“Christians may be surprised to learn that Muslims believe in the Virgin Birth and Jesus’ miracles.” – Michael Wolfe
Editor’s note: As Christians around the world prepare to observe and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, this brief post shows the Islamic reverence for Mary through Qur’anic verses as well as two miniatures taken from Wikipedia’s articles, Islamic Views of Mary and Jesus in Islam. Michael Wolfe then discusses the subject further in his excellent piece, Jesus Through a Muslim Lens.
JESUS AND MARY
(Excerpts from Wikipedia)
According to the Holy Qur’an, Jesus (a.s) was born by the Will of God without a father. Like Christians, Muslims believe Mary, or Maryam as she is called in Arabic, was a chaste, virgin woman, who miraculously gave birth to Jesus. The Holy Qur’an says:
“She (Mary) said: ‘O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me.’ He (God) said: ‘So (it will be) for God creates what He wills. When He has decreed something, He says to it only: ‘Be!’- and it is” — Holy Qur’an, 3:47.
In the Qur’an, no other woman is given more attention than Mary, and the Qur’an also states that Mary was chosen above all women:
Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah hath chosen thee and purified thee – chosen thee above the women of all nations” — Holy Qur’an, 3:42.
continued after image….
Jesus Through a Muslim Lens by Michael Wolfe
Left: Virgin Mary nurtured by a palm tree in a Turkish miniature, as described in the Qur’an; right: Mary and Jesus in a Persian miniature. Please click on image for Michael Wolfe’s article “Jesus Through a Muslim Lens.” Images: Wikipedia.
THE PALM TREE
The Holy Qur’an narrates the virgin birth of Jesus numerous times. The Qur’an states that, Mary, while traveling in the desert of Bayt Lahm (Bethlehem) was overcome by the pains of childbirth. During her agony and helplessness, under her feet God provided a stream of water from which she could drink. Furthermore, near a palm tree, Mary was told to shake the trunk of the palm tree, so that ripe dates would fall down and she could eat and be nourished. Mary cried in pain and held onto the palm tree, at which point a voice came from “beneath her”, understood by some to refer to Jesus, who was yet in her womb, which said
“Grieve not! Your Lord has provided a water stream under you; And shake the trunk of the palm tree, it will let fall fresh ripe dates upon you. And eat and drink and calm thy mind”.
That day, Mary gave birth to her son Jesus in the middle of the desert.
SURA MARYAM AND A PROPHETIC TRADITION
The 19th sura (chapter) of the Holy Qur’an is named after her and is, to some extent, about her life. Of the Holy Quran’s 114 suras, she is among only eight people who have a chapter named after them. Mary is specifically mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, alongside Asiya (also known as Asiya bint Muzahim), wife of the Pharaoh who reigned during Hazrat Musa’s or Prophet Moses’ (a.s) time. The Qur’an chronicles Asiya as a great person and she is respected all the more by Muslims as she was married to one of the most evil men in history, but never lost faith in God and remained steadfast in prayer and belief. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) is said to have mentioned Asiya as one of the four greatest women of all time, alongside Mary, Muhammad’s first wife Khadija, and his daughter Fatimah, as an exemplar for all righteous women.
Please also read Jesus Through a Muslim Lens by Michael Wolfe.