Any evidence that: monotheistic Christians existed, & that Christians have worshipped Mary?


The Qur’an said that Jesus never called himself Ibn (son of) Allah, and that there were Christians that believed he was Abd Allah (servant of God), not Ibn Allah, like Ashab al Kahf, or Ashabal Ukhdud. Is there proof of these types of Christians?

And the Quran also says that Christians worshipped Mary, is there any proof of that?


1) Unitarians: Unitarians are the most ancient Christian denomination and still some of its adherents exist in the UK and USA. They adhere to strict monotheism and maintain that Jesus was a great man and a prophet of God, but not God himself. The largest Unitarian denomination worldwide today is also the oldest surviving Unitarian denomination; the Unitarian Church of Transylvania (in Romania, which is in union with the Unitarian Church in Hungary).

2)  Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches pay a special homage and veneration to Mary. They refer to Mary as ‘the Mother of God’ (Theotokos). They not only believe that she is the mediatrix (a female mediator) of all graces, but they also believe in Mariolatry, a term used since the Reformation to mean the worship of Mary. Thus, recitation of the rosary has been among the most popular expressions of Marian devotion.

The internet encyclopaedia of Encarta explains the history of the divinity of Mary as follows:

“As early as the 2nd century, Christians venerated Mary by calling her Mother of God, a title that primarily stresses the divinity of Jesus. During the controversies of the 4th century concerning the divine and human natures of Jesus, the Greek title theotókos (Mother of God) came to be used for Mary in devotional and theological writing. Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople (present-day İstanbul), contested this usage, insisting that Mary was mother of Christ, not of God. In 431, the Council of Ephesus condemned Nestorianism and solemnly affirmed that Mary is to be called theotókos, a title that has been used since that time in the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.”

It is nearly impossible to find a Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Church wherein it is not filled with carved or molten images and/or statues of Jesus and Mary. Most of these images and statues are placed in the prominent places of the Prayer Halls of the churches for veneration and worship. The majority of the congregation will kneel, worship, venerate and pray before these images as an inherited tradition. They refer to Jesus as their God and to the Virgin Mary asthe ‘Mother of God’! Many devoted Catholics also have statues of Mary in their homes for her veneration.

The Protestants, however, who separated from the Church of Rome in the 16th century, do not believe in the divinity of Mary.

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

The deity of Jesus according to the Holy Quran?


Can you please mention some Ayat from the Holy Quran which reject the claim of the deity of Jesus?


The following are explicit statements from the Final Testament, i.e. the holy Quran; about Jesus son of Mary (may the peace and mercy of God be upon him):

1. O people of the Scripture! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allah aught but the truth. The Messiah, son of Mary was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit from Allah. So believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not three (Trinity). Cease! It is better for you. For Allah is One God, glory be to Him above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth.” [4:171]

2. Verily, the likeness of Jesus before Allah is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then said to him: “Be”- and he was.” [3:59]

3. “The Messiah, son of Mary, was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him. His mother was righteous. They both used to eat food. Look how We make the proofs clear to them; yet look how they are deluded away (from the truth).” [5:75]

4. “The Christians say: Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths, resembling the saying of those who disbelieved aforetime.” [9:31]

5. “Surely they have disbelieved who say: God is Messiah, son of Mary. But Messiah said: O Children of Israel! Worship my Lord and your Lord.” [5:72]

6. “Such is Jesus, son of Mary. (This is) the statement of truth, about which they dispute.” [Chapter of Mary 19:34]

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

When and how did the dogma of the Trinity emerge?


When and how did the dogma of the Trinity emerge?


Nay. Historically, the original Christians of the first three centuries did not know of the Trinity.

Some early Christian sects who did exist before the Roman Catholic, such as the Ebionite and Essences in the first century, were Unitarians and knew no Trinity and did not worship Jesus. It is unanimously accepted that the Nicean Conference in 325 AD called by the order of the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, over a controversy about the personality of Jesus, led eventually to the acceptance of Trinity.   The Trinity dogma however, first referred to by St. Augustine (415CE), came about much later than the Council of Nicea, and was accepted as the Athanasian Creed in the fifth century.   

Trinitarian Christians Verses Unitarians

In 318 C.E. a controversy over the matter of the nature of Jesus blew up between church men from Alexandria- Arius the deacon, and Alexander his bishop. In order to safeguard the unity of his kingdom, the Emperor Constantine stepped into the fray and called for the first ecumenical council in church history in order to settle the matter once and for all.

According to Encarta Encyclopaedia, of the 1800 bishops in the Rome Empire, 318 attended the Council in 325 C.E. in Nicea (now Iznik, Turkey). The irony is that Christ’s deity was ratified despite the objections of most of the Christian bishops who had been gathered there from all over the world.  Nevertheless, the Emperor concluded the council with a faith that he dictated in the Council. The Nicean Creed according to Catholic Encyclopaedia reads:

We believe in one God; the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible; and our Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance of the Father, God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten no make, of the same substance with the Father.”

Although the Creed was signed, the matter was still far from settled. Arius and the new bishop of Alexandria, a man called Athanasius, began arguing over the matter. By the end of the 4th century, under the leadership of Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus (the Cappadocian Fathers), the doctrine of the Trinity at the council of Chalcedon took substantially the form it has maintained ever since.

Since then, brutal punishments, violent persecution ,and being labeled as heretics was the only destiny of the Unitarians. All their books were burnt and by 600 A.D., they had basically ceased to exit.

Today some critical Christian theologians such as John Hick in his book ‘The Myth of God Incarnate’ find the roots of the Trinity in ancient pagan religions. Hick finds amazing similarities between the Buddhist doctrine of Trikaya (the three body doctrine) and the Trinity. Similarly, there are many similarities between the Trinity and the Hindu doctrine of Trimurti (Sanskrit: Three Forms) consisting a triad of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. It is due to these similarities that some historians assumed that Jesus must have spent some time in India during his missing years! There is however, no historical proof for this assumption. Moreover, the claim of the adaptation of a pagan doctrine by a Messenger of God i.e. Jesus (a.s), is the most irrational proposition.

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

What proofs do we have for the return of Prophet Jesus at the time of Imam Mahdi?


Can you please provide proofs for the belief that Prophet Jesus will return at the time of the reappearance of Imam Mahdi aswell? Ayaat from the Quran and Hadiths would be appreciated.


The Return of Jesus in Islam

Muslim scholars irrespective of their denominations are quite unanimous that upon the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (May God hasten his reappearance) Prophet Jesus will also descend to Earth from the heavens. During that time Jesus and Imam Mahdi will spread peace and justice on Earth, and the Earth will attain unprecedented peace, justice and welfare. Jesus will be like the minister for Imam Mahdi and his main mission will be to correct the dogma of Trinity and to clarify his humane personality and servitude to God.

The Islamic doctrine of the descension of Jesus to Earth is derived from a couple of Ayaat in the Quran and many Ahadith which are narrated by both Shi’a and Sunni narrators. The following are the most important reasons for this doctrine:

1. Jesus is still alive

The holy Quran in a unique style denotes the false dogma of crucifixion. The holy Quran clearly states that Allah raised Jesus to Himself. Thus, Jesus has not tasted physical death as yet. On the other hand, ‘every creature shall have a taste of death’. [29:57]. In conclusion, Jesus must return to earth to live a physical life and die a physical death.

2. The People of the Book believe in Jesus before his death

The Almighty Allah states: “And there will be none of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) but must believe in him before his death and on the Day of Resurrection, he will be a witness against them.” [4:159].

Most interpreters of the Quran agree that the above Ayah is with reference to the time of the return of Jesus to Earth. During that time there will be no Jews or Christians, but rather those who believe in Jesus as a Messenger of Allah and a human being. According to this interpretation, the pronoun in ‘before his death’ returns to ‘Jesus’ not a Jew or a Christian.

Shahr bin Houshab narrated: “Hajjaj bin Yusuf said to me: “There is an Ayah in the Quran that I’m baffled as to its meaning. I said: O Amir! Which Ayah is that? He said: “And there will be none of the People of the Book …” By Allah! I have ordered the execution of many Christians and Jews and I have witnessed their death, but none of them believed in the humanity of Jesus before his death.” Shahr said: “I said to Hajjaj: This is not the meaning of the Ayah. (He meant the pronoun in that phrase returns to Jesus not the Jews and Christians). The meaning of the Ayah is that Jesus will descend to Earth before the Day of Resurrection and there will be no Jews or Christians but believers in Jesus, and he will pray behind Imam Mahdi.” Hajjaj asked from whom I had learnt that interpretation from. I replied: Imam Baqir, son of Imam Sajjad, son of Imam Husain, son of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib narrated this to me.” Hajjaj said: By Allah, you gained it from a pure spring.”
3. The followers of Jesus will be superior over disbelievers

Almighty Allah states: “And when Allah said: O Jesus! I will take you and raise you to Myself and clear you of those who disbelieve, and I will make those who follow you superior to those who disbelieve till the Day of Resurrection. Then you (believers and disbelievers) will return to Me and I will judge between you in the matter in which you used to dispute.” [3:55].

The above Ayah is one of the controversial Ayaat in the story of Prophet Jesus. Some Christian preachers use this Ayah to prove the superiority of Christians over the adherents of all other religions whom they also call ‘disbelievers’ until the Day of Judgment.

Christians assumed the Quranic phrase ‘those who follow you’ equals Christians. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Christianity today is in essence very different from the actual teachings of Prophet Jesus. The followers of Jesus were those who truly followed his teachings. According to the Quran, the dogma of Trinity is in full conflict with the teachings of Prophet Jesus. Thus, how could Trinitarians be regarded as the followers of Jesus?!

The examples of ‘those who follow you’ from the time of Jesus till the advent of Islam are those sincere believers who believed in Jesus as a Messenger of Allah and followed his teachings. With the rise of Islam, Muslims who believe in Jesus as a Messenger of Allah are the true followers of Jesus. The disbelievers in return are those who never believed in Jesus as a Prophet such as the Jews or even the Christians who believed in the divinity of Jesus. Thus Almighty Allah has made the true monotheists who believe in Jesus as His Messenger superior in their ideology over the disbelievers who do not believe in Prophet Jesus.

Another meaning for the Ayah is to say when Imam Mahdi (a.s) reappears and Jesus returns to Earth, the true followers of Jesus who include all Muslims, Jews, Christians who truly followed Jesus, will be superior to the disbelievers.

4. Prophetic narrations confirm the descent of Jesus

Numerous Narrations in both Sunni and Shi’a sources confirm and detail the descending of Jesus at the same time as Imam Mahdi.

Renowned Sunni narrators such as al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Maajah, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Abu-Dawood and many others have narrated the narrations of the return of Jesus at the time of Imam Mahdi, and that he will pray behind Imam Mahdi.

Ibn Jouzi in his book ‘Tathkeratul-Khawas’ narrated: “Mahdi and Jesus will reunite. When it’s the time for Prayers, Mahdi will ask Jesus to lead the Prayers, but Jesus will say: You are more preferred to lead the Prayers. Then Jesus will pray behind him.”

According to the narrations of his return, Jesus will break the cross and abandon the meat of the pig. He will also abolish the Jazyah for the People of the Book of his time who will have no excuse to adhere to their false principles. They have to either convert to Islam and hence no Jazyah will apply to them or will be executed by Jesus. Jesus will live on the Earth for 40 years before he dies. Imam Mahdi will pray on his body and will attend his burial in pubic.

The Return of Jesus and the Seal of Prophet-hood

One of the theological problems about the return of Jesus is the paradox between this concept and the seal of Prophethood. Undoubtedly, Prophet Muhammad was the last Prophet and Messenger of God. With Prophet Muhammad, prophethood ceased to continue. Then how could one of the previous prophets return to earth after Prophet Muhammad?

The answer to the above paradox is that Prophet Jesus will not return to Earth to bring a new Shari’a Law. Thus, he will pray behind Imam Mahdi. In fact, Imam Mahdi who is the 12th and the last successor of the Prophet of Islam will lead the world. The main purpose of the return of Jesus to Earth is in order for him to prove to the Jews and the Christians the truth about himself.

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

Can Christians historically rely on the current Gospels to believe in the crucifixion of Jesus?


Can Christians histoically rely on the current accepted Gospels to believe in the crucifixion of Jesus? Don’t the Gospels have contradictions between themselves on this issue?


All the present four Gospels, although with some differences, have narrated the fiction of crucifixion. Nonetheless, the testimony of none of them can be accepted in any court of law for the following reasons:

1. Unfortunately none of the authors of the Gospels are living for cross examination of their narrations. Hence, we can only refer to their texts available to us as their sworn affidavit.  

The main problem of the present Gospels is their authors are anonymous. The authors, the date and the language of the Gospels are unknown. Thus, as Ahmed Deedat adequately expressed, ‘no civilized court of law would pay any heed to the present gospels as attested documents’.

2. None of the anonymous authors of the gospels were eyewitnesses of the crucifixion. So, where did they get their information from? For instance, it is believed that Mark had been the disciple of Peter; the chief disciple of Jesus. Nonetheless Mark says that at the time of the arrest of Jesus ‘all his disciples forsook him and fled.’ [Mark 14:50] So, either we have to agree that Mark is lying or ‘all disciples’ including Peter had left Jesus.

Then again who narrated the arrest and the crucifixion of Jesus to Mark?  Yes, Mark narrates that Peter followed Jesus from a distance, but then again, to safeguard himself he stayed outside the entrance of the court, even blaspheming so that people would not accuse him of being one of the disciples. Thus, Peter was not an eye witness either. As a result, Mark could not even be an `ear-witness` to the scene. Thus, his Gospel is more of a community gossip.

As a matter of fact, the present gospels are technically less reliable than a history book such as ‘The History of Tabari’. For, Tabari at least mentions the chain of the narrators through whom he narrates the historical events, a process which enables scholars to examine and verify the authenticity of the narrations.

3. Gospels narrate different phrases for the last words of Jesus.

The last word of Jesus according to John was ‘it is finished’ (John 19:30). Luke on the other hand narrates: “With a loud voice Jesus cried: Father, into Your hands I entrust my spirit! And with these words he died.” [23:46]. The last words Mark narrates from Jesus is ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?` [Mark 15:34, Matt. 26:14-16]. Keep in mind the fact that the reason why the narrations of Mark and Matthew are practically the same is due to Matthew’s narration depending largely upon that of Mark`s. Thus, it should not be treated as a separate historical source.

4. It is very unlikely for a Messenger of Allah to have expressed such a complaint, as narrated by Mark, in the last minutes of his life, questioning Allah as to why He had forsaken him.

Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

Does Islam say anything about the disloyalty of the Disciples of Jesus, as in the Bible?


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

Why is the ‘Crucifixion of Jesus’ and the ‘Atonement’ so important in Christianity?


Can you briefly explain what the crucifixion of Jesus is, aswell as the atonement (according to Christianity), and why these two concepts are so important to Christianity?


Crucifixion is an ancient method of execution, in which the victim was tied or nailed to a large wooden cross (Latin: crux) and left to hang there until dead. Thus, crucifixion does not necessarily guarantee the death of a victim. It could also be a means of severe torturing.

The mainstream Christians today strongly believe in the crucifixion of Jesus. The standard account of what historically is claimed to have happened during the crucifixion of Jesus in today’s Christianity, is based on the accounts in the four canonical gospels, although their authors are generally regarded as anonymous. In these accounts, Jesus was crucified, died on the cross, and buried outside of Jerusalem during the thirty third year of his life. Then he arose from the dead and he was raised up to heaven.

The crucifixion of Jesus is not a mere historical event in today’s Christianity. It is of fundamental importance to the theology of most contemporary Christians. As a result the cross has become the primary symbol of Christianity. ‘Atonement’; the dogma of reconciliation between God and humans by the redemptive life and death of Jesus, lies under the cross of Jesus.  To them, Jesus died on the cross so that the sins of those who believe in him can be forgiven and thus they can gain salvation. They regard the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus with the conviction that all took place ‘according to the scriptures’. (1 Cor. 15:3-5)

According to the teachings of Paul (not Prophet Jesus) without crucifixion, resurrection of Jesus becomes irrelevant and without resurrection, Christianity itself is rendered meaningless. Paul in his first letter to Corinthians claims: “But if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching amounts to nothing and your faith is futile.” (1 Cor 15:14)

Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

What does Islam say about the ‘crucifixion’ of Jesus?


I would like to know what Islam (Holy Quran and Hadiths) says about the crucifixion of Jesus, which the Christians believe has happened?


The Quran strongly states that Jesus was not crucified or killed, but instead God raised him unto Himself. There is no statement in the Quran more explicit, emphatic and uncompromising in rejecting the dogma of a faith than this.

The holy Quran in its unique style denounces the crucifixion of Prophet Jesus, in Chapter 4 (Surah al-Nisa). Almighty Allah does so, along with the reasons why the Jews were reproached by Allah, as follows:

“And because of their saying: We killed Messiah, Jesus; son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah, but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but it appeared so to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For, surely they killed him not. But Allah raised him up unto Himself. And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise.” [4:157-158]

Nearly every single word in the above Ayah contains an emphasis on the issue.  Almighty Allah has even denounced both ‘the killing’ and ‘the crucifixion’ in separate terms to leave no room for any type of claim for the killing  of Jesus, whether by crucifixion or execution or hanging as claimed by the anonymous author of Acts of Apostles 5:29-30.

The Jews and the Christians believe that Jesus was crucified yet they disagree in that Christians maintain that Jesus was resurrected three days after his crucifixion. Thus, the Quran states: “those who differ therein are full of doubts”. [4:157]

According to the above Ayah it ‘so appeared to them’ to think that they killed Jesus. Imam Baqir (a.s) in an authentic Hadith narrated from him states:

“Verily, in the night that Allah had promised to raise Jesus to Him, Jesus invited his disciples, who were twelve men, to a house. Jesus came out to them from a corner of the house whilst he was drying his head from water. He then said: Surely, Allah revealed to me that He will raise me this time to Him and will clear me from the Jews, so which one of you is willing to have my image cast upon him to be killed and crucified and he will be with me in the hereafter? A young man from among them said: I (will accept) O Ruhullah! Jesus replied: So, you will be the one.” [Tafsir al-Qomi, vol.1 p.111].

For more information please refer to this book chapter I have written on the subject here.

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei



How do Christians use the Bible to prove the deity of Jesus, & can we use it to prove otherwise?


How do Christians usually use the Bible to prove the idea that Jesus is God, and is it possible for us to disprove this idea using the Bible? If you can provide quotes from the Bible, that would be great!


Christians do quote various passages, mostly ambiguous, from the Bible to enforce belief in the deity of Jesus. In fact, they base the dogma of Trinity more on the Bible than anything else. To them, to understand the divine nature of God is beyond the human limited perspective and hence we can only know “what He has revealed to us about His nature through the Bible”.

First of all, you must note that logically proving the deity of Jesus from the Bible falls into the fallacy of ‘begging the question’. Begging the question or circle reasoning is a fallacy in which the premises include the claim that the conclusion is true or assume that the conclusion is true. Imagine you go for a job interview and the interviewer asks for a reference. You mention a name and if he asks how he would know if he is trustworthy, you say: Oh I vouch for him!

Christians –quoting from the Bible- claim that Jesus is the only begotten son of God. John in his Gospel says: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son…” [John 3:16]

The above quotation is one of the Biblical sources of Christians’ claim for divinity of Jesus.

Let’s read the Bible and see whether Jesus was the only begotten son of God:

1. David; a begotten son of God:

Psalms of Prophet David (or as Christians refer to him; King David) is one of the books of the Old Testament. Although the Psalms are the product of various authors, Peter and John (Acts 4:25) ascribe the second Psalm to David. In the second Psalm we read: “I will declare the decree: the Lord has said unto me, you my Son; this day have I begotten you.” [Psalms 2:7]

2. Israel; the begotten son of God:

Israel was another name for Prophet Jacob. In the book of Exodus we read: “And you shall say unto Pharaoh, thus said the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn.” [Ex. 4:22]

3. Adam was the son of God:

Luke mentioning the lineage of Jesus says: “Jesus being …the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, …which was the son of Adam, who was the son of God.” [KJV]

As you can see, according to the Bible, Jesus was not the only begotten son of God. The expression of son of God, if I were to justify it, at best would mean the one who is spiritually and passionately close to God and is chosen by Him; the Almighty. In this sense, all the Prophets are the sons of God. Any one who has studied the Bible knows that Jesus in many instances spoke in figures of speech. Then if these quotations about his `sonship` are correct, why couldn’t he have said it as a figure of speech?!

The holy Quran, however, has abandoned the usage of this expression not to leave any room for misinterpretation.

Sheikh Mansour Leghaei

What name(s) does the Holy Quran use to refer to Christians?


I am interested to know how the Holy Quran refers to Christians in the Holy Quran? What name or names does it use?


The names by which the disciples were known among themselves were ‘brethren’, ‘the faithful’, ‘elect’, ‘saints’ and ‘believers’.

The title ‘Christian’ for the followers of the teachings of Jesus is historically a Greek-given name not a God-given name. In Greek, the adjectival ending -ianos denoted the adherents of an individual or party. So, adherents to Christ were called Christianos which is developed in English to Christians. The name ‘Christian’ was first given by the Greeks or Romans, probably in reproach, to the followers of Jesus.

There is no record of any disciple calling another believer a Christian or of Jesus applying that designation to himself. Luke in Acts [11:19-30] writes that “the disciples were called Christians,” not that  “the disciples called themselves Christians.” According to the Acts (11:26) the title of ‘Christian’ was first used at Antioch for the disciples. When disciples under the persecution of the Jews sought refuge in Antioch which was a Greek city, they were named in reproach by pagan Greeks as ‘Christians’ meaning those who believe in the one who claimed to be the Christ. In the early stages of Christianity to be called ‘Christian’ would most probably equal execution.

Although this title initially carried some negative sense, over time Christians accepted it, as to them it would be an honour for them to be related to Christ (the Messiah; al-Maseeh in Arabic). Hence, the title was universally accepted.

On the other hand, the Jews who did not believe Jesus was the Messiah scorned the followers and the disciples of Jesus as “the sect of the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5) meaning the followers of the one who was merely born in Nazareth.

The only God-given title for the followers of the teachings of Jesus is given by Allah in the holy Quran. The holy Quran has never referred to the followers of Jesus as Christians (Al-Maseehiyoun in Arabic) or Nazarenes.  The term used in the Quran for his followers is ‘Nasara’ meaning the helpers, the singular of which is ‘Nasrani’ meaning ‘the helper’.  Just like the term used for those believers in Madina who supported Prophet Muhammad and hence were called ‘the helpers’. The reason as to why the holy Quran is calling the adherents of Jesus ‘the Helpers’ stems from a conversation between Jesus and his disciples. According to the Quran when Jesus began his mission he asked his disciples who would be helping him in the cause of God. The holy Quran states:

“O you who believe! Be you helpers (in the Cause) of Allah as said Jesus, son of Mary, to the disciples: Who are my helpers (in the Cause) of Allah? The disciples said: We are Allah’s helpers.” [61:14]

Therefore, contrary to the name given to the followers of Jesus by the Romans or the Jews, the Quranic title for them is a God-given name and designates their devotion to Allah.

Another title used frequently in the Quran for both the Christians and the Jews, is the appellation of ‘People of the Book’ which is a very honourable title confirming that they historically belonged to the community of the faithful people who originally had a divine Scripture.

Sheikh Mansour Leghaei