For many Muslims, Good Friday is simply part of a Christian holy week that culminates in Easter Sunday, a day off of school or work, a day to sleep in. But it is also an opportunity to understand the Christian view of Jesus, including the crucifixion and the resurrection.
Jesus has a very special place in Islam, a greatly beloved Prophet, he is mentioned repeatedly in the Quran. Millions of Muslims are named “Isa” after him and his mother Mary or “Mariam.” Muslims that don’t believe in the virgin birth of Jesus and his prophethood put themselves outside the fold of Islam.
However, for Muslims, Jesus is not God, he is not the son of God, he is not one-third of the trinity, he is not divine. He also did not die on the cross for the sins of humanity. As Muslims, we believe that God has within his power to forgive whoever he wills without requiring a blood sacrifice.
Like many Christians, Muslims believe that Jesus spoke from the cradle, gave sight to the blind, healed the sick and the lepers and even brought the dead to life. Muslims believe these miracles did not happen through his own abilities, but by the will of God, in the same way that Moses parted the sea, only by the will of God.
Jesus is considered among the five most notable prophets, although Muslims believe there were thousands of prophets sent over time, the Quran mentions only 25. Jesus is among those who were granted scripture, and Muslims consider him a Muslim, defined as one who submits to God.
While the crucifixion and resurrection are central to Christian belief and tied to the Christian concept of original sin, a concept that Muslims do not share, the Quran speaks only briefly regarding the crucifixion. The Quran teaches that Jesus was not killed or crucified, although it was made to appear to those present.
This has lead to many academic discussions amongst Muslims and various opinions. None of these discussions over the past 1400 years had to do with theology, because Muslim scholars did not differ on the nature and mission of Jesus.
Engaging in interfaith dialogue is a great opportunity to learn about the many faiths, beliefs and spiritualities that exist in society. Being informed makes us better neighbors and better people.