Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Christ – The Life-Giver

More Quranic Proof that Jesus is Equal to Allah

Sam Shamoun

The Quran repeatedly affirms that Allah is the one who is able to heal and give life to the dead:

And when you slew a soul and cast the blame upon one another regarding it–and God is the discloser of what you were concealing–We said, “Strike him with part of it.” Thus does God give life to the dead and show you His signs, that haply you may understand. S. 2:72-73

Hast thou not considered him who disputeth with Abraham about his Lord because God had given him sovereignty? When Abraham said, “My Lord gives life and causes death,” he said, “I give life and cause death.” Abraham said, “Truly God brings the sun from the east. Bring it, then, from the west.” Thus was he who disbelieved confounded. And God guides not wrongdoing people. S. 2:258

Only those who hear will respond. As for the dead, God will resurrect them, and unto Him they shall be returned. S. 6:36

“For they are all enemies unto me, save the Lord of the worlds, Who created me, and guides me, and Who feeds me and gives me drink, and Who, when I am ill, heals me, and Who causes me to die, then gives me life, and Who I hope will forgive me my sins on the Day of Judgment.” S. 26:77-82

Truly We give life to the dead and record that which they have sent forth and that which they left behind. And We have counted all things in a clear registry. S. 36:12

The Quran further censures individuals for worshiping beings that cannot create, and who have no power to give life and/or resurrect the dead:

But they have taken gods apart from Him, who create naught and are themselves created, and who have no power over what harm or benefit may come to themselves, and who have no power over death, or life, or resurrection. S. 25:3

This assumes that creating and giving life are divine prerogatives, and therefore in order for anyone to be truly divine s/he must have the power to carry out these divine functions.

This is where it gets rather interesting. According to the Quran, there is only one other Person who possessed the ability to create, give life and resurrect the dead… Jesus Christ!

And [he will be] a messenger to the Children of Israel, “Truly I have brought you a sign from your Lord. I WILL CREATE for you out of clay the shape of a bird. Then I will breathe into it, and it will be a bird by God’s Leave. And I will heal the blind and the leper AND GIVE LIFE TO THE DEAD by God’s Leave. And I will inform you about what you eat and what you store up in your houses. Truly in that is a sign for you, I you are believers.” S. 3:49


Then God will say, “O Jesus son of Mary! Remember My Blessing upon thee, when I strengthened thee with the Holy Spirit, that thou mightest speak to people in the cradle and in maturity; and when I taught thee the Book, Wisdom, the Torah, and the Gospel; and how didst CREATE out of clay the shape of a bird, by My Leave, and thou wouldst breathe into it, and it would become a bird, by My Leave; and thou wouldst heal the blind and the leper, by My Leave, AND THOU WOULDST BRING FORTH THE DEAD, by My Leave; and how I restrained the Children of Israel from thee, when thou didst bring them clear proofs, and those who disbelieved among them said, ‘This is naught but manifest sorcery.’” S. 5:110

These texts echo some of the very miracles that the Gospels proclaim that the Lord Jesus himself performed, and even appealed to, when the disciples of John the Baptist came to ask if he was the One that was expected to come:

“And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” Luke 7:19-23

What makes Jesus’ miracles so astonishing is that Christ performs the very signs and wonders that the OT says God would one day perform when he comes to dwell with his people!

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God. Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” Isaiah 35:1-6

This is also what makes these Quranic verses rather remarkable. The Quran has Christ creating life and raising the dead in the exact way that Allah does, a fact that even Muslim scholars acknowledge:

“… His creating live birds out of clay birds, healing the blind and the leper, and raising the dead are likewise recounted in 3:49 (for blind and leper, see 3:49c). These last three miraculous powers attributed to Jesus are EXTRAORDINARY in that THEY SUGGEST POWERS USUALLY RESERVED FOR GOD; God is the one who heals (26:8 [sic]); He is the raiser of the dead throughout the Quran: and the creation of birds from clay and bringing them to life by breathing upon them IS EXACTLY PARALLEL TO GOD’S CREATION OF THE HUMAN BEING (15:26-29; 32:7-9; 38:71-72). The verse repeatedly makes clear, however, that all these powers are done by God’s leave (by My Leave) and so are ultimately His. Jesus’ ability to heal and power to raise the dead are also found in the canonical Gospels, and a similar account of Jesus’ creating birds from clay is given in the noncanonical Infancy Gospel of Thomas.” (The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary, Seyyed Hossein Nasr (editor-in-chief) [HarperOne, 2015], p. 334)

The attempt to diminish Jesus’ ability to perform exclusively divine functions is unconvincing for the following reasons.

First, the phrase “God’s Leave” need not mean that Jesus was given the power to carry out these amazing feats. Rather, this expression can simply mean that Allah or God gave Jesus the permission to exercise his intrinsic divine authority to perform these miraculous signs and wonders. Note, for instance, how the following verse employs this phrase:

Whosoever is an enemy of Gabriel: he it is who sent it down upon thy heart by God’s Leave, confirming that which was there before, and as a guidance and glad tiding for the believers. S. 2:97

It is clear from the context that “by God’s Leave” means here that Gabriel had to first receive permission from Allah before he could bring down portions of the Quran to Muhammad. As such, the expression doesn’t mean that Gabriel was given the ability to descend or ascend, but rather the permission to do so. In a similar manner, Jesus had to first receive permission from God to perform miracles, since he had come to do God’s will, not his own.

This is precisely what the Holy Bible teaches, namely, Christ could not and did not act independently from God, but only did whatever the Father commanded him:

“Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” John 8:28-29

“For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” John 12:49-50

“But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.” John 14:31

And yet because he is the divine Son, Christ could do everything that the Father does in the exact same way that the Father does it:  

“The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead SHALL HEAR THE VOICE OF THE SON OF GOD: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves SHALL HEAR HIS [THE SON’S] VOICE, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” John 5:15-30

For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:38-40

Christ claims the power to give life and raise the dead in the same way that the Father does, and demands to receive the same exact honor that the Father receives, since he is the beloved Son and divine Judge who shall determine the eternal destiny of every single individual.

The truly astonishing part about all this is that Jesus claims to be the One who will resurrect the dead from their graves by the power of his voice at the last hour, a feat which the Quran ascribes to God alone!

That is because God is the Truth, and because He gives life to the dead, and because He is Powerful over all things, and because the Hour is coming, in which there is no doubt in it, and because God will resurrect whosoever is in the graves. S. 22:6-7

As if this wasn’t amazing enough, Christ also said that he is the Truth, the Resurrection and the Life, the very names and titles that Islam ascribes to God/Allah. Jesus even resurrected a man who had been dead for four days as a means of providing supernatural, divine validation for these mind-blowing claims: 

“Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I AM THE RESURRECTION, AND THE LIFE: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world… Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me ALWAYS: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.” John 11:23-27, 39-44

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:1-6

The second problem with the Muslim objection is that this still leaves Muslims with the inescapable fact that Allah deliberately took Jesus to be his partner by permitting him to share in his unique power to create life and raise the dead. In so doing, Allah basically ended up committing the very transgression that the Muslim scripture says shall never be forgiven:

Truly God forgives not that any partner be ascribed unto Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whomsoever He will, whosoever ascribes partners unto God has surely fabricated a tremendous sin. S. 4:48 – cf. Q. 4:116; 2:22; 39:65

Now this creates a major dilemma for Muslims since they must either accept that their own deity is guilty of shirk, seeing that he has taken a creature to be an associate and partner in his own divinity. Or they have to concede the fact that Jesus cannot be a mere creature, but must also be truly divine, which explains why he is able to create and give life in the exact same way that Allah does so.

Therefore, whatever answer a Muslim chooses there is simply no way for them to get around the fact that the Quran indisputably ascribes to Jesus the same divine power that Allah possesses to create life and resurrect the dead.

Interestingly, the Islamic sources report that even at the time of Muhammad Christians were appealing to these very Quranic texts to prove that Jesus must be God (in essence) and the Son of God (the Father):

The names of the fourteen principal men among the sixty riders were: 'Abdu'l-Masih the 'Aqib, al-Ayham the Sayyid; Abu Haritha b. 'Alqama brother of B. Bakr b. Wa'il; Aus; al-Harith; Zayd; Qays; Yazid; Nubayh; Khuwaylid; 'Amr; Khalid; 'Abdullah; Johannes; of these the first three named above spoke to the apostle. They were Christians according to the Byzantine rite, though they differed among themselves in some points, saying He is God; and He is the son of God; and He is the third person of the Trinity, which is the doctrine of Christianity. They argue that he is God because he used to raise the dead, and heal the sick, and declare the unseen; and make clay birds and then breathe into them so that they flew away;2 and all this was by the command of God Almighty, 'We will make him a sign to men.'3 They argue that he is the son of God in that they say he had no known father; and he spoke in the cradle and this is something that no child of Adam has ever done. They argue that he is the third of three in that God says: We have done, We have commanded, We have created and We have decreed, and they say, If He were one he would have said I have done, I have created, and soon, but He is He and Jesus and Mary.  Concerning all these assertions the Quran came down.

When the two divines spoke to him the apostle said to them, 'Submit yourselves.'1 They said, 'We have submitted.' He said: 'You have not submitted, so submit.' They said, 'Nay, but we submitted before you.' He said, 'You lie. Your assertion that God has a son, your worship of the cross, and your eating pork hold you back from submission.' They said, 'But who is his father, Muhammad?' The apostle was silent and did not answer them…

1 Reading wajjahu with W.                      

2 Sura 3. 43.                      

Sura 19. 21. (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah With Introduction and Notes, by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Fifteenth Impression 2001], pp. 271-272; bold emphasis ours)

It is obvious that the sirah has grossly misrepresented what these Christians actually believed about the Trinity, since no informed Byzantine Christian would have argued that Jesus is the third of three, with God and Mary being the other two members of this triad.

Nevertheless, the sirah shows that the Quran’s depiction of Christ posed serious problems for Muslims from the very beginning, since Christians were using these statements to prove that Jesus is the divine Son of God who is coequal in essence to Father, and they were right.   

The reality is that this is simply another case of Muhammad adopting specific Christian beliefs about Jesus, without realizing the serious problems this would raise for his express denial of the divinity of Christ. Muhammad’s affirming that Jesus possessed the divine ability to create life and resurrect the dead, as well as having the power to heal various infirmities and diseases, directly conflicts with his assertion that Christ was no more than a human messenger like the messengers that preceded him (cf. Q. 5:75; 43:59).

All Biblical references taken from the Authorized King James Version (AV) of the Holy Bible.

All Quranic citations taken from The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary (TSQ for short). All bold, capital, italic and underline emphasis ours.