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The Proper Understanding of Jesus’ Life- Part 1

26 December, 2016
Q As-salamu Alaykum. Allah caused me to be born into a Muslim family that followed the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Therefore, I have always learned that most things in the Quran are "symbolic," including the virgin conception and birth of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). Worse, I was further taught that his birth was the result of a very human out-of-wedlock event. As an adult, this is now bothering me because it seems that what I learned may constitute a grievous calumny, even if it is many centuries after the life of Mary. How should I regard this? And what is the proper understanding of the life of Christ in the Quran? Jazakum Allahu khayr.


Asalamu Alaikum Muhammad,

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question. Please find part one of the answer to your question below. Find the second and final part at the link here.

I want to start out by explaining that a Muslim’s belief must be grounded in the two essential sources: the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him-PBUH).

Therefore, I cannot, for example, decide to believe something not included in the teachings of the Quran and our beloved Prophet (PBUH) because someone, no matter how knowledgeable, told me to do so.

One of the beauties of Islam is that people are continually exhorted to search for the truth and ponder upon the many questions of existence in order to strengthen their faith.

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I tell you this because my answer regarding the story of Jesus (PBUH) is founded solely in the Quran and the hadith (teachings, examples) of the Prophet Muhammad. So, I encourage you to think about the story and go read the Quran for yourself, in order to put your doubts to rest.

In Islam, Jesus (PBUH) is considered one of the greatest prophets sent by God to mankind. In the Quran, Jesus is referred to as `Isa ibn Maryam, or Jesus son of Mary. The story of Mary and Jesus is best described in the Quran primarily in the surahs (chapters) entitled Aal `Imran (family of Imran) and Maryam (Mary).

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is described in the Quran as being special. She was born into the pious household of Aal `Imran, and her childhood was marked by a unique piety that everyone around her could sense.

The uniqueness of Mary was spelled out to her by the angels:

{Behold! The angels said: “O Mary! Allah hath chosen thee and purified thee — chosen thee above the women of all nations. O Mary! Worship thy Lord devoutly: Prostrate thyself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down.”} (Aal `Imran 3:42-43)

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also related in a hadith reported by Bukhari that Mary was one of the best of the women Allah had created.

The Birth of Jesus

In relating the story of Jesus, the Quran describes how Mary, the mother of Jesus, was approached by an angel from God, bringing her tidings she had never imagined: that she would give birth to a son, a Messiah, who would be of the righteous and would be a prophet of God, calling the Children of Israel (the Israelites) to the straight path of God.

{(And remember) when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah gives you glad tidings of a word from Him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, illustrious in the world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (unto Allah). He will speak unto mankind in his cradle and in his manhood, and he is of the righteous.} (Aal `Imran 3:45-46)

Naturally, for the chaste Mary, this news was both strange and seemingly impossible.

{She said: My Lord! How can I have a child when no mortal has touched me? He said: So (it will be). Allah creates what He wills. If He decrees a thing, He says unto it only: Be! and it is. And He will teach him the Scripture and wisdom, and the Torah and the Gospel.} (Aal `Imran 3:47-48)

The very nature of Jesus’s birth is so special that God compares the uniqueness of his creation to that of the first man and prophet, Adam.

{Lo! The likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is.} (Aal `Imran 3:59)

There is never any doubt in the Quran about Mary’s chastity and the purity of the birth of Jesus (PBUH). It is sad to hear you say that you were taught “that his birth was the result of a very human out-of-wedlock event”.

This teaching is in direct contradiction to the Quran itself, and was a malicious accusation that some people from the tribe of the Children of Israel in Mary’s time tried to attack her with.

However, we are told in the Quran of a miracle that Jesus (PBUH) performed when he was a baby.

When Mary carried the baby Jesus (PBUH) to her people, they questioned her; and as a baby in her arms, Jesus gave them the answer. The Quran describes this scene in detail:

{He said: “I am indeed a servant of Allah: He has given me revelation and made me a prophet; And He has made me blessed wheresoever I be, and has enjoined on me prayer and charity as long as I live; (He) has 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)!”} (Maryam 19:26-33)

And so, the baby Jesus (PBUH) defended his mother from any accusations of adultery, and in a nutshell, explained who he was and why he was sent by God.

Please continue reading part two at the link here.  

Walaikum Asalam.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

6 Miracle of Jesus in The Quran

The True Story of Jesus

The Birth of Jesus (Isa) – Inspiring Story

Do Muslims Follow Jesus?

Jesus in Islam