Misquoting Jesus and Others in the Qur'an

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"O Jesus son of Mary!" said the disciples, or so claims the Qur'an in surah 5:112. On the surface this quote from one of Jesus' (Isa's) disciples may seem unextraordinary, but there is a subtle error here that few ever notice. However, once it is noticed, few will ever forget.

Qur'an 5:112[edit]

Let's take a look at this verse in full using several widely accepted translations.

Yusuf Ali: Behold! the disciples, said: "O Jesus the son of Mary! can thy Lord send down to us a table set (with viands) from heaven?" Said Jesus: "Fear Allah, if ye have faith."

Pickthal: When the disciples said: O Jesus, son of Mary! Is thy Lord able to send down for us a table spread with food from heaven? He said: Observe your duty to Allah, if ye are true believers.

Shakir: When the disciples said: O Isa son of Marium! will your Lord consent to send down to us food from heaven? He said: Be careful of (your duty to) Allah if you are believers.

Transliteration: Ith qala alhawariyyoona ya AAeesa ibna maryama hal yastateeAAu rabbuka an yunazzila AAalayna ma-idatan mina alssama-i qala ittaqoo Allaha in kuntum mu/mineena

Doesn't this quote from the disciples strike you as a little odd?


Speaking Styles[edit]

We'll begin by examining the use of the word "O" at the beginning of the supposed quote of Jesus' disciples. There are quotes from others which begin in a similar fashion. Let's take a look at a few.


Behold! Allah said: "O jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.

It would seem that Allah has the same poetic speaking style as the disciples, but considering Allah is almighty and eternal, we can rightly conclude that it was the disciples who spoke like Allah and not the other way around.


Jesus himself spoke a lot like Allah.

Said jesus the son of Mary: "O Allah our Lord!

In the following quote, there is the added bonus of a prophesy concerning Muhammad.

And remember, jesus, the son of Mary, said: "O Children of Israel! I am the apostle of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of an Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad." But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, "this is evident sorcery!

Mary's neighbors[edit]

Mary's neighbors also spoke in the same poetic style of Allah.

At length she brought the (babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: "O Mary! truly an amazing thing hast thou brought!
"O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!"


Abraham spoke just like Allah also.

Behold, he said to his father: "O my father! why worship that which heareth not and seeth not, and can profit thee nothing?
"O my father! to me hath come knowledge which hath not reached thee: so follow me: I will guide thee to a way that is even and straight.
"O my father! serve not Satan: for Satan is a rebel against (Allah) Most Gracious.
"O my father! I fear lest a Penalty afflict thee from (Allah) Most Gracious, so that thou become to Satan a friend."


And Moses too.

Remember Moses said to his people: "O my people! Call in remembrance the favour of Allah unto you, when He produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not given to any other among the peoples.
"O my people! Enter the holy land which Allah hath assigned unto you, and turn not back ignominiously, for then will ye be overthrown, to your own ruin."

Lot and the people of Sodom[edit]

Lot and the homosexual inhabitants of Sodom whom Lot detested, spoke like Allah.

"O my Lord! deliver me and my family from such things as they do!"
They said: "If thou desist not, O Lut! thou wilt assuredly be cast out!"


Even the jinn spoke like Allah.

They said: O our people! we have listened to a Book revealed after Musa verifying that which is before it, guiding to the truth and to a right path:
O our people! accept the Divine caller and believe in Him, He will forgive you of your faults and protect you from a painful punishment.

It is unlikely that such a varied group of individuals, men and women who were separated by thousands of years, would speak in the same manner as one another.

Unlike the Gospels which are universally accepted as being written by humans, the Qur'an is supposed to be the verbatim words of Allah spoken through a messenger, so the quotes should be exact quotes unhindered by the fickle nature of the human memory.

Yet like a substandard Shakespearean rip-off, it would seem that almost any time someone is quoted in the Qur'an, they begin with the poetic "O".

Subjunctive Mood[edit]

While the Qur'an is supposed to be the words of Allah, there are many verses with grammatical issues which raise doubts.

Arabic: وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ عُزَيْرٌ ابْنُ اللَّهِ وَقَالَتِ النَّصَارَى الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ اللَّهِ ذَٰلِكَ قَوْلُهُم بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ يُضَاهِئُونَ قَوْلَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِن قَبْلُ قَاتَلَهُمُ اللَّهُ أَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ

Transliteration: Waqalati alyahoodu AAuzayrun ibnu Allahi waqalati alnnasara almaseehu ibnu Allahi thalika qawluhum bi-afwahihim yudahi-oona qawla allatheena kafaroo min qablu qatalahumu Allahu anna yu/fakoona

Shakir: And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!

Muslims often use the "majestic plural" excuse and the iltifat poetic style of switching between 3rd and 1st person, supposedly to keep the listeners attention. But what makes verse 9:30 different to others which may be excused is the subjunctive mood being employed here; the fact that the speaker is wishing for Allah to do something.

For instance, Allah never says "May I find disfavor with you". That would not make any linguistic sense at all.[1] Allah never wishes for himself to do something.

If you read the context of the whole surah, this is a very angry and bitter surah. It would seem the author was personally very angry. Maybe he was so angry, bitter and worked up that he lapsed for a moment and forgot who was supposed to be speaking? We find the same error in the following verse:

And when you see them, their persons will please you, and If they speak, you will listen to their speech; (they are) as if they were big pieces of wood clad with garments; they think every cry to be against them. They are the enemy, therefore beware of them; may Allah destroy them, whence are they turned back?

So could the explanation for this consistent speaking style found throughout the Qur'an then be because it's this same person inventing the quotes? If its not Allah's words, then what did he stand to gain by fabricating quotes by figures revered by Jews and Christians?

Calling Jesus by His Name[edit]

In the Christian Gospels (Injil) the disciples do not call Jesus by his name. His name is only mentioned when the gospel author quotes Jesus or gives us commentary on what Jesus was believed to have done. The disciples themselves called him "Lord", "Teacher", "Christ", etc., and they did so in order to show respect.

In the Gospels, just as in the Qur'an, Jesus is the Messiah, God's chosen one, so to call him by his name would have been disrespectful, yet (judging by Christian standards) in the Qur'an we see a consistent effort in a theological game of lowering Jesus' status while elevating the status of other biblical prophets by making them "sinless".

Adding the Qualifier "Son of Mary"[edit]

As with the poetic "O", there are quotes from others which use the qualifier "son of Mary" whenever addressing Jesus. Let's take a look at a few of them.


Then will Allah say: "O jesus the son of Mary! Recount My favour to thee and to thy mother.
And behold! Allah will say: "O jesus the son of Mary!


Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah.

His name will be the "son of Mary"? Note how the Angels also speak in the same style as Allah.


In the following verse, even the Jews, who are apparently aware that Jesus is the Messiah, seem to think it was important to mention that he was also the son of Mary. Why is this?

That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.


Interestingly, according to the Gospels, "Son of Mary" is what the doubters among the Nazarenes called Jesus, when they were incredulous of his miraculous powers.

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

And yet the Qur'an quotes Jesus' disciples as calling him the very same thing.


To go out of one's way to add the qualifier "son of Mary" or even "son of God" after they had addressed Jesus as Teacher, Master, Lord or even by his name is unnatural speech and makes no sense unless it was used as a form of mockery or disbelief (as in the Gospels).

They said: "O Moses! In this land are a people of exceeding strength: Never shall we enter it until they leave it: if (once) they leave, then shall we enter."

In the above verse, Moses is simply addressed by the Israelites (who suspiciously also spoke in that same poetic manner of Allah) as "Moses". There is no additional qualifier of "Moses, son of..."

So that leaves us with the question; why is "son of Mary" explicitly added when someone addresses Jesus? Why would the disciples feel the necessity to mention that he is the son of Mary when they were talking directly to him? Are they telling him something he did not already know?

It is because the author of the Qur'an was trying to make a theological point that Jesus was not the son of God, but merely the son of an ordinary women. But why would the disciples bother to make that point?

According to Muslims, Jesus never said he was the son of God, so therefore his disciples would never need to make such a point. To make such a point would have been a ridiculous, redundant, and derogatory thing to do.

The fact that he was the son of a women and only a prophet would have already been clearly understood. Adding these qualifiers onto the disciples speech when they were speaking directly to him surely mean that this qualifier is an addition to what was actually said.


In addition to the subjunctive mood being employed incorrectly in several Qur'anic verses, it was simply not necessary for the disciples or the angels to clarify that Jesus was the son of Mary, but it would be necessary if someone was fabricating sayings of the disciple and others to make them confirm the points they wanted to make.

Jesus, his disciples, Mary's neighbors, Angels, Abraham, Moses, Jews, Lot, the people of Sodom, the Israelites, and the mythical jinn also spoke just like Allah, and "Allah" revealed all this poorly thought-out speech by speaking through one person; namely, Muhammad.

At this point, it should be apparent to all beyond a doubt that Muhammad was putting words in other people's mouths and fabricating quotes so that he could artificially create reinforcement and confirmation of the points he was trying to make, which is that Jesus was not the Son of God and Muhammad is Allah's prophesied final Messenger.

It was by Muhammad's good fortune that he was such a great military leader, for as a playwright he would have been sorely lacking.

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  1. This error has been confirmed by How-To-Learn-Any-Language.com, an impartial language forum renowned for its professionalism. "Little Arabic translation", p.1, p.2, October 13-16, 2010