This is one of the most amusing questions I get - always from nonMuslims. I have been shopping in the grocery store, casually minding my business, paroozing the Cheez-Its, and people come to me and say "Jesus loves you!" as if they are telling me some revelation that I've never heard before! Like I'm going to say "Jesus?! WHO IS THAT? Tell me more!"
Guess what, 92-year-old, sweet, cute as a button, old lady buying melons right next to me at Kroger!? I LOVE HIM TOO!
As a matter of fact, when I went to church and lived in a Christian family, I did not feel ANY connection with Jesus, and now that I'm Muslim I have developed a strong love for him.
It's not that I love Jesus AND I'm Muslim, it's that I love Jesus BECAUSE I'm Muslim.
I used to sit in church and ask myself "Why is this Jesus guy supposed to be God, but the other Prophets, like Moses and Noah are just Prophets? and if Jesus is God, then why is he praying to God?" (**sidenote: i'll explain more about my family's religious teachings in another post, but I have been to church - like 20 times in my life).
It didn't feel natural to me - it didn't make sense to me, and it made me REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE with Jesus!
Now that I'm Muslim, although I don't believe Jesus is God nor do I think he is the son of God, I do believe Jesus is one of the most beautiful examples of a man - and a Prophet - that has ever walked this earth! I love him more now than I ever did.
"He [Jesus] said: 'I am indeed a servant of God. He has given me revelation and made me a prophet; He has made me blessed wheresoever I be; and He has enjoined on me prayer and charity as long as I live. He has made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable. So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)!" (Quran 19:30-35).
Some fun facts I think that nonMuslims should know about how Islam views Jesus:
- Jesus is mentioned more in the Quran than any other Prophet - even Prophet Muhammad (saws) - 11 times vs. Muhammad's 4.
- Jesus' mother, Mary, is one of four women who have been granted an extremely high place in heaven - She even has her own CHAPTER in the Quran. She is the only woman mentioned by name in Quran.
- Muslims believe in a lot of events that are mentioned in the Bible regarding Jesus' life - including his virgin birth. We also believe that Jesus spoke as an infant and defended his mother. Look at Islam one-upping the Jesus miracles and takin' it to the next level! woo woo!
- After we mention Jesus' name, "Isa" in Arabic, we say "alayhi salaam" meaning "upon him be peace." When is the last time you prayed for Jesus to be in peace?
- Allah said in the Quran, "O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve and make those who follow you [in submission to Allah alone] superior to those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me is your return, and I will judge between you concerning that in which you used to differ. [Quran 3:55] Such a beautiful verse!
- He did not look like you picture him. He was Arab. He doesn't have the a light complexion, long brown hair and beautiful green eyes (but I do! ;) ). He looked much more like the guy down the street that owns the carryout, Khalil, than your college roommate who participated in No-Shave November, Kevin.
So, to answer your question:
Now that I'm Muslim, I love Jesus more than ever. I appreciate his example. I hope to learn from him more and more - just as I hope to learn from the examples of the other amazing Prophets.
Now, we could sit here all day and argue that "MY RELIGION IS THE RIGHT RELIGION. THE END." - but I would prefer to show respect instead, as Jesus has taught me. I would prefer to find the similarities and teach each other what we each believe. There's no reason to argue, but to know how we feel about Jesus, someone who is so important to another religion, means a lot to me.
As the Quran says,
"لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ"
To you, your religion, and to me, mine.