In Islam, Jesus is a very important prophet that played a major role in the religion’s history. When most people think of Islam, they don’t realize that Muslims do believe in Jesus, as well as all the other main prophets of Christianity and Judaism.
Muslims believe in Jesus as a prophet of God who was conceived by Mary in a miracle birth just as Christians do. In the Quran, there are several Surahs that describe the story of Jesus’ birth:
“Behold! the angels said: ‘O Mary! God giveth thee 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 of the company of those nearest to God.'” Surah Al-e-Imran: Verse 45.
Surah Maryam gives the story of Jesus’ birth in great detail:
“And make mention of Mary in the Scripture, when she had withdrawn from her people to a chamber looking East, And had chosen seclusion from them.
Then We sent unto her Our Spirit and it assumed for her the likeness of a perfect man.
She said: ‘Lo! I seek refuge in the Beneficent One from thee, if thou art God-fearing.’
He said: ‘I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless son.’
She said: ‘How can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste?’
He said: ‘So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: ‘It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him a Revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained.”” Surah Maryam: Verses 15-20.
After Jesus was born and Mary presented him to her family, he spoke from the cradle:
“Peace on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive! Such was Jesus, son of Mary …” Maryam: Verses 32-33.
The difference between Islam and Christianity is the actual status of Jesus. In Islam, Jesus is a Prophet that was given the Holy Spirit and the Book of Gospel. There are several verses in the Quran that state this:
“… We gave Jesus the Son of Mary Clear Signs and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit…” Surah Al-Baqara: Verse 87.
So, yes, Muslims believe in Jesus as a prophet, but they do not consider him the “son” of God. The Quran explicitly states several times throughout its text that Jesus was just a prophet and not a son or “begotten.”
“O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of God aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of God, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from him; so believe in God and His messengers. Say not ‘Trinity’: desist: it will be better for you: for God is one God…” Surah An-Nisa: Verse 171.
“For it is not consonant with the majesty of God Most Gracious that He should beget a son.” Surah Maryam: Verse 92.
Therefore, the Quran teaches Muslims that Jesus was a Prophet of God that was conceived through a miracle birth, not begotten as a son.
The Quran also states that Jesus did not actually die on the cross because God saved him from this, rose him up to heaven, and replaced him with another man so that it would appear as though he had died on the cross. The following verse makes this clear:
“That they said (in boast): ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of God’; but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them [that he had been killed]…'” Surah An-Nisa: Verse 157.
Although the beliefs of Muslims may differ in many ways from Christians and Jews, there are many similarities because they are based on the same history and prophets and centered around the same God.
Once you start to understand more about the basis of the religion, you start to realize it is not all that different and there are many areas of common ground among the three main religions. Jesus is a very important messenger of God and should be held in very high regard by all those that believe in God and His Prophets.