Jesus (عليه السلام) Son of Mary was from a line of Israelite Prophets sent to the Jews to proclaim the message of monotheism and to affirm and purify the law of Moses (عليه السلام). The Jewish religious leaders rejected Jesus after he challenged their authority and rebuked them for their iniquities and excesses. The factions who believed Jesus—who later became known as Christians— exaggerated his status, deified him and worshipped him alongside Allāh. 1 The conflict between the Jews and Christians played out over the centuries and this can be seen in the anti-Christian polemics in Talmudic literature and the anti-Jewish sentiment that Christian Europe retained right into the 20th century.
The Qurʾān and the Prophetic traditions make clear the correct position with respect to Jesus to both of these groups—who were “Recipients of the Book” (ahl al-kitāb)—in their disputes with each other: One failed to act by the truth when it came to them and rejected the message of Jesus, and the other acted without knowledge, upon ignorance and fell into exaggeration by deifying him and worshipping him alongside Allāh. Both of these former recipients of the Book—the Jews and Christians—were guilty of excesses and exaggeration in religion as well as alteration (tabdīl), distortion (taḥrīf) and concealment (kitmān) of the Book. This is something that the Qurʾān rehearses to them and which the honest amongst their priests, Rabbis and historians know very well to be a factual reality, as they are more than aware of their own deeds.