We hear different ideas about the Islamic view of Christianity, I try to uncover the reality.
There appears to be two contradicting views of Christians from Islamic sources. One is that they are a people of the book, Ahl Kitab, and that they are religious people on the right path whose efforts are not wasted. The other is that they are disbelievers. So how do we get to the bottom of this ?
Verses Hostile to Christianity
5|17|They disbelieve those who say, “God is the Christ, the son of Mary.” Say, “Who can prevent God, if He willed, from annihilating the Christ son of Mary, and his mother, and everyone on earth?” To God belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and what is between them. He creates whatever He wills, and God has power over everything.
5|65|Had the People of the Scripture believed and been righteous, We would have remitted their sins, and admitted them into the Gardens of Bliss.
5|66|Had they observed the Torah, and the Gospel, and what was revealed to them from their Lord, they would have consumed amply from above them, and from beneath their feet. Among them is a moderate community, but evil is what many of them are doing.
4|171|O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion, and do not say about God except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, is the Messenger of God, and His Word that He conveyed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him. So believe in God and His messengers, and do not say, “Three.” Refrain—it is better for you. God is only one God. Glory be to Him—that He should have a son. To Him belongs everything in the heavens and the earth, and God is a sufficient Protector.
9|30|The Jews said, “Ezra is the son of God,” and the Christians said, “The Messiah is the son of God.” These are their statements, out of their mouths. They emulate the statements of those who blasphemed before. May God assail them! How deceived they are!
Verses Sympathetic to Christianity
2|62|Those who believe, and those who are Jewish, and the Christians, and the Sabeans—any who believe in God and the Last Day, and act righteously—will have their reward with their Lord; they have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
5|69|Those who believe, and the Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians—whoever believes in God and the Last Day, and does what is right—they have nothing to fear, nor shall they grieve.
5|82|You will find that the people most hostile towards the believers are the Jews and the polytheists. And you will find that the nearest in affection towards the believers are those who say, “We are Christians.” That is because among them are priests and monks, and they are not arrogant.
61|14|O you who believe! Be supporters of God, as Jesus son of Mary said to the disciples, “Who are my supporters towards God?” The disciples said, “We are God’s supporters.” So a group of the Children of Israel believed, while another group disbelieved. We supported those who believed against their foe, so they became dominant.
How do we resolve this?
The situation appears to be as follows. The Christians, the followers of Prophet Isa AS, who believed in one God, and upheld the good and avoided the bad are one group. The Christians who adopted the idea of the trinity are a different group. So for example, those who claim to be Christian but believe God is three are disbelievers. Those Christians that believe God is one, but did not accept Prophet Muhammad SAW are the Ahl Kitab, and those are mentioned favourably. Perhaps they did not hear about the Prophet’s SAW arrival or receive his message.
How did the Christians end up believing in Three Gods rather than one? The Quran suggests :
9|31|They have taken their rabbis and their priests as lords instead of God, as well as the Messiah son of Mary. Although they were commanded to worship none but The One God. There is no god except He. Glory be to Him; High above what they associate with Him.
Once you take fallible people as a source of religion, as a source of your belief and faith, then you are vulnerable to the introduction of false ideas and the disappearance of authentic concepts. It was never Nabi Isa AS that made these claims but the priests and those who distorted the religion for their own financial gain.
3|187|God received a pledge from those who were given the Scripture: “You shall proclaim it to the people, and not conceal it.” But they disregarded it behind their backs, and exchanged it for a small price. What a miserable exchange they made.