In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord
In my last post, we discussed how Jesus Christ is part of my life, even if I am not celebrating the religious festival marking his birth. Yet, the verses in the Qur’an regarding the birth of Jesus Christ were only quickly mentioned. Here they are in detail.
Chapter 3, verses 45-49:
Lo! The angels said: “O Mary! Behold, God sends thee the glad tiding, through a word from Him, [of a son] who shall become known as the Christ Jesus, son of Mary, of great honor in this world and in the life to come, and [shall be] of those who are drawn near unto God. And he shall speak unto men in his cradle, and as a grown man, and shall be of the righteous.
Said she: “O my Sustainer! How can I have a son when no man has ever touched me?” [The angel] answered: “Thus it is: God creates what He wills when He wills a thing to be, He but says unto it, ‘Be’ – and it is. And he will impart unto thy son revelation, and wisdom, and the Torah, and the Gospel, and [will make him] an apostle unto the children of Israel .”
Yet, by far, the most eloquent verses regarding Jesus’ birth come in Chapter 19, verses 16-33:
AND CALL to mind, through this divine writ, Mary. Lo! She withdrew from her family to an eastern place and kept herself in seclusion from them, whereupon We sent unto her Our angel of revelation, who appeared to her in the shape of a well-made human being. She exclaimed: “Verily, ‘I seek refuge from thee with the Most Gracious! [Approach me not] if thou art conscious of Him!” [The angel] answered: “I’ am but a messenger of thy Lord, [who says,] `I shall bestow upon thee the gift of a son endowed with purity.'” Said she: “How can I have a son when no man has ever touched me? – for, never have I been unchaste?” [The angel] answered: “Thus it is; [but] thy Sustainer says, `This is easy for Me; and [thou shalt have a son,] so that We might make him a symbol unto mankind and an act of grace from US. And it was a thing decreed [by God]:
and in time she conceived him, and then she withdrew with him to a far-off place. And [when] the throes of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree, she exclaimed: “Oh, would that I had died before this, and had become a thing forgotten, utterly forgotten!” Thereupon [a voice] called out to her from beneath that [palm-tree]: “Grieve not! Thy Sustainer has provided a rivulet [running] beneath thee; and shake the trunk of the palm-tree towards thee: it will drop fresh, ripe dates upon thee. Eat, then, and drink, and let thine eye be gladdened! And if thou should see any human being, convey this unto him: `Behold, abstinence from speech have I vowed unto the Most Gracious; hence, I may not speak today to any mortal.
And in time she returned to her people, carrying the child with her. They said: “O Mary! Thou hast indeed done an amazing thing! O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a wicked man, nor was thy mother unchaste!” Thereupon she pointed to him. They exclaimed: “How can we talk to one who [as yet] is a little boy in the cradle?”
[But] he [Jesus] said: “Behold, I am a servant of God. He has vouchsafed unto me revelation and made me a prophet, and made me blessed wherever I may be; and He has enjoined upon me prayer and charity as long as I live, and [has endowed me with] piety towards my mother; and He has not made me haughty or bereft of grace. “Hence, peace was upon me on the day when I was born, and [will be upon me] on the day of my death, and on the day when I shall be raised to life [again]!”
These are the verses about Jesus with which I was raised. These are the verses I have read countless times, in all parts of the year. Theses are the verses which, along with other Prophetic traditions, have made me love, revere, and honor Jesus Christ in my life. They are indeed beautiful, recounting a beautiful and special event in the history of humanity, for both Christians and Muslims alike.
And just as Jesus Christ himself said – “Peace was upon me on the day when I was born, and [will be upon me] on the day of my death and on the day when I shall be raised to life [again]!” – thus, O Lord, I pray that this very same peace reign over our world and over all of us who live on it. Amen.