Jesus (as), Son of Maryam (as), In The Qur'an
In this section, we will examine the details regarding the second coming of Jesus (as) provided in the most reliable sources. The first of these sources is definitely the Qur'an, the unaltered Speech of Allah, as expressed in the Quran, "No one can change His words." (Surat al-Anam 115), and the second is the Sunnah of the Last Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. The Qur'an provides detailed information about many stages of Jesus' (as) life including his birth, his being raised to the presence of Allah, his second coming and his death.
Jesus (as), who lived 2000 years ago, is a blessed messenger of Allah. He is of high esteem both in this world and the hereafter, as the Qur'an informs us. The true religion brought by him remains today, albeit merely in name. That is because, the original teaching communicated by Jesus (as) is distorted today. The book Allah revealed to Jesus (as), too, remains in our day only in name. Today, the original text of this book is not available. Christian sources have undergone various alterations and distortions. Consequently today, it is unlikely that we can obtain true knowledge regarding Jesus (as) from Christian sources.
The only sources from which we can have accurate knowledge about Jesus (as) are the Qur'an, the book Allah assures He will keep unchanged until the Day of Judgment, and the Sunnah of His Messenger Muhammad (saas). In the Qur'an, Allah gives an account of the birth and life of Jesus (as), some incidents he met in his life, the people surrounding him and many other subjects related to him. Furthermore, the Qur'anic verses also inform us about the life of Maryam before she gave birth to Jesus (as), how she became pregnant in a miraculous way and the reactions of the people surrounding her to this incident. Moreover, Allah gives the good tidings that Jesus (as) will come to earth for a second time in the end times. In this section, you will find some of the information given in the Qur'an about Jesus (as).
The Birth of Maryam and the Way She was Raised
Maryam, who was chosen to give birth to Jesus (as), was born at a time of disorder when the Children of Israel placed all their hopes on a Messiah's coming. Totally unaware of being the centre of all hopes, Maryam was specially chosen by Allah for this blessed duty and brought up accordingly. Maryam came from a noble family, the family of Imran. Allah chose this family over the rest of all people.
The members of the family of Imran were known to be people having deep faith in Allah. They turned to Him while doing all their deeds and meticulously observed His limits. When Imran's wife learned that she was pregnant, she turned to her Creator and prayed, and she devoted what was in her womb to the service of Allah. Allah gives an account of this in the Qur'an:
Remember when the wife of Imran said, "my Lord, I have pledged to You what is in my womb, devoting it to Your service. Please accept my prayer. You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing." When she gave birth, she said, "My Lord! I have given birth to a girl" - and Allah knew very well what she had given birth to, male and female are not the same "and I have named her Maryam and placed her and her children in Your safekeeping from the accursed shaytan." (Surah Al Imran: 35-36)
When Maryam was born, Imran's wife sought only the good pleasure of Allah. She turned to Allah and placed Maryam and her children in His safekeeping from the accursed shaytan. In return for her sincerity and prayer, Allah gave Maryam noble virtues. In the Qur'an, Allah explains how Maryam was brought up under His protection and meticulous care. "Her Lord accepted her with approval and made her grow in health and beauty." (Surah Al Imran: 37) Zakariyya (Zachariah) became Maryam's guardian and during the time she spent with him, he realised that she was favoured with exceptional qualities. Moreover, Allah showed her many favours "without any reckoning":
Every time Zakariyya visited her in the Upper Room, he found food with her. He said, "Maryam, how did you come by this?" She said, "It is from Allah. Allah provides for whomever He wills without any reckoning." (Surah Al Imran: 37)
Just as Allah chose the family of Imran, He also chose Maryam, a member of Imrans family, and provided her with an exceptional upbringing. Allah purified Maryam and chose her over all other women. This attribute of hers is stated in the Qur'an as follows:
And when the angels said, "Maryam, Allah has chosen you and purified you. He has chosen you over all other women. Maryam, obey your Lord and prostrate and bow with those who bow." (Surah Al Imran: 42-43)
In the community in which she lived, Maryam became a person known for the loyalty and sincerity she showed to Allah. She is especially distinguished as a woman "who guarded her chastity." In Surat at-Tahrim, we find an account of this:
(Allah has made an example for those who believe) Maryam, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity We breathed Our Spirit into her and she confirmed the Words of her Lord and His Book and was one of the obedient. (Surat at-Tahrim: 12)
Maryam Becomes Pregnant
Mention Maryam in the Book, how she withdrew from her people to an eastern place, and veiled herself from them. Then We sent Our Spirit to her and it took on for her the form of a well-made man. She said, "I seek refuge from you with the All-Merciful if you have fear for Allah." He said, "I am only your Lord's messenger so that He can give you a pure boy." (Surah Maryam: 16-19)
As we are informed in the verses above, after the completion of one of the stages of her training, Maryam withdrew from her people to an eastern place and spent some part of her life there. Right at this phase of her life, Jibril (Gabriel) appeared before Maryam by the command of Allah. Maryam, being a noble and chaste woman, was deeply disturbed on seeing a stranger. Yet, Jibril explained that he was an angel sent by Allah to give her glad tidings of a son:
When the angels said, "Maryam, your Lord gives you good news of a Word from Him. His name is the Messiah, Isa, son of Maryam of high esteem in the world and the hereafter, and one of those brought near." (Surah Al Imran: 45)
Upon these glad tidings, Maryam raised the question of how she could have a son when no man had ever touched her:
She said, "How can I have a boy when no one has touched me and I am not an unchaste woman?" He said, "It will be so! Your Lord says, That is easy for Me. It is so that We can make him a Sign for mankind and a mercy from Us. It is a matter already decreed." So she conceived him and withdrew with him to a distant place. (Surah Maryam: 20-22)
She said, "My Lord! How can I have a son when no one has ever touched me?" He said, "It will be so." Allah creates whatever He wills. When He decides on something, He just says to it, Be! and it is." (Surah Al Imran: 47)
During the time Maryam remained in the "distant place" mentioned in the above verses, Allah supported her both physically and materially. She was totally under His protection and care during her pregnancy. All her needs were especially met by Allah. Meanwhile, by making her settle in a secluded place, Allah prevented all the harm that people devoid of understanding of this situation were likely to bring her.
Jesus (as) is a Word of Allah
In the Qur'an Allah draws our attention to the fact that, from his birth to death, Jesus (as) was very different from all other men on earth. The Qur'an confirms his virgin birth, a type of creation with which we are not familiar. Before his birth, Allah informed his mother about many of Jesus' (as) attributes including that he was sent as a Messiah to the Children of Israel. He was also declared "a Word from Allah":
The Messiah, Isa, son of Maryam, was only the Messenger of Allah and His Word, which He cast into Maryam, and a Spirit from Him (Surat an-Nisa: 171)
When the angels said, "Maryam, your Lord gives you good news of a Word from Him. His name is the Messiah, Isa, son of Maryam of high esteem in the world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near. (Surah Al Imran: 45)
Allah gave him his name before his birth, as He did with Yahya (John) (as). Normally, families give the names of their children yet this was otherwise in the case of Jesus (as). Allah gave him the name the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Maryam. This is one of the most explicit indications that Jesus (as) was created differently from other people.
just like his birth, the miracles he displayed throughout his life,
and the way he was raised up to the presence of Allah are signs of
his difference from other people.
Birth of Jesus (as)
As is well known, birth is a very difficult process demanding much care. Delivering a baby without the assistance of an experienced person and due medical care is difficult. However, Maryam, all alone, succeeded in delivering a baby, thanks to her loyalty to Allah and the trust she put in Him.
While feeling severe labour pains, Allah inspired her and instructed her in each step. In this way, she delivered her baby effortlessly and in the best circumstances. This was a great favour shown to Maryam:
The pains of labour drove her to the trunk of a date palm. She said, "Oh if only I had died and was something discarded and forgotten!"
A voice called out to her from under her, "Do not grieve! Your Lord has placed a small stream at your feet. Shake the trunk of the palm towards you and fresh, ripe dates will drop down onto you.
Eat and drink and delight your eyes. If you should see anyone at all, just say, I have made a vow of abstinence to the All-Merciful and today I will not speak to any human being." (Surah Maryam: 23-26)
Jesus (as) Spoke while still in the cradle
And she (Maryam) who guarded her chastity. We breathed in her some of Our Spirit and made her and her son a Sign for all the worlds. (Surat al-Anbiya: 91)
One of the incidents with which Allah tested the people of Maryam is the birth of Jesus (as). This birth, which was an unusual event for people, was a test both for Maryam and her people. In reality, the way Jesus (as) was born was a miracle Allah employed to summon people to true faith and one of the most explicit evidences of the existence of Allah. Yet, her people failed to grasp it and were suspicious:
She brought him to her people, carrying him. They said, "Maryam! You have done an unthinkable thing! Sister of Harun (Aaron), your father was not an evil man nor was your mother an unchaste woman!" (Surah Maryam: 27-28)
As explained in the verses above, upon Maryam's return from the distant place with Jesus (as), her people did not let her make an explanation. They assumed that Maryam had done an indecent and shocking deed, and simply slandered her in an ugly manner. However, those who spread these slanders about Maryam knew her almost from the day she was born and were aware of her purity and piety (taqwa), like the other members of the family of Imran.
Surely, these accusations and slanders were a test for Maryam. It was apparent that a person, so pure and pious, would not act as alleged. This was only a test for Maryam. From the time Maryam was born, Allah always helped her and turned everything she did to good. Maryam, in return, knew that every incident happens by the Will of Allah and only Allah could prove the groundless nature of these slanders.
Indeed, Allah provided comfort to Maryam and inspired her to remain quiet. Allah instructed her not to speak with her people but to point to Jesus (as), if they ever approached her and attempted to make accusations. This way, Maryam avoided any trouble such a discussion was likely to create. The one who would provide the most accurate answers to the people was Jesus (as). When Allah gave the good tidings of the birth of Jesus (as) to Maryam, He also informed her that he would speak clearly while he was still in his cradle:
He will speak to people in the cradle, and also when fully grown, and will be one of the righteous. (Surah Al Imran: 46)
Thus Allah made things easier for Maryam and provided the true explanation to the people through the words of Jesus (as). With such a miracle, the disbelief of the people surrounding Maryam simply failed.
She pointed towards him. They said, "How can a baby in the cradle speak?" He said, "I am the slave of Allah. He has given me the Book and made me a Prophet. He has made me blessed wherever I am and directed me to do prayer and pay poor-due as long as I live, and to show devotion to my mother. He has not made me insolent or arrogant. Peace be upon me the day I was born, and the day I die and the day I am raised up again alive." (Surah Maryam: 29-33)
No doubt, a baby speaking fluently in his cradle is a great miracle. The people of Maryam were astonished on hearing these words of wisdom from a baby in the cradle and this occasion proved to them that his birth was a miracle. All these miraculous incidents showed that the baby in the cradle was a messenger of Allah.
This is the relief Allah provided Maryam in return for the trust she placed in Him. By showing such an astounding miracle, she responded to the slanders against her. Yet, Allah informs us that a grievous disaster awaited those who did not dismiss their bad thoughts about Maryam despite this miracle:
And on account of their disbelief and their utterance of a monstrous slander against Maryam. (Surat an-Nisa: 156)
Miracles of Jesus (as)
Jesus (as) performed many other miracles, by the permission of Allah, other than his virgin birth and his declaration of his prophet-hood as a new born child in the cradle. In fact, these two miracles are sufficient to reveal the extraordinary nature of Jesus (as). After all, only a miracle could make a new-born child speak so rationally and with faith:
Remember when Allah said: "Isa, son of Maryam, remember My blessing to You and to your mother when I reinforced you with the Purest Spirit so that you could speak to people in the cradle and when you were fully grown; and when I taught you the Book and Wisdom...." (Surat al-Maidah: 110)
In the Qur'an, the miracles of Jesus (as) are related thus:
As a Messenger to the tribe of Israel, saying: "I have brought you a Sign from your Lord. I will create the shape of a bird out of a clay for you and then breathe into it and it will be a bird by Allah's permission. I will heal the blind and the leper, and bring the dead to life, by Allah's permission. I will tell you what you eat and what you store up in your homes. There is a Sign for you in that if you are believers. (Surah Al Imran: 49)
Despite all the extraordinary events related so far, some people arrogantly rejected the miracles of Jesus (as) and said they were all magic.
Jesus (as) Communicates the Message, and Some of the Difficulties He Faced
At the time Jesus (as) was sent, the people of Israel were in complete turmoil, both in the political and the economic sense. On one hand, there were the cruel conditions inflicted on the public and, on the other, dissenting beliefs and sects made life difficult. Under such conditions, people desperately needed a way out.
The Messiah people waited for so long was Jesus (as). By the will of Allah, Jesus (as) spoke when he was still in the cradle and thus indicated to people that the Messiah they expected had arrived. From then on, many placed their hopes in him for guidance.
Yet, there were also some people who avoided accepting Jesus (as). Supporters of the system of disbelief of his time, especially, considered him merely a threat to their existence. That is why they made plans to kill him as soon as they heard about him. To their dismay, however, their plans were doomed to failure from the beginning. Still, this did not stop them being avowed enemies of Jesus (as) throughout his mission.
Nevertheless, those who reacted against him were not limited to disbelievers. During that period, for various reasons, a majority of the rabbis took sides against Jesus (as) asserting that he was abolishing their religion, and of course by that they became disbelievers because of their opposition to a Messenger of Allah. What Jesus (as) did, in reality, was only to summon people to the original way, and eliminate the false rules introduced into Judaism by the rabbis themselves. The people of Israel distorted their religion by prohibiting what was allowed by the original revelation and allowing what was prohibited by it. In this way, they changed the true way revealed by Allah entirely. Upon this, Allah sent Jesus (as) to purify the true religion of all the innovations incorporated into it at a later stage. Jesus (as) called his people to the Injil (bible), which confirmed the original Torah (Tawrah) revealed to Musa (as). The relevant verse in the Qur'an is:
I come confirming the Torah I find already there, and to make lawful for you some of what was previously forbidden to you. So have fear of Allah and obey me. (Surah Al Imran: 50)
In another verse Allah informs us that the Injil revealed to Jesus (as) was a guide to the true path for the believers and to help them discern between good and evil. It was also a book that confirmed the Torah:
And we sent Isa son of Maryam following in their footsteps, confirming the Torah that came before him. We gave him the Injil containing guidance and light, confirming the Torah that came before it, and as guidance and admonition for those who have fear." (Surat al-Maidah: 46)
The prominent people among the Children of Israel, concerned more about the rules which had become tradition, doubted what Jesus (as) had brought. That was simply because Jesus (as) did not stress the, by then, traditional rules but rather summoned people to devotion to Allah, renunciation of the world, sincerity, brotherhood and honesty. Encountering a different understanding of religion, the Jews were frustrated by what Jesus (as) advised. In the Qur'an, Allah gives an account of how Jesus (as) communicated the commands of Allah:
And when Isa came with the Clear Signs, he said, "I have come to you with Wisdom and to clarify for you some of the things about which you have differed. Therefore have taqwa of (heed) Allah and obey me. Allah is my Lord and your Lord so worship Him. This is a straight path." The various factions among them differed. Woe then to those who did wrong on account of the punishment of a painful Day! (Surat az-Zukhruf: 63-65)
The sincerity and different attitude of Jesus (as) attracted peoples attention. The number of his adherents steadily increased.
The Jews Claim They Killed Jesus (as)
No doubt, everyone is familiar with the allegation that the Romans crucified Jesus (as). As the allegation goes, the Romans and the Jewish rabbis arrested Jesus (as) and crucified him. Indeed, the whole Christian world embraces the belief that Jesus (as) died but then came to life again and ascended to heaven. However, when we refer to the Qur'an, we see that what really happened is not as believed:
And (on account of) their saying, "We killed the Messiah, Isa son of Maryam, Messenger of Allah." They did not kill him and they did not crucify him but it was made to seem so to them. Those who argue about him are in doubt about it. They have no real knowledge of it, just conjecture. But they certainly did not kill him. Allah raised him up to Himself. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise. (Surat an-Nisa': 157-158)
The fact the Qur'an reveals to us is obvious. The attempts of the Romans, provoked by the Jews to murder Jesus (as), proved unsuccessful. The expression quoted from the above verse " but it was made to seem so to them" explains the real nature of this event. Jesus (as) was not murdered but he was raised up to Allah's presence. Furthermore, Allah draws our attention to the fact that those making this claim know nothing about the truth. Again in another verse, Allah said He, Himself, would take Jesus (as) back and He would raise him up to Him.
When Allah said, "Isa, I will take you back and raise you up to Me and purify you of those who are disbelievers. And I will place the people who follow you above those who are disbelievers until the Day of Rising. Then you will all return to Me, and I will judge between you regarding the things about which you differed." (Surah Al Imran: 55)
We will analyze the actual meaning of the word "take back" in the next chapter. Other important pieces of evidence the Qur'an provides on this subject are the general expressions used for the death of other prophets. The expressions used for the death or killing of prophets in the Qur'an are very clear. For instance in Surat an-Nisa 155 there is an explicit example. The verse follows: "Because of the fact that they broke their covenant, and rejected Allah's signs, and killed the Prophets without any right to do so and said, Our hearts are uncircumcised, Allah has stamped them with disbelief, " The expression used for Jesus (as) in the Qur'an is very clear: "They did not kill him and they did not crucify him but it was made to seem so to them." This statement stresses that Jesus (as) was not killed, no matter which method was employed for this end.
By Harun Yahya