In attempting to give an account of the annunciation and birth of Jesus Christ in the very words of the Quran, there are two difficulties that meet us.
1. The piecemeal character of the Quran has no chronological order, nor logical sequence. Its verses were revealed at different times and in different places and thrown together in confusion, laws and legends, fact and fancies, prayers and imprecations. Very few Bible characters are mentioned in the earliest group of Surahs, and although there are distinctively Christian features in some early revelations, Jesus Himself is not mentioned.
2. A more serious difficulty is contradictory statements about Jesus Christ. In some passages he is a mere man and a prophet while others give him such titles as are given to no other human being. Especially in relation to His death, the statements are contradictory and cannot be reconciled without violence to the text.
The Annunciation of Christ in the Quran
a) “Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah hath chosen thee and purified thee chosen thee above the women of all nations. “O Mary! worship Thy Lord devoutly: Prostrate thyself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down.” This is part of the tidings of the things unseen, which We reveal unto thee (O Messenger!) by inspiration: Thou wast not with them when they cast lots with arrows, as to which of them should be charged with the care of Mary: Nor wast thou with them when they disputed (the point). Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah; “He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be (of the company) of the righteous.” She said: “O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?” He said: “Even so: Allah createth what He willeth: When He hath decreed a plan, He but saith to it, ‘Be,’ and it is! “And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel, “And (appoint him) a messenger to the Children of Israel (Al-Imran 3:42-48).
b) “Relate in the Book (the story of) Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place in the East. She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent her our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects. She said: “I seek refuge from thee to (Allah) Most Gracious: (come not near) if thou dost fear Allah.” He said: “Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son. She said: “How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?” He said: “So (it will be): Thy Lord saith, ‘that is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us’ :It is a matter (so) decreed.” (Maryam 19:16-21)
Christ’s birth in the Quran
a) “So she conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree: She cried (in her anguish): “Ah! would that I had died before this! would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight!” But (a voice) cried to her from beneath the (palm-tree): “Grieve not! for thy Lord hath provided a rivulet beneath thee; “And shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm-tree: It will let fall fresh ripe dates upon thee. “So eat and drink and cool (thine) eye. And if thou dost see any man, say, ‘I have vowed a fast to (Allah) Most Gracious, and this day will I enter into not talk with any human being'” At length she brought the (babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: “O Mary! truly an amazing thing hast thou brought! “O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!” But she pointed to the babe. They said: “How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?” He said: “I am indeed a servant of Allah: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet; “And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live; “(He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable; “So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)”! (Maryam 19:22-33)
b) “And We made the son of Mary and his mother as a Sign: We gave them both shelter on high ground, affording rest and security and furnished with springs (Al-Mu’min un 23:50).
Dr. Samuel Zwemer-’the Muslim Christ’ Copyright © 2011 “Message 4 Muslims” All rights reserved.