Click to View


many of these uncanonical writings; and, in his zeal against this, Muhammad rejected also the doctrine of the Divine Nature of Christ. Being unable, moreover, to comprehend the doctrines of the

of certain

Atonement and of the Holy Trinity, he fancied that these were unauthorised additions to the religion of Jesus, and was thereby led not only to reject both but altogether to deny the fact of our Lord's death upon the cross. Whether Christ died at all, or ascended to Heaven without dying, does not seem clear from the 1 Qur'an, and is a matter upon which Muslim commentators are divided in opinion. But in teaching his followers that Christ was not really crucified by the Jews but miraculously delivered from their hands, some one being substituted in His stead, Muhammad was


merely following in the footsteps2 of Basilides, the Valentinians the Manicheans and other heretics of early times. The great Docetic doctrine upon which these sectaries based this idea, viz. their belief that Christ had not in reality but only in appearance taken our human nature upon Him, was not accepted by the "Prophet."

1 Vide Surah iv. 156[157], where His crucifixion is denied; and Surah iii. 48[55], where His future death is predicted. Vide also Appendix A.
1 Iren., "Adv. Haeres," lib. i. 23, says of Basilides that with regard to Christ he said: "Neque passum eum; et Simonem quemdam Cyrenaeum angariatum portasse crucem eius pro eo; et hunc secundum ignorantiam et errorem crucifixum, transfiguratum ab eo, uti putaretur ipse esse Jesus." Cf. also August., Haeres; iv., &c.

Here again we find the composite nature of the Religion of Islam manifesting itself very clearly. Perhaps Muhammad hoped to gain both Jews and Christians over to his creed in this way, the former being more likely to accept Christ as a great but purely human prophet if not charged with the murder of their Messiah: and the Christians would, Muhammad trusted, be ready to rid themselves of what he regarded as blasphemous and irrational accretions to their original faith. Nothing but the most profound ignorance of the Bible and of the true nature of Christianity can account for the fact that Muhammad evidently believed the Virgin to be one of the Persons1 in the Holy Trinity. Had he, during his early years of earnestness in seeking for the truth, been brought into contact with a nobler creed than the debased parody of Christianity then exhibited in the Eastern world, Muhammad might, by GOD'S Providence, have been known to us, not as a false Prophet and an

Influence of

Antichrist, but as an earnest and successful preacher of that Gospel of Christ which is "the power2 of GOD unto salvation to every one that believeth."

§ 10. The Religion of Zoroaster again has left its mark upon Islam, owing to the not inconsiderable numbers of ideas which Muhammad borrowed.

1 Surah iv. 156[157]. (See Al Baidhawi, Yahya and Jalalu'ddin's comments,—who explain the Trinity as consisting of Father, Son, and Mary. Vide also Surah v. 76-79[72-75], and Jalalu'ddin's commentary; also v. 116.)
2 Rom. i. 16.

Click to View