A December 2019 Gallup poll found that the percentage of Americans who describe their Christmas celebrations as "strongly religious" has dropped to 35 percent. This is down from about half in previous measures in 2005 and 2010. Nonetheless, Christmas is celebrated by over 90 percent of Americans, which commemorates the birth of Prophet Jesus, God’s peace be upon him.
He is the central figure of Christianity, the religion of the European settlers who came to the country, and whose influence has defined American culture for over two centuries. What few Americans know is that he is important in Islam as well.
Here are 10 key things to know about Jesus in Islam:
- Jesus is considered a Prophet and Messenger of the One, All-Powerful God. Muslims offer words of prayer after saying his name, as they do for other Prophets and Messengers. In English, the phrase “peace be upon him” is a prayer seeking God’s peace for the Prophet being spoken of.
- Muslims love Jesus. We also love Abraham, Moses, and Noah, to name just a few other Prophets Muslims revere. May God's peace be upon all of these great Messengers of God.
- Muslims also love the mother of Jesus, Mary. We believe she was a pious and noble woman chosen over all of the women of the world. The 19th chapter of the Quran is named after her.
- Muslims believe that Jesus was born miraculously of a virgin mother and no father. His birth is miraculous like the birth of Prophet Adam, the first human being, who was created with neither mother nor father (Quran 3:59).
- Muslims do not believe that Jesus was the son of God (Quran 5:116). God is so Powerful and Self-Sufficient that He does not need a son or any kind of partner.
- In the Arabic Bible the name for God is “Allah”. Arab Christians call God “Allah”, as Muslims do. Prophet Jesus is called “Eesa” in Arabic (sometimes spelled “Isa” or “Eissa” in English).
- Jesus did not die on the cross. Rather, God saved him from his enemies and it was made to appear that he was killed (Quran 4:157). He was raised to Heaven.
- Jesus performed miracles by the Will of God, like healing the blind and those with leprosy (Quran 3:49).
- Jesus prayed to the same All-Powerful One God as all of the Prophets who preceded and succeeded him.
- Jesus will return before the end of the world.