CHRIST THE ISRAELITE
In the first place we notice that the Jewish race in which Jesus Christ was born was, according to the Qur’an, exalted above all the other nations of the Earth.
Thus in Sura Baqarah (2), verse 47, it is written:
يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ اذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَتِيَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَأَنِّي فَضَّلْتُكُمْ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ
"O, Children of Israel, remember the favour wherewith we have favoured thee, and preferred thee above all the nations.” From this verse it is clear that whoever may be given the proud title ‘Prince of the Prophets’ must be born in the line of Israel, for Imam Razi says that the word ‘الْعَالَمِينَ means ‘every existing being besides the Creator.’ Who, then, so worthy of the title as the Israelite Jesus, Son of Mary, whom the Qur’an calls ‘The Word of God’ and ‘A Spirit from Him? '
Again in Sura Ankabut (29), verse 27, we read:—
وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ إِسْحَقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَجَعَلْنَا فِي ذُرِّيَّتِهِ النُّبُوَّةَ وَالْكِتَابَ
"We gave him (Abraham) Isaac and Jacob, and we placed among his descendants the gift of prophecy and the Scriptures.” It is well known that the long line of prophets referred to in the Qur’an were mostly descended from Isaac and not from Ishmael, and the reason is not far to seek, for Isaac, according to both Bible and Qur’an, was the ‘Son of Promise,’ a ‘Gift’ from God. Ishmael, on the other hand, as we learn from the Tourat, was the son of the bond-maid Hagar, and is, consequently, nowhere in the Qur’an spoken of as a ‘Gift’ from God. On the contrary, the verse quoted above abundantly proves that in the line of Isaac God placed prophecy and the Scriptures. The Qur’an thus agrees with the Tourat which clearly states that God said to Isaac, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 26:4). Where, we would ask our Muslim friends, is it stated either in the Qur’an or the Bible in connection with Ishmael that God would place in the descendants of Abraham the gift of prophecy? Does not the verse of the Qur’an quoted above show at the very outset of our study that it is in the Bani Israel, that is, the line of Isaac, that the world would be blessed, and is it not abundantly clear that Jesus Christ, Son of Mary, was born in that line? Thus the very nationality of Jesus places him far above Muhammad and every other descendant of Ishmael; and when, in conjunction with this fact, we remember the high titles given to the Messiah in other places of the Qur’an, we see how vastly His dignity exceeds that of all other prophets.