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 Understanding of Jesus' Life

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PostSubject: Understanding of Jesus' Life   Understanding of Jesus' Life EmptyMon Jan 24, 2011 5:47 pm

Question
As-salamu `alaykum,



Allah caused me to be born into a Muslim family that followed the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Therefore, I have always learned that most things in the Qur'an are "symbolic," including the virgin conception and birth of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him).
Worse, I was further taught that his birth was the result of a very human out-of-wedlock event. As an adult, this is now bothering me because it seems that what I learned may constitute a grievous calumny, even if it is many centuries after the life of Mary.
How should I regard this? And what is the proper understanding of the life of Christ in the Qur'an?
Jazakum Allahu khayr.

Topic Islamic Creed

Name of Counselor AAI Editorial Staff


Answer



This answer was kindly provided by Sister Marwa Elnaggar, a member of Ask About Islam Editorial Team.


Salam, Muhammad.
Thank you very much for your question.
I want to start out by explaining that Muslims' belief must be grounded in the two essential sources of the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Therefore, I cannot, for example, decide to believe something not included in the teachings of the Qur'an and our beloved Prophet because someone, no matter how knowledgeable, told me to do so.
One of the beauties of Islam is that people are continually exhorted to search for the truth and ponder upon the many questions of existence in order to strengthen their faith.
I tell you this because my answer regarding the story of Jesus is founded solely on the Qur'an and the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad, so I encourage you to think about the story and go read the Qur'an for yourself, in order to put your doubts to rest.
In Islam, Jesus (`Isa in Arabic) is considered one of the greatest prophets sent by God to mankind. In the Qur'an, Jesus is referred to as `Isa ibn Maryam, or Jesus son of Mary. The story of Mary and Jesus is best described in the Qur'an primarily in the surahs of Aal `Imran and Maryam.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is described in the Qur'an as being special. She is born into the pious household of Aal `Imran, and her childhood is marked by a unique piety that everyone around her could sense.
The uniqueness of Mary was spelled out to her by the angels:
*{Behold! The angels said: "O Mary! Allah hath chosen thee and purified thee — chosen thee above the women of all nations. O Mary! Worship thy Lord devoutly: Prostrate thyself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down."}* (Aal `Imran 3:42-43)


The Prophet Muhammad had also related in a hadith reported byAl- Bukhari that Mary was one of the best of the women Allah had created.
The Birth of Jesus
In relating the story of Jesus, the Qur'an describes how Mary, the mother of Jesus, was approached by an angel from God, bringing her tidings she had never imagined: that she would give birth to a son, a Messiah, who would be of the righteous and would be a prophet of God, calling the Children of Israel (the Israelites) to the straight path of God.
*{(And remember) when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a word from him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, illustrious in the world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (unto Allah). He will speak unto mankind in his cradle and in his manhood, and he is of the righteous.}* (Aal `Imran 3:45-46)
Naturally, for the chaste Mary, this news was both strange and seemingly impossible.
*{She said: My Lord! How can I have a child when no mortal hath touched me? He said: So (it will be). Allah createth what He will. If He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is. And He will teach him the Scripture and wisdom, and the Torah and the Gospel.}* (Aal `Imran 3:47-48)The very nature of Jesus's birth is so special that God compares the uniqueness of his creation to that of the first man and prophet, Adam.
*{Lo! The likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is.}* (Aal `Imran 3:59)
There is never any doubt in the Qur'an about Mary's chastity and the purity of the birth of Jesus. It is sad to hear you say that you were taught "that his birth was the result of a very human out-of-wedlock event." This teaching is in direct contradiction to the Qur'an itself, and was a malicious rumor that some people from the tribe of the Children of Israel in Mary's time tried to attack her with.
However, we are told in the Qur'an of a miracle that Jesus performed when he was a baby.
When Mary carried the baby Jesus to her people, they questioned her; and as a baby in her arms, Jesus gave them the answer. The Qur'an describes this scene in detail:
*{He said: "I am indeed a servant of Allah: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet; And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live; (He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable; So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)!"}* (Maryam 19:26-33)
And so the baby Jesus defended his mother from any accusations of adultery, and in a nutshell, explained who he was and why he was sent by God.
Jesus and His Miracles
Jesus was sent to the Children of Israel in order to confirm the teachings of his predecessor, the Prophet Moses. Jesus's birth was a miracle, and, like all prophets of God, he was granted several miracles. He approached his people, telling them —
*{Lo! I come unto you with a sign from your Lord. Lo! I fashion for you out of clay the likeness of a bird, and I breathe into it and it is a bird, by Allah's leave. I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I raise the dead, by Allah's leave. And I announce unto you what ye eat and what ye store up in your houses. Lo! herein verily is a portent for you, if ye are to be believers.
And (I come) confirming that which was before me of the Torah, and to make lawful some of that which was forbidden unto you. I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to Allah and obey me.
Lo! Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path.}* (Aal `Imran 3:49-51)
In another incident, after which an entire surah of the Qur'an is named, the disciples of Jesus asked him for another miracle.
*{Behold! the disciples, said: "O Jesus the son of Mary! can thy Lord send down to us a table set (with viands) from heaven?" Jesus said: "Fear Allah, if ye have faith."
They said: "We only wish to eat thereof and satisfy our hearts, and to know that thou hast indeed told us the truth; and that we ourselves may be witnesses to the miracle."
Jesus the son of Mary said: "O Allah our Lord! Send us from heaven a table set (with viands), that there may be for us — for the first and the last of us — a solemn festival and a sign from Thee; and provide for our sustenance, for Thou art the best Sustainer (of our needs)."}* (Al-Ma'idah 5:112-114)God sent them the table they had asked for, but not without a warning.
*{Allah said: "I will send it down unto you: But if any of you after that resisteth faith, I will punish him with a penalty such as I have not inflicted on any one among all the peoples."}* (Al-Ma'idah 5:115)The End of the Story?
The story of Jesus never really ends in the Qur'an, as we are told that Jesus was not killed, but that rather, God raised His beloved prophet up to Him.
*{Behold! Allah said: "O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto Me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.}* (Aal `Imran 3:53)The Qur'an also points out that Jesus was neither killed nor crucified. Speaking of the Children of Israel, Allah faults their accusations against Mary as well as their claim that they killed Jesus.
*{That they rejected Faith; that they uttered against Mary a grave false charge;
And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger — they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! Those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain.
Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.}* (An-Nisaa' 4:156-158)
The Qur'an confirms that Jesus was raised up by God, and the Prophet Muhammad reassured us that Jesus will be sent down to earth once again before the Day of Judgment in order to re-establish justice and the proper worship of the one Creator. In a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah, the Prophet Muhammad said, "By the One in Whose hand is my soul, definitely the son of Maryam will soon descend among you as a just judge, and he will break the cross, kill the pig, and abolish the jizyah (tribute), and wealth will be so abundant that no one will accept it, until a single prostration will be better than the world and everything in it" (Al-Bukhari) .
I hope this answer helps you, and again, I encourage you to take up the Qur'an and read it for yourself. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to write back.
Thank you and salam.

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