Islam’s Attitude towards the Preceding Prophets
By Dr. Muhammad Abu Laylah
Islam is the irreducible religion of God, which was delivered by the prophets of the Most Holy since man was sent down to this earth.
The Qur’an, the word of God, and the first and absolute source of Islam, directly acknowledges the prophets before Muhammad. It relates their missions and struggles in the societies to which they were sent and reports their stories with accuracy and reverence.
Believe in All Prophets
Concerning our belief, we are commanded by God to believe in all prophets, without discrimination. But it should be noted that the Qur’an does make distinctions between God’s messengers, except on the basis of their suffering and forbearance.
All prophets command our love and reverence. But those who underwent particular hardship and particular suffering command our special love and reverence.
Jesus stands among that number with Muhammad. Jesus, like Muhammad after him, called his people to bear witness to the prophets who preceded him.
Furthermore, he declared the prophethood of his contemporary John the Baptist. Jesus’ mission was declared by John, who bore witness to him as a prophet, but not as a Son of God.
Our belief in the prophets is accompanied by our belief in the Holy Scriptures, for as Muslims we hold that all of these Holy Books are the word of God, and originated from Him. The books named in the Qur’an are as follows: The Scroll revealed to Abraham, Az-Zabur revealed to David, the Torah revealed to Moses, the Gospel revealed to Jesus and the Qur’an revealed to Muhammad. I would like to note in passing that some of these books are lost, such as Abraham’s Scroll, and that others were subject to corruption and distortion.
A Muslim’s belief in Jesus must equal his belief in Muhammad himself. Whenever the name of Jesus is mentioned in the Qur’an a Muslim’s eyes become full of tears and his heart full of affection.
Indeed, this feeling runs so deep that we give to our children the names of Jesus and Mary.
But exactly who is Jesus in whom every Muslim must believe? Is he Jesus the Christ? The suffering Messiah? Is he the eternal Son of God? The third of the triad? The one who was crucified? Is he God incarnate? Is he the Redeemer?
I do say that Jesus of the Qur’an is also of reality and not just one of the previously mentioned designations.
To be continued….
Source: The article is excerpted from the author’s book “The Qur’an and the Gospels: A Comparative Study.”