Was Jesus really a Muslim?
The Quran states that many of the prophets in the Bible were actually prophets of Allah. However, when a Muslim reads the Bible, he finds that the biblical prophets, including Jesus, did not act in accordance with Islam. So how is a Muslim to deal with this? Generally speaking, Muslims adopt two main strategies. The first is to argue that the Bible was changed over time and therefore cannot be trusted. The second strategy involves a selective reading of passages that are taken out of context so as to turn the prophets, such as Jesus, into Muslims. For example, when the gospel of Matthew (26:39) says that Jesus prostrated himself in prayer, we are told he “prays like a Muslim and does prostration (Sajda), touching his forehead to the ground.” (http://goo.gl/Cm2m0C)
Unfortunately, the problems with this are manifold. First, the manuscript evidence does not support the claim of corruption. Although there are a few, select, problematic passages; these do not help the Muslim position, as can be seen by checking modern translations of the Bible. (For more on this see here: http://goo.gl/khvpD) Furthermore, the selective and twisted interpretation of biblical passages is evident to anyone who reads the gospels in an unbiased manner. Andy Bannister (PhD, Islamic Studies) helps to illustrate the bias of Muslim scholars through a satirical article in which he uses the same type of methodology to “prove” that Winnie-the-Pooh was a good Muslim, and a prophet of Allah. In one excerpt from this article he writes,
As a good Muslim, Pooh would have prayed on regular occasions, facing the Sacred House in the East (cf. the map in WTP, xii). He testified to the fact that regular prayer was part of his daily routine:
‘Well,’ said Pooh, ‘at eleven o’clock—at eleven o’clock—well, at eleven o’clock, you see, I generally get home about then. Because I have One or Two Things to Do.’
This clearly refers to the third of the five daily prayers, although given that we do not know the exact latitude at which Pooh lived (nor in which years) it is hard to say which of the various methods of calculating prayer times he followed. But we do have good evidence of his prayer posture—like any good Muslim, Pooh bowed and prostrated. Being somewhat overweight, he did find bowing a little tricky:
‘Oh help!’ [Pooh said] as he tried to reach his toes.