The Muslim Jesus

The Story of Jesus in Islam starts almost two generations before his own advent. In the early days when there were no geographical entities that we know today as countries, there were instead, Tribes, Clans and Large families. One such large family was called Imran after the name of its leader. The importance of this family to the story of Jesus in Islam is that, in the Quran there is a whole chapter by the name “Family of Imran” which has the status of one of the most honoured of all the peoples. The Quran testifies to their venerable position in the following verse:
3:33 BEHOLD, God raised Adam, and Noah, and the House of Abraham, and the House of `Imran above all mankind,

The wife of the leader of this tribe Imran had desired a son and she supplicated to God for that. Her prayers were answered and she came in the family way. So pleased was she with God answering her prayers that in gratitude and as per the traditions of those days of the first born male child being given away to the temple and dedicated to the worship of God, she similarly dedicated the content of her womb to the service of God without realising that it was going to be a “Girl”. The Quran mentions this episode of history in the following verse:
3:35 when a woman of [the House of] `Imran prayed: "O my Sustainer! Behold, unto Thee do I vow [the child] that is in, my womb, to be devoted to Thy service. Accept it, then, from me: verily, Thou alone art all-hearing, all-knowing!"

As this lady was delivered, she was dumbfounded to discover that she was delivered of a female child whilst she was expecting a boy – this she thought was a wrecking of her plans to dedicate the male child to the service of God, little was she aware of the “long-term” divine plan the dignity of which dawned upon her when God indicated to her that He, God, was fully aware of what had happened. This lady (from the Family of Imran) then humbled herself and addressing God said: I name this child Mariam (Mary) and sought the protection of God from Satan the Accursed for her and for her offspring. By mentioning the offspring of Mariam (Mary) in her supplication and seeking God’s protection for Mary’s offspring, she was actually doing God’s bidding without realising it. The Quran describes this in the following way:
“but when she had given birth to the child, she said: "O my Sustainer! Behold, I have given birth to a female" - the while God had been fully aware of what she would give birth to, and [fully aware] that no male child [she might have hoped for] could ever have been like this female "and I have named her Mary. And, verily, I seek Thy protection for her and her offspring against Satan, the accursed." [Quran 3:36]

This female child called Mariam (Mary) was then put under the care of a Foster Father Zakaria (Zachariah) and lodged in the temple and dedicated to the service and worship of God. Zakaria would then visit that temple often to ensure that Mariam (Mary) was O.K. and to his surprise he would always find that someone had already supplied Mary with Food and Fruits both seasonal and out of season fruits as well. He could not withhold his wonder any longer and one day he asked Mariam (Mary) where is all that food and fruit coming from? And Mariam (Mary) replied: “it comes from God, and then she added: God provides for those whom He wishes without measure” The Quran narrates this conversation between Zakaria and Mariam in the following way: 1

Right graciously did her Lord accept her (Mary): He made her grow in purity and beauty: To the care of Zakariya was she assigned. Every time that he entered (Her) chamber to see her, He found her supplied with sustenance. He said: "O Mary! Wherefrom (comes) this to you?" She said: "From Allah. For Allah Provides sustenance to whom He pleases without measure." [Quran 3:37]

The story of Jesus has another very interesting angle, and that is the birth of his cousin John the Baptist – (Yahya to Muslims). Zakaria (Zacharias) the Foster father of Mariam (Mary) who had also desired to have a son of his own and prayed to God for this, and as he stood in the arch beseeching God for a son that he so desired, he heard Angels announce to him the Glad tiding of the birth of a goodly offspring who shall confirm the truth of a word from God and who shall be outstanding among men, be utterly chaste and be a Prophet from the Righteous. Such is the honour of Jesus’ cousin Yahya (John the Baptist) in Islam. The Quran describes this in the following way:
“In that self-same place, Zachariah prayed unto his Sustainer, saying: "O my Sustainer! Bestow upon me [too], out of Thy grace, the gift of goodly offspring; for Thou, indeed, hearest all prayer." [Quran 3:38] “Thereupon, as he stood praying in the sanctuary, the angels called out unto him: "God sends thee the glad tiding of [the birth of] John, who shall confirm the truth of a word from God, and [shall be] outstanding among men, and utterly chaste, and a prophet from among the righteous."[Quran 3:39]

Having thus read the precursors to the story of the Jesus whom Muslims refer to as “Issa Son-ofMary”, we now focus exclusively on him. In order to do this, let us first highlight some of the Salient Features of His Holiness Prophet Jesus Christ (PBUH). I will then expand upon some of the more unique features about him in Islam.

Salient Features of Jesus In Islam.
*Jesus’ generic name in Islam is “ISSA” * Descent wise he is referred to as . . . “Jesus Son-of-Mary”.

*He is A “Very Highly Revered” Prophet in Islam”. The Quran testifies to His Honourable Position in the words… “He Is Honoured In This World and In the Hereafter, and that He Is From the Company Of those Closest to ALLAH “ . . . . . . . [Quran 3:45] *However, he is not considered as Divine, Nor Is anyone else!!! for that matter. *DIVINITY in ISLAM is the SOLE and EXCLUSIVE Preserve of GOD. * Jesus is one of the Five Great Messengers of Islam : Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad who are all brothers from the same fraternity. * It is an article of faith for a Muslim to believe in Jesus as a Messenger of Allah, His Word and a Spirit proceeding from Him ("a Spirit of God"). * The Muslim Jesus is regarded as having a Virgin Birth, with his mother Mary being one of the greatest women who ever lived; Jesus is God’s Word in the sense that he was created as a result of the Divine Word 2

"Be!" (Kun) working in Her Holiness Mary (Peace and Blessings of Allah Be Upon them both.) * He is the Messiah, the Christ; his life was pure spirituality, and he is a sign of the last day. He taught goodness, being meek, humble and pure of heart. * His miracles include: Healing the blind and Lepers; Raising the Dead; breathing the spirit of life into birds of clay. * We believe that Jesus is “not” the son of God, but a slave (Abdullah) of God like all of God’s other creations, * God, We believe does not need to have a son. It is below God’s Majesty to suggest that he needs someone or some thing- He is independent of any need, incomparable, One, and Unique. * ISSA (Jesus) we believe will return to Earth near the end of time.

The Revelation Given To Issa (Jesus)
Prophet Issa(Jesus) we believe was Given a Revelation in the form of a Book which is called “INJEEL” and Muslims have to believe in this Revelation (INJEEL) given to Jesus, Just as we have to believe in the Revelations Given to ALL the Other PROPHETS. The Proviso being that these Scriptures Should be In their Original First Edition Form and should be a verbatim record of God’s “Revelation” rather than being based on Inspirations where a disciple or someone other than the Prophet to whom it was revealed sat down many years later and chose wordings of their own volition to record what they thought was inspired to them. We believe that the Psalms of David, The Torah, The Injeel The Quran and also the parchments “Revealed” to Abraham, John The Baptist (known to Muslims as Prophet Yahya) and revelations given to any other messenger have existed from the time when God created the “Pen” and asked it to record His (Divine) Knowledge onto a Protected Tablet referred to in the Quran as the “Lawhay Mahfooz”. This Protected Tablet has recorded not only these divinely revealed books but it also stores every thing about anything and everybody from the beginning to the end.

Why is Jesus Called “Son-of-Mary?” in Islam?
We believe that it is “Below” the Majesty of God for Him to Take a Consort or for Him to Beget a Son(God would not be God if He needed some body or something), the Quran states this in the following verse: It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! when He determines a matter, He only says to it, "Be", and it comes into existence.(Quran 19 :35) Thus, not just for the creation of Jesus, but whenever God wishes for anything He just says to it “Be…” and it comes into existence, the Quran refers to this unlimited creating Power of God in the following words: To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth: When He decreeth a matter, He saith to it: "Be," and it is. (Quran 2 : 117)

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Similitude of Jesus with Adam
For those who question the fact of the virgin birth of Jesus, should ponder upon the creation of Adam the “First Man” on earth whom God created not only without a father, but even more miraculously, without even a “Mother”. Thus, people should ask themselves that, The God who can create Adam without any human intervention OF A FATHER OR A MOTHER can the same God not create Jesus with just a mother. The Quran uses this analogy in the following verse: The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be". And he was. (Quran : 3 : 29) When Her Holiness Mary-( and BTW, there Is a Whole Chapter In The Quran dedicated to her with the title : “Mary” ) had wondered How can she give birth to a child when no man had touched her, the answer given to Her is mentioned in the following verse of the Quran: She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?" He said: "Even so: Allah createth what He willeth: When He hath decreed a plan, He but saith to it, 'Be,' and it is! (Quran 3: 47).

The Power of God to Create Not Just Jesus but ALL Other Creation.
The Power of God to Create is emphasised in the following verse(s) of the Quran: For to anything which We have willed, We but say the word, "Be", and it is. (Quran 16 : 40) And again in the verse: Verily, when He intends a thing, His Command is, "be", and it is! (Quran 36 :82) And once again in the verse: It is He Who gives Life and Death; and when He decides upon an affair, He says to it, "Be", and it is. (Quran 40 : 68) Thus, with these oft repeated exhortations about God’s Power to create what so ever or who so ever He wishes, the Quran makes clear the fact of the “miraculous” birth of Jesus.

Jesus Confirms The Unity of God Both In the Bible and In The Quran
When His Holiness Prophet Issa(Jesus) – Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him, was asked about the most important thing in his Teachings without which everything else would collapse i.e. “Which is The First Commandment?” He Issa(Jesus) replied: “The First Commandment, hear O! Tribe of Israel is that Your Lord The God Is One.” (Deuteronomy 6 : 4) This exhortation by His Holiness Prophet Issa(Jesus) is quoted in the Quran in the following verse: They do blaspheme who say: "(Allah) is Christ the son of Mary." But said Christ: "O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord." Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will 4

forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help. (Quran 5:72)

Does Islam, Regards Jesus As “The Lord” ?
The Quran admonishes against taking anyone, even Angels, Prophets or religious leaders as Lords or Patrons for our Lord and Patron is Allah. The taking of Christ Jesus the son of Mary as Lord is referred to in the Quran in the following way: They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of Allah, and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; yet they were commanded to worship but One Allah. there is no god but He. Praise and glory to Him: (Far is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him). (Quran 9:31) Thus, as we see from Deuteronomy 6 :4 and Quran 5 : 72, that God is One, Unique and Incomparable. Therefore, if God Is “The” God and there is No other God besides Him as confirmed by Jesus himself in the Gospels and The Quran, then how can we regard Jesus as “The Lord?”..?

What Is The Islamic Point of View about The Crucifixion?
One popular legend (not an Islamic one) has it that, on the day of the crucifixion, there was another candidate who also had the first name of Jesus (surname Barabba), popular with the crowd that was braying for him to be released. Governor Pontius Pilate desiring to please the crowd wanted to release Jesus Barabba, but before he could do that, and this is where the Islamic Version of the story of crucifixion comes in is that, God worked a miracle switching the looks of the two Jesus(s) and when Pontius Pilate thought that he had released Jesus Barabba, he had in reality released Jesus the son of Mary, who was then by way of another miracle, taken up by God to His presence whilst the person who was crucified may have been the other Jesus i.e. Jesus Barabba who was made to look like Jesus the son of Mary. The commonality between this legend and the Islamic belief is that, there was indeed some miracle worked by God, but for a surety, Jesus the son of Mary was neither crucified nor was he killed. The Quran is so emphatic about this that, it not only states this but then repeats that assertion by saying...of a surety they killed him not….as expressed in the following verse: That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.;- 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:- (Quran 4 : 157)

Islamic Belief in The Second Coming of Jesus…!!!
We believe that His Holiness Prophet Issa (Jesus)-Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him, will return to earth near the end of time when He will live a normal life, get married, have children and then die a natural death thereby fulfilling the Quran assertion that every soul shall taste of death. Upon His death the Muslims present at that time will perform the Islamic Funeral prayers on him and then he will be buried in the city of Madinah (in the present day country of Saudi Arabia). The manner of his descent has also been described to us that, he will descend with his arms stretched out and resting on the wings of angels on either side. Droplets of dew will be falling from his face and if he were to bow his head then jewels and precious stones will drop from his face. The place of His descent has ALSO been predicted in the Islamic Narrative as the city of Damascus (in the present day country of Syria.) 5

The Story of Jonah in Islamic Scriptures.
Let us recall the occasion when some people came to Jesus (PBUH) and asked him to show a sign of his Prophethood as a proof of his close links with God, in other words they were asking Jesus to perform some miracles to prove that he was indeed a messenger that God had sent. Jesus (PBUH) responded to these people by saying: “…there shall be no sign given to it, but the sign of the Prophet Jonah” (Matthew 12:39). There are two very interesting Commonalities between this statement of Jesus (PBUH) in the Gospels and The Quranic Statements. First, that The Quran is confirming that His Holiness Jonah (PBUH) is “a Prophet” and second, that Quran also mentions the story of Jonah (PBUH) being swallowed by a Whale. The following verses of the Quran narrate the story of Jonah :
So also was Jonah among those (Prophets) sent (by Us). (Quran 37:139) When he ran away (like a slave from captivity) to the ship (fully) laden (Quran 37:140) He (agreed to) cast lots, and he was condemned: (Quran 37:141) Then the big Fish did swallow him, and he had done acts worthy of blame. (Quran 37:142) Had it not been that he (repented and) glorified Allah,(Quran 37:143) He would certainly have remained inside the Fish till the Day of Resurrection. (Quran 37:144) But We cast him forth on the naked shore in a state of sickness. (Quran 37:145) And We caused to grow, over him, a spreading plant of the gourd kind. (Quran : 37:146) And We sent him (on a mission) to a hundred thousand (men) or more. (Quran 37:147)

Jesus’ Words Of Greeting To His Disciples in the Upper Room Are The Same As The Islamic Words Of Greeting.
In the gospel, Luke whilst describing the scene of Jesus re-visiting his disciples in that upper room greeted his disciples with the words “Peace be unto you….” (Luke 24: 36-37). What is interesting about the above words of Greeting is, that the Universal Islamic words of greeting someone when you meet them are exactly the same…that is “Peace be unto you”

Ending:
In the short space available for this article, I have tried to shine light on some of the highlights of His Holiness Jesus (PBUH) in Islam. I encourage you to find out more. As the Quran encourages us to say :

Say to the People Of The Book (i.e. Those to whom a Divine Book Was Revealed Through a Prophet): "O People of the Book! Let us come together on what is Common amongst us……” (Quran 3 : 64), So, why don’t we do just that and come together on Common Grounds.!!!! Finally, I would like to make this short prayer for all of us. “May God guide us All to a Path That Is Straight” Amen. 6

From the Servant of Allah, Saeed AbdulRahim.London, April, 2009, E-Mail:Islamic_Wisdom@yahoo.co.uk, www.scribd.com/islamicwisdom7

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