Sinlessness of Jesus

Christian: According to the Quran, do the prophets commit any sin?

Muslim: Muslims believe that all prophets are free from major sins but there are records of the prophets praying to God for forgiveness.

Christian: I realized from my study that Jesus was called holy and sinless in both the Quran and the Bible.

Muslim: Did the Quran teach that Jesus was holy and sinless? I didn’t know that.

Christian: According to the Quran, when the angel came to Mary he said to her: “I am only a messenger from your Lord (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son.” In this verse, the word for “holy“ (“zakiyyaa” in Arabic) is applied to no other prophet in the book. 

Muslim: I see. So Jesus was born sinless?

Christian: Yes, but not only was he born sinless, the Quran describes Jesus as being sinless even when he was an adult. The word for “son” in the above verse is the arabic word “ghulaam”, which was also used to describe Joseph when he was a young man sold into slavery.

Muslim: Does the Bible also teach that Jesus was sinless?

Christian: In the Bible, the angel told Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”

Muslim: So there is no record of Jesus committing any sin whatsoever in the Bible?

Christian: No. In fact, Jesus challenged the people saying, “I always do what pleases Him (i.e. God). Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?”

Muslim: Didn’t Jesus deny that he was sinless when he said that no one is sinless except God?

Christian: Since Jesus said that he always did what pleased God and no one could prove him guilty of any sin, that verse you mentioned could not have meant that Jesus was denying his own sinlessness.

Muslim: Then what could Jesus have meant by that statement?

Christian: The verse you mentioned is in the story when someone called Jesus “Good teacher”. Jesus replied that no one is good except God. Therefore, he was pointing to this person the significance of acknowledging that someone is holy. You are actually acknowledging him as God.

Muslim: If Jesus was sinless, then he is indeed unique. In the Quran, Abraham prayed to God, “forgive me my sin on the Day of Judgment.” Likewise we read that Moses committed a serious sin of murder and God also forgave him in view of His mercy. 

Christian: Yes. Jesus was the only person regarded by both the Quran and the Bible as sinless. 

Muslim: This may be why the Quran says that Jesus is “of (the company of) those nearest to Allah.” Surely, one needs to be holy before he can draw close to Allah.

Christian: The fact that Jesus is sinless also makes him the only one who can take away our sins. If you want to clean the table, would you use a clean cloth or a dirty cloth?

Muslim: A clean cloth of course! How can a dirty cloth clean a dirty table?

Christian: You are right. That is why both Islam and Christianity insist on using unblemished animals when we sacrifice them to God. John the Baptist calls Jesus the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

Muslim: If Jesus is the only person who was sinless, and can take away our sins, this may be the reason why the Quran calls Jesus the Mercy from God.

Christian: Yes, we should talk more about this another day.