I`sa  (Jesus) the Honoured One

Imam Ibn Kathir(d.774/1352) has stated that as well as prophethood and apostleship, Jesus was honoured with many other great qualities and characteristics. The Quran says, with reference to his honour :

"Remember when the angels said, "Allah is giving you the glad tidings of a word from Him, whoís name shall be Masih, I`sa (Jesus) alayhis salaam, Son of Maryam (Mary), honoured in this world and in the Hereafter and from the rank of those close to Him." 3/45. Imam Ibn Kathir adds, "Jesusí rank was extremely high in this world and also in the hereafter. Jesus was given the Injil (Gospels) and the power to cure the leper and the blind and to bring back to life those who had already died, he was also helped by the angel Gabriel on many occasions." All this was part of worldly honour. He was also endowed with great wisdom and knowledge, as the Quran says: "And Allah will teach him the book and wisdom and Torah and Injeel (Gospels)." 3/48.

"Then Allah says, "O Jesus, the Son of Maryam (Mary)! Recount my favour upon you and your mother, when I strengthened you with the angel Gabriel so that you speak to people in childhood and maturity and when I taught you the book and wisdom and Torah and Injeel." 5/110.

Imam Ibn Kathir(d.774/1352) has said, in explanation of this verse that Iísa  (Jesus) u was given the talent of writing and that Al Kitab in this verse actually means Al Kitabah, which refers to writing ,as it is a noun in the meaning of its verb, and this would signify that Jesus was not unlettered.

Imam Qurtubi has narrated a view, without specifying which exegetes uphold this view, that the verse refers to a book other than the Torah and Injil, which was taught to Iísa  (Jesus) u by Allah.

What this view would signify , in this case, is that it would be appropriate to confirm that I`saís  knowledge was not limited to the Inj`il , neither was he illiterate, as accuse by Mirza.

Iísa (Jesus)  was promised, by Allah, to be purified and elevated to a high position, as the Quran states :

"Behold! Allah said, "O Jesus! I will take you and raise you to myself and purify you of the falsehoods of those who blaspheme. I will make those who follow you superior to those who reject faith, until the Day of Resurrection, then you shall all return to me and I will judge between you, of the matters in which you dispute." 3/55. As a token of honour, in the hereafter, Jesus will be brought to bear witness against people, also safety and peace will be bestowed upon him in the afterlife. This is evident from the following two verses of the Quran : "There is none of the People of the Book, but must believe in him before his death and on the Day of Judgement, he will be a witness against them." 4/159.

"So peace is on the day I was born, the day I die and the day I shall be resurrected to life again." 19/33.

Imam Qurtubi has stated, "The very first words spoken by Jesus in the cradle, indicated that he would uphold a lofty status and be awarded remarkable attributes, as he said : "I am indeed a servant of Allah. He has given me the book and made me a prophet and made me blessed wherever I shall be and enjoined upon me prayer and charity, as long as I live and made me obedient to my mother and He has not made me overbearing or miserable." 19/32. This verse highlights the four responsibilities imposed upon Jesus. Firstly, towards God, secondly towards those who will follow him, thirdly towards all the people generally, and fourthly his responsibility to his mother.

Imam Qurtubi says, that Abdullah is a servant and slave who has totally devoted himself to the servitude and worship of Allah. Jesus has declared himself to be the worshipper and Allah to be the Lord. This is the first duty of Jesus to the Creator : to worship Him and obey Him, as a slave complies to his master and obeys him.

The second quality of Jesus is such, that only those who follow him, will be able to benefit from it. This is the honour of prophethood, given to Jesus along with the responsibility of calling the people towards guidance and the straight path. He must also create the awareness of Godís existence and establish the divine rules set by God.

The third quality attributed to Jesus is, that he is Mubaraka. This is a characteristic of benefit for all the people, those who followed him, as well as those who did not.

Mubaraka literally means blessed, lucky, fortunate and he who has good in him. Jesus was a blessed personality of good nature and character. Imam Mujahid, a great exegete, says that Mubaraka, as stated in this verse, means Naffa`a , a person who is beneficial to all, as Jesus assisted the blind and the leper, by curing them of their ailments; he also aided the dead by bringing them back to life once more.

Imam Qurtubi has stated from Sufyan, a great exegete, that Mubaraka means that he will ordain good and forbid bad, guide the misled, help the oppressed and comfort the grieved.

Imam Ibn Kathir has recorded from Thawri, Mujahid and Amr-ibn-Qays that they have stated it to mean a preacher of good. Dhahhak says it means one who will fulfill the peopleís needs.

The first view, namely Mujahidís, is the most accepted, as it is more general rather than specific. It also covers all other views and the following verse (in the chapter named after Maryam) also mentions Jesus as mercy for all the people, thus supporting Mujahidís viewpoint :

"Your Lord said, "It is easy for me and We want to appoint him as a sign for the people and a mercy from us. It is a matter decreed." Quran,19/21.

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