“O People! Verily We have created you from a man and woman
and We made you into various tribes and creeds
for the purpose of mutual recognition
(not discrimination and racial pride).
Verily the most prestigious and honored amongst you
is he who fears God most.
Verily, God is All Knowing, All Aware.”
— Quran on Equality [49:13]
This is one of the favorite verses of mine in THE Quran. It proves that all people are created equal by the same creator; we can call Him by different names.
As the festivities of Christmas celebrations are going on, it is also time to reflect on the peaceful teachings of Jesus, peace be upon him (pbuh) and how other faiths view him. By doing so we all can learn that there is so much more in common between Islam and Christianity than the dividers want us to know.
In Islam the Qur’an speaks of Mary (called Miriam in Arabic) not only as the mother of Jesus, but as a righteous woman in her own right. The 19th chapter of the Quran is named after her.
“And make mention of Mary in the Scripture, when she had withdrawn from her people to a chamber looking east and had chosen seclusion from them. Then we sent unto her Our spirit and it assumed for her the likeliness of a perfect man. She said: Lo! I seek refuge in the Beneficent One from thee, if thou art God-fearing. He said I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless son. She said: how can I have a son when no man has touched me, neither have I been unchaste? He said: So it will be. Thy Lord saith: it is easy for Me. And We may make of him a revelation for mankind and mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained.
In chapter 3 verses 42 and 48 Quran says ‘Behold (O Mary!)’ The Angel said, ‘God has chosen you, and purified you, and chosen you above the women of all nations. O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him, whose name shall be the Anointed (Masih or Messiah), Jesus son of Mary, honored in this world and in the hereafter, and one of those brought near to God. He shall speak to the people from his cradle and in maturity, and shall be of the righteous. ‘And He will teach him scripture and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel’
In the Qur’an, there are many stories about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ (called ‘Isa in Arabic). The Qur’an recalls his miraculous birth, his teachings, the miracles he performed by God’s permission, and his life.
Muslims respect and revere Jesus. They consider him one of the greatest of God’s messengers to humankind.
According to Quran, Jesus (pbuh) was a dutiful boy who always obeyed his mother. His mission of spreading the message of God began after he reached manhood. He started teaching people about true faith in God. The Quran says Jesus was not teaching a new religion but the same message that was sent before him by the other messengers of God such as Abraham, David, Moses and afterwards to Mohammed (pbut).
He was granted several miracles. Among them were the curing of blind, healing the lepers, revival of the dead and knowledge of surplus goods that people tried to hide in their homes and not give in charity.
‘Now I have come to you with Wisdom, and in order to make clear to you some of the (points) on which you dispute. Therefore, fear God and obey me. God, He is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him — this is a Straight Way.’ But sects from among themselves fell into disagreement. So woe to the wrongdoers, from the penalty of a Grievous Day!" (43:63-65)
Like what happens to the good leaders most of the times, Jesus also had a difficult time getting the people listen to him in the beginning. The Quran records that fierce opposition to Jesus came from the community leaders. He was called an imposter and they contrived to plot against him. They got him arrested and tried to get him executed. According to Quran, it was made to appear that they crucified him but he was replaced by a man who betrayed him and looked very much like him. God saved Jesus and took him to paradise until the hour would come to complete his mission in the end of [the] time.
All the above quotes from Quran tell us how much respect Islam has given to Mary and her son Jesus (pbuh). Sure there are some differences between the two faiths but just understanding the teachings, wisdom and the miracles of Jesus (pbuh) can be an opportunity for the believers of two faiths to celebrate and work together for the betterment of the society and the world. Ameen.
PS: The present times we all are living in where there is so much misunderstanding, animosity and hate going on, this is a very small attempt on my part to create understanding between the two faiths.