Lessons from the Birth of Mary’s Son
Although they claimed to be the ‘chosen’ people, they failed the divine test and slandered an innocent virgin. And when the baby grew to be a man, and declared he was the Messiah, they rejected him because they considered him a bastard and because “a bastard shall not enter the congregation of the Lord” (Deuteronomy, 23:2).
The urgent lesson to be learnt in the event of the miraculous birth of Mary’s son, an event which the Qur’an has described in detail, is that there is a great difference between ‘seeing with two eyes’—the ‘external’ and ‘internal’, and ‘seeing with only one’—the ‘external’. In a world in which lies and deception are being used to re-colonize the non-European world, it is important that we penetrate beyond external appearances to reach the internal reality of events— particularly those like 9/11 that are used to launch a so-called ‘war on terror’. Only spiritual insight can penetrate the world today—hence the urgent need for spiritual revolution.
The Qur’an has recorded the event when Mary’s mother “vowed to gift her unborn child to the temple”:
Behold! a woman of ‘Imran said: “O my Lord! I do dedicate unto Thee what is in my womb for Thy special service: so accept this of me: for Thou hearest and knowest all things.”
(Qur’an, Ale ‘Imran, 3:35)
She hoped for a baby-boy, hence she was disappointed when a baby-girl was born. But Allah Most High responded to declare that no male could be like (i.e., the equal of) this female:
When she was delivered, she said: “O my Lord! behold! I am delivered of a female child!” – and Allah knew best what she brought forth – and no wise is the male like the female. I have named her Mary, and I commend her and her offspring to Thy protection from the Evil One, the Rejected.”
(Qur’an, Ale ‘Imran, 3:36)
While Mary lived in the temple in Zachariah’s custody, she often stayed in a room known as ‘The Holy of Holies’ (Mehrab in the Qur’an) where holy relics were kept, and which only the Chief Rabbi could enter. Yet when Zachariah entered the room one day he found her with food. “Where did you get this food?” She replied, “Allah sent it for me.”
Right graciously did her Lord accept her: He made her grow in purity and beauty; to the care of Zakariya was she assigned. Every time that he entered (her) chamber to see her, he found her supplied with food. He asked:
“O Mary! Whence (comes) this to you?” She said: “From Allah: for Allah provides sustenance to whom He pleases, without measure.”
(Qur’an, Ale ‘Imran, 3:37)
News of this miracle spread. And so, in addition to her reputation for learning and virtue, she was now even more famous. Indeed she was “the best of all the women of the world”:
Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah hath chosen thee and purified thee, chosen thee above all the women of the world.” (Qur’an, Ale ‘Imran 3:42)
At the age of puberty she could no longer be allowed to live in the temple and was sent back home. It was shortly after that, when she was about 13 or 14 years of age, the Angel Gabriel appeared before her, and that event was also was recorded in the Qur’an:
“Relate in the Book (the story of) Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place in the East. She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent to her Our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects. She said: “I seek refuge from thee to (Allah) Most Gracious: (come not near) if thou dost fear Allah.” He said: “Nay, I am only a Messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son.” She said: “How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?” He said: “So (it will be): thy Lord saith, ‘That is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us’: it is matter (so) decreed.” So she conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place.
And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree: she cried (in her anguish) “Ah! would that I had died before this! would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight!” But (a voice) cried to her from beneath the (palm-tree): “Grieve not! for thy Lord hath provided a rivulet beneath thee; “And shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm-tree; it will let fall fresh ripe dates upon thee. “So eat and drink and cool (thine) eye. And if thou dost see any man, say, ‘I have vowed a fast to (Allah) Most Gracious, and this day will I enter into no talk with any human being’“
At length she brought the (babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: “O Mary! truly an amazing thing hast thou brought! “O sister of Aaron! thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!” But she pointed to the babe. They said: “How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?”
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 where-so-ever 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)!” Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute.”
(Qur’an, Maryam, 19:16-34)
The people responded to the baby speaking from the cradle by declaring: “This is sheer magic,” and they then slandered her!
APPEARANCE AND REALITY IN THE LIFE OF MARY’S SON
‘Jesus in the Qur’an’ is someone in whose birth, life, and departure from this world, ‘appearance’ and ‘reality’ constantly and amazingly differed from each other. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and upon all other prophets) described his eventual return as one in which ‘appearance’ and ‘reality’ would again amazingly differ. And since his return would mark the end of history, the implication is that only those with religious insight can penetrate the ‘reality’ of the world today, its looming political and economic slavery, globalization, etc., as we now approach that dramatic end.
The event of his birth ‘appeared’ to involve Mary’s wrongdoing, and those who based judgment solely on external observation (i.e., modern western ‘one-eyed’ epistemology), were so convinced, and hence slandered her. The internally blind always misjudge people.
The ‘reality’ was that an innocent virgin had miraculously given birth to a baby boy. Internal intuitive spiritual insight (i.e., seeing with the inner eye) should have led a believing people (in the One God and the religion of Abraham) to probe deeper into the matter before rushing to judgment. The story of Moses (‘alaihi al-Salam), and Khidr (‘alaihi al-Salam), in Surah al-Kahf of the Qur’an has taught a very important lesson concerning the dangers of forming judgment without having probed for and penetrated the internal reality of events.
The Israelite people should have paused to ask themselves: why would the most famous, pious, and learned unmarried Jewish girl in the land return to her people with her baby-boy in her arms after she had successfully concealed from her people both her pregnancy and childbirth? And why would she not speak to explain, or to defend herself, when questioned on the matter? Was that not suspiciously abnormal behavior?
Jesus, the newborn babe, spoke from the cradle to defend his mother’s chastity and to proclaim himself a Messenger of Allah Most High. He did so when she responded to the people’s question concerning her unmarried pregnancy and childbirth by pointing to the baby, and when they responded in turn by asking:
“How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?” 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 where-so-ever I be, and hath enjoined prayer and charity on me as long as I live: (He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable.”
(Qur’an, Maryam, 19:30-2)
Instead of rushing to reject that claim and to pronounce his speaking from the cradle as “sheer magic”, it would have been more appropriate for those who declared themselves to be the “chosen people of Almighty God” to reflect over Mary’s suspiciously abnormal behavior. After all, did an unmarried Mary not return to her people in a very public way with her baby in her arms? They should also remember the divine miracle that occurred in the temple to which the Chief Rabbi, Zakariah, was witness, that she had food delivered to her in the Holy-of-Holies, a room into which no one but he, the Chief Rabbi, could enter. And he had not given her the food himself.
Jesus’s miracles continued in later life:
“And (appoint him, Jesus) a Messenger to the Israelite People, (with this message): “I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a (living) bird by Allah’s leave: and I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I bring the dead back to life, by Allah’s leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe.”
(Qur’an, Ale ‘Imran, 3:49)
All of these miracles ‘appeared’ to his enemies to be magic. The ‘reality’, on the other hand, as described in the Qur’an, was that Allah Most High had strengthened Jesus with the Holy Spirit (i.e., Angel Gabriel), and it was through his intervention that the miracles occurred.
Finally, the Qur’an depicted the scene of the crucifixion where people were convinced of his death since they saw him crucified before their very eyes. His enemies then boasted, “We have surely killed the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.”
There was sarcasm in that boastful claim since they had rejected his claim to be the Messiah and a Prophet. But the Qur’an went on to describe a ‘reality’ that was quite different from that which ‘appeared’ to them.
The Qur’an declared “they did not kill him”, “they did not crucify him”, “Allah took (his soul)”, “Allah made it appear that he had died”, and finally, that “Allah raised him unto Himself”:
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.
(Qur’an, al-Nisa, 4:157-8)
Most Muslim scholars today interpret the above event as one in which Allah substituted someone else for Jesus and that person was crucified. I differ, and instead interpret the verses as follows: Allah took his soul while he was nailed on the wooden cross. His blessed body was then taken down, prepared for burial, and sealed in a cave with Roman guards posted outside the cave. Allah Most High then returned his soul to his body while it was concealed in the cave. The body (the soul now with it) was then transformed from the spatiotemporal dimension of existence to a transcendental form and was then raised into the Samawat (i.e., the seven strata of space and time that exist between this world and Allah’s ‘arsh). Hence although Jesus was nailed on the cross, and had blood on his hands, he never experienced that death which the Qur’an calls maut (i.e., when the soul is taken and not returned). And since the Qur’an declares that every soul must taste maut (death), the implication is that Jesus must one day return and die like all others. When he does return to the world people will see the blood still fresh on his hands. [Readers should kindly see my book entitled ‘Jerusalem in the Qur’an’ for further information and analysis on this subject.]
In that dramatic and momentous Messianic return ‘appearance’ and ‘reality’ would again be totally different from each other. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon him) informed the world that a false Messiah known as Dajjal (or the great deceiver) was created by Allah Most High and released into the world with the mission of impersonating the true Messiah. In order to successfully accomplish that mission he would have to rule the world from Jerusalem (i.e., from a State of Israel), and hence that State of Israel would have to be created in the Holy Land and would have to become the ruling state in the world.
When the world witnesses the following events it would appear to be absolutely certain signs of the return of Jesus whereas they would, in fact, be the work of Dajjal:
Firstly: the liberation of the Holy Land from Muslim “occupation”, and that occurred in 1917;
Secondly: the return of the Jews to the Holy Land to reclaim it as their own, and that occurred between 1917 and 1948;
Thirdly: the restoration of a State of Israel in the Holy Land, and that occurred in 1948;
And finally, the establishment of Israel as the ruling state in the world, and that is about to occur.
When Israel does become the ruling state in the world Dajjal would then become its ruler and would proclaim himself to be the true Messiah whereas he would be the false Messiah. Thus would ‘appearance’ and ‘reality’ differ one more time in the life of Mary’s son who would then return and kill that false Messiah.