Christmas, as everyone knows, commemorates the birth of Jesus and is a major religious celebration for Christians around the world.
But what many people don’t know is that Jesus is an important figure in Islam, too, even though most Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas (though some, especially some American Muslims, do).
In honor of the holiday, here are six things you may not know about the role of Jesus — and his mother, Mary — in Islam:
- Jesus, Mary, and the angel Gabriel are all in the Quran (as are Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and a bunch of other Bible characters).
- Muslims believe that Jesus (called “Isa” in Arabic) was a prophet of God, was born to a virgin (Mary), and will return to Earth before the Day of Judgment to restore justice and to defeat al-Masih ad-Dajjal (“the false messiah”), also known as the Antichrist. All of which may sound pretty familiar to many Christians.
- Mary (called “Maryam” in Arabic) has an entire chapter in the Quran named for her — the only chapter in the Quran named for a female figure. In fact, Mary is the only woman to be mentioned by name in the entire Quran: As noted in the Study Quran, “other female figures are identified only by their relation to others, such as the wife of Adam and the mother of Moses, or by their title, such as the Queen of Sheba.” Mary is mentioned more times in the Quran than in the entire New Testament.
- Just as with all the other prophets, including Mohammed, Muslims recite, “Peace be upon him” every time they refer to Jesus.