˹Remember˺ when the angels proclaimed, “O Mary! Allah gives you good news of a Word1 from Him, his name will be the Messiah,2 Jesus, son of Mary; honoured in this world and the Hereafter, and he will be one of those nearest ˹to Allah˺.
And he will speak to people in ˹his˺ infancy and adulthood and will be one of the righteous.”
Mary wondered, “My Lord! How can I have a child when no man has ever touched me?” An angel replied, “So will it be. Allah creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He simply tells it, ‘Be!’ And it is!
Allah brought up Maryam since infancy and prepared her for this day. The day when angels called her and gave her this good news. The news of carrying in her womb a miraculous baby who will be a sign for the humankind.
Word from Him
The Word by which Issa came to being is the word “Be” and he was in the womb of Maryam. It is Allah who created Adam from clay and said to it, ‘Be a walking and talking human’ and he was. It is not difficult for that Allah to use the same ‘Be’ and Maryam would carry Issa in her womb. That is why if we move forward few more verses in this surah we hear in verse 59:
Indeed, the example of Jesus in the sight of Allah is like that of Adam. He created him from dust, then said to him, “Be!” And he was!
The process of reproduction in human beings and animals in itself is miraculous. Similarly, alternation of day and night, the rotations of the sun and moon and everything that is Allah’s creation is wonderful and are miracles in themselves. However, when a miracle is repeated day and night over and over again, we forget the miraculous elements in them and pass over them without much appreciation. Allah brings from time-to-time signs which we call super-natural to prove the power of Allah. Cases of Zachariah and Issa and Adam are samples. Eclipse of sun or moon should draw our attention by breaking the daily cycles.
Read this verse: How many signs in the heavens and the earth do they pass by with indifference! [12:105]
His name will be “Issa son of Maryam”.
All believers know him as “Issa son of Maryam”. The non believes know him as “Jesus Son of God”. In this short verse, Allah gave all that is needed to know about Issa: 1) he came to existence by a Word, 2) that Word came from Allah, 3) his character is Messiah, 4) his name is Issa, 5) his mother is Maryam. When the verse said, “Issa son of Maryam” it negates that he is son of God, and negates having any human father. The verse then gave the answer to the obvious question: “how did then he came without a human father?” and the answer was “by Word of Allah”. To explain further, in verse (59) of this surah Allah compared Issa with Adam, both did not have father and both were created by a Word from Allah which was “Be” and Adam and Issa became. In fact, anything Allah wants to exist He only says “Be” and it is.
Quran has this same construct of “Be and it is” eight times. Here are two instances:
All it takes, when He wills something ˹to be˺, is simply to say to it: “Be!” And it is! (Yasin 82)
Indeed, Our word to a thing when We intend it is but that We say to it, “Be,” and it is. ( al-Nahl, 40)
Let us see what made Christians think otherwise. They read at the very beginning of Gospel, in John 1:1 and they confused:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
They conclude that Jesus is the Word which was with God and therefore Jesus was God.
Words are characters of Allah, much similar to human. Our words are our characters. We have the quality of uttering languages which consists of words. When some are born mute he does not have this character. Christian made Words a separate being and not a character of God. Then this separate being was with God and was God. This word entered Jesus and then Jesus was God.
Quran is very clear here and in a very short verse made it very clear who Issa was. Further when you link this verse with other verses all confusions -if remaining - would vanish. Words of Allah are not separate creations. They are Allah’s characters. Quran for example is Words of Allah. It is not created, rather Quran is Allah’s characters, which we human beings decided to write down in paper and bind it in book format, which we call the Quran.
Angel Jibraeel is trusted with Words of Allah. He is responsible to carry Allah’s words to messengers and prophets. He carried this special assignment to Maryam and blew the Words of Allah into Maryam: “Be” and Maryam became pregnant.
Anyone reading Quran can very easily understand Allah, Issa and Gabriel. He would also very easily understand Allah, His words that are carried by Gabriel to prophets as revelations. These three are separate entities. Allah is different from His messengers, and He is different from His angels.
This word is from Hebrew mashiaḥ meaning the “anointed”. In Judaism, the expected king of the Davidic line who would deliver Israel from foreign bondage and restore the glories of its golden age. The Jews could have grabbed this opportunity and followed Issa instead of opposing him. But they did just the opposite. Instead of getting the honor of Christ they opposed him and will chose the Dajjal who is the anti-Christ as their mashiah at the second coming of Issa. The Muslims would on that day be honored to fight the anti-Christ and the Jews, and Issa will be a member of Muslim community on that day after his second coming.
Honored in this world
One might object and say that Issa was not honored in this world, rather he was humiliated and crucified. How can we address that?
He was honored in this world by reforming Judaism, bringing a new Divine Book: Gospel. He reformed Judaism and brought easiness to its tough legislations. He treated people from illness. After Allah raised him to heaven, his followers flourished on earth and established a new religion. All these are honors in this world. After prophet Muhammad came, his true followers are the Muslims who testify that Issa is a messenger of Allah and not a son of Allah.
We need not to forget that Issa’s life in this world has not finished yet. He was raised, and he will come back again to continue his worldly life before finally dying like any other human being. That second life of Jesus on earth will witness much honorable activities. His killing of Dajjal and abolition of Christianity are among his later day activities. He will be very active and be a source of guidance and leadership to the Muslims in those difficult times.
Honor of Issa in the Hereafter
He is part of the 5 best messengers given the title ‘Olu al Azm’. These are the best five messengers who had to endure the greatest trouble to preach the message. They are Noah, Ibrahim, Musa, Issa and Muhammad, peace be upon them.
On the day of judgement, all will rush to them to intercede with Allah.
When Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven, he described prophets he saw in each heaven. Among them was Issa and Yahya.
speak in infancy
In Sura Maryam we know what Issa said as infant. The first word he uttered was: “I am a slave of Allah”. Not “I am son of Allah”. His first statement was about Tawheed and monotheism. His first statement -as was the first statement of all messengers - was about “La Ilaha Illa Allah”.
Let us bring here as quote what other things Issa said as infant.
˹Jesus˺ declared, “I am truly a servant of Allah. He has destined me to be given the Scripture and to be a prophet.
He has made me a blessing wherever I go, and bid me to establish prayer and give alms-tax as long as I live,
and to be kind to my mother. He has not made me arrogant or defiant.
Peace be upon me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I will be raised back to life!” [Surah Maryam 29-33]
Allah miraculously made Issa speak in infancy and defend his mother. His speaking as infant thus served multiple purposes: a) to prove he is a slave rather than son of Allah, b) to declare he is a messenger of Allah and a recipient of revelation from Him, and c) to manifest the power of Allah and testify the statement of tawheed, and d) to testify against the accusations they brought to her mother.
Describing Issa as a person who speaks in old age has some interesting indications. Speaking as infant is extraordinary but speaking in old age is not. So, what is the added value of describing this character? This came to indicate that Issa is a) not a god, otherwise he would not move through human phases of infant to boy to youth to old, and b) to indicate that he was not crucified and would come down to earth once more before the day of judgement and would do great things.
Issa talked both at the time of infancy as well as at the time of “kahl”. This was the Arabic word described in this verse. It is translated in English as “adulthood” by Musfapha Khattab in the Clear Quran. In Saheeh International it is translated as “mature”. Both might not be very accurate translation. Arabs describe a man between 30 and 40 years as ‘young’. After 40 he enters this “kahl” period.
Chastity of Maryam
The greatest virtue in a noble woman is her chastity. The modern life under Enlightenment values upholds values that promotes vice in society and kills chastity under the guise of individualism and freedom. Maryam immediately thought to defend her chastity and honor and asked, “how can I get a child without husband?” Imagine our times. Male and female easily meet and have consensual extra marriage sex without anyone reprimanding them.