[And mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah ]. (Quran 3:45)
It’s a common misconception amongst many non-Muslims that Muslims do not believe in Jesus (peace be upon him). Misinformation and assumptions are the fuel that feed into this myth. The reality is that Muslims do believe in Jesus and love him just as much as Christians do, probably more!
The primary difference is in the role of Jesus. Christians, depending upon who you ask, believe that he is either God incarnate or the son of God. Muslims, however, reject the notion that God has a son or is part of a “trinity”. As Allah tells us in the Noble Quran:
And say, “Praise to Allah, who has not taken a son and has had no partner in [His] dominion and has no [need of a] protector out of weakness; and glorify Him with [great] glorification. (Quran 17:111)
According to Islam, Jesus was a Prophet of God. He was a man and a Messenger who came to deliver God’s message to mankind. As a young Christian girl growing up, I struggled with Jesus’ role in the faith of my parents. Ultimately, it was my quest to understand his role that led me to the religion of Islam.
A “Son” of God?
I still remember sitting in the living room with my mother as a child and cleaning out some old photo albums. I opened one of them and an image of a very young man with long hair and blue eyes slid out. So, I wanted to know who he was and my mother said, ‘Oh that’s Jesus!”
Even as a young child, I questioned how such an image could exist if he lived hundreds of years ago. I could not understand how this “photo” could be real and I questioned my mother for more answers. She didn’t have them.
How could anyone remember what he looked like? I pondered. In the end, the only thing she could tell me was that Jesus was the son of God.
From that point on, the question of “Why does God need a son?” was firmly rooted in my mind. It stayed there for many years and gently nudged me, from time to time, that it was a question that needed answering. Yet, I couldn’t find anyone that could answer it.
So Who Do I Pray To?
As is quite common in many Christian homes, there is even confusion regarding Jesus’ role in the Christian faith! Some Christians believe that he is God’s son while others believe he is God.
In my family, they believed both which doubled the confusion for me. I could not understand who I was supposed to pray to? Was I supposed to pray to God or Jesus? I went with praying to Jesus.
I had seen my grandmother sit and pray with her hands clasped together and saying “In Jesus’s name. Amen” So I did the same.
However, my prayers were very troubled. I was struck by the randomness of the prayer. There was no structure or schedule. You could simply clasp your hands and pray whenever you felt the need or never pray at all. For whatever reason, this distressed me.
Whenever I prayed, I would ask Jesus to fulfill my needs and wants. Then, at the end, I would say to God that “I love you too.” Clearly, I was confused and that confusion grew as I did.
An Entire Chapter
It wasn’t until I entered college that I finally had the opportunity to explore and find out who Jesus was. I visited many churches, from the Catholic to Presbyterian, and everything in between.
Nevertheless, no matter how many churches I visited or sermons I listened to, I could not find Jesus. It took many months for me to finally realize that I should be searching for God instead.
I stopped praying to Jesus and instead decided to pray to God alone without partner or intercessor. I had no idea that this was the basis of Islam! It would take many years of self-discovery, introspection and questioning before I finally opened an English translation of the Noble Quran back in 1996 as a 22-year-old Christian woman.
After only reading a few pages, the tears flowed effortlessly from my eyes. I read and read, absorbing every word over the next several months.
When I arrived at chapter Maryam, named after Mary the mother of Jesus, I finally understood what Jesus’ role was as a Prophet of God and learned the truth about his miraculous birth, his life and prophethood. I knew that Islam was the religion for me and I declared my faith in Allah Almighty along with all of His Books and Prophets.
I Love Jesus!
And [make him] a messenger to the Children of Israel, [who will say], ‘Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you from clay [that which is] like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by permission of Allah… (Quran 3:49)
In just this one verse alone, I learned more about Jesus (peace be upon him) than I had during an entire lifetime as a Christian.
The Noble Quran dispelled the myths I had heard growing up and clarified Jesus’ role perfectly. It also shed light on the “cruci-fiction” as well as the knowledge that Jesus will one day return to this world to live out the rest of his life before the Day of Judgment begins.
I love Jesus, as all Muslims do, and share the stories of his life and his blessed mother Mary with my children. He was a man, not the son of God or God, who delivered the message of Allah to his people. It is not fitting to worship Jesus or ascribe him as a partner to the One and Only Allah. It is our Lord, Cherisher and Sustainer Allah Almighty who is worthy of all worship not any part of His creation.