If Muhammad is the ‘seal of the prophets’, we might wonder why Muslims would still be attracted to Jesus. Yet the Qur’an testifies to several significant ways in which Jesus was different from all other prophets, including Muhammad himself.
Muhammad affirmed strongly that he himself was only a man, sent with a message of warning, and that all the other prophets had only been men. But he recognised Jesus’ miracles of healing the blind and the leper and even raising the dead.
Muhammad admitted openly that he had no miracle to perform to prove to his hearers that he was a prophet. He had only the Qur’an, unique in its eloquence.
In Folk Islam, the Qur’an is often used in order to obtain healing. Verses from the Qur’an may be written and then washed into water, which the sick person will drink. However, if someone is in need of healing, their thoughts may turn to Jesus, the prophet who had the power to heal.
It is well known that Jesus preached a message of peace and love, and that this is still the teaching of Christians today. In spite of the crusades and of modern warfare carried out by ‘Christian’ countries, many know that Jesus’ teaching was different. As the violence of extremist Muslims grows, people are attracted to a religion with a message of peace.
The Qur’an has a version of the Virgin Birth in Sura 19 (Miriam). Although this is generally understood simply as a miraculous birth with no father, it still sets Jesus apart from all other human beings, including Muhammad. Passages in the Qur’an and the hadith also suggest that Jesus was sinless, something that Muhammad never claimed for himself.
As Muslims reflect on these things, we can encourage them to read the Injil (Gospel) for themselves. They will find a Jesus who is very different from the rather vague figure in the Qur’an. In particular, the love, compassion and authority of Jesus will strike them. They will see that Jesus clearly told his disciples that he would suffer and die. This was God’s plan for him, that he would pay the debt of man’s sin. It was not a tragic mistake or something to be avoided. They will read the eyewitness testimony to the crucifixion, with Jesus’ mother Mary present at the cross. Then they will come to the resurrection, Jesus’ triumph over death, and realise that Jesus is alive today. His tomb, unlike that of Muhammad in Medina, is empty.
Our prayer is that our Muslim friends would move from the partially false testimony of the Qur’an where Jesus is just a great prophet, to the Gospel where they can find out for themselves who he really is.