I’ve always been aware that the Quran mentions Jesus a number of times, but it wasn’t until I had a fascinating conversation with a guy this week that I realised how much Jesus is revealed – and not just the quantity of references but their quality too.
Now I want to state upfront that I am not a scholar of the Quran. I don’t pretend to be an authority on Islam and neither is this blog written to be critical of another religion. I never make light of other people’s beliefs even when they differ from mine. To be genuinely Christian is to “Love your neighbour as yourself” and that includes loving and respecting those of other faiths including Islam.
The man I was chatting with pointed out to me that in the 114 chapters of the Quran, Mohammed is mentioned in 5 places, but Jesus (Isa) is mentioned directly and indirectly 187 times in 93 verses (ref: Jesus in Islam). Now I’m not suggesting that the frequency of mention automatically makes one more important than the other, but it does interest me that the Muslim Holy Book honours Jesus in this way by making Him the most mentioned person.
The Quran teaches that Jesus is al-Masih (Messiah or Christ) who came to bring a new revelation (al-Injil, or Gospel). He is referred to as the Son of Mary, the Spirit of God and the Word of God who went to Heaven, is still alive and will come again. The Quran, as well as most Hadith (reports describing the words, actions and habits of the prophet Muhammad) mention that Jesus was born without sin and performed many miracles.
Although most Muslims don’t believe in Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection there is an interesting verse in the Quran (19:33-34) which some have suggested refers to both events: “And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive. That is Jesus, the son of Mary – the word of truth about which they are in dispute.” Other scholars disagree with this interpretation.
In the Quran (Surah 62:5) Allah does not think very highly of those who don’t read Holy Scripture such as the Tawrat (Torah or Hebrew Scriptures) and al-Injil (the Gospel). The Quran also instructs Muslims on how they should treat those who study Holy Scripture: “So if you are in doubt, [O Muhammad], about that which we have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you. The truth has certainly come to you from your Lord, so never be among the doubters” (Surah 10:94). Many scholars believe this verse encourages Muslims to read, know and apply truth by listening to the people of the Holy Scriptures, that is, the Jews and the Christians. In fact, to learn more about Isa (Jesus) one is encouraged to read al-injil – the Gospel, the four books found at the beginning of the Christian New Testament. Reading these amazing, ancient books will give you great insight into the Man Jesus, what He did and what He taught and, most importantly, what He can do in your life today because, as the Quran and the Bible declare, He is still alive!