Islamic Garden

Islamic Garden
Islamic Garden in Lausanne, Switzerland

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Jesus - the Son of Mary

On this special day of the symbolic celebration of the birth of Jesus, I think it is useful to remember that Hazrat Nabi Isa is also one who is inferred amongst those referenced in al-Fatiha. In his book, "The Muslim Jesus", Tarif Khalidi summarizes well the Qur'anic perspective on Jesus:

" With respect to form, the references to Jesus in the Qur'an can be divided into four groups:
(1) birth and infancy stories, (2) miracles, (3) conversations between Jesus and God or between Jesus and the Israelites, and (4) divine pronouncements on his humanity, servanthood, and place in the prophetic line which stipulate that "fanatical" opinions about him must be abandoned. As regards the first two groups, there is little reason to question their close affinity with certain apocryphal gospels and with Syriac, Coptic, and Ethiopic literature. His sinless birth - which in the Qur'an takes place under a palm tree -and the words he speaks as an infant in the cradle are all ayat ("signs"), manifestations of divine favor shown to him and his mother. His miracles are not narrated so much as listed as reminders of the power granted to him by God to cure the sick and raise the dead. Unlike canonical Gospels, the Qur'an tilts backward to his miraculous birth rather than forward to his Passion. This is why he is often referred to as "the son of Mary" and why he and his mother frequently appear together. At his side, she confirms his miraculous pure birth. But his "death" is equally miraculous: he is lifted up to God, where according to later Islamic tradition he remained alive and waiting to fulfill his appointed role at the end of time, a role merely hinted at in the Qur'an (43:61). He himself is described as an aya, a sign or miraculous proof of God's omnipotence; and although other prophets share this attribute - and share also, of course, the ability to effect miracles - Jesus is unique in his ability to inspire so much Qur'anic tension, the aim being to establish the ultimate truth about him."

~Excerpted from "The Muslim Jesus" by Tarif Khalidi, 2001, pp. 14-15

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