammad is of the family of Abraham. Hence Shamoun failed in showing Jesus is more exalted than Muhammad due to the fact that Jesus hails from the family of Imran. Again the verse reads:

Lo! Allah preferred Adam and Noah AND THE FAMILLY OF ABRAHAM and the Family of 'Imran above (all His) creatures

The family of Abraham AND the family of Imran, not the family of Imran alone.

The fact is this, both prophets Jesus and Muhammad (peace on both of them) descended from noble chosen families.

Shamoun then writes:

The family of Imran whom Allah chose above all creatures is supposed to be the family of Jesus, specifically his mother's parents. The Quran even identifies Mary as Imran's daughter:

And Mary the daughter of 'Imran, who guarded her chastity; and We breathed into (her body) of Our spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His Revelations, and was one of the devout (servants). S. 66:12 Y. Ali

But the Quran doesn't stop there since it goes on to say that Jesus' blessed mother is the most exalted of all women:

And when the angels said, 'Mary, God has chosen thee, and purified thee; He has chosen thee above all women. S. 3:42 Arberry

RESPONSE

How exactly does this make Jesus more exalted than the Prophet Muhammad? Shamoun is quoting verses that rightfully praise Mary, yet Mary is not Jesus, so praising and honoring Mary in no way makes Jesus more superior than the Prophet Muhammad. In fact Shamoun does something ironic, he proves the Quran is the word of God. If the Quran was the word of Muhammad (pbuh) as Shamoun often argues then why would the Prophet Muhammad praise an Israelite women? Why would the Prophet Muhammad say Mary an Israelite woman has been chosen above all? Why not name an Arab lady, his mother for example?

Compare this with the Bible which is openly racist towards Ishmael. Shamoun then brings his final argument:

In the same Sura, Jesus is shown to have qualities and titles that no one else has such as being the only person called God's Word and honoured in the next life:

Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! God 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 God; He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be (of the company) of the righteous." She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?" He said: "Even so: God createth what He willeth: When He hath decreed a plan, He but saith to it, ?Be,' and it is! And God will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel, And (appoint him) an apostle to the Children of Israel, (with this message): ?I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by God's leave: And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by God's leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe; (I have come to you), to attest the Law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was (Before) forbidden to you; I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So fear God, and obey me. It is God Who is my Lord and your Lord; then worship Him. This is a Way that is straight.'" 3:45-51 Y. Ali

RESPONSE

So basically just because Jesus is given names and titles that the Prophet Muhammad isn't, this means that Jesus is more superior. The missionary is further implying that just because Allah gave Jesus different miracles to that of the Prophet Muhammad (such as being able to talk as a baby) this then makes him superior.

We could play this game as well. The Prophet Muhammad is the prophet to receive the final and last permanent revelation; no other prophet is honored in such a way. The Prophet Muhammad also has a chapter in the Quran named after him, Jesus does not. The Prophet Muhammad will also have the largest group of followers on judgment day, with the most followers being admitted into paradise as well. Many more things could be mentioned, that are solely unique to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), but not to Jesus according to Islamic texts.

So therefore in conclusion the missionary Shamoun has completely failed in showing that Jesus is the greatest prophet according to Islam, and greater and more exalted than the Prophet Muhammad.

The fact is this, Jesus is a mighty messenger and prophet of God, and a prophet all Muslims believe in. 

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