About this booklet
This booklet touches on topics that are common to Islam and Christianity. It draws on the Quran, Taurat, Zabor and Injil for a wider perspective on the topics and explains what Muslims and Christians believe. The purpose of the booklet is to foster better understanding and encourage dialog between Muslims and Christians on topics that are common to both religions.
Friend of God
Abraham was a great prophet and regarded by both Muslims and Christians as their spiritual ancestor. Abraham had a right relationship with God and was even called friend of God in both the Quran and the Bible.
In the Quran we read, “Who can be better in religion than one who submits his whole self to Allah, does good, and follows the way of Abraham the true in Faith? For Allah did take Abraham for a friend. ” (Surah 4:125)
The same thing is taught in the Bible which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend.” (James 2:23)
How was Abraham able to gain such favour from God that he was even regarded by God as His friend? One reason was that while many people in Abraham’s days worshipped idols, including his own father, Abraham was careful to worship only one God.
In the Quran, Abraham said to his father, “Takest thou idols for gods? For I see thee and thy people in manifest error…For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah.” (Surah 6:74, 79)
We too must be careful not to have other gods in our life. We may not worship physical idols but do we have things that we award higher importance than God e.g. money, career, family? These things can easily become the “gods” in our life that distract us from worshipping the one true God.
Besides Abraham, there is another prophet that is close to God. In fact, God even spoke to him directly. Do you know who this prophet is? We will talk more about him in the next chapter and learn from his life how we can also draw close to God.
Abraham’s faith in God is counted as righteousness
While Abraham lived a life that is pleasing to God, he was not entirely free from sin. In the Quran, Abraham prayed to God, “forgive me my sin on the Day of Judgment.” (Surah 26:82)
Even though Abraham was not perfect, yet he was declared righteous because of his faith. This brings great encouragement to us. No matter how hard we try, we sometimes fall into sin. But God is a forgiving God and He will forgive us if we repent. From the life of Abraham, we know that it is possible to live a life that is pleasing to God even though we are not perfect human beings. What did Abraham do that pleased God and how can we learn from his life?
We read earlier that Abraham was called a friend of God because he worshipped God alone and did not have any idols besides God. In addition to that, there is another important thing we can learn from his life. Abraham had faith in God.
Faith in God is so important that God considers us righteousness not simply by our outward religious behaviour but also by our faith in Him. The Quran says, “It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces towards East or West; but it is righteousness- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers…” (Surah 2:177)
The Taurat also tells us that God considers Abraham righteous when he believed God. At a time when Abraham was still childless and both he and his wife were in their old age, God promised him many descendants. Even though this seemed impossible, Abraham believed God and was considered righteous because of his faith.
The Taurat tells us that God said to Abraham, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram (another name of Abraham) believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:5-6)
Abraham was willing to sacrifice to God something precious
Abraham had faith in God and that made him totally committed to following God. The Quran says that “Abraham was indeed a model, devoutly obedient to Allah, (and) true in Faith…” (Surah 16:120).
Both the Quran and the Taurat tell us that God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son. After having waited so long to have descendants, Abraham’s son must have been the most precious thing to him. Yet when God asked him to sacrifice his son, Abraham willingly obeyed.
In the Quran we read, “Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: “O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!” (The son) said: “O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me, if Allah so wills one practicing Patience and Constancy!” So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice), We called out to him “O Abraham! “Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!” – thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial. And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice.”” (Surah 37: 102-107)
What is God asking us to obey Him in? Are we willing to obey God no matter how much it would cost us? Are we willing to give up something that is precious if obedience to God requires that?
Abraham’s love for God was indeed great to the extent that he was willing to sacrifice his own son. Even though Abraham’s love for God is great, do you think God’s love for man is even greater? Is God’s love for man so great that He is also willing to sacrifice something valuable to Himself for our sake?
God demonstrated His love for us
God is a loving God. Both the Quran and the Taurat tell us that in the end, God did not allow Abraham to sacrifice his son but instead provided a ransom that would die on his son’s behalf. What is interesting is that the Quran tells us that the animal offered by God is called a momentous sacrifice, which means one of much importance and value to God. Why would a simple animal be called a momentous sacrifice? Could it be that this animal sacrifice is pointing to a greater sacrifice that is to come? The Taurat’s record of this incident points to this as well.
In the Taurat, we read, “Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”” (Genesis 22:10-14)
In the preceding verses, when Abraham’s son asked him where the animal for the sacrifice was, Abraham replied that God would provide a lamb so that his son would not need to die. But what God eventually provided to Abraham was not a lamb, but rather a ram. That is why Abraham continued to look forward to the day when God will indeed provide a lamb as a sacrifice on this same mountain. Therefore, he named that place “the Lord will provide” rather than “the Lord has provided.”
In both the Quran and Taurat, God is the one that provides the ransom that saves our souls. God alone can rescue us.
The Quran teaches this truth when it says, “But proclaim (to them) this (truth): that every soul delivers itself to ruin by its own acts: it will find for itself no protector or intercessor except Allah. If it offered every ransom, (or reparation), none will be accepted: such is (the end of) those who deliver themselves to ruin by their own acts: they will have for drink (only) boiling water, and for punishment, one most grievous: for they persisted in rejecting Allah.” (Surah 6:70)
But God in His mercy will save us from condemnation. No one else can. We can’t provide a ransom to save ourselves. What is this precious ransom that God will provide to save us?
Importance of animal sacrifices
Animal sacrifices are important to God. In the case of Abraham, God did not simply stop Abraham from sacrificing his son and send him back. No, God actually provided an animal so that Abraham could still sacrifice to Him.
The animal sacrifice in the case of Abraham saved his son’s life. There is an interesting story in the Quran that tells of how a sacrificed animal could even give life to a dead person. When the people were in doubt as to who killed a man, they were instructed to sacrifice an unblemished animal and when the dead person’s body came into contact with the sacrificed animal he was brought back to life.
He said: “He says: A heifer not trained to till the soil or water the fields; sound and without blemish.” They said: “Now hast thou brought the truth.” Then they offered her in sacrifice, but not with good-will. Remember ye slew a man and fell into a dispute among yourselves as to the crime: But Allah was to bring forth what ye did hide. So We said: “Strike the (body) with a piece of the (heifer).” Thus Allah bringeth the dead to life and showeth you His Signs: Perchance ye may understand. (Surah 2:71-73)
While animal sacrifices are important, the mere ritual of animal sacrifices means nothing to God unless our heart is right.
The Quran says, “The sacrificial camels we have made for you as among the symbols from Allah. In them is (much) good for you: then pronounce the name of Allah over them as they line up (for sacrifice): when they are down on their sides (after slaughter)… It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him.” (Surah 22:36-37)
The Zabor also echoes this same truth when David writes in the Psalms, “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise…Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.” (Psalms 51:16-19)
Do we treat our relationship with God as merely performing religious rituals? Is our heart truly seeking after God?
From the accounts of Abraham in both the Quran and the Taurat, we learned that he was indeed a person highly regarded by God. There is another prophet after Abraham that was also highly regarded by God. He was even described as amongst those that are nearest to God. Who is this person?
Abraham, even though he was called a friend of God, had occasions where he sinned and had to ask for God’s forgiveness. Is there any person in the Quran, Taurat, Zabor and Injil who is sinless and never had to ask God for forgiveness?
Let’s go deeper in our spiritual journey as we find out more in the other chapters.
God spoke to Moses directly
Abraham was a prophet that was close to God and was called a friend of God. Another prophet that was close to God was Moses. Both the Quran and Taurat tell us that Moses was so close to God that God came down to earth to speak to Moses directly and not via an angel.
The Quran says, “and to Moses Allah spoke direct.” (Surah 4:164)
The Taurat says, “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” (Exodus 33:11)
The Quran says, “Now when Moses had fulfilled the term, and was travelling with his family, he perceived a fire in the direction of Mount Tur. He said to his family: “Tarry ye; I perceive a fire; I hope to bring you from there some information, or a burning firebrand, that ye may warm yourselves.” But when he came to the (fire), a voice was heard from the right bank of the valley, from a tree in hallowed ground: “O Moses! Verily I am Allah, the Lord of the Worlds….” (Surah 28:29-30)
The Taurat tells us, “Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”” (Exodus 3:2-4)
What can we learn from Moses’ life to help us to live a life that is pleasing to God? First of all, Moses, like Abraham, did not worship multiple gods and taught that there is only one God.
In the Taurat, Moses taught, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)
True religion always starts from the belief in one God. God is so great that we cannot assign partners to Him.
God spoke to His prophets in the past. Today, God continues to “speak” to His people primarily through His Word. Are we paying attention to God when He speaks to us? Do we spend enough time reading and meditating on God’s word in the Taurat, Zabur and Injil?
God shows His mercy towards Moses
We read earlier that Abraham, while close to God, sinned and God forgave him. Likewise we read in both the Quran and Taurat that Moses committed a serious sin of murder and God also forgave him in view of His mercy.
The Taurat also tells us that “One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.” (Exodus 28:11-12)
From what we read about Abraham and Moses, two great prophets of God, we learn that it is so human to fall into sin. Yet when we sin, we have the assurance that God is a merciful and gracious God. If we repent, God is willing to forgive us and can continue to use us to do great things for Him, like He did in the case of Abraham and Moses. Do we come to God regularly to confess our sins?
Moses made huge sacrifices to obey God
In the earlier chapter, we saw how Abraham was willing to obey God even though he had to sacrifice his son. In the same way, Moses also had to make a huge sacrifice when he chose to obey God. God had commanded Moses to ask Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave the land of Egypt. Moses had every reason to be afraid. The Egyptians were a powerful nation and he had to ask the king of Egypt to let God’s people go. Moses would have to do so at the risk of losing his life. Yet he obeyed God.
We can learn some important lessons from the lives of Abraham and Moses, the two prophets who were close to God. Both men put their faith in the one true God and they were totally committed to obeying God despite the costs. If you know that God is calling you to obey Him in something, would you be willing to obey God even if the costs are high?
Many years later, Jesus also warned his disciples that they will face persecutions, just like the prophets before them. But while the price of following God is high, so are the rewards.
Jesus said in the Injil, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
God gave Moses many signs
When God calls us to obey Him in something, He does not leave us helpless by ourselves. He always provides the means for us to accomplish the task. Moses was called by God to do a very difficult task of forcing Pharaoh to let God’s people go. In order to help Moses, God gave him many signs, which are supernatural and would convince Pharaoh that God was with Moses.
The Quran tells us, “To Moses We did give Nine Clear Signs: As the Children of Israel: when he came to them, Pharaoh said to him: “O Moses! I consider thee, indeed, to have been worked upon by sorcery!” (Surah 17:101)
Even though Moses performed these nine signs unto the Egyptians, Pharaoh did not repent. Instead of acknowledging that God was with Moses, he accused Moses of working sorcery.
The Taurat records the tenth sign that caused Pharaoh to finally give in and let the people of God leave Egypt. The tenth sign is God passing through Egypt and killing every firstborn.
So Moses said, “This is what the LORD says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die…” (Exodus 11:4-5)
In the Taurat, God instructs Moses, “Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” (Exodus 12:3, 5-7, 12-13)
Instead of Abraham’s son having to die, an animal died in his place. Instead of the firstborn in Egypt having to die, the animals that were sacrificed died on their behalf. There is a common principle that animal sacrifices in some way act as a substitute.
Moses instituted animal sacrifices
Moses taught the people about the importance of animal sacrifices in taking away our sins and saving our souls from death.
In the Taurat, God told Moses, “Then say to the Israelites: ‘Take a male goat for a sin offering, a calf and a lamb—both a year old and without defect—for a burnt offering…” (Leviticus 9:3)
The Quran also speaks about offering animal sacrifices to God when you are unable to fulfil certain requirements of the Hajj. Muslims believe that after they perform the Hajj, they become sinless again.
And complete the Hajj or ‘umra in the service of Allah. But if ye are prevented (from completing it), send an offering for sacrifice, such as ye may find, and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches the place of sacrifice. And if any of you is ill, or has an ailment in his scalp, (necessitating shaving), (he should) in compensation either fast, or feed the poor, or offer sacrifice; and when ye are in peaceful conditions (again), if any one wishes to continue the ‘umra on to the hajj… (Surah 2:196)
The prominent Muslim scholar Imam Ghazali teaches, “Sacrifice in a mass scale brings people near God. Hope that in lieu of every limb of the sacrificed animal, God will save your every limb from Hell-fire.” (Ihya Ulum id din, Vol.1 pg 257)
Why must sacrifices be offered to God before sins can be forgiven? Is it because God is the just Judge who cannot overlook sin and therefore the punishment has to be paid either by us or by another ransom sacrifice?
Why does the sacrificed animal have to be an unblemished one? Can something that is itself blemished take away our blemishes and sin?
Are mere animals valuable enough to act as a substitute for mankind or are they simply symbolical or some greater sacrifice – what the Quran calls a momentous sacrifice?
God gave Moses His Word
Both the Quran and the Injil tell us that God gave Moses the Taurat (or Law) to show His people how they should live their lives in right relationship with Him.
The Quran says, “Moreover, We gave Moses the Book, completing (Our favour) to those who would do right, and explaining all things in detail, and a guide and a mercy, that they might believe in the meeting with their Lord.” (Surah 6:154)
The Injil says, “Has not Moses given you the law?” (John 7:19)
Muslims believe that after God gave Moses the Taurat (Law), He also gave the Zabur (Psalms), the Injeel (Gospel) and finally the Quran, which was in agreement with all the previous Scriptures that the people during Muhammad’s time possessed.
In the Quran, God told Muhammad, “That which We have revealed to thee of the Book is the Truth,- confirming what was (revealed) before it.” (Surah 35:31)
The Quran affirms that throughout that long period of time from Moses to Muhammad, no one could corrupt God’s words because God Himself guarded it safely.
In the Quran, God told Muhammad, “To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety…” (Surah 5:48)
The Bible also testifies to God’s power in being able to guard His words from corruption.
The Bible teaches, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)
God guards His word well through the centuries as His word is precious. Are we reading God’s word regularly? Do we try to understand God’s word and meditate on His teachings?
Since God has revealed to us His message in all these books, He requires us to read and know all of them.
The Quran says, “Anyone who denies Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the day of judgement, has gone far, far astray.” (Surah 4:136)
Moses gave the people the Taurat and asked them to choose carefully which path they want to take – the path of God that leads to life or the wrong path that leads to death.
In the Taurat Moses taught “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live…” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
God is indeed a gracious God. He shows us the right path but does not force us to take it. There is no compulsion in true religion. God wants us to exercise our free will to choose the right path. The Quran also teaches about freedom in religion when it says, “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error…” (Surah 2:256) Yet in another verse, Muhammad says to the people, “To you be your religion and to me my religion.” (Surah 106:6)
We thank God for giving us this freedom to choose and ask God to give us the wisdom to discern the right path.
God gave us His word through the prophets, which were handed down to us in the form of a book. Is this the only way God’s Word is revealed to us? Can God’s Word also be in the form of a person? Another prophet born after Moses was called the Word of God. Who is this person?
Moses was called honourable in this world but someone who came after him was called honourable in this world as well as in the world to come. Who is this person?
Moses gave the people clear signs so that the people may know that he was from God. However, a person who came after him not only gave clear signs to prove that he was from God, he was himself called a Sign unto mankind. Who is this person?
Jesus the sinless one
We saw in the earlier chapters that while the other prophets were close to God, yet they did not live a life totally free from sin. When we come to Jesus, we find a unique person who was not at all associated with any sin.
The Quran teaches that Jesus was holy. When the angel came to Mary he said to her, “I am only a messenger from your Lord (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son” (Surah 19.19).
The word for holy in this verse is applied to no other person in the Quran.
In the Injil, Jesus was also called the “holy one”. When the demons saw Jesus, they recognize who he was and said, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1:24)
Jesus himself affirmed that he was holy when he asked the people “Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me?” (John 8:46)
We saw in the earlier chapter that Moses was described as honourable in this world. Jesus, however, was described as honourable in this world as well as the world to come. He is also of those closest to God.
The Quran tells us that the angels said: “O Mary! Allah 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 Allah.” (Surah 3:45)
No one can come close to God unless he is holy.
Jesus the Word of God
Moses was given the word of God in the form of the Taurat. Jesus, however, was called the Word of God in both the Quran and the Injil.
The Quran says, “O Mary! Allah 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 Allah.” (Surah 3:45)
The Injil tells us that when Jesus was born into this world, “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:14)
Is God’s Word something eternal or something that came into existence at some point in time? If God’s word did not exist with God from eternity, does that mean that there was a time when God was without the ability to ‘communicate’, which is impossible?
Is it possible for the Word of God to be eternal, yet come into existence at some point in time? Muslims believe that the Quran is the eternal, uncreated Word of God. Yet Muslims also believe that the message of the Quran descended from heaven upon man at a particular point in history when the angel Gabriel brought the message to Muhammad. And while Muslims believe that the Quran is uncreated, the physical book that they possess came into existence at a particular point in time, when it was printed. What does it mean when we say the Word of God took on flesh in the person of Jesus?
We can understand that scripture is called Word of God because it is the revelation of God. Why would Jesus be also called the Word of God? Could Jesus be called the Word of God because He is the living revelation of God?
Jesus teaches in the Injil that he reveals God. He said, “If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well…. Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:7‐9)
It is interesting that in the Injil, Jesus described God as his Father and himself as God’s son. However, we must never take this to mean that God has had a wife to produce Jesus.
This verse in the Quran explains that God did not have a sexual relationship to produce a son because He did not take for Himself a wife.
Wonderful Originator of the heavens and the earth! How could He have a son when He has no consort (i.e. wife)… (Surah 6.101)
When Christians calls Jesus God’s son, it should be understood in a functional way. Jesus functions as the son though his essence is equal with the father.” Jesus was subordinate to the Father as “the son” but has the exact same nature as the father.
Nowhere does the Injil teach that God had a physical relationship with Mary resulting in the birth of Jesus. No, God simply breathed His Spirit into Mary and she gave birth to Jesus. This was taught in both the Quran and the Injil.
The Quran says, “We breathed into her of Our spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples.” (Surah 21:91)
The Injil says, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
Jesus the Sign unto mankind
Moses was given signs to prove that he was a prophet of God. Jesus was also given many signs to prove that he was from God through the many miracles that he performed.
The Quran writes that Jesus was able to do many miracles, even bringing people back from the dead.
In the Quran, Jesus says, “And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by Allah’s leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe;” (Surah 3:49)
Since Jesus was the Word, the Quran tells us that Jesus was able to speak even when he was a baby. Jesus was also able to make a live bird out of clay.
When Allah will say: O Isa son of Marium! Remember My favor on you and on your mother, when I strengthened you with the holy Spirit, you spoke to the people in the cradle and when of old age, and when I taught you the Book and the wisdom and the Taurat and the Injeel; and when you determined out of clay a thing like the form of a bird by My permission, then you breathed into it and it became a bird by My permission…(Surah 5:110)
The Injil also tells us that Jesus did many miracles.
Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. (Matthew 15:30)
Like the Quran, the Injil also teaches that not only was Jesus able to heal, he was also able to give life to those that were already dead.
But Jesus was not just given signs, both the Quran and the Bible teach that Jesus was himself a Sign unto mankind.
The Quran says that when God decided to send Jesus, the angels in heaven quarrelled and casted lots as to who would care for Jesus’ mother Mary. In no other place in the Quran do we read about such excitement taking place in heaven.
Thou wast not with them when they cast lots with arrows, as to which of them should be charged with the care of Mary: Nor wast thou with them when they disputed (the point). (Surah 3:44)
Why was there so much excitement? It was because for the first time in human history, a baby would be born of a virgin.
The Quran tells us that Mary said, “How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?” He said: “So (it will be): Thy Lord saith, ‘that is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us’: It is a matter (so) decreed.” (Surah 19:20-12)
The Bible also tells us that the virgin birth of Jesus is a sign from God when it says, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
Indeed, it was a Sign because Jesus’ birth was so unique. Apart from Adam and Eve who did not have parents, all other human beings came into this world through their parents? Why do you think Jesus is the only person in the world who was born supernaturally of a virgin? What is God trying to reveal to us?
Surely God was using this supernatural birth to show us that Jesus was a Sign unto the whole world. We sometimes think that Jesus was only sent to the Jews or the Christians but both the Quran and Bible are clear that Jesus is for the whole world.
We learned from the other chapters that God is a merciful God and forgave His people even when they sinned if they would come to God in repentance. The mercy of God can be seen in the life of Jesus. Both the Quran and the Bible teach that God sent Jesus to earth as an expression of His mercy.
The Quran tells us that Mary said, “How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?” He said: “So (it will be): Thy Lord saith, ‘that is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us’: It is a matter (so) decreed.” (Surah 19:20-12)
Through the life of Jesus, God demonstrated His mercy in many different ways. For example, Jesus went about doing good and healing the sick. He did not shun even those who were unclean. When he touched the unclean lepers, they were healed and became clean.
The Injil tells us that Jesus was merciful even to sinners and had authority to forgive those who sinned against God.
When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears…Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Full story from Luke 7:36-48)
God also revealed to us that He is a God of mercy through the teachings of Jesus. Jesus taught us that we are not to love only those who love us but also our enemies.
Jesus teaches, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:43-45)
Jesus taught us never to condemn unbelievers and sinners. He was patient with them and they repented because they were touched by how he showed love towards them.
The Injil tells us, “But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”” (Luke 5:30-32)
God is a merciful God and He wants to call upon sinners to repent and come to Him. Jesus told his disciples this story to teach them never to be confident of their own righteousness through good deeds but to come before God and rely entirely on His mercy to save them.
The Injil tells us that “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.” (Luke 18:9-14)
Do we trust in our own good deeds to save us or do we recognize that we are sinners who are in need of God’s mercy to save us?
Jesus is coming back to earth
Both Muslims and Christians believe that Jesus, who is now in the presence of God, will come back to earth again one day.
In the Quran Jesus talks about his ascension into heaven, “Peace on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!” (Surah 19:33)
Furthermore, the Quran teaches that Jesus will come back to earth one day. The Quran teaches that Jesus’ coming will be a sign that the Hour of Judgment is near (i.e. in the last days). The Quran says, “And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): therefore have no doubt about the (Hour), but follow ye Me: this is a Straight Way.” (Surah 43.61)
The Injil also records the incident of Jesus being taken up into heaven. Immediately after that, two angels appeared to his disciples and told them that Jesus will come back to earth some day.
And saying these things, as they watched, He was taken up. And a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they were looking intently into the heaven, He having gone, even behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them, who also said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into the heaven? This same Jesus who is taken up from you into Heaven, will come in the way you have seen Him going into Heaven. (Acts 1:9-11)
What will Jesus do when he comes back to earth? Both Muslims and Christians believe that when Jesus comes, he will destroy evil.
Because Jesus is holy and without sin, he is able to destroy the evil forces. When the demons saw Jesus, they recognize who he was and said, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1:24)
Muslims believe that when Jesus comes to earth the second time, he will destroy the ultimate evil force called Dajjal. The Bible describes this ultimate evil in the last days as the beast and when Jesus comes he will wage war against the beast and defeat him.
He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. (Revelation 19:13, 19-20)
Jesus gives his followers assurance in the afterlife
As followers of God, it is comforting if we can know in certainty whether God would accept us and allow us to dwell with Him in heaven. In both the Quran and the Injil, the followers of Jesus received that assurance that no fear shall come upon them after they die.
In the Quran, God promised Jesus that those who follow him will be superior to those who reject faith.
Behold! Allah said: “O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection. (Surah 3:55)
The Quran also calls the followers of Jesus true Muslims. We read, “When Jesus found Unbelief on their part He said: “Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah.” Said the disciples: “We are Allah’s helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims.” (Surah 3:52)
In another verse in the Quran, Jesus assured his followers that they need not fear on the Day of Resurrection.
My devotees! No fear shall be on you that Day, nor shall ye grieve. (Surah 43:68)
Do we have the assurance that God will save us from sin and that we will spend eternity with God?
In the Injil, Jesus also promised eternal life to those who know God and follow him. Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)
If you want to get to heaven, would you not want to follow someone who is already in heaven and knows the straight way to heaven?
The Quran teaches, “And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): therefore have no doubt about the (Hour), but follow ye Me: this is a Straight Way.” (Surah 43.61)
In the Injil, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Would you like to have the assurance that God will save you from your sins and give you eternal life?