Islamic and Jewish Views of Jesus’ Teachings

Rabbi Allen S Maller

Islamic and Jewish Views of Jesus’ Teachings

Rabbi Allen S. Maller
The Qur’an states: “O People of the (Gospels) Book. Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah anything but the truth. Messiah Jesus, the son of Mary, was (only) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. (4:171 Yusif Ali translation)
So the Trinitarian belief of Christianity is incorrect according to Islam and Judaism, but a Unitarian view is truly monotheistic.  So we can and should follow many of Rabbi Jesus’ teachings.
For example: “It was revealed by the tongue of Jesus: “A land is cursed if its rulers are young boys.” (Muhammad ibn Sa’d) But this is not written anywhere in the Gospels.
Perhaps Jesus was simply repeating Ecclesiastes 10:16 “Woe to you, O land, when your king is a young boy.” Or perhaps it is a sacred oral teaching that was not written down, what Muslims call a Hadith qudsi and Jews call an Oral Torah teaching.
Hadith and Oral Torah are important expansions of the written revelation. For example: God revealed to Jesus: “O Jesus, admonish yourself. Once admonished, admonish other people. Otherwise, be modest in my sight.” (Ahmad ibn Hanbal) in another Hadith qudsi. Judaism is in full agreement with this teaching also.
Jesus met a man and asked him, “What are you doing?” “I am devoting myself to God,” the man answered. Jesus asked, “Who takes care of you?” “My brother,” replied the man. Jesus said, “Your brother is more devoted to God that you are.” (Abdallah ibn Qutayba) and I as a Reform Rabbi say “Amen”.
A disciple of Jesus the son of Mary, who was in charge of collecting and distributing charity complained to Jesus that, “these activities ‘steal’ lots of valuable time from me that I would prefer to devote to prayer and meditation.”
Rabbi Jesus replied, “It is not true that acts of generosity and kindness ‘steal’ your time. If anything, these Mitsvot (commandments) give you more time (prolong your life)“
The disciple continued his charitable activities and the prophecy of Jesus that; “acts of generosity and kindness do not steal one’s time, but rather give one more time” was fulfilled. He lived an additional seven good years after becoming very ill and then passed away quickly.
“Yet there are many people who are very charitable and do not have their lives extended,” said his disciples. Jesus replied, “This is true for sometimes the extra years are received in this world and sometimes in the next world. No one except God knows why this occurs. Blessed are those who are able to accept this Torah (teaching).”
Finally I add my Oral Torah teaching of Jesus, the son of Mary, that represents his wisdom for today’s pluralistic world: Jesus taught his disciples: “There are many rooms in my father’s house.” (John 14:2)
One disciple asked, “Do you mean that even in the end of days, in the Messianic Age, each nation will follow its own God, while we Jews will continue to follow the God of Israel?”(Bible: Micah 4:5)
“Yes!” said Jesus.
“Or do you mean that the righteous of all nations and religions will have a place in Heaven?” (Talmud: Sanhedrin 105a)
“Yes!” said Jesus.
“Or do you mean there will never be total agreement among human beings either in this world or in the next world.”
“Yes!” said Jesus, “If God had so desired he could have made you all the same, but he made each person an individual, and divided you into many languages and religions, so that God (and other humans) might measure your faith, by seeing how many of you, compared to others, live up to the teachings of your own religion.” (see Qur’an 5:48)
Rabbi Allen S. Maller has published over 650+ articles on Jewish values in over two dozen Christian, Jewish, and Muslim magazines and web sites. Rabbi Maller is the editor of “Tikunay Nefashot,” a spiritually insightful High Holy Day prayer book, and a popular account of Jewish Mysticism entitled, “God, Sex and Kabbalah.” His most recent books are “Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms’ and “Which Religion Is Right For You?: A 21st Century Kuzari” both available on Amazon.