A time to reflect

After listening to “Jingle Bells” and accounts of Rudolph’s ruddy nose in every public place, now is a good time to stop and remember!

A friend wrote this piece about Mary and Jesus in the Qur’an and kindly gave permission to reproduce it here.

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I thought it apropos on this day to reflect upon the Qur’anic account of the Blessed Mary and the miraculous birth of Jesus, peace be with them both. 

In Chapter 3 of the Qur’an, Surah Aal-`Imran, (Family of Amraam), which is about the Abrahamic family of Amraam, at the apex of whose lineage is Jesus, we learn not only about the lofty station of Mary, but also about the glad tidings of Jesus’s birth.  In particular, in the Qur’an (3:42) we read:

  • Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! God has chosen you and purified you—chosen you above the women of all nations.

Just a few verses later are about the glad tidings of Jesus’s miraculous birth as well as some the miracles that he performed (Qur’an, 3:45-51):

  • Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! God gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and in the Hereafter, and of (the company of) those nearest to God; 
  • "He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be (of the company) of the righteous."
  • She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me?" 
  • He said: "Even so: God creates what He wills: When He has decreed a plan, He but says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is! 
  • "And God will teach him (Jesus) the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel.
  • "And (appoint him) a messenger to the Children of Israel, (with the message that): "’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 bird by God’s leave: And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by God’s leave; and I declare to you what you eat, and what you store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if you did believe; 
  • "'(I have come to you), to attest the Law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was (heretofore) forbidden to you; I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So be conscious of God, and obey me.
  • "’It is God Who is my Lord and your Lord; then worship Him. This is the straight path.’" 

Chapter 19 of the Qur’an is titled "Surah Maryam," named in honor of the Virgin Mary.  A description of the miraculous birth of Jesus is described in verses 23-33. 

You’ll find that this story is at variance with the account adopted in the Christian tradition.  In particular, according to the Qur’anic account, Jesus spoke as an infant in the cradle—a miracle intended by God to exonerate the Blessed Mary from accusations of adultery.

Surah Maryam (Mary, 19:23-33):

  • When “the throes of childbirth drove [Mary] to the trunk of the palm tree, she [despaired], exclaiming: ‘Oh would that I had died before this, and had become a thing forgotten, utterly forgotten.’
  • Then [Jesus, the infant] called unto her from below, saying: Grieve not! Your Lord Sustainer has placed a rivulet flowing beneath you. Shake the trunk of the palm tree toward you, to cause fresh, ripe dates to fall upon you. 
  • So eat, drink, and be consoled. And if you meet any mortal, say: ‘Lo! I have vowed a fast unto the Beneficent, and may not speak this day to any mortal.”
  • And in time she returned to her people, carrying the child with her. 
  • They said, ‘Oh Mary, you have indeed done an amazing thing! 
  • ‘Oh sister of Aaron, your father was not a wicked man, nor your mother a woman unchaste.’
  • Thereupon she pointed to the child.
  • But they exclaimed: ‘How can we talk to one who as yet is a little boy in the cradle?’
  • [But] he said: ‘Behold, I am a servant of God. He has vouchsafed unto me revelation and made me a prophet.
  • ‘‘And made me blessed, wherever I may be.
  • ‘And He has enjoined upon me prayer and charity as long as I live.
  • ‘And [has endowed me with] piety toward my mother, and not made me haughty or bereft of grace.
  • ‘‘Hence, peace was upon me the day I was born, [and shall remain with me to] the day of my death, and the day I’m raised to life again.’
  • Such was, in truth, Jesus the son of Mary, about whom they so deeply disagree.

I wish all of you a blessed new year.

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