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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 Jun 18 '14 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 Jun 18 '14 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 Jun 18 '14 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 Jun 19 '14 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. – Umar Farooq Khawaja Jun 23 '14 at 9:16
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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.

2
  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

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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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