According to Jesus, Bible and Quran – What is truth?

Category: Articles, Faith, Featured | Topic: bible, prophet jesus, quran | Values: honesty, truthfulness | Views: 21,218

Jesus said, “To this end was I born, and for this came I into the world, to bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice. Pilate then said unto him, What is truth?” (John 18:37-38)

Pilate’s response is a fascinating one. “What is truth?”, he says, but he does not voice the question as a genuine query – it is a rhetorical question, a statement describing reality as Pilate observes it – there is no truth, there are only constructed ideologies and practical necessities and people act based upon these and function within the social/economic/political realms generated by these constructs. Right and wrong, truth and justice exist only within the relativistic confines and context of these constructs.

Pilate’s response is a quintessential modern response – in a world of relativity, “what is truth?” In a world dominated by pragmatic realities, ideological loyalties, and political manipulation what, indeed, is truth?

Jesus answers Pilate’s question with silence. And so perhaps it is presumptuous for us to seek an answer, or to listen for elucidation from within his quiescence. Yet this is a question which is a very human one – and one that every age has struggled with and sought to answer in different ways – some from the vantage of faith, some from philosophical logic, some from the rationalism of science, some from postmodern relativism, some from an individualistic mix of different avenues – it is a question which has been approached from every conceivable direction. Pilate asks the question cynically, rhetorically – seemingly not truly seeking an answer – and he receives only silence. But perhaps, in the case of Jesus, even his silence can become a potential exegesis, a speech of subtle elucidation – a pointer, not to a single answer, but to a direction which may take us to a mode of understanding.

Pilate’s world is governed by ideological fealty to the empire and a path governed by pragmatic decision making. His choices hinge, not on any particular concern with distinguishing between truth and untruth (he perhaps is unconcerned to even contemplate what these might mean), but on the weighing of threats and inconveniences to the empire, on the politics of dealing with the constituents of the empire, and on his own personal ambitions within this milieu. Pilate acts and reacts, as we all tend to do, within the limits and parameters of the surrounding society and his own ideological loyalties – juggling personal ambitions and personal compunctions with the realities of his time, and his place within the Roman hierarchy. There, pragmatism and political and economic realism, not some “abstract” truth, carries weight. For Pilate, as perhaps for many of us, existing worldly “realities” overwhelm truth rendering it irrelevant to immediate events. 

Jesus’ taciturn silence in response to Pilate’s “What is truth?” is indicative of the vast gulf that stretches between someone like Jesus and someone like Pontius Pilate – a sign of the chasm between two modes of understanding, one mode being rooted in the mundane and the other rooted in deeper modalities – one mode bespeaking the cynicism inherent in Pilate who the world had bent to its connivance (and who in turn sought to further the empire’s influence by his own exercise of authority), the other indicating the certainty of one who sees the world as only a passing shimmer rippling across the surface of Reality. Between these two viewpoints there is an unbounded void.

Pilate’s independence is no independence – it is action tightly bound within the confines of a limited and worldly set of controls and inputs – the rules of the empire he serves, the relationship with Herod and Tiberius, the local politics of the province he governed – Pilate no doubt weighed all these inputs and made decisions that best suited the current situation according to his own internal ranking of the hierarchy of importance of these inputs. This is human nature shaped and governed by worldly circumstance, unmoored from higher realities.

But Jesus speaks from an entirely different realm of inputs – between his world and Pilate’s the gulf is so vast that Jesus’ answer to “what is truth”, can be nothing other than silence.

If truth is that which corresponds most fully to reality, then the truth Jesus acts upon stems from the realities that extend from the throne of God down to the earth of this world. These constitute the foundational metaphysical verities which encompass, penetrate, and underlie the worlds of the heavens and the worlds of matter – not the fabricated constructs of human power structures. Truth, in the sense that Jesus speaks of it, is found along the vertical dimension of reality – that dimension which cuts through a hierarchy of existence that stretches from this world to God. 

So Jesus acts upon a truth that goes so deep and that has such a powerful grounding in the foundations of reality itself, that every word he speaks and action he performs has a solidity and deep resonance and spiritual potency arising from its integral connection to the throne from which the reality of the world emerges and from which it draws its subsistence. 

“For man does not live by bread alone but from every word that proceeds from God.” (Matthew 4:4) God’s words are the engendering, shaping, and sustaining commands which hold the world in existence, from instant to instant. These words are truth – they are the essential substance that shapes reality. 

The first truth and the foundation of all truth is God – “God is the Truth (the Real)” (Qur’an 22:6). His right over His creation is above all other rights.

And He has created in accordance with His nature “We created not the heavens and the earth and what is between them but through the Truth (the Real – Haqq); and the hour will most surely come, so turn away (from the ignorant and heedless) with kindly forgiveness.” (Qur’an 15:85) 

And He has placed within each creature’s essence a truth and a nature which can connect it with other truths. “Our Lord is He who gave each thing its creation, then guided it….” (Qur’an 20:50) 

Through this nature, truth can connect with truth – “Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.” (John 18:37) 

By this connection and attraction, He (God) makes possible the connection between the ones who bring the truth (the Prophets) and the ones who accept the truth – “And he who brings the truth and (he who) accepts it as the truth….” (Qur’an 39:33) Those whose hearts are on the paths of the prophets, whose beings have a resonant identity with them, whose spirits are seeking congruence with theirs – they are the ones who accept the truth. 

And He sends truth in the form of revelation, as guidance – “And with truth have We revealed it, and with truth did it come….” (Qur’an 17:105) This is why there is the potential for revelation to enact an alchemical transformation in the one who approaches its truth with their own intelligent and honest sincerity.

And the truth overturns falsehood, revealing falsehood’s self-seeking and ephemeral nature – “We cast the truth against the falsehood, so that it demolishes it, and lo! it vanishes away….” (Qur’an 21:18)

In the Qur’an, truth is repeatedly connected with reality at its deepest and most profound levels. So Jesus’ being is integrally connected to the realities which permeate and suffuse all aspects of creation from the heavens to the earth and all that is in-between. Jesus draws upon and manifests that truth in each glance, in each word, and in each silence. He manifests the truth in the most appropriate manner in each individual action, in each separate time and place, to each person and group – he gives to each aspect of creation he encounters, that which is most appropriate to it. Sometimes he gives healing, sometimes an awakening, sometimes harsh words (to the hypocrites) and reprimands, sometimes specific guidance, sometimes silence, but always, it is truth – conveyed in the most effective manner since its root is firmly established in the full depth of reality. He is a Word from God – cast into Mary’s womb. “…O Marium (Mary), surely Allah gives you good news of a Word from Him, who is the Messiah (Christ), Isa (Jesus) son of Marium, worthy of high honor in this world and the hereafter and is of those who are in near proximity (to Allah).” (Qur’an 3:45) 

God’s word is the truth – so when Pilate asks, “what is truth”, the answer is manifest before him. At that juncture, the silence of Jesus’ presence was the most potent response.

The totality of absolute Truth is only possible within the unique singularity and unknowable hidden essence of God – there all contradictions and oppositions find their termination and reconciliation. But here, in the world in which we presently dwell, the Prophets drew upon their profound connection with the unseen, they recognized the true nature of things, they understood the vast substance of the ocean of reality upon whose surface the ephemeral world floats unaware (“You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes….” (James 4:14)) They gave to each thing they encountered its rightful due, drawing out from each its unique truth – the nature with which it was created – since it is by standing on truth, by being true to one’s profound metaphysical nature that one acquires substance, and gains a firm foothold in reality. And it is from this acting on truth, from “…bearing witness to the truth.” (John, 18:37) that the felicitous bond with the ultimate Truth, Al-Haqq, emerges. “God is the Truth (the Real – Al-Haqq)” (Qur’an 22:6)


Irshaad Hussain is a contemporary Islamic thinker and author of Islam from Inside.


Leave a Reply


  1. Dear Khan

    The Counsellor, Advocate, Spirit of truth mentioned in the Bible do

    not point to a man coming in future. Of the PRESUMPTUOUS MAN we are

    rather warned against to watch against and beware. The Spirit of

    truth is the Spirit of God Himself who teaches about God in the

    person of man Jesus Christ the Lord.

    We do not read our Bibles seeking to believe in the ADVERSARY that

    ridicules and mocks against it instead of Submitting to the truth

    already taught.

  2. Say “O people of the Scripture! Come to a word that is just

    between us and you,that we worship none but Allah (Alone) and

    that we associate no partners with Him,and that none of us shall

    take others as lords (be him Jesus,Abraham Muhammad or any of

    His creations) besides Allah (Alone).Then if they turn away,say

    “Bear witness that we are Muslims (who submitted to Him).That is

    the truth as revealed by the the Quran in Sura Ali Imran Verses

    64-68.The same verse concluded and challenged the people of the

    Book (Jews and Christians) in these words; “O people of the

    Scripture! Why do you dispute about Ibrahim (Abraham) while the

    Torah and the Gospel were not revealed till after him? Have you

    then no sense? Unfortunately you are those who have disputed

    about that of which you have knowledge but why do you dispute

    concerning that which you have no knowledge? It is Allah Who

    knows and you do not know. Subhanallah what a real challenge to

    the people of Scripture especially those disputing without

    knowledge!.Now who was Abraham?Can we say he was a Jew or a

    Christian?Allah gave the answer to this question: Abraham was

    neither a Jew nor a Christian,but he was true Monotheist Hanifa

    Musliman who submitted to Allah and he was not of the

    idolaters>So the question is who follows this friend of Allah

    called Abraham respected by all the three Monotheist Religions

    i.e Judaism,Christianity and Islam? Quran gave the answer.Verily

    among mankind who have the best claim to Abraham are those who

    followed him and this Prophet (Muhammad S.A.W) and those who

    believed (i.e the Muslims) and Allah is the protector of the

    believers. That is the message of the truth. May Allah guide us

    and the whole humanity. It is only the media with the help of

    some misguided brothers and sisters who are not good example

    causing problem for the true Religion of Islam meant for the

    whole mankind.

  3. assalamu alaikum

    May i suggest that you make available the right to post to the social

    media sources….this offers and excellent opportunity for dawah. In

    addition if offers insight to Islam, please consider in the future so

    that we might share to a broader body of thought.

  4. I did not expect something like that on Islamcity. Dear friend, keep on citing the word of the only true God, and many will know the truth, and the truth will set them free.

  5. Dear YY

    You read the corrupted (written and fabricated by Men) Books that are derived from the Original Torah and Injeel that were renealed to Moses and Jesus from the same God of all Biblical and Quranic Prophets.

    Even these corrupted books talk about Islam (SUBMISSION), One God and Prophet Muhammad. These basics were not taken out from both OT & NT of Bible. But you pick and choose from the Bible.

    I can prove that Bible (even after Fabrication:Deletions-Additions) still talks about 5 pillars, 6 creeds and about the final Prophet-Muhammad and Testament-Quran.Read my article posted on Islamicity about Jesus.

  6. Babandi A. Gumel

    I have much love and respect for the Muslim brethren that are

    normal. Even in the wildest dream I do not intend to denigrate them.

    But I must tell what I know with learning from the Holy Scriptures

    to reply to persons like KHAN that declares Holy Bible, the Book of

    God being useless thing to follow or even to quote accusing it as

    word of men in comparison to Quoran.

    The Quoran is opposed in major ways against the Bible and sets

    conflict against the people of the Book. I know God has allowed it

    to test whether they love His Son or some other false persons to get

    appropriate rewards or punishment in the hereafter. I feel my nerves

    when people make little of the Messiah the Saviour of world’s

    mankind. There is no other savious beside him and those who reject

    choose doom. But let them not misguide mankind with other lies in

    the name of another quarrelsome porphet or another god that want to

    steal place in the lives of human beings.

    My message is straightforward, simple and is the truth and I set no

    other partner with the established truth about which prophets of God

    in the olden times prophesied, Messiah spoke of their fulfilment and

    apostles encouraged the believes to put the anchor of faith on Him


    Please take the following Shahada and turn into GENUINE Muslim in

    the manner the patriarchs were.

    There is God and beside Him is there none.

    Yehoshua Messiah is His beloved and only begotten Son.

    Other confessions, understanding and acceptance of them lead the

    soul to judgement. Peace.

  7. I wanted to point out correction regarding my comment to Yohan Yishai where I said we are not prohibited instead of We are prohibited from denigrating any of the Prophets. This is why he is taking advantage denigrating Islam Prophet Muhammad and followers of Islam. Anyhow he cannot do anything Islam will continue to progress prosper and get more followers whether people like him YOHAN or whoever likes it or not. It is the promise of Allah which no one can do anything.

  8. It is so distressing to see people like Yohan Yishai so carried away by emotion sentimentality not willing to see the truth and fact as fact.He is always trying by all means to find fault with Islam the Religion of Nature,Prophet Muhammad all the other Prophets Peace Be Upon them and those who follow the truth unlike the unfortunate misguided follower of Devil not Jesus as he claimed. Yohan knows very well that we Muslims are not prohibited from pointing any fault to any of the Prophets including of course Jesus and Muhammad Peace be Upon them. So this is why he is taking advantage to try to denigrate our beloved Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).I reiterate again Mr Yishai is not true follower of Jesus.

  9. The commenter KHAN clearly shows the open path of the enemy that

    approaches to destroy the progress of mankind under the guidance of

    God. The certainty of his expressions do not hide his intention of

    doing away with the Bible that hinders his progress with obscenity

    in human societies to destroy either with false religions or with

    suggestions for departure from practicing the truth. They both are

    his Right and Left arms stretched out against mankind created in

    God’s own image.

    Beware O mankind of the cult of Mohammad, the prophet of the devil

    possessed by him to speak as his mouth piece! If he spoke by the

    Spirit of God, he would not contradict His word, intending to

    supplant them.

  10. This is one of the most incredible articles I have ever read in defense of truth. It is encouraging enlightening, and uplifting to the heart. Alhumdulilah.

  11. We shall use the Similarities in Testaments (Quran and Bible) to prove that the Quran is

    Guardian of previous books and the fundamentals in them are same/similar.

    Quran 3:64: Say: O People of the Scripture! (Jews/Christians) Come to an agreement

    between us & you: that we shall worship none but God (Allah), & that we shall ascribe no

    partner unto Him, & that none of us shall take others for lords beside God (Allah…”)

    Hadith: Abu Namlah al Ansari (r.a.) narrated that Allh’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) said,

    “Whatever the People of the Book tell you, do not verify them, nor falsify them, but say: ‘We

    believe in Allh and His Messenger. If it is false, do not confirm it, and if it is right, do not

    falsify it.'” (Abu Dawud 3637)

    FAITH: Q 16:123 ‘So We have taught thee (O Muhammad) the inspired (Message), “Follow

    the ways of Abraham the True in Faith, & he joined not gods with God

    Genesis15:6 ‘… Lord regarded that faith to be his approval of Abram”–John 8:39: Jesus

    said ‘for if you are the children of Abraham, you would follow his example.’]

    MUHAMMAD-S Q7:157 “Those who follow the messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom

    they find mentioned in their own (scriptures),- in the law and the Gospel; [[Deuteronomy

    18:15 “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own

    brothers. You must listen to him.”–John 16:13 ‘”When the Spirit of truth comes; he will

    guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He

    will tell you about the future.

    Hence, Please stay away from the quotes of the Bible inserted by Men.

  12. Wa qul ja’al haq wa za zahaqal batil innal baatila kana zahuqa.Every one only sees truth according to how he/she is brought up.So the concept of truth is judged according to the enviroment one finds himself,if he is lucky he ends up getting the truth or the reality,When reality dawns on someone then he realises the truth and judges between hak and batil.It is like a non Muslims who embraces Islam before Islam he used to drink( wine) womanise commiting all sorts of fasha and munkar (you find it in WWW on the Internet ) but when he/she realises then all of a sudden he changes his life and people start wondering what is happening to so and so he used to be like us and no longer now like us and so on and so forth. He has totally changed he is now against us simply because he has got guidance. So that is what is called the truth as the Quran is the truth no falsehood would come in front of it or behind it and Allah is the Ultimate Truth as His name is AL HAQQ THE TRUTH.So if one refuses to follow the truth either due to intellectuall dishonesty or anything like that then he/she will not be guided to the truth instead he slowly slips and starts following desires because he follows his Nafs desire.So following desire automatically leads one to ego evil desires, then opposing the truth in the end following the Baatil.This is how Haq and Baatil are always on the opposing camp.So this is what is called the Truth and Allah the Creator of Life and Death the Reality which everyone believes in it whether you like it or not.Allah is the Creator of that reality called death and He is the Creator of the Universe is the Ultimate Truth.So this is why if one passes away we say Inna Lillahi Wa inna ilaihi Rajiun.

  13. Mr. Hussain article is a master piece and well composed. I have sent the article to my muslim and christian friends.Knowledge is power, no doubt most christians and even some our muslim brothers/sisters are not well informed about Islam especially respect accorded to Jesus (may peace and blessing of Allah(swa) be upon him). Please keep the flag of Islam flying, Jazaakhallahu Khairan.

  14. Why is Ummah so confused today about Islam? The answer is, obfucsate the issue and lead them into a maze until the bewildered follower begs the scholar to show him THE RIGHT path and save his soul.

  15. Comment well put Abdul.

    Any body want to know the real truth.. it goes thus;


    How about all of us start from here, stay a while (or may be longer) ponder, do our best then may be at the end we might really see what the Almighty wants us to ‘meditate’ and act upon. Then and only then we shall come out from our dreams into reality known as ISLAM.

    Oh Allah, answer the prayer of your beloved servant and Prophet Ibrahim (AS) for us and do not take our souls except as muslims submitting to your wills and in total obedience to your final Messenger Muhammad (SAW), ameem thumma ameen.

  16. This one of the best article I have read on “what is Truth.” I would add, “Truth is reality, and reality is truth.” And finally, Allah is the Truth, the Creator of all things.

    This is a well written article. My compliments to the writer.

    Athar. Canada.

  17. I am reading “Great Dialogues of Plato”, and I recommend it (for both religious believers and others) as demonstrating the logic of defining what truth, justice, virtue, and philosophy (love of wisdom) really are and why most people are misled and corrupted from the love of the real and eternal, some would call this God, to appearances and prefer money and power to the pursuit of knowledge.

  18. It is awkward to say the least.

    It is a waste of effort for the reader…

    It quotes the Bible which then begs that if you accept one quote then why not the whole, as one does with the Quran.

    He struggles immensely with language and can’t face the challenges that complex concepts can be expressed simply.

    Hence he loses his audience and like an Opera he enoys his musing himself. Others are lost in the words and get comfort that something profund must be going on and yet it as empty as can be..

  19. As-salaamu alaykum I think this is a very good article and I pray to Allah that it will help all of us to look at and study all decisions we make deeply. because that article have given me something to ponder deeply thank you,

    As-salaamu alaykum,

    your brother in Al-Islam

    Kareem Adam Abdullah.

  20. Frankly speaking, this article is sending me back to both the Bible and the Quran for more research. May Allah increase your knowledge.