Christian Figures, Muslim Narrative (2); John the Baptist: Part 2

11 July 2017 10:16 in Qubes
Christian Figures, Muslim Narrative (2); John the Baptist: Part 2

Prophet John according to Islamic Narrations

John the Baptist, son of Prophet Zechariah, is one of the most frequently mentioned characters in the Gospels. He was the forerunner of Messiah, Jesus Christ, and paved the way for his coming. We may find no other person as highly acclaimed by Jesus as John:


I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. [Matthew, 11:11]


According to the Bible, John lived mostly in the desert until the day of his public appearance to Israel. Then he started preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Even Jesus is baptized of him. John was finally imprisoned and killed most cruelly by king Herod.


The Islamic narrative of John's life and death is indeed very much similar to what we read in the Gospels. Still, it is not without value to have a look at what Islamic sources say about this great prophet.


Here's how Islamic narrations and Hadiths describe John, a prophet of the Most High.


The Weeping Willow


In addition to Quranic verses about John the Baptist, Islamic narrations also have mentioned him time and again. John is generally known as a strong always-weeping worshiper. Comparing to the character of Jesus Christ, one might say that, generally speaking, John was the reminder of divine justice, whereas Jesus was the reminder of God's mercy.



The Five Words of the Baptizer


God sent John five rulings to be observed by him and his people. So, he called out for people, and a large crowd came together. Then he preached the five words, presenting amazing parables for each. The words were (the narration is long and we only mention one parable here):


- Worship God and do not ascribe any partners to Him,

The parable of associating something with God is that of a man who buys a servant with his pure money, and places the servant in his house to work on his farm and pay him the profit. But the servant uses his master's house and property and pays the profit to someone else!

- Say your prayers and do not turn your face when praying (pay attention),

- Practice fasting,

- Give alms,

- Remember God (to hold back wrong temptations). [1]


O Sinner, Advise Me!


We should always and everywhere be looking for new things to learn. It's not a matter of WHO is saying it. It's a matter of WHAT is said.


It is narrated that John saw the Devil with his various instruments to mislead people. John asked if Satan has ever been able to conquer him. "No," replied Satan. "But you have a trait which pleases me." John asked what it was, and the Devil said; "when breaking your fast, you eat your full, and it sometimes prevents you from keeping vigil and praying well." So John swore to God never to get full again until the day he meets his Lord. [2]


In another narration, a person who has committed adultery comes to Jesus to be punished and purified. Just as he is set and is about to be punished, John goes near him and says; "O sinner, advise me!" The sinner says; "Do not pave the way for your desires or you will fall." "Say more," John asks. "Don't ever humiliate the wrongdoer for his fault," replies the sinner. "Say more," John asks again. "Do not become angry," replies the sinner. So John says; "That is enough for me." [3]



Slaughtered Prophet


The story of murdering John and somehow presenting his holy head as a bridal gift is recounted several times in Islamic traditions in the same way as we find it in the Gospels.


And then, the Islamic narrative adds that, as innocent John was beheaded, a drop of his blood fell on earth where it stayed bubbling! And the blood soothed not before many of those ruthless people were killed by a tyrant king. [4]


John Son of Zechariah, and Hussein Son of Ali


Many Islamic narrations have made a connection between John the Baptist and Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, for they both were most godly personages ruthlessly slaughtered by the kings of their time.


A narration from the Prophet states that God has punished many for the murder of John, and He will punish many for the murder of Hussein ibn Ali.


Another Hadith says that the sky has only mourned John son of Zechariah, and Hussein son of Ali. [5]



[1] Tahdhib al-Kamal, Vol 5, Page 217-219

[2] Al-Amali, Page 339-340

[3] Man La Yahdur, Vol 4, Page 33,34

[4] Bihar al-Anwar, Vol 14, Page 182 , Tafsir al-Tabari, Vol 17, Page 384,385

[5] Al-Dur al-Manthur, Vol 5, Page 492 , Mukhtasar Ta'rikh Damishq, Vol 27, Page 255,256

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