A Test of Wills
But no righteous man of God is without trial and tribulation. As the message of Jesus (PBUH) began to gain wider acceptance, a small clique of hypocrites and evil men began to plot against him. They were the priests and leaders of the Jews whose position and wealth depended upon their place as the sole interpreters of religion to the masses. They pursued him and his followers and eventually captured him. Though they abused him, he never renounced his faith in the one God. So in their anger they plotted to crucify him on a Roman cross. But Jesus (PBUH) slipped from their grip at the last moment, and all the while they thought they had succeeded. They were sure they had killed him but God answered Jesus’ prayer and saved him from their schemes. Confusion overtook the mob and they might have killed the man who betrayed Jesus instead. In any case, Jesus (PBUH) escaped from their grasp. Then God removed Jesus (PBUH) from this world into another dimension, to a place with Him, not to return until a later time. Allah Says in the Holy Qur’an: “That they said (in boast), we killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah” But they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no certain knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surly they killed him not- Nay Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is exalted in Power, Wise” (Al-Qur’an, chapter 4, verses 157:158)
With their teacher gone, the devoted followers of Jesus (PBUH) tried to maintain the purity and simplicity of his teachings. But they were soon besieged and overtaken by a flood of Roman and Greek influences, which eventually so buried and distorted the message of Jesus (PBUH) that only a little of its truth now remains. Strange doctrines of Jesus being a man-god, of God dying, of saint worship and of God being made up of different parts came into vogue and were accepted by many of those who took the name “Christians” centuries after Jesus (PBUH).* Muslims believe this to be polytheism and it is absolutely forbidden in Islam. Likewise giving the attributes of the Creator to His creation is a great sin, which in Islam is opposition to monotheism. This belief is in contradiction to the teaching of the Prophets and Messengers of God.**
The only records that have come down to us concerning Jesus (PBUH) are some sketchy biographical material, poorly researched and compiled, which can in no way be representative of the full and accurate Message of Jesus (PBUH), the Son of Mary. The time of the final and incorruptible Message was not yet at hand. It would be left to the last Prophet of God, Muhammad (PBUH), to clarify the truth from man’s additions and deletions.
Jesus (PBUH) taught the same eternal message that was taught by all the Messengers of God, from Adam, on through Noah, Abraham, Moses and ending with the mission of God’s last Guidepost to humanity, Muhammad (peace be on them all), whose coming was foretold by Jesus himself.
Every nation and every people, from the Aztecs to the Greeks, have received a Prophet or a Messenger from God. Jesus (PBUH) was the last of a series of Messengers sent to the Israelites, but they consistently strayed from the path of surrender to God. Each of the many Messengers spoke a different language and followed varied customs. Yet the core faith taught by each was the same: surrender your imperfect and fickle will to the perfect will of the Power that is greater than you. You will then find the peace and freedom that only the Creator of all things can provide. Then you must do what is right and good to your fellow creatures. This way of life is called Islam (surrender to God and find peace).
* It was in the ancient city of Nicea (which is located in modern today Turkey approximately 700 miles or 1100 km NNW of Jerusalem near the Roman capitol) that the First council of Nicea convened, 325 years after the birth of Jesus (PBUH). It was at this council that Jesus (PBUH) was declared by the majority of the council members to be divine rather that God’s Prophet and Messenger. The concept of the Trinity was established by declaring that Jesus (PBUH) was the same and equal to God. This is in direct opposition to the Abrahamic principles of monotheism, which Jesus (PBUH) himself called people to and affirmed.
** Even though Christian and Jews may violate some of the monotheistic tenets of their original Abrahamic faith, Islam refers to them respectfully as the “People of the Book.”They are referred to in this way because they have received revealed laws and scriptures form God and do recognize some of his Prophets.