Short Answer: Muslims accept the Jewish belief that there were prophecies about the coming of the Messiah. They also accept the Christian claim that Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary, was the expected Messiah. Muslims however deny the Christian belief that Jesus was the Son of God. The word messiah in the Old Testament means “to smear, anoint, or spread.” Messiah is exclusively reserved for Jesus the son of Mary (Isa ibn Maryam) in both Islam and in Christianity.
Salam Dear Syed,
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
The word messiah is an anglicized form of the Hebrew word, moshiach.
Its root word, mashach, is found about 140 times in the Old Testament. It means “to smear, anoint, or spread.”
Mashach in Hebrew or masaha (literally to rub, to massage) in Arabic, has the meaning of anointing someone in a religious ceremony by putting holy water or oil on them.
Priests and kings were anointed when being consecrated to their offices.
Prophets were anointed by God in the sense that they were specially chosen by God for a specific religious mission.
In fact, the Bible is replete with “anointed” ones.
Although every prophet of God is an anointed one of God, the title Messiah or its translation “Christ” is exclusively reserved for Jesus the son of Mary (Isa ibn Maryam) in both Islam and in Christianity.
This is not unusual in religion.
This title is applied to both Moses (19:51) and Jesus (61:6) in the Quran. Yet Rasul Allah among Muslims stands for Muhammad, (peace and blessings be upon him).
“Messiah” in Christianity, Judaism and Islam
Indeed, associating certain titles with certain personages does not make them unique on that score.
In olden days, priests and kings were anointed as part of the consecration ceremony.
In Judaism that mission was crucial to them, namely the restoration of the line of King David—or the establishment of the Law of God on earth.
Christians, on the other hand, give a new meaning to the title “The Messiah” in relation to the concept of the atonement of the Original Sin by the Son of God.
To them, the Messiah is a savior who suffered and died to save sinful Man from eternal punishment in Hell.
On the one hand, Muslims accept the Jewish belief that there were prophecies about the coming of the Messiah.
On the other hand, they accept the Christian claim that Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary, was the expected Messiah, though the Jews reject this.
It is also worthy of mention that Muslims deny the Christian belief that Jesus was the Son of God, who was to be crucified to atone for Man’s Original Sin.
And God knows best.
I hope the foregoing answers your question.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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