Jesus and Mary in Christianity is Prophet Isa and his mother Maryam in Islam; see Jesus in Islam. It seems Christianity doesn't have the same restrictions as Islam regarding depictions of Jesus, and they're everywhere, particularly around Christmas.

Muslims avoid looking at images of Prophet Muhammad, but appear less adverse to images of Prophet Isa. There's this question Are Christian images of Jesus sacrilege?, which is currently unanswered. However, I'm interested in a different question which might also play a role:

Question: Are Christian depictions of Jesus and Mary considered accurate?

  • 1
    Note that Christians wouldn't usually claim that their depictions are particularly accurate. Aug 17, 2020 at 2:29

2 Answers 2


According to Islam, we do not have a detailed description of 'Īsa ﷺ and none of Mariam. The brief description of 'Īsa ﷺ was given in a hadith:

حَدَّثَنَا هُدْبَةُ بْنُ خَالِدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا هَمَّامُ بْنُ يَحْيَى، عَنْ قَتَادَةَ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ آدَمَ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ: لَيْسَ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَهُ نَبِيٌّ - يَعْنِي عِيسَى - وَإِنَّهُ نَازِلٌ فَإِذَا رَأَيْتُمُوهُ فَاعْرِفُوهُ رَجُلٌ مَرْبُوعٌ إِلَى الْحُمْرَةِ وَالْبَيَاضِ بَيْنَ مُمَصَّرَتَيْنِ كَأَنَّ رَأْسَهُ يَقْطُرُ وَإِنْ لَمْ يُصِبْهُ بَلَلٌ فَيُقَاتِلُ النَّاسَ عَلَى الإِسْلاَمِ فَيَدُقُّ الصَّلِيبَ وَيَقْتُلُ الْخِنْزِيرَ وَيَضَعُ الْجِزْيَةَ وَيُهْلِكُ اللَّهُ فِي زَمَانِهِ الْمِلَلَ كُلَّهَا إِلاَّ الإِسْلاَمَ وَيُهْلِكُ الْمَسِيحَ الدَّجَّالَ فَيَمْكُثُ فِي الأَرْضِ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً ثُمَّ يُتَوَفَّى فَيُصَلِّي عَلَيْهِ الْمُسْلِمُونَ

Narrated Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet (ﷺ) said: There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus (ﷺ). He will descent (to the earth). When you see him, recognize him: a man of medium height, reddish fair, wearing two light yellow garments, looking as if drops were falling down from his head though it will not be wet. He will fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill swine, and abolish jizyah. Allah will perish all religions except Islam. He will destroy the Antichrist and will live on the earth for forty years and then he will die. The Muslims will pray over him.

—   Sunan Abi Dawud, Book 39, Hadith 34

We, as Muslims, do not consider the depiction(s) of Jesus to be accurate or representative of how he looked like. Depictions existed at the time of the Prophet ﷺ and he did not tell his companions that 'Īsa ﷺ looked like any of them. As for Mariam, since there is no description, none of her depictions are considered accurate either.

Refer to Islam Q&A 145023 (Arabic only).


For sure, the depictions are not accurate as pictures and statues in a religious context are forbidden in Jewish law as well, and there is absolutely no hint that Jesus would have allowed it. It was about 300 years later that Christians started to paint the stories of the Bible. Of course, by then, nobody knew how they really looked like.

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