By Hadi Abdulmatin
Read the previous part: “Jesus from a Muslim perspective: Who is Jesus?”
Muslims believe that Jesus (PBUH) was born to Virgin Mary (PBUH) miraculously. There is mention of Jesus’ birth in two places in Qur’an.
And [mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds.
O Mary, be devoutly obedient to your Lord and prostrate and bow with those who bow [in prayer]. That is from the news of the unseen which We reveal to you, [O Muhammad]. And you were not with them when they cast their pens as to which of them should be responsible for Mary. Nor were you with them when they disputed. [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]. He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous.”
She said, “My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?” [The angel] said, “Such is Allah; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is. And He will teach him writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel
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 . And I cure the blind and the leper, and I give life to the dead – by permission of Allah . And I inform you of what you eat and what you store in your houses. Indeed in that is a sign for you, if you are believers. (Surah Ale Imran, Chapter 3, v 42-49)
The same theme is repeated in another place.
And mention, [O Muhammad], in the Book [the story of] Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place toward the east. And she took, in seclusion from them, a screen. Then We sent to her Our Angel, and he represented himself to her as a well-proportioned man. She said, “Indeed, I seek refuge in the Most Merciful from you, [so leave me], if you should be fearing of Allah .” He said, “I am only the messenger of your Lord to give you [news of] a pure boy.”
She said, “How can I have a boy while no man has touched me and I have not been unchaste? He said, “Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign to the people and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter [already] decreed.’ ” (Surah Mary, Chapter 19, V 17-21)
It should be clear from the above citations the necessity of Muslims to believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. However, Islam teaches us that there is no special meaning in the virgin birth of Jesus other than illustrating God’s power to create what He wills. Jesus was born miraculously by the command of God, the same command that had brought Adam into being without a father or a mother. God says in the Qur’an:
The case of Jesus with God is like the case of Adam. He created him from dust, and then He said to him, “Be!” and he came into being. (Ale Imran 3:59)
Prophethood of Jesus (PBUH)
As mentioned above, Muslims believe that Jesus was one of the greatest prophets of God. This is taught in many places in the Qur’an:
And We did certainly give Moses the Torah and followed up after him with messengers. And We gave Jesus, the son of Mary, clear proofs and supported him with the Pure Spirit. But is it [not] that every time a messenger came to you, [O Children of Israel], with what your souls did not desire, you were arrogant? And a party [of messengers] you denied and another party you killed. (The Cow, Chapter 2 V 87)
Say, [O believers], “We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” (The Cow, Chapter 2 V 136)
There are many other passages in the Qur’an and many sayings of the Prophet confirming the prophethood of Jesus (PBUH) and his high station in this world and in the Hereafter.
Jesus is a Word of God
Muslims believe that Jesus (pbuh) is a word of God Almighty. However, Islamic conception of “word” here is quite different than how it is understood in Christian theology. To many Christians, it means Jesus (PBUH) was the word of God made flesh. In the Islamic concept Jesus is a word because he was conceived by an order (word) of God.
O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs. (An Nisa Chapter 4 V 171)
John the Baptist is also described as “a word” of God as he, too, was conceived when his mother was beyond childbearing age. God willed it and it happened.
At that, Zechariah called upon his Lord, saying, “My Lord, grant me from Yourself a good offspring. Indeed, You are the Hearer of supplication.” So the angels called him while he was standing in prayer in the chamber, “Indeed, Allah gives you good tidings of John, confirming a word from Allah and [who will be] honorable, abstaining [from women], and a prophet from among the righteous.” He said, “My Lord, how will I have a boy when I have reached old age and my wife is barren?” The angel said, “Such is Allah; He does what He wills.” (Ale Imran Chapter 3 V 37-39)
Jesus is a Spirit of God
Muslims believe that Jesus (PBUH) is a Spirit (Ruh) of God, but in the sense that God owns everything. So Spirit of all of us, including that of Jesus, is owned by Him. Therefore, we all are “spirit of God” in that regard. By conferring this title to Jesus, the Qur’an doesn’t assign any divinity to him. Please also see the V 4/171 quoted above.
And [mention] the one (Mary) who guarded her chastity, so We blew into her [garment] through Our angel [Gabriel], and We made her and her son a sign for the worlds. (The Prophets, Chapter 21 V91)
And [the example of] Mary, the daughter of ‘Imran, who guarded her chastity, so We blew into [her garment] through Our angel, and she believed in the words of her Lord and His scriptures and was of the devoutly obedient. (At Tahreem Chapter 66 V12)
We all are also part of the spirit of God because process of creation of Adam is similar.
So when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My [created] soul, then fall down to him in prostration.” (As Saad Chapter 38 V 72)
Jesus is a sign (ayah) from God
Jesus (PBUH) is a sign from God to mankind because he was born to a virgin.
He said, “Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign to the people and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter [already]decreed.’ ” (Surah Mary , Chapter 19 V 21)
This article is part 2 of 6 in a series on Muslim view on Jesus. Read part 3: Miracles of Jesus (PBUH).
- Jesus from a Muslim perspective: Who is Jesus?
- Virgin Birth and Prophethood of Jesus
- Miracles of Jesus (PBUH)
- Who is not Jesus?
- Trinity, Sin, & Salvation in Christianity: A critical review
- Did Jesus die on Cross?
Article Courtesy: American Herald Tribune
Hadi Abdulmatin is a well known speaker and activist among the Colorado interfaith community. He has been representing Islam and Muslims at several inter-religious dialogues for many years. Abdulmatin is an Information Technology professional and lives with his family in Colorado. He currently serves as the President of ICNA Southwest Region.