Christ in Islam


Jesus (Peace be upon him) and the disciples with him passed by the carcass of a dog. The disciples said, “What a stench this dog makes!” Then he (Blessing and peace be upon him!) said, “How white are its teeth!” A man said to Jesus, son of Mary (Blessing and peace be upon him!), “Give me some advice.” He replied, “Consider where your bread comes from.” The Messiah (God bless him and grant him peace!) said, “The world is a bridge, so pass over it and do not inhabit it.

Stories and sayings of Jesus are found throughout the Muslim tradition, in the Qur’an, in the writings of the Sufis and in the works of the great Islamic philosophers. James Robson’s classic collection of these shows us the Islamic version of Jesus, a humble wanderer who was willing to learn from anyone, and who passed on his understanding to his disciples using pithy aphorisms and teaching situations.

A sympathetic account of how Islam has historically viewed Jesus, this little book sets out to present material from the Quran and other major sources that directly reference Jesus. Passages are presented in the order that they occur rather than being arranged in any artificial, chronological order. Selections from Thalabi’s Stories of the Prophets and one passage from Abu al Fida’s Universal History are included as well. After laying out the passages about Jesus, Robson adds traditional stories and then begins addressing the sayings of Jesus. These are arranged according to moral and religious, ascetic, and sayings that come from God to Jesus. This brief study ends with stories connected with Jesus in Islam. Students of the history of Christian-Islamic relations will enjoy this period piece on the subject.

James Robson (1890-1981) was Professor of Arabic at Glasgow university.