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ABC's of Islam New Muslims

Jesus in the Quran

By Idris Tawfiq

How Christians depict Jesus (peace be upon him)

Christian artists down through the centuries have shown Jesus surrounded by fluffy clouds or angels. Around his head a golden halo of light shines, while little children and lambs are always at his feet.

On the cross, this artistic Jesus is shown suffering terrible agonies on behalf of others, asking always that his enemies be forgiven. The “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” of the Christian hymn books, the blue-eyed Jesus with curly flowing hair, is the Jesus that sits in the popular imagination.

Maybe it is because Islam has always discouraged depictions of human beings in art that Christianity has managed to win the publicity prize for its portrayal of Jesus (peace be upon him).

In addition to art, the Christian Church chose four of the many Gospels that were written to describe the life of Jesus. Saint Luke`s is perhaps the most beautiful, being a Gospel of prayer, of the poor, and of women. The way in which Luke crafts his words makes Jesus so appealing.

According to Islam, Jesus was a prophet of God. He belonged to a long line of prophets, calling people throughout history to the worship of One God.

The Description of Muhammad and Jesus (Allah bless them and grant them peace) in the Quran

Muhammad (God bless him and grant him peace)

Islam, on the other hand, has no artists to elevate Muhammad (peace be upon him) to the rank of a deity. It has no Gospel writers and no Paul to use their words to make Muhammad anything more than human. The Quran was revealed to a man who could neither read nor write. He simply recounted what was said as it was told to him.

Jesus (peace be upon him)

The Jesus which God tells about in the Quran is quite different from the Gospel Jesus, although there are some similarities. Especially at Christmas time, when the depictions of Prophet Jesus are at their most florid, we need to remind people who Jesus really was. In the Quran we read what means:

{He [Jesus] said: “I am indeed a servant of God. He has given me revelation and made me a prophet; He has made me blessed wheresoever I be; and He has enjoined on me prayer and charity as long as I live. He has made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable. So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)!” 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) God that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter, He only says to it, “Be,” and it is.} (19:30-35)

In other words, according to Islam, Jesus was a prophet of God. He belonged to a long line of prophets, calling people throughout history to the worship of One God. These include such names as Abraham, Moses, David, and Solomon (peace be upon them all) and, like them, he is revered and honored by all Muslims. Whenever they mention the name of Jesus, Muslims will always say, “Peace be upon him.”

The Miraculous birth of Jesus (peace be upon him) and his other miracles

Like the accounts in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, the Quran shows that Jesus` birth was miraculous:

{Behold! the angels said, “Oh Mary! God gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him. His name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter, and in (the company of) those nearest to God. He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. He shall be (in the company) of the righteous… And God will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel.”} (3:45-48)

Not only did Jesus have a miraculous birth, but the Quran also tells us that he was born of a virgin mother and that he spoke in the cradle, that he performed miracles, and that he did not die on the cross, nor was he raised back to life after three days.

God sent messengers down through the ages to bring men and women back to Him. It is part of our human nature, isn`t it, that we constantly forget, and need to be called back to the straight path?

Different messengers were sent with different gifts, as they needed to speak to their own people in a way that would attract them and help them to understand. It was the special gift of Prophet Jesus that he could perform miracles:

{I have come to you with a sign from your Lord: I make for you out of clay, as it were, the 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.} (3:49)

Jesus (peace be upon him) is only a Messenger, not God

Being able to perform miracles didn`t make Jesus equal to God. Everything he did was by God`s leave, to teach the people of Israel about God Himself. Even these miracles, though, were not enough to convince them.

It is the belief of Islam regarding Jesus that we should never confuse the message with the messenger. His message was to speak about God and to show the power of God in this world and the next, but the message didn`t make him equal to God. His miracles were his way of conveying the message.

In fact, the Quran is quite clear about this:

{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 God makes His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth!} (5:75)

Jesus and his mother both had to eat food. They were human beings, like you and I. Jesus was given the loftiest of tasks in being called to speak God`s message to the world, but he remained just that: a man who ate food.

Christians’ confusion

Out of an exaggerated love for Jesus, many of his earliest followers, encouraged by the writings of Saint Paul, began to see Prophet Jesus as something more than human, a god.

They confused the beautiful message he brought with the One who sent it. They saw his gift of being able to calm the winds and the seas, or his gift of curing the sick, as indicating that he was more than just a man.

The Quran is quite clear about that, Jesus was a great prophet, but he was no more than that. He did not die on the cross, nor was he raised to life after three days, but he was a man.

One of the greatest men, yes. A man with very special gifts, yes. A man whom they revere as a great prophet, yes, but not a god. There is no God but Allah.

Dialogue between God and Jesus on the Day of Judgment

In summary of all this, the Quran tells us what God will say to Jesus on the Last Day, when He Almighty calls all people to Himself:

{And behold! God will say [on the Day of Judgment]: “Oh Jesus, the son of Mary! Did you say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of God?” He will say: “Glory to Thee! Never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, You would indeed have known it. You know what is in my heart, though I know not what is in Yours. For You know in full all that is hidden. Never did I say to them anything except what You commanded me to say: `Worship God, my Lord and your Lord.` And I was a witness over them while I lived among them. When You took me up, You were the Watcher over them, and You are a witness to all things.”} (5:116-17)


Source: muslimsincalgary.ca

About the author

Idris Tawfiq was a British writer, public speaker and consultant. For many years, he was head of religious education in different schools in the United Kingdom. Before embracing Islam, he was a Roman Catholic priest. He passed away in peace in the UK in February 2016 after a period of illness. May Allah (SWT) have mercy on him, and accept his good deeds. Ameen.

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ABC's of Islam New Muslims

The Christmas Message of Jesus

By Idris Tawfiq

As Christmas is celebrated all over the world, it will come as a real surprise to many people that Muslims have any regard for Jesus at all.

Most people have no idea that Jesus has any part in Islam. And yet, for Muslims not only is Jesus revered as a Prophet of Islam, but whenever his name is mentioned, they will add the words “peace be upon him.”

Far from being a “foreign” religion, Islam teaches that all prophets in the Old Testament actually brought a message from Almighty God, Allah, to His people, and Muslims respect the same prophets revered by Christians and Jews.

Whilst Christians and Muslims believe very different things about Jesus, it is nonetheless a very useful starting point to know that both religious traditions honor Jesus as a very special person. In fact, it would be quite acceptable for Muslims to include the name of Jesus in their Shahadah, or declaration of faith.

Muslims say: “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,” but they could just as equally declare “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Jesus is the Messenger of Allah.”

As people throughout the world celebrate Christmas, it might be a very good way of building bridges between people of faith if Muslims were to let others know just what Islam teaches about Prophet Jesus.

Jesus (peace be upon him) in Islam and in Christianity

That being said, the Jesus revealed in Islam is in many ways quite different from the Jesus many Christians have come to know. The foremost difference is that Jesus is not considered by Muslims to be the son of God.

The next major difference is that Muslims do not believe that he died on the cross to save people from their sins.

They take their belief from what Allah tells them in the Quran. For example, regarding who Jesus was, we read:

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… (Quran 4:171)

And we also read:

{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! (Quran 5:75)

Regarding Jesus’ death, we read in the Quran:

And they said we have killed the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God. They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, though it was made to appear like that to them… (Quran 4:157-158)

An Authentic Narrative about Jesus

It is important for us to understand why Muslims believe a different narrative about Jesus, rather than the one accepted by many Christians. Muslims in fact believe that the words about Jesus in the existing gospels are not the actual words revealed about him by Allah.

They believe, instead, that Almighty God, Allah, has spoken to His creation down through the centuries through prophets. Some of these prophets had books revealed to them. Prophet Moses, for example, had the Torah revealed to him, just as Prophet Jesus had a message revealed to him known as the Injeel.

Muslims believe that neither of these books now exist in the form in which they were originally revealed because they have been altered, either deliberately or accidentally, over time. Allah never intended these messages to last, since they were for a particular people at a particular time in their history.

The Quran revealed to Muhammad, however, was intended for all people and for all time. It is the fullness of revelation, affirming all that is correct of what had gone before and correcting all that had become unclear about previous revelation.

The Message of Jesus in Quran

The Quran, then, has a different nativity narrative for the birth of Jesus and a completely different approach to who Jesus was. Jesus according to the Quran, was “no more than a messenger,” delivering God’s words to mankind. Unlike prophets before him, he was given the gift of miracles, but these miracles were a manifestation of the power of God, not of Jesus’ own power.

The message of Jesus was the message given to all prophets before him: that God is One and that He deserves to be worshipped in a particular way. By following the “straight path” people can come to get to know God better. This is the message confirmed in the Quran and is what has come to be known as Islam today. For Muslims, Jesus is a Messenger of Islam.

So what about the “Christian message” preached by Jesus? What about all the teaching about love of neighbor? What about all the stories and the parables related by Christians today as the words of Jesus himself?

For Muslims, the Quran is the fullness of revelation. Everything that agrees with the Quran in the previous scriptures is considered to be true. Anything that disagrees with the Quran is considered to be false. And as for anything in the previous scriptures which is not found in the Quran, Muslims don’t know if it is true or false, whether it is divinely revealed or the invention of men.

Stories like the Good Samaritan and the Sermon on the Mount, for example, do not appear in the Quran so Muslims have no way of knowing who wrote them. Since they don’t actually disagree with Islamic teaching we cannot say they are wrong, but we remain unclear about where they came from.

In other words, much of Jesus’ so-called teaching, as narrated by the New Testament, sits very comfortably with the principles of the Quran, but is not to be found as divine revelation in the Quran itself.

Teaching that people should love their neighbor, although related in different language, is very much a part of what Muslims believe. Prophet Muhammad is the closest commentary we have on the Quran. In his life we see how the Quran should be lived and in his life we see that caring for neighbors, the widowed and the orphans is very much a part of being a Muslim.

Christmas Message

As people throughout the world celebrate Christmas, it might be a very good way of building bridges between people of faith if Muslims were to let others know just what Islam teaches about Prophet Jesus. This shouldn’t be done in a way that offends the belief of others. After all, disagreeing is not the end of the world!

If people could understand one another more and agree to differ on certain matters of belief, our world would be a much better place.

Christians would have us believe that “Peace” is the central message of Christmas. As Muslims we say “Amen” to that, since “Islam” itself comes from a root word that means “Peace” and Prophet Jesus came to teach the message of Islam.

Happy holidays!


Source: aboutislam website

About the author

Idris Tawfiq was a British writer, public speaker and consultant. For many years, he was head of religious education in different schools in the United Kingdom. Before embracing Islam, he was a Roman Catholic priest. He passed away in peace in the UK in February 2016 after a period of illness. May Allah (SWT) have mercy on him, and accept his good deeds. Ameen.

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