Apologetics: Jesus as the Walad of God (JBJ)

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Apologetics: Jesus as the Walad of God (JBJ)
This is an opinion article from a user of WikiChristian.

The Qur'an rejects the idea that Jesus is the physical son, walad, of God but not that he is the spiritual Son of God, which is what Christians believe or what the Bible says. Therefore the Qur'an is not criticising Christianity; it is either rebuking Christian heretics or misunderstanding what Christianity really teaches. There is no contradiction for a Muslim to call Jesus the Son of God as the Bible does.

The Meaning of Walad

Walad is Arabic for son, always meaning a physical son. When the Qur'an says Jesus is not the Son of God, it uses walad in every case but one.

The following are all the verses in the Qur'an which say Jesus was not the walad of God: 2.116, 4.171, 6.100-101, 10.68, 18.4, 19.35, 19.88-92, 21.26, 23.91, 25.2, 39.4, 43.81, 72.3, and 112.3.

The Meaning of Ibn

Ibn is Arabic for son and can carry the connotation of either a physical son or a figurative son. For example, an adopted son would be an ibn, not a walad. The Qur'an calls travellers "sons of the road" (Surah 2.215). If the Qur'an were truly correcting the Bible, it would use this word. However, only one verse uses ibn to speak of Jesus. Arabic is closely connected with Hebrew, in which ibn correlates with ben. Ben also means either physical or figurative son.

The Jews call 'Uzair a son (ibn) of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son (ibn) of Allah. (9.30)

This does not mean, however, that Jesus is not the figurative Son of God because the Qur'an might be appealing to the physical meaning of ibn. Based on the numerous other references, this is most likely, though not completely certain. It may have been that the Qur'an was rebuking those who call Ezra the ibn of God, either physical or figurative, and used ibn for Jesus also for the purely literary connection. In either case, it cannot be proven that this verse denies the figurative sonship of Jesus.

What the Bible Says

The Bible says God is spirit (John 4:24), thus He does not have reproductive organs to have a physical son. Jesus called Himself "Son of God" to symbolize His close relationship with God and His inheritance of God's authority. The Bible translated in Arabic uses ibn, not walad, to speak of Jesus.

Some translations mistakenly call Jesus "begotten" by God but this is a mistranslation.

Other Sources

According to Ibn Hisham in Sirat Rasul Allah, a group of Christians from Narjan called Jesus the walad of God. Muhammad replied to them using the Qur'an, approximately Surah 3.1-3.80. Muhammad does not correct them saying that Jesus is the Son of God, using neither ibn nor walad.

Return to Islam -> Islamic Apologetics (JBJ)


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