The birth of Jesus was more than the account of one more human being born into this world, but its significance was felt around the world and continues to affect the lives of people everywhere till the end of time. The birth of Jesus was God’s sign to people and a mercy to mankind. Interestingly, Jesus is the only one of the prophets mentioned in the Quran who is said to have had a virgin birth.
The miracle of Jesus’ creation
Islam believes in the virgin birth of Jesus. The term virgin birth refers to the virginal conception of Jesus; that is, the belief that Jesus was conceived in Mary by a miraculous work of God the Almighty, without the agency of a human father. The birth and the creation of Jesus was a supernatural event and involved a special kind of birth.
Now let’s make a comparison between the Quranic and the Biblical languages about the virgin birth of Jesus:
The Quran describes that the angel appeared to Mary to announce to her that God has chosen her above the women of the worlds as stated:
“And [mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds.” [Quran.com/3/42].
The angels come to announce to her the gift and the birth of the “Word of God”.
“[And mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah].” [Quran.com/3/45].
Mary was astonished at the news. Both the Quran and the Bible talk about her astonishment and her asking of how that could happen, but the answers of angels in the Quran and the Bible are totally different!
The Quran states Mary’s reaction to the angel’s announcement of the virgin birth of her son:
She said, “My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?”
[The angel] said,
“Such is Allah; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” [Quran /3/46-47].
The Biblical story of Mary’s reaction
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” [Luke 1:34-35]
Now let’s have some insight into both answers
On the face of it, the answers appear to be the same, but if we compare closely between the biblical and the Quranic languages, we will find that there is such a huge difference between what the Quran and the Bible are saying. When Mary asked how this will be as she is a virgin and no man has touched her, in the Quran, the angel says,
“Such is Allah; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” [Quran /3/47].
On the contrary, in the Bible, the angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” [Luke 1:34-35]
Certainly, there is no suggestion in the Quranic language that Jesus was conceived through any physical relation with Mary. But in the Bible, the language is so different. The language used in the Bible and the use of words such as “The Holy spirit will come upon you” and “overshadow you” can give a chance to any atheist or agnostic to ask: “How did that happen? Like a man doing to his wife?”
In Islam, the approach of Jesus’ birth is totally clear and the Quran makes it so evident. If God wants to create millions of Jesus without a human father or even without a father or a mother,
“He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” [Quran /3/47].
The first man, Adam, for example, also came miraculously from the hand of God. He had neither a father nor a mother; there was no conception. But Adam was not God or a son of God.
So we see that there are differences between the person of Jesus and his birth as painted in the Quran and the Bible. But there are huge similarities too! Here are some examples:
- Both affirm that an angel visited Mary.
- Both indicate that Mary was chosen and purified among the women of the worlds.
- Both affirm the fact of the virgin birth of Jesus without a human father.
- The titles of the Christ in the Quran and those in the Bible are quite similar. Jesus is called in The Quran “His word” in [Quran /4/171], meaning the Word of God a similar claim to Jesus describing himself: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” [John 5:24]
- Similarly, the Qur’an calls Jesus “the servant of Allah” [Quran/19/30]. The servant of God was one of Jesus’ favorite terms for himself and he clearly taught that he was the person talked about in the prophet Isaiah’s “Servant Songs” written many centuries before.
So we see that there are similarities between the person of Jesus as painted in the Qur’an and the Bible, but there are huge differences too.
God performs supernatural acts or signs to show us that He is the only ONE Creator who deserves worship. He is the one who has unlimited power. He creates what He wants, the way He wants. Adam, Abraham, Jesus, and Muhammad are all His prophets and servants. Islam has declared that the God of the religion of Jews and Christians and Muslims is one and the same. All these signs and miracles of Jesus, peace and blessing be upon him, are made to guide us to the path of God. There is no “purpose” to all of these but to straighten out the way in the name of God, to serve God and worship Him alone.
– But Wasn’t Jesus a Muslim? (n.d.). Retrieved January 26, 2017, from http://www.debate.org.uk/debate-topics/theological/jes-musl/
– 3. (2014, December 01). كيف خُلق المسيح عيسى ابن مريم – أحمد ديدات ! Retrieved January 26, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK4hLvIkAGI