The Christian Broadcasting Network

What do Muslims believe about Jesus? - One often hears Muslims say: "Muslims honor Jesus more than Christians do." Moreover, you will find that Islam has a fairly well-defined doctrine of Christ. Its view is based on the Qur'an which has more about Christ than you might think. Briefly, here is what it says about Jesus Christ.

Note first of all the names and titles given Jesus in the Qur'an. Under the personal name "Isa" or "Isa Son of Mary" he is frequently called "Al-Masih" (Messiah) and at one time or another is also referred to as "the Word of God", "the Word of Truth", "a Spirit from Him", "the Messenger of God", "the Prophet of God", and "the Servant of God". He is even said to be "illustrious in this world and the next and of those nearest to God" (3:45). The Qur'an also has a lot to say about Jesus. It relates, for example, the story of the angel's annunciation to Mary that she would have a son and the story of His virgin birth, and attributes to Jesus a number of miracles (of apocryphal origin). In a word, it says about Him many wonderful things.

But what do these affirmations signify as concerns the person and work of Jesus Christ? Ah, there is the rub! They certainly do not communicate to the Muslim what they would to a Christian, who views Christ in the light of the teaching of the New Testament. For although the Qur'an speaks highly of Christ and presents miraculous aspects of His life as already mentioned, it also categorically denies two of the central teachings of the New Testament--His deity and His crucifixion--and radically misinterprets what they mean.

When the Muslim tries to put all these things together and to express what he understands the Qur'an to be saying about Christ doctrinally, the result is quite different from what the Christian understands the New Testament to be saying. Christ is seen to be a Prophet and Envoy of God of "surpassing greatness" (according to one Muslim writer), but only a man and nothing more. As a performer of exceptional miracles, he was rescued by God from an untimely end, was raised up to heaven, and (according to certain traditions) will come back to earth again--to die a Muslim! He is not the Saviour of the world, and is certainly not God, or "the Son of God".

What then about the claim that "Muslims honor Jesus more than Christians do"? Certainly, we do not want to allow ourselves to be entangled in sterile debate over who honors Christ the most. But neither should we feel intimidated. We must try first of all to understand how they come to such a conclusion. Above all we need to honor Christ by a life of genuine love and service to man which belies such misrepresentations (I Peter 3:13-15).

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