By Dr. Mohsen Haredy
Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) is one of the five prophets described in the Quran as “those of determination”. The other four are Prophets Noah, Ibrahim, Moses and Muhammad (peace be upon them all).
These five prophet were given this title because they faced many challenges when they invited their people to worship one true God (Allah).
What Do Muslims Believe About Jesus?
Muslims believe that Jesus is just a prophet sent by God to call people to worship him alone. Jesus never claimed any divinity. He never claimed that he is God or son of God.
A Muslim’s belief is not complete if he does not believe in Jesus. Believing in Jesus will admit a believer to Paradise.
The Prophet is reported to have said:
“He who bears witness that there is no true god except Allah, alone having no partner with Him, that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger, that ‘Isa (Jesus) is His slave and Messenger and he (Jesus) is His Word which He communicated to Maryam (Mary) and His spirit which He sent to her, that Jannah is true and Hell is true; Allah will make him enter Jannah accepting whatever deeds he accomplished”. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Three chapter of the Quran are named after their reference to Jesus. First, we have surat Aal Imran, the House of Imran, second we have surat Al-Maidah, the Last Supper, and finally we have surat Maryam (Mary).
Muslims respect Jesus and whenever his name is mentioned they say (peace be upon him).
An Old Supplication
Muslims believe that the Quran is the divine word of God. They also believe that the Quran remained the same since it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad until today and will remain the same till the Day of Judgement. It has never been altered or corrupted.
The story of Jesus started with a supplication from the wife of Imran about which we read in the Quran what means:
[Mention, O Muhammad], when the wife of ‘Imran said, “My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service], so accept this from me. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing. (Aal Imran 3:35)
What was in the womb was Mary.
But when she delivered her, she said, “My Lord, I have delivered a female.” And Allah was most knowing of what she delivered, “And the male is not like the female. And I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the mercy of Allah ].” (Aal Imran 3:36)
Commenting on the words “And the male is not like the female” Imam Az-Zamakhshari, a famous commentator on the Quran, interprets it this way: “The male [child] which she had prayed for could not have been like the female which she was granted”
This implies that Mary’s excellence would go far beyond any hopes which her mother had ever entertained. (Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Quran, 117).
Mary was brought up Zechariah as he was her guardian:
So her Lord accepted her with good acceptance and caused her to grow in a good manner and put her in the care of Zechariah. (Aal Imran 3:36)
Muslims held May (Maryam), mother of Prophet Jesus in high esteem. Thousands of Muslims name their daughters Maryam because of their love to Lady Maryam, mother of Jesus.
Lady Mary was granted a special status by God and was given preference over the women of the whole world.
And [mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds. O Mary, be devoutly obedient to your Lord and prostrate and bow with those who bow [in prayer].” (Aal Imran 3:42-3)
Miraculous Birth of Jesus
The angles approached Mary and gave her the good news that she will give a miraculous birth to a child who will be a word from Him and who will be calling people to worship God and that he will speak in the cradle.
[And mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah 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 Allah ]. He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous. (Aal Imran 3:42-3)
Mary received this good news surprisingly as she never imagined that could happen. How could a virgin give birth without marriage?
She said, “My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?”… (Aal Imran 3:47)
The answer was:
[The angel] said, “Such is Allah ; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is. (Aal Imran 3:47)
The answer was given by God himself in another verse as He, the Almighty, compared the birth of Jesus to the creation of the first human, Adam:
Indeed, the example of Jesus to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, “Be,” and he was. (Aal Imran 3:59)
The miraculous birth of Jesus did not give him any divine status. His birth did not make him a god or a son of God.
The whole story of the birth of Jesus is mentioned in surat Mary.
Mention in the Quran the story of Mary. She withdrew from her family to a place to the east, and secluded herself away; We sent Our Spirit to appear before her in the form of a perfected man. She said, ‘I seek the Lord of Mercy’s protection against you: if you have any fear of Him [do not approach]!’ but he said, ‘I am but a Messenger from your Lord, [come] to announce to you the gift of a pure son.’ She said, ‘How can I have a son when no man has touched me? I have not been unchaste,’ and he said, ‘This is what your Lord said: “It is easy for Me– We shall make him a sign to all people, a blessing from Us.” And so it was ordained: she conceived him. She withdrew to a distant place and, when the pains of childbirth drove her to [cling to] the trunk of a palm tree, she exclaimed, ‘I wish I had been dead and forgotten long before all this!’ but a voice cried to her from below, ‘Do not worry: your Lord has provided a stream at your feet and, if you shake the trunk of the palm tree towards you, it will deliver fresh ripe dates for you, so eat, drink, be glad, and say to anyone you may see: “I have vowed to the Lord of Mercy to abstain from conversation, and I will not talk to anyone today.” She went back to her people carrying the child, and they said, ‘Mary! You have done something terrible! Sister of Aaron! Your father was not an evil man; your mother was not unchaste!’ She pointed at him. They said, ‘How can we converse with an infant? [But] he said: ‘I am a servant of God. He has granted me the Scripture; made me a prophet; made me blessed wherever I may be. He commanded me to pray, to give alms as long as I live, to cherish my mother. He did not make me domineering or graceless. Peace was on me the day I was born, and will be on me the day I die and the day I am raised to life again.’ Such was Jesus, son of Mary. [This is] a statement of the Truth about which they are in doubt. (Mary 19:16-35)