Islamic Web Library

An Islamic Resource Center

5:17 In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary

2 min read

In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary. Say: “Who then hath the least power against Allah, if His will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary, his mother, and all every – one that is on the earth? For to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between. He createth what He pleaseth. For Allah hath power over all things.”

This verse is one of several places (cf. 4:171; 5:72, 75, 116; 9:31) where
the Quran criticizes the Christian belief in the divinity of Jesus, who here is
referred to simply as the Messiah (al-Masīḥ); see also 4:157, 171–72; 5:72, 75;
9:30–31. The reference to his mother in this verse also suggests criticism of
those who would worship or divinize Mary (see also v. 116). The denial of the
divinity of Christ (and Mary) is issued through an assertion of God’s destructive
and creative Power (He creates whatsoever He will), the implication being that
Jesus and Mary, along with those on earth all together, are God’s creations, and
so also subject to His ability to destroy them at will. He creates whatsoever He
will (cf. 24:25; 30:54; 42:49) also indicates that He may create in any manner
that He will, including creating a human being, like Jesus, who was without a
biological father (R, Z). In their being created by God, Jesus and Mary are no
different from other human beings (Z). Who would have any power over God
translates fa-man yamliku min Allāhi shayʾan, an idiomatic expression
containing the verb yamliku, meaning literally “to own” and, by extension, to
control. This is then contrasted (in the Arabic) with the assertion Unto God
belongs sovereignty (li’Llāhi mulk), since mulk (“sovereignty”) is derived from
the same root as yamliku. Since Christ’s divinity is refuted through reference to
God’s all-encompassing creative power over His creatures, the verse also
implicitly refutes the Christian doctrine that Christ was not created (“begotten,
not made,” according to the Nicene Creed).
Theologically oriented commentators, including al-Zamakhsharī and al-Rāzī,
observe that, although the verse is criticizing Christians who would limit God’s
Being to His manifestation in a human being (Christ), this is not the actual
teaching of Christian doctrine. Thus when the Quran criticizes the belief that
“God is the Messiah,” one could argue that it is not criticizing official Christian
doctrine (which might say that the Messiah is God, but not that God is the
Messiah), but rather an exaggerated and thus unorthodox understanding of
Christ’s nature. Al-Zamakhsharī and al-Rāzī, however, argue that, in its
attribution of creative power and ruling authority to Christ as well as in its
assertion of the incarnation of God in Christ’s human form, Christian doctrine is
theologically tantamount to such an understanding, even if it is not the explicit
teaching of most Christians.


Nasr, Hossein (2015). Study Quran.

About Post Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.