English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 5: Al-Maidah — Food (Revealed at Madinah: 16 sections, 120 verses)

Section 16 (Verses 5:116–5:120): False Doctrines introduced after Jesus’ Death


وَ اِذۡ قَالَ اللّٰہُ یٰعِیۡسَی ابۡنَ مَرۡیَمَ ءَاَنۡتَ قُلۡتَ لِلنَّاسِ اتَّخِذُوۡنِیۡ وَ اُمِّیَ اِلٰہَیۡنِ مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ ؕ قَالَ سُبۡحٰنَکَ مَا یَکُوۡنُ لِیۡۤ اَنۡ اَقُوۡلَ مَا لَیۡسَ لِیۡ ٭ بِحَقٍّ ؕ؃ اِنۡ کُنۡتُ قُلۡتُہٗ فَقَدۡ عَلِمۡتَہٗ ؕ تَعۡلَمُ مَا فِیۡ نَفۡسِیۡ وَ لَاۤ اَعۡلَمُ مَا فِیۡ نَفۡسِکَ ؕ اِنَّکَ اَنۡتَ عَلَّامُ الۡغُیُوۡبِ ﴿۱۱۶﴾

5:116 And when Allah will say: O Jesus, son of Mary, did you say to people, Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah?1 He will say: Glory be to You! It was not for me to say what I had no right to (say). If I had said it, You would indeed have known it. You know what is in my mind, and I do not know what is in Your mind. Surely You are the great Knower of the unseen.

مَا قُلۡتُ لَہُمۡ اِلَّا مَاۤ اَمَرۡتَنِیۡ بِہٖۤ اَنِ اعۡبُدُوا اللّٰہَ رَبِّیۡ وَ رَبَّکُمۡ ۚ وَ کُنۡتُ عَلَیۡہِمۡ شَہِیۡدًا مَّا دُمۡتُ فِیۡہِمۡ ۚ فَلَمَّا تَوَفَّیۡتَنِیۡ کُنۡتَ اَنۡتَ الرَّقِیۡبَ عَلَیۡہِمۡ ؕ وَ اَنۡتَ عَلٰی کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ شَہِیۡدٌ ﴿۱۱۷﴾

5:117 I said to them nothing but what You commanded me: Serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord; and I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when You caused me to die You were the Watcher over them. And You are Witness of all things.2

اِنۡ تُعَذِّبۡہُمۡ فَاِنَّہُمۡ عِبَادُکَ ۚ وَ اِنۡ تَغۡفِرۡ لَہُمۡ فَاِنَّکَ اَنۡتَ الۡعَزِیۡزُ الۡحَکِیۡمُ ﴿۱۱۸﴾

5:118 If You punish them, surely they are Your servants; and if You protect them, surely You are the Mighty, the Wise.3

قَالَ اللّٰہُ ہٰذَا یَوۡمُ یَنۡفَعُ الصّٰدِقِیۡنَ صِدۡقُہُمۡ ؕ لَہُمۡ جَنّٰتٌ تَجۡرِیۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِہَا الۡاَنۡہٰرُ خٰلِدِیۡنَ فِیۡہَاۤ اَبَدًا ؕ رَضِیَ اللّٰہُ عَنۡہُمۡ وَ رَضُوۡا عَنۡہُ ؕ ذٰلِکَ الۡفَوۡزُ الۡعَظِیۡمُ ﴿۱۱۹﴾

5:119 Allah will say: This is a day when their truth will profit the truthful ones. For them are Gardens in which rivers flow, abiding therein forever. Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Allah. That is the mighty achievement.

لِلّٰہِ مُلۡکُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ وَ مَا فِیۡہِنَّ ؕ وَ ہُوَ عَلٰی کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ قَدِیۡرٌ ﴿۱۲۰﴾٪

5:120 Allah’s is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and whatever is in them; and He is Powerful over all things.


  1. From this description of Mary being taken for a god by Christians, some critics of the Quran conclude that it has mistakenly considered the Trinity to consist of the three persons — God, Jesus and Mary. However, the doctrine of the Trinity is not mentioned here, while the divinity of Mary is not mentioned where the Quran speaks of the Trinity. See 4:171 footnote 3 and 5:73 footnote 1. As to Mary being taken for a god, the catechism of the Roman Church includes the following doctrines: “That she is truly the mother of God, and the second Eve, by whose means we have received blessing and life; that she is the mother of Pity and very specially our advocate; that her images are of the utmost utility” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed., vol. 17, p. 813).
  2. This verse is a conclusive proof that Jesus died a natural death, and is not now alive in heaven. Here Jesus says that so long as he was among his followers he was a witness of their condition, and he did not find them holding the belief in his divinity. The logical conclusion of this statement is that the false doctrine of his divinity was introduced into the Christian faith after his death, after “You caused me to die”; see further 3:55 footnote 1. A saying of the Holy Prophet is recorded in which the Holy Prophet speaks concerning himself in the very words which are here put into the mouth of Jesus. He said that he would be shown on the day of Resurrection some of his followers who had gone against his teachings, and “I would say what the righteous servant said: I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when You caused me to die, You were the Watcher over them” (Bukhari, 60:8).
  3. The words taghfir la-hum (protect them or forgive them) refer to their final protection which will be granted to the Christian nations through accep­tance of Islam. If the forgiveness of sins was meant, the Divine attributes referred to would have been those speaking of forgiveness and mercy, as the Forgiving, the Merciful. Instead of that the attributes referred to are the Mighty, the Wise, which generally indicate that some great purpose would be achieved and a trans­formation would be brought about.