In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- It may be a surprise to many people in America that we Muslims also believe in Jesus.
2- Although we do not celebrate Christmas, but we do respect and honor the person in whose name this festival is observed.
3- We believe that Jesus was one of the great Prophets of God. In the Qur’an he is called `Isa. He is also known as al-Masih (the Christ) and Ibn Maryam (Son of Mary).
Delving deeper in this issue, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, former President of the Fiqh Council of North America, stated in his Khutbah at the Islamic Society of Orange County (California, USA) on Shawwal 15, 1423/December 20, 2002:
All the Prophets and Messengers of God were sent as light bearers to humanity; they all came with the purpose of upholding the truth, maintaining justice and bringing man closer to his Lord.
In accomplishing this task, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as well as other Prophets of God, had to undergo a series of difficulties, hardships and torment to make people grasp and believe in the message brought to them.
As members of the human family, we should show all forms of respect to Allah’s Prophets and Messengers. We should in any way project any of Allah’s Prophets or Messengers in a bad way. Rather, we should follow their guidance and stick to their footsteps in order to achieve steadfastness and uprightness in our lives.
Almighty Allah says: Say you: we believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord: we make no difference between one and another of them: and we bow to Allah (in Islam).” (Al-Baqarah 2:136)
“Behold! the angels said: ‘O Mary! Allah gives Thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah.” (Aal `Imran 3:45)
We believe in all the Prophets and Messengers of Allah. We respect and honor all of them without any discrimination. We believe that all Prophets preached the message of tawhid (monotheism) and all of them invited human beings to worship Allah alone and live a righteous life.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was not the only Prophet of God, but he was the last and final Prophet of God. Prophet Muhammad is not the founder of Islam; all Prophets were Muslims and they followed the way of Islam.
It may be a surprise to many people in America that we Muslims also believe in Jesus. Although we do not celebrate Christmas, but we do respect and honor the person in whose name this festival is observed. We believe that Jesus was one of the great Prophets of God. In the Qur’an he is called `Isa. He is also known as al-Masih (the Christ) and Ibn Maryam (Son of Mary).
Jesus has many other beautiful names and titles in the Qur’an. He is a highly respected religious figure. Every Muslim honors him, respects him and loves him. His mother is also highly respected, loved and honored.
There are hundreds of thousands of Muslim men all over the world who feel proud and blessed to have the name `Isa; as there are thousands of Muslim women who feel honored and blessed to be called Maryam.
Unlike the Gospels or the New Testament in general, the subject matter of the Qur’an is not Jesus. The Qur’an speaks in detail about God, God’s will for human beings and about many of God’s Prophets and Messengers. Yet, all the basic facts about Jesus’ life are mentioned in the Qur’an.
The Qur’an says in several places that Mary was a pious virgin who devoted her life in prayer and divine service. The angel of God one day visited her and gave her the good news of the birth of a blessed child. This was a miraculous birth as Mary was not a married woman. The virgin birth is clearly mentioned in the Qur’an and no recognized Muslim authority has ever disputed this claim.
However, Muslim and Christian interpretations differ on the meaning of virgin birth. For Christians it was the sign of incarnation, the coming to earth of the Son of God. For Muslims it was a special miracle.
For every Prophet a particular miracle was given according to the needs and challenges of his time. Since Jesus’ contemporaries used to deny the existence of spirit, they were shown the presence and the power of divine spirit by this unique birth. Jesus also performed many other miracles, such as raising of the dead to life, healing the blind and lepers, speaking about the hidden things. All these miracles show that material is not the only thing; there is something beyond the material that must be recognized. Jesus reminds us about the power of Divine Spirit. The Qur’an emphasizes that Jesus performed all his miracles only by the permission of God.
The message of Jesus was basically the same as the message of other prophets of God. He was sent to invite people to the worship of One God, to do the righteous deed and be kind and loving to others. He reminded his people to pay attention not only to the letter of the laws but also to the spirit of the laws.
The Qur’an says that Jesus was mistreated, denied and rejected by his people just as other prophets were also mistreated. Some of his contemporaries opposed him and tried to crucify him. It is also reported in the Christian Bible that Jesus prayed to God to save him from his enemies and remove the “cup of death” from him. (“If you are willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.” Mark 14:36 and Luke 22:42) God accepted Jesus’ prayer and saved him from crucifixion or death on the cross. He was lifted up to heaven (An-Nisaa’ 4:157-158).
Jesus is yet to fulfill his Messianic role. Muslims believe that Jesus will come back to earth before the end of time and will restore peace and order, struggle against the Anti-Christ (Dajjal) or demonic forces, and bring victory for truth and righteousness. The true followers of Jesus will prevail over those who deny him, misrepresent him and reject him.
Muslims and Christians differ in their Theology (views about God) and their Christology (views about Christ), but they both believe in the same God and in the same Jesus. There should be better understanding and better relations among them.
Almighty Allah knows best.
Source: Taken, with slight modifications, from www.pakistanlink.com
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.