Translation Chapter 18

The parable of the widow and the judge

18 ‘Īsā told his disciples a parable about how they should always pray and never give up. 2He said, ‘In a certain town there was a judge who did not fear Allah and felt no shame before people. 3 Now there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him and demanding, “Give me justice against my enemy.”

4 ‘For a while he refused. But after some time, he said to himself, “Even though I don’t fear Allah or feel any shame before people, 5 yet I’ll see that this widow gets justice because she keeps bothering me. If I don’t, she’ll keep on coming and in the end, she’ll wear me out!”’

6 The Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge said. 7 Will not Allah grant justice to his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will grant justice to them without delay. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?’

The parable of the Pharisee[1]and the tax-collector[2]

9 Then ‘Īsā spoke to some people who were convinced that they were righteous and who looked down on everybody else. He told them this parable:

10 ‘Two men went up to al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas for prayers[3]. One was a Pharisee, the other was a tax-collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed, “Allah, I thank you that I am not like other people – thieves, unrighteous, adulterers – or even like this tax-collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give you a tenth of all I get[4].”

13 ‘The tax-collector stood at a distance from the people. He wouldn’t even look up towards heaven, but struck his chest and said, “Allah, have mercy on[5]me, a sinner!”

14 ‘I tell you, this man, and not the Pharisee, went home righteous in the sight of Allah. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, but those who humble themselves will be exalted.’

‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)blesses little children

15 People were bringing babies to ‘Īsā for him to place his hands on them (in blessing). The disciples saw this and ordered the parents sternly not to do so. 16 But ‘Īsā called the babies to himself and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and don’t hold them back, because the kingdom of Allah[6]belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who does not receive the kingdom of Allah like a little child will never enter it.’

The rich and the kingdom of Allah

18 A certain leader asked ‘Īsā, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’[7]

19 ‘Īsā replied, ‘Why do you call me good? There is no one good except one; and he is Allah[8]. 20 You know the commandments: do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false witness, honour your father and mother[9].’

21 ‘I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young,’ the leader replied.

22 When ‘Īsā heard this, he said to him, ‘There’s still one thing you fall short in. Sell everything you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.’

23 When the leader heard this, he became very sad, because he was extremely rich. 24 ‘Īsā looked at him and said, ‘How difficult it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of Allah. 25 It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of Allah.’

26 Those who heard this asked, ‘In that case, who can be saved?’[10]

27 ‘Īsā replied, ‘What is impossible with humans is possible with Allah.’

28 Peter said, ‘Look, we have left our possessions and followed you.’

29 ‘Īsā said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or wife, brothers or sisters, parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of Allah, 30 who will not receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come, eternal life.’

‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)predicts his own martyrdom[11]and resurrection

31 ‘Īsā took the twelve aside and said to them, ‘Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be handed over to the (non-Jewish) nations. He will be mocked, abused and spat on. 33 And they will flog him and kill him. On the third day, he will be raised to life.’

34 The disciples did not understand any of this.  The significance of ‘Īsā’s words was hidden from them and they did not know what he was talking about.

Al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu)heals a blind man

35As‘Īsā was approaching Jericho, a blind man was sitting at the roadside begging. 36 He heard the crowd going past and asked what was going on. 37 They told him, ‘‘Īsā of Nazareth is passing by.’

38 He shouted out, ‘‘Īsā, Son of Dāwūd[12], have mercy on me!’

39 The people in front scolded him, ‘Be quiet!’ they said.

But he yelled even more loudly, ‘Son of Dāwūd, have mercy on me!’

40 ‘Īsā stopped and ordered that the man be led to him. When he came near, ‘Īsā asked him, 41‘What do you want me to do for you?’

‘Master,’ he replied, ‘I want to regain my sight,’.

42 ‘Īsā said to him, ‘Receive your sight. Your faith has saved you.’

43 At once he was able to see[13]and he followed ‘Īsā, giving glory to Allah. All the people who saw this also praised Allah.

 

[1]The Pharisees were a devout Jewish religious sect. They believed in the resurrection of the dead and were waiting for the rule or kingdom of Allah to come, when Allah would put all wrongs to right. They emphasised the keeping of sharī’ah (revealed through Prophet Mūsā [pbuh]), and also insisted on keeping many traditions of the ulemā (rabbis) which are not in the Taurāt.

[2]Tax collectors worked for the Romans who were occupying Palestine and were thus regarded as traitors. They were often greedy and corrupt and were classed with ‘sinners’ by many Jews.

[3]This would have been one of the two daily public worship sessions at al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas, which were at dawn and late afternoon. Instructions about this daily worship are given in Taurāt, Numbers 28:1-8. The ritual involved the qurbānī of a lamb, which was then to be burnt at the place of sacrifice (altar) in al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas. This qurbānī was a sign of Allah’s provision of a kaffārah (atonement) for the sins of the people. See Taurāt, Leviticus 1:4,

A person will put their hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on their behalf to make atonement for them.

[4]The Taurāt required people to give a tenth of their produce to Allah. See Leviticus 27:30-32, Numbers 18:21-24.

[5]Or, ‘make atonement for’. It is a different word in the Greek language of the original Injīl from the word translated ‘have mercy’ in v38, 39. This du’ā relates to the qurbānī of a lamb that had just been made as part of the worship ritual in al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas (see note above for v10). The qurbānī of a lamb was a sign for the Ban-i Isrā’īl. It was killed as a sacrifice that would ransom those who believed. In the same way, Allah ransomed Prophet Ibrāhīm’s son (pbuh)with a great sacrifice (See Qur’an, as-Sāffāt 37:107, ‘We ransomed him with a great sacrifice’. See also, Taurāt, Genesis 22:13-14).

[6]Or, ‘reign of Allah’. Also in v17, 24, 25, 29. See Appendix D, ‘The Kingdom of Allah’.

[7]The life of the age to come after the qiyāmat or resurrection (see Appendix D, ‘The Kingdom of Allah’).

[8]‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)is not here denying his own goodness. On another occasion al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu)challenged his opponents, ‘Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?’ None of them could (Injīl, John 8:46). Elsewhere the Injīl states, ‘he did not sin’ (Hebrews 4:15), and the Qur’an agrees with this – Maryam (pbuh)is told she will be given a ‘pure boy’ (Maryam 19:19). There is no record in any of the Holy Books of Sayyidnā ‘Īsā (hpbuu)sinning or repenting from sins or asking for forgiveness for his sins. Al-Masīh ‘Īsā’s point in asking the ruler this is that the ruler had addressed him as ‘good teacher’ in a thoughtless way, perhaps to flatter Prophet ‘Īsā (hpbuu). Al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu)is asking him to think about the words he is using and to challenge him to think about the only source of goodness.

[9]These are five of the Ten Commandments which were revealed to the Ban-i Isrā’īl through Prophet Mūsā (pbuh), see Taurāt, Exodus 20:1-17, Deuteronomy 5:6-21.

[10]To ‘be saved’, ‘to inherit’ or ‘receive... eternal life’ (v18, 30) and ‘to enter the kingdom of Allah’ (v24, 25), are different ways of speaking about the same reality. See Appendix D, ‘The Kingdom of Allah’.

[11]For further details on the martyrdom of ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)and on how the Injīl’s and the Qur’an’s teaching on this matter can be understood to be in agreement with each other, see Appendix F, ‘The Suffering and Martyrdom of ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)’.

[12]The Prophets had foretold that al-Masīh (hpbuu)would come from the house and family line of King Dāwūd (pbuh)(eg. Books of the ProphetsIsaiah 9:6-7, 11:1-9, Ezekiel 34:23-24). ‘Son of Dāwūd’ was thus a title meaning al-Masīh. See Appendix C, ‘The Title: “Al-Masīh”‘ for more details.

[13]This fulfils what the Prophet Isaiah (pbuh)had foretold:

                  ‘Be strong, don’t be afraid,

                   Here is your God!

He will come with vengeance,

                   with the retribution of Allah.

He will come and save you.’

Then the eyes of the blind will be opened

                   and the ears of the deaf enabled to hear.

Then the lame will leap like a deer,

                   and the tongue that is unable to speak will shout for joy.

 (Book of the Prophet Isaiah 35:4-6)

See Qur’an, Āl-’Imrān3:49, where al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu)says, ‘And I will heal the blind and the leper and give life to the dead by God’s Leave’. See also, Qur’an, al-Mā’idah 5:110.