This lengthy discussion can be analysed by saying that the title ‘Kalimah’ has been attached to Jesus and as this word could be either a noun or an adjective, it has led to dispute, concerning two of its aspects. Firstly, there is a variance of opinion as to whether Kalimah means ‘word’. Secondly, if it is does mean ‘word’, then to what word does it refer.
The first dispute has led to four different meanings of kalimah being put forward, since in Arabic the word kalimah itself possesses a list of various definitions out of which four are applicable and suitable to Jesus. These meanings have been defined as follows by Imam Tabari(d.310/888):
1)Al-Kalam - the speech, as Jesus guided people through his speech.
2)Al-Kitab -the book, as this was a source of guidance.
It is the fourth view which is most widely accepted, since it is the common usage of the word ‘kalimah’.
The majority who have accepted the fourth view, have then disputed as to which word is actually referred to, as there are three types of words which have played significant, if not unique, roles in the life of Jesus. Scholars have given the following three explanations of the word:
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