I’m often asked this question by Christians. Do Muslims really love Jesus (peace be upon him)? It’s a question I’ve always found to be odd, but it is popular and asked with good intentions. It’s odd because nothing in Islam portrays Jesus (peace be upon him) in a negative light. The Qur’an says of Jesus:
“And We gave Jesus, the Son of Mary, clear proofs, and We supported him with the Pure Spirit.” – Qur’an 2:253.
Of his birth, it was said to his blessed mother Maryam (may God be pleased with her):
He said, “I am only the messenger of your Lord to give you [news of] a pure boy.” – Qur’an 19:19.
The Qur’an emphasizes his place and role amongst the blessed Messengers of God:
“And [mention, O Muhammad], when We took from the prophets their covenant and from you and from Noah and Abraham and Moses and Jesus, the son of Mary; and We took from them a solemn covenant.” – Qur’an 33:7.
There are six main articles of faith in Islam, of them, one is the belief in the Messengers of God. Thus, it is considered a rejection of faith, disbelief or kufr to reject or deny the Prophethood of Jesus (peace be upon him). As the blessed da’ee Shaykh Deedat has said,”no Muslim can be a Muslim if they reject Jesus.” As is Muslim tradition, we also pray for the Prophets of God by asking that God’s blessings, peace and mercy be upon them all. This is why we always write peace be upon him, after mentioning a Prophet’s name.
In other words, for a Muslim to be Muslim, they must love, accept and believe in Jesus (peace be upon him). However, the love that Muslims have for Jesus (peace be upon him) and the love that Christians have for Jesus (peace be upon him) is two completely different things. It is difficult for Christians to claim that they truly love Jesus (peace be upon him). The way in which Christians profess to love Jesus (peace be upon him) is through his alleged dying and suffering. Muslims cannot and do not rejoice at the suffering of the Prophets. In the Qur’an it says of the attempt to kill Jesus (peace be upon him):
And they (disbelievers) plotted [to kill ‘Iesa (Jesus)], and Allah planned too. And Allah is the Best of the planners. – Qur’an 3:54.
The Qur’an indicates that those who attempted to kill Jesus (peace be upon him) are those who are against God. It is recorded in the New Testament that Jesus (peace be upon him) condemns the Jews for killing Prophets:
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. – Luke 13:34 & Matthew 23:37.
Jesus (peace be upon him) himself proclaims that it is an abhorrent evil that a Prophet should be killed, with many an exegete commenting that this verse indicates God’s ire with the Jews. It can then be understood that the killing or death of a Prophet is not something good. It is something that Jesus (peace be upon him) condemned, something which God expresses His anger against, and so it is difficult to reconcile Christianity’s happiness with Jesus’s (peace be upon him) alleged death, torture and suffering, with loving him. Without delving into soteriological issues, with regard to the Muslim and Christian concepts of Jesus (peace be upon him), it is a clear point of distinction that Muslims do not rejoice at the death, torture and suffering of God’s Prophets, but that Christians praise, enjoy and celebrate such an act of evil.
Muslims love Jesus (peace be upon him) to the point that they want no harm to come upon him, that he does not suffer or is not killed. Yet, Christians love Jesus (peace be upon him) because he needed to die for them, he needed to suffer, he needed to be tortured. This ‘love’ is quite perplexing, the idea of loving someone to the extent you need them to die and that you rejoice at their torture and death is an inscrutable irony. It is something which simply cannot be ignored. It necessarily needs to be viewed as cognitive dissonance. How is it that one can love someone to the point that you wish death upon them? That you wish to see their blood spilled? That you celebrate in masses the blood of Jesus (peace be upon him)? Is this not bloodlust?
In conclusion, Muslims do love Jesus (peace be upon) without wishing death or harm upon him. Christians also love Jesus (peace be upon him) in a different way. They love him to the extent that he needed to be tortured, maimed and killed – the very thing he condemns the disbelieving Jews of doing to previous Prophets. As the artist Meat Loaf once sang, “I’d do anything for love, but I won’t do that!”
and God knows best.