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Interfaith Dialogue ( 28 Apr 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Still On Meaning of Easter in Islam

By Afis A. Oladosu

21 April 2017 

Brethren, Maryam’s sojourn in the monastery are marked by series of miracles which the Quran recalls with delight. Those miracles occurred as precursors to the fulfillment of her divine mission in life and on earth. For example, each time Prophet Zakarya enters the monastery with the intention to give her (Maryam) food, he finds in her presence enough meal to satiate her hunger. Each time he asks her “where did you get this?”, Maryam would respond: “It is from the Almighty; He provides sustenance to whoever He wills without measure”.

Having lived all her life in the sacred precinct of the monastery, Maryam became an exemplar in chastity and integrity. She was kept away from the social corruption and debauchery that were prevalent in the dissolute community in which she was born. She preserved her chastity at a time moral depravity was the order of the day.

Ultimately and miraculously, the virgin girl, Maryam, became pregnant after she received the ‘word’ from the Almighty. She received the same “word” whose power and potency led to the creation of Prophet Adam out of nothing. She received the same word which led to the creation of Hawa (Eve) out of Prophet Adam (a.s). She received the same word which turned helpless spermatozoa mixed egg into querulous being each time the male and female copulate.

Brethren, Maryam received the word and she became pregnant; the fetus came to the world as a male child, the child became a man, the man eventually became Prophet Isa (Jesus Christ).

“This is opprobrium” The Jews shouted. “This is impossible” they chorused. “In response she merely pointed towards the baby. They said: “How can we talk to a babe in the cradle?”. Whereupon the baby spoke out: “I am indeed a servant of the Almighty. He has given me the Book and made me a Prophet. His blessing is with me wherever I go. He has commanded me to establish Salat (Muslim prayer) and give Zakah (charity to the poor) as long as I shall live. He has exhorted me to honor my mother and has not made me domineering, hard to deal with. Peace be upon me the day I was born, the day I shall die and the Day I shall be raised to life again.” Such was Jesus the son of Mary, and this is the True statement about him concerning which they are in doubt. (Q19:27-34).

Now dear brethren, the above speaks to the story behind the story of the birth of Prophet Isa (a.s). But the message he brought to the Jewish nation equally led to controversy. How could a man enjoin justice, egalitarianism and sincerity in the worship of the Almighty in a society where injustice, oppression of the poor and dishonesty were the very spirit of success. Thus, Jesus Christ became an enemy within. To hate him is to be popular; to seek to kill him is to show commitment to the hideous principles which undergird the then Jewish society. Ultimately, the Jewish authorities announced it had killed him on the cross. It is this event and his subsequent rising after the third day, both of which the Quran negates (Q4: 157-158) which informs the celebration of the Easter every year.

Among many others, one thing constantly catches my attention in the life of Prophet Isa on earth. First, he was said to have been questioned one day: “why don’t you get married”? He responded, as usual with wisdom and decorum: “we prefer the plenitude of the hereafter”. In other words, Prophet Isa never built a cathedral of materialism as is common in our world today. He never built mansions and estates all of which raise questions about our claim to faith in him and his ministry. He led a life which was tempered by the certainty of the ephemerality of life on earth and the eternity of life hereafter.

Or what other interpretation do you give to the Biblical reading that he rode a donkey to Jerusalem? Would Jesus Christ have purchased a private Jet were he to be alive today? If indeed the Easter occupies the core of the Christian faith such should be the opportunity it provides for my compatriots to return his message. If Jesus were to appear today, are you actually ready to meet with him? (08122465111 for texts only)