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I just read this surat and I came across some ayats I didn't understand. So I hope I can get a clear answer from you.

The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of truth. They both used to eat food. Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded.

Who is meant by "they"(christians?)? The first thought that crossed my mind was Maryam (A.S.) and 'Isa (A.S.) but that can't be right because that wouldn't make any sense whatsoever. So does "they" refer to the disbelievers? In ayat 73 of this surah non-believers were mentioned and that would be the most reasonable explanation for the reference but I'm not sure. Can someone confirm or defend their own view of this ayat?

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I will explain your quote to the best of my knowledge:

The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him.

This shows that 'Isa () was one of Allah's messengers and he had been given the same orders and privileges as any other messenger before or after him

And his mother was a supporter of truth. They both used to eat food.

This part shows that both' Isa and his mother Mary () were humans, as both act like humans Allah used the example of eating as we are told in the story of Ibrahim () that angels don't eat (see for example Verse (11:70) did Ibrahim recognize his visitors as Angels or not?). While Allah informs us that we are in need of food while he doesn't need to be fed (6:14).

Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded.

So Allah gave clear signs of them being humans while others claimed they are the son of God or the mother of God (or the mother of the son of God). So these people who made such wrong claims are deluded. This can easily be understood if you go a few verses back (5:72-75) and read it in the context of the claims made by the Christians while earlier verses address other misdeeds of Bani Israel.

The verse clearly is a statement against polytheism and a typical call for monotheism as Islam and the quran are teaching.

You may also read in tafsir ibn Kathir:

'Isa is Allah's Servant and His Mother is a Truthful Believer

Allah said, (The Messiah, son of Maryam, was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him.)
'Isa is just like the previous Prophets, and he is one of the servants of Allah and one of His honorable Messengers. Allah said in another Ayah,
(He ﴿'Isa﴾ was not more than a servant. We granted Our favor to him, and We made him an example for the Children of Israel.) Allah said next,
(His mother was a Siddiqah)
for she believed in Allah with complete trust in Him. This is the highest rank she was given, which proves that she was not a Prophet. Allah said next, (They both used to eat food)
needing nourishment and to relieve the call of nature. Therefore, they are just servants like other servants, not gods as ignorant Christian sects claim, may Allah's continued curses cover them until the Day of Resurrection. Allah said next,
(Look how We make the Ayat clear to them. )
making them unequivocal and plain,
(yet look how they are deluded away (from the truth).)
look at the opinions, misguided ideas, and claims they cling to, even after Our clarification and plain, unequivocal explanation. (Source: qtafsir)

  • The last part of your answer was something I didn't think of myself which I see now makes an important addendum to this ayat. Djazaka lahu wa chajran. – user24306 Jul 23 '18 at 8:30
  • I just want to add that in ayat 110 it says that 'Isa () cured a man [with permission of Allah (swa)] with leper (which is a long-term infection either on a part of the body or on the whole body) in the English translation but in my Dutch translation I see that the translator used the term vitiligo ( which is a skin condition). So which disease did the man have, leper or vitiligo? – user24306 Jul 23 '18 at 8:45
  • @AnonymousI you should ask this as a separate question. – Medi1Saif Jul 23 '18 at 9:00
  • I just thought it would be silly to make another question just to get an answer about which disease it is. But oké, I'll do that. – user24306 Jul 23 '18 at 9:02
  • @AnonymousI I'm a bit restricted due to some new policies at my workplace I have an idea what verse you are referring to, but wouldn't be able to name the illness in English without consulting an online dictionary or an English Qur'an translation. And the question might be good. – Medi1Saif Jul 23 '18 at 9:16
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Who are deluded are not Meryem and Isa, but those who developed wrong beliefs about Isa and Allah, even though they were clearly told the truth.

If you read and consider the verses 72 to 75 as a whole, you will realize that by "they", -in my understanding- Quran refers to those who say

"The Messiah (Isa), the son of Meryem, is Allah (God)."

and those who say

"Allah (God) is the third of the three."

Basically, those who persist on their wrong beliefs of considering Isa (Jesus) as the God, and that God is the third of the three, even though both Isa and Injeel told them the truth about Isa and Allah when they (Isa and Injeel) were sent, and also Muhammed and Quran told them (new generations who continued to follow the same wrong belief) the truth about Isa and Allah again when they (Muhammed and Quran) were sent. Peace be upon them (Meryem, Isa and Muhammed).

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