If Masih (Messiah) means savior and since Hz. Isa (Jesus) is mentioned as "Masih" in the Quran, is Hz. Isa really the savior?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

a. The word "masih", which is one of the names given to Hz. Isa (Jesus), is derived from the root "MSH". According to Ibn Abbas, Hz. Isa wiped his hand over ill people suffering from various diseases and cured them with the permission of Allah; therefore, he was given this nickname. (see al-Qurtubi, IV/89)

"I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by Allah´s leave..."

The statement above in verse 49 of the chapter of Aal-i Imran supports this determination of Ibn Abbas.

b. According to some linguists, this word is derived from the Hebrew word "meshiha", which means nice creation, blessed face and personality. (see al-Qurtubi, IV/89) The following statements of Hz. Isa in verses 30-33 of the chapter of Maryam evoke that meaning:

"I am indeed a servant of Allah: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet; And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live; He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable; So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)."

c. Some scholars say that the word "masih" means very clean/pure and that it expresses that Hz. Isa is a person purified of sins. (see at-Tabari, IV/35.) The expression in verse 19 of the chapter of Maryam evokes that meaning:

"He (the angel) said: ‘Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son.’"

d. There are also some scholars who say that this word is derived from musamaha and means tolerance. If it is considered that Hz. Isa Masih alleviated some harsh decrees and rendered some haram deeds halal (see az-Zamakhshari, I/365), this meaning of the word will become more significant.

As a matter of fact, Badiuzzaman Said Nursi attracts attention to the fact that both Dajjal (Antichrist) and Hz. Isa were given the same nickname, Masih, and states the following:

Just as in some narrations, Jesus (Peace be upon him) is called “the Messiah” (al-Masih), so are both Dajjals called Messiah, and in all the narrations it says: “مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَسِيحِ الدَّجَّالِ.. مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَسِيحِ الدَّجَّالِ... from the dissension of the Messiah Antichrist (al-Masih al-Dajjal) ... from the dissension of the Messiah Antichrist (al-Masih al-Dajjal)” (Bukhari, Adhan: 149; Janaiz: 88; Tirmidhi, Dua: 70, 76, 132; Musnad: 2:185, 186, 414, 416), what is the wisdom and meaning of this?

The Answer: God knows best, the wisdom in it is this: just as at the Divine command, Jesus (Peace be upon him) abrogated some of the burdensome ordinances of the Mosaic Law, making lawful some things agreeable to the appetites like wine, so too at the command of Satan and due to his temptations, the Great Dajjal will abrogate the injunctions of the Christian Law, and destroying the bonds in accordance with which the life of Christian society is administered, he will prepare the ground for anarchy and Gog and Magog. Similarly, the Sufyan, the Islamic Dajjal, due to the devices of Satan and the evil-commanding soul, will try to abrogate some of the eternal injunctions of the Shari‘a of Muhammad (PBUH), and destroying the material and spiritual bonds of human life, and leaving headstrong, drunken, giddy souls without restriction, he will unfasten the luminous chains of respect and compassion. By giving people a freedom which is pure despotism so they fall on one another in a swamp of putrid lust, he will open up the way to a terrible anarchy. There will then be no way those people can be kept under control other than by the most repressive despotism. (Şualar, Beşinci Şua, İkinci Makam)

Thus, Hz. Isa is called "Masih" in narrations; so are both Dajjals. The wisdom behind it is as follows: Hz. Isa abrogated some burdensome ordinances in the Torah based on the order of Allah; similarly, the Great Dajjal will abrogate the decrees in the religion of Hz. Isa with the suggestions of Satan, and destroying the bonds in accordance with which the life of Christian society is administered, he will prepare the ground for anarchy and “Gog and Magog (Yajuj and Majuj)”. The Sufyan, the Islamic Dajjal, will try to abrogate some of the eternal Islamic injunctions introduced by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with the devices of Satan and the evil-commanding soul, and to destroy the material and spiritual bonds of human life, leaving headstrong, drunken, giddy souls without restriction and hence causing a terrible anarchy. He will eliminate the bonds of respect and love, which are the basic dynamics of social life, and open up the way to such a terrible anarchy by giving people a freedom that is pure despotism that it will be very difficult to restore peace and security.

We should also state that all prophets are saviors; they will save the ummahs that believe in them from Hell. The attribute "savior" Christians use for Hz. Isa evokes a meaning that indicate their creed of trinity. That is definitely a wrong approach.

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