In response to br. Mozer G. inquiry to understand, what exactly does the quran mean when he calls Jesus -messiah to me, here allow me to present a very brief summary on my musing on the subject.
Disclaimer: this is by no mean an authoritative exposition as I disqualify my self as a scholar.
Unlike in the hebrew bible, the Qur’an mentions only one Messiah, this is a title: the Messiah or al-Masīḥ المسيح in Arabic or המשיח in hebrew. This title is mentioned 11 times in 9 different Qur’anic verses. I tend to believe although the designation of the definite article the Messiah it does not necessarily mean that the Qur’an implies that there was only one Messiah even though that Jesus (or Īsā in Arabic Qur’an) was the one special Messiah. The reason is the Qur’an set itself as the continuation of the earlier revelation from God, many of the Qur’anic stories and phrase are “recall”, as some scholars put it, of the major figures and narratives in the Hebrew Bible therefore it assumes its readers familiarity with previous scriptures so all the basic principles of its stories and terminology as well as their relationship had been set and enunciated.
Although the Qur’anic Messiah may share a few similarity with the Christian Messiah and with the Jewish one, it presents itself with some contrasting differences, I try to list here the attributes of the Qur’anic messiah:
- Having been born of virginal conception, the Messiah did not have a father, he is only called after his mother, Īsā bin Maryam “Jesus the son of Mary” .
- The Messiah was a miracle worker.
- There are no mention in the Qur’an that the Messiah was descendant from King David. But the Qur’an refer Jesus’s mother Mary to Aaron kinship. It emphatically gives a particular significance that Mary’s son ie. Jesus has the birth right as “the Messiah” or anointed one. From Shemot/Exodus 30:30-31 we read that God ordered prophet Moses to anoint his brother Aaron with a special type of anointment with a particular oil for kings …..from this anointing it give him and his heirs the right to the priesthood title down to prophet Īsā / Jesus, hence the title Jesus “the Messiah”.
- There are no mention of Jesus depicted as being a warrior or a military leader like Moses or Muhammad. He was mainly in a spiritual mission like most of the ordinary prophets.
- The Qur’an does not present the Messiah as an eschatological figure. He lived, died, and will be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection like everyone else.
- The Qur’an rejects presenting Jesus as a unique kind of prophet and it refutes portraying the Messiah’s appearance as the climax of history. Jesus was very much part of history in the same way that every other prophet was.
- One attribute that the Qur’anic Jesus shares with the Jewish concept of a messiah perhaps is his human nature. Jesus was a just prophet and messenger — a servant of God.
- Qur’an 3:45 gives an indication that the Messiah was a concept that God had previously revealed: a prophecy, although this prophecy is not specifically cited anywhere in the Qur’an as mentioning it centuries after it was fulfilled would not serve any purpose.
- The Qur’anic Messiah neither presents Messiahship of Jesus as a savior to bring the Jews to restore its own kingdom nor the one who save people from sin by playing role as atoning agent. Jesus in the Qur’an is no unique savior, he is just a messenger and prophet albeit one of special messenger who was conceived miraculously and performed impressive miracles.
- The Qur’an rejects the idea that the Messiah ever suffered the Passion, it never teaches a suffering or resurrected messiah.
As a final point I tend to hold the position that the messiahship of Jesus in the Qur’an represent the original concept of the messiah or one messiah which was revealed by God, the title is just for any past figures who were anointed as a gesture to sanctify themselves. Thus Jesus saw his messiahship as teaching Jewish people to salvation by showing them the right way to God, a mandate which was to confirm the divine messages that had been revealed to previous prophets, that is calling people back to the way of God of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Aaron and all Hebrew prophets. That is the historical Messiah the Qur’an is telling us about.
Allah Knows best.