Why do Muslims call Jesus “Masih”? What does it mean? What is the role of Christ in the religion of Islam?

The Details of the Question
Why do Muslims call Jesus “Masih”? What does it mean? What is the role of Christ in the religion of Islam?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

a. The word Masih, which is a nickname given to Jesus, is derived from the root "MSH". According to Ibn Abbas, Jesus was given this name because he touched various ill people and cured them by the permission of Allah. (see al-Qurtubi, IV/89) The expression in verse 49 of the chapter Aal-i-Imran, "I heal those born blind, and the lepers and I quicken the dead by Allah's leave" supports the view of Ibn Abbas.

b. According to some linguists, this word is “Mashiha” in Hebrew and it denotes a nice nature, a blessed face and personality.(see al-Qurtubi, IV/89) The statement of Jesus in verses 30-33 of the chapter of Maryam, "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)." connotes that meaning.   

c. Some scholars state that Masih means spotlessly clean and it indicates that Jesus is free from sins. (see at-Tabari, IV/35.) The statement in verse 19 of the chapter of Maryam, “The angel said to Maryam, ‘I am only a messenger from thy Lord (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son’ " denotes this meaning.

d. There are some scholars who say that this word derives from the same root as ‘musamaha’ (tolerance) and it denotes tolerance. If it is taken into consideration that Jesus relieved some hard decrees that were present in the Old Testament and legitimized some forbidden things (see az-Zamakhshari, I/365), the meaning of the word will be more significant.

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