In the Gospel, Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”. Their answers starts from John the Baptist to Elijah or one of the prophets and this reveals how his followers understood his life and mission.
So, in the same vein, asking Muslim communities around the world the same question, who do you think that Christ is?
However, the Quran mentions Jesus, or Isa, 25 times, but on a different occasion. The Quran went further to explains that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary (19:20–21) and she is “high honored in this and the next world” (3:45–47).
Therefore, he is called Isa ibn Maryam, or Jesus son of Mary. The Quran however, refers to him as ruh min Allah(“Spirit from God”), mushia bi’l baraka (“the Messiah that’s someone blessed by God”), kalimah min Allah (“Word from/of God”), and rasul (Prophet-Messenger) of God.
In the same way, Muslims also believe that Jesus was a prophet who was given a special message “injil”, or the gospel to spread to all people. This message confirmed what was taught in the Torah and therefore, foretold the coming of Prophet Muhammad. Therefore, Jesus has a vital and unique role to play in the Muslim faith.
However, as Muslims accept the fact that Jesus was a servant, teacher, and lover of God’s Word, they do not believe that he was divine or the son of God. The Quran explains the miracles Jesus performed, such as healing the sick and raising the dead, but does not attribute these miracles to his divinity. Instead, Jesus is a sign to all humankind of God’s endless mercy.
Muslims also, do not believe in original sin. They don’t see any need for a savior and, moreover, they do not believe in the crucifixion Jesus. Furthermore, the Quran states that Jesus was assumed into heaven (3:169) before his actual death. Islamic tradition says that Jesus was spared death because he was the Holy One of God.
Muslims also believe that the enemies of Jesus could not triumph over him because he is God’s chosen servant.
Likewise Christians, Muslims do believe that Jesus will come again. Islamic texts explains that Jesus will come back on the Day of Judgment, when he will destroy the ad-dajjal which is anti-Christ or imposter.
Throughout the history and recent times many Islamic thinkers have used Jesus as an important religious model. An eleventh- and 12th-century scholar known as Abu Hamid al-Ghazali encouraged Muslims to pray as Jesus have prayed.
A modern Islamic theologian know as Mahmoud Ayoub, has developed an Islamic Christology which explores how Jesus exemplifies the fulfillment of humanity by being fully illuminated by God’s light (tajalli).
Of course Islamic thought on Jesus solely differs from Christian teachings. But on the other hand, we also share many common beliefs: the virgin birth of Jesus to Mary, which is a profound respect for the mystery of God, love for Jesus, and a willingness to learn from his life as we desire happiness with God.