Islam teaches reverence for Jesus and other biblical prophets (LifePoints column)
on January 25, 2013 at 1:32 PM, updated January 25, 2013 at 1:33 PM
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – Many Christians and other non-Muslims are surprised to learn that the teachings of Islam include information about Jesus.
Zakiyyah Shakoor, a former teacher and an active member of the Huntsville Islamic Center, 1645 Sparkman Drive in Huntsville, explains where these teachings come from.
While Christians, by definition, also attribute to Jesus co-divinity with God as part of the Trinity, Zakiyyah’s simple explanation helps show that both Christians and Muslims can celebrate together the message about God that Jesus was sent to bear.
Our thanks to Zakiyyah and other religious leaders in Huntsville for contributing these LifePoints essays from time to time to The Huntsville Times.
Note: In the passage of the Quran, below, there are words in parentheses. Those kinds of designations are to be found in any translation of the Quran from the Arabic believed by Muslims to have been given by the angel Gabriel directly to the Prophet Muhammad. Those phrases clearly mark the translator’s additional words for clarification from the literal Arabic and remind those reading in translation of how carefully Quranic translators aim for precision.
In her essay, Zakiyyah also uses the traditional Muslim blessings added after using the name of any of the Muslim prophets, “peace be upon him,” as a sign of reverence and thanksgiving for their witness.
Jesus, A Prophet In Islam
By Zakiyyah Shakoor
“Behold! the angels said, ‘Oh Mary! God gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him. His name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter, and in (the company of) those nearest to God. He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. He shall be (in the company) of the righteous… And God will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel” Qur’an 3:45-48.
The person of Jesus, or Esa in Arabic (peace be upon him), is of great significance in both Islam and Christianity. While there are differences in terms of beliefs about the nature and life occurrences of this noble Messenger, there is clearly a common link between Muslims and Christians regarding the love and respect they both hold for Jesus, his life, his, works, and his message.
Christians and Muslims both revere Jesus and assert his holiness, in the sense that he lived in the world while being pure and free of sin; believe that Mary, the mother of Jesus was decent, pure, and holy; declare that Mary, a virgin, miraculously conceived Jesus; and that Jesus performed a number of miracles.
In Islam, Jesus is highly regarded and is considered one of the five greatest prophets, namely: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (peace be upon them all). An outstanding aspect of the Islamic belief in Prophethood, is that Muslims believe in and respect all the messengers of God, with no exceptions. In fact, Muslims consider the belief in all the prophets of God as an article of their faith. Since all the prophets came from the same One God, for the same purpose — to lead mankind to God, belief in them all is an essential and logical aspect of their belief.
Islam teaches that from the beginning of time, prophets have been sent to teach their people to believe in the One True God and obey His commandments. The message Jesus brought to his people was no different. Jesus emphasized that his mission did not cancel the laws received by Moses, but fulfilled them.
According to Islam, Jesus was thus a link in a long chain of prophets and messengers, both before and after him, that was sent by God to mankind after they had deviated from God’s true message. Likewise, Jesus was sent to the Children of Israel, who had deviated from the teachings of Moses and other messengers. He was supported by miracles, to prove that he was a messenger of God. However, the majority of people rejected his ministry.
The Qur’an recalls the miraculous birth of Jesus, his teachings, and the miracles he performed by God’s permission. The Qur’an also repeatedly reminds that Jesus was a human prophet sent by God. An entire chapter of the Qur’an, (chapter 19), titled “Maryam, or Mary”, is devoted to the mother of Jesus and her son. This chapter, and many others throughout the Qur’an, provides details of her life and many stories about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and other Prophets of God.
The true teachings of Jesus are fully compatible with Islam, and the Qur’an provides a testament that Muslims are the true followers of not only Jesus’ teachings, but also the teachings of Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Muhammad (peace be upon them).
All praise and thanks are due to God, that His message of Oneness sent by Jesus, and all the other prophets can and should be jointly experienced and appreciated by all among humankind.
Zakiyyah Shakoor is former secretary of social affairs of theHuntsville Islamic Center, 1645 Sparkman Drive, and former teacher at the Islamic Academy of Huntsville. Services at the mosque are conducted on Fridays at 12:30 p.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. ZakiyyahShakoor@gmail.com.
For more information about contributing to LifePoints, contact Kay Campbell, religion reporter for The Huntsville Times and al.com at KCampbell@al.com, 256-532-4320.