Words and advice of Prophet 'Isa (Jesus) found in Shi'i traditions, on subjects including God, man, the hereafter, wisdom, prayer, poverty, the heart, and much more. Selected, edited and translated by Mahdi Muntazir Qa'im and Muhammad Legenhausen.
Contents in brief
In the Qur'an, in a passage describing the annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus ('a) is described as a Word from God:
“O Mary! Verily Allah gives you the glad tidings of a Word from Him; his name is the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, eminent in this world, and in the Hereafter of those near [to God]” (3:44)
The context in which this ayah was revealed was one of inter-religious encounter. It is said that the Christians of Najran sent a delegation to the Prophet of Islam (s) at Makkah to question him about the teachings of Islam concerning Jesus ('a), and God revealed the above and other ayat of Surat Al 'Imran in response.
The response is not only not a denial of Christian teachings, although the divinity of Christ is clearly rejected, but also an affirmation of much believed by Christians as well, even the designation of Christ as logos:
'O People of the Book! Do not go to extremes in your creed, and do not say of Allah but the Truth. Verily, the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, is only an apostle of Allah and His Word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a Spirit from Him (Qur'an 4:171)
So in addition to being called the Word of God, Jesus ('a) is also called a Spirit of God and in some of the narrations reported in the Shi'i tradition, this title is used.
Of course, the interpretation of the logos in Christian theology differs markedly from the interpretation of the kalimah by Muslim scholars. For the Christian, according to the Gospel of John, the Word was God and the Word became flesh.' For the Muslim, on the other hand, the Word is creature, even while it is the creative principle, for it is in God's utterance of the word 'Be'. That creation takes place.
To call Christ the Word of Allah is not to deify him, but to verify his status as prophet. Because of his high status as prophet, Jesus ('a) becomes a complete manifestation of God, one who conveys the message of God, one who can speak on behalf of God, the Word of God Jesus ('a) becomes the Word of God not because of an incarnation whereby his flesh becomes divine, but because his spirit is refined to such an extent that it becomes a mirror whereby divinity comes to be known.