What do Muslims think about Jesus? Muslims love and respect Jesus. They consider him one of the greatest of God’s prophets and messengers to humankind. A Muslim never refers to him simply as “Jesus,” but always adds the phrase “may the peace and blessings of God be upon him.” The Quran confirms his virgin birth, and a special chapter of the Quran is entitles “Mary.” The Quran describes the Annunciation as follows: “The Angels said, ‘O Mary! God has chosen you, and purified you, and chosen you above the women of all nations…’ ‘O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, honored in this world and in the Hereafter, and one of those brought near God. He shall speak to the people in infancy and in old age, and shall be of the righteous.’ She said: ‘O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me?’ He said: ‘Even so; God creates what He wills. When He decrees a thing, He says to it, “Be” and it is.’” (Quran 3:42,45-7) Just as God created Adam without a mother or father, He caused Jesus to be conceived without a father: “Truly the example of Jesus in relation to God is as the example of Adam. He created him from dust and then said to him, ‘Be!’ and he was.” (Quran 3:59) During his prophetic mission, Jesus performed many miracles. The Quran tells us that he said: “I have come to you with a sign from your Lord: I make for you out of clay, as it were, a figure of a bird, and breathe into it and it becomes a bird by God’s leave. And I heal the blind, and the lepers, and I raise the dead by God’s leave.” (Quran 3:49) Jesus, like Muhammad, came to confirm and renew the basic doctrine of the belief in One God brought by earlier prophets. In the Quran, Jesus is reported as saying the he came: “To attest the Torah that was before me. And make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you; I have come to you with a sign from your Lord; so be conscious of God and obey me.” (Quran 3:50) The Prophet Muhammad said: “Whoever believes in that there is no deity except God, and with no partners, that Muhammad is His messenger, that Jesus is the servant and messenger of God; His word which He bestowed upon Mary and a spirit proceeding from Him, and that Paradise and Hell are true, shall be received by God into Heaven.” Jesus is not only central to Christianity; he is also venerated throughout Islam. Christians may be surprised to learn that Muslims believe in the Virgin Birth and Jesus' miracles. But this shared interest in his message goes much further. In the Muslim view, Jesus' essential work was not to replicate bread or to test our credulity, but to complement the legalism of the then original Torah with a leavening compassion rarely expressed in the older testament. His actions and words introduce something new to monotheism: They show the mercy of God. Jesus confirmed the Torah, stressing the continuity of his lineage, but he also developed the importance of compassion and self-purification as crucial links between learning the words of God's message and possessing the wisdom to carry it out. Oddly enough, some of the recent work by New Testament scholars seems to have reached a view of Jesus not all that different from Muslims'. For them, Jesus appears not as a literal son of God in human form, but as an inspired human being, a teacher of wisdom with a talent for love drawn from an unbroken relationship to God. Both versions present him as a man who spoke to common people in universal terms. Two events in the life of the Prophet Muhammad may help explain why Muslims revere the Christian Jesus. The first event involves an elder resident of Mecca named Waraqa bin Nawfal. This man was an early Arab Christian and a cousin of Muhammad's wife, Khadija. He could read Hebrew and was mystical by nature. He attended Khadija and Muhammad's wedding in about 595 CE. Fifteen years later, a worried Khadija sought Waraqa out and brought her husband to him. At the time, Muhammad was a 40-year-old respected family man. He was frightened. He had been meditating one evening in a cave on the outskirts of town. There, he had experienced something so disturbing that he feared he was possessed. A voice had spoken to him. Waraqa listened to his story, which was Muhammad's first encounter with the angel Gabriel. When it was finished, Waraqa assured him he was not possessed. "What you have heard is the voice of the same spiritual Messenger God sent to Moses. I wish I could be a young man when you become a Prophet. I would like to be alive when your own people expel you." "Will they expel me?" Muhammad asked. "Yes," the old man said. "No one has ever brought his people the news you bring without meeting hostility. If I live to see that day, I will support you." Christians will recognize in Waraqa's remarks an aphorism associated with Jesus: "A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country." But that a Christian should first have verified Muhammad's role as a Prophet may come as a surprise. The second important event concerning Islam and Christianity dates from 616, a few years after Muhammad began to preach publicly. This first attempt to reinstate the Abrahamic tradition in Mecca met (as Waraqa had warned) with violent opposition. Perhaps the Meccans resented Muhammad's special claim. Perhaps his message of a single, invisible, ever-present God threatened, in addition to their inherited traditions, the economy of their city. A month's ride south from the centers of power in Syria and Persia, poor remote Mecca depended on long-distance trade and on seasonal pilgrims who came there each year to honor hundreds of pagan idols, paying a tax to do so. At any rate, Muhammad's disruptive suggestion that "God was One" and could be worshipped anywhere did not sit well with the businessmen of Mecca. Many new Muslims were being tortured. Their livelihoods were threatened, their families persecuted. As matters grew worse, in 616 Muhammad sent a small band of followers across the Red Sea to seek shelter in the Christian kingdom of Axum. There, he told them, they would find a just ruler, the Negus, who could protect them. The Muslims found the Negus in his palace, somewhere in the borderland between modern Ethiopia and Eritrea. After one Muslim recited to him some lines on the Virgin Mary from the Quran, the Negus wept at what he heard. Between Christians and Muslims, he said, he could not make out more difference than the thickness of a twig. These two stories underscore the support Christians gave Muhammad in times of trial. The Quran distils the meaning from the drama: "And you will find the nearest in love to the believers (Muslims) those who say: We are Christian. That is because amongst them are priests and monks, and they are not proud. And when they listen to what has sent down to the Messenger (Muhammad), you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of the truth they have recognized." (Quran 5:82-83) Even today, when a Muslim mentions Jesus' name, you will hear it followed by the phrase "peace and blessings be upon him," because Muslims revere him as a Prophet. "Say (O Muslims): "We believe in Allah and that which has been sent down to us and that which has been sent down to Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma'il (Ishmael), Isahq (Issac), Ya'qub (Jacob), and to Al-Asbat (the offspring of the twelve sons of Ya'qub (Jacob), and that which has been given to Musa (Moses) and 'Isa (Jesus) and that which has been given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have submitted (in Islam)." (Quran 2:136) As these lines from the Quran make clear, Muslims regard Jesus as one of the world's great teachers. He and his mentor John the Baptist stand in a lineage stretching back to the founder of ethical monotheism. Moreover, among Muslims, Jesus is a special type of prophet; a Messenger empowered to communicate divinity not only in words but by miracles as well. Muslims believe that certain fictions were developed and added in the fourth and fifth centuries to Christianity and the portrait of Jesus. Three of these come in for special mention: First, Muslims consider monastic asceticism a latter-day innovation, not an original part of Jesus' way. Second, the New Testament suffers from deletions and embellishments added after Jesus' death by men who did not know him. Third, Muslims consider the description of Jesus as God's son a later, blasphemous suggestion. Muslims venerate Jesus as a divinely inspired human but never ever as "the Son of God". In the same vein, they treat the concept of the Trinity as a late footnote to Jesus' teachings, an unnecessary "mystery" introduced by the North African theologian Tertullian two centuries after Jesus' death. Nor do Muslims view his death as an act of atonement for mankind's sins. Rather, along with the early Christian theologian Pelagius, Islam rejects the doctrine of original sin, a notion argued into church doctrine by St. Augustine around the year 400. Islam holds the true view of Jesus that was refused and condemned by the fourth-century Byzantine Church . Once Constantine installed Christianity as the Roman Empire's state religion, a rage for orthodoxy followed. The Councils of Nicaea (325), Tyre (335), Constantinople (381), Ephesus (431), and Chalcedon (451) were official, often brutal attempts to stamp out views of Jesus held by other theologians whom the Byzantine Church called heretical. Rulings by these councils led to the persecution and deaths of tens of thousands of early Christians at the hands of more "orthodox" Christians who condemned them. Most disputes have centered until today on divergent interpretations of the Trinity and the very nature of Jesus. Then and now, no more dangerous religious mistake exists for a Muslim than dividing the Oneness of God by twos or threes. Despite these important differences, however, the Quran repeatedly counsels Muslims not to dispute with other monotheists over matters of doctrine except in a good manner and with respect and good words. "And argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: 'We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender.'" (29:46) What Does the Quran Say about Jesus ? In His infinite Wisdom, Almighty God has not only measured and defined succinctly the nature and role of every creation on earth, but has included all human beings as well as His prophets and messengers. The Islamic view of Jesus (peace be upon him) lies between two extremes. On one hand, the Jews rejected him as a Prophet of God and called him as impostor. On the other hand, the Christians consider him to be the Son of God and worship him as such. Islam considers Jesus (peace be upon him) to be one of the great Prophets of God and respects him as much as Ibrahim (Abraham), Moses, and Muhammad (peace be upon them). This is in conformity with the Islamic view of the Oneness of God, the Oneness of Divine Guidance, and the complementary role of the subsequent mission of God’s messengers. (Islamic Future, March/April 1997 issue vol. XII, No. 67). In Surah “Maryam” (Chapter Mary), the Quran tells us how Mary gave birth to Jesus (peace be upon him), and how the Jews accused Mary of blasphemy when she brought home her child. The home folks were amazed and thought the worst of her. They accused her that she disgraced the house of Aaron, the fountain of priesthood. The Quran provided the dialogue between her and her people: “At length she brought the (babe) to her people carrying him (in her arms), they said: “O Mary! Truly a strange thing has thou brought! “O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!” But she pointed to the babe. They said: “How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?” He said: “ I am indeed a servant of Allah: He hath given me revelation and made me a Prophet. “And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me prayer and zakat as long as I live. “(He hath made me) kind to my mother, and not overbearing or unblest; so peace on me the day that I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)” (Quran 19: 27-33) Jesus is not the Son of God: he was, obviously enough, the son of Mary. The verses continue: “Such (was) Jesus, the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute. It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that he should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter, He only says to it, “Be” and it is.” (Quran 19: 34-35). The rejection of the idea of God having a son is re-stated with even stronger words: “They say: “The Most Gracious has betaken a son!” Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous! At it the skies are about to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin, that they attributed a son to the Most Gracious. For it is not consonant with the majesty of the Most Gracious that He should beget a son. Not one of the beings in the heavens and the earth but must come to The Most Gracious as a servant.” (Quran 19:88-93) Jesus had no human father, but this does not make him the Son of God, or God Himself. By this criterion, Adam would have been more entitled to be the son of God, because he had neither a father nor a mother, so that the Quran draws attention to the miraculous creation of both in the following verse: “The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: “Be”, and he was." (Quran 3:59, The Quran) The Quran rejects the doctrine of the Trinity, (e.g., God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) as strongly as it rejects the concept of Jesus (peace be upon him) as the Son of God. It also, rejects the doctrine of Crucifixion. Jesus (peace be upon him) was not crucified but was raised to heaven. It was certainly the plan of his enemies to put him to death on the cross, but God saved him and someone else was crucified. The Holy Quran is clear on this: “That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”, but they killed him not, nor crucified him. Only a likeness of that was shown to them. And those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge. But only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not: -Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, wise; - And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgment he will be a witness against them.” (Quran 4:157-159). The Quran went on in explaining the role of Jesus (peace be upon him) as only a Messenger of Allah, being His Word and a Spirit proceeding from Him. It explained further that Allah alone is One God and he alone is the Supreme Ruler of the entire Universe. “O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and his Messengers. Say not “Three”: desist: it will be better for you, for Allah is the only one that (God), Glory be to Him: (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.” (Quran 4:171) Here are some Quranic confirmations regarding Who God is and what Jesus (peace be upon him) says about Allah (God). All prophets advocated the absolute Oneness of God. He alone is worthy of worship, to whom all heads should bow down in submission and adoration. He alone is the Omnipotent Being and that all are in need of His favor and obliged to solicit His help. “Certainly they disbelieved who Says: “Allah is Christ, the son of Mary.” But said Christ: “O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Whoever joins other gods with Allah, - Allah will forbid him the Garden and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help." "They disbelieve who say: Allah is one of three (in a Trinity): for there is no god except One God. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous chastisement will befall the disbelievers among them." "Why turn they not to Allah and seek His forgiveness? For Allah is Oft-forgiving, most Merciful." "Christ, the son of Mary was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His Signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth!" "Say: Will ye worship, besides Allah something which hath no power either to harm or benefit you? But Allah, - He it is that hearth and knoweth all things.” (Quran 5:72-76) “And behold! Allah will say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, ‘take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah’/”. He will say: “Glory to Thee. Never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, Thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, though I know not what is in Thine. For thou knowest in full all that is hidden." "Never said I to them aught except what thou didst command me to say, ‘Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord’”. (Quran 5: 116-117). God Almighty having the absolute power without limit over all things may create anything He wishes. These Quranic verses below may enlighten us about Him and Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). “Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute. It is not befitting to the majesty of Allah that He should beget a son. Glory is to Him! When He determines a matter, He only says to it, “Be”, and it is. Verily Allah is my Lord and your Lord; Him therefore serves ye: this is a Way that is straight.” (Quran 19: 34-36). “If you disbelieve, then verily,Allah is not in need of you, He likes not disbelief for His slaves.And if you are grateful (by being believers), He is pleased therewith you. No bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another. Then to Your Lord is your return …” (Quran 39:7). Mary never claimed that she was a mother of God, or that her son was God. She was a pious virtuous woman. And Jesus disclaims here any knowledge of the sort of things that are attributed to him by those who take his name. The worship of Mary, though repudiated by the Protestants, was widely spread in the earlier churches, both in the East and the West. Some more reference about what Jesus (peace be upon him) says concerning God and himself: In (Matthew 4:10) where Jesus (peace be upon him), reproves Satan for desiring the worship of other than Allah (God): “Begone, Satan! For it is written ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.” Jesus (peace be upon him) stressed the point that God alone should be worshipped. In (John 20:17) where he says to Mary Magdalene, “… Go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Jesus (peace be upon him) wanted to convey that he is no different from us with regards to our relationship with the Almighty God called by him as “Father”. Hence, he urged his disciples to pray the “Lord’s Prayer”: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” (Matthew 6:9) In (Luke 18:19) where he rebukes a ruler for calling him God Master: “Why do you call me god? No one is god but Allah (God) alone.” Godness is one of God’s exclusive attributes and Jesus (peace be upon him) emphasized to his listeners that no creator can arrogate to himself anything that belongs to God. In (John 14:1) Jesus (peace be upon him) says: “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me.” In giving assurance of glad tidings to his disciples, Jesus made it a point that in believing in God, his disciples should also believe in him, which implies that he was indeed separate and distinct from God. And in (Mark 12:29-32), he says, “The first commandment is, “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. Do Islam, Christianity and Judaism have different origins? No. Muslims believe that the original, unchanged message given to Muhammad, Jesus, Moses and all the other prophets came from the One same God. This common origin explains their similarities in many beliefs and values. “Say: We believe in God and what has been revealed to us, and what was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord; we do not make any distinction between any of them, and to Him (God) do we wholly give ourselves.” (Quran 3:84) Jews, Christians and Muslims all consider Abraham their Patriarch. Abraham is mentioned in the Quran as one of the great prophets. He was blessed by God to be the father of many nations. From his second son, Isaac, descended the tribe of Israel, and through them, Moses and Jesus; and from his first son, Ishmael, came Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon all His messengers). Abraham was commanded by God to rebuild the place of worship that Adam first built – the Kabah, in Makkah (Mecca). The Kabah is a simple stone structure, erected as a sanctuary for the worship of the One God. Muslims do not worship the Kabah; the cubical building is simply the unified direction towards which all Muslims face in prayer to God Almighty.