In Christianity, Jesus is the Son of God and the awaited Messiah whom Christians adore and glorify. The majority of Christians worship Jesus as the incarnation of God the Son, the second of three persons of a Divine Trinity. For Muslims, Jesus is one of the Messengers of God whom Allah has sent to guide people to His way in light of what is revealed from God upon him.
Jesus, in Islam, is one of the chosen five Messengers of God (peace be upon them) who are called Ulu Al-`Azm (the Messengers with strong determination). They excel other Prophets and Messengers due to their unyielding determination, constant efforts, untiring perseverance and great patience in calling people to the worship of God. The Qur’an commended their patience by asking the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be patient while calling people to Islam as these Messengers have been, saying:
So (endure) patiently, as the Messengers endowed with resolve (endured) patiently. (Al-Ahqaf 46:35)
The Qur’an stressed the high standing of Jesus (peace be upon him) among other Messengers of Allah as it reads,
Those are the Messengers; We have graced some of them over some others; of them (there are some) to whom Allah spoke, and some He raised in degrees. And We brought Isa son of Maryam (Jesus son of Mary) the supreme evidences and aided him with the Spirit of Holiness. (The Angel Jibril) (Al-Baqarah 2:253)
Many times the Qur’an highlights his excellence along with his mother (peace be upon her). God says regarding Jesus (peace be upon him):
As the Angels said, “O Maryam, (Mary) surely Allah gives you good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is the Messiah `Isa (Jesus) son of Maryam, esteemed in the present (life) and the Hereafter, and one of the near -stationed (i.e., stationed near to’ Allah). (Aal `Imran 3:45)
And concerning Jesus’s mother, God says,
And as the Angels said, “O Maryam, (Mary) surely Allah has elected you and purified you and has elected you over the women of the worlds. (Aal `Imran 3:42)
In this article, we will try to go into some of the rights of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) upon us, as Muslims, in light of the verses of the Glorious Qur’an and the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Rights of Jesus upon Muslims
To believe in Him as a Messenger of God:
A Muslim has to believe in Jesus as one of the blessed Messengers of God (peace be upon them) whom Allah has entrusted with the mission of conveying His guidance to people. It is an essential part of the Islamic creed to have faith in the whole messengers and Prophets without this faith Islam is unaccepted. The Qur’an states,
Say, [O believers], “We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” (Al-Baqarah 2:136)
Denying the Prophethood of anyone of them is an act of disbelief that rules a Muslim out of the fold of Islam. A Muslim cannot but to willfully and equally have faith in the whole Messengers of God whether they are mentioned in the Qur’an or not, including Jesus (peace be upon him). The Qur’an reads,
Surely the ones who disbelieve in Allah and His Messengers and would make a distinction between Allah and His Messengers, and say, “We believe in some, and disbelieve in some (others),” and would take to themselves a way in-between. Those are the disbelievers, truly. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment. (An-Nisaa’ 4:150-151)
`Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Faith is to believe in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and in the Last Day, and in divine destiny, both in its good and in its evil aspects.” (Muslim)
To send peace and blessings upon him:
Just as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), whenever Jesus (peace be upon him) is pointed out to, a Muslim has to send peace and blessings upon him. It is narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Send peace and blessings upon the Prophets and Messengers of Allah, for He (Allah) has sent them (to people) as He (Glory be to Him) sent me.” (Musannaf `Abdur-Razzaq and authenticated by Al-Albany) This special honor is only given to the Messengers of God, including Jesus, in view of the sublime mission they were entrusted with and the unbearable efforts they have done for the sake God, guiding people to the way of their Creator, the Almighty God (Glory be to Him).
To believe in his filiation to Maryam (Mary)
A Muslim is commanded to have faith in Jesus as a son of Maryam and that Allah has created him without a father. He was created miraculously in the womb of his mother Maryam as a kind of God’s absolute Omnipotence (Glory be to Him). Those who accused Jesus mother with adultery are not less bad than those who attributed the sonship of Jesus to Almighty Allah; both of them are equally mistaken. The truth is that Jesus, just as Adam, was created without a father whereas Adam was created without a father or a mother. The Qur’an tells us that Jesus was created as an embryo by a blow in Mary’s womb. In the Qur’an, we read:
And [the example of] Mary, the daughter of ‘Imran, who guarded her chastity, so We blew into [her garment] through Our angel, and she believed in the words of her Lord and His scriptures and was of the devoutly obedient. (At-Tahrim 66:12)
It is noteworthy that, by the same blow as Jesus’, all mankind was created in the first place. In the Qur’an, we read the following verses:
And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “I will create a human being out of clay from an altered black mud. And when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My [created] soul, then fall down to him in prostration.” (Al-Hijr 15:29)
To love and revere him
A Muslim is commanded to love and revere all the Prophets of God (peace be upon them) equally. The Messengers of God show all the good characters and they are preserved by God from committing any violation. A Muslim has to love them and respect them without any discrimination between them. Love for the sake of Allah is one of the most fundamentals of faith as it is reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The most tied bond of faith are love for Allah and hate for Allah.” (Ahmed) We can glimpse the Prophet Muhammad’s reverence and love of the Messengers of God, especially Jesus, in the hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah who said, “The Messenger of Allah said, ‘I am the most close to Jesus, son of Mary, from among the whole of mankind in this worldly life and the next life.’ ‘They said: Allah’s Messenger how is it?’ Thereupon he said: ‘Prophets are brothers in faith, having different mothers. Their religion is, however, one, and there is no Prophet between us (between me and Jesus Christ).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) As Muslims, we have but to follow the Prophet’s example by loving and revering all the Prophets of Allah, especially Jesus (peace be upon him). Allah the Almighty has warned against showing any sort of antagonism or hatred towards His Prophets, maintaining that doing so is initially an antagonism towards God Himself which involves disbelief. The Qur’an reads,
Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His Angels and His Messengers, and Jibril and Mikal, (Angle Gabriel and Michael, respectively) then surely Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers.” (Al-Baqarah 2:98)
To admit his superiority
Muslims believe that the Prophets of God are the most chosen ones whom Allah has favored upon other people. The Messengers of God are blessed with the honor of Prophethood which is the ever greatest honor. Almighty Allah says,
Allah elects of the angels Messengers and of mankind; (Messengers); surely Allah is Ever-Hearing, Ever-Beholding. (Al-Hajj 22:75)
No one can reach the status of Messengers of Allah whatever he has done.
The belief in the devoutness and excellence of his mother Maryam
Abu Musa narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Many a man achieved perfection, but no woman achieved perfection except for Maryam (Mary), the daughter of `Imran, and Asiyah, the wife of Fir`awn (Pharaoh)…” (At-Tirmidhi) Maryam, the mother of Jesus is one of the most honored and nominated figures in Islam. A full chapter in the Qur’an was named after her, the chapter of Maryam. Also, her story and status have been repeated numerously in the Qur’an, such as in the chapters of Aal `Imran and Al-Anbiyaa’. Muslims love and respect Lady Maryam so much and choose her name for their daughters, including the writer of this article. We all, Muslims, love Maryam and raise her far above any kind of accusation against her chastity and dignity. Almighty Allah says,
And Maryam (Mary) daughter of Imran, who kept safe her private parts, (i.e., safeguarded) so We breathed in it of Our Spirit, and she sincerely (believed) in the Words of her Lord, and His Books; and she was one of the devout. (At-Tahrim 66:12)
And [mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds. (Aal `Imran 3:42)
These are some of the rights of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) upon every Muslim.