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Christmas is not a Muslim holiday, therefore, Muslim countries do not celebrate it. Muslims in the United States often request that their children not attend Christmas functions at school because the belief of Jesus, peace be upon him, being the son of God runs directly against the core Muslim belief.
However, in a world where Muslims and Christians both are present, how should Muslims react? The Prophet of God, peace and blessings be upon him, was faced with this question when he established the first peace sanctuary of Madinah, where the majority of the people were not Muslims. Here is what he said about the Christians of Najran (Yaman):
“Najran has the protection of God and the pledges of Muhammad, the Prophet, to protect their (the Christians’) lives, faith, land, property, those who are absent and those who are present, and their clan and allies. They need not change anything of their past customs. No right of theirs or their religion shall be altered. No church leader, monk or church guard shall be removed from his position.”
It was this historical commitment towards people of other faiths that formed the ideals of Islam regarding other faith groups in their midst, whether they were Christian, Jews, Sun worshipers, or Hindus. The Prophet even allowed a Christian delegation to celebrate their religious services in the very Mosque of the Prophet according to classic historians Ibn Hisham and Ibn Sa’d.
In the current context of American aggression in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it has been difficult for Muslim minorities in the US and for Christian minorities in the Muslim world.
Here are some things which Muslims can do in Muslim countries to help Christian minorities enjoy their holidays in the best possible manner:
Give Christian employees an extended holiday break:
Muslim businesses can extend a day off to Christian workers on Christmas day at least, if not longer. Just as some Muslims in the US have successfully gotten days off from work and school on Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha, Christians in Muslim countries should get the same on their holidays. Many Muslim countries, like Pakistan, already do this.
Reassuring Christian Neighbors:
In countries where there has been recent conflict between Christians and Muslims, for example, in Nigeria and Indonesia, the Muslim leadership can take measures in their communities to make the Christian minority feel more comfortable in their days of happiness.
A gesture of neighborly duty:
Although security is a government matter, and in many Muslim countries governments are providing extra police to churches, it will be a good gesture on the part of Muslim neighbors to offer their time to volunteer for the security of churches during Christmas time. This is especially important in places like Iraq and Pakistan, where, since the American bombing and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, churches have been targets of terrorism.
Muslim and Christian minorities in India:
In India, where Muslims and Christians are both minorities, Christians have been vocal in supporting the Muslim community during the horrific murders and crimes against the community in the state of Gujurat in 2002. This Christmas, a large number of Indian churches will be fearful about the ongoing compaigns of Hindu militants and self-professed fascists in that part of India. It is critical that Muslims in India support Christians during their holiday season.
Historically, when Muslims have held state power, they have, for the most part, worked hard to protect the rights of non-Muslims in their midst, from idol-worshipping Hindus, to fire-worshipping Zorastrians. Christians, who are described in the Quran as “People of the Book”, hold a special place as a faith community from the Abrahamic tradition. Protecting religious freedom has not been the Muslim state’s tactic of appeasement. Rather, it is an order from God, and a practice of our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, who once said, “Whoever hurts a non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim society hurts me.”
It is critical for Muslims to remember that a person is not considered a Muslim unless they believe in Jesus (Islamic and Christian View of Jesus). This love for this noble Prophet ties us to the Christian community in a special way.
Although the history of relations between Muslims and Christians has not always been good, it is important to remember that Muslims always stood for a society where the rights of all individuals are not only tolerated, but respected and protected.
By Sound Vision Staff Writer
There were great times and there were the bad ones.
Tolerance, respect and cooperation some times. Murder, intolerance and hostility on other occasions.
These have been some of the defining features of Muslim-Christian relations throughout history. Here are some examples of the good and the bad.
First the good memories:
1. Habasha and the Negus
It was a Christian king in a predominantly Christian land who gave the small, persecuted community of early Muslims in the beginning of the Prophet Muhammad’s mission protection. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the Prophet.
The Muslims sought refuge in Habasha, modern day Ethiopia, after suffering starvation and torture at the hands of the polytheistic Makkans. The Prophet Muhammad said about the Negus and Habasha: “a king rules without injustice, a land of truthfulness.”
Muslims were welcomed, protected and lived in peace with the Christians of Habasha. But this did not sit well with the Makkans, who did not want to see them leave Makkah or want the message of Islam to flourish in peace.They spent special envoys with gifts and lies about the Muslims to convince the Negus to send the Muslims back to Makkah. They told the Negus that this “new” faith took pride in insulting not just ancestral Makkan beliefs, but the beliefs of Christians as well.
Another king may have simply taken their word and automatically kicked the Muslims out. The Negus did not. He ordered that the leader of the Muslim community come to his court and explain Islam’s position.
Enter Jafar ibn Abu Talib, early Muslim refugee to Habasha, and cousin of the Prophet.
Not only did he eloquently explain the message of Islam and the persecution of those who accepted this truthful message. He also recited the opening verses of Surah 19 of the Quran, Surah Maryam or Mary, after the Negus asked him to recite part of Quran.
King Negus listened to the recitation of the Quran in focused attention. He cried as he listened, so much so that his beard got wet. When Jafar completed the recitation, Negus said, ‘Surely this Revelation and the Revelation of Jesus were from the same Source.’ Then to the two Makkan ambassadors, he said, ‘By God, I will not hand over these persons to you.’
But the story does not end here. The Makkans would not give up so easily. They asked the king to find out what the Muslims’ view of Jesus and his Divinity were, knowing of course, the difference in the Christian and Muslim positions regarding Jesus.
Again, Jafar responded, with no compromise of principles, just the simple, clear Truth:
‘He (Jesus) is God’s servant and Messenger; a spirit and a word from God that He bestowed on the Virgin Mary.’
Upon hearing this, Negus picked up a straw from the ground and said:
‘By God, Jesus was not even as much as one straw more than what you have said about him.’
He returned the gifts of the Quraysh. Negus told them he was not used to taking bribes and the Muslims would remain under his protection.
This was an early victory for positive Muslim-Christian relations.
2. Umar ibn al-Khattab and Jerusalem
Jerusalem and its surrounding territory were and remain holy to Muslims, Christians and Jews. It was during the Caliphate of Omar ibn al-Khattab that Muslims first gained leadership of this territory. May Allah be pleased with Omar.
The Muslim reaction to this victory is something to remember.
Omar entered Jerusalem in humility. He walked in with not he, the Caliph, but his servant comfortably riding on a camel. They had been taking turns walking and riding.
At one point in Jerusalem, the Christians asked him to pray in their church but he declined. He said he was afraid that in the future Muslims could use this as an excuse to take over the Church to build a Masjid.
The Christians gave the key of the Church of Resurrection to Muslims to be responsible for its safety. This key is still with the Muslims today as a sign and symbol of the mutual trust.
3. Saladin (Salah el Deen Ayyubi) and the Crusades
It was in response to the horrific oppression in Jerusalem at the hands of the Crusaders in the 11th century and the need to free the area of their control that Sultan Salah el Deen Ayyubi (Saladin) liberated Jerusalem from them in 1187.
His arrival brought relief for the local Christian population, who helped him, after the oppression they suffered at the hands of their co-religionists, the Crusaders.
Not only did Saladin treat the Crusaders with kindness, he ensured that Muslims and non-Muslims lived in peace and harmony with each other.
One particular story about him recounts that some Muslim soldiers were besieging a Christian fortress. Many Christians were seeking shelter inside, including a young couple who was planning to get married, but whose plans had been stopped by the fighting. They decided to get married anyway, even though they were trapped inside the castle.
Saladin was in charge of the Muslim troops at this time. When he heard about the wedding, he ordered his soldiers not to attack the castle where the couple was staying, so that they could enjoy peace and quiet. In return for this respect, the bride’s mother sent out trays of food for Saladin and the Muslim army to share in the wedding celebrations.
Indeed the longest period of peace and justice for all in Jerusalem has been the period when Muslims were in control.
Now the bad news
1. The Crusades
During the Crusades (1095 until 1291) European Christians attacked and occupied this Holy land. They oppressed the Muslims, the local Christians and the Jews. These Crusaders killed over 200,000 innocent civilians.
The aim: to wrest control of Jerusalem from the Muslims. This was not only a period of bloodshed, hostility and violence. It was also the beginning of collective Western stereotypes of Islam and Muslims, according to some scholars.
The Crusades ended centuries ago. But today, the remnants of those stereotypes have taken on new meaning. Muslims are still bloodthirsty, violent savages by most of the mainstream media’s standard. The propagation of these views on the collective level through the media has affected Muslims globally and locally. Muslims in America, while living peacefully with Christians and other religious groups, are still subject to discrimination in varying degrees, and physical violence and harassment in the worst cases.
While the Crusades were bad news for Muslims and even local Christians living alongside them, one significant outcome of this contact between Muslims and Western Christians was the passage of knowledge from one to the other.
Christians, through the Muslims, were able to access texts like those of Aristotle, for instance. The Muslims clearly passed on an intellectual heritage, which a number of scholars say laid the foundations for the modern Christian West. For more discussion of this, please see the book ” Islam and the Discovery of Freedom by Rose Wilder Lane.
2. Muslim Spain versus Christian Spain
Many Muslims look back at Muslim Spain with pride. But Jews also call it their “golden era”.
Spain became part of the Islamic world at the beginning of the eighth century. Under Muslims, Spain became the center of civilization. Although many local Spaniards embraced Islam, Christians and Jews were free in all aspects of their lives. The Muslims respected their religion and institutions. The result was the birth of the first true cosmopolitan culture in the West.
Christians studied alongside Muslim scholars to such a degree that in 854, a Christian named Alvaro of Cordoba complained that these students were forgetting their own religion and culture.
The Muslims and Christians of Spain did not live in their ghettos, isolated and not cooperating in various aspects of daily life together.
It was in Spain that Aristotle’s works on physics and natural history were translated into Arabic from Greek. Historians generally acknowledge that the Muslim world proved to be a major conduit of ancient scholarship into the West, especially through Muslim Spain.
It wasn’t just Muslims and Christians who thrived in Spain, though. Jews, who were reviled and hated elsewhere, were not only living safely and peacefully alongside non-Jews in Muslim Spain, they were learning and contributing to its culture and knowledge which Muslim scholars had established.
But this success in wealth, knowledge and co-existence came to end in a violent and very sad way.
As Christian Crusaders of Spain expelled Muslims, civilization that took centuries to build was destroyed. Muslims and Jews were either expelled or forced to convert to Christianity. Millions died as tolerance was replaced by the Spanish Inquisition. A suspected Muslim was to be killed for the smallest act resembling Islamic tradition – such as taking a bath on Friday.
3. European colonialism (1500s to the early 20th century)
European colonialism was such a powerful force that by 1900, 90.4 percent of Africa was under European or American colonial control. This was a political and economic phenomenon that began in the 1500s. Various European nations “discovered”, conquered, and exploited large areas of the world.
In a quest for silk, spices and world domination, European explorers, like Christopher Columbus set out to sea. He ended up in North America. The result: the slaughter and destruction of millions of Natives and the usurpation of their land by Europeans.
In Muslim lands, colonialists wreaked havoc, supplanting Islamic educational systems with secular or Christianity-focused ones, and murdering and/or enslaving the natives of Africa, South Asia and the Middle East, for example.
They also acculturated the “savage” natives to the “refined” customs of Europe. In the Indian subcontinent today, the term “Brown Sahib” is used to refer to a native who is mentally colonized by the West. There are similar stock characters in other Muslim cultures.
4. Armenia-slaughter at the hands of Muslims, early 20th century
The predominantly Christian Armenians consider the greatest disaster in their history to be their murder and deportation from Turkey during World War I.
In 1915 as Turkish Armenians aligned with the pro-Christian Tsarist Russian enemy, the Turkish army reacted strongly against this betrayal. Although, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, statistics are disputed regarding the Armenian population in Ottoman Anatolia at the outbreak of World War I and the number of Armenians killed during this deportation, a large number of Armenians died during this civil war.
Those Turkish Armenians who survived migrated to places like predominantly Muslim Lebanon and Syria, as well as Russia, France, and the United States.
5. Current relations between the Muslims and Christians
Today 70% of all refugees in the world are Muslims. To Muslims, many of these refugees and other conflicts are a result of their powerlessness.
Muslims feel culturally enslaved, in many ways to the predominantly Christian West. The United States, with the new geopolitical reality of uni-polar world, continues to dictate policies to smaller nations of the world.
This new form of colonialism is done with the help of local lackeys in Muslim countries who take their orders about how their countries should be run from Washington, D.C. as opposed to locally.
On a larger level, British, French, American and Russian colonial powers (all Western, and all predominantly Christian) also control Muslim and other Third World countries through international institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Security Council of the United Nations.
This excessive power over the lives of millions is perceived by a number of Muslims as the continuing perpetuation of the colonial era. For most Muslims, colonialism is not about the spread of “refined European civilization”. It is about massacre, slaver, and weakness. It is nothing to proudly look back upon.
The fight against tobacco
One example of modern American colonialism can be found in the fight against tobacco in the United States.
In the last eight years, the US tobacco industry has lost business because of public health awareness campaigns against smoking. But in the same period the industry has achieved the record profits. How?
They now have an open market to sell their deadly products to Third World consumers, thanks to the help of the American government. So cancer is bad for Americans, but it’s okay for others. Where is the justice?
Despots and dictators: not in my backyard, but fine for yours
A second example of Western neo-colonialism is found in these countries’ support for corrupt dictators, totalitarian despots and anti-democratic forces in the Muslim world. Muslims question how sincere the Western belief in justice and democracy really is when this happens.
For instance, the government of France supported the Algerian army when it canceled elections following the victory at the ballot of the Islamic Salvation Front party in 1992. France is the country famed for “liberty, equality and fraternity”. It seems this is not what they had in mind for the Muslims in their former colonial baby, Algeria.
The United States, which touts “freedom and democracy” has similarly supported undemocratic regimes in Muslim and other countries. Justice, it seems, is not for all, especially not Muslims.
Muslim minorities in the West versus Christian minorities in Muslim countries
Both of these groups of minorities have been the brunt of stereotypical images in the local media, along with various forms of harassment. For example, several Masjids in America have been burned down and attacked as have chuches in Nigeria, Pakistan and Indonesia. Tribal clashes in Nigeria have taken on a religious color and a number of Christians have been murdered outside churches in Pakistan.
Muslims in Muslim countries must protect the rights of their Christian neighbors to freely practice their religion as well as their freedom of speech, as Prophet Mohamed (peace and blessings be upon him) and the rightly guided Khalifas after him did.The constitution the Prophet drafted in Madinah following his migration from Makkah enshrined the rights of Christians and Jews in the city, including those of worship. These were fully enforced under his leadership. Another example was when Umar ibn al-Khattab was Khalifah. He returned tax money collected from Christians in a town in modern day Iraq after he and the Muslims had to leave it. The taxes had been collected to ensure Muslim protection of the Christians living there. Since the Muslims could no longer do that, they returned the money.
Similarly, Christians in countries like America must stand up for Muslims’ rights, especially those of free speech and freedom of religion. This way, both groups can build bridges of understanding and tolerance in a world currently fraught with violence, terror and destruction.
Still Some Examples of Cooperation:
But amid these examples of New World Order colonialism and tense Muslim-Christian relations, there are some bright spots.
In the 1990s, the West did eventually come to the aid of Muslims following massacres, rapes and the oppression of Muslims in Bosnia and Kosova.
On the level of faith, the 1994 United Nations Conference on Population in Cairo, Egypt, became a platform for Muslim and Catholic cooperation against perceived anti-religious bias.
In addition, it is somewhat ironic that while Muslims resent the Western support for dictatorships in their countries, they turn to the West when seeking to escape the oppression in their countries. For example, Iran’s anti-Shah revolutionaries were essentially based in the West.
It is not uncommon to find Muslim refugees escaping to Germany, France, Britain, America and Canada. While many of them are economic migrants, seeking a better life for themselves and their families on a financial level, there are also those escaping political turmoil and corruption in their home countries.
The current situation
In September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI set off worldwide controversy while quoting Manuel II during a lecture at the University of Regensburg in Germany: “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you
will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”
The reaction was swift and strong from Muslims the world over. While Pakistan’s parliament voted to condemn him, Lebanon’s leading Shia leader asked for a personal apology. The deputy head of Turkey’s governing party put him in the same category as Hitler and Mussolini. Unfortunately, two churches in Palestine were bombed and a nun in Somalia killed over the incident.
This was followed by an apology in which the Pope said he was “deeply sorry” about the angry repercussions of his comments, adding that the quotation was not an expression of his personal views.
The Pope’s statement is being taken by Muslims as part of a continuity of Islamophobic statements made by high profile Christians like Franklin Graham, who has described Islam as a “very evil and wicked religion”.
Although some mainstream churches opposed Graham’s statement, most adopted a silent or neutral stance towards such false, anti-Islamic propaganda.
US President George Bush’s use of the term “Islamic Fascism” in the current “war against terrorism,” in addition to the ongoing war against Iraq continue to confirm the Muslim perception that the war is turning against them, despite President Bush’s assurances to the contrary. First came the reference to the war as a “crusade,” then the bombings of Afghanistan and Iraq, which killed more than 100,000 civilians. All of this added to America’s existing image as a one-sided in reference to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
In the US, Muslims are living in a virtual internment camp under a regime of fear. About a half a million Muslim Americans have been directly affected by the government policies although not a single Muslim American have been successfully convicted of terrorism so far. Four major charities in the US have been banned without due process of law. Muslims who gave millions of dollars to these charities to fulfill the third pillar of Islam, Zakat, in the month of Ramadan, lost all that money. The abuse of individual freedom, the media’s ridicule of Islam and mockery of Muslim beliefs have led to such lawlessness in dealing with Muslims that one Jewish attorney of a Muslim client commented that, “Muslims have become the new Ni…rs of America.”
Terrorism is a real threat. It must be dealt with in a proper and fair manner. If we could wait to try Timothy McVeigh with the due course of law, why not let these individuals and their organizations know what the charges are against them and allow them to defend themselves. It seems that a Christian terrorist has civil rights but a Muslim terrorist has none, although terrorists do not represent their faith. Otherwise they would not do things like this.
There have been several positive actions taken by our neighbors since September 11. A number of churches and their leaders have come forward in interfaith gatherings to show support and sympathy for the Muslims of America. The late Pope issued a call to Catholics worldwide to fast on the last Friday of Ramadan of 2002 in solidarity with Muslims. Some non-Muslim women have donned headscarves as a way of expressing sympathy for Muslim women too afraid to cover themselves in the backlash that followed the September 11 attacks.
More recently, a number of mainstream Christian groups have been at the forefront of the peace movement that opposed the war on Iraq, as well as the country’s occupation by America. This is a very positive step forward, considering that churches did not oppose the Vietnam War until 10 years after it began, nor did Christian groups oppose the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, except for the Quakers.
In addition, amongst Christian groups, there has been a split in terms of war on Iraq. While most groups oppose the war, the more right-wing groups, like the evangelicals support it.
And so the cycle of positive and negative relations between Muslims and Christians continues. Muslims and Christians must continue to work together for peace and justice for all people. Muslims and Christians in America, especially, are in a unique position to do this and can serve as an example of peaceful coexistence of minorities the world over.
Amongst the 25 Prophets mentioned by God in the Quran, one name is Prophet John (peace be upon him). In Arabic, his name is Yahya. He is also a Prophet who figures prominently in Christianity, where he is known as John the Baptist. His story in the Christian tradition is described in Luke 1:5-22.
In Islam, belief in all of Allah’s (God) Prophets is a fundamental article of faith. A person who denies belief in any of the Prophets, be it Jesus (peace be upon him) Moses (peace be upon him), or any of the others leaves the fold of Islam.
His miraculous birth
Prophet Jesus was not the only Prophet who was born miraculously. By miraculous, we mean outside of the normal process of human reproduction Allah has ordained which requires a man and a woman to conceive a child. In the case of Jesus, this meant being born of a mother but no father.
But Prophet Adam’ (peace be upon him) birth was even more miraculous in this sense since he was created with no mother or father. Similarly, Hawwa or Eve (may Allah be pleased with her) was created from a man, her husband, and no parents.
The birth of Prophet John is miraculous because he is the offspring of a barren mother and an elderly father. His father, it should be noted, was also a Prophet named Zecheriah or Zakaraya.
“‘Zecheriah, We bring you the good news of the birth of a son whose name shall be John, one whose namesake We never created before.’ He said: ‘My Lord! How can I have a child when my wife is barren and I have reached an extremely old age?’ He answered: ‘So shall it be.’ Your Lord says: ‘It is easy for Me’, and then added: ‘For beyond doubt, I created you earlier when you were nothing’ (Quran 19:7-9).
“Zecheriah exclaimed: ‘My Lord! How shall I have a son when old age has overtaken me and my wife is barren?’ He said: ‘Thus shall it be; Allah does what He wills'” (Quran 3:40).
With the birth of John, Allah granted Zecheriah his desire for an heir.
“And We bestowed favor upon Zecheriah, when he cried to his Lord: ‘Lord! Leave me not solitary [without any issue]. You are the best Inheritor.’ So We accepted his prayer and bestowed upon him John, and We made his wife fit (to bear a child). Verily they hastened in doing good works and called upon Us with longing and fear, and humbled themselves to Us” (Quran 21:89-90).
The beautiful qualities of John
Allah did not just miraculously grant Zecheriah a son. He made this child a blessing for his parents and beautiful in character. Prophet John is described in the Quran as chaste and righteous.
“Then Zecheriah prayed to his Lord: ‘O Lord! Grant me from Yourself out of Your grace the gift of a goodly offspring, for indeed You alone heed all Prayers. As he stood praying in the sanctuary, the angels called out to him: ‘Allah gives you good tidings of John, who shall confirm a command of Allah, shall be outstanding among men, utterly chaste, and a Prophet from among the righteous” (Quran 3:38-39).
“‘O John! Hold fast the Book with all your strength. We had bestowed wisdom upon him while he was still a child; and We also endowed him with tenderness and purity; and he was exceedingly pious and cherishing to his parents. Never was he insolent or rebellious. Peace be upon him, the day he was born, and the day he will die, and the day he will be raised up alive. (Quran 19: 12-15).
Part of a line of honored Prophets
Finally, as mentioned above, Prophet John is one of the Prophets Muslims must believe in. He is one of the 25 mentioned in the Quran.
“And We bestowed upon Abraham (offspring) Isaac and Jacob and each of them did We guide to the right way as We had earlier guided Noah to the right way; and (of his descendants We guided) David and Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron. Thus do We reward those who do good. (And of his descendants We guided) Zecheriah, John, Jesus and Elias: each one of them was of the righteous.” (Quran 6:84-85).
Jesus in Islam
“Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter, he is of those nearest to Allah”; [Qur’an 3:45]
Belief in Prophets (May Allah’s Peace be upon all of them)
Islam emphasizes the universality of the institution of prophethood. According to the Qur’an, there is not a single nation in the world to which a prophet has not appeared sometime in history: “There is not a people but a warner has gone among them” [Q35:24]. And again: “For every nation there is a messenger” [Q10:47]
The Qur’an mentions about 25 of the Biblical Prophets by name [Q4:163] and we are further told that there have been prophets besides those mentioned in the Qur’an: “And We sent messengers We have mentioned to thee before, and messengers We have not mentioned to thee” [Q4:164] .
It is an Islamic article of Faith to believe …
in all Prophets; from Adam through Abraham, Moses, Jesus to Muhammad (peace be upon them) [Q2:184]
all Prophets were models of excellence who were commissioned to guide humankind [Q2:213]
the mission of Prophets was to establish justice for all [Q57:25]
that Prophets were the embodiments of Righteousness;
“And Zachariah, John, Jesus and Elijah;
all of these were of the most Righteous.” [Q6:85]
It is an accepted fact in Islam that the struggle and legacy of the prophets (peace be upon them) serve as universal guides, excellent examples and as sources of hope and inspiration.
Status of Maryam/Mary
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a prominent figure in Islam and the only woman mentioned by name in the Qur’an. The Qur’an upholds Mary as one of the four perfect examples of womanhood [Q66:12] . Mary is mentioned more times and more biographical information about her is contained in the Qur’an than in the entire New Testament.
The birth of Jesus Christ is described in twice in the Qur’an – chapter 3 and chapter 19. Reading from the beginning of his birth, we come across the story of Mary, and the esteemed position which she occupies in the House of Islam, before the actual annunciation of the birth of Jesus is made.
The Qur’anic account of Mary includes the pregnancy of her mother, Mary’s birth and the annunciations of the coming birth of Jesus: “Remember how she preserved her chastity, into whom We breathed a life from Us, and made her and her son a token for humankind” [Q21:91]. The Qur’an teaches that Mary is to be revered because she completely submitted herself to God’s will, even though it meant that her own family would accuse her of unchastity when it was discovered that she was pregnant [Q19:16-21] .
The mother of Jesus (peace be upon them) is accorded highest respect and considered as among the most noble in the estimation of Allah. [Q3:33] Behold! the angels said: O Mary! Allah has chosen you and purified you, chosen you above the women of all nations.” [Q3:42]
The entire chapter 19 titled Maryam/Mary in the Qur’an and another (chapter 3) is titled Al-‘Imran after the family of Mary.
Jesus /’Isa referred to 9 times in the Qur’an as ‘Isa and 16 times as ‘Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus son of Mary)
Mary is considered chaste, virtuous, receiver of God’s spirit, a testimony to the veracity of God’s message and piously obedient [Q66:11]
Jesus (pbuh) himself is recorded as saying about his respected mother,
Uniqueness of Jesus (pbuh)
Virgin birth -The Qur’an gives an account of the birth of Jesus in chapter 3. Mary is described as being a virgin, chosen by God, and considered with great honor. “Behold! the angels said: O Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary.” [Q3:45] . Verse 47 relates the response of and to Mary, “She said: O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me? He said: ‘Even so: Allah creates what He wills: When He has decreed a plan, He merely says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is!” The Qur’an thus affirms and Muslims believe that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. The birth is seen as a sign (ayah) of Allah’s power and as a miraculous event. And Muslims have a high regard also for Mary. However, the Qur’an presents Jesus as the son of Mary and not as the Son of God, a significant point particularly emphasized.
Like Adam (pbuh) -Though the unique birth of Jesus with one parent is no indication of divinity just as Adam’s creation was without any parentage [Q3:59] .