I know it wasn’t his intention, but Imran Kahn, the Muslim Prime Minister of Pakistan, inadvertently took a swipe at the Koran, while bashing the Christian faith.
Officially known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the country has a population of 212 million where 94.6% of the people are Muslim and only 1.5% are Christian. Yet despite the small percentage of Christians, in his speech honoring the birthday of Mohammad on November 30, 2018, Kahn decided to take a swipe at Jesus stating that He is not mentioned in human history:
“There were prophets of Allah other [than Muhammad] but there is no mention of them in human history. There is negligible mention of them. Moses is mention of Jesus in history… But the entire life of Muhammad, who was Allah’s last prophet, is part of history.”
Khan made this statement as part of his push to have any defamation of Muhammad and the Koran declared illegal by the international community.
Now here is where it gets tricky. Because the Koran cites Jesus several times. In fact, the Koran talks about Christ (25 times) more than it talks about Muhammad (four times). In fact, Mary the mother of Jesus (34 times) is mentioned more often than Muhammad.
So is Khan saying that the Koran is wrong? Is Khan suggesting that Muhammad made a mistake in everything he said about Jesus? Is Khan stating that the Koran is not a historical document?
Though the Koran does not believe Jesus was the Son of God or that He died on the cross for the sins of the world, it nevertheless has a lot to say about Christ:
- Jesus is called a prophet of Allah (Surah 2:136)
- Jesus was born of a virgin (Surah 19:19-21; 21:19), but is not considered the son of God, because that would imply God had sex with Mary.
- Jesus performed miracles of healing and raising the dead (Surah 3:49) and is considered by many Muslims as a healing prophet. Koran does not record Muhammad doing any miracles.
- Jesus performed miracles as a child including speaking when He was two days old (Surah 19:29-31). The Bible provides little information on Jesus’s childhood.
- Though the Koran does not believe Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world, it states that Jesus never died, but was taken to heaven while still alive (Surah 4:157-158). In comparison Muhammad died.
- Because Christ didn’t die, as part of Islam’s end times theology, Jesus will return with the Muslim messiah (Surah 43:61).
But to suggest that Jesus is not mentioned outside the Bible is also wrong. There are several mentions of Christ in the secular and historical records of the time:
Roman historian Tactius (56 AD to 120 AD) spoke about Christ in his writings entitled “Annals“:
“But not all the relief that could come from man, not all the bounties that the prince could bestow, nor all the atonements which could be presented to the gods, avaiIed to relieve Nero from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration. Hence, to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished with the most exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of that name, was put to death as a criminal by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time, broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome…”
In his letter to Rome, Pliny the younger (61 AD to 115 AD), while serving as governor of Bithynia-Pontus (modern Turkey), also attested of Christ:
“They affirmed, however, the whole of their guilt, or their error, was, that they were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft, or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor to deny a trust when they should be called on to deliver it up…”
Josephus (37 AD to 100 AD), a Jewish historian, in his book Antiquities wrote:
“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day.”
In his book, The Passing of Peregrinus, Lucian (125 AD to 180 AD) a satirist also spoke of Jesus:
“…the man who was crucified in Palestine because he introduced this new cult into the world…Furthermore, their first lawgiver persuaded them that they are all brothers one of another after they have transgressed once for all by denying the Greek gods and by worshiping that crucified sophist himself and living under his laws. “
Now many of these individuals citing Christ were critics of Christianity, so they can’t be considered biased in favor of the Christian religion. They were simply stating the historical facts as they knew them.