Dr. Mozammel Haque
The believers in the Oneness of God who belong to the tradition of Abraham: Muslims, Christians and Jews are one community. The first foundation of belief held by all monotheistic believers is that there is but one God. No dissenting voice: all Muslims, Christians and Jews worship one and the same God. The second central belief is a common lineage of Prophets, sent by God with revealed message of Truth. God sent a guide, a messenger or a prophet who taught the same message, the need to believe in the Oneness of God. In the case of Jesus, he was undoubtedly a true prophet.
Islam is a religion of peace, understanding and tolerance. It has five pillars - the first pillar is Imaan. To belief in the Oneness of Allah, all the Prophets sent by Allah, all the Books revealed by Him, belief in Paradise and Hell and Life after Death is part of Imaan. So Muslims throughout the world believe in all the prophets sent by Allah, the Most High. Jesus, the son of Mary, is one of them.
The Virgin Mary and her son Jesus, May peace be upon them both, are mentioned often in the Qurán. In fact, there is a chapter of the Qurán named after her called Maryam. Jesus, referred to in the Qurán as Isa ibn Maryam - Jesus the Son of Mary- is one of the greatest of the prophets of God whom Muslims hold in very deep love and respect. The Qurán gives a greater number of honourable titles to Jesus than to any other figure of the past. The Qurán said: "And We sent, following in their footsteps, Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming that which came before him in the Torah, and We gave him the Gospel, in which was guidance and light and confirming that which preceded it of the Torah as guidance and instruction for the righteous.” (Al-Qurán 5:46)
I would concentrate, first, on the birth of Jesus, peace be upon him, in the light of the Qurán. In Sura 3, the Chapter Imran gives the longest version of the annunciation and birth of Jesus. It is said in the Qurán, "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 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.” (Al-Qurán 3:42-47)
Surah Maryam then proceeds with an account of the nativity or birth of Jesus. "So she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a remote place. And she pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. She said, "Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten. But he called her from below her, "Do not grieve; your Lord has provided beneath you a stream. And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree, it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates. So eat and drink and be contented. And if you see from among humanity anyone, say, "Indeed, I have vowed to the Most Merciful abstention, so I will not speak today to (any) man.” (Al-Qurán 19: 22-26). The Qurán then narrates, "Then she (Maryam) brought him to her people, carrying him. They said, "O Mary, you have certainly done a thing unprecedented. O sister of Aaron, your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother unchaste.” (Al-Qurán 19:27-28)
The Qurán said, "So, Mary pointed to him (Jesus). They said, ‘How can we speak to one who is in the cradle as a child?'”(Jesus) said, "Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet. And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and Zakah as long as I remain alive.” (Al-Qurán, 19:29-31).
In fact, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that Jesus was one of one hundred and twenty-four thousand prophets, between whom there is no cause for conflict or argument. Allah tells His messenger in one passage of the Qurán: "Say: We have believed in Allah and in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Descendants (Al-Asbat), and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims (submitting) to Him.” (Al-Qurán 3: 84).
Imam Bukhari, in his collection of the traditions, said that the Apostle of God said, "I am nearest of men to the Son of Mary. Between Jesus and me there has been no prophet.”
It is also said in the Qur'an: "And (mention) when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, "O Children of Israel, Indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.” But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, "This is obvious magic.” (Al-Qur'an, 61:6)
The Qur'an clearly says: "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.” ( Al-Qur'an, 4:171)
The Qurán also stated, "And (beware the day) when Allah will say, "O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah?'” He will say, "Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen.” (Al-Qurán 5:116) It also said, "I said not to them except what You commanded me - to worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” (Al-Qurán 5:171)
About the crucifixion of Jesus (pbuh), the Qurán clearly stated, "And (for) their saying, ‘Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the Son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.' And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but (another) was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. Rather, Allah raised him to Himself. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise.” (Al-Qurán, 4:157-158).
The unedited nature of the Noble Qurán gives Muslims confidence in their understanding of the nature of Jesus, which was as a servant of God, as Prophet.