Disciples of Jesus in Islam

The Qur'anic account of the disciples (Arabic: الحواريون al-ḥawāriyyūn) of Jesus does not include their names, numbers, or any detailed accounts of their lives. Muslim exegesis, 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.[1] Scholars generally draw a parallel with the disciples of Jesus and the disciples of Muhammad, who followed Muhammad during his lifetime.[2]

Textual references

In the Qur'an

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

"'(I, Jesus, have come to you Children of Israel), to attest the Law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was (Before) forbidden to you; I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So fear God, and obey me.
"'It is God who is my Lord and your Lord; then worship Him. This is a way that is straight.'"
When Jesus found unbelief on their part He said: "Who will be my helpers to (the work of) God?" ['anṣār 'ilā llāh] Said the disciples: "We are God's helpers [anṣāru llāhi]: We believe in God, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims [wa-ishhad bi-'anna muslimuna].
"Our LORD! we believe in what Thou hast revealed, and we follow the Messenger (Jesus); then write us down among those who bear witness."
Sura 3:4953[3]
"And behold! I inspired the disciples to have faith in Me and Mine Messenger: they said, 'We have faith, and do thou bear witness that we bow to God as Muslims'".
Behold! the disciples, said: "O Jesus the son of Mary! can thy Lord send down to us a table set (with viands) from heaven?" Said Jesus: "Fear God, if ye have faith."
They said: "We only wish to eat thereof and satisfy our hearts, and to know that thou hast indeed told us the truth; and that we ourselves may be witnesses to the miracle."
Said Jesus the son of Mary: "O God our Lord! Send us from heaven a table set (with viands), that there may be for us - for the first and the last of us - a solemn festival and a sign from thee; and provide for our sustenance, for thou art the best Sustainer (of our needs)."
God said: "I will send it down unto you: But if any of you after that resisteth faith, I will punish him with a penalty such as I have not inflicted on any one among all the peoples."
Sura 5:111115[4]
O ye who believe! Be ye helpers of God: As said Jesus the son of Mary to the Disciples, "Who will be my helpers to (the work of) God?" Said the disciples, "We are God's helpers!" then a portion of the Children of Israel believed, and a portion disbelieved: but We gave power to those who believed, against their enemies, and they became the ones that prevailed.
Sura 61:14[5]

In Hadith

The following are Hadith (narrations originating from the words Muhammad), collected by Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj Nishapuri, which indirectly emphasize Islamic beliefs concerning the disciples of Jesus:[6]

It is narrated on the authority 'Abdullah b. Mas'ud that the Messenger of God observed: Never a Prophet had been sent before me by God 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. Abu Rafi' said: I narrated this hadith to 'Abdullah b. 'Umar; he contradicted me. There happened to come 'Abdullah b. Mas'ud who stayed at Qanat, and 'Abdullah b 'Umar wanted me to accompany him for visiting him (as 'Abdullah b. Mas'ud was ailing), so I went along with him and as we sat (before him) I asked Ibn Mas'ud about this hadith. He narrated it in the same way as I narrated it to Ibn 'Umar.

The same hadith has been transmitted by another chain of narrators on the authority of 'Abdullah b. Mas'ud who observed: 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 Ibn Mas'ud and the meeting of Ibn 'Umar with him is not mentioned.

See also


  1. Wheeler, A-Z of Prophets in Islam and Judaism, Disciples of Jesus, pg. 86
  2. Wheeler, A-Z of Prophets in Islam and Judaism, Disciples of Jesus, pg. 86
  3. Quran 3:49–53
  4. Quran 5:111–115
  5. Quran 61:14
  6. The Book of Faith (Kitab Al-Iman) Book 1, Chapter 21, Concerning the Facts That Interdiction Against Abominable is a Part of Faith, That Faith Increases and Diminishes; Enjoining That Which is Good and Forbidding That Which is Abominable Are Obligatory (Acts)
  7. Sahih Muslim, 1:81, 1:82
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