Muslims respect and revere Jesus (peace be upon him) and as part of our faith and beliefs, regard him as one of the greatest of Allah SWT’s messengers to mankind.
The topic of Jesus in Islam is discussed often amongst our friends and companions as we live in a Christian society. What is often surprising is that most people are unaware as to the importance that we place on Jesus, may peace be upon him.
Like Christians, we also believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. This has been confirmed to us in the Quran. We also believe that he performed many miracles in his lifetime, again similar thinking to that of the Christians.
However, we also differ in fundamental areas regarding Jesus. Unlike modern Christians, we do not believe him to be God in human form, nor the son of God. Our belief is confirmed by what Allah SWT tells us in the Glorious Quran and that he was a messenger of God.
Another difference between us and the Christians is the event of the crucifixion. This is an important one to remember as when asked this question, we need to be clear in our minds as part of our educating to others, as to what Islam tells us about this event.
For this, we go back to Sura Nisaa in the Quran and specifically ayat 157 and 158 which are translated as saying:
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 the likeness of him was put on another man (and they killed that man)
Rather Allah raised him to Himself.
Dear brothers and sisters, what Allah SWT tells us in this ayat is that the onlookers were fooled into thinking that they have crucified Jesus as Allah SWT made another man resemble the looks of Jesus. It was this other man that the enemies of the messenger crucified.
You see, this subject is topical amongst the youth because both Christians and Muslims believe in the return of Jesus in the end times. In fact the Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, will play a central role in the events leading up to the Last Day.
For those interested in this branch of faith, it is called eschatology and students of this branch study Quran and Hadith to get a better understanding of the end times.
One such mention in the Quran is made in Sura Az-Zukhruf, ayat 61 in which Allah SWT says:
And indeed, Jesus will be a sign for knowledge of the Hour, so be not in doubt of it, and follow Me. This is a straight path.
Dear brothers and sisters, this ayah confirms the second coming of Jesus, peace be upon him, and in that we are united in belief with the Christians.
However, we are divided in our belief as to what he is going to do upon his arrival. For further insight into this, we look towards the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and it is translated to have said:
By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, surely Jesus the Son of Mary will soon descend amongst you and will judge mankind justly as a Just Ruler. He will break the cross and kill the pigs and there will be no Jizya (i.e. taxation taken from non-Muslims).
Money will be in abundance so that nobody will accept it, and a single prostration to Allah SWT in prayer will be better than the whole world and whatever is in it.
Dear brothers and sisters, all three major faiths of Islam, Christianity and Judaism recognize the coming of the Messiah. Christianity and Islam believe this to be Jesus whereas Judaism believes it to be someone else.
All three faiths are also agreed in the coming of the world leader who will oppose God and His rule. We call him the Dajjal. Christians refer to him as the Anti-christ. Jews called him Armilius.
And lastly, in all three faiths the Messiah defeats this end-times world leader who opposes God’s law. In our case that law of God being the Final Testament of God aka Al-Quran.
As Muslims, we need to integrate with the society in which we live. Therefore having an understanding of what we think alike is important in order to establish a rapport and communication.
But more importantly, we need to understand where we differ as it is our responsibility to inform them of the truth and eliminate any misinformation on Jesus, his life and his role to come.
May Allah SWT guide us in our understanding of the Prophets, peace be upon them all, may Allah SWT grant us knowledge of all messengers of Islam, may peace be upon them all and may Allah SWT reward us for our efforts in seeking knowledge on all messengers of Islam, may peace and blessings of Allah SWT be upon them all.
Ameen wal hamdullilahi rabilalameen.