Jesus’ name in Islam is Isa. Some take issue with this and some flat out reject it. I have no issue with it because I know that the Isa mentioned in the Quran is speaking of the Jesus of the Bible. Sure, details of His life, death, resurrection and personhood are missing, but that’s where I and other laborers in God’s Kingdom come in. I think of it as job security. I have the privilege of being engaged in inter-faith dialogue with Arab Muslims and being able to explain to them “the way of God more perfectly” (Acts 18:26).
Think about it, Jesus’ name in Islam is not just Isa. Observe:
“Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah” S. 3:45
He is a Word from Allah, Isa, Son of Mary, the Messiah, eternally held in honor and of those nearest to God. This is a much more favorable presentation of Jesus’ name in Islam than is usually presented by opponents of the name Isa. In my experience, most Muslims do not know why His birth from the womb of the Virgin Mary is significant. Most don’t know the truth of the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. Furthermore, while most Islamic scholars know and admit the many mentions of Jesus Christ in the Quran, they don’t understand what the term messiah means.
As with many believers around the world, my heart beats to glorify God and allow Him to use me to lead Muslims to the Savior. If Jesus’ name in Islam was even something that would remotely lead men to faith in a false savior or an imitation Christ, I would go nowhere near it.
I have actually used the Arabic word for Jesus’ name that is used in the Arabic translation of the Bible, “Yesua” in discussing Christ with Muslims. Many, if not most, have never heard this name. That’s ok, I suppose. When I use Isa, however, there is immediate recognition. It allows certain pre-conceived things to be in place in men’s minds. Of course, I understand that there are also wrong notions regarding Jesus in men’s minds, but this will be the case if I take time to explain that Yesua is the Isa of the Quran as well.
So if Jesus’ name in Islam is Isa and Isa is one of those close to God (al-Muqaribeen), can this Isa help guide Muslims to God? I’ve asked this very question of many Muslims. After discussing Christ more fully, many of them conclude that Christ’s revelation, the Injil, which we know as the Gospel, may indeed be able to help them. Yes, the Muslim view of God and the Muslim view of Jesus differ from the Christian views. We know this, however. Just stating the obvious and demanding complete acceptance of a foreign vocabulary and religious mindset doesn’t move men toward Christ. Finding common ground, however, does move men closer to God.
Just as Mary’s name in Islam, Miriam, refers to the same May, mother of Jesus, in the Bible, so too Isa, Jesus name in Islam, refers to the Jesus of the Bible. I encourage all to not let this become a stumbling block, but to learn what the Quran says about Jesus and to continually be about our Father’s business.