Once again, we return to some more of Khalidi’s The Muslim Jesus, which sorts out the sayings and stories about Jesus from the Muslim tradition. The earliest traditions about Jesus in the so-called Muslim gospel is that Jesus was a radical ascetic.
Jesus’ brother dies; his brother’s wife is upset; Jesus raises the brother from the dead as a witness; the woman blesses Jesus; but Jesus turns the blessing into a praise of “His Book” (Kur’an). And when Jesus ascends (Acts 1), the Muslim gospel tells us that Jesus left behind a woolen garment [ascetic dress], a slingshot, and two sandals (#77).
Again, there is an emphasis on Jesus’ humanity:
1. Jesus said, ‘Console me, for my heart is soft and I hold myself in low esteem” (#45).
2. Jesus tells John Baptist: “You are better than me” (#53).
3. His problem with anger re-emerges: “My God, I can no longer rid myself of that which I hate, nor can I attain the benefit of what I desire” (#74).
Jesus is incorporated into the Islamic tradition to be its spokesman:
1. “Whoever has learned, acted, and imparted knowledge — he is the one who is called great in the kingdom of heaven” (#46).
2. The Muslim Jesus adapts the Jesus Creed; someone asks Jesus how a person can be truly pious. “You must truly love God in your heart and work in His service, exerting all your effort and strength, and be merciful toward the people of your race” — and “race” is understood universally, as “all the children of Adam” (#48).
3. A slight adaptation into Islam: Matthew 7:1 becomes: “… do not cast pearls before swine… [which means] Do not impart wisdom to one who does not desire it” (#64).
4. Jesus was wandering, and it began to rain; he sought refuge in a cave, but a shepherd was there; he sought refuge in a thicket, but a lion was there; so he complains to God. God says, “your refuse is with me” and then promises Jesus: “I shall marry you to a thousand comely maidens and feed people for a thousand years at your wedding” (#76).
And, the ascetic Jesus:
1. Jesus asked, “Do you believe that stones, mud, and gold are all equal in your sight?” “No,” [the disciples] replied. He said (or I think he said), “They are all the same in my sight.”
2. “Will you not take a wife?,” they asked him. “What do I do with a wife that might die?” (#60)
3. “Women are the ropes of Satan,” #61 has (a saying from Ahmad ibn Hanbal.
4. Jesus, the tradition says, ate leaves, dressed in hair shirts, slept wherever he was, had no child, no house, and never saved food (#78).