Muslims love Jesus, too
In a world sensationalized by all that is wrong, we’ve become patrons at a bar specializing in cocktails of refined negativity. However, when we walk through the doors, we are expected to contribute in a discussion, whether we are informed or not.
Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Those who cannot understand how to put their thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of debate.” Like any debate, religion is often a heated clash of opposing forces. We tend to cling to our personal beliefs and forget to allocate time to shift focus from our differences and embrace our similarities.
All three monotheistic religions believe in the same God. However, despite the shared background, we often lack support for each other’s views. Too many times in my own dialogue I’ve heard people state, “The Bible definitely doesn’t say that,” and, “The evidence in the verses in the Quran disagrees.”
So, being that we live in a mostly Christian community, I believe that it is officially time to focus on the things that Islam and Christianity share and have in common. This column is dedicated to some fun facts brought to you courtesy of the Quran (most official Islamic source ever) to celebrate our shared beliefs.
First, let’s start at the beginning with Mary, the mother of Jesus (peace be upon him). In the Quran, she is the only woman with an entire chapter named after her, chapter 19. Her importance is highlighted by the prophet Mohammed (pbuh), who said, “Many men reached the level of perfection, but no woman reached such a level except Mary, the daughter of Imran and Asia, the wife of Pharaoh” (Bukhari 4.643).
Mary’s story, as well as her persona, is extremely important in the Muslim faith. She is represented as a pious woman who lived her life in prayer and dedicated to God. “Behold! the angels said: ‘O Mary! God hath chosen thee and purified thee — chosen thee above the women of all nations” (Quran 3:42-43).
Mary’s miraculous conception is also addressed in the holy Quran. The story describes her as she is approached by Gabriel. The angel comforts her: “I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a pure son” (Quran 19:19). She proceeds to ask, “How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?” (Quran 19:20). The Angel Gabriel replies, “So it will be, your Lord said: ‘That is easy for Me: And to appoint him as a sign to mankind and a mercy from God’, and it is a matter (already) decreed (by God)” (Quran 19:21). This passage clearly defines the nature of Mary’s conception as being a miracle.
Next, Jesus (pbuh), is represented in Islam as a prophet sent from God to deliver his word: “‘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’” (Quran 3:45). Jesus’s birth itself was a miracle, but in Islam, the prophet has the power to perform miracles. “And We gave unto Jesus, son of Mary, clear miracles” (Quran 2:87).
Jesus (pbuh), as in the Bible, is a healer of the blind, the lepers and the outcasts. The amazing prophet’s miracles are cited in the holy Quran through resurrection of the dead or preaching of the Gospel.
Finally, one key element that seems to surprise most is that Muslims believe that Jesus (pbuh) is in fact the Messiah. According to Mohammed (pbuh), “The Hour will not be established until the son of Mary” — (i.e. Jesus) — “descends amongst you as a just ruler” (Bukhari 43-656).
Muslims believe Jesus (pbuh) will return and re-establish a rule of peace and justice on Earth, an idea Christian faiths refer to as the rapture.
As you embark on your next religious debate, discussion or personal journey of knowledge, take these facts with you and let them be the ice upon which you are willing to lay your own beliefs in the heat of debate. The passion about our differences should be equal to the knowledge of our interests as well as our similarities.
We should celebrate what makes us similar as humans rather than different as religious beings.