I shared last week about some of the lessons I learned at Dr. Gendi’s, “How to Love Your Muslim Neighbour Seminar.” One of the things that really helped was being walked through what the Qur’an teaches about Jesus. While I knew that the Qur’an holds Jesus in high regard, I was not prepared for how much it describes of His life. Most Christians would be surprised to learn all that it says about Him. Even still, it is just as significant what it doesn’t say about Jesus. Let me share with you what I learned.
What the Qur’an Says About Jesus
It’s surprising to see Jesus repeatedly called the “Messiah” (3:45; 4:171; 5:17, 72, 75). He’s also recognized as a servant of God (4:172; 19:30) and a prophet (3:49; 6:85; 19:30; 57:27) who came with wisdom (5:110, 43:63) and revelation from God (3:48; 19:30-34).
The Qur’an also readily describes His birth to the virgin Mary (3:47; 19:20-22; 21:91; 66:12). For instance, 19:20-21 says the following:
She said, "How can I have a boy while no man has touched me and I have not been unchaste?"
He said, "Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, 'It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign to the people and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter [already] decreed.' "
It goes on to say that Jesus healed the sick (3:49; 5:110), performed miracles (2:253; 5:112-115) and even raised the dead (3:49; 5:110).
What’s more surprising is that it describes His death (3:55; 5:117; 19:33-34), resurrection from the dead (3:55; 19:33-34) and ascension into heaven (3:55). For example, 19:33-34 says the following:
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.
You can look up any of the above verses for yourself at www.quran.com or just type, for example, “Qur’an 4:172,” into Google.
What the Qur’an Doesn’t Say About Jesus
Having read the verses above from the Qur’an, a Muslim would have to conclude that Jesus was indeed unique. A miraculous birth, a miraculous life, and then a miraculous resurrection. Unfortunately, Muslims don’t believe that the gospels have been preserved accurately and so they aren’t left with a record of what He actually said. And so the picture of Him is very incomplete.
In the Qur’an, Jesus isn’t revealed as the eternal (John 8:58-59) God (John 20:28) who is one with the Father (John 10:30-33) and who was with the Father in the beginning (John 1:1). It also doesn’t reveal how He died on the cross for our sins (Hebrews 7:27; 9:26), reconciling us to God (Romans 5:10) and becoming the only means by which one might come to the Father (John 14:6).
The Jesus of the Qur’an is unique and powerful and wise, but He offers no forgiveness, salvation or eternal life. Even still, understanding what the Qur’an teaches about Him can help us better understand our Muslim neighbours and engage with them more effectively.
May God give us all help in loving our Muslim neighbours well!
In awe of Him,