The birth of Isa ʿAlayhi s-Salām (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ): My vision of Jesus

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Except for the Prophet of Islam, there is no other prophet like Jesus, He is really a special one. I had a fascination with this man introduced to me by the Islamic teachings instead of the television or the people of Christian faith living next door.

Born in seclusion, he has no father and an Angel guarded on his mother and later watched over him. In Islamic history, he is born without a father and his mother became pregnant after Allah ordered an Angel to deliver a spark of his spirit to the mother.

This is an extraordinary story. But Jesus is even more stunning in his stature. 

Only a few days old, Jesus or Isa (Alayhi s-Salām) in Arabic defended his mother’s virtue. Ordered to bring the child into the public eye the commoners mistreated the mother of Isa, Maryam (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ).

This is when Allah ordered the baby Jesus, tucked in the cradle, to speak.

And speak he did, telling the crowd who he was and how he was conceived without a man touching his mother.

The story becomes even more extraordinary with time. As a grownup, he has only a brief period to bring God’s message to the people of Jerusalem.

The three years of prophethood was intense, rigged with the political play of the Israelites and the Romans and this lead to a distortion of his message. Remember, I am telling the story according to the Islamic writings.

THE MUSLIM PROPHET

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Hence, in Islam, Jesus or Isa is a Muslim prophet. His fabulous story is even more fascinating. I see him as a high personality and with the same level of greatness with Moses or Musa (Alayhi Salaam) in Arabic or Abraham (Alayhi s-Salām ).

To begin with, the Muslims believe Jesus is a prophet, and he preceded the Prophet of Islam who is the last prophet. That is to say, the coming of Jesus was the sign that the last prophet will soon appear and there will be no other prophet between Jesus and Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

Since the coming of Isa, there is no other prophet mentioned in any other Middle Eastern religion, except for the Prophet of Islam.

The Quran refers to Isa, the son of Maryam (peace be upon her), by name in 25 different verses and six times with the title of “Messiah”.

There are 303 stories, sayings and traditions of Jesus that Muslim literature mentions. They are from the earliest centuries of Islamic history. They kept the love for Jesus among the Muslim world alive. They still do.

This is the Islamic belief. And Islam says there are 124,000 prophets – a figure that includes all the Jewish prophets of the Old Testament.

The place of Jesus in Islam is huge. Yet, he is also a follower of Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him. In Islam, all the other prophets are followers of Muhammad (SAW).

In the rank and file of Prophets, it appears Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him) comes second to the Prophet of Islam.

He is the precursor to the Prophet of Islam because after him there is only Muhammad (SAW) and after Muhammad (SAW), there is the return of Isa.

DAJJAL: MYTHICAL OR FACTUAL?

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At the end of days, Isa will reappear to end the reign of the Dajjal. This is another popular belief among Muslims and surely among Christians and Jews. 

There is no need to dispute these beliefs. For those who see the return of Jesus as a non-event or Dajjal as a virus or a psychological and imaginary affair, they are free to do so.

But they should not dispute those who believe Dajjal will be in the form of a human being with one eye and he will take over the globe to spread the message of Satan.

I mean, what is wrong with this theory? Will it be surprising to see a man in a suit with a patch on one eye ruling the world?

Whether he is a politician, or he has a band and he writes or sings the greatest songs with the weirdest musical beats ever, is incredible.

Now, if he is only an imagination, a theory used by a corporation to advance their conquest of the globe, well it will be a Dajjal too. And that corporation will also have a leader. And that leader can be blind in one eye, that is with blind faith in Satan. It’s pure ‘Theoria’.

For those who need a refreshed understanding of Isa and his role as a Muslim prophet, read this book, The Muslim Jesus, written by a former Cambridge professor of Arabic and Islamic studies, Tarif Khalidi. It is available on Amazon.

Tarif Khalidi is Sheikh Zayed Chair in Islamic and Arabic Studies at the American University of Beirut. He is the author of many books, including Classical Arab Islam: The Culture and Heritage of the Golden Age and Arabic Historical Thought in the Classical Period. Check him out.

In my mind, the vision of Jesus has not changed over the years. He is the superhero who can get thousands of fish out of a bucket and who raise the dead with simple recitations of the names of Allah.

How can we ignore him?

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In the mindset of the Muslims, the vision of Jesus is still intact. And he is a different Jesus from the Christian mindset or Jewish mindset.

While the Christians revere him, the Muslims love him. Personally, I love him so much that I had a vision of his mother visiting me.

Isa is a tradition, a tradition of love and greatness in Islam, characterized as a humble and submissive human being to his Lord, Allah.

The difference between the Muslim and Christian thought on Jesus is that in Islam, he is not divine. He is not the trinity and not the son of God.

In Islam, God cannot bear children the same way that God cannot be born and God will never die. Because He is eternal and ever living. Hence, Jesus cannot be his son.

BABY JESUS SPEAKS OUT!

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The Islamic belief fills the life of Jesus from the conception to the elevation from the earth with miracles. In 2020, it is good to ponder on these miracles as a reminder of the greater unfathomable powers that we do not comprehend.

To me, the most significant moment in the coming of Jesus is the fact that as a baby, he could speak.

This is a miracle of Prophet Isa and it was a gift to him to spread the message of Allah and to protect his mother from a confused and disturbed society.

When the people came to Maryam (peace be upon her) and accused her of being unchaste, she remained silent and pointed to the baby. 

At that point, Allah gave the power of speech to Prophet Isa. He spoke and introduced himself to everyone and mentioned some of his qualities. 

This established proof that he was not like any other babies. His speaking ability as a baby raised his mother’s status, and it crushed the accusations against her.

Read the story in the 19th chapter of the Holy Qur’an. If you can’t read in Arabic, here is the English version.

  • (19:28) O sister of Aaron!19 Your father was not an evil man, nor was your mother an unchaste woman.”
  • (19:29) Thereupon Mary pointed to the child. They exclaimed: “How can we speak to one is in the cradle, a mere child?”
  • (19:30) The child cried out: “Verily I am Allah’s servant. He has granted me the Book and has made me a Prophet.
  • (19:31) and has blessed me wherever I might be and has enjoined upon me Prayer and Zakah (purifying alms) as long as I live;
  • (19:32) and has made me dutiful to my mother.20a He has not made me oppressive, nor bereft of God’s blessings.
  • (19:33) Peace be upon me the day I was born and the day I will die, and the day I will be raised up alive.”

It was upsetting for the people that Maryam brought a child with her. Believing she gave birth while unmarried, they were scornful.

And the child spoke to them. I cannot imagine the shock and awe of that moment. But just try to figure out if someone is carrying a baby, and the baby is talking to you?

(Ayat 46 of Surah Aal-Imran) and (Ayat 110 of Surah Al-Maidah) also support the view that Prophet Jesus had uttered the words as a baby in the cradle and not when grown up. 

In the first verse, the angel while giving the good news of a son to Mary, says: He will speak to the people alike when in the cradle and when grown-up. 

In the other verse, Allah Himself says to Prophet Jesus: You talked to the people even in the cradle as you talked when you were grown up.

And that is the greatest moment in the exciting but tumultuous life of Jesus.

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