The Prophet Muḥammad’s (ﷺ) Invitation to the Christians to Recognise the Oneness of Allāh and the Humanness of Prophet Jesus

Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah

A recount of Imām al-Ṭabarī’s beautiful explanation of the opening verses of Āli ʿImrān that leave no doubt concerning the fallacy of attributing divinity to the noble Prophet ʿĪsá.
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Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah [d. 728 AH] said regarding the statement of Allāh:

الم ‎﴿١﴾‏ اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ ‎﴿٢﴾

‘Alif, Lām, Mīm. Allāh – there is no deity [worthy of worship] except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of existence.’
[Alī ʿImrān, 3:1-2]

Several of the mufassirīn [interpreters of the Qurʾān] have mentioned the reason for the revelation of the verses [at the beginning of sūrah Āli ʿImrān]. Among them is what is narrated by [Imām] Muḥammad ibn Jarīr al-Ṭabarī in his tafsīr. He said:

Indeed, the Christians came to the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) and argued with him regarding ʿĪsá ibn Maryam [Jesus the son of Mary]. They (the Christians) said to him: ‘[Then] who is his (Jesus’) father?’ Having already postulated unadulterated lies and false accusations concerning Allāh, there is nothing worshipped in truth except for Him and He could never have taken a female companion or have a son.

So the Prophet (ﷺ) said to them: ‘Do you [Christians] not know that there is no son except that he resembles his father?’

They replied: ‘Of course.’

He said: ‘Do you not know [O Christians] that our Lord is Ever-Living, will never die and that ʿĪsá (Jesus) will one day perish?’

They replied: ‘Of course.’

He said: ‘Do you not know that our Lord is the Sustainer of existence itself, He cares for it, protects it, and provides for it?’

They replied: ‘Of course.’

He said: ‘Then does ʿĪsá (Jesus) himself possess the ability to do any of those things?’

They replied: ‘No.’

He said: ‘Do you not know that nothing in the heavens or the earth could ever be hidden from Allāh [the true God].’

They replied: ‘Yes.’

He then said: ‘So does ʿĪsá (Jesus) know concerning that except that which he has been taught?’

They said: ‘No.’

He said: ‘Indeed, our Lord has fashioned ʿĪsá (Jesus) however He has willed while he was in the womb.’ He then said [to them]: ‘Do you not know that our Lord eats not, nor does He drink, nor does He have excretions.’

They replied: ‘Of course.’

He said: ‘Do you not know that ʿĪsá (Jesus) was carried by his mother just as any woman carries, she then birthed him just as any woman births her child, he then suckled from her just as any child suckles, he then began eating [solid] food, and drinking, and excreting?’

They said: ‘Yes.’

He then said: ‘So how could it be as you have claimed?’ So they recognised [the truthfulness of his speech], and then they followed this with outright, stubborn, refusal.

So Allāh revealed:

الم ‎﴿١﴾‏ اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ ‎﴿٢﴾

‘Alif, Lām, Mīm. Allāh – there is no deity [worthy of worship] except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of existence.’
[Alī ʿImrān, 3:1-2]

Source: Al-Jawāb al-Ṣaḥīḥ 195-196
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: December 3, 2022
Edited: December 4, 2022

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