SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Greetings to the Messiah, the Sign of God and the Harbinger of peace and justice; Greetings to the Messiah, the Fresh Flower of the Virgin Mary; Greetings to the Messiah who brought the message of kindness to mankind. He came and he breathed the divine light of glad tidings into the motionless corpse of human societies.
The Messiah came and his advent heralded the spirit of fraternity and intimacy amongst mankind. He was very kind towards the orphans and the poor, to the extent that the rich and wicked considered his message as merely for the inferior and downcast members of the society. We congratulate all monotheists on the occasion of Christmas, which has come to be marked as the birthday of this Prophet of God, the Messenger of peace and friendship and the Reviver of the pure and pristine spirit – although Jesus (PBUH) was not actually born on this day. He did not fall into the pitfall of selfishness while guiding people towards salvation. He spread the message of monotheism and established an eternal and sacred heritage for mankind. His mission was promotion of peace, which in his native language Hebrew means 'Shalom' and in Arabic means Islam. He gave tidings to the Israelites of the coming of the Last and Greatest of Divine Messengers, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) – a fact mentioned in the Gospels of St. John and St. Barnabas, and which the holy Qur'an corroborates in ayah 6 of Surah Saff, where the Hmda of the Evangel, or the Paraclete of Greek translation of the Bible, is called Ahmad or the Highly Praiseworthy One. Islamic Iran salutes Jesus since, as mentioned in the Gospel of St. Mathew, it is the land from where the Magi or the Wise Men had come to Bethlehem in Palestine to pay homage to the Virgin-Born, by following a bright comet in the sky. Interestingly, Iran is the land where some two millenniums after Jesus, the Islamic Republic system of government was founded on the basis of the monotheistic message of the Messiah and of all other Prophets of God, by the person who was named Ruhollah or Spirit of God, in honour of the Son of Mary.
So let us recall here what the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Seyyed Ruhollah Khomeini (may his soul rest in peace), had once said in a message on the eve of the new Gregorian Calendar Year: "Peace and blessings of God be upon Jesus, Son of Mary, the Spirit of God and a Great Prophet who – by God's command – used to revive the dead, and who awakened sleeping consciences. Peace and blessings on his immaculate mother, the Virgin Mary, the Truthful, the Chaste Lady, who when infused by divine breath, gave such an impeccable son to those thirsty for the mercy of God. Greetings to the pious monks and hermits who by promoting the teachings of Jesus the Messiah, invite the turbulent towards peace and tranquility; Greetings to the conscientious followers of the Messiah who adhere to the heavenly teachings of Jesus. The Virgin Mary is among those Chosen Ladies, whose greatness and excellence has been confirmed by God Almighty, Who has made her immune from every kind of uncleanness. She is the Lady whose lap was worthy of nurturing one of the greatest Prophets of God. Without a doubt she is the possessor of many merits and excellences. Her position is so exalted that the angels of God used to speak with her. She would see them and they would inform her of her lofty position in the Divine Court."
The Holy Qur'an in Surah Nisa' refers to Mary's giving birth and vouches her purity and immunity from any sin and malicious accusation. In ayah 42 of Surah Ale-Imran the Holy Qur'an introduces her as one of the Chosen Ladies of the world. Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) has called the Virgin Mary as one of the four sublime women of the world, saying: "The Noblest Ladies of the world are Mary the daughter of Imran, Hazrat Khadijah (the Prophet's Loyal Wife), Hazrat Fatemah Zahra (the Prophet's Infallible Daughter), and Asiyah (the wife of Pharaoh)."
The event of the birth of Jesus is one of the great miracles of Allah. Mary was a serene, chaste and virtuous woman and followed the instructions of Allah. One day when she was alone the Archangel Gabriel came to her and gave her the glad tidings of having a baby. This event has been explained in the Holy Qur'an and also in some versions of the Gospel. Allah the most High says in the Holy Qur'an in ayahs 16 to 18 of Surah Marium:
"And mention in the Book Mary, when she withdrew from her family to an easterly place;
“Thus did she seclude herself from them, whereupon We sent to her Our Spirit and he became incarnate for her as a well-proportioned human.
“She said, ‘I seek the protection of the All-Beneficent from you, should you be Godwary!’”
The birth of Jesus without a father, that is, without her Virgin Mother being associated with any male, is indeed a divine miracle, and sign of wisdom of the Almighty Creator, Who is the originator of all and everything, including the laws of nature, which man despite his progress cannot transgress or transform. His miraculous birth caused confusion in minds that failed to understand Divine Power and Prudence. As a result, while some thought his virgin-birth to be a sign of his divinity, others like the Jews who opposed him, tried to slander his chaste and pure mother. These people fail to understand that it is not difficult for Allah to do anything he wants. He can create a child with both human parents, or through only one. No miracle is beyond His power. After all, He had created Adam and Eve from neither a man nor a woman. He created the rest of us from both man and woman. What is so hard if Allah decides to create a human being from a woman only? He only commands “Be” and it occurs. Some people think that since Jesus, peace be upon him, had no human father then God must be his father. The Qur’an rejects this absurd view. The position of Jesus with Allah is comparable to the position of Adam with Allah. Just because Adam had no human parent does not mean we should call him the Son of God. The Almighty rejecting both the allegations says in the holy Qur’an in ayahs 59 to 60 of Surah Aal-e Imran:
“Indeed the case of Jesus with Allah is like the case of Adam: He created him from dust, then said to him, ‘Be,’ and he was.
“This is the truth from your Lord, so do not be among the skeptics.”
Ayahs 27 to 35 of Surah Marium, which we now recite, also firmly refute any allegations regarding the Virgin Mary and the fact that Jesus, despite his miraculous birth, was a mere creature of God and a Prophet to guide the people:
“Then carrying him she brought him to her people. They said, ‘O Mary, you have certainly come up with an odd thing! O Sister of Aaron[’s lineage]! Your father was not an evil man, nor was your mother unchaste.’ Thereat she pointed to him. They said, ‘How can we speak to one who is yet a baby in the cradle?’ He said, ‘Indeed I am a servant of Allah! He has given me the Book and made me a prophet. He has made me blessed, wherever I may be, and He has enjoined me to [maintain] the prayer and to [pay] the zakāt as long as I live; And to be good to my mother, and He has not made me self-willed and wretched. Peace is to me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I am raised alive.’ That is Jesus, son of Mary, a Word of the Real concerning whom they are in doubt. It is not for Allah to take a son. Immaculate is He! When He decides on a matter, He just says to it, ‘Be!’ and it is."
The famous Islamic scholar Seyyed ibn Tawous, says: "When Prophet Jesus was born, a group of Wise Men came to Mary and said, ‘we study the stars and are astronomers; when your son came into the world we saw a star emerge on the horizon, and found out that his star is similar to those of the kingship of the Prophets that will not be taken away from him until God raises him to the sky…Thus, we have come from the east by following the star until we saw it over the head of your son. We have brought worthy presents for your son, such as gold, myrrh, and frankincense. Gold is the best element of the world and as long as your son is alive he is the best of mankind. Myrrh is a panacea for pains and your son would heal the pains. As for the frankincense, its fragrant smoke would rise towards the sky, and similarly would Jesus be taken towards the sky."
The Qur’an tells us a lot of wonderful things about Jesus. As a result, Muslims love Jesus, honour him, believe in him, and consider him one of the five great Prophets – the other four being Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and the last and greatest of them all, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). In fact, no Muslim can be a Muslim unless he or she believes in Jesus (PBUH). The Qur’an says he was sent for the guidance of the Israelites and to implement justice, equity, fraternity, and moral values in society. There is a Surah titled “Marium” in the honour of the Messiah’s Virgin mother, Mary (peace upon her). The Qur’an says that Jesus spoke while still a baby in the cradle, and that he healed the blind and the leper by God’s leave, and that he raised the dead by God’s leave.
The Almighty admonishes those who entertain the absurd belief that Jesus was son of God, and the holy Qur’an cites quotations from the Messiah that he never claimed to be such a thing, which is certainly blasphemy. The fact is that the pure monotheistic teachings of Jesus were distorted by faithless people. The concept of Trinity is also denounced as sacrilegious by the holy Qur’an, as is evident by ayahs 88 to 93 of Surah Marium.
“They say, ‘The All-Beneficent has taken a son!’You have certainly advanced something hideous! The heavens are about to be rent apart at it, the earth to split open, and the mountains to collapse into bits. It does not behoove the All-Beneficent to take a son. There is none in the heavens and the earth but he comes to the All-beneficent as a servant.”
In Surah Ma'edah, ayahs 72 and 73, God also tells us:
“They are certainly faithless who say, ‘Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary.’ But the Messiah had said, ‘O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Indeed whoever ascribes partners to Allah, Allah shall forbid him [entry into] paradise, and his refuge shall be the Fire, and the wrongdoers will not have any helpers.’ They are certainly faithless who say, ‘Allah is the third [person] of a trinity,’ while there is no god except the One God. If they do not relinquish what they say, there shall befall the faithless among them a painful punishment.”
The Qur’an goes on to say that on the Day of Judgement God will ask Jesus whether he claimed to be a son of God, and Jesus will say he never said such a blasphemous thing. Here we produce ayahs 116 and 117 of Surah Ma'edah in this regard:
“And when Allah will say, ‘O Jesus son of Mary! Was it you who said to the people, ‘‘Take me and my mother for gods besides Allah’’?’ He will say, ‘Immaculate are You! It does not behoove me to say what I have no right to [say]. Had I said it, You would certainly have known it: You know whatever is in my self, and I do not know what is in Your Self. Indeed You are knower of all that is Unseen.
“I did not say to them [anything] except what You had commanded me [to say]: ‘‘Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.’’ And I was a witness to them so long as I was among them. But when You had taken me away, You Yourself were watchful over them, and You are witness to all things.”
In Surah Nisa, ayahs 171 to 172, God Almighty informs us:
“O People of the Book! Do not exceed the bounds in your religion, and do not attribute anything to Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a Prophet of Allah, and His Word that He cast toward Mary and a spirit from Him. So have faith in Allah and His prophets, and do not say, ‘[God is] a trinity.’ Relinquish [such a creed]! That is better for you. Allah is but the One God. He is far too immaculate to have any son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth, and Allah suffices as trustee. The Messiah would never disdain being a servant of Allah, nor would the angels brought near [to Him]. And whoever disdains His worship and is arrogant, He will gather them all toward Him.”
The holy Qur’an has indeed preserved the gist of the pure monotheistic message of Jesus, including the prophecy about the coming of the Last and Greatest of all Divine Messenger, that is, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), whose name he mentioned in his native Hebrew as Hmda or the Praiseworthy One, and which in Arabic means “Ahmad”. As a matter of fact this prophecy is still found in the version of the Gospel according to St. John, where the future Prophet has been named in the Greek translation as “Paraclete”, while King James’ English translation has used the word “Comforter”. In ayah 61 of Surah Saff of the holy Qur'an, this is confirmed with the words:
“And when Jesus son of Mary said, ‘O Children of Israel! Indeed I am the Prophet of Allah to you, to confirm what is before me of the Torah, and to give the good news of an apostle who will come after me, whose name is Ahmad.’”
The Qur’an also refutes the claim that Jesus was crucified, and calls it sheer distortion. Jesus, who was thirty years of age, when by Divine Commandment he was lifted to the heavens to be safe from the plots of the Israelites, strove for peace, fraternity, justice, and moral values in society. This is proven by ayahs 157 to 159 of Surah Nisa, which says:
“And for their saying, ‘We killed the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the apostle of Allah’ —though they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but so it was made to appear to them. Indeed those who differ concerning him are surely in doubt about him: they do not have any knowledge of that beyond following conjectures, and certainly they did not kill him.
“Rather Allah raised him up toward Himself, and Allah is all-mighty, all-wise. There is none among the People of the Book but will surely believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them.”- www.shfaqna.com/English