Who is the Father of Jesus (A.S.)?
By: Moiz Amjad
In one of his articles, Mr Jochen Katz writes: Is Jesus the son of Allah? The Qur’an says no. Yet it is also entirely consistent with the Qur’an to consider Allah the Father of Jesus for the following reasons:
1. Allah caused Mary to become pregnant with Jesus;
2. Allah determined some of the physical characteristics of Jesus;
3. All of the genetic characteristics of Jesus were determined by just two parties: Allah and Mary.
These three points taken together, in the eyes of Mr Katz, makes it consistent with the Qur’an to take God to be Jesus’ (sws) father. However, in view of the strong rejection of the Qur’an of the idea that God has begotten a son, it results in a contradiction.
What Mr. Katz seems to have ignored are the stipulations of the Qur’an, which clearly point to the fact that:
1. It is God, Who causes conception of a child in the wombs of all such women, who conceive2;
2. It is God alone, Who determines the physical characteristics of all the children that are born in the world3; and
3. As in the case of Jesus (sws), it is God alone (not Mary), Who determines all characteristics of all children that are born4.
Seen in the perspective of these stipulations of the Qur’an, there is no reason why Jesus (sws), on the basis of the three reasons cited by Mr Katz, should be considered a ‘son’ of God. Jesus (sws) is indeed God’s creation, just as all other human beings are.
The ultimate reason, on the basis of which, Mr Katz wants to establish that Jesus (sws) was the son of God, as given in the Qur’an, is that Jesus (sws) was born without a physical father, through the direct intervention of God. However, even such a situation, according to the Qur’an, does not make anyone a physical offspring of God.
We know that the general rule applicable to the birth of a child, during the life of this world, is the physical copulation of a male and a female. This is precisely how God has planned the continuation of life on earth. However, this does not mean that God is bound by this ‘general’ rule. On the contrary, God CAN bring a living being into existence, even where all the generally required prerequisites of such generation of life are lacking. For instance, if God so decides, He CAN bring life into existence even where any one or both of the prerequisite factors are lacking. Thus, even though Adam (sws) was born without either a mother or a father, through the direct intervention of God, it does not make God the ‘mother’ as well as the ‘father’ of Adam; Even though John5 (sws) was born to parents who were both originally unable to conceive a child6, through the direct intervention of God, yet this does not make John (sws) the son of God brought into existence through a surrogate mother/father. Similarly, the mere fact that Jesus (sws) was conceived without a physical father does not by itself imply that God has to be given the status of Jesus’ (sws) father. God is the Creator of Jesus (sws) just as He is the Creator of all living things that have breathed His air.
Mr Katz writes: A Muslim might argue: ‘Being a father implies having sex’, and, therefore, Allah cannot be the father. No. Modern science has brought us ‘test tube babies’, which are conceived without any sex. There is nothing to support the idea that if Allah wants a baby, he must resort to normal human means to have one.
This is not a very precise representation of the Muslim mind. Muslims do not say: ‘If God WANTED a ‘baby’, he would then HAVE to resort the normal procedure of copulation’. On the contrary, a Muslim mind, on the basis of the Qur’an, holds that God never WANTED to have a baby.
Mr Katz writes: Again, a Muslim may say that if we are going to call Jesus the son of Allah, then we should say that Adam is the son of Allah too. No, because Adam popped into existence without a mother. We cannot compare Adam to Jesus this way.
If the absence of a human father makes Jesus (sws) the son of God, then why does Adam (sws) – in the absence of both a mother as well as a father – not become more qualified to be a called a ‘son’ of God. In other words, if God could bring Adam (sws) into existence without either of the two parents, and yet not be called the ‘mother’ as well as the ‘father’ of Adam, then why could He not bring Jesus (sws) into existence, without a father and yet not be called his ‘father’?
Mr Katz writes: When Allah said ‘Be’, did He have something specific in mind? Certainly! Allah had a very detailed plan in mind for Jesus.
All of God’s decision are based on planning. Thus, obviously when God initiated the process of the birth of Jesus (sws) through the word ‘Be’, He did have something specific in mind. However, according to the Qur’an and according to the Muslim understanding this does not make Jesus (sws) the ‘son’ of God. Mr Katz writes:
In particular, Allah decided that Jesus would be male. Normally, it is the sperm that decides the gender of the baby. Here Allah made the choice instead.
According to the Qur’an7, it is God who decides the gender of every child that is to be born. In fact, the way the male sperm interacts with the female egg, in order to determine a child’s gender, is all according to the decisions of God, which always precedes such interaction of the sperm and the egg. This, however, does not make God the father of every child that is born.
Mr Katz writes: All of the genetic characteristics of Jesus were determined by precisely two parties: Allah and Mary.
This is clear because they were the only two parties involved. So we conclude that Allah and Mary are the only two possible candidates for the title ‘Father’.
The problem is that even if God is the only possible candidate, Who can be called a ‘father’ of Jesus (sws), according to the Qur’an, He actually is not. It is precisely for this reason that the Muslims believe that Jesus (sws) did not have a father (because the only possible candidate refuses to be called a ‘Father’ to Jesus). If this is inconsistency in the eyes of Mr Katz, then humankind has remained guilty of this inconsistency, throughout its history, because:
1. All of the characteristics of Adam (sws) were determined by one party alone: God.
2. This is clear because He was the only party involved in Adam’s birth. So we conclude that God is the only possible candidate for the title ‘Father’ as well as ‘Mother’ for Adam. Yet, because He has, Himself, refused to be called by either of the two, therefore, He is neither.
Mr Katz writes: Hence it appears legitimate to call Allah the father of Jesus, at least in a figurative sense. Therefore we are at a loss to explain why the Qur’an spends so much space arguing against this.
For a Muslim, it is not a matter of appearing legitimate or not, on the contrary, it is a matter of what God has directed and what God wants us to say and believe. Thus, because of the strong denial of the Qur’an, Muslims, contrary to the Christians, are not willing to ascribe a son even in a figurative sense to God.
Mr Katz writes: Certainly more and better justification is needed than what appears in these passages:
Surely they lie when they declare: ‘Allah has begotten children’. (37:151)
Where is the ‘lie’ in our reasoning above?
The ‘lie’, as should be clear from the foregoing arguments is in baselessly ascribing a son to God. When God has clearly declared that He has not begotten a son, then all those, who still ascribe a son to God, are only forging a lie against God.
Mr Katz writes: So is Allah unable to beget a son by saying ‘Be’?
It is not for me to decide about the ‘inabilities’ of God. The Qur’an has only declared that God DID NOT take for Himself a child. After all, why would Mr Katz like God to take a child for Himself? He neither needs nor wants a child. I would request Mr Katz to explain why, in his opinion, SHOULD God take for Himself a child.
Say: ‘If the Lord of Mercy had a son, I would be the first to worship him’. (43:82)
2. See 22:5; 23:12–14; 39:6; 42:49-50
3. See 3:6; 32:9; 39:6
4. See 3:6; 32:9; 39:6
5. Or Isaac (sws).
6. As stipulated in the Qur’an.
7. See 42:49-50