ComparativeReligion: The Life of Jesus
Christianvs. Muslim Belief
TheChristian and Muslim religions are the largest in the world due totheir high number of believers in different regions. In the religioustexts for the two religions, the Bible and the Quran, the existenceof Jesus is mentioned, though the views about his life and death arein some cases different. This paper aims to understand the beliefsabout Jesus that exist in both Christian and Islam contexts bydiscussing the similarities and differences between the twodoctrines.
Amajority of non-Muslims are unaware that they too believe in theexistence of Christ. The difference between them is their perceptionof his livelihood on the earth. One of the most evident similaritiesbetween the two diverse religions is the fact that Jesus was born byMary, who was a virgin (Alger 31). The Bible narrates his birth inthe first four books of the New Testament, which include Matthew,Mark, Luke, and John. They tell how Mary conceived Jesus through theHoly Spirit and not by her husband, Joseph. The aspect of birth isfurther supported by the Surah’s 19:16-21, where Angel Gabrielappears to Mary or Maryam and tells her about the birth of her sonwho shall be pure and given by the Lord (Algar 32). Therefore, thetwo texts prove that Jesus was born by a virgin and was conceived bythe power of the Spirit of the Lord.
Anothersimilarity that both religions have concerning the life of Jesus isin the belief that he performed miracles. According to the Bible,Jesus did so many wonders in his lifetime such as turning water intowine, bringing back the dead, giving sight to the blind, and healinglepers (Algar 39). The Quran records miracles that he performed,though different from those of the Bible, such as turning clay into abird, healing lepers, and restoring sight to the blind. Theperformance of miracles is in both books outlined to have been donethrough the power of God, thus, creating a connection between theMessiah in the Quran and the one discussed in the Bible (Algar 47).
Furthermore,Christians hold true believers to be those who trust in Christ andlive according to his teachings because he is the son of God.Similarly, Muslims accept as true that right believers are those thatacknowledge the life of Jesus as a true informer along with theothers sent by God (Algar 53). They also trust in the prophets whowere sent by God from Adam to Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, who was thelast prophet. In this case, it means that just like Christians, thebelief and respect in the existence of Christ are considered a factorin the definition of a true believer.
Accordingto a message given by Prophet Muhammad, Muslims also believe in thesecond coming of Jesus towards the end of the world. Thecommunication passed by the last prophet talks about him returning tobring peace and justice to the earth (Algar 65). The notion issimilar to what Christian teaching talk about in the stories aboutJesus and in the book of Revelation, which says that Christ will comeback to collect his people during the judgment day.
Oneof the most evident differences that exist between what the Muslimsand Christians believe about Jesus is his person as a son of God.Christians consider him the divine Son of God who was conceived bythe Holy Spirit and has numerously been described as a show of God’slove to the world that he gave his only son. On the other hand,Muslims believe that though his birth was by the power of God and nota man, Jesus was a messenger sent by the former to tell the peoplethat only one God exists and that they should obey Him (Corrigan etal. 76). In fact, the respect given to him is equal to what otherearlier prophets are given, which may be why most non-Muslims areunaware that the Quran recognizes the existence of Jesus.
Inaddition to the contrast about the divinity of Jesus, it is alsonoted that as a result of it, Muslims do not believe in the HolyTrinity as Christians do. The classification recognizes the presenceof God in three forms including the Father, the Son (Jesus), and theHoly Spirit. Islam religion has constantly denied the incarnation ofGod in the form of Christ and consequently the Holy Trinity. Thoughit may seem minor, this disagreement is major since Christianitybases the Gospel on the belief that Jesus is the incarnated form ofGod, while the Quran continuously denies this relationship (Zahniser54). As such, one of the major conflicts between the two religions isestablished based on this argument.
Thepreaching given in the Bible recognizes Jesus as God in the fleshwhere the Trinity serves as a pillar of the Christian faith. Theteachings further argue that though the teachings of Christ and faithin Him can one get to know God the Father. This defines the God givenby the Bible and Allah from the Quran since the Muslims do notbelieve that their God came in any other form to the earth, butrather he sent prophets to pass his message to the people (Zahniser58). Christians, through baptism and other significant ceremoniesconstantly recognize the presence of God as the Father, the Son, andthe Holy Spirit. This sets the line that the God of Muslims cannot bereferred to in the same manner as the God in Christianity despite theevident similarities between the two religions (Ghorbani et al. 7).
Thestory of the crucifixion, death and the resurrection of Jesus isanother major area that has caused disagreement between Christiansand the Muslim. According to Biblical teachings, Jesus was crucifiedto death by the Jews and resurrected on the third day after which herose into heaven. However, the Muslims simply believe that he did notdie through crucifixion by the Jews though it recognizes the factthat they wanted to kill him (Zahniser 67). According to Muslimteachings, it is unbelievable that God would let his prophet die inthe hands of men, which makes the story about the death of Jesusmysterious to them (Zebiri 74). In light of this, Muslims believethat Jesus was raised into the heavens and the claim that he wascrucified was a fabricated lie. This contrast has again caused hugegaps between the two major religions since Christianity is againbased on the belief that Jesus died for the sins of men to beforgiven, while in Islam, every person is responsible for theiriniquities and hence no need for the atonement of Jesus for theirforgiveness (Ghorbani et al. 9).
Finally,the widely known preaching that Jesus came to save the world from sinsince according to Christian teachings we are all born sinners as aresult of the original sin is unrecognized in Islam. Jesus accordingto the Gospel came to earth as a redeemer of humankind where he isregularly referred to as a savior. However, like the death of Jesus,Muslims do not believe in the original sin and God’s grace throughhis son as a redeemer and humanity’s savior, this brings up thecontrast between what Jesus came to do on earth (Zahniser 81).
Itis noted that most people compare Jesus to the last Muslim ProphetMuhammad who wrote the Quran and highly advocated for the killing ofnon-believers, which is in contrast with the recorded teachings ofChrist where forgiveness is taught. Additionally, sin is weighed as aperson’s flawed character in Islam, which means that it ispersonal. It explains why Jesus dying for our sins is insignificantto Muslims (Zebiri 93). Jesus teaches that human sins are forgiven solong as they turn to him, while the Quran preaches about the weightof wrong doings, where judgment will be passed based on how the eviland the compare with each other (Zahniser 101). The absolution ofsins through Jesus is, therefore, non-existent in Islam.
Fromthis discussion, it appears that through Jesus, there is a lot ofevidence that Christianity and Islam are related. However, thedifferences that exist remain irreconcilable, which creates the gapbetween the two. It is also clear that Jesus, also known as Isa inthe Quran, lived and is the son of Mary, conceived purely but notdivine, according to Muslims.
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