Many times in the year while Christians celebrate their religious occasions like Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving, Muslim parents might face some questions raised by their children about Christianity and Jesus Christ.
These occasions are the best time for Muslim parents to educate their children about other faiths and how Muslims respect other people’s beliefs.
It’s necessary to educate our children about other religions and tell them stories of other prophets as narrated in the Qur’an.
Inform your child that Christmas comes from the word Christ used to call Jesus Christ. The “Mass” is a religious ceremony. Christ means “the Messiah” or “messenger” of God. It is an honorific title.
Jesus is known in Arabic as Isa (peace be upon him) as mentioned in the Qur’an.
Muslims have an utmost respect for Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). Every time Muslims mention the name Jesus, they add “Peace be upon him. In the Qur’an, the name of Prophet Jesus is mentioned five times more than the name of Prophet Muhammad.
Impress upon your child that Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) is important in both Islam and Christianity. However, there are major differences in what we believe happened to him.
Read the passages in the Qur’an pertaining to Jesus (peace be upon him) and his mother, Mary. Go to the third chapter of the Qur’an called “The Family Of Imran” and also go to the nineteenth chapter of the Qur’an called “Maryam.”
The Qur’an, like the Bible, confirms that Jesus (peace be upon him) was born from a mother but not from a father. It confirms that Jesus’ birth was miraculous.
“(Remember) when the angels said, “O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him (God), whose name is the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, revered in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (to God). He will speak to the people from his cradle and as a man, and he is of the righteous.” She said, “My Lord, how can I have a child when no mortal has touched me?” He said, “So (it will be). God creates what He wills. If He decrees a thing, He says to it only, ‘Be!’ and it is.”” (The Qur’an, 3:45-47)
However, Muslims believe Jesus (peace be upon him) was able to speak when he was a baby in order to defend his mother against the neighbors’ accusations and in order to preach. Christians, on the other end, believe Jesus started preaching when he was thirty years old.
“Then she (Mary) pointed to him. They said: ‘How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?’ He (Jesus) said: ‘Verily! I am a slave of God, He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet.” (The Qur’an, 19:29-30).
Because of his miraculous birth, Christians believe Jesus is the son of God. Muslims believe he (peace be upon him) is only a prophet.
“Such was Jesus, the son of Mary; it is a statement of truth, about which they vainly dispute. It is not befitting to the majesty of God, that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be’ and it is” (The Qur’an 19:34-35).
Both Christians and Muslims believe Jesus (peace be upon him) performed many miracles during his life. The Qur’an says that he (peace be upon him) healed the blind and the leper and was also able to raise the dead with the help of Allah.
“I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I make for you the shape of a bird out of clay, I breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by God’s permission. I heal the blind from birth and the leper. And I bring the dead to life by God’s permission. And I tell you what you eat and what you store in your houses….” (The Qur’an, 3:49)
The Bible agrees with the Qur’an on the miracles, but does not mention that Jesus spoke in his cradle, neither does the Bible mention Jesus could breathe life into a bird made of clay.
Christians believe Jesus was martyred on the cross to atone people’s sins (Bible Romans 4:25). Muslims think a person who looked alike Jesus (peace be upon him) was put on the cross. Muslims also believe nobody can be responsible for another person’s sins.
“They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but they thought they did.” (The Qur’an 4:156).
First published: December 2016