Did you know that Jesus is mentioned in the Quran more times by name than the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ? Not only is Jesus one of the most important individuals mentioned in the Quran, but he is also regarded as one of the five greatest prophets to have ever lived. Just as the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is the seal of all prophets, so too Jesus is the seal of Prophets from the Children of Israel [Banu Israil].
The Quran makes mentions of Jesus – also known as Prophet Isa AS – twenty-five times! Each and every verse discusses pertinent matters related to his life, teachings, and death, as well as his mother, Maryam. In fact, his mother has an entire chapter named after her.
With such emphasis placed on the penultimate messenger, we take this opportunity to share five verses from the twenty-five, with the hope of shining light on Islam’s deep and sincere respect, love and value for Prophet Isa AS.
The Birth of Jesus
The incident of Prophet Isa’s [AS] birth is a remarkable event which lives on as a miracle to this day. The Quran makes explicit mention of how Maryam was given the good news by an angel of a son she would give birth to:
[And mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allāh gives you good tidings of a word1 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 Allāh]. [3:45]
As she received the news, she was bewildered as she had always lived a simple and chaste life. This caused her to remark:
“My Lord! How can I have a child when no man has ever touched me?” An angel replied, “So will it be. Allah creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He simply tells it, ‘Be!’ And it is! [3:47]
The Miracles of Jesus
The miracles of the Prophet Isa [AS] have been mentioned in the New Testament as well as in the Quran. In fact, the Quran simply affirms many of the miracles mentioned in the New Testament. Whilst he was gifted the ability to do such a thing, in no way does it mean that he was divine. Just as previous prophets were given the ability to perform miracles, the Prophet Isa [AS] was also gifted in the same manner.
“Those messengers – some of them We caused to exceed others. Among them were those to whom Allāh spoke, and He raised some of them in degree. And We gave Jesus, the son of Mary, clear proofs, and We supported him with the Pure Spirit [i.e., Gabriel].
Miracles were bestowed upon messengers for one reason and one reason only; to bring people closer to their natural disposition of worshipping one God. This is why Allah mentions, “We gave clear signs to ‘Īsā, the son of Maryam (Jesus, the son of Mary), and supported him with the Holy Spirit.” [2:87]
His miracles were many which are mentioned in the Quran:
“I will make for you a bird from clay, breathe into it, and it will become a ˹real˺ bird—by Allah’s Will. I will heal the blind and the leper and raise the dead to life—by Allah’s Will. And I will prophesize what you eat and store in your houses. Surely in this is a sign for you if you ˹truly˺ believe.” [3:49]
The Few Disciples of Jesus
As a preacher, prophet and messenger, the Prophet Isa [AS] worked tirelessly to preach the divine message, despite the hardship he faced. The Banu Israil were his target audience and he would make it his daily mission to visit their various settlements and present sound arguments and clear proofs. Among the unruly masses, there were some devout individuals who responded well to the message. After associating themselves with Prophet Isa [AS] and his message, they soon attained the title, Hawariyun (disciples), and Ansar Allah (helpers of Allah).
“O you who have believed, be supporters of Allāh, as when Jesus, the son of Mary, said to the disciples, “Who are my supporters for Allāh?” The disciples said, “We are supporters of Allāh.” And a faction of the Children of Israel believed and a faction disbelieved. So We supported those who believed against their enemy, and they became dominant” [61:14]
The Tablespread of Jesus
The disciples that associated themselves with Prophet Isa [AS] were no doubt devout. However, they lacked provisions as poverty was rife amongst them. On one occasion, the disciples requested the Prophet Isa [AS] to ask Allah for a table spread with food so that they could stop worrying about livelihoods amidst their spiritual mission. Initially, he tried stopping them from doing so, as he assumed they may be doing this simply to test the reality of God’s ability to give. However, after their insistence, he soon realised that it was simply so that they could free up their time for the cause of Allah.
˹Remember˺ when the disciples asked, “O Jesus, son of Mary! Would your Lord be willing to send down to us a table spread with food from heaven?” Jesus answered, “Fear Allah if you are ˹truly˺ believers.” [5:112]
They said, “We ˹only˺ wish to eat from it to reassure our hearts, to verify you are indeed truthful to us, and to become its witnesses.” [5:113]
Jesus, son of Mary, prayed, “O Allah, our Lord! Send us from heaven a table spread with food as a feast for us—the first and last of us—and as a sign from You. Provide for us! You are indeed the Best Provider.” [5:114]
Allah answered, “I am sending it down to you. But whoever among you denies afterwards will be subjected to a torment I have never inflicted on anyone of My creation.” [5:115]
Jesus Raised From The Earth
The Prophet Isa [AS] did not marry, had no children and never had a house to live in. Yet he was still able to amass a huge number of followers as he moved from one place to another spreading the monotheistic message.
There was one problem though. The Banu Israil continued to bear ill-will towards him, which is why matters escalated when they realised he was becoming a popular figure. Whilst they conspired to arrest and eliminate him, Allah had different plans in store for the Prophet Isa [AS]. As the Banu Israil surrounded the house he was residing in at the time, Allah raised him up to Him, leaving the Jews no chance of attacking. The Prophet Isa [AS] knew that this was coming, which is why he gathered his disciples and informed them of the upcoming events.
“And the disbelievers made a plan ˹against Jesus˺, but Allah also planned—and Allah is the best of planners.” [3:54]
“˹Remember˺ when Allah said, “O Jesus! I will take you and raise you up to Myself. I will deliver you from those who disbelieve and elevate your followers above the disbelievers until the Day of Judgment. Then to Me, you will ˹all˺ return, and I will settle all your disputes.” [3:55]
The question remains; how did the people at the time crucify Jesus, causing the story to become widespread? This was also addressed by the Quran when Allah mentioned:
“…and for their saying, “We killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of Allah.” But they neither killed nor crucified him—it was only made to appear so. Even those who argue for this ˹crucifixion˺ are in doubt. They have no knowledge whatsoever—only making assumptions. They certainly did not kill him.” [4:157-158]