Quranic Stories: The Story of Jesus
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Sunday, 12 April 2009 13:07

When the wife of Imran gave birth to a daughter, she had already vowed to God that her unborn child would be offered to Him. She was disappointed not to have a male, but the Lord told her,] 'We have named her Mary and entrusted her to your care and her seed after her.' From then on, the Lord made Mary grow in purity and beauty, and he assigned her to the care of Zachariah. Whenever Zachariah went to her chambers, he found her well provided with food. 'Who provides you with this?' asked Zachariah. ' The Lord Almighty,' replied Mary. ˜He gives in plenty to whom He pleases.' the angels told her:

O Mary! God has purified you and chosen you above all women. Hence worship Him with devotion and prostrate yourself before Him. [3:42-43]

Apart from the fact that Mary had all her needs taken care of, she also had angels attending to her. They informed her that she was the purest of the pure; she had been placed above every woman in the world. One day, they told her that she was to give birth to a son:

The Lord give you glad tidings that you shall be blessed with the Word. His name will be Jesus. He will be honored by Him in this world and in the Hereafter and he will have his place among the nearest to His Lord. [3:45]

Mary was taken aback. 'O my Lord,' she asked in bewilderment, 'how shall I bear a son when no man has touched me?'

'It is God's will,' came the reply. 'He creates as He wishes. When He decrees something, He has only to say "Be" and it is done.'

But how would she face the world? The Voice declared, 'Your son is Our responsibility. We will teach him the Scripture, the Torah, the Gospel and the Wisdom, and he shall be Our messenger.' He would be, Mary was assured, 'a sign to humanity and a token of Our mercy.'

As Mary's pregnancy became more evident, she withdrew to a remote spot. When she suffered the pains of labor she cried out to the Lord in anguish. She heard a Voice that came from above a palm tree.

'Be not depressed. We have provided a stream beneath you and fresh ripe dates on the palm tree. Look around and enjoy Our bounties. If anyone accuses you of anything, tell them that you are under an oath to Us and that you will not converse with anyone.'

After the birth of her son, who was named Jesus [Isa], she took him to her family.

'Mary! What have you done?' they rebuked her. 'You are the sister of prophet Aaron. Your father was not a man of evil, nor your mother an unchaste woman.'

The child, from the cradle, spoke to them:

I am the slave of God. The Lord has given me the Book and made me His messenger. I am blessed by Him wherever I be. He has commanded me to worship Him and show compassion to all. It is my duty to serve my mother and not be overbearing or miserable. I am blessed now, at my birth, and I shall be blessed on my death and on my resurrection. [19:30-33]

On achieving manhood, Jesus went forth among the people and told them:

Verily, I have come to you to show you the path of wisdom and make clear to you things which may cause you confusion. So listen to me and fear the Lord. Fear Him, for He is my Lord and yours; worship Him and be steadfast in your belief. [43:63-64]

In order to convince them about the truth of his mission, Jesus was endowed by the Lord with powers of life and death; he was asked to tell them:

I have come to you with my Lord's blessings. Out of clay, I will shape for you the form of a bird; and as I breathe on it, it will become a bird by God's will. I will heal the blind and the lepers, and bring the dead to life by God's authority. [3:49]

Jesus showed in practice what the Lord had endowed him with; he cured the ailing and brought many people to life. He gave eyesight to the blind. He made birds out of clay and breathed life into them. Despite these signs the people of Israel mocked him and accused him of sorcery. His disciples asked him whether his Lord could send down a table from the heavens so that they could have a feast and thus be assured of a good life ahead; such was their skepticism and their love of hedonism. Jesus warned them to fear the Lord and not be enamored with the pleasures of this world. The disciples protested that they had asked for the table so that their minds might rest in the knowledge that Jesus had spoken the truth and that they might themselves be witness to the miracle. Jesus then prayed to the Lord:

O Lord, send us from Above a Table spread with food so that we may have a solemn celebration. Provide amply for our sustenance, as You are the Supreme Provider for all. [5:115]

And the Lord granted Jesus his prayer. At the same time He warned that whoever resisted faith in Him would suffer the severest retribution. Jesus told his people:

O People of the Book! Do not indulge in excesses; Remain steadfast in truth. Resist vain desires and do not follow people who were in the wrong and who strayed from the even path. [5:80]

Among the disciples of Jesus, only one group stood by him; the rest betrayed him. So God helped the former and made them victorious, while the non-believers suffered chastisement.

The Qur'an does not endorse the concept of Trinity; Jesus himself repudiates it in one of its verses. He asks Christians to stop associating anyone with God. Allah describes Jesus as 'the son of Mary' and 'Our messenger and Our Word - which We imparted to Mary - and Our Spirit'. The Qur'an states:

Proclaim to all: God is One. He is the only one. He is the Eternal. He is the Absolute. He has begotten none and of none has He been begotten. There is, indeed, none to compare with Him. [112:1-4]

"The Qur'an also does not accept the Christian belief that Jesus was killed on the cross. It states that he was neither killed nor crucified:

That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not. Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. [4:157-158]

"Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance." Qur'an 16:125