Of all the major religions in the world, Islam is the only non-Christian faith that recognises Jesus (peace be upon him). Within the pages of the Quran is a distinct Islamic portrayal of Jesus. Three of its Surahs (Chapters); Aale-Imran (Family of Imran), al-Ma’edah (The Table Spread With Food) and Maryam (Mary) are so named because of their references to Prophet Jesus. There is only one woman whose name is specifically mentioned in the Quran and that is ‘Mary’; the mother of Jesus.
According to a census some 75% of adults in Australia, Canada and the United States of America are Christians. Thus, it is really essential for Muslims living in these countries to have a clear understanding of today’s Christianity and how and why it was perverted away from the true teachings of Prophet Jesus.
The story of the birth of Jesus is so eloquently and passionately described in Chapter Nineteen (Surah Maryam) of the holy Quran that it brings one to tears. There are approximately ninety Ayaat spread across fifteen Surahs of the Quran which refer to Prophet Jesus.
The second source of Islamic teaching is Hadith. It may be seen that there are numerous Ahadith from the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.w) reflecting and narrating the teachings and the words of wisdom of Prophet Jesus.
Both Muslims and Christians believe in the advent of Jesus on the Last Day. This doctrine is one of the major issues that relate this ancient great prophet to our modern world.
Nonetheless, in spite of the general similarities between these two religions, there are ample differences between Islam and Christianity regarding the personality of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). However, it is worthy of note that from before the time of the revelation of the holy Quran until today, there have also been ongoing debates among differing Christian sects, as with the Jews, about the personality of Jesus and his mother.
The Omniscient and All-Knowing Allah, through transmission of the holy Quran received verbatim by Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.w), revealed this previously-obscure information to mankind. In Surah 3 Ayah 44 the Almighty states to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.w): “This is a part of the news of the unseen which We reveal to you. You were not with them.” [3:44] This statement was to remind the people during the time of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.w), just as for we who live today, that none of them had witnessed the life of Jesus, and thus for them all it was an unseen story. It is Allah Alone Who is ever present, The Possessor of both authority and knowledge whereby the actual story may be narrated.
“Then surely, We shall narrate unto them (their whole story) with knowledge, and indeed We have not been absent.” [7:7] Thus, Almighty Allah in concluding the story of Prophet Jesus states: “Verily, this is the true narrative (about the story of Jesus), and there is no deity but Allah.” [3:62]
For this reason, the objective of this paper is in relating the narration of the true version of the life of Jesus (a.s) as described by the holy Quran. However, to enhance the understanding of my dear readers, I shall also refer to some main Christian perspectives with which to compare to the Islamic view of Jesus.
Due to the significant role of Lady Mary (peace be upon her), the story of Prophet Jesus begins in the Quran with the record of the life of his mother, Mary, and so also shall this paper.