Christians call Isa (Jesus) the "Son of God" whereas Muslims consider this to be blasphemy because of these verses:

4:171 O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, "Three"; desist - it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.

6:101 [He is] Originator of the heavens and the earth. How could He have a son when He does not have a companion and He created all things? And He is, of all things, Knowing.

However both worldviews believe Jesus was born of a virgin and essentially came from God.

3:47 She said, "My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?" [The angel] said, "Such is Allah ; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, 'Be,' and it is.

They both believe that he was the sinless Savior (messiah) sent as confirming the truth for God.

3:45 [And mention] when the angels said, "O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary - distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah ].

So then, could Muslims consider Jesus a spiritual son of God (in the sense that Jesus came from God) in the same way that Christians do? Is there a verse in the Qur'an that would be opposed to this view?

This is the way that Christians view Jesus, as they don't believe that God had literal sex with Mary, but instead placed a son in her womb.

  • There's no such thing as a spiritual son. Even if there was, it would contradict Islam as it's not mentioned in the Quran.
    – Sayyid
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 18:26
  • @Sayyid But if I defined "spiritual son of God" as one who is directly from God and has no earthly father, would that contradict the Qur'an?
    – LCIII
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 18:30
  • 2
    "Son" have several meanings and none are spiritual. They're either related, or adopted. But in Islam, a "son" is only related and an adopted child cannot be claimed as a son. A spiritual son doesn't exist in belief nor language. We say it's polytheism bc a "son" has attributes of the parents and carries on their bloodline.
    – Sayyid
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 18:46
  • @Sayyid, do you think we don't have some attributes of Allah? We are also hearing, seeing, knowing, can be compassionate, wrathful, powerful, etc. The only difference is that God's attributes are absolute and perfect, and are self-sovereign while our attributes come from Him as we are created in His image.
    – infatuated
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 16:39
  • I don't think we are created in God's image and to my knowledge, I have read nothing in the Quran that suggests this. I am happy to be corrected on this. Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 9:16

6 Answers 6


I believe if we put Trinity out of it, then the 'son' analogy sounds valid and actually meaningful, and this is even consistent with the teachings of Islam.

From examining the critical verses of the Quran in relation to the Christian view of Jesus, it appears that the reason Allah rejects the Christian idea of "Jesus being son of God" is because divinity is a presumed part of the concept according to the Christian view and Quran clearly rejects the belief in Trinity and divinity of Jesus in 4:171 and 5:72.

Despite that, as you mentioned, Quran does recognize the miraculous birth of Jesus and that he was "a word of Allah" (examples: 3:45, 2:171).

Therefore, if we purge the filial analogy of the concept of the Jesus Divinity, the Trinity and also of its literal connotations, then there would remain nothing fundamentally wrong with using the metaphor. In fact it can be used meaningfully as a metaphor for the relationship of human beings to the creator.

It is important to notice that even in Islam our relationship with Allah is also described with metaphors/analogies. According to the Quran, we are 'servants' or 'slaves' of Allah whereas in Christianity we are 'children' of God. And in both religions the messenger is considered to be the best example of that relationship.

Therefore, it seems that the whole concept of son-father in Christianity -- whether applied to Jesus or Christians -- was originally meant to have a similar function as does the Islamic metaphor of master-slave, but has been twisted as in the Nicene Christology beyond its intended meaning, despite the fact the Homoousian interpretation of the son-father relationship is nowhere explicit and elaborate in the Bible. This critical view of mainstream Christology has inspired the modern Unitarian movement.

A different variation of son-father metaphor has also been common among Christians and Jews alike, denoting their special relationship with God as His 'sons' or 'children'. This notion is mentioned in Quran 5:18 which reads:

The Jews and the Christians say, “We are the children of God, and His beloved.” Say, “Why then does He punish you for your sins?” In fact, you are humans from among those He created. He forgives whom He wills, and He punishes whom He wills. To God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and what lies between them, and to Him is the return.

This notion of son-father relationship must not be confused with the literal notion as in the concept of God the Son in the Trinity. Also this verse doesn't imply a denunciation of the doctrine of sonship itself but its wrong or misapplied connotations. These are the points that Allahme Tabata'ei stresses in relation to this verse in his authoritative al-Mizan Exegesis on Quran:

Certainly, they did not claim real sonship as the Christians claim for the Messiah (a.s.). Neither the Jews nor the Christian put forward this claim in the literal sense. They called themselves sons of God metaphorically, as a mark of distinction. In their scriptures, a lot of people have been called sons of God, for example, Adam, Jacob, David, Ephraim, Jesus, and good-doing believers.

What they meant with this claim was that their relationship with Allah was like that of sons with their father. They thought themselves like the sons of a King who had special status in comparison to the subjects. ... This claim of special relation and belovedness was meant to establish its inseparable attribute, that is, they can never be chastised and punished. They are assured of Divine favor and honor because if Allah were to punish them, it will go against the distinction and honor that He has reserved for them. The proof of the above interpretation is seen in the rebuttal of their claim where Allah says: He forgives whom He pleases and chastises whom He pleases. There was no reason to give this reply if they had not meant by their claim: "We are the sons of Allah and His beloved ones", that they cannot be punished at all even if they did not accept the call of truth. Also, there would be no meaning to the statement: Nay you are men from among those whom He has created. In short, when they said: '"We are the sons of Allah and His beloved ones'", they wanted to say that they were the chosen people of God and His beloved ones and Allah was not going to give them punishment even if they did what they did or left what they left, because full security against every unpleasant result or situation was a concomitant of special relationship and love. al-Mizan Online

The "Father-Son(s)" Spiritual Kinship vs "Master-Slaves"

[An Off-Shoot Discussion]

Now considering the existence of valid notions of metaphorical descriptions of God-human relationships in both Christianity and Islam, another relevant question may follow: which analogy/metaphor better describes our relationship with Allah/God?

In Christianity, Jesus birth by the Holy Spirit into Virgin Mary provides a very valid basis for using the 'son' analogy for him. Also considering that even in Islam, according to Allah's Names and Attributes, Allah is considered to be our benevolent provider and take-carer (as in rahman, razzaq and rab) and also guardian and protector (hafiz)—attributes that characterize fatherhood, there seems to be a valid basis for the father-son analogy.

However, a discerning analysis reveals that the 'slave' metaphor denotes additional meanings in regards with the nature of our relationship with Allah, as Allah is also considered to be our 'owner' (malik) and 'patron' (wali), 'subduer' (qahhar) and 'humiliator' (khafis) that characterize a master-slave relationship.

This observation explains why even the valid notions of the filial metaphor has been abandoned by Islam in favor of a master-slave metaphor which encompasses the filial characteristic and therefore excels in denotative richness.

To further the implications of this discussion, the concluding observation can be regarded as a supporting argument for Islam's claim of superiority over other religions as being the most manifestly all-inclusive of God's names and attributes as denoted by His greatest name, Allah. Imam Ayatollah Khomeini a master of esoteric sciences and gnostic commentator ascribe the superior status of Quran as a Divine Revelation to being an emanation of God's Greatest Name:

the appearance of the Qur'an follows the “Collective Appearance” [zuhūr-i jam'ī] of the Divinity and the Contraction [qabd] and Expansion [bast] of “Mercifulness” [rahīmiyyat) and “Beneficence” [rahmāniyyat]. Rather, the truth of the Qur'an represents the level of the appearance of the Greatest Name of Allah through the appearance of “Beneficence” and the “Mercifulness,” and is “inclusive of the the general and the differentiated” [jāmi'-i jam'u tafsīl. (Disciplines of Prayer, italic words represent translation improvements and are mine).

While full comprehension of the passage demands a deep knowledge of the individual mystical concepts and related theories, the passage is basically pointing to the merit and superiority of Prophet Muhammad and His religion over other prophets and religions by introducing it as an inclusive manifestation of Allah's names.

  1. A Muslim forbidden to say anything without a knowledge.
    And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart - about all those [one] will be questioned." (Al Qur'an 17:36)
  2. It includes saying something (like analogue, metaphor or else) about Allah which a Muslim do not have knowledge about it.
    Say, "My Lord has only forbidden immoralities, what is apparent of them and what is concealed, and sin, and oppression without right, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down authority, and that you say about Allah that which you do not know." (Al Qur'an 7:33)
  3. We say about Allah only what He has said it His, which a Muslim can know by knowledge from Al Qur'an and Hadith
  4. Attributes of Allah is nothing similar to attributes of His creations.
    [He is] Creator of the heavens and the earth. He has made for you from yourselves, mates, and among the cattle, mates; He multiplies you thereby. There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (Al Qur'an 42:11)
  5. His attributes is something we know by name by knowledge from Al Qur'an and Hadiths and His creation maybe have same attributes name as His attributes, but Allah attributes is nothing similar with his creations because it's perfectness, His attributes suited His Magnificentness.
  6. There is no evidence we can say His creation can be considered a "spiritual son of god" by other word saying that "He has spiritual son". On the contrary Al Qur'an stated otherwise.
    He neither begets nor is born" (Al Qur'an 112:3)

    [He is] Originator of the heavens and the earth. How could He have a son when He does not have a companion and He created all things? And He is, of all things, Knowing. (Al Qur'an 6:101)

Allah knows best


I think allah loves every creation of his equally and treats everyone according to his will or book of deeds.The one he likes the most are the truthful people.Thus since every human being is equal, we should respect the prophet jesus or Hazrat Isa very greatly but we should not treat him a partner to allah or someone who we worship besides allah.Allah can pardon our sins.The prophet hazrat isa or jesus is one of the messengers of allah who lived his life. Lastly,Allah is most forgiving,most merciful.He can only pardon all our sins according to his will.


Let us at first have a closer look on what Jesus (saw) said:

(Matthew 6:4) ... and your Father which sees in secret shall recompense you.

(Matthew 6:9) (pray: ) Our Father in heaven …

(Matthew 12:48ff) Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand towards his disciples, and said, Behold, my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.

(Matthew 23:9) And call no man your father on the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

We see easily that Jesus himself does not see himself as The Son of God, but whosoever shall do the will of God is called «son of God». When it comes to speach that Jesus (saw) is sent by God, he is using for himself the term «Son of Men».

The notion of Jesus teaching to say "Father" to God is non-exclusive, meaning a spiritual relation.

"Father" is an image to describe that a tight, unequal relationship, somehow similar to what a Father is to a (small) child that has both full trust and respect for the parents. Corresponding to the passages from @infatuated in this answer,

Allah is considered to be our benevolent provider and take-carer (as in rahman, razzaq and rab) and also guardian and protector (hafiz)—attributes that characterize fatherhood, there seems to be a valid basis for the father-son analogy.

However, a discerning analysis reveals that the 'slave' metaphor denotes additional meanings in regards with the nature of our relationship with Allah, as Allah is also considered to be our 'owner' (malik) and 'patron' (wali), 'subduer' (qahhar) and 'humiliator' (khafis) that characterize a master-slave relationship.

We can also observe, that the image of the father-son-relationship for Jesus means for us to do the Will of God.

And in the Quran we read:

(At-Tawbah 9:116-119) To God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He gives life, and He causes death. And besides God, you have neither protector, nor supporter. God has redeemed the Prophet, and the Emigrants, and the Supporters—those who followed him in the hour of difficulty—after the hearts of some of them almost swerved. Then He pardoned them. He is Kind towards them, Compassionate. (...) God is the Redeemer, the Merciful.

Both aspects, the protection of God and the obediance from us, can be found in the teachings of Jesus (saw) and of the Quran, many times. The image of a father-son relationship is an image that may describe this.

The Prophet, the Messenger Muhammmad (saw) never used this image for himself or for others, so that, from respect, we would not use this title for him either.

Jesus (saw) entitled in the Quran a Prophet and a Messenger of God, as he uses it for himself, from respect, it is adequate that we call him a son of God.


"The Jews and the Christians say, ‘We are sons of Allah and His loved ones.’ Say, ‘Why then does He punish you for your sins? Nay, you are only human beings among those He has created.’ He forgives whom He pleases and punishes whom He pleases. And to Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and what is between them, and to Him shall be the return." (5:18).

This is the verse discussing Judeo-Christian terminology about them being sons of God. It should be noted Jesus (as) is not the only one in the Bible who is referred to as a son of God. This metaphor is found repeatedly throughout the Bible. For example:

"And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:" (Exodus 4:22)

In the verse quoted above God doesn't explicitly give the commandment to not use this terminology but rather refutes the Jews and Christians when they use it. If they really were sons of God then they would have seen never-ending blessings from God, but this is not the case because they sin and God punishes them for their transgressions.

On the contrary, for the trinity, there is the clear commandment to Christians to not say this:

"O People of the Book, exceed not the limits in your religion, and say not of Allah anything but the truth. Verily, the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was only a Messenger of Allah and a fulfillment of His word which He sent down to Mary, and a mercy from Him. So believe in Allah and His Messengers, and say not ‘They are three.’ Desist, it will be better for you. Verily, Allah is the only One God. Far is it from His Holiness that He should have a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And sufficient is Allah as a Guardian." (4:171)

Since Muhammad (sa) hasn't used this terminology, and neither has the Quran, there's no precedent for us as Muslims to use it as the Jews and Christians do.

On the other hand, there wouldn't be any harm in thinking that Muslims are the metaphorical sons of God. Its repeated presence in the Bible and Quran not explicitly banning its use (unlike it does for the trinity) shows that there is nothing wrong with the terminology in itself. However, for the Christians this resulted in a big problem when people took this literally. So if this becomes prevalent amongst the Muslims there is the fear that people in coming generations would pervert their religion like the Christians did. Hence why its such terminology is generally discouraged.

  • <comments deleted> Comments are intended for constructive criticism and seeking clarification for the purposes of improving the post they're on, not for argument and debate or extended discussion of tangential points. You are free to take such discussions to Islam Chat, but they have no place on the main site.
    – goldPseudo
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 18:54
  • @goldPseudo thank you!
    – No Worries
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 17:09

To love is spiritual thing. To hate is also a spiritual thing. Sex is a physical thing.

When you love someone, you are doing spiritual thing. But when you do sex, then you are doing physical thing.

If you understand the Spirit (Immaterial) vs Body (Physical or Material), then you should understand that Jesus is son of Allah in Spiritual and Immaterial sense.

No one is son of Allah in Bodily (Material or Physical) sense.

You are also son of Allah spiritually but not physically.

All of us know Allah spiritually but none of us know Allah physically.

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