SHAFAQNA | by Nasibeh Yazdani : It’s Christmas time, commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ (PBUH) which is a major religious celebration for Christians around the world, but many people don’t know Muslims also have a deep love and respect for Jesus Christ (PBUH) as one of the greatest messengers of God and they celebrate the Christian holiday alongside Christians.
Jesus Christ (PBUH), Mary, and the angel Gabriel are all in the Quran (as are Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and a bunch of other Bible characters). Jesus Christ (PBUH) is mentioned by name in twenty-five places in the Holy Quran. He is also addressed with respect as: “Ibne Maryam” – son of Mary; as Masi (Heb) Messiah – translated as Christ; “Abd-ullah” servant of Allah; “Rasul -Ullah” – Messenger of Allah.
Mary (called “Maryam” in Arabic) has an entire chapter in the Quran named for her — the only chapter in the Quran named for a female figure. In fact, Mary is the only woman to be mentioned by name in the entire Quran.
The story of Jesus Christ (PBUH) ‘s birth as told in the Quran is also the story of his first miracle, when he spoke as an infant in the cradle and declared himself to be a prophet of God, VOX reported.
Just alike Christians, Muslims believe that God gifted Jesus with the ability to bring the dead back to life, heal the leper and bring sight back to the blind and they believe that Jesus Christ (PBUH) will return to Earth before the Day of Judgment to restore justice.
Prophet Muhammad (S.A) was always very respectful towards the Christians. One day two Christians came to discuss a number of issues with Prophet Muhammad (S.A). When the time of their prayer came, they asked the Prophet if they could do their worship in the mosque of the Prophet. He answered, “Conduct your service here in the mosque. It is a place dedicated to God”, Islamicity mentioned.
Prophet Muhammad (S.A) has said, “The dearest person to me in friendship and in love, in this world and the next is Jesus Christ (PBUH), the son of Mary.”
Across the globe, notably in the heart of Muslim lands, Muslims and Christians have lived side by side for over a 1000 years. For example, Armenian Christians have lived in peace in Isfahan, Iran for 400 years and they will live in the future. Followers of the religions of Islam and Christianity in Isfahan not only live together but also collaborate with each other. Muslims and Christians have been respected each other’s customs for many years and freely take part in their religious ceremonies.
This spirit of peaceful coexistence can still be found throughout the world today, and it is this spirit of cooperation and sharing that should be revived across the world.
Bringing people together during the holidays
To help educate people on the significance of Jesus Christ (PBUH) in Islam, Ahmed’s group, The Humanitarians, a Muslim interfaith organization, is launching a month long campaign that includes billboards along high-trafficked areas in Arizona, US, along with radio ads.
Ahmed, the group’s founder and outreach coordinator, said the intent is to highlight similarities between Islam and Christianity and bring people together during the holidays.
“We want to educate people on who we (Muslims) are and who we are not and show people that there are more similarities between the faiths than differences,” Ahmed said during a news conference at the Islamic Community Center of Tempe.
The billboards, which Ahmed said cost $10,000, state in bold, white letters three Islamic beliefs about Jesus Christ (PBUH) : Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary; he is honorable and blessed; and God supported Jesus with the Holy Spirit.
The billboards were unveiled last week and will be up for a month, Ahmed said.
As part of the campaign, the group also is running radio ads from Dec. 24 to Dec. 26 and doing a big push on social media. It has held open houses at different mosques and members are speaking at K-12 schools and universities.
He said the group has received about 40 calls from Arizona residents interested in learning more about Islam and the similarities between the different religions.
Similar campaigns are happening in other [American] cities nationwide, he said.
Ahmed said he hopes that once groups see there are more similarities than differences, they can work together to tackle other issues such as poverty, racism, gun violence and extremism.
“First, we have to do away with the fear of the unknown. Second, we have to educate each other on the commonalities of the faiths,” Ahmed said. “And once we overcome that barrier, we can join together to better humanity”, AZCentral reported.
A new play, “Christmas Mubarak”, an original production from the Chicago theater company Silk Road Rising, sets the story of the births and lives of both Mary and Jesus Christ (PBUH) from the Quran and Muslim traditions alongside the Christmas music of Christian traditions, in hopes it will illustrate how much the two religions have in common.
With an ensemble cast of four playing all the characters and adding scholarly asides where Muslim traditions interpret stories differently, the show is — in its own words — the story of “a love affair” between Islam and Jesus Christ (PBUH), who is viewed as a prophet by Muslims.
After a workshop performance on Nov. 30 in Silk Road Rising’s basement theater at the Chicago Temple, home to First United Methodist Church, one audience member described called “Christmas Mubarak” “a learning experience,” expressing surprise that in the Quran Jesus Christ (PBUH) didn’t die on a cross — or that he appeared in the Quran at all, Religion News reported.
Pond, who was raised United Methodist, began working on the play over the summer. He said he wanted to tell the Muslim stories of Jesus Christ’s (PBUH) life chronologically, from the promise of his birth to the promise of his return, and chose stories that, if they weren’t the same in both Islam and Christianity, were similar enough to feel familiar to Christians in the audience.
“What Would Jesus Do” Campaign
If Christmas should be about anything, it should be about Jesus Christ (PBUH), and how his teachings can impact and transform the world for the better. In this spirit, this festive season, as temperatures plummet and we cosy up in our warm homes, multi-award winning British Muslim charity, Penny Appeal, has launched a sobering winter appeal, asking the question and launching the hashtag #WhatWouldJesusDo?, INDEPENDENT reported.
To some, it will seem strange that a Muslim charity is asking people what Jesus would do, that is, until they find out that Muslims also believe in Jesus,” a statement from the charity read, Asian Image reported.
“To Muslims, Jesus, like Muhammad, was a prophet and showed compassion and warmth to those in need. Christians will be celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. He taught his followers to feed the hungry and to love their neighbor.”
In the campaign, the Penny Appeal charity will unveil 5 life-size ice statues symbolizing homeless families to promote their winter campaign.
The frozen family will depict the plight of the 140 families who become homeless every day, and the 900 children who become homeless every month in the UK.
According to the statement, “Asking “What Would Jesus Do?” campaign will align people from all backgrounds together in the spirit of giving during the festive winter period.
As part of the campaign, volunteers from Penny Appeal’s Team Orange will be distributing emergency relief to the homeless throughout the festive period.
They will also host an afternoon tea for elderly people who might be cold or lonely during winter and delivering gifts to children in hospitals to oﬀer some cheer during the festive season, About Islam reported.
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