Peace unto the Virgin-Born
By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
“Peace be to him, the day he was born, and the day he dies and the day he is raised alive.” (Holy Qur’an, Surah Mary : 15)
This is how God Almighty introduces one of His greatest messengers to mankind, Jesus son of Mary, after a brief account of his precursor Yahya (John the Baptist) son of Zechariah.
The Holy Qur’an goes on to confirm the chastity of Mary; the tidings to her of a son without the association of any man; the virgin birth of Jesus in an eastern land where she had departed on God’s command to deliver her blessed burden away from the accusations of the unbelievers; her return to Bethlehem with the infant; and her nullifying of the slander of the Israelites by pointing to the baby in the cradle who miraculously spoke in defence of his mother’s honour:
“…Indeed I am a servant of Allah! He has given me a book and made me a Prophet.” (19:30)
But what auspicious day was Jesus born? What was the gist of his message?
The first question puts a big cloud on December 25 that the Christian West likes to celebrate as the birth of the Messiah. The observation of this day contradicts the history of his people and the culture of his birthplace.
Surely, the Hebrews, among whom he was born, followed the lunar calendar (like their Semitic cousins the Arabs) and observed all religious and other important days according to it. In other words, they had no connection with the solar calendar of their idolatrous overlords the Romans, and neither did the Europeans had any idea of the blessed birth in the far-flung province of Palestine, which they viewed with suspicion and subjected it to frequent bouts of massacres.
To put it more precisely, December 25 – originally a Roman pagan festival when the oldest sins were committed in the newest possible ways – certainly cannot be the day of peace to which the Holy Qur’an refers in its account of Prophet Jesus (peace upon him).
Some might say that since Europeans re-christened the day of Bacchanal debauchery as Christmas following their forcible conversion by Emperor Constantine to Paul the Hellenized Jew’s version of Christianity over three centuries after Jesus had completed his mission and was raised to the heavens by God, it will not be inappropriate to highlight facts about this great messenger of monotheism, who never considered himself as godhead as alleged by the Gentile (non-Jewish) converts.
The plausible argument, although an opportunity to dwell on the purpose of his mission, does not provide the answer to the question of the birthday of Jesus (AS), who was one of the five greatest Prophets of God – the last and the most excellent one being the Mercy to the Creation, Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), whose advent was foretold by the Son of Mary.
A glance, however, at the sources of Prophet Muhammad’s (SAWA) Infallible Household makes the matter clear, salvaging this year’s Christmas and proceeding to answer the second question raised above on the gist of the Messiah’s mission.
This year the 25th of December (falling on Sunday) has almost coincided with the eve of the blessed 25th of Zil-Qa’da (Tuesday night – December 27) mentioned in Islamic texts as the birthday of Jesus, who in the Gospel of St. John predicts the coming of the Paraclete (Hmda in Aramaic for Comforter or Intercessor) for the human race.
The Holy Qur’an, which rationally rejects the concept of trinity and the alleged crucifixion, has preserved this prophecy of Jesus as follows:
“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 tidings of the Prophet to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.” (61:6)
Interestingly, the book Tuhaf al-Uqoul cites the following from the lost parts of the Evangel (such as the Gospel of Barnabas that might still be in the Vatican’s top secret archives) that lends credence to St. John’s version:
“O Son of Mary the Virgin! I command you to adhere to the Master of the Messengers, My dear Ahmad, the Rider of the red camel, the brilliant-faced, the pure-hearted, the majestic, the modest and the bountiful. He is surely the Mercy for the Creation and the Master for the sons of Adam… He is the Arab… who will fight the polytheists in defence of My Creed. You should foretell the Israelites of his coming and order them to have faith in him, believe him, follow him, and support him.” O Lord! Asked Jesus. Who is that one, so that I will please him as properly as You have told? The Lord answered! “He is Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah to the entire mankind… He is the foremost intercessor (Ahmad, Hmda, Paraclete, Comforter).”
Thus, it is an article of faith for Muslims to believe in the coming of Jesus and his serving as lieutenant to the Prophet’s 12th infallible successor, Imam Mahdi (AS), in the global government of peace and justice. It is worth noting that the 25th of Zil-Qa’da, on whose eve Jesus was born, has been cited in some texts as the day of the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (AS). Amen
“That is Jesus, son of Mary, the Word of the Truth, concerning whom they are in doubt. It is not for God to take a son. Immaculate is He! When He decides on a matter, He just says to it, “Be” and “it is”. (Mary 19:34-35)