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The Importance of Prayer

The Importance of Prayer

Despite prayer being so important, it is a sad fact that many Muslims do not pray or fulfil the conditions of the prayer. Its purpose is to put ourselves in touch with God; to strengthen our relationship with Him; to be grateful for all His blessings; and to remind ourselves of His Greatness. Just as the body requires physical needs such as food and water, the soul has spiritual needs.  The needs of the soul are provided by acts of  worship, the most important of which is prayer. It could be that the body of a person is healthy but the person is spiritually dead.

The Prophet * said, “The comparison of one who remembers Allah and one who does not, is like that of the living and the dead.”

Allah says, “O you who believe! Respond to (the call of) Allah and His Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life.” Qur’an 8.24

Its Importance

Direct communication with Allah

“The closest a person is to His Lord is when he is in prostration.”

Through prayer, you are able to connect with your Lord. The Arabic word for prayer (As-Salah) is actually derived from the Arabic word meaning “connection.” The Messenger of Allah * said: “When any one of you stands to pray, he is communicating with his Lord, so let him pay attention to how he speaks to Him.”  Don’t cut this relationship between you and your Creator.

 A pillar of Islam

Prayer is the second most important pillar of Islam, and is the most regular compulsory action in a Muslim’s life. We fast just one month a year; we must give Zakah once a year; and Hajj is only once a life time. However, prayer is the one act that must be fulfilled at least five times a day, regardless of the circumstance . In fact, Allah did not even exempt the Muslims from praying during the battle! He says:

“Guard strictly your (habit of) prayers… If you fear (an enemy), pray on foot, or riding. ” Qur’an 2:238-9

If this is the case in the time of war, then what about in peace?

Success lies in the Prayer

The Prophet * said: “The first of his deeds for which a man will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection will be the prayers. If it is found to be perfect, he will be safe and successful. But if it is defective, he will be unfortunate and a loser.”

 Its Benefits

 Shields against evil

Man was created weak and without seeking help from Allah, it will be impossible to refrain from evil.

Allah says: “Verily, prayer restrains (oneself) from shameful and unjust deeds…” Qur’an 29:45

There is no doubt that the one who stands in front of Allah willingly will be different from the one who doesn’t. How can you continue to commit the same sins if you’re standing before Allah 5 times a day?

Enriches the soul

Man is forgetful, especially with the our busy lifestyles. Prayer satisfies our spiritual need to be in contact with our Creator. This gives the soul peace and contentment.

Allah says, “Without doubt, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.” Qur’an 13:28

 Makes us humble

By realising Allah’s greatness and dependence on our Lord, man is humbled and rids us from pride and arrogance. In the prayer, the Muslim puts the highest part of his body and source of intellect, his head, on to the ground and says, “How perfect is my Lord, The Most High.”

Humbleness is one of the qualities which Allah has associated with success.

He says, “Successful indeed are the believers, who are humble in their prayers.” Qur’an 23:1-2

Of course this can only be achieved when one understands what one is reciting and concentrates with humility.

Washes away sins

Everyone commits sins, however, Allah has provided, in prayer, a way to wipe out those sins.

Allah says: And perform prayer… surely the good deeds remove the evils deeds. Qur’an 11:114

The Messenger gave a beautiful example when he said to his companions: “Consider if one of you had a river by his door in which he bathed five times a day. Would any filth remain on him?” They said, “No.” Then the Prophet replied: “Likewise, Allah wipes away sins with the five daily prayers.”

Cures our Problems

Man is surrounded by numerous trials and problems. Once we focus on strengthening our relationship with our Lord, He, who is All-Powerful, will fix our worldly problems. Like our scholars say, whoever strengthens their relationship between themselves and Allah, Allah will strengthen their relationship between themselves and the creation.

Allah says, Seek help in patience and prayer. Qur’an 2:153

 Unites the Muslims

When the prayer is performed in congregation, it cultivates brotherhood, equality and humility between Muslims. The worshippers stand in rows, shoulder to shoulder, without any distinction of race, nationality, colour, wealth, family or status, and all pray together as one body. This act of unity helps demolish all barriers which stand between men.

The Prophet * said, “Prayer in congregation is better than praying alone by twenty-seven degrees.”

 Abandoning Prayer

“O Mankind, What has deceived you concerning your Lord, the Most Generous?” Qur’an 82:06

You are disobeying your Creator

This is the most serious and obvious consequence. The whole purpose of your existence is to worship Allah, yet you are disobeying your Creator every day.

“Then, there has succeeded them a generation who have given up prayer and have followed their desires. So they will be thrown in Hell. Except those who repent and believe, and work righteousness.” Qur’an 19:59-60

“(The people in Hell will be asked:) What has caused you to enter Hell? They will say: We were not of those who used to pray…” Qur’an 74:42-43

 You are being ungrateful

Refusing the invitation of your Creator to establish this close relationship with Him is the ultimate ingratitude. Allah created you and gave you everything,

He says,  “ It is He who has created you and endowed you with hearing and seeing and hearts, little are you grateful.”      Qur’an 67:23

The Prophet’s feet would sometimes get swollen because he would stand in prayer for lengthy periods, and when asked about this, he would reply: “Should I not be a grateful servant of my Lord?”

 You are being lazy

What excuse will you give to your Creator, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, on the Day of Judgement?  The One who blessed you with 24 hours, yet only asked that you spend about 30 minutes a day for prayer.

The Prophet * said, “On the Day of Resurrection the feet of the son of Adam will not move away till he is questioned about five matters: on what he spent his life; in doing what he made his youth pass away; where he acquired his property, and on what he spent it; and what he did regarding what he knew.”

 You will be miserable

The human that has no connection with Allah helplessly seeks an alternative and leaves no stone unturned looking for calmness and bliss. It, however, searches in vain, wandering aimlessly.

Allah says: “ And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed for him is a life of hardship. And We will raise him on the Day of Resurrection, blind. He will say, “My Lord, why have you raised me blind while I was (once) seeing?” (Allah) will say, “Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot (disregarded) them; and thus will you, this Day, be forgotten.”   Qur’an 20:124-6

 You are only harming yourself

Allah doesn’t need your prayer. Allah doesn’t need anything from anyone-Glory be to Him. It is you that stands in need of His mercy.

“Give thanks to Allah, and whoever gives thanks, it is only for his own soul’s good, and whoever is ungrateful, surely Allah is Free of all needs, Worthy of all praise.” Qur’an 31:12

 You are flirting with disbelief

Many Scholars of Islam hold the opinion that the one who does not pray is a disbeliever. They quote the following hadeeth:

“The covenant which distinguishes between us and them (i.e., between believers and disbelievers) is the prayer, and whoever neglects it has disbelieved.”

Additionally, the companions of the Prophet * did not consider the abandonment of any act as disbelief, except for prayer.

 Common Excuses

No time/ Work  / Study/ Busy Pure and simple deception. You haven’t given prayers priority.  Allah will bless your time and make you more effective, efficient and successful.
My heart is clean Allah judges who has clean hearts, and He wants us to pray!  Actions will reflect what is in your heart. No one has a cleaner heart than Prophet Muhammad * who used to pray regularly.
My alarm It’s hard for your alarm to go off, if you don’t SET it !!! Purify your intention and sleep according to the Sunnah.
My family/ spouse/ parents/ friends prevent me. The Prophet * said, “There is no obedience to anyone in disobedience to Allah.” You will be judged alone.
Praying after its time / joining prayers “Surely, the prayers are made obligatory for the believers at their prescribed times.”  Qur’an 4:103
I’m sinning too much In time, your prayers will prevent you from committing these sins – just pray! You are sinning because you are not praying.

Contemplate over this hadeeth: “If they knew the merits of the ‘Isha and Fajr prayers, they would come to them (in the mosque) even if they had to crawl.”

What excuse do we honestly have when we face our Lord on that difficult Day?

Jesus: A Prophet of God

Muslims Love Jesus

Jesus is a figure who is loved and revered by billions of people the world over, yet there is much confusion surrounding the status of this colossal personality. Muslims and Christians both hold Jesus in high regard but view him in very different ways.

This pamphlet aims to clarify the issues surrounding Jesus: Was Jesus God, or was he sent by God? Who was the real historical Jesus?

“Jesus as God”

Some Christians claim that “Jesus is God” or part of a trinity – that he is the incarnation of God on earth, and that God took on a human form. However, according to the Bible, Jesus was born, ate, slept, prayed and had limited knowledge – all attributes not befitting God. God has attributes of perfection whereas Man is the opposite. How can anything be two complete opposites simultaneously?

Islam teaches that God is always perfect. To believe that God became a man is to claim that God is or was (at some point in time), imperfect. A Christian must ask him/herself, does the idea of a god who was once a weak helpless child, one who could not survive without food, drink or sleep, be the same Almighty God described in the Old Testament? Surely not.

One may ask, “If God can do anything, why can’t he become a man?” By definition, God does not do ungodly acts. God does not do anything that would make Him, something other than God. If God became man and took on human attributes, he would, necessarily, no longer be God.

Some ambiguous verses of the Bible can be applied erroneously to show that Jesus is in some way divine. But if we look at the clear direct verses of the Bible, we see again and again that Jesus is being referred to as an extraordinary human being and nothing more. The Bible contains many verses in which Jesus speaks and behaves as if God is a separate being to himself. For example:

  • Jesus “fell on his face and prayed.” (Matthew 26:39) If Jesus was God, then would a God fall on his face and pray? And who would he be praying to?
  • The Bible calls Jesus a Prophet (Matthew 21:10-11), so how could Jesus be God and be God’s Prophet at the same time?
  • Jesus said, “I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than me.” (John 14:28)
  • Jesus said “I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God.”(John 20:17) If Jesus was God, then why would he say, “to my God, and your God,” and who was he ascending to?

If Jesus was God, he would have clearly told people to worship him, and there would be clear verses in the Bible stating this; yet he did the opposite and disapproved anyone worshipping him: “And in vain they worship me.” (Matthew 15:9)

“Son of God”

Some Christians claim that Jesus is the Son of God. What does this actually mean? Surely God is far removed from having a physical and literal son. Humans have human children. Cats have kittens. What does it mean for God to have a child?

Rather than being taken literally, we find the term “Son of God” is symbolically used in the earliest biblical languages for a “righteous person”, and has been used for David, Solomon and Israel – not exclusively for Jesus: “…Israel is my firstborn son,” (Exodus 4:22). In fact, anyone who is righteous is referred to as God’s ‘son’ : “All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters.” (Romans 8:14)

It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. He is Perfect and Flawless! When He determines a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be’ and it is.

“Father and Lord”

In the same way, when the word ‘Father’ is used to refer to God it shouldn’t be taken literally. Instead, it’s a way of saying God is the creator, sustainer and supreme master of all. There are many verses for us to understand this symbolic meaning of the word ‘Father’, for example: “One God and Father of all.” (Ephesians 4:6)

Also, Jesus was sometimes called ‘Lord’ by the disciples. This term is used in the original languages of the Bible, for God as well as for people who are held in high esteem. For example, in the Greek New Testament, the term kyrios is used for both ‘Lord’ as well as to name the owner of the vineyard (Matthew 20:8), and the master who beat the disobedient servant (Luke 20.42-47).

In other parts of the Bible, Jesus is even called a ‘servant’ of God by the disciples: “The God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus.” (Acts 3:13) This clearly shows that when ‘Lord’ is used to refer to Jesus, it is a title of respect, not of divinity.

Attempts are made to explain the complexity of the above issues of the nature of God and the nature of Jesus, which can be quite confusing or unsatisfying. However, the key point to ponder is: Why would God make it so hard to understand? How do these complicated teachings compare with the simple, clear and pure teachings of the concept of God in Islam?

Jesus: The Prophet

In Judaism, Jesus (peace be upon him) is denied as the Messiah. This is in stark contrast to Christianity where he is worshipped as a deity, or the son of God. Islam takes the middle ground and acknowledges Jesus as an honourable Prophet and Messenger of God, as well as the Messiah, but Muslims do not worship him – as worship is for God alone who created Jesus and everything that exists.

(Jesus) said, ‘Indeed, I am the slave of Allah (God). He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet.

Miraculous Birth

According to the Quran, the Angel Gabriel was sent to Mary, the noble virgin, in the form of a man, informing her of a child who was to be born miraculously without a father

He (Angel Gabriel) said, ‘I am only a messenger of your Lord to announce to you the gift of a righteous son.’ She said, ‘How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?’ He said, ‘Thus (it will be). Your Lord says, “It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign to the people and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter already decreed.

Some claim that his miraculous birth is evidence of Jesus’ divinity. However, Jesus was not the first to come into existence without a father, as Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) before him had neither a father nor mother. God says:

The likeness of Jesus before God is as that of Adam; He created him (Adam) from dust, then said to him: ‘Be’, and he was. This is the truth from your Lord, so be not of the disputers.

If Jesus is worshipped due to having no father, then surely Adam is more deserving of worship since he was created without either parent.

Miracles of Jesus

Jesus was miraculously conceived with no father and also performed great miracles by the will and permission of God. He spoke as a baby in the cradle to defend his mother against the people who accused her of fornication. The Quran also states that Jesus gave life to the dead, cured the leper and the blind – all by the will of God.

The fact that Jesus (peace be upon him) performed miracles does not mean that he was anything more than a humble servant of God. In fact, many Messengers performed miracles, including Noah, Moses and Muhammad (may peace be upon them all) and these miracles only took place by the permission of God, so as to demonstrate the authenticity of the Messenger.

Message of Jesus

The Prophets of the Old Testament such as Abraham, Noah and Jonah never preached that God is part of a Trinity, and did not believe in Jesus as their saviour. Their message was simple: there is one God and He alone deserves your worship. It is not logical for God to send Prophets for thousands of years with the same essential message, only to suddenly change it, claim that He is now a part of a trinity, and to stipulate the belief in the divinity of Jesus to be saved.

The truth is, Jesus preached the same message as all the Prophets in the Old Testament. There is a passage in the Bible that really emphasises this core message. A man came to Jesus and asked,“Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus answered, “The first of all the commandments is, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.’ “(Mark 12:28-29) So, the greatest commandment, the most important belief according to Jesus, is that God is one. If Jesus was God he would have said, ‘I am God, worship me.’ Instead, he merely repeated a verse from the Old Testament confirming that God is One.

This aligns with the mission of Jesus, as taught in Islam, where Jesus was sent to the Children of Israel to confirm the message of the past Prophets – to believe in the One True God.

And when Jesus brought clear proofs, he said, ‘… Indeed, God – He is my Lord and your Lord. So worship Him alone. This is the only Straight Path.

As an honourable obedient Messenger of God, Jesus submitted willingly to God’s commands. As such, he was a “Muslim” – which refers to anyone that submits to the will and commandments of God.

Jesus in Islam

Jesus was as an honourable Prophet sent by God to call to the worship of God alone. This is evident in the Bible and confirmed by the Quran. The Islamic belief about Jesus explains who the real Jesus was, whilst maintaining the pure belief about God and His complete Greatness, Uniqueness and Perfection.

We invite you to look further and investigate Islam. It is not just another religion. It is the same message preached by Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad – may peace be upon all of them. Islam means ‘submission to God’ and is a natural and complete way of life that encourages one to give due attention to their relationship with God and His creation. Islam teaches that God is the All-Just and All-Merciful and does not need to sacrifice himself to forgive sins nor is anyone “born into sin”. God judges everyone based on their own deeds and everyone is accountable for their own actions.

Islam teaches us to love and respect all the Prophets of God, but loving and respecting them does not mean worshipping them because worship is due only to God. Acknowledging Jesus as a Prophet of God and becoming a Muslim does not mean changing or losing your Christian identity. It is about going back to the original and pure teachings of Jesus.

 

The Return of Jesus and the End Times

The Establishment of God’s Nation under Jesus

The killing of the False Messiah will traumatize the Christians and Jews who had followed him, for it will finally reveal to them that he was not what he had claimed to be.  In fact, the role of Jesus in his defeat will convince most of the surviving Christians, at least, that the False Messiah had indeed been the Anti-Christ prophesied in their own scriptures.  The Prophet of Islam, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:

“The son of Mary will soon descend among you and will judge justly(according to the Law of God[1]): he will break the cross and kill the pig…” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

The breaking of the cross may be figurative or literal: the destruction of erected idols in churches and tearing down of crosses from their steeples, as well as forbidding the use of personal crosses as symbols of religion;  or the destruction of the myth that he was executed by the Romans on a cross at the instigation of the Jews.  Likewise, the killing of the pigs may be both literal and figurative: literally conducting a campaign to kill all pigs so the consumption of their meat becomes impossible, allowing them to be killed, or simply re-imposing the ban God made since time immemorial[2]  on eating their flesh, effectively forcing pig farmers to get rid of their stock by culling.  In effect, two of the mainstays of widespread Christian practice will be removed, indicating that the religion as taught by modern Christians would henceforth be defunct, and marking a return to the religion as originally intended (Islam).

“… and there will be no Jizya.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

Furthermore, after the massive losses of life among the Jews, the death of their leader will prove to the Jews that he had been yet another false hope.  Possibly, the False Messiah’s claim of divinity may well have already sowed seeds of doubt in their hearts, anyway, so when Jesus announces that the Jizya[3] will no longer be a means by which non-Muslims can avoid submitting to the will of God, they will be ready to give up following the guidance of their Rabbis in favor to returning to the guidance[4]  of God.  The fact that no Jizya will be accepted underlines the abolishment of all religion except one.  The People of the Book will be required to follow the Law of Islam which Jesus will impose.  The die-hards that refuse will be hunted and killed rather than allowed to continue in their outmoded faith.

“The hour will not come until the Muslims fight against the Jews and kill them.  The Jews will seek shelter behind stones and trees, but the stone or the tree will speak: “O servant of God, there is a [die-hard] Jew behind me, so come and kill him!”  But the Gharqad tree will not speak out because it is partial to the Jews.” (Saheeh Muslim)

No mention of the fate of those who are neither Muslims nor People of the Book is mentioned at this stage, but we believe some of them will also fall under the sway of the rule of Jesus, or die.  Perhaps others will be destroyed by those who are referred to as the Gog and Magog.

The Invasion of the Gog and Magog[5]

Who the Gog and Magog are, exactly, is not known, though it is known from a hadeeth, found in the two principal books of authentic narrations (Saheeh Al-Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim), that they are of the nations of mankind[6].  Of them, the Quran says:

“When he reached a valley between two mountains, he found a people who could barely understand a word.  They said; O Dhul Qarnayn!  Verily, Gog and Magog are doing great mischief in the land.  Will you accept a tribute from us so that you build a barrier between us and them?” (Quran 18:93-94)

After Dhul Qarnayn carried out their request (without exacting tribute), he told them:

“This is a Mercy from my Lord, but when the Promise of my Lord comes, He shall level it to the ground.  And the Promise of my Lord is ever true And on that day, we shall leave some of them to surge like waves on one another…” (Quran 18:98-99)

This means that they will be a people who are not under the jurisdiction of Jesus when he accepts the pledge from former Jews and Christians.  And it is the Gog and Magog who will be the final threat to the believers before his reign of peace.  Again, the Quran says:

“When the Gog and Magog swoop down from every ridge, and the true Promise draws near, you will see the disbelievers, their eyes staring fixedly, in horror; They will say, ‘woe to us; indeed were heedless of this – and we were wrongdoers.’” (Quran 21:96-97)

Not even Jesus will be able to withstand the coming of the Gog and Magog, for they will swarm the land destructively, like locusts.

Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported that the prophet said that only the Muslims who retreat into their cities and strongholds with their cattle and sheep will survive the onslaught.[7]  It is also said:

God will reveal to Jesus, son of Mary, “I have brought forth people from among My creatures against who none will be able to fight.  Take my worshippers safely to Mount Tur.” (Saheeh Muslim)

The Gog and Magog will be so many that when the last of the horde passes through a lake bed from whose water the first rank had drunk, they will bewail,‘There used to be water here, once.’ Anybody not from themselves, except for the Muslims in their strongholds and refuges, will be killed, and the horde will declaim, ‘We have defeated the people of earth.  Now only the people of heaven are left [for us to defeat].’  On that, one will fire an arrow into the sky, and it will fall back to earth blood-stained.[8]

Though the Gog and Magog will think they have obtained victory, their very boast would be their downfall, for the blood on their weapons will be nothing but a test from God.  The next article will deal with how the Gog and Magog will be defeated, and what happens after that.

Footnotes:

[1] It is by this Law, the Shariah that is based on the Quran and way of Muhammad, that Jesus will rule with equity and justice.

[2] As it is recorded in the Torah, as well as in the Quran.

[3] Jizya: The tributary poll tax taken from the People of the Book who, under the protection of the Islamic nation of which they citizens, are free to practice their religion.

[4] God uses the word ‘Al-Furqan’ to describe both what was revealed to Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, that which was revealed to Moses and Aaron, as well as other prophets. Many of the original teachings, undistorted by rabbinical additions and interpretations, support and precede the Law prescribed by the Last Prophet, which is the final shape of the Law of God.

[5] Gog and Magog pronounced Yajuj wa Majuj in Arabic.

[6] The Prophet said: “Among you are two nations that never approach anything but they overwhelm it with their large numbers; the Yajuj and Majuj.”

[7] In Musnad Ahmad

[8] ’Musnad Ahmad

Jesus’ Miracles and Message

God granted Jesus many miracles which began right after his blessed birth. The Quran testifies that in defense of his mother and of the truth, Jesus spoke as an infant, saying, “‘I am a servant of God. He has granted me the Scripture; made me a prophet; made me blessed wherever I may be. He commanded me to pray, to give alms as long as I live’” (19:30-31). This miraculous speech silenced the detractors.

Throughout his youth, Jesus remained dutiful to his mother and developed quickly in intelligence, wisdom and devotion. He astounded the learned and was greatly admired by his companions. Jesus claimed to be a sign of God and a Messenger to the Israelites.

When he came of age, Jesus began to travel and preach throughout the land of Palestine. He taught the scripture that God sent to him, known as the Injeel (Good News or Gospel), which confirmed the truth of previous holy books.

Jesus taught that love and mercy overcome hate and anger. He stressed that only true and sincere faith in the Creator and obedience to Him can bring a person salvation in this life and the hereafter. To reinforce his message, God granted him the ability to perform miracles. He healed the sick, uplifted the distressed and revived the dead. All of these miracles happened with God’s permission, and Jesus never took credit for them himself.

According to the Quran, Jesus said,

“…I have come to you with a sign from your Lord: I will make the shape of a bird for you out of clay, then breathe into it and, with God’s permission, it will become a real bird; I will heal the blind and the leper, and bring the dead back to life with God’s permission; I will tell you what you may eat and what you may store up in your houses. There truly is a sign for you in this, if you are believers. I have come to confirm the truth of the Torah which preceded me, and to make some things lawful to you which used to be forbidden. I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. Be mindful of God, obey me: God is my Lord and your Lord, so serve Him– that is a straight path.”

Jesus led a simple and pious life, attracting an inner circle of devoted followers who listened to his teachings with fervor and humility. These disciples included Peter, Barnabas and John, who helped spread Jesus’ message of submission to the One God.

A Test of Wills

As the message of Jesus began to gain wider acceptance, a small group of hypocritical and self-serving men began plotting against him. They were the priests and leaders of the Jewish people, whose status and wealth depended upon their position as the sole interpreters of religion to the masses. They pursued him and his followers, and plotted to crucify him on a Roman cross. They were sure they had killed him, but God protected Jesus, saved him from their schemes and raised him up to Himself. God says in the Quran, “[They] said, ‘We have killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of God.’ They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, though it was made to appear like that to them; those that disagreed about him are full of doubt, with no knowledge to follow, only supposition: they certainly did not kill him – God raised him up to Himself. God is Almighty and Wise” (4:157-158).

Hence, Islam teaches that God rescued the noble Jesus by removing him from this world. God raised him to the heavens, to a place near Him, and will cause him to return to this world at a later time.

With their messenger gone, the devoted followers of Jesus tried to maintain the purity and clarity of his teachings. However, in the next few centuries, different beliefs about Jesus developed amongst some of the early Christians. They held that he was divine, calling him the son of God, which eventually became the dominant Christian belief. In contrast, others maintained he was not the literal son of God or God Himself, but a messenger sent by the One God. Muslims share this second view of the early Christians, holding that Jesus was sent to guide his people just like the other prophets before him. “[This is] a statement of the Truth about which they are in doubt: it would not befit God to have a child. He is far above that: when He decrees something, He says only, ‘Be,’ and it is.” (Quran, 19:34-35)

Restoring Jesus’ Legacy

Muslims believe that every nation received a messenger from God. Just like the prophets before him, Jesus’ message lasted in its original purity for a period of time, but the scripture he received was slowly altered and his original call to absolute monotheism became corrupted. Six centuries after Jesus, God sent His last messenger, Muhammadp, and revealed His final scripture, known as the Quran. Prophet Muhammadp was sent to all of humanity and he confirmed the miraculous birth of Jesus, the miracles he performed and the essential truth of the message that God chose to reveal through Jesus.The Quran has been preserved in its exact original form for over 14 centuries. Through this final revelation, God protects His guidance for the entire human race, containing the same core message sent to all prophets and messengers of the One God, including Jesus, Moses, Abraham and Noah, peace be upon them.

According to the Quran, Jesus himself puts any false claims about his identity to rest: “‘I told them only what You commanded me to: “Worship God, my Lord and your Lord.” I was a witness over them during my time among them. Ever since You took my soul, You alone have been the watcher over them: You are witness to all things’” (5:117).

Today, Muslims seek to follow the original message of Jesus and all the prophets before him as confirmed by God’s final messenger, Muhammadp. Islam literally means ‘submission’ to God and is the same way of life followed by all the messengers of God. Only by following the original call of God’s messengers can we find clear direction and tranquility in our lives.

Mary the Mother of Jesus

The Virgin Mary. Mary, the Pure. Mariam, upon whom be peaceThis blessed woman’s life is evident through many stories and teachings. She has a prominent, significant, and revered role in the Quran and Islam.

The story of the Blessed Mary is a truly beautiful one. She descended from the family of Amram, the father of Moses. Her parents were Anne and Joachim (Imran in Arabic). They were both very pious, religious people. Anne was also immensely caring and motherly. She loved children, and both Anne and Imran yearned for a child. They were both very old, but by the grace of God, Anne conceived. They were both utterly overjoyed. Anne dedicated her unborn child to be a muharrar – a person freed from all worldly affairs and specially committed to the service of God.

Tragically, Imran died during Anne’s pregnancy. Anne realized her baby would need a father to raise her child. She was expecting a boy, who she believed would grow into a prophet. However, God sent her a girl. She was pleased with this, despite the fact that she’d been expecting a boy, and was very grateful. She prayed to God for refuge for her child.  Lots were drawn to decide who would care for the child between several men. Anne’s sister’s husband, Zachariah, was a prophet. Zachariah had no children of his own. Many men tried to cheat and draw the lots in their direction, as they wanted to raise Mary, but the wind repeatedly drew it towards Zachariah.

Zachariah was very good to Mary, who grew into an extremely righteous, gentle woman. She was so pious that she was given her own special section of the temple in which she was brought up to worship God and study her religion. She dedicated her days to God.

God would provide Mary with food. When Zachariah would come to feed her, he would find that she already had provisions. At first he assumed that someone else in the temple had given it to her, but soon after he realized that the food was unseasonable. He asked Mary where it had come from. She replied that it was from God.

Whilst Mary was in her temple, the Angel Gabriel came to her. He informed her that she would be giving birth to Jesus. Mary was a pious woman, and she was entirely chaste, so naturally she asked how this would happen. The Angel told her that God needs only to say, ‘Be,’ and it will be done.

Mary went to a remote place, usually described as an island, as the time of labor drew closer. She was alone – Joseph was not with her, as he is in other tellings of the story. According to the Quran, Mary is completely alone. This gives her more of an honor. She was not only alone while giving birth, she also later endured the stigma of being a single mother. In that place and in that time, this was an extremely difficult thing. She had no one except God, and according to the Quran, she put her full and complete trust in Him, despite the enormity of the task.

Mary, despite being Blessed, was as human as any of us, and she suffered the pangs of labor. She was comforted with food and water. She only had to shake the tree she lay under, and food would be provided to her. She eventually gave birth to Jesus, and returned to her home.

Homecoming was not easy for Mary. Her people immediately accused her of being unchaste. They said that she was born of good people who she had shamed. Mary did not reply to them, but instead she pointed to the baby Jesus. The people mocked her, asking her how she could expect an infant to reply.

Jesus, though he was only a baby, spoke to them. He began,

“Surely I am a servant of God; He has given me the Book and made me a prophet” (Quran, 19:30).

Immediately this shows that Jesus was a human as well, just as his mother was. Mary then brought up her son for the duration of her life.

Mary was a great woman, not only for her story but for who she was. She was chosen by God to give birth to one of the most important figures in mankind. She was always kind, gentle, sweet, and pious. In Islam, she is very highly regarded. She has a chapter in the Quran entirely dedicated to her, and is seen as one of the most important women. Furthermore, the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said that the best women of humankind are four: Mary, the mother of Jesus, Asiya, the wife of the Pharoah, Khadija, the wife of Prophet Muhammad, and Fatima, his own daughter.

In summary, Mary is one of the most revered women in history and in Islam. She was one of the greatest people in the history of humankind.

The angels said to Mary: “Mary, God has chosen you and made you pure: He has truly chosen you above all women.” (Quran, 3:42)

Mary, The Blessed

Mary was a righteous woman whose mother had dedicated her to God’s service even before she was born. As a child, she lived an admirable life marked by good health and piety. She was raised by the wise Zachariah, who instilled in her a beautiful sense of faith in God. As a young woman, Mary sought to purify herself further for her Lord. She withdrew from her people to a sanctuary in the east, where she could meditate in seclusion and peace.

During this period, on a day that seemed no different from the rest, the angel Gabriel visited her in the form of a man. Fearful of the stranger, Mary prayed for protection. He comforted her, declaring that God sent him to announce the glad tidings of a faultless son. Stunned, Mary asked how this was possible since no man had ever touched her. Gabriel replied,

“‘This is how God creates what He will: when He has ordained something, He only says, “Be,” and it is’” (Quran, 3:47).

When she felt the baby within her, Mary fled her sanctuary, fearing what people would do or say when they heard the news. In her anguish, she cried out,

“‘I wish I had been dead and forgotten long before all this!’” (Quran, 19:23).

The angel Gabriel reassured her of God’s blessings and she found shade and a cool spring. Under a date-palm in the warmth of late summer, she made her dwelling, and there bore the child who was unlike any other in human history.

Shortly thereafter, the Quran recounts that Mary returned to her community carrying the child who was to be called the “Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary” (3:45). When her people saw the baby in her arms, they could not believe their eyes. They accused her of being unchaste and implied that she had ruined her family name and reputation. Gabriel had already instructed her to abstain from conversation (19:26). So, Mary simply pointed towards the child.
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