Facts About Islam: What Muslims Believe About Jesus
One of the most often asked questions to a Muslim is “do you believe in Jesus?” This question usually comes after a Muslim explains that Islam is a monotheistic religion that believes in the same God of the Christians and Jews.
The answer to the question is yes, Muslims do believe in Jesus (peace be upon him) as well as all the prophets that came before him. In the Quran, Jesus (Isa) is mentioned 25 times, and Muslims love, respect and revere Jesus as a messenger of Allah just as they do Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
However, what Muslims believe about Jesus (peace be upon him) has similarities as well as many differences than what Christians believe about him.
What do Muslims Believe About Jesus (peace be upon him)?
Muslims believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) was a prophet of Allah, no more or no less. They do not believe that he has any divine qualities nor he is a partner with Allah. Muslims believe Allah is the only creator of heavens and earth and no other God exists but Him. He was a prophet chosen by Allah to spread His message and perform many miracles during his time. The following verse from the Quran explains that Jesus (peace be upon him) is not a god or an associate of Allah.
“O people of the Scripture (Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allah aught but the truth. The Messiah ‘Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and His Word, (“Be!” – and he was) which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a spirit (Rooh) created by Him.” [Quran 4:171]
Muslims do not believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) is the son of Allah as they do not believe Allah has a son. For a Muslim to believe in him as a god or the son of Allah is shirk (associating partners with God), and a major sin.
However, Muslims do believe in the miraculous conception of Jesus (peace be upon him) to his mother Mary (or Maryam) as confirmed but the Quran. He was created the same way that Adam was created.
“The case of Jesus with God is like the case of Adam. He created him from dust, and then He said to him, “Be!” and he came into being.” [Quran 3:59]
There is no mention of Joseph or the story of a night in a manger when Jesus (peace be upon him) was born in the Quran. And although Muslims honor him, they do not celebrate his birth on Christmas day or any other time of the year as they do not celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a holiday in the religion of Islam.
A hadith warns specifically against such celebrations:
“Do not extol as the Christians extolled the son of Maryam. For I am just His slave, so say, the slave of Allah and His Messenger.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4/142, no. 3445; al-Fath, 6/551).
According to Muslim belief, Jesus (peace be upon him) was not killed or crucified as in narrated in the Christian scripture. In the Quran, the Jews sought to kill him, however his likeness was placed before them and Jesus (peace be upon him) was raised up to heaven by Allah.
“That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of God";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:- Nay, God raised him up unto the himself; and God is Exalted in Power, Wise.” [Quran 4:157]
Muslims believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) is the Messiah and that he will return to earth near the Day of Judgment. They believe he will return to restore justice and defeat the Antichrist. In Islam, his return will be a clear sign that the end of the world and the Day of Judgment is very near.
Muslims, Jesus and the Bible
In Islam, Jesus (peace be upon him) is believed to be a Muslim sent by Allah as a messenger to the people to submit to the will of God. Because of this belief, some people may wonder why Muslims do not follow the scriptures of the Bible.
In the religion of Islam, the Quran is believed to be the divine word of Allah recorded exactly as it was narrated to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through the Angel Jibril (Gabriel). Many of the stories related in the Bible are found in the Quran, but with some differences or clarifications that are often viewed as corrupted by the hand of man in the Bible.
However, Muslims are not to slander or demean the word of the Bible as it does contain original revelations of Allah as shown by this verse of the Quran:
“O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His Apostle, and the scripture which He hath sent to His Apostle and the scripture which He sent to those before (him). Any who denieth Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Apostles, and the Day of Judgment, hath gone far, far astray. [Quran, 4:136]
For Muslims, the Quran is the Holy Book that contains the true and last word of Allah, thus they respect the Bible, but follow the book revealed to the final messenger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).