the Quran describes how Mary, the mother of Jesus, was approached by an angel from God, bringing her tidings she had never imagined: that she will give birth to a son, a Messiah, who will be of the righteous and will be a prophet of God, calling the Children of Israel (the Israelites) to the straight path of God.
“(And mention) when the angels said, ‘O Mary, indeed God gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near (to God). He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous.” (Quran 3:45-46)
Naturally, for Mary, this news was both strange and seemingly impossible.
“She said, ‘My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?’ (The angel) said, “Such is God; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is. And He will teach him writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel.” (Quran 3:47-48)
The very nature of Jesus is so special, that God compares the uniqueness of His creation to that of the first man and prophet, Adam.
“Indeed, the example of Jesus to God is like that of Adam. He created him from dust; then He said to him, ‘Be,’ and he was.” (Quran 3:59)
Jesus and His Miracles
Jesus became one of the greatest prophets of God, and was sent to the Children of Israel in order to confirm the teachings of his predecessor, the Prophet Moses. His birth was a miracle, and, like all prophets of God, he was granted several miracles. He approached his people, telling them:
“And (make him) a messenger to the Children of Israel, (who will say), ‘Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord’ in that I design for you from the clay (that which is) like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by permission of God. And I cure the blind (from birth) and the leper, and I give life to the dead – by permission of God. And I inform you of what you eat and what you store in your houses. Indeed in that is a sign for you, if you are believers. And (I have come) confirming what was before me of the Torah and to make lawful for you some of what was forbidden to you. And I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear God and obey me. Indeed, God is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is the straight path.” (Quran 3:49-51)
The Quran continues the story of Jesus by relating several incidents of his life and his disciples.
“But when Jesus felt (persistence in) disbelief from them, he said, ‘Who are my supporters for (the cause of) God?’ The disciples said,” We are supporters for God. We have believed in God and testify that we are Muslims (submitting to Him.) Our Lord, we have believed in what You revealed and have followed the messenger (i.e., Jesus), so register us among the witnesses (to truth).” (Quran 3:52-53)
In another incident, after which an entire surah (chapter) of the Quran is named, the disciples of Jesus asked him for another miracle.
“(And remember) when the disciples said, ‘O Jesus, Son of Mary, can your Lord send down to us a table (spread with food) from the heaven?’ (Jesus) said, ‘Fear God, if you should be believers.’ They said, ‘We wish to eat from it and let our hearts be reassured and know that you have been truthful to us and be among its witnesses.’ Said Jesus, the son of Mary, ‘O God, our Lord, send down to us a table (spread with food) from the heaven to be for us a festival for the first of us and the last of us and a sign from You. And provide for us, and You are the best of providers.’” (Quran 5:112-114)
God sent them the table they had asked for, but not without a warning.
“God said, ‘Indeed, I will sent it down to you, but whoever disbelieves afterwards from among you – then indeed will I punish him with a punishment by which I have not punished anyone among the worlds.’” (Quran 5:115)
The End of the Story?
The story of Jesus never really ends in the Quran, as we are told that Jesus was not killed, but that rather, God raised His beloved prophet up to Him.
“(Mention) when God said, ‘O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself and purify (i.e., free) you from those who disbelieve and make those who follow you (in submission to God alone) superior to those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me is your return, and I will judge between you concerning that in which you used to differ. And as for those who disbelieved, I will punish them with a severe punishment in this world and the Hereafter, and they will have no helpers.’ But as for those who believed and did righteous deeds, He will give them in full their rewards, and God does not like the wrongdoers.” (Quran 3:55-57)
The Quran also points out that Jesus was neither killed nor crucified. Speaking of the Children of Israel, God faults their accusations against Mary as well as their claim that they killed Jesus.
“And (We cursed them) for their disbelief and their saying against Mary a great slander. And (for) their saying, ‘Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of God.’ And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but (another) was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. Rather, God raised him to Himself. And ever is God Exalted in Might and Wise.” (Quran 4:156-158)
The Quran confirms that Jesus was raised up by God, and the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, reassured us that Jesus will be sent down to earth once again before the Day of Judgment. In a saying of Prophet Muhammad, narrated by Abu Hurairah, the Prophet said:
“By the One in Whose hand is my self, definitely the son of Maryam will soon descend among you as a just judge, and he will break the cross, kill the pig, and abolish the jizyah (tribute), and wealth will be so abundant that no one will accept it, until a single prostration will be better than the world and everything in it.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)