Jesus (peace be upon him) was among the five greatest messengers sent to humanity- collectively called the Ulul’ Azm. He was the last messenger before our Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him).
According to Imam As-Suyuti, he is also counted as the greatest of the companions. This is because he was raised up alive.
Therefore, when the Prophet (peace be upon him) met him on the night of Mi’raj, he was not yet dead. One who meets the Prophet, believes in him and dies with that belief is considered a companion. So what lessons then can we learn from Jesus? There are actually hundreds! We will just give a flavor of them in this article and share 10.
In the Cradle
When the people shamed Mary (peace be upon her) for having a child outside of marriage (they did not know that it was miraculous), Allah gave Jesus (peace be upon him) a miracle and he spoke from the cradle.
I am a slave of God. He has granted me the Scripture; made me a prophet; made me blessed wherever I may be. He commanded me to pray, to give alms as long as I live, to cherish my mother. He did not make me domineering or graceless. Peace was on me the day I was born, and will be on me the day I die and the day I am raised to life again.’ Such was Jesus, son of Mary. (Quran 19:30-34)
1- Slavery is the Greatest Honor
Due to the way human history has gone, the word slavery has very negative connotations and rightly so. Islam came to take people from being slaves to other people to be enslaved to Allah. And the greatest honor for any human being is to willingly enslave oneself to Allah.
Allah is the Master, He decides and we hear and obey. That is the contract, and Allah is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy. He is the One who gives and gives and asks for very little from His slaves. The Prophets were honored because they were the best in their slavery to Allah. And that is our most important identity- we are slaves of Allah
2- Scripture and Prophethood Lead to Blessing
Jesus mentions that he has been given the Scripture and that he has been made a Prophet and that he is blessed wherever he is. This is an indication to us that the closer we are to the scripture that Allah has sent (the Quran) and to the ways of our prophets we are, the more blessed we shall be wherever we are.
The key to earning blessings from Allah and having a blessed existence is our relationship with the Book and the way of the prophets.
3- Knowledge Leads to Action
Jesus was the best human at his time. He knew the Scripture and he was a Prophet. And yet immediately after, he mentioned that he has been commanded to pray and to give charity. Knowing leads to action. This is Islam as a religion that teaches us to act and not just do.
4- Deeds for People and Deeds for Allah
Another of the beautiful aspects of Islam is how it combines spirituality and practicality. Allah ordered Jesus to pray, for his own spiritual benefit and to have a connection with Allah and also to give charity to the people, also for spiritual benefit and to have a connection with both Allah and the people too.
Islam is a very humanitarian religion and it combines spirituality with practicality.
5- Good Manners are the Hallmark of Islam
Jesus says that he is not domineering and graceless. The Prophet Muhammad said:
Nothing is heavier on the balance of good deeds on the Day of Judgement than good manners. (Narrated by At-Tirmidhi)
Among the greatest of deeds that we can do is have good manners. It is also particularly important here because even though the people said very horrible things about his mother, he responded with grace and authority that was not demeaning anyone. He did not respond fire with fire. He responded to ill speech with beautiful speech.
6- The Mother, the Mother, the Mother
In the midst of all of this hard talk, Jesus found time to mention that he has been made dutiful to his mother. There is no other person more important in our lives than our mother. No relationship more sacred. No one more deserving of our love and obedience. They are our easiest road to Jannah. They are the caravan that will always have a place for us. The watering hole that will always give us pristine pure water.
Be mindful of God, obey me: God is my Lord and your Lord, so serve Him– that is a straight path (Quran 3:51)
7- Number of Followers is not a Measure of Success
It is known that not too many people responded to the call of Jesus. This does not mean he was not a success. The hearts of people lie in the hands of Allah. We are only asked to convey. And that is why despite the few numbers of immediate companions, he has been one of the five great Prophets in history.
Even if few people are practicing Islam, we should still practice. Even if the followers are few, it doesn’t mean it is not true. Truth is based on the idea, not on the number of followers.