Islamic view of Desciples of Hz. Isa عليه اسلام

Views of Islamic scholars on real supporters of Hz. Isa عليه اسلام

The Quranic account of the disciples (al-hawariyyun) of Hz. Isa عليه اسلام does not include their names, numbers, or any detailed accounts of their lives.

Muslim scholars, however, more-or-less agrees with the New Testament list and says that the disciples included Peter, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, Andrew, James, Jude, John and Simon the Zealot.

Islamic scholars generally draw a parallel with the disciples of Hz. Isa عليه اسلام and the companions of Hz. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, who followed him ﷺ during his lifetime, 600 years later.

The Qur’an is clear on the fact that the disciples of Hz. Isa عليه اسلام were steadfast believers in Allah.

The Qur’an records that when Hz. Isa عليه اسلام began to feel the rejection of the Israelites, he asked the people as to who among them will be his supporters in preaching the Gospel.

It was then that the disciples stood up and asked Hz. Isa عليه اسلام to bear witness that they had submitted to Allah and further promised to stay by him during his whole life.

The Qur’an further records that Allah inspired the disciples to believe in His message and messenger.

It further recounts a feast from Heaven, which was a sign for the disciples of Hz. Isa عليه اسلام.

Although the Quran does not name or number the disciples, Qur’anic exegesis names the disciples, and Hz. Peter رضي الله عنه is usually listed at the forefront of all lists, corresponding with his role as the head of the disciples.

In the Qur’an

The following is a list of all the Qur’anic references to the disciples of Jesus:

And [I have come] confirming what was before me of the Torah and to make lawful for you some of what was forbidden to you. And I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear Allah and obey me.

Indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is the straight path.'”

But when Jesus felt [persistence in] disbelief from them, he said, “Who are my supporters for [the cause of] Allah?” The disciples said, “We are supporters for Allah. We have believed in Allah and testify that we are Muslims [submitting to Him].

Our Lord, we have believed in what You revealed and have followed the messenger [i.e., Jesus], so register us among the witnesses [to truth].”

Sura 3:50–53

And [remember] when I inspired to the disciples, “Believe in Me and in My messenger [i.e., Jesus].” They said, “We have believed, so bear witness that indeed we are Muslims [in submission to Allah].”

[And remember] when the disciples said, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, can your Lord1 send down to us a table [spread with food] from the heaven?” [Jesus] said, “Fear Allah, if you should be believers.”

They said, “We wish to eat from it and let our hearts be reassured and know that you have been truthful to us and be among its witnesses.”

Said Jesus, the son of Mary, “O Allah, our Lord, send down to us a table [spread with food] from the heaven to be for us a festival for the first of us and the last of us and a sign from You. And provide for us, and You are the best of providers.”

Allah said, “Indeed, I will send it down to you, but whoever disbelieves afterwards from among you – then indeed will I punish him with a punishment by which I have not punished anyone among the worlds.”

Sura 5:111–115

O you who have believed, be supporters of Allah, as when Jesus, the son of Mary, said to the disciples, “Who are my supporters for Allah?” The disciples said, “We are supporters of Allah.” And a faction of the Children of Israel believed and a faction disbelieved. So We supported those who believed against their enemy, and they became dominant.

Sura 61:14

In Hadith

The following Hadith was collected by Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj Nishapuri, which indirectly emphasize Islamic beliefs concerning the disciples of Hz. Isa عليه اسلام

It is narrated on the authority Hz. Abdullah b. Mas’ud رضي الله عنه that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

“Never a Prophet had been sent before me by Allah towards his nation who had not among his people (his) disciples and companions who followed his ways and obeyed his command. Then there came after them their successors who said whatever they did not practise, and practised whatever they were not commanded to do. He who strove against them with his hand was a believer: he who strove against them with his tongue was a believer, and he who strove against them with his heart was a believer and beyond that there is no faith even to the extent of a mustard seed.”

Hz. Abu Rafi رضي الله عنه said: I narrated this hadith to Hz. Abdullah bin Umar رضي الله عنه; he contradicted me. There happened to come Hz. Abdullah b. Mas’ud رضي الله عنه who stayed at Qanat, and Hz. Abdullah bin Umar رضي الله عنه wanted me to accompany him for visiting him (as Hz. Abdullah bin Mas’ud رضي الله عنه was ailing), so I went along with him and as we sat (before him) I asked Hz. Ibn Mas’ud رضي الله عنه about this hadith.

He narrated it in the same way as I narrated it to Hz. Ibn Umar رضي الله عنه.

The same hadith has been transmitted by another chain of narrators on the authority of Hz. Abdullah b. Mas’ud رضي الله عنه who said: Never was there one among the prophets who had had not disciples who followed his direction and followed his ways. The remaining part of the hadith is like that as narrated by Salih but the arrival of Hz. Ibn Mas’ud رضي الله عنه and the meeting of Hz. Ibn ‘Umar رضي الله عنه with him is not mentioned.

Sahih Muslim