JESUS IN ISLAM
Islam honors all prophets who were sent to mankind. Muslims believe that God, the Almighty, has sent thousands of prophets throughout history. They respect all prophets in general, and Jesus PBUH in particular. No other religion in the world respects Jesus PBUH as Islam does. In fact, Islam has a well-defined perspective of Christ PBUH.
The Islamic Viewpoint
Islam considers Prophet Jesus PBUH as one of the greatest messengers of God. Muslims do not refer to him simply as “Jesus,” rather as a sign of respect, they add to his name the phrase “peace be upon him.” They acknowledge that Jesus PBUH was born to a virgin, but they consider him neither God, nor the son of God. “It is not [befitting] for God to take a son; exalted is He!” (The Holy Quran, 19:35) In addition, Islam affirms that Mary was the most pious woman of her time: “And [mention] when the angels said, ‘O Mary, indeed God has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds.’”(The Holy Quran, 3:42) The Islamic perspective concerning Prophet Jesus PBUH and his pious mother and family originates from the Holy Quran, in which there are a considerable number of verses about him.
Jesus and Mary in the Holy Quran
The Holy Quran explicitly mentions Jesus PBUH on 25 different occasions. His mother, the Virgin Mary, is the only woman that it mentions by name.
Furthermore, it contains numerous detailed descriptions about her. She is referred to on eight different occasions and a complete chapter of the Holy Quran is named after her.
As a family, they have been mentioned in the Holy Quran three times and the third chapter of the Holy Quran is titled after them.
The Holy Quran says many wonderful things about Jesus PBUH. It states that he was born to a virgin and also mentions that he miraculously spoke when only an infant, healed the blind and the leper, and gave life to the deceased through the will of God.
The Birth of Jesus
The Holy Quran says that Jesus PBUH was born through the same miracle that had brought Adam PBUH into existence—without a father. “Indeed, the example of Jesus to God is like that of Adam. He created him from dust; then He said to him, ‘Be,’ and he was.” (The Holy Quran, 3:59) The Holy Quran describes the moment in which Mary was informed of being with child in the following manner: “And [mention] when the angels said, ‘O Mary, indeed God gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary—distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to God].’ He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous. She said, ‘My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?’ [The angel] said, ‘Such is God; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” (The Holy Quran, 47-3:45)
Miracles of Jesus
Soon after the birth of Jesus PBUH, Mary brought him to the temple where people accused her of being unchaste.
Since Mary had made a vow not to speak to anyone on that day, in response, she pointed to her son, asking them to speak with him instead. God then brought the infant Jesus to speech and he spoke of his prophecy for the first time. Concerning this, the Quran says:
“And if you see from among humanity anyone, say, ‘Indeed, I have vowed to the Most Merciful abstention, so I will not speak today to [any] man.’ Then she brought him to her people, carrying him. They said, ‘O Mary, you have certainly done a thing unprecedented.’ O sister of Aaron, your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother unchaste.’ So she pointed to him. They said, ‘How can we speak to one who is in the cradle a child?’ [Jesus] said, ‘Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet.’” (The Holy Quran, 30-19:26)
Throughout the course of his prophetic mission, Jesus PBUH performed many miracles. The Holy Quran states, “[And Jesus will say] ‘Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you from clay [that which is] like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by permission of God. And I cure the blind and the leper, and I give life to the dead—by permission of God. And I inform you of what you eat and what you store in your houses.’” (The Holy Quran, 3:49)
The Scripture Granted to Jesus
Muslims also believe that God revealed a new scripture to Jesus PBUH called the Injil (the Gospels), while re-affirming the veracity of the Torah and the Psalms. Some parts of the Injil may still exist; however, the original scripture revealed to Jesus has undoubtedly become distorted through time.
Did Jesus Ever Die?
According to the Holy Quran, Jesus PBUH is neither dead, nor was he crucified. The enemies of Jesus PBUH planned to crucify him, however, God saved him and he ascended to the heavens. The enemies mistook another man, Judas—who, through divine intervention, had been made to look like Jesus—and crucified him instead. “And [for] their saying, ‘Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of God.’ And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.” (The Holy Quran, 4:157) “[Mention] when God said, ‘O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve and make those who follow you [in submission to God alone] superior to those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection.’” (The Holy Quran, 3:55) Therefore, Muslims believe that Jesus PBUH remains in the heavens and will return to mankind at an appointed time. Together with Imam Mahdi PBUH, the 12th Shi’ah Imam, he will bring an end to all war and establish everlasting peace on Earth. Until then, Muslims await his second coming.