Translation Chapter 15

The parable of the lost sheep

15Now all the tax-collectors and sinners[1]were gathering round ‘Īsā to listen to him. 2 But the Pharisees and the ulemā complained, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’

3 So ‘Īsā told them this parable: 4 ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and you lose one of them. What would you do? You would leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost sheep until you find it. 5And when you find it, you would lift it onto your shoulders rejoicing. 6Then, when you come home, you would call together your friends and neighbours and say to them, “Celebrate with me; I have found my lost sheep.”

7 ‘In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who don’t need to repent.’

The parable of the lost coin

8 ‘Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins[2]and loses one. What would she do? She would light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds the coin. 9 And when she finds it, she would call together her friends and neighbours and say, “Celebrate with me; I have found the silver coin that I lost.”

10 ‘In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of Allah over one sinner who repents.’

The parable of the lost son

11 Then ‘Īsā said, ‘There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger son said to his father, “Father, give me my share of the property.” So the man divided his property between them.

13 ‘A short time later, the younger son sold his entire share of the property and set out for a distant country, where he squandered his money in reckless living. 14 When he had spent it all, a severe famine spread throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and attached himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to look after pigs.[3]16 He even longed to eat his fill from the pods[4]which the pigs were eating, but nobody gave him anything.

17 ‘But then he came to his senses and he said, “How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food, and here am I dying of hunger. 18I will get up and go to my father and say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against Allah[5]and against you. 19 I no longer deserve to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired workers.’”20 So he got up and went back to his father.

‘But while he was still some distance away, his father saw him and was moved with compassion for him. He ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.

21 ‘His son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against Allah and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.”

22 ‘But his father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23Get the fattened calf and slaughter it. Let us eat and celebrate, 24 because this son of mine was dead and is alive again! He was lost and is found!” And they began to celebrate.

25 ‘His older son was out in the field. As he approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 He called one of the children and asked what was happening. 27The child told him, “Your brother has come home, and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf, because he has him back safe and sound.”

28 ‘The older son got angry and refused to go in, so his father came out and urged him to come in. 29 But he replied to his father, “Look here! I’ve been slaving for you for years and I’ve never disobeyed your orders, yet you never gave me so much as a young goat so that I could have a party with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours comes home after devouring your property with prostitutes, you slaughter the fattened calf for him!”

31 ‘His father replied, “Son, you are always with me and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be joyful because this, your brother, was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”’


[1]In this context, ‘sinners’ refers to people who lived particularly immoral lives and those who were uninstructed in the sharī’ah revealed to Prophet Mūsā (pbuh).

[2]In the Greek language in which the Injīl was originally written, ‘ten drachma’. One drachma was a day’s wage for a labourer.

[3]Pigs were unclean animals for Jews, as for Muslims, so this was the most degraded and disgraceful situation imaginable for ‘Īsā al-Masīh’s audience.

[4]‘carob pods’. These would have been indigestible for a human.

[5]In the Greek language in which the Injīl was originally written, literally, ‘I have sinned against Heaven...’ Jews of that time often used ‘Heaven’ as a substitute word for Allah. Also in v21.