Jesus Better or Muhammad
We are not here to compare Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them both), because in our religion we are forbidden to compare Prophets in order to see who is superior, especially that type of comparison that involves undermining the status of the other, which is what you have done. You could not prove the superiority of Jesus (peace be upon him) over God’s creation except by impugning our Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). This is not acceptable in our religion, even if the other party is of a lower standing. As for impugning any of the Prophets, any Muslim who does that commits an act of disbelief that puts him beyond the pale of Islam. Our religion preserves the dignity of the Prophets and Messengers, holds them in high esteem and makes believing in all of them one of the pillars of faith; the one who does not believe even in one of the Prophets is not a Muslim. Our religion only speaks well of the Prophets and Messengers. In His holy Book, the Qur’an, Allah, may He be exalted, mentions their worship and praises it, and He mentions their supplication, their fear of Him, their calling their people to faith, enjoining upon them what is right and forbidding to them what is wrong. There is nothing in the Book of Allah, may He be exalted, or in the Sunnah of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) that speaks ill of any of them; rather, according to both sources, it is obligatory to venerate them and hold them in high esteem.
Comparing and contrasting Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them both) is not something to be sought in our religion, and it is not appropriate for you to do that either. The reason is that we are commanded to follow the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and – before that – to testify that he is the Messenger of Allah, and this has nothing to do with whether he is the best of God’s creation or not. This is not only in our religion; rather every people to whom a messenger was sent by their Lord was instructed to believe in their Messenger and follow him, even if he was not the best of God’s creation. Is it a stipulation that a Prophet should be the best of God’s creation? What would be the situation of previous nations for whom, in one era, a great number of Prophets and Messengers existed? We do not testify that our Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah because he is the best of God’s creation, and he himself did not say “follow me because I am the best of God’s creation.” Rather we know (about him being the best of God’s creation) because Allah, may He be exalted, has raised him in status. We will quote in support of that a verse, an incident and a hadith.
This is the verse in which Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And (remember) when Allah took the Covenant of the Prophets, saying: ‘Take whatever I gave you from the Book and Hikmah (understanding of the Laws of Allah, etc.), and afterwards there will come to you a Messenger (Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)) confirming what is with you; you must, then, believe in him and help him.’ Allah said: ‘Do you agree (to it) and will you take up My Covenant (which I conclude with you)?’ They said: ‘We agree.’ He said: ‘Then bear witness; and I am with you among the witnesses (for this)’”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:81].
This is a promise and a covenant that Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, took from all the Prophets, that they would believe in Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and that they would support him in his call.
This was when our Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) led all the Prophets in prayer. That happened during his journey that is called al-Isra’ wa’l-Mi‘raaj (the Night Journey [from Makkah to Jerusalem] and Ascent into the heavens)]. He led all of them in prayer in Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem).
If this is not indicative of his virtue
And superiority, then we do not know of anything else that could point to that.
This is the saheeh (sound) report that was narrated from him, in which he spoke of what will happen on the Day of Resurrection when all the Prophets (blessings and peace of Allah be upon them) will refuse to intercede for the people for judgement to be passed among them. They will excuse themselves, each of them saying, “Myself, myself”, but Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) will come forward to intercede in what is known as the great intercession, saying: “I am able for it, I am able for it.” Then his Lord, may He be exalted, will honour him by accepting his intercession for the people of that gathering. That will be the station of praise and glory (al-maqaam al-mahmoud) that Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, will not bestow upon any human except him (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).
These are some of the proofs from our religious teachings that highlight the superiority of the Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) above his fellow Prophets (peace be upon them all), and they themselves would not deny that. Moosa (Moses – peace be upon him) acknowledged that in a hadith that is saheeh (sound) in our view. ‘Eesaa (Jesus – peace be upon him) will refuse to lead the Muslims in prayer; rather he will be content to pray behind an imam (of the Muslims), because he will adhere to the solemn pledge and covenant that Allah, may He be exalted, took from him. When he descends at the end of time, he will kill the pigs, break the cross and pray behind a Muslim imam.
All these things are proven in the soundest of our books – al-Bukhaari and Muslim – along with veneration of ‘Eesa (Jesus – peace be upon him) and mention of the bonds between him and Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). Look at the following hadith:
The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “I am the closest of people to ‘Eesa ibn Maryam (Jesus son of Mary) in this world and the hereafter. The Prophets are brothers from the same father; their mothers are different but their religion is one.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim.
What this hadith means is that the origin of the Prophets’ faith is one, but their laws differ.
According to what you say in your question, you think that there is a gap between the other Prophets and Messengers and our Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), but this is not the case at all. Rather they are all brothers who brought the same message, which is the call to worship Allah, may He be exalted, alone and not to ascribe any partners to Him.