You think you understand Christianity, but you really don't.Muslims respect and revere Jesus (peace be upon him). They consider him one of the greatest of God’s messengers to mankind. The Quran confirms his virgin birth, and a chapter of the Quran is entitled ‘Maryam’ (Mary). The Quran describes the birth of Jesus as follows:
(Remember) when the angels said, “O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him (God), whose name is the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, revered in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (to God). He will speak to the people from his cradle and as a man, and he is of the righteous.” She said, “My Lord, how can I have a child when no mortal has touched me?” He said, “So (it will be). God creates what He wills. If He decrees a thing, He says to it only, ‘Be!’ and it is.” (Quran, 3:45-47)
Jesus was born miraculously by the command of God, the same command that had brought Adam into being with neither a father nor a mother. God has said:
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. (Quran, 3:59)
During his prophetic mission, Jesus performed many miracles. God tells us that Jesus said:
“I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I make for you the shape of a bird out of clay, I breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by God’s permission. I heal the blind from birth and the leper. And I bring the dead to life by God’s permission. And I tell you what you eat and what you store in your houses....” (Quran, 3:49)
Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified. It was the plan of Jesus’ enemies to crucify him, but God saved him and raised him up to Him. And the likeness of Jesus was put over another man. Jesus’ enemies took this man and crucified him, thinking that he was Jesus. God has said:
...They said, “We killed the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of God.” They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but the likeness of him was put on another man (and they killed that man)... (Quran, 4:157)
Neither Muhammad nor Jesus came to change the basic doctrine of the belief in one God, brought by earlier prophets, but rather to confirm and renew it. Looking back, what seems strange to me now is not that people would wish to embody Jesus’ values, but that others would criticize them for it. What seems even stranger is that few Christians, in the modern day, match this profile. is that Muslims seemed to embody Jesus’ values better than Christians.
1. Jesus was bearded, as are most Muslims, but only the rare Christian.
2. Jesus dressed modestly. If we close our eyes and form a mental picture, we see flowing robes, from wrists to ankles—much like the loose Arabian thobes and the Indio-Pakistani shalwar kameez, typical of the Muslims of those areas. What we don’t imagine is the revealing or seductive clothing so ubiquitous in Christian cultures.
3. Jesus’ mother covered her hair, and this practice was maintained among the Christian women of the Holy Land up to the middle of the twentieth century. Again, this is a practice maintained among Muslims as well as Orthodox Jews (of which Jesus was one), but not among modern day Christians.
1. Jesus focused upon salvation and eschewed finery. How many “righteous” Christians fit this “It’s not just on Sundays” profile? Now how many “five prayers a day, every day of the year” Muslims?
2. Jesus spoke with humility and kindness. He didn’t “showboat.” When we think of his speeches, we don’t imagine theatrics. He was a simple man known for quality and truth. How many preachers and how many evangelists follow this example?
3. Jesus taught his disciples to offer the greeting of “Peace” (Luke 10:5), and then set the example: “Peace be with you” (Luke 24:36, John 20:19, John 20:21, John 20:26). Who continues this practice to this day, Christians or Muslims? “Peace be with you” is the meaning of the Muslim greeting, “Assalam alaikum.” Interestingly enough, we find this greeting in Judaism as well (Genesis 43:23, Numbers 6:26, Judges 6:23, I Samuel 1:17 and I Samuel 25:6).
1. Jesus was circumcised (Luke 2:21). Paul taught it wasn’t necessary (Rom 4:11 and Gal 5:2). Muslims believe it is.
2. Jesus didn’t eat pork, in keeping with Old Testament law (Leviticus 11:7 and Deuteronomy 14:8). Muslims also believe pork is forbidden. Christians … well, you get the idea.
3. Jesus didn’t give or take usury, in compliance with the Old Testament prohibition (Exodus 22:25). Usury is forbidden in the Old Testament and the Quran, as it was forbidden in the religion of Jesus. The economies of most Christian countries, however, are structured upon usury.
4. Jesus didn’t fornicate, and abstained from extramarital contact with women. Now, this issue extends to the least physical contact with the opposite sex. With the exception of performing religious rituals and helping those in need, Jesus never even touched a woman other than his mother. Strictly practicing Orthodox Jews maintain this practice to this day in observance of Old Testament law. Likewise, practicing Muslims don’t even shake hands between the sexes. Can Christian “hug your neighbor” and “kiss the bride” congregations make the same claim?
Practices of Worship
1. Jesus purified himself with washing prior to prayer, as was the practice of the pious prophets who preceded him (see Exodus 40:31-32 in reference to Moses and Aaron), and as is the practice of Muslims.
2. Jesus prayed in prostration (Matthew 26:39), like the other prophets (see Nehemiah 8:6 with regard to Ezra and the people, Joshua 5:14 for Joshua, Genesis 17:3 and 24:52 for Abraham, Exodus 34:8 and Numbers 20:6 for Moses and Aaron). Who prays like that, Christians or Muslims?
3. Jesus fasted for more than a month at a time (Matthew 4:2 and Luke 4:2), as did the pious before him (Exodus 34:28, I Kings 19:8), and as do Muslims in the annual fast of the month of Ramadan.
4. Jesus made pilgrimage for the purpose of worship, as all Orthodox Jews aspire to do. The Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca is well known, and is alluded to in the Bible (see The First and Final Commandment).
Matters of Creed
1. Jesus taught the oneness of God (Mark 12:29-30, Matthew 22:37 and Luke 10:27), as conveyed in the first commandment (Exodus 20:3). Nowhere did he declare the Trinity.
2. Jesus declared himself a man and a prophet of God (see above), and nowhere claimed divinity or divine sonship. Which creed are the above points more consistent with—the Trinitarian formula or the absolute monotheism of Islam?
One wonders what happened between the practices of the first generation of Jesus’ followers and the Christians of modern day. At the same time, we have to respect the fact that Muslims exemplify Jesus’ teachings more than Christians do. Furthermore, we should remember that the Old Testament foretold three prophets to follow. John the Baptist and Jesus Christ were numbers one and two, and Jesus Christ himself predicted the third and last. Hence, both Old and New Testaments speak of a final prophet, and we would be amiss if we didn’t consider that final prophet to be Muhammad, and the final revelation to be that of Islam