The Islamic view of Jesus lies between two extremes
The Jews, who rejected Jesus as a Prophet of God, called him an imposter. Modern day Christians on the other hand, consider him to be the Son of God and worship him as if he were the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. Islam considers Jesus to be one of the great Prophets of God. Muslims hold Jesus in very high esteem, together with all of the prophets of God, including Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Muhammad to name a few. 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.
The essence of Islam – willing submission to the will of God – was revealed to Adam, who passed it on to his children. All following revelations to Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and finally Muhammad were in conformity with that message, with some elaboration to define the relation between man and God, man and man, man and his environment. Thus, any contradictions among revealed religions is viewed by Islam as a man-made element introduced into these religions. The position of Jesus in Judaism and Christianity is an example of this.
Non-Muslims may be surprised to find that Jesus is mentioned in the Qur’an more than any other prophet! The Qur’an highlights the important aspects of Jesus’s birth, his mission, his ascension to heaven, and passes judgments on the Christian beliefs concerning him.
GRANDMOTHER OF JESUS
The Quranic account of Jesus, actually starts with the story of his grandmother, the wife of Imran:
“… when the wife of Imran said: “O My Lord! I have vowed to You what is in my womb to be dedicated for Your services, so accept this from me. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knowing. Then when she delivered her (child Mary), she said: “O My Lord! I have delivered a female child, — and Allah knew better what she delivered, — “And the male is not like the female, and I have named her Mary (which means Maidservant of God), and I seek refuge with You for her and for her offspring from Satan, the outcast.” So her Lord accepted her with goodly acceptance…” Qur’an 3: 35-37
MARY AND THE ANGEL
When Mary became a woman, the Angel Gabriel appeared to her as a man, bringing her the news of a son. We read the following dialogue in the Quraan between Mary and the angel:
“…then We sent to her our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects. She said: “I seek refuge from thee to (God) Most Gracious: (come not near) if thou dost fear God.” he said: “Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord (to announce) to thee the gift of a pure son.” She said: “How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?” he said: “So (it will be): Thy Lord saith, ‘That is Easy for Me’: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us. It is a matter decreed.” Qur’an 19: 17-21
MARY GIVES BIRTH
There is a chapter in the Qur’an named after Mary, Surah Maryam. In this chapter God tells us how Mary gave birth to her son, and how the Jews accused her when she brought the child home:
“Then she brought him (the baby) to her people, carrying him. They said, “O Mary! you have surely done a thing unprecedented. O sister of Aaron, your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother a woman unchaste. But she pointed to the child. They said, “How shall we talk to one who is child in the cradle?” He said, “I am indeed a servant of God. He has given me revelation and made me a prophet. And He hath made me blessed whosesoever I be, and hath enjoined on me to prayer and to give the alms as long as I live. And (made me) dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant. And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive.”** Qur’an 19: 27-34 ** this is one of the miracles of Jesus, that he spoke as a baby in the cradle…
IS JESUS THE SON OF GOD?
One of the main differences that have arisen between Christianity and Islam is the status of Jesus as the Son of God. From the above verses it is clear that Muslims and Christians are in agreement about the miraculous Virgin Birth of Jesus. However, does a man being born from a virgin really mean that he is the begotten son of the Creator? Jesus is not the first man to be created without a father…. God says in the Qur’an:
“Truly the likeness of Jesus in God’s sight is the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then (He) said to him,”Be!” and he was. (This is) the truth from your Lord, so be not of those who doubt.” Qur’an 3: 59-60
So in God’s view, the Creation of Jesus is no different than the Creation of Adam. When God wants to Create something, He only needs to say “Be!” and it is. Muslims could easily argue that Adam has more right to be called the Son of God than Jesus, being that God Created Adam with no mother or father! Also, God Created Eve, the first woman with no mother. God Created Jesus with no father and God Created you and I with a mother and a father. God can Create anyway He pleases. God asks a question:
“Are you more difficult to Create or is the heaven (above) that He (Allah) constructed? On high has He raised its canopy, and He hath Given it order and perfection.” Quran 79: 27-28
In this modern age we have space telescopes that can see farther than ever imagined. The size and the perfection of the universe is difficult for the human mind to comprehend. God answers the question in another verse:
“The creation of the heavens and the earth is indeed greater than the creation of mankind: yet most of mankind know not.” Qur’an 40: 57
Think about the Creation of the Heavens and the Earth, all those billions and billions of stars, the perfection of which is truly amazing to anyone who looks up on a clear night. We can see that the creation of one man, without a mother, without a father or with a mother and a father is a simple matter for the One who Created the Heavens and the Earth!
IS HAVING A SON BEFITTING OF GOD?
The rejection of the very idea of God having a son is stated clearly with strong 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 the 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.” Qur’an 19: 88-93
God says in another verse:
“Such is Jesus, son of Mary (it is) a statement of truth, about which they doubt (or dispute). It befits not (the Majesty of) God that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him, when He decrees a thing, He only says to it. “Be”, and it is.” Qur’an 19: 34-35
THE CONCEPT OF THE TRINITY
The Qur’an rejects the concept of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – as strongly as it rejects the concept of Jesus as the son of God. This is because GOD IS ONE. Three cannot be one. God revealed:
“They disbelieve who say: God is one of three (in a trinity) for there is no god except One God…” Qur’an 5: 73
In another chapter: “Say: He is Allah, the One. Allah, the Eternal, Absolute. He begetteth not, Nor is He begotten. And there is nothing like unto Him.” Qur’an 112: 1-4
Also: “And your God is One God: There is no god but He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.” Qur’an 2:163
WHO IS JESUS?
God has stated clearly in the Qur’an, who exactly Jesus is:
“O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about God accept the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of God and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul (created at a command) from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.” Qur’an 4: 171
In yet another verse: “The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; (other) messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of truth. They both used to eat food. Look how we make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded. Say, “Do you worship besides Allah that which holds for you no (power of) harm or benefit while it is Allah who is the Hearing, the Knowing?” Qur’an 5: 75-76
JESUS ON THE DAY OF JUDGMENT
The denial of Jesus’s divinity (and, for that matter, of Mary’s divinity) is presented in the Qur’an in the form of a dialogue between the Almighty and Jesus which will take place on the Day of Judgment. All the messengers and their nations will be gathered before God and He will ask the messengers how they were received by their people and what they said to them. Among those who will be questioned is Jesus:
“And (beware the Day) when God will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides God?’ He will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is you who is Knower of the unseen. I said not to them except what You commanded me – to worship God, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when you took me up, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness. If You should punish them – indeed they are Your servants; but if You forgive them – indeed it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” Quraan 5: 116-118
REAL MISSION OF JESUS
What, according to the Qur’an, was the real mission of Jesus? The answer is that Jesus was a link in a long chain of prophets and messengers sent by God to various nations and societies whenever they needed guidance or deviated from His teachings. Jesus was especially prepared by God to be sent to the Jews, who had deviated from the teachings of Moses and other messengers. As he was miraculously supported by God in his conception, birth, and childhood, he was also supported by numerous miracles to prove that he was a messenger from God. The Qur’an attributes to Jesus miracles not mentioned in the Bible. However, the majority of the Jews rejected his ministry.
“And (make Jesus) a messenger to the Children of Israel, (who 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 (from birth) 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. Indeed in that is a sign for you, if you are believers. And (I have come) confirming what was before me of the Torah and to make lawful for you some of what was forbidden to you. And I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear God and obey me. Indeed, God is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him, That is the straight path.” Qur’an 3: 49-51
THE DISCIPLES OF JESUS
It is a sad fact of history that not many are following the “straight path” to which people were called by Jesus. He was only followed by a few disciples inspired by God to support him. The non-believers plotted, but God had a better plan for him and his followers, as the Qur’an tells us:
“But when Jesus felt (persistence in) disbelief from them, he said, “Who are my supporters for (the cause of) God?” The disciples said, “We are supporters for God. We have believed in God and testify that we are those who are submitting to His will**. Our Lord, we have believed in what You revealed and have followed the messenger (i.e. Jesus) so register us among the witnesses (to truth).” And they (i.e., the disbelievers) planned, but God planned. And God is the best of planners.” Qur’an 3: 52-54 ** The word “Muslim” means one who submits himself to God’s will.
As the above verses indicate, Jesus was taken and raised to heaven. He was not crucified. It was certainly the plan of the enemies of Jesus to put him to death on the cross, but God saved him and someone else was crucified:
“And for their disbelief and their saying against Mary a great slander, 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. Rather God raised him to Himself. And ever is God Exalted in Might and Wise.” Qur’an 4: 156-158
Countless Christians have embraced Islam after reading the Qur’an and the life of Prophet Muhammad. What they found is that they didn’t have to give up their belief in Jesus to become a Muslim. The Prophet Muhammad explained this:
“Three persons will have a double reward, (the first of which is) A Person from the people of the scriptures who believed in his prophet (Jesus or Moses) and then believed in the Prophet Muhammad (i.e. has embraced Islam).” Sahih Bukhari 1:97A
ENTER HEAVEN WITH ONLY A FEW DEEDS…
The Prophet Muhammad said, “If anyone testifies that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah Alone, Who has no partners, and that Muhammad is His Slave and His Apostle, and that Jesus is Allah’s Slave and His Apostle and His Word which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit created by Him, and that Paradise is true, and Hell is true, Allah will admit him into Paradise with the deeds which he had done even if those deeds were few.” (Junada, the sub-narrator said, ” ‘Ubada added, ‘Such a person can enter Paradise through any of its eight gates he likes.’ “) Sahih Bukhari 4:644