December 8, 2021

Issa (Arabic: عيسى; romaniz.: ʿĪsā) is the Arabic name of Jesus, considered by Islam to be a prophet.

Issa in the Koran

The Koran does not narrate Issa's life in a chronological way, nor can the story of his life be found in a single passage; rather, references to his person are generally intended to illustrate a particular teaching. The Koran refers to Issa in fifteen surahs (chapters) and in ninety-three (93) verses. He is designated in this scripture in various ways, as al-Masih (messiah), nabi (prophet), rasul (messenger), Ibn Maryam (son of Mary), min al-muiarraben (among those who are close to God), wadjih (worthy of praise in this world and the next), mubarak (blessed) and Abd Allah (servant of God).


The episode of the Annunciation of Mary reported in the Qur'an is similar to that reported in the Gospel. Mary is visited by the angel Gabriel (in Arabic this is Jibral, Jibrīl, Jibrael, Džibril, Jabrilæ or Jibrail (جبريل, جبرائيل, [dʒibræːʔiːl], [dʒibrɛ̈ʔiːl], or [dʒibriːl]) in Islam). The angel announces to Mary the birth of Issa and she is uneasy since she was an unmarried woman and a virgin. For Islam the conception of Issa was the result of a decree of God: the conception of Issa was miraculous and similar to that of Adam (Adam). When Issa was born he spoke to Maria from the cradle and later to her family. To avoid the scandal of an unmarried woman having a child, Issa announced to Mary's family that he was a servant of God and a prophet with a written revelation.

Issa as a prophet and messiah

In Islam Issa is both a prophet (nabi) and a messenger (rasul). Issa was sent to a specific people and in addition Issa received a sacred scripture, the Gospel. Issa's prophetic mission is realized in the performance of miracles, in the call for humanity to follow monotheism and practice charity.

The question of the crucifixion

Muslims do not believe that Issa died on the cross, an event on which Christian theology rests. The Quran clearly states that the Jews believed that they were crucifying Issa, but that God took him to Heaven, and that, before his death, Issa will be a witness against the Jews. For Muslim tradition the man who died in his place was Judas or Simon of Cyrene, and people were tricked into believing in his crucifixion. This view of Issa's body as an illusion already existed in Docetism, a second-century Christian doctrine. According to the Islamic view Issa is still alive in heaven; his death will only happen in the last days of the world, when he returns to earth and lives an ordinary life.


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