The first time I read a translation of Qur’an, I was a Christian reading it out of curiosity. As I read it, I began to feel like I had been cheated my whole life up to that point. Why? In short, because the existence of the above verses and others like them, and verses about Abraham, Moses, Noah, Adam and many other prophets (peace be upon them all) had been like a best kept secret, never mentioned by the purported experts citing numerous sources in any sermon, book, documentary or movie about them.
Pop quiz! Where does this verse come from?
“O Mary, surely God gives you good news with a word from Him of one whose name is the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, worthy of regard in this world and the hereafter and of those who are made near to God.”
A. The New Testament
B. The Book of Mormon
C. South Park : Season 1: Damien
D. The Holy Qur’an
E. The Gospel of Barnabas
F. William Shakespeare’s tombstone
While all of the above sources make reference to Jesus (peace be upon him), the verse comes from the Holy Qur’an (3:44).
In fact, the Holy Qur’an has many verses which show the great honor and status of Jesus, Mary, John the Baptist, and many other prophets and important figures known to Christians or Jews (peace be upon them all).
Here are just a few things the Qur’an reveals about Jesus and his contemporaries:
- Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary by a miracle from God. (19:16-19:36 and 3:41-3:46)
- Jesus spoke to people while still a newborn and performed numerous other miracles through the power of God, including having the ability to raise the dead. (5:110-5:115)
- John the Baptist was sent to verify a Word from God, and was an honorable prophet. (3:37-3:39 and 19:2-19:15)
- Mary, the mother of Jesus, is honored above the women of the world. (3:42)
- The disciples of Jesus bore witness to his message, declared themselves to be his helpers, and submitted themselves to God. (61:14, 5:111)
Further, Jesus is quoted in the Qur’an on several occasions, such as this:
“Lo! I come to you with a sign from your Lord. Lo! I fashion for you out of clay the likeness of a bird, and I breathe into it and it is a bird by God’s leave. I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I raise the dead, by God’s leave. And I announce to you what you eat and what you store up in your houses. Lo! Here truthfully is a portent for you if you are to be believers.
“And (I come) confirming that which was before me of the Torah, and to make lawful some of that which was forbidden to you. I come to you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to God and obey me. Lo! God is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path.” (Qur’an 3: 49-51).
The first time I read a translation of Qur’an, I was a Christian reading it out of curiosity. As I read it, I began to feel like I had been cheated my whole life up to that point. Why? In short, because the existence of the above verses and others like them, and verses about Abraham, Moses, Noah, Adam and many other prophets (peace be upon them all) had been like a best kept secret, never mentioned by the purported experts citing numerous sources in any sermon, book, documentary or movie about them. Why should a documentary about Jesus or Abraham refer to the Jewish and Christian scriptures but be completely silent about the Qur’an – a scripture believed in by more than one billion people – as if it said nothing at all about them, when in fact it confirms much of what the previous scriptures contain, and in some cases offers new or different information? Until I read the Qur’an for myself, cover-to-cover, I had no idea what it really contained.
Through my reading, I discovered that when it comes to Mary, Jesus, and all the prophets of God, the Qur’an provides extremely respectful accounts of their service. In the Bible and Torah, some of the prophets are disgraced with sins and immorality. On the contrary, the Qur’an bears witness that they delivered the message of God faithfully and lived upright lives – as one would expect from those whom He chose to be the guides for the people.
“Say: We believe in God and what has been revealed to us, and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the tribes, and what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord; we do not make any distinction between any of them, and to Him do we submit.” (3:83)
“And We sent after them in their footsteps Jesus, son of Mary, verifying what was before him of the Torah, and We gave him the Gospel in which was guidance and light, verifying what was before it in the Torah, and a guidance and an admonition for those who guard against evil.” (5:46)
“O Jesus, I (God) am going to terminate the period of your stay on earth and cause you to ascend to Me; I will purify you of those who disbelieve and make those who follow you above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection.” (3:54)
The Qur’an identifies itself as containing the same message as that delivered by Jesus and all the prophets of God – a reminder for those who would be guided. Anyone who loves Jesus and Mary and the prophets and sincerely strives to follow them will find much to resonate with his heart in the Qur’an – much to confirm what he already knows and believes, and much to enrich it.
When I read the Qur’an as a Christian, it made me a better Christian. It increased my love and respect for God’s messengers and for God Himself. Its place with, and not against, the Christian and Jewish sacred texts was eminently clear. I had no expectation of what I’d find in the Qur’an, but I found internal peace and love for God.
Pop Quiz 2
Where does this quote come from?
“The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, Merciful God, mankind’s Judge on the Last Day (apocalypse).”
A. The 99
B. The Catholic Catechism
C. Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas
D. The letters of Thomas Jefferson
Answer: While all of these have some positive context about Islam and Muslims, the above is from the Catholic Catechism. (CCC 841)
There is much to unite those who believe in God, whether they call themselves Jews, Christians, Muslims or anything else. We, and our sacred texts, have a lot of common ground.
“Say: O followers of the Book (believers in the Torah, Gospel etc.)! Let’s come to an equitable proposition between us and you that we shall not serve any but God…” (Qur’an 3:63)
Our faiths are built from the same foundations and we worship the same Almighty God. If we choose to strive together in the same direction – towards God – the world could be transformed.