How do we regard Jesus Christ in Shi’a Islam?
Compiled by Engineer Afsaneh Cooper
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Jesus, or as we call him, Isa, is known as al-Masih in our religion, to Christians he is known as the Messiah, which is literally the same thing: the anointed one.
For Muslim, whether Sunni, Shia, Ahmadi, Sufi or otherwise, we believe that Nabi (Prophet) Isa ibn (the son of) Maryam may peace be upon him, was one of the best prophets God sent to earth, and to the nation of Israel their last prophet. Between Jesus and Muhammad, there are several other prophets, of one is Nabi Jerjis, who is known among certain Christian groups as Saint George.
When it comes to the respect of Jesus, his piety, monasticism, full heart, miracles, and tribulations from the people of his nation are all known and accepted.
When it comes to the issue of divinity, Muslims do not believe that Jesus is the son of God and is part of the Trinity, rather that would be associating a man with God and that’s something God is above.
Finally, for this brief overview, when it comes to the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, most Muslims believe he never died on the cross, but was replaced by one of his disciples and was ascended into heaven and is in ghayba (occultation) until the end of days when he will return and destroy the anti-Christ (or Dajjal) and pray behind Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi (atfs) and help rid the world of polytheism and injustice.
There will come a time for the people when they will not know who is Allah and His unity until Dajjal appears and Jesus the son of Mary descends from the sky, and Allah will kill Dajjal by his hands and a man that is from our House will pray with the people. Do you not know that Jesus will pray behind us, although he is a prophet? Beware that we are better than him.
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (ع) Biharul Anwar 24-328-46
Quotes from Jesus Christ in Shi’a Traditions
- Jesus the son of Mary is the Spirit of Allah and His Word. He was thirty-three years old in the world. Then Allah raised him to heaven. He will descend to the earth and it is he who will kill the Dajjal. Imam Husayn ash-Shahid (ع) Tafsir al-Qummi 2, 271
- O slaves of this world, woe to you! You carry lamps in sunlight, which is a sufficient light for you, while you leave them when you are in darkness, which is its proper time. In the same manner, you have used the illumination of knowledge for your worldly affairs while they are settled for you and have neglected using it for your affairs of the life to come for which you have been given that knowledge. You confess that the world to come is a true event but, in the meantime, you arrange for your world. You confess that death is a true even while you are escaping it. You confess that Allah hears and sees all your words and deeds but, in the meantime, you do not care for His recording your deeds for judgment. How can anyone who listens to your confessions and notices your deeds believe you? Nabi Isa ibn Maryam al-Masih (ع) Tuhaf al-‘Uqoul p. 610
- O slaves of this world, you are just like the lamp; it lights up others’ ways while it burns itself. Nabi Isa ibn Maryam al-Masih (ع) Tuhaf al-‘Uqoul p. 604, h. 15
- Woe to the worldly man! The way he dies and leaves the world, he thought he was safe but the world deluded him. He trusted the world but the world abased him.
- I am amazed by three groups of people: Those who go after the world while death is after them, those who build a castle while their abodes are graves, and those who laugh while fire is before him. Nabi Isa ibn Maryam al-Masih (ع) al-Akhlaq al-Anbiyyah p. 140
- O children of Adam! You are neither satiated with affluence nor content with a little. You amass wealth for one who is not thankful to you and you go to a Lord before whom you have no excuse. You are really the servant of your gluttony and your lust.
- I pass the night into morning while I have nothing and at the same time, there is no one more rich than I am. Nabi Isa ibn Maryam (ع) Akhlaq al-Anbiya p. 138
- Never stare at which is not for you. If you restrain your eyes, you will never commit adultery; and if you are able to avoid looking at the garments of women who are not permitted for you, then do so. Nabi Isa ibn Maryam (ع) Majmu’ah Warram 1, 62