By Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
Islam is the only non-Christian faith which makes it compulsory for its followers to believe in Jesus Christ (pbuh): no Muslim is a Muslim if he does not believe in Jesus Christ. The Holy Quran says that Jesus Christ was one of the mightiest Messengers of God (6:85), he was born miraculously (19:22-23), he performed miracles like giving life to the dead and healing those born blind and the leapers by God’s permission (5:110). A Muslim can never take his name without adding ‘peace be upon him’.
The name of Jesus Christ (pbuh) occurs in the Holy Quran 25 times while the name of Muhammad (pbuh) (Ahmad) occurs only 5 times. He is spoken of as: ‘son of Mary’, ‘Messiah’ (Christ), ‘Messenger of Allah’, ‘Sign of Allah’, ‘Spirit of Allah’, ‘Word of Allah’. These are all very respectable terms applied to this mighty messenger of God. There is not a single statement in the Quran which even the most orthodox Christian can take exception to if a logical explanation is given to him.
The word ‘Christ’ comes from the Hebrew word ‘messiah’, in Arabic ‘masih’ which means anointed. The Greek word for ‘anointed’ is Christos, and from there we have ‘Christ’. Christ was anointed or appointed by God to do His job as a reformer among the Jews.
Let me begin from the beginning.
“Behold! The angels said: “O Mary! God hath chosen thee and purified thee-chosen thee above the women of all nations.” (3:42)
Such an honour is not given to Mary even in the Bible- there is also a complete chapter in the Quran by the name of Chapter Maryam.
“Behold! The angels said: “O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of the company of those nearest to Allah (3:45)
Whilst the good news was being announced (verse 45 above) Mary was told that her unborn child will be called Jesus, that he would be the Christ, a “Word" from God, and that:
"He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be (of the company) of the righteous." (3:46)
On receiving the good news of the birth of a righteous son Mary responds:
“She said: “O My Lord! How shall I have a son, when no man hath touched me?”
The angel says in reply:
“He said: ‘Even so: Allah createth what He willeth: when He hath decreed a matter He but sayth ‘Be’ and it is!” (3:47-48)
"At length she brought the (babe) to her people carrying him. They said: 'O Mary! Truly a strange thing has thou brought!'.'O sister of Aaron!, thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!' “(The Holy Qur’an 19:27-28)
The Jews were amazed. There is no Joseph the carpenter here. Mary, the mother of Jesus had retired herself to some remote place. After the birth of the child she returns.
Abdullah Yusuf Ali writes:
“The amazement of the people knew no bounds. In any case they were prepared to think the worst of her, as she had disappeared from her kin for some time. But now she comes, shamelessly parading the babe in her arms! “
What could Mary do? How could she explain? All she could do was to point to the child, who, she knew, was no ordinary child. By a miracle Jesus spoke, defended his mother, and preached to an unbelieving audience.
“But she pointed to the babe. They said: 'How can we talk one who is a child in the cradle?' He (Jesus) said: 'I am indeed a servant of Allah (God): 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 unblest; '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)'!"(19:29-33)
This is the first miracle performed by Jesus, as stated in the Quran that he spoke as an infant from his mother’s arms and defended her.
“And nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say: 'We are Christians': because among these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world. And they are not arrogant."(The Holy Qur’an 5:82)
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