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The term Nasara occurs in Q2.62,111-113, 120, 135, 140; Q5.14, 18, 51, 69, 82; Q.9.30; Q.12.17 all Medina late verses.Not to be confused with Nazarene (sect). The Notzrim, also Nasaraioi/Nasoraean (Gk:Νασαραίοι), from Hebrew נֹצְרִים or נוצרים "sentry" or "watchmen" (those who "keep safe" the original teachings), are a sect that began around the time of Jeremiah but flourished as a Gnostic movement during the reign of the Hasmonean queen Alexandra Helene Salome among Hellenized supporters of Rome in Judea. Pliny the Elder indicates that Nasaraioi lived not far from Apamea, in Syria in a city called Bambyx, Hierapolis or Mabog. Dubourg dates Pliny's source between 30 and 20 BCE and, accounting for the lapse of time required for the installation in Syria of a sect born in Palestine, suggests the presence of a Nasoraean current around 50 BCE.
They are sometimes identified as the group called "Nazorei" by Filaster, and were certainly one of the earliest key Gnostic sects. Many of the original Nasoraeans became Christians and thus in Modern Israeli Hebrew, the term Notzrim has come to simply mean Christians. Since the Greek word Christos is the translation of Messiah or "anointed," the Hebrew word for Christians could have been Meshikhiyim (Messianics), but ever since Talmudic days, the term Notzrim was used to deny that Jesus could have been the Messiah.
It appears that the Νασαραίοι were originally composed at least partly of Jews (viz., Israeli-Samaritans) beginning long before the Christian Era, whose anti-Torah teachings may have had some gnostic leanings. The sect was apparently centered in the areas of Coele-Syria, Galilee and Samaria (essentially corresponding to the long-defunct state of Northern Israel).
The Orthodox Church Father Epiphanius writes: "there were Nasoraeans amongst the Jews before the time of Christ." They were said to have rejected temple sacrifice and the Torah, but adhered to other Jewish practice. They are described as being vegetarian. Epiphanius says it was unlawful for them to eat meat or make sacrifices. According to him they were Jews only by nationality who lived in Gilead, Basham, and the Transjordan. They revered Moses but, unlike the pro-Torah Nazoraeans, believed he had received different laws from those accredited to him.
Following the teachings of the Prophets above the Priestly rituals they are considered Minim (heretics) by the Pharisee-derived Rabbinic Judaism in the Mishnah. They were members of a non-priestly congregation that counted Jeremiah as an early leader five centuries before. Key teachings are that sacrifices were created by the priesthood to feed the Priests, and are not in accord with God's Law. E. S. Drower surmises that the Nasoraean "hatred for Jews" originated during a period in which they were in close contact with orthodox Jewry, and when the latter was able to exercise authority over them.
The famous Notzrim of the pre-Christian era (in existence during the reign of Alexander Jannaeus) included a rebellious student mentioned in the Baraitas as "Yeshu Ha-Notzri". Some fringe scholars identify this individual as the Christian Jesus of Nazareth, although the identification has been contested, as Yeshu ha-Notzri is depicted as living circa 100 BCE.
Only 3.67 uses the singular Nasrani. It's a verb in Arabic (NSR) meaning to help, support, assist like in 8.74, 59.12.
It has the same root as Ansar, which happens to be the Arabic wording while Nasara is rather from a Hebrew background.
''But when Jesus perceived disbelief on their part, he said: “Who are my ansar (supporters, translated disciples) in the cause of Allah?”
The companions said: “We are Allah’s ansar. We believe in Allah, and do you bear witness that we are Muslims.” (3.52)
O you who believe! Be Allah’s ansar (supporters), as Jesus son of Mary said to the companions: “Who are my ansar (supporters) in the cause of Allah?” The companions said: “We are Allah’s ansar (supporters).” Then a party of the Children of Israel believed and a party disbelieved, therefore we aided those who believed against their enemy, so they became the ones that prevailed (61.14).
Another close wording is that of Hawa'riyyun: companion, purifier. Hawari = advisor (found in 3.52-55; 61.14).
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Then again, Nasari was a gnostic term for 'Truth' and the Mandaeans used it to mean 'One Who Observes'.It was said that they were called ‘Nasara’, because they inhabited a land called ‘An-Nasirah’ (Nazareth), as Qatadah, Ibn Juraij and Ibn Abbas were reported to have said.” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer)
The singular form of Nasara is ‘Nasrani’ and although both are used in the Qur’an, neither belongs to the Arabic language at the time of Revelation and are such older Non Arabic words. The equivalent of Nasara in the Arabic of the Qur’an is Ansar. The verb of Ansar is Nasara, which means ‘supported, aided, helped, sided with etc. Ansar likewise means ‘supporters.
The term Ansar occurs in the context of calling the true followers of Isa (AS) the Ansar of Isa (AS) on the way to Allah, which means ultimately the supporters of Allah to Whom Isa (AS), was calling and inviting to embrace Islam. The plural of Ansar being Ansarullah (Helpers of Allah), was also applied to the residents of Madina who pledged and gave support to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) when he arrived in the City. (...)
It never referred to the residents of the town of Nazareth in Galilee. Christian historians add Mary’s home town [Nazareth] was then a small village situated in a high valley among the southern hills of the Lebanon Range. The name itself means ‘Watch-tower’, possibly they say because it was above the crossroads of major north-south and east-west roads. The town was not in fact then known as Nazareth and is not mentioned at all in the Old Testament, maps of the area/s or historical sources and original documents relevant to the land in general.
The word ‘Nazirite’ itself came from the Hebrew word meaning ‘separated’ or ‘consecrated’. Nazirites were themselves forbidden to cut their hair or drink alcohol. They also had to avoid all contact with dead bodies [including if it is that of their mother, father, brother or sister] so that their bodies remained pure. (...)
According to Syed Abul Ala Mawdudi, the word ‘Hawari’ means almost the same as ‘Ansar’ in the Islamic tradition. They were also called both ‘Ansar’ and ‘Muslims’ in the Qur’an and requested to be accepted as Muslims. ‘And when I (Allah) put in the hearts of the disciples (of Jesus) to believe in Me and My Messenger, they said: ‘We believe and bear witness that we are Muslims.’ (Surah 5: 11).
And we've learned that the Ansars (Christians ?) were the one who sided with Muhammad in Medina. Pretty strange, isn't it ?