Christ in Muhammadﷺ

By Muhammad Yakub khan, B.A., B.T.

Imam, Shah Jehan Mosque, Woking, Surrey, England

 (The Islamic Review, December 1921)


The Walthamstow Guardian, issue October 21st, publishes, under the title, “Christ or Muhammadﷺ”, the speech of the Bishop of Barking, in connection with the Walthamstow Missionary Young Life Campaign. With a view to giving the reader an idea of the Cimmerian darkness of ignorance that prevails in the West concerning the true teachings of Islam, we give below an extract from the same:

There was a question as to whether the world was to be dominated in the future by power, or regarded as an unlimited field for service. There were two religions in the world – one, Christianity, and the other, Islam. Mohammedanism was as ever making a bold bid for domination as a world religion. It had, of course, its good features, or it would not have gained the sway it exercised. They, however, never looked with any personal respect on the character of its founder, nor how it placed womanhood, and, above all, it left out the name of Jesus Christ. Moslem was the idea of power, but Christianity substituted the idea of service. If Moslem or Islam should gain supremacy over the world, or the greater part, then the sad features which have darkened human lives over vast portions of the world for centuries would still continue, and, perhaps, be aggravated. But if the light of the Gospel shone in all nations then they might be sanguine, and the future of the world would be bright indeed. If the world was to be saved they must spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Bishop reads in Islam a spirit of brute force, of domineering over the world with blind power, in Christianity of service to and love with humanity at large. As regards his misconception of Islamic cult, we are no way surprised. Almost the whole of the Christian world labours under the same misunderstanding. And the Bishop is a chip of the same block. In our last issue we attempted to enlighten the vast ill-informed Christian masses that Islam condemns the use of force in the matter of faith, which is solely an affair of one´s own free conviction. “There is no compulsion in matters religious,” says the Holy Qur-án. Interference of any form with the free exercise of one´s discretion is contradictory, as we pointed out in our last, to the very essence of Islam, which means willing submission. Even God, according to the Holy Qur-án, refrains from thrusting His own will upon man in the matter of choice between right and wrong: “ Say, the Truth is from your Lord, whosoever may wish, he may believe and whosoever may wish, he may disbelieve….” “Verily we have shown to him (man) the right path; he may be grateful or ungrateful.” This is the teaching of Islam on the point, in positive, unequivocal terms. It is therefore unfair to allege that Islam offers the alternatives of death or Islam to the non-believers.

The general misconception that Islam is a religion of the sword is due, among other reasons, to a confusion between the teachings of Islam and the history of Islam. We believe the fallacy is obvious enough. The history of the Church of Christ is replete with hideous barbarities perpetrated in the name of religion during the period known as the Middle Ages. The horrible stories of mutilations, burning alive, strangling, and all sorts of tortures repellent to the modern mind – and all this with all pious intentions to further the cause of Christianity – are surely not few and far between in the Church annals. Would it be anything but absurd to impute these brutalities to the teachings of the gentle Nazarene, who would not allow even the retaliation of evil with evil, but would rather have us turn up the other cheek and thus vanquish an insolent foe with a moral weapon? Now, may we expect Christendom to draw even the same line of discrimination, in the case of Islam too, between the teachings as such and as carried out by some. For the golden rule of life is to do unto others as one would be done by. Islam as a religion is, no doubt, accountable in so far as its teachings, moral social, and spiritual, are calculated to further human good and felicity, but is in no way responsible for what A or B, who professes to be a Muslim, has done, is doing, or may ever do. Let Christianity be under no misunderstanding as to the real ground on which it ought to, and has to, meet Islam in a struggle for world-domination. So far as the practical demonstration of religion is concerned, the Muslims can set up as their ideal no other than the Holy Prophet himself. To pick out an undesirable character in the history of Islam, which, too, we make bold to assert, sinks into insignificance if viewed side by side with similar aspects of Christian history, and to stigmatize Islam on that account, is prima facie unwarranted. As regards the life of the Holy Prophet himself, even hostile critics have to admit that it was one uniform clean sheet, devoted to the service of humanity. His wars, it is an historical fact, were purely defensive, into which he was dragged, only as a last alternative to strike a blow for the very existence of the small Muslim brother-hood. We would mention, out of a whole lifetime record, just one incident of the Holy Prophet´s life to show that whatever else the motive of his wars, it was surely not the propagation of religion. An average reader of the human history knows that for full thirteen years the Holy Prophet, as well as the small though devoted band of his followers, was subjected to inhuman tortures, till at last he had to flee for his very life to Medina, through drawn swords ready to fall upon him the moment he should come out of his house. There, too, he was allowed no rest. Incursions were made upon Medina, one after another, to extirpate the tender plant of Islam root and branch. At last came the day when the same abused, detested, persecuted and exiled Muhammad (may peace be on him) made his triumphant entry into Mecca, the scene of his tortures as well as of those of his many companions, at the head of ten thousand strong. The whole of Mecca lay literally at his feet. What treatment would the most humane twentieth-century Government have meted out to the bloodthirsty enemies, as the Meccans were, can be imagined with no great difficulty. Why go far back?  Arson, pillage, murder, gallows, shooting, destruction of life and property that followed in the wake of a victorious army during the Great War, is a matter of but yesterday. How the Holy Prophet treated such a fallen foe may better be put in the words of Muir, by no means an unreliable authority with the Christians:

The long and obstinate struggle against his (Muhammad´s) pretentions maintained by the inhabitants of his native city (Mecca) might have induced a haughty tyrant to mark his indignation in indelible traces of fire and blood. But Muhammad, excepting a few criminals, granted a universal pardon; and nobly casting into oblivion the memory of the past, with all its mockery, affronts and persecutions, he treated even the foremost of his opponents with a gracious and even friendly consideration.

Again says the same authority:

Although the city (Mecca) had cheerfully accepted his authority, all its inhabitants had not yet embraced the new religion, nor formally acknowledged his prophetical claim. Perhaps he intended to follow the course he had pursued at Medina and leave the conversion of the people to be gradually accomplished without compulsion.

As a matter of fact, how could the Holy Prophet force convictions of faith on others, in direct contravention of Islamic dictates? It is thus established that the Holy Prophet carried out to the very letter the Qur-ánic injunction that there is no compulsion in religion; for could there be a better opportunity for fulfilling his greed, as alleged, for proselytism at the point of the sword than the fall of Mecca? The objection levelled at Islam in season and out of season, that it offers the Qur-án with the one hand, while dangles the sword with the other, is not borne out by the teachings of the Holy Qur-án nor the practical life of the Holy Prophet.

Universality of Mission

Now, as regards universality of mission which the Bishop claims for Christianity, let us apply the same test and refer the point to the rival religions themselves. Surely it is no use fishing for arguments to substantiate what is not supported, nay denied in plain language, by the religion itself. This is what Jesus himself says: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel…. It is not meet to take the children´s bread and to cast it to dogs” (Math. xv. 24, 26) .Here is Jesus` own saying on the question. Is it not rather presumptuous on the part of the Church dignitary to invest his master with feathers which he himself disowns? He is modest enough to limit the scope of his message to the “lost sheep of Israel,” and is even unwilling to allow others to share it with his children, the Israelites; but the clergy,  his

self-constituted champions, are never tired of crying themselves hoarse on the world-wide mission of Christianity. Turning to Islam, we find the cosmopolitan idea running all through, both in the Holy Qur-án and the sayings of the Holy Prophet. The Holy Qur-án positively asserts the universality of Islam as thus: “O you mankind! I am Allah´s messenger to you all. We have not send thee but a mercy for the whole of mankind.” Again: “We have not sent thee but towards the whole mankind.” The Holy Prophet says: “I have been raised for both the black and the white races.” Thus, on their own respective confessions, Christianity is a denominational, while Islam a cosmopolitan religion.

Christianity Doomed.

As a matter of fact, Christianity as a religion has little chance of survival in the modern religious struggle under the searching light of reason, far less world-domination. There are a hundred and one reasons to show that it is lacking in the very essentials of a rational religion. It has failed, and miserably too, to appeal to common sense, so far as its basic principles are concerned, and is, on that score,  already losing its hold in enlightened quarters within its own fold. The conception of Godhead, which is, in fact, the corner-stone of religion, is jarring to the arithmetical sense of the commonest unsophisticated mind – three equal to one and one to three. Then, as regards its teachings having a bearing on practical life, it falls equally short of the demands of an average human mind. To put the whole in a nutshell its teaching amounts to the well-known saying, “To rob Peter to pay Paul.” The son of man is guilty of an offence, but instead of punishing him, the son of God is made to bear his cross. This is the death-knell of all moral life. When the knave knows he will escape scot-free, whatever evil he might commit, no wonder that his low passions should run riot.

Islam, on the other hand, is the one religion that comes up to the rational demands of the daily progressing humanity. With every fresh step along the path of reason, man finds himself in a position to realize the worth of Islamic teachings all the better. Its doctrine of unalloyed unity of Godhead  has already won universal homage, so much so that even Christianity has seen fit to present its Trinity under the veneer of Unity. As regards the practical side of life, Islamic teachings do not divest man of all responsibility for his deeds. According to Islam one shall reap just as he may sow, which keeps a check upon man´s low propensities, and gives an impetus to self-exertion. Thus Islamic rule of human conduct, unlike that of Christianity, is conducive to the progress of civilization.

Which, then, has the greater chance of world-domination – Christianity or Islam?

Christ in Muhammadﷺ

Reliable Christian scholars have come to the conclusion that the Christianity of the day wrongly goes after the name of Jesus. He could not be the author of a religion so out of keeping with the requirements of human nature. As a matter of fact all the prophets got their light from the same Divine source. Their teachings could not possibly differ from each other. The discrepancies that are met with among the various religions of the world have crept in through human interpolations. The only religious book that has preserved to this hour its original purity intact is the Holy Qur-án. The only religious personality the smallest details of whose eventful life may to this day be seen in the  broad daylight of authenticated history is Muhammadﷺ (may peace be on him). Islam thus is the only religion which, emanating from the common source of all religions, has to this day baffled the corrupting influences of the lapse of time. But inasmuch as all religions sprang from the same source, with one and the same message, we would not be wrong in drawing the inference that each one of the defunct or disfigured members of this vast sisterhood of religions must have been similar, for all practical purposes, to the one which has survived them all, viz. Islam. This is exactly what the Holy Qur-án says. Islam, it says, was the religion of Abraham, of Moses, of Noah, of Jesus, and of all other prophets (peace on all) raised from time to time. It is not the exclusive faith of the followers of Muhammadﷺ (peace be on him). Islam thus was the religion of Jesus as much as of Muhammadﷺ (peace be on both). The so-called Christianity of the day is the much adulterated form of the pure religion of Jesus (peace be on him), which was no other than Islam. So with just a slight variation in the query of the Barking Bishop, Christ or Muhammadﷺ we would hail Christendom to Christ in Muhammadﷺ; for, in accepting Islam, they will surely be reverting to the true religion of Jesus. Every Muslim is faith-bound to believe in all Prophets, including Jesus, ever raised, as much as in Muhammadﷺ.Thus, in coming over to the fold of Islam, a Christian does not lose Jesus Christ; nay, he finds him in his truest colour. To our Christian brethren, therefore, we would say: Back, back to the true religion of Jesus, and find Christ in Muhammadﷺ!