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Noor Al Haqq

Revered Figures in Islam: "Virgin Mary" & "Jesus Christ"
By Noor Al Haqq
Jan 22, 2005 - 10:56:00 AM

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The title may seem strange to some, and maybe unbelievable to others but that's a very true fact about Islam. Two of the most revered, loved and respected figures in the heart of every Muslim are Virgin Mary peace be upon her and her blessed son Jesus Christ peace be upon him. In fact, no individual can be a Muslim unless he/she believes in Jesus peace be upon him and in his miraculous birth from the purest of all women, and that he is the Word of God and a Spirit from Him and that he is the Messiah to the people of Israel. He is honoured in this world and in the hereafter, and he is one of those brought nearest to Allah.

The Quran tells a lot of wonderful things about this great Prophet and about the purity of his mother. Infact out of the 114 chapters of the Noble Quran , 9 of them carry the name of individuals, and out of these 9 there is a chapter titled Mary; Maryam in Arabic. No woman had more attention in the Quran than Mary. The chapter that carries her name is one of the most beautiful chapters of the Quran that tells us about the life of this pious woman who dedicated her life in worship to Her Lord, and who bore one of God's greatest Prophets and Messengers in a miraculous birth that stands as a sign of God's power and that He only need to say something 'Be' and it is.

In the Quran God relates that story:

"'Behold (O Mary!)' The Angel said, 'God has chosen you, and purified you, and chosen you above the women of all nations. O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him, whose name shall be the Anointed (Masih or Messiah), Jesus son of Mary, honored in this world and in the hereafter, and one of those brought near to God. He shall speak to the people from his cradle and in maturity, and shall be 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 decrees a thing, He says to it, "Be!" and it is.'" (Qur'an 3:42-7)

To Muslims, this miraculous birth of Jesus peace be upon him demonstrates God's capability to create in every way. Just like He creates every human from a man and a woman, He created Adam peace be upon him from no man or woman, and Eve from a man and not a woman, He created Jesus upon him be peace from a woman and no man. The laws of nature cannot govern the True Creator.

Along with the miraculous birth Muslims believe that Allah has aided his Prophet Jesus peace be upon him with so many miracles in different stages of his life. The first miracle took place immediately after Mary gave birth to Jesus peace be upon him when she went back to her people with the baby in her arms. Allah has made him speak in his cradle, the Quran says:

At length she brought the (babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: "O Mary! Truly an amazing thing hast thou brought!
"O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!"
But she pointed to the babe. They said: "How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?"
He said: "I am indeed a servant of Allah: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet;
And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live; (He) hath 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 that I shall be raised up to life (again)!
(Quran 19: 27-33)

The Quran also says that Jesus was sent to mankind to teach them the same message that was revealed with every previous prophet sent by the Almighty shun every false god and worship the One and Only true God. Muslims believe that neither Muhammad peace be upon him nor Jesus peace be upon him came to change the basic doctrine of the belief in One God, brought by earlier prophets, but they have come to confirm it and to renew it.

In the Quran, Jesus peace be upon him is reported as saying that he came:

"To attest the law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you; I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear God and obey me." (Qur'an 3:50)

Through his mission Jesus peace be upon him has also performed many miracles before his people and all were done by the permission and power of Allah alone. Allah says:

"Then will God say: O Jesus the son of Mary! recount My favor to you and to your mother. Behold! I strengthened you with the Holy Spirit (the angel Gabriel) so that you did speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught you the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel. And behold: you make out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My leave, and you breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by My leave, and you heal those born blind, and the lepers by My leave. And behold! you bring forth the dead by My leave. And behold! I did restrain the children of Israel from (violence to you) when you did show them the Clear Signs, and the unbelievers among them said: This is nothing but evident magic' (5:110).

Its important to mention here that in Islam unlike in Christianity, Jesus peace be upon him is not elevated to the status of being divine nor to be a son of God. Muslims do not worship any creation besides God, since worshipping a creation besides God is considered the most fatal sin in Islam. And its the only sin that would not be forgiven by God if a person dies without repenting from.

The Quran states:

"Say: "God is Unique! God, the Source [of everything]. He has not fathered anyone nor was He fathered, and there is nothing comparable to Him!" (Quran 112:1-4)

The Concept of the Absolute Oneness of God is the cornerstone of Islam. And its a concept that the Quran states Jesus has called to and lived upon. The Quran says:

"The Messiah (Jesus), son of Mary, was no more than a Messenger before whom many Messengers have passed away; and his mother adhered wholly to truthfulness, and they both ate food (as other mortals do). See how We make Our signs clear to them; and see where they are turning away!" (Quran 5:75).

"Such was Jesus, the son of Mary; it is a statement of truth, about which they vainly dispute. It is not befitting to the majesty of God, that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter, He only says to it, Be' and it is" (Quran 19:34-35).

At that I'd like to say that the Muslims believe that the followers of Islam did not start coming to this world with the advent of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him in 7th Century Arabia.

In truth every Messenger who has been sent by the Almigthy who submitted to the will of God in line with divine revelation was infact a Muslim. The Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said:

"Both in this world and in the Hereafter, I am the nearest of all people to Jesus,the son of Mary. The Prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different but their religion is one"

and in another saying:

"Whoever believes that there is none worthy of worship but God, alone without partner, that Muhammad is His messenger, that Jesus is the servant and messenger of God, His word which He bestowed on Mary and a spirit proceeding from Him, and that Paradise and Hell are true, shall be received by God into Heaven."

To Muslims the love and honoring of Jesus peace be upon him is something that  is unquestionable and its part of their faith and love for Allah. Since one's love for God could never be complete without the love and respect to all that He sent, and all whom He sent.

Say: "We believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us
And what was revealed
To Abraham , Isma'il
Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes
And in (the Books)
Given to Moses, Jesus,
And the Prophets,
From their Lord,
We make no distinction
Between one and another
Among them, and to Allah do we
Bow our will (in Islam)."

(Quran 3 : 83)

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