What do we know about the Disciples of Jesus? Does Islam say anything about the disloyalty of the Disciples of Jesus, as found in the Bible?
‘Disciples’ were those who chose to follow Prophet Jesus and to listen to his teachings. They are also called ‘Apostles’. According to the Bible they called him ‘Rabbi’ or ‘Teacher’. Historically we know very little about Jesus’ disciples. The Gospel of Matthew and Luke have mentioned their names (Chapter 6). The Twelve Disciples were followers of Jesus whom he had chosen to become his core group, the people he talked things over with and depended on.
Ironically however, the Bible records that one of his disciples named Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver! Similarly, according to the Gospel of Mark prior to the so-called crucifixion of Jesus all his disciples forsook him and fled. (Mark 14:50)
Disciples in the Quran:
The disciples of Prophet Jesus are mentioned five times in the Quran and their faith has been always praised. The holy Quran states with reference to their sincerity and submission to Allah:
“Then when Jesus came to know of their (Jews) disbelief, he said: Who will be my helpers in Allah’s Cause? Al-Hawariyyun (the disciples) said: We are the helpers of Allah; we believe in Allah, and bear witness that we are Muslims.” [3:52]
According to a narration from Imam Redha (a.s), the name ‘al-Hawariyyun’ (literally means whitening) is given to them for they used to cleanse themselves from sins and struggle in cleansing others by teaching and preaching. (al-Bahrani, al-Borhan vol. 2: p.40)
Islamic literature does not confirm the betrayal of Jesus by any of his disciples. Nay, an authentic Hadith indicates that one of his disciples, following the request of Jesus, offered himself to be killed instead (Ibid p.41).
Sheikh Mansour Leghaei