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The miraculous birth of Jesus Christ (a.s):
Mary’s childbirth according to Hadiths:
According to a Hadith from Imam Baqir (a.s) Gabriel breathed into the collar of Mary’s dress and then during one hour the child in her womb was fully developed and got ready to be delivered. Considering other women, this development requires nine months but during one hour a woman got pregnant and heavy in such a way that even her aunt did not know her when she saw her. Therefore Mary kept on walking while she was ashamed of Zachariah and her aunt. Some interpreters have also stated her length of pregnancy as nine hour, however there is a Hadith from Imam Sadiq (a.s) with the same concept. In the book Majma' al-Bayan regarding the following verse “She said: Would that I had died before this, and had been forgotten and out of sight!" (Surah Mary-verse 23), there is a Hadith from Imam Sadiq (a.s). According to this Hadith the reason why Mary wished to die was that there was not even a sagacious person among his people to be able to exonerate her. Also in this book regarding this verse “Your Lord has provided a water stream under you.” (Surah Mary-verse 24), it’s been narrated that some interpreters have stated that Gabriel hit the ground with his feet and made a fresh water stream. In contrast others have stated that When Jesus hit the ground with his feet, the fresh water was flown. It has to be mentioned that the same concept has been narrated in a Hadith from Imam Abi Ja'far. In this book, there is also another Hadith from Imam Abi Ja'far which has been narrated by Ibn Omar. According to this Hadith, it was a water stream which God made it for Mary to drink from it. In the book Al Khisal, he has also narrated a Hadith from Imam Ali (a.s). Accordingly Imam Ali (a.s) in four hundred sections said that eating no food or drug is better than the ripe dates for a pregnant woman. That is why God Almighty says to Mary: “Shake the trunk of the palm tree to let the fresh ripe dates fall upon you, so eat and drink and be glad.” (Surah Mary-verses 25-26). According to Sunni tradition this concept has been narrated form the prophet of God (pbuh) and also according to Shia tradition it has been narrated from Imam Baqir (a.s). Jarrah Al Madaeni, in the book Al-Kafi, has narrated a Hadith from Imam Sadeq (a.s) that fasting in not only refraining from eating and drinking. Then he added that when Mary said:” I have vowed a fast unto the Most Beneficent (God).”(Surah Mary-verse 26), by fasting she meant not to speak. He said in another version of Hadith that by fasting she meant not to speak. Hence while you fast, you should watch your language and be careful of what you see with your eyes. Also you should not quarrel with each other and do not envy each other…. Then he added: the book by Saad al Masood inb Tavoos has narrated from the book by Abdul Rahman ibn Muhammad Azodi that, Sammak bin Harb narrated from mughira ibn shu'ba that the prophet of God (pbuh) sent me to Najran to invite them. They asked me a question that I was unable to answer it. They said although there is a great time distance between Mary and Aaron, your Quran has called Mary, the sister of Aaron and has said that “O sister of Aaron”. I came to the prophet of God and related the story. He said: why did not you reply them that at that time it was common to call people by their fathers’ names like the prophets and the righteous? This Hadith has been narrated in the Dur al-Manthur exegesis in detail and also Majma' al-Bayan exegesis has briefly narrated it. Both of these Hadiths of the prophet of God (pbuh) has been narrated by Mughira Ibn Shu'ba. In general it means that in the sentence “O sister of Aaron”, Aaron was a man whose name was the same as Prophet Aaron, the brother of Moses (pbuh) and it never indicates that this man was of the righteous as some people supposed so. Regarding the meaning of the word “blessed” in the verse “And He has made me blessed wheresoever I be” (Surah Mary-verse 31) there is a Hadith from Iman Sadeq (a.s) in the book Al-Kafi and Maani al-Akhbar that accordingly he said that this word means “useful”. Abu Hurairah has narrated this Hadith of the prophet of God in the book Dur Al-Manthur. Accordingly regarding the meaning of the statement of Jesus “And He has made me blessed wheresoever I be” the prophet of God stated that: it means that wherever I look, I shall be useful and beneficial to the people. In the book Dur Al-Manthur, regarding the meaning of the sentence “And He has made me blessed wheresoever I be”, Ibn Adi and Inb Asakir have narrated the Hadith of the prophet of God which has been quoted by Ibn Masood. According to this Hadith, the prophet has stated that by this sentence, Jesus meant that God has made me an instructor. In the book Al-Kafi, there is a narration from Barid Kanasi that accordingly he says: I asked Abu Ja’far (a.s), Did Jesus, the son of Mary while in the cradle said to people that I am the proof of God for my people? He replied: At that time he was the proof of God as well as His prophet but still he was not the messenger, have you not heard his own words? Jesus says “I am the servant of God; He has given me the Book and has made me the prophet. He has also made me blessed wheresoever I be. God has ordered me to do prayer and Zakat (charity) as long as I live.” Then I said to him: therefore had he been the proof of God as well as the proof for Zachariah even in childhood and in the cradle? He replied: at that time he was the sign of God and a mercy for Mary. When he spoke, he defended Mary and he was the proof of God as well as His Prophet for whoever was hearing his words. So he was the proof of God as long as he was speaking. But after Jesus got silent until he spoke again after two years, Zachariah was the proof of God for the people. After the death of Zachariah, his son, Yahya inherited his book (scripture) and wisdom from him while he was an underage child. Have you not heard the word of God who says: “(It was said to his son): "O Yahya (John)! Hold fast the Scripture [the Taurat (Torah)]." And We gave him wisdom while yet a child.” (Surah Mary-verse 13) and then when he got seven he talked about his prophethood because at that time God gave him the revelation and therefore Jesus was the proof of God even over Yahya and in fact he was the proof of God over all people. O Aba Khalid!, from the beginning of God’s creation when He created Adam and sent him to the earth, the earth had never been without the proof of God for the people.
Mary with her newborn infant moves toward her people:
When through the angels’ message, Mary became aware that this newborn infant would be able to speak in the cradle, she became calm. So having given birth to her child, Mary brought him to her people. “Finally carrying her infant in her arms and moving toward the village from the desert, Mary brought him to her people and relatives.”(Surah Mary-verse 27). They were surprised when they saw her with the baby in her arms. All of those who knew that Mary was well known for her Virtue and dignity became extremely worried in such a way that even some of them doubted her Virtue and also others made hasty judgments and began to blame her. They said: what a pity that you committed the corruption. You were a role model for the people in Virtue and dignity; you defamed your virtuous ancestors. “They said: "O Mary! Indeed you have brought an unheard mighty thing.”(Surah Mary-verse 27).
Some of them said that was it amazing? Was it obscene? Then they said: O sister of Aaron! Neither your father was sinful nor was your mother unchaste. (Why did not you follow them and left the right path? Because everybody knew that Mary had not yet married). “O sister of Aaron! Your father was not a man who used to commit adultery, nor was your mother an unchaste woman.” (Surah Mary-verse 28). That they called Mary, “the sister of Aaron” has given rise to various interpretations among the interpreters. But it seems the truth is that Aaron was a virtuous and a righteous person in such a way that he was considered as a role model among the children of Israel. If they intended to introduce someone as a virtuous person they usually said that he is the brother or the sister of Aaron. The deceased Allameh Tabarsi in his book Majma' al-Bayan has narrated this concepts by a short Hadith from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Another Hadith which has been stated in the book “Saad Al Aaud” is as follows: the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) sent Mughayarah to Najran (for inviting the Christians to Islam). A group of Christians (for the purpose of criticizing the Quran) said that in your Book you say “O, sister of Aaron!” However, we know that there is a great time distance between Mary and Aaron if you believe that Aaron refers to the Aaron, the brother of Moses! Therefore, not being able to reply them, Mughayarah asked that from the prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The prophet Muhammad replied: why didn’t you tell them that at that time it was prevalent among the children of Israel to attribute good people to the prophets and the righteous? As she had been ordered, Mary pointed to the child against the objections. It means that this child could answer your questions. They were amazed by Mary’s reaction and said: “Then she pointed to him. They said: How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?" (Surah Mary-verse 29). For Exonerating herself for giving birth to a child without having any father, Mary pointed to the cradle of her newborn child, Jesus (pbuh) by the order of God. Then he immediately began to speak eloquently about himself and he said: I am the servant of God. He also revealed his prophecy. Since it is impossible that a prophet should have been born from an unchaste woman, through this miracle Jesus proved his mother’s chastity.
The speaking of Jesus in the cradle:
The story of Mary and her child is full of miracles. Mary said nothing against the objections and criticisms of the people and she only pointed to her newborn child, Jesus. But it made them more surprised and also it was construed as ridicule by some of them and made them angry. Therefore they said: Are you ridiculing the people, in spite of your action?! Anyway they told her that: “How can we talk to a child in the cradle?!” At this moment Jesus stated some words that prevented them from their nonsense statements. Some groups of the children of Israel were extremists due to their ignorance and some of them were at the opposite side, and they all accuse the saint Mary to unchastity. In contrast the other group considered Jesus (pbuh) as the son of God. But through speaking in the cradle, Jesus prevented them from these non-sense statements and also exonerated Mary from these accusations. By the concept of the words of Jesus, the claim of those groups who considered him as the son of God was also rejected. It means that his speaking in the cradle was a miracle form God however; no impious person could have a sign or a miracle. Therefore through speaking, Jesus proved that he is a virtuous person and a chaste woman has given birth to him as well. For nobody consider him as the son of God, Jesus rejected the view of those who considered him as the son of God through of his words. This newborn child began to speak only for one day and since then he did not speak by the divine order of God. Accordingly he introduced himself through the following characteristics:
1- I am the servant of God 2- I have been given the book (Scripture) 3- I am one of the Prophets 4- Wherever I may be, there will be a great blessing 5- I've been ordered to do prayer and Zakat (charity) as long as I live 6- I will be kind to my mother and not overbearing or miserable 7- The day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life again, peace will be upon me.
"He (Jesus) said: Verily! I am the servant of God, He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet; and He has made me blessed wheresoever I be, and has enjoined on me Salat (prayer), and Zakat (charity), as long as I live, and kind to my mother, and made me not overbearing or miserable. And peace is upon me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!" (Surah Mary-verses 30-33).
The verses of Surah Mary indicate that Jesus began to speak from the early days of his birth and since no newborn child was able to do that, it was not an ordinary matter and therefore it was a great miracle. But speaking during the middle age and senility is quite normal and presumably the reason why these two have been mentioned with each other in the earlier verse is that Jesus spoke in the cradle not like a child but he spoke as thoughtfully as his maturity. It may also be possible that this interpretation is referring to the fact that Jesus (pbuh) was always telling the truth form the beginning of his life to senility and also he sought to guide people. In addition, this interpretation about Jesus ( pbuh) seems to indicate a kind of prediction that refers to his future life. Because as we know and according to the history, Jesus Christ (pbuh) never reached to the old age in this word. However, he passed away at the age of 33 and he was taken to the heaven by God. According to various Hadiths, he shall be raised up to life and among the people again at the time of the reappearance of al-Mahdi. (He will speak to them as he spoke in the early days of his life).
The interpretation of the term “of the righteous” in the verse “He will speak to the people in the cradle and in manhood, and he will be one of the righteous” (Surah Al-Imran-verse 46) indicates that being righteous is one of the greatest honors that can be bestowed upon a person. It is as if it covers all the human values. Although people’s main issue and problem was related to the way he was born, Jesus never objected it. That’s because it is an indication of a miracle when a newborn child speaks in the cradle, therefore since it is a miracle, there would be no doubt whatever he says is true, especially considering the fact that at the end of his speech he said: peace be upon me. It means that he testified that he was sinless and righteous by his nature. Jesus (pbuh) began his statement with the sentence “Verily! I am a servant of God” in order to confess to his obedience to God and prevent those who considered him as the son of God from their nonsense statements and also certainly to indicate that he is the proof of God, as he said at the end of his statement that “And verily God is my Lord and your Lord. So worship Him (Alone)”. In the sentence “I was given the book (scripture)”, God spoke of giving the book (scripture) to him and apparently, this book refers to the Bible. He also declared his prophethood in the sentence “He has made me the prophet”. This sentence indicates that at those days Jesus was the only prophet and later he was chosen by God for the prophethood. The appearance of his words in this verse also indicates that he was given the book and the prophecy at that very day and there is no intention for giving a news form future. In this verse “and He has made me blessed wheresoever I be, and has enjoined on me Salat (prayer), and Zakat (charity), as long as I live” when it is said that he has made me blessed wheresoever I be, it means that wherever Jesus is, there will be blessings. It means that he is very beneficial for the people. He will teach them a beneficial knowledge, invites them for doing good deeds, trains them to be courteous and heals those who born blind and the lepers. He will also help the weak and improve the life of the strong ones. The sentence “and has enjoined on me Salat (prayer), and Zakat (charity), as long as I live” refers to the fact that in his religion Jesus has been ordered to do prayer and Zakat. The prayer includes special attention of the servant to the glorious God and also Zakat includes spending out of the wealth. These two commandments have been mentioned in Quran for more than twenty two times with each other. Therefore nobody pays attention to those who say Zakat merely refers to self-purification and it is not financially necessary. This verse “and made me kind to my mother, and not arrogant, unblessed” means that He made me kind to people and one of its signs is that I am kind to my mother and at the same time I am not unblessed and arrogant toward other people. Here “arrogant or tyrant” refers to a person who imposes cruelty to the people but instead he does not tolerate any difficulty from them. According to a narration from Ibn Ata, “arrogant or tyrant” is a person who is not benevolent and also “unblessed” is a person who does not appreciate any blessings form other people. It is surprising that while expressing his character, Jesus talks about his kindness toward his mother and this is exactly the opposite of what is used in the current Gospel. From among his days of life, Jesus notes three critical days which are extremely important for all human beings. The reason lies in the fact that each of them is considered as the beginning of a new life. The day we were born, the day we die and the day we shall raise up again to life.
According to the eighth Imam (a.s): human beings get frightened at three moments more than any other times: 1- The day they are born 2- The day they die that determines the hereafter and its people are 3- The day they are raised up again to life and they would observe the decrees and judgments which they had never seen in the world. God said peace be upon him (Yahya) in the three earlier subjects as Jesus Christ (pbuh) said peace is upon me regarding these three subjects. After explaining this story, God notes that this is the story of Jesus Christ and these are true statements about his birth: “Such is Jesus, son of Maryam (Mary). (It is) a statement of truth, about which they doubt (or dispute). "(Surah Mary-verse 34).
1 – Manshoor Javid vol.12 pp. 356 -362
2 – Tafsir Nemoone, vol. 13, p 50, vol. 2, pp. 548-549, Vol. 13, pp. 33-40
3 - Almyzan Translation, vol. 14, pp. 56-68, Vol. 3, pp. 298
4 - Tafsir Mozu'i, by Ayatollah Javadi Amoli, Vol .7 ,p.255
5 - Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 14, p. 214, pp. 250-326
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