New to Islam? The Way Of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him)

Dr Bilal Philips
The Messengers
The following are some examples of teachings which Prophet Jesus ('alayhis-salaam) followed and taught, but which were later abandoned by the Church.

However, most of these teachings were revived in the final message of Islaam brought by Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) and remain a fundamental part of Muslim religious practices until today.


Jesus ('alayhis-salaam) was circumcised. According to the Old Testament, this tradition began with Prophet Abraham (Ibraheem - 'alayhis-salaam), who was himself neither a Jew nor a Christian.

In Genesis 17: 10, it is written, "And God said to Abraham, 'As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is my covenant, which you shall keep. between me and you and your descendants after you Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. He that is eight dgys old among you shall be circumcised,' every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house, or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, both he that is born in your house and he that is bought with your money, shall be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an eyerlasting covenant."

In the Gospel according to Luke 2:21: And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb."

Consequently, to be circumcised was a part of Jesus' way. However, today most Christians are not circumcised, because of a rationale introduced by Paul*. He claimed that circumcision was the circumcision of the heart.

In his letter to the Romans 2:29, he wrote: "He is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter ofthe heart, spiritual and not literal." In his letter to the Galatians 5:2, he wrote: "Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be ofno advantage to you. "p9 This was Paul's false interpretation. On the other hand, Jesus was not circumcised in the heart nor did he say anything about circumcision of the heart; he kept the "everlasting covenant" and was circumcised in the flesh. Thus, an important part of following the way of Jesus is circumcision.

*(Unfortunately, about five years after the end of Jesus' ministry, a young rabbi by the name of Saul of Tarsus, who claimed to have seen Jesus in a vision, began to change Jesus' way. Paul (his Roman name) had considerable respect for Roman philosophy and he spoke proudly of his own Roman citizenship. His conviction was that non-Jews who became Christians should not be burdened with the Torah in any respect. The author of Acts 13:39 quotes Paul as saying, "And by him every one that believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. It was primarily through the efforts of Paul that the Church began to take on its non-Jewish character. Paul wrote most of the New Testament letters (epistles), which the Church accepts as the official doctrine and inspired Scripture. These letters do not preserve the Gospel of Jesus or even represent it; instead, Paul transfonned the teachings of Christ into a Hellenic (Graeco Roman) philosophy.)


Jesus ('alayhis-salaam) did not eat pork. He followed the laws of Moses ('alayhis-salaam) and he did not eat pork. In Leviticus 11 :7·8, "And the swine, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. So of their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch; they are unclean to you." Jesus' only dealing with pigs was his permission to the unclean spirits which were possessing a man to enter them. When they entered the herd of pigs, they ran into the water and drowned. However, most people who call themselves Christians today not only eat pork, they love it so much that they have made pigs the subject of nursery rhymes [e.g. This little piggy went to market...] and children's stories [e.g.' The Three Little Pigs]. Porky Pig is a very popular cartoon character and recently a full· length feature movie was made about a pig called "Babe". Thus, it may be said that those who call themselves followers of Christ are not in fact foHowing the way of Christ.

In Islamic law, the prohibition of pork and its products has been strictly maintained from the time of Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam) until today. In the Qur'aan, Chapter al·Baqarah (2): 173, God says: "He has only forbidden you animals which die of themselves, blood, swine and animals sacrificed for others besides Allaah. But if one is forced by necessity and not wilful disobedience nor transgression, then there is no sin on him. Truly, Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."


Jesus ('alayhis-salaam) also did not eat anything containing blood, nor did he eat blood. God is recorded as having instructed Prophet Moses ('alayhis-salaam) in the Torah, Deuteronomy 12: 16, "Only you shall not eat the blood: you shall pour it upon the earth like "water," and in Leviticus 19:26, "You shall not eat any flesh with the blood in it. You shall not practice augury or witchcraft."

This prohibition has been preserved in the final revelation in Chapter al-An'aam (6): 145 until today: "Say (0 Muhammad): I do not find in what has been revealed to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat, except for animals which die of themselves, flowing blood and swine flesh, for they are indeed impure."

Consequently, particular rites of slaughter were prescribed by God for all the nations to whom prophets were sent, in order to ensure that most of the blood was effectively removed from the slaughtered animals and to remind human beings of God's bounties. The Qur'aan refers to these instructions in chapter ai-Hajj (22):34 as follows: "For every nation I have appointed rites of slaughter in order that they may mention Allaah's name over the cattle He has provided them."

Jesus ('alayhis-salaam) and his early followers observed the proper method of slaughter by mentioning God's name and cutting the jugular veins of the animals while they were living to allow the heart to pump out the blood. However, Christians today do not attach much importance to proper slaughter methods, as prescribed by God.


Jesus ('alayhis-salaam) consecrated himself to God and therefore abstained from alcoholic drinks according to the instructions recorded in Numbers 6: 1-4: "And the Lord said to Moses, 'Say to the people of Israel, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of the Nazirite. to separate himselfto the Lord, he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink; he shall drink no vinegar made from wine or strong drink, he shall drink no vinegar made from wine or strong drink, and shall not drink any juice of grapes or eat grapes, fresh or dried. All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, not even the seeds or the skins. "

In the Qur'aan, Chapter al-Maa'idah (5):90, Allaah prohibits intoxicants irrevocably: "0 you who believe, intoxicants, gambling, sacrificial altars, and divination are an abomination of Satan's handiwork, so avoid them in order to be successful."

As to the 'miracle of turning water into wine' (John 2:1-11) it is found only in the Gospel of John, which consistently contradicts the other three gospels. The Gospel of John was opposed as heretical in the early Church, while the other three Gospels were referred to as the Synoptic Gospels because the texts contained a similar treatment of Jesus' life. Consequently, New Testament scholars have expressed doubt about the authenticity of this incident.

Ablution before Prayer

Prior to making formal prayer, Jesus ('alayhis-salaam) used to wash his limbs according to the teachings of the Torah. Moses ('alayhis-salaam) and Aaron ('alayhis salaam) are recorded as doing the same in Exodus 40:30-1, "And he set the laver between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it for washing, with which Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet.... as the Lord commanded Moses. "

In the Qur'aan, Chapter al-Maa'idah, (5):6, ablution for prayer is prescribed as follows: "0 you who believe, when you intend to pray, wash your faces and fore-arms up to the elbows, wipeyour heads and wash your feet up to the ankles."

Prostration in Prayer

Jesus is described in the Gospels as prostrating during prayer, In Matthew 26:39, the author describes an incident which took place when Jesus went with his disciples to Gethsemane: "And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed 'My Father, if it be possible, leI this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." Christians today kneel down, clasping their hands, in a posture which cannot be ascribed to Jesus ('alayhis-salaam). The method of prostration in prayer followed by Jesus was not of his own making. It was the mode of prayer of the prophets before him, In the Old Testament, Genesis 17:3, Prophet Abraham is recorded to have fallen on his face in prayer; in Numbers 16:22 & 20:6, both Moses and Aaron are recorded to have fallen on their faces in worship; in Joshua 5: 14 & 7:6, Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshipped; in kings 18:42, Elijah bowed down on the ground and put his face between his knees. This was the way of the prophets through whom God chose to convey His word to the world; and it is only by this way that those who claim to follow Jesus will gain the salvation which he preached in his Gospel. Chapter al-Insaan (76):25-6, is only one of many Qur'aanic examples of God's instructions to the believers to bow down in worship to Him. "Remember the Name of your Lord in the morning and evening, and prostrate to Him and glorify Him for a long time nightly."


The women around Jesus veiled themselves according to the practice of the women around the earlier prophets. Their gannents were loose and covered their bodies completely, and they wore scarves which covered their hair. In Genesis 24:64-5: "And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she alightedfrom the camel, and said to the servant, 'Who is the man yonder, walking in the field to meel us? ' The servant said, 'It is my master. ' So she took her veil and covered herself." Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians, "But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonours her head-- it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a woman will not veil herself. then she should cut off her hair: but if it is disgraceful for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil."

Some may argue that it was the general custom of those times to be completely veiled. However, that is not the case. In both Rome and Greece, whose cultures dominated the region, the popular dress was quite short and revealed the arms, legs and chest. Only religious women in Palestine, following Jewish tradition, covered themselves modestly.

According to Rabbi or. Menachem M. Brayer (Professor of Biblical Literature at Yeshiva University), it was customary that Jewish women went out in public with a head-covering which, sometimes, even covered the whole face, leaving only one eye free. ' He further stated that "during the Tannaitic period, the Jewish woman's failure to cover her head was considered an affront to her modesty. When her head was uncovered she might be fined four hundred zuzim for this offence."

The famous early Christian theologian, St. Tertullian (d. 220 CE), in his famous treatise, 'On The Veiling of Virgins' wrote, ''Young women, you wear your veils out on the streets, so you should wear them in the church; you wear them when you are among strangers, then wear them among your brothers..." Among the Canon laws of the Catholic church until today, there is a law that requires women to cover their heads in church. Christian denominations, such as the Amish and the Menonites for example, keep their women veiled to the present day.

In the Qur'aan, Chapter an-Noor (24):31, the believing women are instructed to cover their charms and wear veils on their heads and chests. "Tell the believing women to lower their gaze and protect tbeir private parts and not to expose their adornment, except only what normally shows, and to draw their head-scarves over their bosoms."

In Chapter al-Abzaab (33): 59, the reason for veiling is given. Allaah states that it makes the believing women known in the society and provides protection for them from possible social harm.


Jesus ('alayhis-salaam)greeted his followers by saying "Peace be upon you". In chapter 20: 19, the anonymous author of the Gospel according to John wrote the following about Jesus after his supposed crucifixion: "Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you. '" This greeting was according to that of the prophets, as mentioned in the books ofthe Old Testament. For example, in 1st Samuel 25:6, Prophet David instructed emissaries whom he sent to Nabal: "And thus you shall salute him: 'Peace be to you. andpeace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. ' "

The Qur'aan instructs all who enter homes to give greetings of peace; and those entering paradise will be greeted similarly by the angels. In Chapter al-An'aam (6):54, God instructs the believers to greet each other with peace: "When those who believe in my signs come to you, Greet them: Peace be Upon you."

Whenever Muslims meet each other, they use this greeting. Jesus confirmed the institution of compulsory charity, known as "the tithe (tenth)", which was required from the annual harvest to be given back to God in celebration. In Deuteronomy 14:22: "You shall tithe all the yield of your seed, which comesforth from the field year by year." In the 6th chapter, al-An'aam, verse 141, God reminds the believers to pay the charity at the time of harvest: "It is He who produces trellised and un-trellised gardens, date palms and crops of different shapeds and tastes, and olives and pomegranates, similar yet different. Eat of their fruit when they bear, but pay the due at the time of harvest without being extravagant, for, surely He does not like those who are extravagant."

The system of compulsory charity (in Arabic, zakaah) is well organized, with different rates for cash and precious metals than that for agricultural products and cattle. Also, those who are eligible to receive are clearly defined in the Qur'aan, Chapter at-Tawbah (9):60. It is mainly distributed among various categories of the poor and is not used to provide a comfortable living for priests.


According to the Gospels, Jesus ('alayhis-salaam) fasted for forty days. Matthew 4:2: "And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry." This was in accordance with the practice of the earlier prophets (peace be upon them all). Moses ('alayhis-salaam) is also recorded in Exodus 34:28, to have fasted: "And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments."

In the Qur'aan, Chapter al-Baqarah (2): 183, the believers are instructed to observe regular fasting. "0 you who believe, fasting is prescribed upon you as it was prescribed for those before you, in order that you may become pious."

The purpose of fasting is clearly defined as being for the development of God-consciousness. Only God knows who is actually fasting and who is not. Consequently, one who is fasting refrains from eating and drinking based on an awareness of God. Regular fasting heightens that awareness, which subsequently leads to a greater inclination towards righteousness.

The believers are required to fast from dawn until dusk for the whole month of Ramadaan (the ninth month of the lunar calendar). Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also said, "The best fast [outside of Ramadaan] is that of my brother [Prophet] David (Dawood - peace be upon him) who used to fast every other day."


By upholding the Law, Prophet Jesus also opposed the giving or taking of interest because the texts of the Torah expressly forbade interest. It is recorded in Deuteronomy 23:19 that, "You shall not lend upon interest to your brother, interest on money, interest upon victuals, interest on anything that is lent for interest." (However, in the verse following this one, the Jews made lending on interest to non-Jews permissible: "To a foreigner you may lend upon interest, but to your brother you shall not lend upon interest." (Deuteronomy 23:20)

Interest is also strictly forbidden in Chapter al-Baqarah (2):278 of the Qur'aan: "0 you who believe, fear AlIaah and give up what interest remains due to you, if you really are believers."

In order to fulfill this divine requirement, Muslims developed an alternative system of banking, commonIy known as 'Islamic Banking', which is interest-free.


There is no record of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) opposing polygamy. If he did so, it would have meant that the condemned the practice of the prophets before him. There are a number of examples of polygamous marriages among the prophets recorded in the Torah. Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) had two wives, according to Genesis 16: 13: "So after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarah, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife."

So Prophet David (peace be upon him), according to the first book of Samuel 27:3, "And David dwelt with Achish at Gat, he and his men, every man with his household, and David with his two wives. Ahin 'o-am of Jezreel, and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal's widow."

In Ist Kings 11 :3. Solomon (peace be upon him) is said to have "...had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines." Solomon's son, Rehobo'am, also had a number of wives, according to 2nd Chronicles 11:21, "Rehobo 'am loved Ma'acah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and concubines (he took eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and had twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters)."

In fact the Torah even specified laws regarding the division of inheritance in polygamous circumstances. In Deuteronomy 21:15-16: the law states: "If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other disliked, and they have borne him children, both the loved and the disliked, and if the first-born son is hers that is dislilked, then on the day when he assigns his possessions as an inheritance to his sons, he may not treat the son oft he loved as the first-born in preference to the son of the disilked, who is the first-born." The only restriction on polygamy was the ban on taking a wife's sister as a rival wife in Leviticus 18: 18, "And you shall not take a woman as a rival wife to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is yet alive." The Talmud advises a maximum of four wives as was the practice of Prophet Jacob (peace be upon him).

According to Father Eugene Hillman, "Nowhere in the New Testament is there any explicit commandment that marriage should be monogamous or any explicit commandment forbidding polygamy." He further stressed the fact that the Church in Rome banned polygamy in order to conform to Graeco-Roman culture which prescribed only one legal wife while tolerating concubinage and prostitution.

Islaam limited polygamy to a maximum of four wives at one time and stipulated the maintenance ofj ustice as a basic condition for polygamy. In Chapter an-Nisaa (4):3, God states: "Marry of the women that please you two, three or four. But if you fear that you will not be able to deal justly, then [marry only] one ..."


Prophet Jesus (peace and blessings be upon him) did not condone the pagan practice of making images of God. He upheld the prohibition mentioned in the Torah, Exodus 20 verse 4: "You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." Consequently, the use of religious images, called icons, was firmly opposed by the early generation of Christian scholars. However, in time, the Greek and Roman tradition of image-making and portraying God in human form eventually won out. The prohibition is to prevent the eventual deterioration of worship of God into the worship of His creation. Once a human being makes a picture in his or her mind of God, the person is, in fact, trying to make God like His creation, because the human mind can only picture the things which it has seen, and God can not be seen in this life.

Christians with a tradition of worshipping through images often question how God can be worshipped without visualizing Him. God should be worshipped based on the knowledge of His attributes which He revealed in authentic scripture. For example, Allaah describes Himself in the Qur'aan as being All-Merciful, so His worshippers should reflect on God's many mercies and give thanks to God for them. They should also contemplate on the nature of His mercy to them and show mercy to other human beings. Likewise, Allaah refers to Himself as being Oft-Forgiving, so His worshippers should turn to Him in repentance and not give up hope when they commit sins. They should also appreciate God's forgiveness by being forgiving to other human beings. (The true message of Jesus Christ)


There is only One God who created one race of human beings, and communicated to them one message: submission to the will of God-known in Arabic as Islaam.

That message was conveyed to the first human beings on this earth, and reaffirmed by all of the prophets of God who came after them, down through the ages. The essence of the message of Islaam was that humans should worship only One God by obeying His commandments, and should avoid worshipping God's creation in any way, shape or form.

Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, performed miracles and invited the Israelites to the same message of submission (Islaam), as did all of the prophets who preceded him. He was not God, nor was he the 'Son of God', but was the Messiah, an illustrious prophet of God. Jesus did not invite people to worship himself; rather, he called them to worship God, and he himself worshipped God. He confirmed the laws of the Torah which Prophet Moses taught; he lived by them, and instructed his disciples to follow them to the finest detail.

Before his departure, he informed his followers of the last prophet, Muhammad of Arabia (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam), who would come after him, and instructed them to observe his teachings. In the generations after Jesus' departure from this world, his teachings were distorted and he was elevated to the status of God. Six centuries later, with the coming of Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam), the truth about Jesus Christ was finally retold and preserved eternally in the last book of divine revelation, the Qur'aan.

Furthermore, the laws of Moses (peace be upon him), which Jesus (peace be upon him) followed, were revived in their pure and unadulterated fonn, and implemented in the divinely prescribed way ofHfe known as Islaam. Consequently, the reality of the prophets, their uniform message, and the way of life which they followed, can only be found preserved in the religion of Islaam, the only religion prescribed by God for man. Furthennore, only Muslims today actually follow Jesus (peace be upon him) and his true teachings. Their way of life is much more in tune with the way of life of Jesus than any of the modem day "Christians". Love and respect of Jesus Christ is an article of faith in Islaam. Allaah stressed the importance of belief in Jesus (peace be upon him) in numerous places in the Qur'aan. For example, in Chapter an-Nisaa (4): 159, He said: "And all of the people of the scripture must believe in him (Jesus] before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection, he will be a witness against them,"

[The True Message Of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), Dr Bilal Philips]

The Return Of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him)

Even the expected return of Jesus, which Christians are awaiting, is a part of the Islamic faith. However, he will not return to judge the world as modem Christians believe, because judgement only belongs to God. The Qur'aan teaches that Jesus was not killed by the Jews, but was instead raised up alive by God into the heavens.

"And [for] their saying, "Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah ." And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain." (4:157)

Among the things which Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam) was recorded to have said regarding Prophet Jesus' return is the following, "There will be no prophet between me and Jesus, and he will return. When he does, you will know him. He will be a well-built man of ruddy complexion and he will descend wearing a two-piece garment. His hair will look wet, though no water touched it. He will fight people to establish Islaam and he will break the cross, kill the pig and cancel the jizyah*. During his time, Allaah will destroy all religions except Islaam and the False-Christ (Masih ad-Dajjal) will be killed. Jesus will remain on earth for forty years, and when he dies, Muslims will pray the funeral prayer for him. Jesus' return will be one of the signs of the coming of the Day ofJudgement." (Sunan Abu Dawood)

(*Jizyah - The tax taken from Christians and Jews living under Muslim rule in lieu of zakaah (compulsory charity) and military service.)

Jesus' return will be one of the signs of the coming of the Day of Judgement. (Excerpt From: The True Message Of Jesus Christ, By Bilal Phillips)

See also: And they did not kill him!.html

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