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Jesus' miracles from an Islamic perspective

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According to the Quran Jesus (pbuh) performed several miracles:

[And mention] when the angels said, "O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary - distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah ]. He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous." She said, "My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?" [The angel] said, "Such is Allah ; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, 'Be,' and it is. And He will teach him writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel And [make him] a messenger to the Children of Israel, [who will say], 'Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you from clay [that which is] like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by permission of Allah . And I cure the blind and the leper, and I give life to the dead - by permission of Allah . And I inform you of what you eat and what you store in your houses. Indeed in that is a sign for you, if you are believers. And [I have come] confirming what was before me of the Torah and to make lawful for you some of what was forbidden to you. And I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear Allah and obey me. (3:45-50)

The miracles Jesus is able to perform is breathing into clay birds that come to life, curing the blind, healing the lepers, and raising the dead. When looking at these miracles, some Christian missionaries attempt to argue that these miracles prove Jesus was much more than a man and a mere prophet, in essence they want to use the Quran itself to prove their theology of Jesus being divine.

Before responding to this claim as well as explaining Jesus’ miracles in light of the Quran, it is important to establish the fact that the Quran mentions the miracles carried out by other prophets, therefore Jesus performing mighty miracles is not something unique to him.

In the Quran it describes the miracles of Moses (pbuh), such as the splitting of the sea:

Then We inspired to Moses, "Strike with your staff the sea," and it parted, and each portion was like a great towering mountain. And We advanced thereto the pursuers. And We saved Moses and those with him, all together. Then We drowned the others. (26:63-66)

Moses was able to split the sea according to the Quran, with him and his people managing to walk safely through, and as soon as they had passed the sea returned as it was drowning the Egyptian chasers. Another miracle the Quran mentions is how Moses managed to turn his staff into a living snake:

So [Moses] threw his staff, and suddenly it was a serpent manifest. (26:32)

With this point established we can now turn our attention to Jesus’ miracles and its meanings. To begin, the Quranic verses talking about Jesus’ miracles literally speak for themselves, the Quran clearly mentions that Jesus was able to perform these miracles by God’s permission, basically that God had granted Jesus such authority and power to be able to carry out such a miracle. This is a crucial point because it refutes any supposed notion of divinity, if Jesus was divine, if he was God, then he wouldn’t need the permission of God to be able to perform such miracles, he would be doing it by himself rather than having to rely on God.

As for the reasons behind performing such miracles, again the Quran is very clear:

'Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you from clay [that which is] like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by permission of Allah . And I cure the blind and the leper, and I give life to the dead - by permission of Allah . And I inform you of what you eat and what you store in your houses. Indeed in that is a sign for you, if you are believers. And [I have come] confirming what was before me of the Torah and to make lawful for you some of what was forbidden to you. And I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear Allah and obey me.

The entire purpose of these miracles are to represent signs from the lord, from God, to show the people the proofs of God and that God had actually sent Jesus as his messenger, and that’s why he is doing such things so the people can see and believe.

Therefore the purpose of the miracles isn’t down to Jesus being God, but it’s purpose is to show the people that God had sent Jesus which is why he’s able to perform such deeds because after all, no man on his own can simply perform the things Jesus did, unless they must have had some help from a supernatural source, that is God.

Interestingly enough the New Testament is in agreement with the Quran on these two main points 1) God is the one granting Jesus the authority and power to perform miracles 2) God granted Jesus such miracles so the people would believe that God had sent him.

We read:

And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. (Mark 7:23-26)

Here before Jesus heals a deaf man he looks up into the heavens sighing, then he says “be opened” and the man can hear again. So Jesus essentially looks up and prays to God before performing the miracle, and then the miracle is given to him.

Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.(Matthew 12:22-28)

Jesus is able to perform exorcisms by the spirit of God, meaning with the help of God, not with his own power or authority.

It can’t get any clearer than the next set of passages that Jesus’ miracles are thanks to God:

I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.  Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me (John 17:6-8)

Everything Jesus was given was from God according to Jesus himself, and last but not least we read the following from the New Testament:

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: (Acts 2:22)

Just like the Quran as well, Jesus says he performs the miracles so the people know that God has sent him, i.e. these miracles are a proof of there being a God who sent Jesus:

Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. (John 11:32-43)

In conclusion, from an Islamic perspective Jesus (pbuh) is able to perform his mighty miracles because God has granted him the power and authority to do so, they are not from Jesus’ own power or because he is divine. Furthermore the purpose behind the miracles is to give people a sign that God has sent Jesus, and this is also in agreement with what the New Testament says concerning Jesus’ miracles and its purpose.

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