Jesus And Mary In Muslim Eyes: Respect And Love

Posted by Web Editor on Dec 26th, 2010

Print This Post Print This Post Email This Post Email This Post


Jesus and Mary in Muslim eyes

Jesus and Mary in Muslim eyes


Jesus And Mary In Muslim Eyes: Respect And Love

Christmas is a time to see how other faiths view Jesus, peace be upon him. Doing so shows how so much is in common between Islam and Christianity.

SARWAT HUSAIN | Saturday | 25 December 2010 | Council On American-Islamic Relations-SA

SAN ANTONIO, US—“O People! Verily We have created you from a man and woman and We made you into various tribes and creeds for the purpose of mutual recognition (not discrimination and racial pride). Verily the most prestigious and honored amongst you is he who fears God most. Verily, God is All Knowing, All Aware.” Quran on Equality (49:13).

The above quote is one of the favorite verses of mine in the Quran. It proves that all people are created equal by the same creator; we can call him by different names.

As the festivities of Christmas celebrations are going on, it is also time to reflect on the peaceful teachings of Jesus, peace be upon him, and how other faiths view him. By doing so we all can learn that there is so much more in common between Islam and Christianity than the dividers want us to know.

In Islam, the Quran speaks of Mary (called Miriam in Arabic) not only as the mother of Jesus but as a righteous woman in her own right. The 19th chapter of the Quran is named after her:

“And make mention of Mary in the Scripture, when she had withdrawn from her people to a chamber looking east and had chosen seclusion from them.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 likeliness 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 man has touched me, neither have I been unchaste? He said: So it will be. Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And We may make of him a revelation for mankind and mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained.”

In chapter 3 verses 42 and 48, the Quran says:

“ ‘Behold (O Mary!)’ The Angel said, ‘God has chosen you, and purified you, and chosen you above the women of all nations. O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him, whose name shall be the Anointed (Masih or Messiah), Jesus son of Mary, honored in this world and in the hereafter, and one of those brought near to God. He shall speak to the people from his cradle and in maturity, and shall be of the righteous. ‘And He will teach him scripture and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel.”

In the Quran, there are many stories about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ (called Isa in Arabic). The Quran recalls his miraculous birth, his teachings, the miracles he performed by God’s permission, and his life.

Muslims respect and revere Jesus. They consider him one of the greatest of God’s messengers to humankind.

According to the Quran, Jesus was a dutiful boy who always obeyed his mother. His mission of spreading the message of God began after he reached manhood. He started teaching people about true faith in God. The Quran says Jesus was not teaching a new religion but the same message that was sent before him by the other messengers of God such as Abraham, David, Moses and Mohammed.

He was granted several miracles. Among them were the curing of blind, healing the lepers, revival of the dead and knowledge of surplus goods that people tried to hide in their homes and not give in charity.

Like what happens to the good leaders most of the times, Jesus also had a difficult time getting the people to listen to him in the beginning. The Quran records that fierce opposition to Jesus came from the community leaders. He was called an imposter, and they contrived to plot against him. They got him arrested and tried to get him executed.

According to the Quran, it was made to appear that they crucified him but he was replaced by a man who betrayed him and looked very much like him. God saved Jesus and took him to paradise until the hour would come to complete his mission in the end of time.

All the above quotes from the Quran tell us how much respect Islam has given to Mary and her son, Jesus.

Sure, there are some differences between the two faiths, but just understanding the teachings, wisdom and the miracles of Jesus can be an opportunity for the believers of two faiths to celebrate and work together for the betterment of the society and the world. Amen.

Mrs. Sarwat Husain is President of the San Antonio Chapter of Council of American-Islamic Relations [CAIR]. This comment was published by . Reach her at

© 2007-2010. All rights reserved.
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium
without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

13 Responses for “Jesus And Mary In Muslim Eyes: Respect And Love”

  1. Muslims are very protective about their religion. Sometimes over-protective. This is understandable in view of what they’ve been through over the past 100 years, from foreign occupations of their lands, which continue until today, to deliberate twisting of their religion and demonizing it by vested interests in some countries where a few people with political motivations want to turn their populations against Islam for multiple reasons. Because of the defensiveness they feel, some Muslims overly react to small insignificant issues and waste their considerable talent and energy on them.

    The ‘issue’ of greeting a Christian or a Jew on his or her religious occasion should not be a big deal and is not a big deal for most Muslims. But a few, out of goodness and protectiveness, feel this may lead to something wrong. This should not be the case. Judaism never blossomed and grew anywhere the way it did under Muslim rule and till this day the Mufti of Jerusalem, the highest Muslim authority in Islam’s third most sacred city, continues the centuries-old practice of greeting Christians on the birthday of Jesus, or Eesa, peace be upon him.

    Below is something I wrote in an email to brother Saleh on this subject. No one has to agree or disagree with me on it. It’s just my opinion. I am not seeking a discussion here. I learn from others and this is just to enrich our collective knowledge:

    ” Brother Saleh,

    It is ill manners to hurt others on their religious occasions if they are not hurting you on your occasions. This is Islam and you can’t convince me otherwise. Let Allah be the judge.

    Second, Arab Christians didn’t celebrate the birth of Isa bin Maryam the way Europe does today. It used to be done in a very somber and religious way. No one greeted each other by saying Merry Christmas or Happy New Year. These are European Christian traditions and most eastern Christians didn’t follow them until last century, with the exception of the Arab Christians of Jerusalem who interacted with Europe and adopted the European style of celebrating Christmas. And yes, the Mufti of Al Quds for several centuries and even today greets the Christians and I think also the Jews [if not then it might be because of Israeli atrocities, but Jews were always welcomed by Muslims in al Quds] on their religious occasions. Similar things were seen in the capitals of Islamic khilafa.

    I am a history buff, especially Arab Islamic history and I have read this history in Arabic sources, not western or English sources. Unfortunately, most of us are unaware of the rich scientific and cultural lives of the Muslims in Damascus and Baghdad and Cairo and Andalus and Istanbul. They lived within Islamic guidelines but were open to the world. They used to translate Persian and Greek philosophy books no matter how scandalous those books were. These Muslims were confident. They read these books, took the good and left out the bad. They were confident, not insecure. Greeting a Christian on his religious day was simply a greet. A sign of good manners, not an endorsement of Christianity’s little details. It didn’t hurt Islam or us in the past 1,500 years, or the past 700 to 1000 years and it doesn’t hurt us now.

    I am not sure if these Arab Islamic history books are available in Pakistan in Urdu or English. I frankly don’t have many of them now. Nor do I have the time to get involved in this useless debate when we, Muslims and Pakistanis, face major challenges. All I can say that it is unfrotunate that we waste so much time and energy and talent on these minor issues when our enemies are working diligently to counter us in multiple ways. Please learn to overlook minor things and excuse other Muslims for not agreeing with your way of looking at things. We need to unite ourselves for major challenges instead of these petty little things.”

  2. Arif Humayun says:

    Mrs. Sarwat Husain, President of the San Antonio Chapter of Council of American-Islamic Relations, deserves complements for attempting to establish commonalities between Christianity and Islam. Inadvertently, however, she does a great disservice to Islam by selectively offering simplistic and one-sided explanation from the Qur’an. What she is stating is that: Allah wanted to save Jesus from crucifixion but he did not have the power to do so. Thus he tricked the Romans by providing another person who assumed Jesus’ resemblance or looked like Jesus; mistaking him as Jesus, the Romans crucified that person and physically raised Jesus to Heavens. This is exactly the argument that Christians use as evidence to prove that Jesus’ divinity and show that his status was superior to that of the Holy Prophet Mohammad, peace and blessings of Allah be on him. The Christians highlight Jesus’ physical ascension and his Second Coming as signs of his divinity as no other human being has been physically raised to Heavens.

    In her explanation, Mrs. Husain ignores the most important verse about Jesus’ life. Chapter 3 (Al-Imran) Verse 56 states: When Allah said, “‘O Jesus, I will cause thee to die and will exalt thee to Myself, and will clear thee from the charges of those who disbelieve, and will place those who follow thee above those who disbelieve, until the Day of Resurrection; then to Me shall be your return, and I will judge between you concerning that wherein you differ.” Please note the sequence of events in this verse – Jesus’ death followed by exaltation. How would Mrs. Husain’s position explain this Quranic verse?

    Mrs. Husain should watch the debate between Mr. Ahmad Deedat and Dr. Robert Douglas of the Zwimmer Institute. This public discussion held at the University of Kansas in November 1986 discussed this very topic in detail and was titled “Crucifixion: Fact or Fiction”. I have a video copy of that debate which can also be obtained from (DVD No. 38). After Mr. Deedat lashed out at Christianity, Dr. Douglas repeated the position that Mrs. Husain presents in her article and asked Mr. Deedat if this was Islam’s justice where God had to kill one innocent person to save another innocent person (Jesus)? He asked if the God of Islam was so powerless that he could not simply save Jesus without having another person killed? Mr. Deedat was forced to deny that God physically raised Jesus to heavens and had another innocent person crucified in his place. Mr. Deedat refuted that assertion and clarified that Jesus was alive when taken down due to Sabath adding that he stayed on the cross for no more than 3-4 hours and the two thieves crucified with him were also alive.

    Another complicating factor is the effect of this belief on the concept of Khatam-e-Nabiyyeen. If Jesus was physically raised to Heavens before crucifixion, then he has to return to fulfill his mission, as he himself stated, then would he still be a prophet? Would he return as a prophet to propagate the Law of Moses (Jewish Law) or would he have accepted Islam and will propagate the Law of Holy Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). Either way, if he returns to preach the message of Allah, he has to be a prophet. That would contradict the concept of Khatam-e-Nabuwwat as propagated by the Muslim clergy.

    The reason for this long comment is to caution well intentioned people like Mrs. Husain to be careful in propagating simplistic views about the Qur’an without considering the unintended consequences where she ends up propagating the superiority of Prophet Jesus over the Holy Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him).

    • Dear Mr. Arif,

      You have to understand the context. Please don’t jump to ‘defend’ Islam. Mrs. Sarwat is addressing an audience in a US city in an American newspaper. She is not addressing Muslims and she is not trying to present all of Islam in one op-ed piece. Try to understand that there is a strong anti-Islam backlash in that country. Most major newspapers don’t offer this much space to list all of the things you are talking about here. Most Americans won’t in fact be interested in sparing too much time to read your long piece. In case you have not noticed, most op-eds in US newspapers are short and brief and to the point. No newspaper there will publish a piece as long as yours.

      Please try to look beyond your own self, appreciate what she’s done and leave it at that. We need to learn to appreciate and not start acting as if each one of us is re-introducing Islam among ourselves. You don’t need to preach Islam to your own. This might stun you but Mrs. Hussain is a Pakistani who is a fluent Arabic speaker and is a PhD in Islamic and Quranic research and study. She already knows all of what you have kindly listed here but her constraints are as if I have explained above. Please understand this. Best regards.

      • Arif Humayun says:

        Mr. Qureshi,
        I am also a US citizen and have been living in the US for the past 32 years. I am also part of a few interfaith forums in the US and have been explaining Islam to Americans and other non-Muslims. By presenting overly simplistic and selective explanations we are actually opening ourselves and Islam to further attacks. Many Christians actually question Jesus’ ascension and several Christian scholars and medical doctors have published evidence that Jesus was alive when taken down from the Cross. By allowing shuch things to be published we are doing a disservice to Islam – Arif Humayun

        • I see your point, Arif Sahib. I just submit that Mrs. Sarwat’s op-ed piece was probably not the right place to have this discussion. A longer piece including the points you have mentioned would have turned into a theological debate. What Mrs. Sarwat did was simply reminding American Christians of how much respect our Great Book has given to Jesus and Mary, or Isa and Maryam, peace be upon them. Let’s leave it at that. She simply tried to dispel the demoniztion of Islam in which some American groups are actively promoting unfortunately. Her work considering this background is find.

          Let’s have more people, like you for example, stepping forward and taking it from there. Let’s complement each other’s work instead of finding faults. You are doing a commensable work. Please take it from here.

          • Arif Humayun says:


    • Dear all,

      First thanks for all your responses to the article. I am glad to see that this one little piece generated more response than any other article on the site, Alhumdolillah.
      Now to brother Arif: brother understand I only wrote an opinion piece which was published in American news papers. Here we are given a set number of words within which the whole column has to be written. This was not a book as it was in your case, where you have the liberty to write what ever and however long you want to make it. In fact, we do not have that kind of freedom with our publishers here even if we are publishing a book.
      Now for the Quranic verses you have quoted, I do no tknow whos translation you are using here but Chapter 3 (Al-Imran) Verse 56 states does not say what you have quoted. The real meaning of the Verse 56 is in chapter 3 is “As to those who reject faith, I will punish them, with trrible agony, in this world and the Hereafter, nor will they have any one to help.”
      Brother non-of your argument make any sense what so ever.
      As for Mr. Ahmad Deedat and Dr. Robert Douglas of the Zwimmer Institute debate is concerend, I know that debate that took place about 24 yrs ago. It worked then. As a matter of fact I went to Durban, South Africa, met Ahmad Deedat with a delegation during the time when he was sick. This debate issue came up and I precisely remember Deedat telling us to use a softer approach to invite people in our religion.
      I write regularly on different topics in Islam for our news papers here. SInce I am given a limited space to give my intended message, my approach is to open the door for the people of other faiths to walk in and discover the rest by themselves.
      If the writer writes the way you have here with arrogance while depending on other peoples translations of the Quran, our articles will never get to be published in any news paper.
      I am very greatful to ALLAH Subanahu wa Talla that He has given me this chance, as small as it may be, to spread the message of Islam.
      You said you also live in States and you work with interfaith forums etc. Even with the interfaith forums you work with if you behave so arrogantly, constantly disrespecting their belief (right or wrong), I can assure you, you will not be invited again to those forums.
      Islam is a religion of peace, we have to be civil and polite and to the point if we want others to listen to us.
      May ALLAH guide all of us, Ameen.
      Jazak ALLAH Khair for all the rest of the responses.

  3. Nasir says:

    Assalam o alaykum,

    Only comment i would like to make is the placement of the Picture. We as Muslims know the ristrictions very well, and knowing the topic, I dont think that there was such a need at all. And the imprint at the bottom of the picture is even reflecting a contradiction in all practical terms.

    The writer is US based and is the President of Council of American-Islamic Relations, she has a greater responsibility of painting the clear picture of Islam, the basic teachings cant be altered or amended regardles of the country from where the article is written – Jazakallah.

  4. Ijaz Rana says:

    Dear Sirs,
    Though it is a good effort to present Islam’s point of view about one of the most respected prophet Isa ( AS ) & one of the most pious ladies Maryam ( RA ); yet printing an imaginary picture of theirs is NOT ALLOWED by Islam.
    We raise a lot of hue & cry when others do that & call it blasphemy, yet here we are doing it ourselves; why ???
    Don’t we owe an apology ?
    Best Regards.

    • Tariq says:

      yes its strange that the picture is printed, and yet the caption correctly says not to do that…weird. also our relationship with pope and his followers should be like this
      ” O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity” : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.” TMQURAN 4-171

      • Brother Tariq, what is your problem? Why can’t you show some good sense and good manners to others? We are not debating what our relationship should be with the pope. And no one will object these fine Quranic guidelines. This post is about a very simple thing: greeting our Pakistani Christian brothers and sisters on the birth day of Isa bin Maryam, PEace Be Upon Him. Why is your blood boiling over this? Islam was not revealed to you. It was revealed to us. And we, all Muslims, show good manners and hospitality to all without violating our guidelines. Please learn to win others toward yourself with good manners within religious guidelines. That’s what we are doing. Please add something constructive to the discussion that would unite all Pakistanis and stop outsiders from using our own, Muslims and Christians, to meddle in our affairs.

        • Tariq says:

          you think insulting me will cover this up ?
          go ahead. hahhah

  5. SMIQBAL says:

    A very happy Christmas and greetings of a very happy new year to all
    the members of Paknationalists.We share joy and
    happiness with you.


Leave a Reply