While Islamic teaching holds that Jesus was merely a prophet, the witness of the Qur’an itself is that Jesus is an exceptional prophet. Amar Djaballah explains:
In summary, the titles of the Quranic Jesus show him to be a highly esteemed prophet and apostle, with a uniqueness that Muslim tradition is not able to explain satisfactorily.*
Djaballah is referring to the different texts in the Qur’an which point to Jesus as being in a special class of prophet, a class that Mohammed himself does not seem to attain. For instance, the Qur’an testifies to the following regarding Jesus:
- Jesus was born a virgin (Surah 3:45-50).
- Jesus is sinless (Surah 6:85).
- Jesus is the Messiah (Surah 3:45).
- Jesus performed miracles (Surah 3:49).
- One of these miracles is especially interesting (although only attested elsewhere in the Gospel of Thomas). Surah 3:49 and 5:110 teach that Jesus created a bird out of clay while He was upon this earth.
- Jesus ascended into heaven in bodily form (Surah 3:55).
- Jesus spoke at his birth (Surah 19:27-35).
- Jesus raised the dead (Surah 3:49).**
Question for Muslims: since none of the above is true of Muhammed, how can he be called the greatest prophet?
*See Amar Djaballah, “Jesus in Islam,” SBTJ 8:1 (2004), 14-26.
**Whole list taken from Norman Geisler, “Jesus and Muhammed in the Qur’an: A Comparison and Contrast,” SBJT 8:1 (2004), 50-58.