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Islam and Jesus


Muslims believe that Jesus, the son of Mary, is one of the most important Messengers of Almighty God. He is loved and respected by Muslims of all nations. Muslims regard Jesus (peace be upon him) as the Messiah promised by Allah to the Children of Israel. Born in a miraculous way without a physical father, Jesus performed miracles right from his birth.

“Remember when the angels said: ‘O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, revered in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (to God). He will speak to the people from his cradle and as a man, and he is of the righteous.’ She said: ‘My Lord, how can I have a child when no mortal has touched me?’ He said: ‘So it will be. God creates what He wills. If He decrees a thing, He says to it only Be! And it is’” (Qur’an, 3:45-47).

Muslims believe that the miraculous birth of Jesus was by the order of God, in the same way that God created Adam with no father or mother.  Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) referred to Mary as one of the most virtuous women who ever lived.  Jesus confirmed his Prophethood, confounding his detractors by performing a series of miracles in his lifetime. The Qur’an testifies to this by quoting from Jesus, himself:

“I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I make for you the shape of a bird out of clay. I breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by God’s permission. I heal those born blind and the leper. And I bring the dead to life by God’s permission.” (Qur’an, 3:49)

Muslims also believe that the miracles of Jesus extended to his persecution. Although his enemies planned to crucify and disgrace him, God saved him by raising him up to Himself.

…they said: ‘We killed the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of God.’  They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but it appeared so to them. Those who disagreed about him are full of doubt; they have no knowledge of it, they follow conjecture. They certainly did not kill him. No! God raised him up to Himself. God is Almighty, All-Wise.” (Qur’an: 4:157-158)

It was God’s Will that the Messiah would not be disgraced by crucifixion. Another man was made to appear like Jesus and he was crucified in the Messiah’s place.

For Muslims, Jesus was a sign to all people and a harbinger of the coming of the last Prophet, Muhammad (may God’s Eternal peace be upon them both).

Further Reading

Upon researching the history of Jesus and the lives of his disciples, Muslims scholars have found that entire communities of early Christians shared nearly identical beliefs concerning Jesus. The followers of this creed spread the concept of Monotheism to the east and south of Palestine. They were popularly known as “Nazarenes.” They maintained the Law of Moses, confirmed the Oneness of God and the prophethood of Jesus. For this, they were persecuted by the Roman Empire.

In contrast, another group of Jesus’s followers adopted the teachings of Paul who had never met Jesus in person yet claimed he saw a vision of Christ while traveling on the road to Damascus. According to Paul, the teachings of Jesus were not exclusive to Jews and it was not necessary to strictly adhere to the Law of Moses. His followers became known as “Christians” and his doctrine lead to the belief in the divinity of Christ and the Crucifixion.

By 312 A.D., when the power of Rome was centered in Constantinople, the Emperor Constantine set out to unify Christianity and the ancient Pagan traditions of the Mediterranean region. He changed the Sabbath to Sunday and adopted the cross, formerly an ancient pagan symbol, as the official symbol of Christendom.

The teachings of Jesus as preserved by the Nazarenes had spread far and wide and were represented by teachers like Arius, an African priest.  He refused to accept the innovations of Paul and declared openly that Jesus was a prophet and a human being.  These views were unacceptable to the official Roman church that had convened a special Council of Bishops at Nicea in 325 A.D. where the doctrine of the trinity was chosen as the ‘true doctrine of Orthodox Christianity.’ This Council canonized four gospels while rejecting hundreds of others and labeled those Christians who opposed their views as heretics. Arius was poisoned and died in Constantinople, subsequently thousands of his followers were persecuted and killed.

Despite widespread persecution, these Unitarian Christians  survived and settled among the populations of Syria, Palestine, Egypt and North Africa. Their uncompromising belief in one God and the humanity of Jesus paved the way for them to accept the message of Islam. The faith of these new Muslims was so strong that their lands remain among the most important centers of the Muslim world to this today.