Questions and Answers > Muhammad > General Questions

Is the Qur'an saying that Muhammad was considering to be a Christian?

1. Praising Christians

On his business trip to Syria, Muhammad had met Waraqa ibn Nawfal, a respected man of his time and a well-known Christian scholar and the Najran Christians. Muhammad had accepted an invitation of the Najran Christians. Muhammad did not want to accept that Jesus Christ is divine. He allowed the Christians to pray in his mosque: “let them pray!” [1]. What were the Christians praying? According to the guidelines of Jesus, it is likely they were praying for the salvation of Muhammad. Muhammad had also visited the monk Bahira on his trip as a business man. Later Muhammad met more Christians, including the Ethiopian King Negus, who gave protection to Muhammad and his followers. The result of the meetings with Christians is that Muhammad had a very good impression of Christians. This may explain why the Qur’an is praising Christians in many verses:

"And nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, "We are Christians": because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant" (Qur’an 5:82).

We can conclude for the Qur’an verses that Muhammad had many discussions with Christians.Therefore the Christians have invited Muhammad to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.
Muhammad may have thought to become a Christian, but finally he started his own religion. However the contacts with the Christians had put trust in Muhammad that Bible believing and disciple making Christians are sure about entering Paradise:

"But those (Christians) who have faith and work righteousness, they are companions of the Garden: Therein shall they abide (For ever)" (Qur’an 2:82).

"Those who believe, and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve" (Qur’an 2:62, 5:69).

2. Faith in the Most High

The critique of the Christians was mainly focused on the 360 pagan idols in Mecca. Muhammad frequently called upon Waraqa ibn Nawfal. Both Muhammad’s wife and Waraqa greatly influenced his thought and mind. It is possible that Muhammad learned parts of the Bible, including the commands:
“You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). “There is none except me” (Isaiah 45:21).These words from the Bible became part of the Muslim doctrine: “There is no God but Allah”. This influenced the mind of Muhammad so much that he started a campaign to abandon all idol worship.
The foundation for his actions came from Biblical principles and Muhammad was acting according the guidelines of Jesus Christ, who said:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew
22:37).

3. Praising the Bible

According to the Qur’an, the disciples of Jesus (apostles) were also inspired by God and therefore they wrote the Gospel and the rest of the New Testament (Qur’ an 5:111) [2]. The Bible, which existed before the Qur’an, contains the message of the Qur’an. Therefore the Arabs were asked to believe in the Qur’ an. By believing in the Qur’an they will believe in the Bible. Even Muhammad was commanded to read the Bible:

"Say: "Shall I seek for judge other than Allah? - when He it is Who hath sent unto you the Book, explained in detail." They know full well, to whom We have given the Book, that it hath been sent down from thy Lord in truth. Never be then of those who doubt." (Qur’an 6:114).

"If thou (Muhammad) wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee: the Truth hath indeed come to thee from thy Lord: so be in no wise of those in doubt." (Qur’an 10:94).

4. Considering to accept Jesus Christ as Savior

When Muhammad abandoned the daughters of Allah because they were idols, he had to be strict to say: “Allah has no son”. The Qur’an is telling us that Christians did many attempts to explain Muhammad that Jesus is the Son of God: Qur’an 2:116; 4:171; 10:68; 18:4; 19:30,35 and 88-92. The Christians invited Muhammad to accept that Jesus Christ is divine, his exceptional and supernatural actions and his ascension to heaven.
Some followers of Muhammad escaped to a Christian king Negus in Ethiopia for protection. In a meeting, the king asked the Muslims: “What do you say about Jesus?” The leader of Muslims answered: “about Jesus we can only say what our prophet (Muhammad) has taught us: Jesus is the servant and messenger of God, the Spirit and Word of God, whom God entrusted to the Virgin Mary.”
The Christian king concluded from the words “Spirit of God” and “Word of God” that the Muslims believed that Jesus is divine, that the Muslims believed that Jesus can forgive sin and that they believed that they were saved by Jesus Christ the Savior of mankind. In reality, the Muslims played a political game, because they were afraid that they should lose the protection of the Christian king.
They used Christian titles who had no meaning for them, but a divine meaning for the Christian king [3]. What the Muslims said about Jesus was a confirmation of the Bible: servant of God (Acts 3:13; Philippians 2:7), his messenger (Hebrews 3:1) and “Word of God” (John 1:1,14) and “Spirit of God“ (1 Corinthians 15:45).

But still Muhammad was considering to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Son of God:

"Say, [O Muhammad], "If the Most Merciful had a son, then I would be the first of [his] worshippers."
(Qur’an 43:81).

In Qur’an 4:158 “Rather, Allah raised him to Himself”, the verb ittakhadha was used. This is very special. It means: “took to Himself” and this doesn’t suggest physical generation, but a relation by adopting. This means that Jesus is divine and is the Savior of mankind.


Notes


[1] Tariq Ramadan, In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad, Oxford
University Press, New York, 2007, 115.
[2] Dr. Ibrahimkhan O. Deshmukh, The Gospel and Islam. GLS Publishing, Mumbai, 2011, 175.
[3] Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad,Oxford University Press, Karachi, 1995, 150-152.

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