The Light of The Holy Qur'an Interpretation of Sura Maryam (Mary)
The Light of The Holy Qur'an Interpretation of Sura Maryam (Mary)
Author : Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and A Group of Muslim Scholars
(Revealed in Mecca)
In the Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful
Introduction to the Sura
Sura Maryam, as arranged in the Book, is the nineteenth Sura of the holy Quran. It contains 98 verses which have been revealed in Mecca.
Similar to other Meccan Suras, the content of this Sura is mostly about matters concerning the Hereafter, the end of the evil-doers, the rewards of the good-doers, and part of the account of the lives of Zakariyya (Zechariah), Mary, Jesus, Yahya (John), Abraham, Ishmael and Idris (Enoch).
It is recorded in Tafsir-i-Al-Mizan that, in the last few verses of Sura Maryam, Allah says that the purpose of revealing this Sura is to give 'glad tidings and warnings', and this aim has been followed in the beautiful form of the story of the prophets' lives.
Allah has mentioned no woman in the Qur'an directly by her proper name except Mary, and the name 'Mary' occurs 34 times in the Qur'an. The only Sura, which has been entitled by the name of a woman in the Qur'an, is this very Sura, Sura Mary.
For the virtue of studying this Sura, it has been cited that whoever continues reciting this Sura (whenever he can), he will not die save that Allah will suffice him in life, wealth and children. (Majma'-ul-Bayan)
There is no doubt, of course, that the one will make himself free from want from others by means of practicing the contents of this Sura.
Apostle Zechariah's prayer for an issue - Allah's granting him a son, though Zechariah was old and his wife was barren and very old - Yahya (John) commissioned as an Apostle of Allah in his childhood itself.
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful
1. " Kaf'k',Ha'h',Ya'y','Ain ''A',Sad's'."
2. (This is) a mention of the mercy of your Lord unto His servant Zechariah."
3. " When he called upon his Lord in secret."
The mentioned letters are among the 'Abbreviated Letters' of the Qur'an in which some mysteries and secrets are hidden. Some Islamic traditions indicate that each of these letters is a sign of one of the great names of Allah (The Names Most Beautiful). Kaf 'K' refers to /kafi/ (The Sufficient); Ha 'H' refers to /hadi/ (The Guide); Ya 'Y' refers to /waliyy/ (The Friend, The Protector, The Surety, The Patron); 'Ain 'A' refers to /'alim/ (The Knower); and Sad 'S' refers to /Sadiq-ul-wa'd/ (The One Who is Truthful in His promises). Sometimes, in some supplications, Allah (s.w.t.) is invoked through these abbreviated letters, in this manner: "O Lord! by Ka, Ha, Ya, 'Ain, Sad." In a supplication, for instance, Hadrat Ali-ibn-Abitalib (a.s.) said: "O Allah! We ask you, O'Kaf, Ha, Ya, 'Ain, Sad!" 1
Some Islamic traditions state that these abbreviated letters indicate the event of the uprising of Imam Hussayn in Karbala, as follows: Kaf refers to 'Karbal?', Ha refers to 'Halak' (the slaughter of the Prophet's progeny), Ya refers to 'Yazid', 'Ain refers to the subject of 'Atash (thirst), and Sad refers to 'S?abr' (the patience and steadfastness of Imam Hussayn and his self-sacrificing supporters).
It should be noted, of course, that the verses of the Qur'an have the capacity to have different meanings but despite the variety of meanings, they do not conflict with each other.
After the abbreviated letters at the beginning of Sura Maryam, the first verse concerning the story of Zechariah begins. It says:
(This is) a mention of the mercy of your Lord unto His servant Zechariah."
This event occurred at the time when Zachariah was very worried and sad because he did not have a child, and he, worshipping Him, called upon his Lord secretly. The verse says:
" When he called upon his Lord in secret."
The Arabic term /nida/ means 'to call with a loud voice', and the Qur'anic word /xafiyya/ means 'in secret' not in a low voice, since such a call cannot be performed 'silently', but it can be done secretly.
Perhaps, the invocation of Zechariah, done in secret, was for the reason that his people would not scoff at him by saying why that old man wished Allah for a son.
Some Islamic literature indicates that the best supplication is that which is asked in secret, and the best provision is that which is sufficient. (Tafsir-i-Majma'-ul-Bayan)
4. " He said: 'My Lord! verily my bones are weakened and my head is all aflame with hoariness, and, my Lord! I have never been unblessed in prayer to You."
5. " And verily I fear my kindred after I am gone, and my wife is barren. So grant me from your presence a successor (a child)."
Zechariah invoked Allah saying that his bones, the pillars of his body and its most solid parts, were weakened and his head was all aflame with hoariness. By this statement, Zechariah might have wanted to say that the harbinger of death had been placed on his head and he had to get ready for death. Here is the verse:
" He said: 'My Lord! verily my bones are weakened and my head is all aflame with hoariness, …"
Then, immediately after that statement, he adds that he had been accustomed to the acceptance of his supplications by his Lord and that He had never withheld His blessings from him. Now that he was old and feeble, he was more in need of answers to his prayers, and that he would not be unblessed. The verse continues saying:
" …and, my Lord! I have never been unblessed in prayer to You."
After that, he explained his supplication to Allah, as follows:
" And verily I fear my kindred after I am gone, and my wife is barren. So grant me from your presence a successor (a child)."
The Arabic word /'aqir/ is applied for a man or a woman that cannot produce offspring.
The term /'is(ti'al/ means: 'the blaze of a fire when it flames and spreads'. Thus, the holy phrase 'and my head is all aflame with hoariness' means that the whiteness of the hair on my head blazed like fire and has spread.
Some of the commentators have said that the objective meaning of the Qur'anic word /waliyy/, mentioned in this holy verse, is 'a righteous son who succeeds the father'. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said that Zechariah's anxiety was about his uncle and his cousins. 2
6. " (One that) shall be my inheritor and the inheritor of the posterity of Jacob; and make him, my Lord, well-pleasing."
7. (His prayer was answered:) O' Zakariyya! verily We give you good tidings of a son whose name is Yahya (John). We have given the same name to none before (him)."
8. " He said: 'My Lord! How shall there be for me a son while my wife is barren and I have reached infirm old age?' "
Zechariah, the prophet, in his prayer, invoked Allah to grant him a successor to be the inheritor of him and the posterity of Jacob, and He would make him well-pleasing. The verse says:
" (One that) shall be my inheritor and the inheritor of the posterity of Jacob; and make him, my Lord, well-pleasing."
The purpose of the phrase 'to inherit', here, has been rendered differently by the Islamic commentators. Some of them believe that 'heritage' in this verse is heritage in properties, while some others have said that it refers to the rank of prophethood.
A group of the commentators have also thought that the objective meaning of it is an inclusive concept which probably envelops both of them.
Many of the Shi'ite scholars have taken the first interpretation, while some Sunnite scholars have seized the second meaning, and some others, among Islamic scholars, such as: Sayyid-i-Qutb in Fi-Zilal and 'A-lusi in Rouh-ul-Ma'ani, have chosen the third idea.
Those who have taken it, confined to the inheritance of property, have reasoned to the existence of the word /yari?u/ (inheritor) in this sense. For, when this word is used apart from other evidences, it means 'the inheritance of the wealth'. But when it is used in the sense of spiritual affairs, it is usually for the sake of the existence of some evidence in that verse; like Sura Fatir, No 95, verse 32 which says: "Then We gave the Book for an inheritance to those whom We chose from among Our servants, …"
Moreover, the wife of Zechariah, who was from the progeny of Solayman-ibn-Dawood, regarding the very good condition of Solayman and Dawood's wealth, had inherited some considerable properties.
Zechariah was afraid that those properties would be obtained by some impious persons who might amass them, or use them in a false way, which itself could be the source of a corruption in the society.
That was why he asked his Lord to grant him a righteous child so that this offspring might protect those properties and spend them in the best way.
It is narrated in a tradition that Fatimat-uz-Zahra (a.s.), the pure daughter of the Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.) , reasoned to defend her claim to Fadak. This incident is another evidence upon the above idea.
The Late Tabarsi, in his book 'Ihtijaj, has said regarding this issue concerning the Lady of Islam (a.s.), as follows:
When some people had decided to withhold Fadak from Fatimah (a.s.), and she was informed of it, she said: "Is there in the Book of Allah that you inherit from your father and I do not inherit from my father? Verily you have done a very indecent thing. 3 Did you deliberately leave out from the Book of Allah where, in the story of Yahya-ibn-Zakariyya, it says: 'O Lord! Grant me from Your presence a successor (a child); (One that) shall be my inheritor and the inheritor of the posterity of Jacob?' "
For more information on the idea of 'inheritance' as something spiritual, or both spiritual and material you may refer to Tafsir-i-Atyab-ul-Bayan, as well as other great commentaries of Islamic scholars.
However, the Arabic word /radiyy/ means both: 'being well-pleased with Allah' and 'being loved by people'. The rank of Allah being well-pleased with a person, and vice versa, is the best rank, a great salvation.
The subsequent verse states that the prayer of Zechariah was accepted in the presence of Allah, an acceptance with full grace and particular favour. The words of Allah in the verse are recited as follows:
"(His prayer was answered:) O' Zakariyya! Verily We give you good tidings of a son whose name is Yahya (John). We have given the same name to none before (him)."
The Qur'anic phrase 'the same name to none before (him)' means either that the name 'Yahya' had not been used before him, or that such personal qualities were not found in any one before him.
Zechariah, who did not see the relevant preconditions to assist in gaining what he desired, asked Allah to explain the circumstance for him. The verse says:
" He said: 'My Lord! How shall there be for me a son while my wife is barren and I have reached infirm old age?' "
Zechariah, saying: "How shall there be for me a son…?" means whether he and his wife would become young again, or they would have a child in the same state of old age. (Tafsir-i-Kabir by Fakhr-i-Razi)
Yes, even the prophets' knowledge is limited, and their surprise about something does not contrast with the rank of their prophethood.
However, the Qur'anic word /'itiyya/ means 'to go beyond the limit' which is usually said upon a person whose body has lost its elasticity as a result of old age.
Imam Baqir (a.s.) said that five years elapsed between the time when the glad tidings was given and when the birth of Yahya occurred. (Majma'-ul-Bayan, and Bihar-ul-'Anwar, vol. 14, p. 176)
9. " He said: 'So (it will be)'. Your Lord says: 'It is easy for Me, for indeed I created you aforetime when you were nothing'."
10. " He (Zechariah) said: 'My Lord! appoint for me a sign.' Said He: 'Your sign is that you shall not be able to speak to the people for three nights, though sound (in health)."
Allah (s.w.t.) is able to do every thing and every work is easy for Him, as in this verse, He says: "It is easy for Me". In Sura Al-Hadid, No. 57, verse 22 and in Sura At-Ta?qabun, No. 64, verse 7, the words are recited: " …that is easy to Allah"; and in Sura Al-Baqarah, No.2, verses 20 and 106, it is recited: "…Allah is All-powerful over everything"; and in Sura Al-Kahf, No. 18, verse 45 the Qur'an says: "…Allah is omnipotent over everything". Therefore, Zechariah asked Allah how that matter could happen, and He said: "So (it will be)" and Allah (s.w.t.) can strengthen his power in old age to give him offspring.
In other words, Allah is the One Who is able to create all things from aught, and then it is not surprising that He bestows a child upon Zachariah in his old age and in those conditions. The verse says:
" He said: 'So (it will be)'. Your Lord says: 'It is easy for Me, for indeed I created you aforetime when you were nothing'."
By hearing the abovementioned hope-inspiring statement, Zechariah became very happy and encouraged and the light of hopefulness illuminated his entire being, however, since that message was very magnificent and constructive for him, he asked Allah for a sign, as follows:
" He (Zechariah) said: 'My Lord! appoint for me a sign.' …"
No doubt Zechariah believed in Allah's promise, but, in order to be more assured, he asked Him for such a sign. This was similar to Abraham's, way who was certain of the Resurrection, yet he asked to see an aspect of the resurrection in this world in order that his heart would become more certain. Then Zechariah (a.s.) received this answer:
" …Said He: 'Your sign is that you shall not be able to speak to the people for three nights, though sound (in health)."
During those three days and nights Zachariah's tongue (a.s.) could move only for prayers to Allah (s.w.t.) as well as in supplicating unto Him.
This was a clear sign, of course, in that a person would not able to speak with people while his tongue and his body were utterly sound and he could pray and worship to Allah fluently.
In the books of commentaries of Majma'-ul-Bayan, of At-Tabari, and Al-Mizan, it has been said that, at the time of recitation of the Divine communications and the remembrance of Allah (s.w.t.), Zachariah's tongue could utter words fluently and correctly, but when he wanted to use his tongue to speak with people, his tongue remained silent. Of course, Zechariah (a.s.) asked Allah (s.w.t.) for a sign to recognize between right and wrong, and between the divine revelations and satanic delusions. (Tafsir-i-Al-Mizan)
This itself is an evidence to the fact that all our actions are under the Will and device of Allah, so that if He let not we are not able to speak even when we are in a complete health.
11. " Then he went out (of the sanctuary) unto his people and made signs unto them that they should glorify (Allah) morning and evening."
The Qur'anic word /bukrah/ is used for the length of time between the dawn until the sunrise.
The term /mihrab/ (sanctuary) is called such since it is a fighting-place against Satan and the temptations which hinder man's concentration of thought. Perhaps, the sanctuaries of the Children of Israel had been the same places of prayer which people had chosen for their Divine service and they worshipped therein.
According to what Tabarsi and Fakhr-i-Razi have said, the purpose of /tasbih/ (to glorify), used in this verse, is 'prayer', because 'prayer' contains 'glorification'. After this glad tidings and that clear Sign, Zechariah came out of his prayer niche and went unto his people. Then he signed to them that they should glorify Allah every morning and evening. For, the result of the great bounty, which Allah had bestowed Zechariah, would encompass all those people and could be effective in their fate totally. The verse says:
" Then he went out (of the sanctuary) unto his people and made signs unto them that they should glorify (Allah) morning and evening."
Moreover, this bounty, which was counted a miracle, could firm the foundations of belief in their hearts.
1. The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said: "The most beloved sayings with Allah, the Glorious, is that the servant says: 'Glory be to my Lord and praise be to Him'." (Kanz-ul-'Ummal, vol. 1, p. 466)
2. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: "Whoever glorifies Allah thirty times every day, Allah, the Blessed, the Exalted, may remove seventy afflictions from him, the least of which is poverty." (Amali by Sadugh, p. 55)
3. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: "The hymns of Fatimatuz-Zahra, after every prayer, is more beloved with me than one thousand units (rak'ah) of prayer in a day." (Muhajjat-ul-Bayd?', vol. 2, p. 348)
12." 'O' Yahya! Take hold of the Book with might.'And We gave him wisdom (apostleship) while yet a child."
13." And (also) compassion from Us and piety; and he was God-fearing."
The Qur'anic term /hukm/ means: 'knowledge and understanding.' 4 It has also been applied in the sense of 'ability and judgment' 5, while it is cited in Tafsir-i-Al-Mizan that the objective meaning of /hukm/, in this verse, is: 'knowledge unto the Divine sciences and the removal of the curtain of Unseen'.
Three persons became prophets in childhood. They were Solomon, Jesus, and John (a.s.). There were also three persons who became Imam in their childhood: Imam Jawad (the ninth Imam), Imam Hadi (the tenth Imam) and Imam Mahdi (the twelfth Imam), peace be upon them all, because the rank of prophethood and Imamate is granted by Allah. Moreover, Divine prophets and the Immaculate Imams were bestowed upon all virtues and sciences in the same World of Light. Therefore they could speak and solve the problems even when they were in the wombs of their mothers, in their cradles, and at the moment of their birth. There are recorded many Islamic traditions in this regard in which it is also said that even S?iddighah-Tahirah, who was neither a prophet nor an Imam, had this quality, too. 6 However, former verses denoted that Allah bestowed on Zechariah a son named Yahya (John) when he was in old age. Following that matter, in this verse, the great commandment of Allah unto John is recited, as follows:
" 'O' Yahya! Take hold of the Book with might.' …"
The objective meaning of 'the Book' here is Turah, and the purpose of 'taking hold of the Book with might' is that he should carry through its content with an intensive sharp conclusiveness, and should act accordingly, so that he could enjoy any material and spiritual power, whether personal and social, in the way of its expansion and generalization.
Next to this commandment, the Qur'an points to the merits that Allah had granted to John, or he had obtained them with the grace of Allah, where it says:
"… And We gave him wisdom (apostleship) while yet a child."
1. Allah gave him the command of prophethood, wisdom, talent and perspicacity in childhood.
2. And he was also given mercy and compassion in respect to people from the side of Allah:
" And also compassion from Us …"
3. And Allah gave him piety and purity of soul, spirit, and action:
" …piety; …"
4. And he avoided whatever was other than the command of Allah:
" …and he was God-fearing."
By the way, the Qur'anic term /hanan/ means 'compassion, kindness'. Thus, it was the compassion of Allah to John and John's love to Allah, which caused the kindness of people to John and John's affection unto people, all of which were from the Grace of Allah and His Mercy.
14. " And kindness to his parents, and (unto the people) he was neither insolent (nor) disobedient."
15. " And peace on him the day he was born, and the day he dies, and the day he shall be raised alive!"
Hadrat Yahya (John) was very kind to his parents and obeyed them. He tried to make them happy, because obeying parents is obligatory, and opposing them is forbidden. He also did not commit any sin, transgression, and was never proud. He hurt no one. The verse says:
" And kindness to his parents, and (unto the people) he was neither insolent (nor) disobedient."
Therefore, since Yahya (a.s.) was qualified with all prominent epithets and great honours, then peace upon him, as the verse says:
" And peace on him the day he was born, and the day he dies, and the day he shall be raised alive!"
Some commentators have said that the most horrible states of a person may appear in three circumstances: 1) The day when he comes out from the mother's womb and enters into the world. 2) The day he dies and finds himself among the people whom he has not seen. 3) The day when he will be raised alive and finds himself in a great place of gathering. Allah favoured John by His Grace and endowed security on him in these three circumstances. Thus, Yahya (John) passed all the narrow passages successfully with the safety of religion and belief in Allah.
To hold dear the annual birthday, and remembrance of the annual day of death of the saints of Allah, of course, is a Qur'anic matter.
Some Points upon John's Martyrdom
Not only was the birth of John marvelous, but so was his death from some points of view. Most Muslim historians, as well as some famous Christian sources, have recorded the event of this martyrdom, (with slight differences), as follows:
Yahya (John) was sacrificed because of the liaison one of the tyrants of his age had with a woman related to him within the forbidden degrees. Herod, the sensual king of Palestine, was in love with Herodias, his niece, whose beauty had captured his heart in the fire of love. Therefore, he decided to marry her.
When Yahya (John), the great prophet of Allah (a.s.), was informed of this he promptly announced there and then that their marriage was unlawful and it was contrary to the laws of the Torah and that Yahya (John) would struggle against it.
This news was spread throughout the city and the woman, Herodias, became aware of it. She, considered Yahya (John) the greatest barrier on her way, and decided to take revenge upon him at the most suitable opportunity, and remove this obstruction in her way.
She intensified her relation with her uncle and made her beauty as a trap for him. She had such a deep influence that one day Herod told her to ask him whatever desire she had and she could be certain that her demand would assuredly be performed.
Horodias said that she wanted nothing but the head of Yahya, because Yahya had defamed both of them, and all people found fault concerning them. She replied if Herod wanted to comfort her heart and make her happy, he should do that accomplishment.
Herod, who was madly in love of that lady, inattentive to the end of that action, submitted and very soon the head of John was presented to that wicked woman. But, finally, the painful results of that hideous action encompassed her. 7
Some Islamic traditions indicate that Imam Hussayn (a.s.) the Great Martyr, said; "From among the mean aspects of this world is that the head of Yahya-ibn-Zechariah was brought as a present to a wicked woman from the Children of Israel."
This statement means that, from this point of view, the conditions of Yahya and those of Imam Hussayn (a.s.) were alike, because one of the aims of his rising was standing against the evil deeds of the tyrant of his time, Yazid.
The Angel informs Mary about her giving birth to Jesus-The Miraculous Birth of Jesus as a sign of Allah-Jesus announces his Apostleship from the cradle itself
16. " And mention in the Book about Mary when she withdrew from her family to an eastern place."
17. " So she took a veil (to screen herself) apart from them. Then We sent unto her Our Spirit (Holy Spirit) that presented himself to her a perfect man."
The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said that Mary was one of the four typical godly women.
The Arabic term /nabaoa/ means: 'to throw away something inattentively', while the Qur'anic word /'intibao/ is used for 'seeking retirement from people'. Since Mary was dedicated to 'The Remote Mosque', she had chosen a corner in the east of the mosque for herself.
After the statement of the explanation about Yahya (John), through these holy verses, the Qur'an refers to the story of Jesus (a.s.) and his mother's fate, because there is a close connection between these two occurrence.
The birth of Yahya (John) to an aged father and a barren mother, was a wonderful thing, but the birth of Jesus, from a mother without a father, was something even more marvelous.
It is surprising, of course, for a person be given wisdom and prophethood in childhood, but it is more surprising than that that he, as a baby, speaks in cradle concerning the Book and prophecy.
However, both of them are signs of the Power of Allah, the Exalted, and, they both concerned people who had a very close blood relationship with each other, because John's mother was Mary's maternal aunt both of whom were barren and longed for a righteous child. The verse says:
" And mention in the Book about Mary when she withdrew from her family to an eastern place."
In fact she humbly and anonymously withdrew from her family and went to a place in the temple free from any disturbance in order to pray and to tell her secrets to Allah.
At this time, Mary put a veil between herself and those people to screen herself away from them so that her private place could be suitable for worship and away from the prying eyes of people. The verse says:
" So she took a veil (to screen herself) apart from them. …"
Then one of the great angels (Holy Spirit), in the form of a perfect handsome man, without any defect, presented himself to Mary and, by the might of Allah, fulfilled his mission. It was just as Allah, the Most High, in the Qur'an says:
"Blessed be He in Whose hand is Domination; and He is All-Powerful over everything." 8
The verse under discussion continues saying:
" …Then We sent unto her Our Spirit (Holy Spirit) that presented himself to her a perfect man."
18. " She said: 'Verily I take refuge in the Beneficent (Allah) from you! if you are God-fearing."
19. " He (the angel) said: 'Verily I am only a messenger of your Lord that I bestow on you a pure son'."
20. " She said: 'How shall there be for me a son while no man has touched me, neither have I been unchaste."
One of the recommendations of Allah to His Messengers is that they should take refuge in Allah. Therefore, this state has been the moral life of the prophets and the saints of Allah, and that is why when the pious persons feel the probability of committing sin, they tremble in fear and take refuge in Allah, The Beneficent.
It is evident that, at that time, a great fear overcame her when this pious woman saw that a handsome foreigner had entered her sanctuary, therefore, she immediately said:
" 'Verily I take refuge in the Beneficent (Allah) from you! if you are God-fearing."
Her Mentioning the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, and qualifying Him by His general mercy, on the one hand and encouraging the man to piety and being God-fearing, on the other, were all intended to deter that unfamiliar man if he had intended something evil.
By saying these words, Mary was expecting a reaction from the stranger, an expectation laden with fear and abundant anxiety. But this situation did not last very long, and the stranger spoke and stated his great mission:
" He (the angel) said: 'Verily I am only a messenger of your Lord …"
This statement comforted Mary's pure heart, as if water was poured over a fire.
But this relief did not last long, because immediately after that he added that he had come to bestow on her a son who would be pure from the point of temper, manner, body, and spirit. The verse continues saying:
"…that I bestow on you a pure son'."
However, the term /zakiyy/, used in the verse, is derived from /zakat/ in the sense of: 'purity, growth, and blessing', while the word /baqyan/, here, means 'a prostitute'.
In this Sura the subject of being granted a child from Allah has been mentioned several times: the bestowal of Jesus to Mary in verse 19; that of Isaac and Jacob to Abraham in verse 49. Moreover the remittal of Aaron to Moses in verse 53; and the glad tidings of a child to Zechariah in verse 7 are among them.
Having a child is something of great value, but greater than this is the purity of the child.
By hearing these word, Mary was seized with a severe trembling and again she became very worried. In that situation, and only thinking about the natural means of having a child, she wondered and:
" She said: 'How shall there be for me a son while no man has touched me, neither have I been unchaste."
21. " He said: 'So (it will be)'. Your Lord says: 'It is easy for Me, and that We will make him a Sign (miracle) unto the people and a Mercy from Us, and it is a matter decreed.
22. " So she conceived him (Jesus) and withdrew with him to a distance place."
23. " And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree. She said: 'Would I had died ere this, and had been a thing forgotten'."
The Divine angel, in the guise of a man, appeared before Mary and blew on her so that she became pregnant. Then, Mary went to a distant place for she was worried about the accusation of people who did not know of the matter, or because a pregnant woman needs comfort and a quiet environment.
The opinions recorded in most commentaries are divided and abundant about the place and that how Mary became pregnant, or who was the first person that was informed of the matter, but since the Qur'an has not stated anything in this regard, we, too, do not offer any discussion concerning these subjects, because they are not so functional in the development of our understanding.
Some of the difficulties and hardships that Mary tolerated are as follows:
A. The accusation and suspicion of people.
B. Pregnancy and childbirth in solitude and isolation.
C. The lack of a resting place and taking refuge beside a palm tree.
D. Maintaining a child with no father and being among some people who looked at her with revulsion.
However, when the angel saw Mary's surprise at hearing that glad tidings, he told her that Allah's command was exactly what he had said to her, and that her Lord announced that creating a child out of a virgin was not difficult for Him. Allah intended for that extraordinary occurrence to be evidence of the child's prophethood and a proof of the immunity of his mother, and that it might also be a bounty from Him upon mankind for their guidance by means of this prophet. The verse says:
" He said: 'So (it will be)'. Your Lord says: 'It is easy for Me, and that We will make him a Sign (miracle) unto the people and a Mercy from Us, and it is a matter decreed.
The creation of Jesus with no father, of course, is a special event that occurred by the Will of Allah. Finally, at the higest spiritual point Mary experienced the most intense experience of the divine in her life, to receive the spirit of a prophet in her womb. Mary conceived and that promised child was settled in her pure womb. Most of the commentators have said that Gabriel blew into her collar and at the same moment she felt the stirrings of pregnancy.
It has also been narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that Gabriel blew into Mary's collar and at the same moment Jesus existed in mother's womb, 9 while, in the wombs of other women, the creation and growth of a child usually extends to about nine months.
Mary came out with her abdomen grown big and heavy, and when her maternal aunt saw her, she became quite upset, seeing her niece in that status. Mary was always bashful and deferential with her maternal aunt, so because of this, and the fear of being accused of immoral conduct, she chose not to stay among the people and went to a far off place.
She spent in seclusion relying on hope in her Lord, with a state of anxiety, mixed with happiness. It was her Lord Who had wrought this great miracle upon her, and only He could silence the accusing fingers and voices that could not accept that a woman could conceive without a man. What could she do with that accusation?
But, in the other hand, she felt that this child was the promised Divine prophet, a great heavenly gift. She thought how the Lord, Who had given her the glad tidings of that child, and had created him with that miraculous quality, would leave her alone?
Accounts vary concerning the length of Mary's pregnancy. Some have said that it lasted one hour, while some others believe that it took a longer time. Ibn 'Abbas says that one hour after that she went to that distant place, the child was born, because Allah has not mentioned any length of time for between Mary's departure for that place and the birth of the child.
It is said that when Mary was ten years old, she became pregnant in one hour, and the body of the child was formed in that very hour, and in that very hour the child was born. The birth of the child occurred when the sun was setting in the horizon.
It has also been narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that Mary's pregnancy lasted nine hours.(1)
Whatever the duration of her pregnancy was, the time come for the birth of the child. Women, in such a state, usually seek the help and refuge of their kindred that they might help them in the birth of their child. But Mary's situation was an exceptional one, she did not want anyone to witness her delivery, and as soon as the pain began, she set out toward the desert. The verse says:
" So she conceived him (Jesus) and withdrew with him to a distance place."
In this regard the Qur'an implies that the pain of childbirth drove her to the stump of a withered palm-tree from which only that trunk had remained; i.e. it was a dry tree. The verse says:
" And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree. …"
In that condition, a storm of sadness and grief came over her pure being. This storm was so turbulent, and the burden on her shoulder was so heavy, that, as the verse says:
"…She said: 'Would I had died ere this, and had been a thing forgotten'."
It is evident that it was not only the fear of future accusations that was pressing upon Mary's heart, there were also other problems such as delivering a child alone in the
1- The Commentary of Majma'-ul-Bayan, as well as Al-Burhan and As-Safi desert with no midwife or friend as a helper. There was no place to rest, nor water to drink, there was no food to eat, nor any means to take care of the child with what was available in the environment. These were all the discomforts that Mary had to tolerate.
Imam Amir-ul-Mu'mineen Ali (a.s.) said: "The best clothing of the religion is modesty." (Qurar-ul-Hikam, vol. 2, p. 398).
Ali-ibn-Abitalib (a.s.) said: "Verily modesty and chastity are among the specialties of Faith, and both of them are the epithets of the noble and the method of the righteous." (Muntakhab-ul-Qurar, p. 159)
Amir-ul-Mu'mineen Ali (a.s.) said: "The modesty of a man with himself is the fruit of Faith." (Qurar-ul-Hikam, vol. 1, p. 386)
Hadrat Ali (a.s.) said: "Modesty is from Allah, the Pure, it protects (one) from the punishment of Hell Fire." (Qurar-ul-Hikam, vol. 2, p. 143)
24. " Then (a voice) called out unto her from beneath her: 'Grieve not! Verily your Lord has made a stream to flow beneath you'."
25. " And shake the trunk of the palm-tree towards yourself. It will drop on you fresh ripe dates."
The Qur'anic word /sariyya/ means 'a small stream'; and the term /janiyya/ is applied for 'a fruit which is ripe and ready to be picked off '.
Some commentators have said that the caller unto Mary has been Gabriel; but the context of the verses shows that the caller has been Jesus, in a manner that the mother hears his words and believes what he says, and, later with a calm mind, she tells people to ask about her chastity from the child in the cradle.
At the time of delivery and after it, women usually need tranquility, water and appropriate food, the things which have been mentioned in these verses.
The food which has been recommended in the Qur'an and by some Islamic tradition for the woman who has already delivered, is fresh ripe dates. Also, the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said: "The first food for the women who have already delivered, should be fresh dates". 10
Hadrat Ali (a.s.) says: "The best food for the pregnant woman is fresh dates, and there is no medical treatment for her better than dates". 11
This is a Divine trial. The day when Mary was sound, a heavenly food was sent down for her, but today, when she is pregnant and has no assistant, she must shake the palm-tree to get some food. However, the verse says:
" Then (a voice) called out unto her from beneath her: 'Grieve not! Verily your Lord has made a stream to flow beneath you'."
Some commentators have said that the caller has been Jesus Himself (a.s.), who, from beneath her, called out that she should not be grieved (Grieve not!), and she should not ask for death. She ought to be sure that Allah would protect her from accusation and, by the miracles of Jesus (a.s.), He removes all accusations from her. One of those miracles was that very spring which was found by one step of Gabriel or that of Jesus, from which she both drunk and expurgated herself. Another miracle of Jesus (a.s.) was that he called unto her to shake the trunk of the palm-tree, which had been dead for years, in order to become green alive again and give her fresh dates. Mary started at once and found that tree. She shook it when some fresh dates fell down for her. The verse says:
" And shake the trunk of the palm-tree towards yourself. It will drop on you fresh ripe dates."
It seemed that Allah intended to show her that the similitude of her and Jesus was the similitude of that palm-tree and the dates; meaning that Allah is powerful to cause the fresh dates to fall from a dry dead palm-tree, to gash water from a plain land, and He is powerful to bring a complete human out of the womb of a husbandless woman during a few hours. This fact was made quietly manifest to Mary that that child was the great sign of Allah and also His condescension unto her, but she was amazed what to say to people so that it could remove the accusation from her. Then, the command of Allah came to her that 'she should eat and drink'.
It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that the best things which must be given to the ladies who have already conceived is dates and the dates produced in Medina in particular, but if it is not available, the fresh dates from other places might be given to them, or at least, some ordinary dates. 12
Mary was also commanded to drink the wholesome water of that spring, and to refresh her eyes by looking at that newborn child. What a refreshment of the eye can be better than this that Allah grants her a child with the rank of prophethood. A child who spoke at the beginning time of his birthday, and who had great miracles such as restoring to life the dead, healing the blind, and the like of them. (Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, the Commentary)
26. " So eat and drink and refresh your eye; and if you meet any mortal, say: 'Verily I have vowed a fast to the Beneficent (God), so never shall I speak today with any human being'."
Mary's keeping silence fasting before people was either for that they had not the capacity of her answer, or speaking with them would result a negative consequence, or in continuation of their questions and that Mary gave them their answers, they might suggest some other questions and new pretexts.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said that fasting was not only an abstinence from eating and drinking, and then he recited the verse under discussion.
In this holy verse, Allah, the Pure, commands Mary to eat from that delicious and nutritive food and to drink from that wholesome water. The verse says:
" So eat and drink …"
She was also commanded to refresh her eye by that newly born child and not to be worried about the future; and if anybody asked her regarding it, she would say by sign that she had kept fasting (a silence fasting) for Allah, the Beneficent, and that was why she could speak with no one. The verse continues saying:
" …and refresh your eye; and if you meet any mortal, say: 'Verily I have vowed a fast to the Beneficent (God), so never shall I speak today with any human being'."
Therefore, she should have peace of mind from any points of view and should not let herself be grievous and sad.
From the text of the verse, it is understood that the fast of silence was something familiar to that community, so they did not object to it however this kind of fasting is not sanctioned in the religion of Islam.
It is narrated from Imam Ali-ibn-il-Hussayn (a.s.) who said: "A fast of Silence is prohibited."
Ali-ibn-Abitalib (a.s.) has narrated from the Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.) who said: "The first thing that a woman may eat after her delivery must be fresh dates."
Some Islamic traditions denote that the best food for a pregnant woman, and her drug, is fresh dates.
1. The hardships and inconveniences that Mary experienced during that short time, and the wonderful things that occurred to her, by the grace of Allah, trained her and made her prepared for fostering one of the Arch-prophets of Allah, so that she could afford her maternal duty in performing this great task very well.
The process of events led her up to the last stage of difficulties, which was so exacting that she did not see the distance between life and death to be more than one step. But suddenly the state of affairs changed. Everyone hastened to help her, and she was assured a calm atmosphere. The command to shake the palm-tree to enjoy its fruit, teaches her, as well as all other human beings, this lesson that effort and endeavour should not be abandoned even in the most difficult moments of life.
This statement is an answer to those who think there should not have been any necessity for Mary, who had just given birth, to stand up and shake the palm-tree. This view states that it would have been better if the same Lord, by Whose command the spring had gushed forth in front of her, and by Whose order the dry tree had yielded fruit, had sent a breeze to shake the branch of the tree so that the dates would fall. They say that when Mary was healthy, heavenly fruits were sent to her sanctuary, and now when she was in dire physical and emotional difficulties, she had to shake the tree and pick up the fruit herself. The commandment is far from without wisdom, to recapitulate, it shows that there is no bounty unless we use effort. In other words, when the difficulties come forth, everybody must apply his utmost effort, and that which is beyond his ability, he ought to seek it from Allah.
2. Why Mary hoped for Death
There is no doubt that hoping for death is not a proper thing to do, but sometimes calamities and terrible events occur in the course of a person's life when the taste of life becomes utterly bitter for him, especially when his own honour and sacred aims are in danger and he does not have the ability to defend them. In such circumstances he hopes for death in order to free himself of his spiritual tortures.
What was on Mary's mind from the beginning was that the birth of this child could make her lose all her respect and honour in the eyes of those mindless people, so she hoped for death and that she would be forgotten. This itself is a proof of the fact that she valued chastity and piety more than her very life, and would rather die that live without honour.
These kinds of thoughts, however, bothered her only for a short time. When she contemplated these couple of miracles of Allah, (gashing water and fructification of the dry palm-tree), all her fears and anxieties, disappeared and the light of certainty and tranquility filled her whole heart.
3. An Answer to a Question:
Some sceptics say if miracles are only particular to prophets and Immaculate Imams, how could have those miracles appeared for Mary?
To solve this problem, some commentators count these miracles as those wrought by Jesus, and say that they were done as miracles preliminary to prophethood, which in Arabic are called: /'Irhadat/'.
But such questions need not be answered with answers such as these, because it is possible for supernatural events to occur in connection with people other than prophets and the Immaculate Imams. This is exactly what we call /kiramat/ 'extraordinary act', whereas a miracle is accompanied with /tahaddi/ 'a challenge' for it serves a proof for a prophet or an Imam.
4. The Fast of Silence:
The verses under discussion show that Mary was held to a vow of silence and, by the command of Allah, she refrained from speaking to the people for a particular duration until her child, Jesus, began speaking and defended her chastity. This state was more appropriate and effective from all respects.
The verse indicates that the vow of silence was a familiar habit for those people and as such they did not object to it from her.
This kind of fasting, however, is not lawful in the religion of Islam.
It is narrated from Imam Ali-ibn-il-Hussayn (a.s.) that he said: "The fast of silence is prohibited". 13 And this prohibition reflects the difference between the conditions prevailing at that time and those at the time of the advent of Islam.
Nevertheless, one of the etiquettes of a perfect fast in Islam, of course, is that, when fasting the believer should protect his tongue from committing sins and doing what is disapproved and restrain his eyes from looking at any corruption.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) in a tradition has said: "Verily fasting is not merely to restrain oneself from eating and drinking alone. Surely Mary said: 'Verily I have vowed a fast to the Beneficent (God)', i.e. the silence. Therefore (when you are in fasting) protect your tongue, restrain your eyes from whatever is sin, be not envious of each other, and do not get into conflict." 14
5. A Nutritive Food
The verses under discussion clearly say that Allah sent fresh dates for Mary's food at the time of childbirth. With this in mind, commentators have said that the best food for women after their childbirth is fresh dates.
This idea has been explicitly indicated as such in the Islamic literature as well. Imam Amir-ul-Mu'mineen Ali (a.s.) has narrated from the holy Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.) who said: "The first thing a woman is to eat after childbirth should be fresh dates, since Allah told Mary: 'And shake the trunk of the palm-tree towards yourself. It will drop on you fresh ripe dates'." 15
The explanation in some commentaries that cite this tradition, implies that eating this food is not only useful for the mother, but will also affect her milk.
Again, it is understood from some Islamic traditions that the best food for a pregnant woman, as well as her medicine, is fresh dates, 16 and, if it is not available, ordinary dates can be used. But, moderation must be observed in everything, even in this matter.
Some scientists and food specialists say that dates are abundant in nutrition and have one of the healthiest sugars which can be used even by some diabetic patients.
The same scientists say that there are 13 vital substances and five kinds of vitamins found in dates, all of which make it a rich source of food. 17
It is also well known that in such a state, women are intensely in need of some nutritive food which are full of vitamins.
With the progress of medical science, the importance of dates as a medicine has been proved.
Calcium is found in dates which is an important substance in strengthening bones and teeth. There is also phosphorus which is one of the main elements that make up man's brain. It hinders neurasthenia and fatigue. Dates contain potassium, the lack of which causes ulcers in the stomach.
27. " Then she brought the child to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: 'Verily you have done a very indecent thing'."
28. " O sister of Aaron! Your father was not a bad man, nor was your mother an unchaste woman."
The Arabic term /fariyya/ means 'an indecency, a great sin'.
Jesus Speaks in Cradle!
At last, Mary brought her child to her people, carrying him in her arms. When those people saw a new-born- child in her bosom, they wondered so that their mouths remained half open. The verse says:
" Then she brought the child to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: 'Verily you have done a very indecent thing'."
Some of them, who were hasty in judgment, said about Mary that it was a pity with that glorious background and this pollution! And a thousand pities her pure family who became so disgraced like that. Then, as the verse says, they encountered her as follows:
"… They said: 'Verily you have done a very indecent thing'."
Some others, addressing Mary, told her:
" O sister of Aaron! Your father was not a bad man, nor was your mother an unchaste woman."
They addressed Mary by the phrase 'O sister of Aaron', because Aaron was a pure and pious man, and he was so well known among the Children of Israel for his piety that whenever they wanted to show how pious and righteous a person was, they would address the one as a brother or sister of Aaron.
Some Verses and Traditions about Calumny:
Allah, the Almighty, says: " And whoever commits a fault or a sin, then accuses an innocent person of it, he has burdened (himself) with a calumny and a manifest sin." 18
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: " When a believer accuses his brethren, faith will dissolve way from his heart like salt is dissolved in water." 19
Imam Ali (a.s.) said: "(The sin of) calumny charged against the pious is heavier than the skies." 20
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: "Calumny against the pious is heavier than firm, (steady) mountains." 21
Amir-ul-Mu'mineen Ali (a.s.) said: "A (true) believer does not deceive his brethren, is not treacherous to him, does not abase him, does not denigrate him, and does not tell him he hates him." 22
Imam Rida (a.s.) narrated from the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) who said: "He who belies a believing man or a believing woman, or says something about him which is not in him, on the Day of Judgment Allah will make him stand on a heap of Fire until he comes out of what he had said against him." 23
29. " Then Mary pointed to him. They said: 'How shall we speak to one who is (yet) a child in the cradle?' "
30. " He (miraculously) said: 'Verily I am a servant of Allah; He has given me the Book and made me a prophet'."
Since Mary had observed a silence fasting, in order to fulfill her vow, she signed instead of speaking. The verse says:
" Then Mary pointed to him. They said: 'How shall we speak to one who is (yet) a child in the cradle?' "
The first word of Jesus (a.s.) was about servitude unto Allah, but his followers exaggerated and considered Jesus as God or God's son.
Once Imam Baqir (a.s.) was asked whether Hadrat Jesus (a.s.) was also the witness of Allah when Jesus was in cradle. Imam (a.s.) said Jesus (a.s.) was a prophet then, but he was not a Messenger until when he was seven years old. It was in that year that the rank of Messengership was bestowed on him. (Tafsir-i-Kanz-ud-Daghayegh)
By a short sentence, Jesus (a.s.) both banished the accusation from his mother, and spoke about his own future, and pointed to the future duty of people. The verse in this regard says:
" He (miraculously) said: 'Verily I am a servant of Allah; He has given me the Book and made me a prophet'."
However, the Qur'an in the first verse says that Mary was silent to obey the command of Allah. The only thing she did was that she pointed to her new-born-child, Jesus, when her action caused the people's astonishment more than before. They told her: "How shall we speak to one who is (yet) a child in the cradle?"
According to some other commentary books, they said to each other that the mockery and ridicule of Mary was harder and heavier to them than her deviation from the path of chastity.
But this situation did not last so long, because that new-born-child started speaking, and said: "Verily I am a servant of Allah; He has given me the Book and made me a prophet."
31. " And He has made me blessed wherever I may be and He has enjoined on me prayer and almsgiving so long as I live."
32. " And (He has made me) kind to my mother, and He has not made me arrogant unblessed."
The existence of Jesus (a.s.) was a blessed thing in which there were a lot of interests, education of others, and its continuation. Hadrat Jesus (a.s.) both lives a long blessed life which lasts until after the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.), and his followers are abundant and are victorious against the infidels.
The origin of good things and blessings are mainly intentions, aims, and innate modes and virtues. Therefore, some people are blessed wherever they may be, as the verse, concerning Jesus, says:
" And He has made me blessed wherever I may be…"
But, some others, because of their spiritual difficulties and their separation from spirituality, are faced with their own evil qualities, and usually they are not useful for others wherever they may be.
By mentioning the word 'mother', Jesus (a.s.) has pointed to the chastity of his mother, Mary, and his lack of father, when he says:
" And (He has made me) kind to my mother, …"
Also, the Qur'an, from the tongue of Jesus, in this verse implies that Allah has made him a blessed being, or a useful being for people, wherever he may be, and He has enjoined him to prayer and almsgiving so long as he is alive. The verse, in this regard, continues saying:
" …and He has enjoined on me prayer and almsgiving so long as I live."
And, by the next verse, Jesus after implaying that Allah made him kind, benevolent, and appreciative unto his mother, adds that He did not make him arrogant and damned. The verse continues saying;
" …and He has not made me arrogant unblessed."
An Islamic tradition indicates that Jesus (a.s.) has said: "My heart is mild and I humble myself to my self." This statement is an indication to this fact that the opposite state of 'being arrogant and unblessed' is these two epithets.
A few traditions about Prayer, Almsgiving, and kindness to Parents:
1. Imam Baqir (a.s.) said: "Islam has been founded on five things: prayer, almsgiving, Hajj, fasting and the mastership (of Ahl-ul-Bayt)." (Bihar, vol. 82, p. 234)
2. The Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.) said: "The most beloved things with Allah are prayer at its time, then kindness to parents, then Holy Struggle in the way of Allah." (Kanz-ul-'Ummal, vol.7, tradition No.18897)
3. The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said: "The one who takes his prayer lightly is not of me. No, by Allah, such a person will not reach me by the Houd?, the pool of abundance." (Bihar-ul-'Anwar, vol.82, p. 224)
1. It is narrated from Ali-ibn-Abitalib (a.s.) who said: "The pillars of Islam are three, none of which is useful without the other two. They are: Prayer, almsgiving, and the guardianship (of the Ahl-ul-Bayt)." (Bihar-ul-'Anwar, vol. 68, p.386)
2. The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said: "Cure your patients by means of charity (sadaghah), and protect your property by the alms tax (Zakat)."
3. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: "One who restrains paying as much as a Qirat (about 2 grams) of the (obligatory) alms tax (Zakat), will die as a Jew or a Christian." (Was'il-ush-Shi'ah, p. 186)
4. Imam Musa-ibn-J?'far (a.s.) said: "Verily the Alms tax has been assigned as a provision for the poor and as a means for the increase of their wealth." (Was'il-ush-Shi'ah, vol. 6 p. 4)
However, communication with Allah (prayer) is not separate from communication with the deprived (almsgiving).
C. Kindness to the Parents
1. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: "The best deeds are: prayer in its time, kindness to parents, and Holy Struggle in the way of Allah." (Bihar-ul-'Anwar, vol. 74, p. 85)
2. The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said: "One who obeys the command of Allah regarding parents, two doors of the Paradise will be opened for him; and if he obeys (the command of Allah regarding) one of them, then one door will be opened (to him)." (Kanz-ul-'Ummal, vol. 16, p. 467)
3. The holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) in a tradition has said: "He who obeys his parents and His Lord, will be in the highest position (of Heaven in Hereafter)." (Kanz-ul-'Ummal, vol. 6, p. 468)
4. The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said: "The person who pleases his parents, has pleased Allah; and the one who discontents his parents, has discontented Allah." (Kanz-ul-'Ummal, vol. 16, p. 470)
5. The Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.) said: "The person who likes his lifetime to be prolonged and his sustenance to be increased, then he should be kind to his parents and visit his kin." (Kanz-ul-'Ummal, vol. 16, p. 475)
33. " And peace be on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive."
Then, finally, from the tongue of this newborn Child (Hadrat Messiah) the verse says:
" And peace be on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive."
This statement has occurred both about Yahya (John) 24 (a.s.) and about Jesus Christ (a.s.).
Hadrat Imam Rida (a.s.) said: "The most horrible days of a man are three days: the birth day, the day of death, and the Day of Hereafter." ('Uyun 'Akhbar-ir-Rida, vol. 1, p. 257)
34. " This is Jesus, son of Mary, a statement of truth, concerning which they doubt."
35. " It is not befitting to Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He decrees a thing, He only says unto it: 'Be', and it is."
Formerly the Qur'an illustrated clearly the event of the birth of Jesus through previous verses. Now, it refers to the negation of the superstitions and the polytheistic words that they have said about Jesus (a.s.). It says:
" This is Jesus, son of Mary, …"
The Qur'an emphasizes on the fact that Jesus is the son of Mary, in order to negate his being as the son of God, and then, it adds:
"… a statement of truth, concerning which they doubt."
Then, in the next verse, it explicitly says:
" It is not befitting to Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! …"
But, if He intends something and commands, He says to it 'Be' and it will come into being, too. The verse continues saying:
" … When He decrees a thing, He only says unto it: 'Be', and it is."
This statement indicates that having son for Allah, in the form that the Christians imagine it unto Him, does not fit the sanctity of the Rank of Allah. On one side, its requisite is the existence of body, and on the other side, there should be considered a limitation for Him, and on the third side, Allah does not need anything.
The expression saying "'Be' and it is" is a very lively illustration unto the vast power of Allah and His domination and sovereignty over the subject of creation.
Jesus Christ (a.s.) has been introduced through the afore mentioned verses by seven outstanding epithets and two accomplishments.
A. The epithets of Jesus Christ
1. To be a servant of Allah: "Verily am a servant of Allah."
2. To bring a heavenly Book: "…He has given me the Book."
3. To be a prophet: "…and made me a prophet."
4. To be blessed: "And He has made me blessed."
5. To be kind unto the mother: "And (He has made me) kind to my mother."
6. Not to be arrogant and unblessed: "He not made me arrogant and unblessed."
7. To be humble, gratitude, and prosperous: "And peace be on me."
One of them is prayer and the other is almsgiving (zakat). The above mentioned verse says that the truth about Jesus is just what Allah said: "This is Jesus, son of Mary".
In the holy Qur'an, the Christians have been repeatedly mentioned as deviated whose belief about Christ, as the son of God, is wrong. For example, in Sura Al-Ma'idah, No. 5, verse 73, it says: "certainly they disbelieve who say: 'Verily Allah is the third of the three', …" And, in Sura At-Taubah, No. 9, verse 30, it says: " …and the Christians say: 'The Messiah is the son of God' …". But, this verse, shows the correct argument in response to these erroneous claims regarding the characteristics of Jesus.
There is no need to say that the Will of Allah comes into being, even without the expression of 'Be', but Allah has described His Will for us in this manner so that we could understand it.
Allah is Omnipotent, and He is not in need of anything or any means in creating, His infinite Power is a reason why He is far exalted from powerlessness and from begetting a son.
The Qur'an and the Christ
As a result of the stiff pressure that the pagans of Mecca put upon the followers of the Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.) , a group of Muslims, accompanied by Ja'far-ibn-Abitalib, by the order of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) , migrated to Ethiopia (Abyssinia). The pagans of the Quraysh thought that if the Muslims could become powerful there and form a government, they would be able to root out the idolatry that the polytheists practiced. They sent 'Amru'as and with a delegation to Ethiopia bearing presents for the ministers of Najashi, the king of Abyssinia.
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