4. The Righteousness of Muhammad and of Christ
It is said that when Muhammad was a child, two angels came and purified his heart. Muslim scholars support this story following the Qur'anic verse:
“Did we not open (expand) for you your breast and take away from you your burden (wizr), that weighed down your back?” (Sura al-Sharh 94:1-3)
أَلَم نَشْرَح لَك صَدْرَك وَوَضَعْنَا عَنْك وِزْرَك الَّذِي أَنْقَض ظَهْرَك (سُورَة الشَّرْح ٩٤ : ١ - ٣)
From that time on, Muhammad assumed the honorable title “al-Mustafa”, that is "The Chosen One". He was not pure and righteous in himself, for the two angels had to lift up the burden from his heart to purify him. Muhammad needed “heart surgery” to be purified and to become a prophet and messenger of Allah.
On the other hand, we read in the Qur'an that the Son of Mary would be “most pure” from the moment of His birth; the angel said to her:
“I am but the messenger of your Lord, to bestow unto you a boy most pure.” (Sura Maryam 19:19)
إِنَّمَا أَنَا رَسُول رَبِّك لأَهَب لَك غُلاَما زَكِيّا (سُورَة مَرْيَم ١٩ : ١٩)
The Muslim scholars al-Tabari, al-Baidawi, and al-Zamakhshari agreed that the expression “most pure” (zakiyyan) means blameless, guiltless and sinless. Before Christ was born, divine inspiration declared that the one who was to be born from the Spirit of God would always live pure, without a single sin. There was no need to purify His heart, for He was holy in Himself. The Son of Mary did not hear the Word of God only; He was this Word himself. There was no difference between His actions and His words. He remained blameless and without sin.
The Qur'an testifies several times that certain prophets committed specific sins -- except Christ, who lived always blameless and pure. The Spirit of God kept Him, from His birth, in perfect holiness, despite the fact that He was human. He did not fall into temptation because He was the Spirit of God incarnate.
Muhammad confesses openly three times in the Qur'an that he had to ask for the forgiveness of Allah:
“And ask forgiveness for your sin and praise your Lord at evening and at dawn.” (Sura Ghafir 40:55)
وَاسْتَغْفِر لِذَنْبِك وَسَبِّح بِحَمْد رَبِّك بِالْعَشِي وَالإِبْكَار (سُورَة غَافِر ٤٠ : ٥٥)
“And ask forgiveness for your sin, and for (the sin of) the believers, men and women. And Allah knows your wanderings and your lodging.” (Sura Muhammad 47:19)
وَاسْتَغْفِر لِذَنْبِك وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِين وَالْمُؤْمِنَات وَاللَّه يَعْلَم مُتَقَلَّبَكُم وَمَثْوَاكُمْ (سُورَة مُحَمَّد ٤٧ : ١٩)
“We have given you a clear victory, so that Allah may forgive you of your sins, that which came before and that which came later.” (Sura al-Fath 48:1-2)
إِنَّا فَتَحْنَا لَك فَتْحا مُبِينا لِيَغْفِر لَك اللَّه مَا تَقَدَّم مِن ذَنْبِك وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ (سُورَة الْفَتْح ٤٨ : ١ و ٢)
Some Muslims refuse to accept these verses, which the Qur'an clearly reveals in its pages. Others try to explain the truth away.
Muhammad was a normal man, born of two parents. He lived a natural life and sinned as we sin. He asked Allah for the forgiveness of his sins. Christ, however, was born of the Spirit of God; He was the Word of God incarnate, living purely and in holiness from His birth.