Why Was Jesus Named
Many reasons have been given by the Mufassirs (exegetes) as to
why the title of Masih is attributed to Jesus. Imam Tabari has cited
that Masih is from the root word Ma-sa-ha which has various meanings
and can be used in different contexts to offer diverse meanings, it can
also play numerous roles in many different contexts.
Ma-sa-ha means to stroke with the hand; to wipe off; wipe away; to rub
off; to wash; to wash off; to wipe out, blot out, erase; to clean; to polish;
to smooth, smooth with a plane and to plane.
The word Ma-sa-ha can also be used jointly with (bi) i.e. ( masaha
bihi), which changes its meaning to : ‘to rub with’ or ‘to anoint’.
Ma-sa-ha can also be used in conjunction with (min), which means
to deprive, dispossess, take away or withdraw. These are the most commonly
associated meanings of the word Ma-sa ha. It is also used for other definitions
which in total come to more than thirty. It is due to this large list of
interpretations that scholars have differed on the reason for Jesus being
named Masih, of which the most common and widely used are as follows :
These are a few views from the extensive list given by scholars. I will
limit it to these as they are the most common and widely shared conceptions.
But that which becomes obvious from the above definitions, is the high
status conferred upon of I`sa u by Allah.
All the meanings are commendable and honourable, all of them are worthy
of bestowal upon I`sa u, due to his elevated
Imam Tabari(d.310/888)has stated, "Masih is from Masaha,
which means to rub and erase as Jesus’ sins were erased and rubbed off."
Imam Qurtubi has stated, "Masih is from Ma-sa-ha which means
to anoint as Jesus was the anointed one."
Imam Qurtubi has stated,"Masih is from the root word Ma-sa-ha,
in the sense of ‘to clean’ and ‘to clear’. As Jesus dealt with people in
a true, clear and just manner he is known as Masih, the Arabic translation
of which would be As-Siddiq The Truthful One."
Imam Qurtubi has stated, "The word Ma-sa-ha also includes the definition
of ‘wiping away’ and as Jesus came with the message of God and Guidance
to wipe away falsehood, infidelity."
Imam Qurtubi has stated, "Masih in this case has the meaning of Mamsuh,
which is an object according to Arabic grammar and refers to Barakah
i.e. blessing. Therefore, the whole wording is mamsuhun bil barakati"touched
with blessing," as Jesus was showered with great blessings.
Imam Ibn Kathir(d.774/1352) has stated that. "The word Ma-sa-ha
also offers the meaning of ‘stroking’. As Jesus was able to cure the blind
and the leper by stroking them, he is named Masih (being able to cure by
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