THE PROBLEM WITH THE ISLAMIC JESUS: PLAGIARISM & INCONSISTENCY

A.B. Melchizedek
9 min readMay 28, 2024
Photo credits: Hubpages

This leads on nicely from the previous article, “MUHAMMAD VS JESUS: HOW THEIR AUDIENCES REACTED TO THEIR WORDS”. To summarise that article, we highlighted from the Quran the non-stop accusations against Muhammad that his revelations were plagiarized and are nothing but fairy tales. One respect in which the plagiarism is palpable is in the Quranic account of Jesus. We will also point out the massive problem that the Islamic Jesus poses to the Islamic worldview.

First, we have the episode of Jesus speaking as a baby from the cradle,

“So she pointed to him. They said, “How can we speak to one who is in the cradle a child?”

[Jesus] said, “Indeed, I am the servant of Allāh. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet.

And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakāh as long as I remain alive

And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive.”

That is Jesus, the son of Mary — the word of truth about which they are in dispute.”

(Surah 19:29–31,33–34)

This idea of Jesus speaking in the cradle is found in the apocryphal Arabic infancy gospel of Jesus, the first verse reads

He has said that Jesus spoke, and, indeed, when He was lying in His cradle said to Mary His mother: I am Jesus, the Son of God, the Logos, whom thou hast brought forth, as the Angel Gabriel announced to thee; and my Father has sent me for the salvation of the world.”

There is also the idea of Jesus making birds from clay and breathing life into them,

[The Day] when Allāh will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, remember My favor upon you and upon your mother when I supported you with the Pure Spirit [i.e., the angel Gabriel] and you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and [remember] when I taught you writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and when you designed from clay [what was] like the form of a bird with My permission, then you breathed into it, and it became a bird with My permission; and you healed the blind [from birth] and the leper with My permission; and when you brought forth the dead with My permission; and when I restrained the Children of Israel from [killing] you when you came to them with clear proofs and those who disbelieved among them said, “This is not but obvious magic.”

(Surah 5:110)

We see the incident of Jesus making a bird from clay in yet another apocryphal book, the infancy gospel of Thomas. About Jesus, it records,

This little child Jesus when he was five years old was playing at the ford of a brook: and he gathered together the waters that flowed there into pools, and made them straightway clean, and commanded them by his word alone. And having made soft clay, he fashioned thereof twelve sparrows. And it was the Sabbath when he did these things (or made them). And there were also many other little children playing with him.

And a certain Jew when he saw what Jesus did, playing upon the Sabbath day, departed straightway and told his father Joseph: Lo, thy child is at the brook, and he hath taken clay and fashioned twelve little birds, and hath polluted the Sabbath day. And Joseph came to the place and saw: and cried out to him, saying: Wherefore doest thou these things on the Sabbath, which it is not lawful to do? But Jesus clapped his hands together and cried out to the sparrows and said to them: Go! and the sparrows took their flight and went away chirping. And when the Jews saw it they were amazed, and departed and told their chief men that which they had seen Jesus do.”

(II, 1–5)

The other miracles of cleansing lepers and raising the dead are of course from the gospels in the Bible.

There is also the idea that Jesus never died on the cross but it was made to appear so to them,

And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the messenger of Allāh.” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.”

(Surah 4:157)

Interestingly, this idea comes from Gnostic beliefs, for example in the Apocryphal Acts of John, Jesus (in this apocryphal work), says to John

“This cross, then, is that which fixed all things apart (al. joined all things unto itself) by the (or a) word, and separate off the things that are from those that are below (lit. the things from birth and below it), and then also, being one, streamed forth into all things (or, made all flow forth. I suggested: compacted all into [one]). But this is not the cross of wood which thou wilt see when thou goest down hence: neither am I he that is on the cross, whom now thou seest not, but only hearest his (or a) voice. I was reckoned to be that which I am not, not being what I was unto many others: but they will call me (say of me) something else which is vile and not worthy of me. As, then, the place of rest is neither seen nor spoken of, much more shall I, the Lord thereof, be neither seen [nor of spoken]…

Nothing, therefore, of the things which they will say of me have I suffered... Thou hearest that I suffered, yet did I not suffer; that I suffered not, yet did I suffer; that I was pierced, yet I was not smitten; hanged, and I was not hanged; that blood flowed from me, and it flowed not; and, in a word, what they say of me, that befell me not, but what they say not, that did I suffer. Now what those things are I signify unto thee, for I know that thou wilt understand. Perceive thou therefore in me the praising (al. slaying al. rest) of the (or a) Word (Logos), the piercing of the Word, the blood of the Word, the wound of the Word, the hanging up of the Word, the suffering of the Word, the nailing (fixing) of the Word, the death of the Word. And so speak I, separating off the manhood. Perceive thou therefore in the first place of the Word; then shalt thou perceive the Lord, and in the third place the man, and what he hath suffered.

(99–101)

Now the issue here is beyond plagiarism, there is a far deeper problem here. The problem is this; All the sources Muhammad plagiarised and stole his idea of Jesus from are all based on the fundamental assumption that Jesus is divine and is the Son of God! A position that massively contradicts Muhammad’s message of Islam that Allah is a father to no one and neither begets nor is begotten (Surah 112:3).

In the instance of Jesus speaking from the cradle, note what He said in the apocryphal Arabic Infancy gospel,

…I am Jesus, the Son of God, the Logos, whom thou hast brought forth, as the Angel Gabriel announced to thee; and my Father has sent me for the salvation of the world.

In one breath, Jesus claims to be the Son of God and the one to bring salvation to the world by His death and resurrection which He would effect when He grows up. Strangely, the Quran calls Jesus, “the Word of truth” and says peace to Him the day He is born, dies and is raised again. Now our Muslim friends would do a lot of gymnastics to explain the second statement away as it sounds like the Christian doctrine of Jesus’ death and resurrection, but what about the first one?

The “Word of truth” statement (Jesus is called the Word of Allah elsewhere in the Quran, Surah 3:39, 45) is a plagiarism of the “Logos” idea in the Arabic infancy gospel and more relevant to the point, Jesus as the “Word of God” in the gospel of John. But by calling Jesus the Word of God or the Word of truth, this is acknowledging the divinity of Jesus and agreeing with the theology that Jesus is God in the flesh inasmuch as the Word of God who was with God from the beginning became flesh in the gospel of John (John 1:1–17).

In the infancy gospel of Thomas where Jesus gave life to a bird, this is what was said of Him in that apocryphal source,

“Wherefore I beseech thee, my brother Joseph, take him away unto thine house: for he is somewhat great, whether god or angel or what I should call him, I know not.

(VII, 4)

Of a truth this young child is either a god or an angel of God; for every word of his is a perfect work. And Jesus departed thence, and was playing with other children.”

(XVII, 2)

Once again, the reason Jesus the child is able to give life to a bird and do the other miraculous works attributed to him in this apocryphal account is because He is divine.

The Gnostic belief that Jesus was never crucified but it was made to appear to His detractors as such stems from the belief that Jesus is so divine He could not have a fleshly body which Gnosticism would deem as evil. Again, the idea is that flesh is bad, Jesus is good, so Jesus could not have flesh, this is a massive oversimplification of the Gnostic belief in this regard but is just enough information for our current discourse.

Jesus in the apocryphal Acts of John source we cited goes on to say,

Thou hast me as a bed, rest upon me. Who I am, thou shalt know when I depart. What now I am seen to be, that I am not. Thou shalt see when thou comest. If thou hadst known how to suffer, thou wouldest have been able not to suffer. Learn thou to suffer, and thou shalt be able not to suffer. What thou knowest not, I myself will teach thee. Thy God am I, not the God of the traitor.”

(Acts of John 96)

The Gnostic source calls Jesus God. The one cardinal sin in Islam is to associate partners with Allah but the Gnostics do this. One wonders why their beliefs find their way into Muhammad’s revelation.

Again, this belies even a bigger problem than shirk (Associating partners with Allah) if you can believe it. These apocryphal sources as well as their stories are ahistorical. They are not written by or within the lifetimes of the apostles, they are not historical accounts, they are fabrications attempting to fill in the gaps where the gospels are silent and in fact they were rejected by the church as inauthentic for those reasons, yet, these stories are in the Quran as Allah’s revelation! This leaves us with two options, either Allah’s revelations are lies for passing off fabrications as history or these apocryphal sources are somehow inspired by Allah as well.

If Allah’s revelations are lies, then we cannot trust Him and the Quran is a book of falsehood but if the apocryphal sources are inspired, then Jesus really is the Son of God and Allah does indeed beget a Son contrary to all the revelations to the opposite effect in the Quran.

Now it makes sense why Muhammad’s audience said they had heard all his revelations before and he brought nothing new to the table. Now it makes sense why they would have called his revelations fairy tales. The apocrypha are as fictional as it gets in terms of its account of the life of Jesus yet the Quran takes them seriously.

This is why the Islamic Jesus does not fit the framework of Islamic theology. Why exactly is Jesus, not Muhammad, the final prophet coming again in Islam? Why is Jesus born of a virgin? Why does Jesus create and give life like Allah does? Why is Jesus the “Messiah” in Islam? Why is Jesus the only sinless person in Islam? Why is Jesus the only one Satan could not touch at birth according to the hadith? Why is Jesus alive in heaven in Islam right now? Why is Jesus said to be the Word of Allah? Why is Jesus supported with the Holy Spirit? The Muslim answer? “Allah knows best!”, the thinking man’s answer? Muhammad was a plagiarist who copied a ton of information about Jesus from oral and written sources without fully understanding the theology behind them or their implications for his message.

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A.B. Melchizedek

Crusader for the truth of the gospel and the logical coherence within the context of the scriptural worldview.