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Isa (a.s.) was the last messenger of Allah sent to mankind, before Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The Jews rejected him, while the Christians elevated him to the level of Son of God, and God Himself. However, Muslims have the correct understanding – that Isa (a.s.) was one of the greatest prophets of Islam, and that he is the Messiah. The story of Prophet Isa’s return is a well-known tradition in Islam. The life of Isa (a.s.) contains many lessons for Muslims.
Isa (a.s.) brought the same message to mankind as the other Prophets. As mentioned in Surah Al-Ma’idah, he was sent with the Injil, confirming the message of the Torah which had preceded it.
This beloved prophet of Allah was one whose life was (by Allah’s will) filled with miracles. His birth was a miraculous one, as he was born of a virgin woman, Maryam. Hence, Isa (a.s.) had no father. In Surah Ali ‘Imran, we are told that Isa’s (a.s.) creation was like that of Adam (a.s.), the first human. By Allah’s leave, Prophet Isa (a.s.) performed miracles, as did Prophet Muhammad (S). A common question is when did Prophet Isa (a.s.) talk? The answer is that he talked while he was still in his cradle; a miracle from Allah. All this is displayed in the Prophet Isa story.
The most miraculous thing about Isa (a.s.)’s life is that Allah raised him. He was not killed, as is believed by those of other faiths, and he will return. As Allah informs us in Surah An-Nisa, Jesus was not crucified, but someone else was made to look like him to the people.
The life of Isa, a servant and slave in Islam
In Surah Maryam, we are told that Isa (a.s.) affirmed that he is a slave of Allah. Slavery is generally thought of as a negative trait of humans. It’s a deserved tag – humans enslave others for their own benefit. Being a servant can also be considered as a lowly or undesirable status.
However, when it comes to Allah, the whole matter is turned on its head. Since He is the Supreme Being and the Lord and Creator of the universe, it only makes sense that humans are His servants. All the prophets were the finest servants and slaves of Allah. They obeyed him and endorsed good deeds while discouraging evil deeds. Being a slave of Allah, whereby we hear, and we obey, is a status we should all aim to attain.
Follow the revealed scriptures
In Surah Maryam, Isa (a.s.) declared that Allah had bestowed the Scripture upon him, as well as prophethood. This shows us the importance of being close to the prophets and the scriptures revealed by Allah. For earlier Muslim nations, there were scriptures as well. For our time, the scripture that we must follow is the Holy Quran, as the other ones have long since been corrupted.
The life of Isa (a.s.) shows that the prophets, including Isa (a.s.), were all blessed. Hence, it is up to us to take advantage of that by ensuring that we follow the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to attain the maximum number of blessings possible.
Isa’s story and the importance of fulfilling our obligations
In Surah Maryam, Isa (a.s.) mentions the reality of him being a prophet but immediately follows that by mentioning the obligation of prayer and charity. This is a crucial lesson for Muslims. Having faith alone, no matter how strong, will never be enough. We must act upon it, and do what is obligatory upon us. Despite being the most exceptional human being by virtue of being a prophet, Isa (a.s.) realized this reality.
Status of mothers displayed by the life of Isa
In Surah Maryam of the Quran, Jesus declares that Allah made him dutiful to his mother. Mothers have a very high status in Islam, and Isa (a.s.) reiterated that. Being dutiful to our mothers is one of the foremost obligations in Islam. There is no person in our lives who can take precedence over the one who gave us birth, and we must be mindful of that at all times. We must always ensure that we obey and love them and care for them. In a Hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) also mentioned the mother thrice, as the person most deserving of good treatment, ahead of the father.
The life of Isa and how he feared Allah
In Surah Ali ‘Imran, Jesus confirmed that he arrived with a sign from Allah and said the people should thus fear Allah and obey him (Jesus). Isa (a.s.) stressed the importance of fearing Allah. This refers to what is known as Taqwa – when a Muslim is mindful of Allah. This is what stops us from committing wrongdoing and evil acts.
When we fear Allah and are aware of His Omnipotence, we try our best to refrain from committing things that Allah forbid us from doing. When all Muslims in society fear Allah and obey the Prophets, the ideal balance in the general public is reached.
Following the straight path
In Surah Ali ‘Imran, it is stated that Allah is everyone’s Lord, so He should be worshipped, as doing so is the way to be on the correct path. The straight path is what was followed by all the Prophets, and the life of Isa (a.s.) shows us that he is indeed one of them. When we pray our daily prayers, we recite Surah al-Fatiha several times. This surah contains an invocation to Allah, to guide us onto the straight path. Worshiping Allah is the key to achieving this goal. This isn’t only done through prayers and fulfilling the rest of the five pillars, but by doing everything that Allah has commanded us to do. That includes honoring parents, enjoining good and forbidding evil, and all other praiseworthy acts.
If you want to know about the lessons in the life of Musa (a.s.), click here.