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Jesus

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The Islamic World: Past and Present What is This? Accessible coverage of Islam from the seventh century to the twenty-first century

    Jesus

    Regardless of religious beliefs or the faiths to which they belong, most scholars who have studied the evidence acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth as a great leader and teacher. In Christianity, Jesus is the central figure revered as both the son of God and as one aspect of God himself in the Holy Trinity (the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit). Christians also revere Mary, the mother of Jesus. Muslims see both Jesus and Mary as important figures in God's plan for humanity, but their beliefs about them differ significantly from those of Christians.

    The Qur'an mentions Jesus 25 times and credits him with many of the same miracles described in the New Testament, such as healing the sick. Muslims do not, however, worship Jesus as God. They see him, instead, as a special type of prophet—a messenger sent by God to bring his word to humans. God guarantees success on earth to messengers, and the words of these messengers, including Moses and Muhammad, are recorded in the scriptures. Moses' message from God is preserved in the Old Testament, or the Torah. Jesus' message is recorded in the New Testament, or the Gospels. Muhammad's message comes to believers in the Qur'an.

    Muslims also differ from Christians in their views about the nature of Jesus. For example, Muslims do not consider Jesus to be the son of God, nor do they believe in the concept of the Holy Trinity. For Muslims, the trinity is a form of polytheism—a belief in many gods. As a monotheistic religion, Islam preaches that God exists in only one form. Muslims do not recognize Jesus as the son of God, but they also do not believe that he was conceived by a human father. In Islam, Jesus' conception is seen as a miracle from God.

    Muslims do not believe in the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus. Christians view the Crucifixion as a necessary sacrifice that Jesus made to save all humans from original sin, the state all people are born into because Adam and Eve sinned. Muslims do not believe in the idea of original sin, so they see no need for such a sacrifice. They believe that all people are responsible for their own salvation through their actions. The Qur'an states that God himself actually took Jesus up to heaven.

    Mary is also a significant and popular figure in Islamic belief. The Qur'an calls her one of the four perfect examples of womanhood. In fact, the Qur'an mentions Mary more times than does the New Testament and provides more information about her life. The Qur'an includes an entire chapter devoted to and named after Mary.

    According to the Qur'an, God “breathed a life” into Mary and “made her and her son a token for mankind.” It was God's will that Mary give birth to Jesus. She did so knowing that, when she became pregnant, she would be accused of having sexual relations outside of marriage. Muslims revere her for sacrificing her repuation to bring Jesus into the world. The Qur'an states that the infant Jesus defended Mary's reputation by telling others that she was innocent of any sin.

    Muslims often see a connection between Mary and Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad . Fatimah was the founder of the line of imams who were believed to possess divine truth. She is thus associated with the divine wisdom, or Sophia, from which humans gain knowledge of God. Like Mary, Fatimah is seen as an example of perfect womanhood. See also Christianity and Islam; Fatimah ; Prophets.

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