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August 4th, 2014

Jesus, John, Adam, Isaac – Who’s Your Daddy? Who Else, but Their Respective Fathers!

Jesus, John, Adam, Isaac – Who's Your Daddy? Who Else, but Their Respective Fathers!

There is fanciful thinking by some, or actually by most, that Jesus was conceived without a father. Before we even delve into a discussion of an alleged fatherless conception of Jesus, we have to be cognizant of the fundamental requirement for conception of a child. It needs a father and a mother and in modern times, male and female life-germs. Even God makes such an argument about Himself while rebutting the Christian doctrine of son-ship:

6:101. He is Wonderful and Primary Originator of the heavens and the earth! How (and whence) can there be a son for Him, when He has no consort? He has created all things and He has perfect knowledge of everything.[1]

In the above verse it becomes obvious, that even if God were to have a son, God Himself would have needed a consort, or on the flip, Jesus, son of Mary, must also have had an actual human father. Simply put, no father, no son, and that goes for son of Mary as well. The irony is that proponents of virgin birth of Jesus, even from within the Muslims are willing to make an exception for Mary and Jesus, which God cannot afford even for Himself.

But such claim to fame of 'fatherless' Jesus has no bearing in Quran, though it foretold Mary about his birth and her response was:

3:47. She said, `My Lord! how can I and whence shall I have a child while no man has yet touched me (in conjugal relationship)?’ (The Lord) said, `Such are the ways of Allâh, He creates what He will. When He decrees a thing He simply commands it, “Be” and it comes to be.’[2]

In this case, Mary, an unmarried chaste woman, asks the obvious – `My Lord! how can I and whence shall I have a child while no man has yet touched me (in conjugal relationship)?’ and God replies with a prophecy – (The Lord) said, `Such are the ways of Allâh, He creates what He will. Superficial reader will jump to the conclusion that Mary conceived Jesus immediately and immaculately, whereas after this dialogue God without breaking His laws of sociology and biology arranged a husband for her that secular history identifies as Joseph the Carpenter[3]. Jesus was not the only the child, Mary had other children as well[4]. So she conceived Jesus after her marriage and word of Allah came true in due course i.e. When He decrees a thing He simply commands it, “Be” and it comes to be’ without breaking His own Laws.

Quran makes reference to arrangement of Mary's marriage by the priests of the monastery where she dwelled:

3:44. …You were not present with them when they (- the priests) cast their quills (to decide) as to which of them should have Mary in his charge (to arrange her marriage)…[5]

For some intelligent reason best known to their authors, references to chastity of Mary are interpreted for her remaining unmarried, yet getting pregnant. This is absurd and against basic moral values, rather a smear on Mary. If nothing else, marriage is the best and natural guard against “un-chastity”:

21:91. And (We showed Our favours to) the woman (- Mary) who preserved her chastity [when single and later through marriage], so We revealed to her some of Our words and We made her and her son (- Jesus) a sign (of eminence) for the nations.[6]

Preservation of one’s chastity through marriage is outlined in Quran:

23:1-11. TRULY, success in this life and in the Hereafter does come to the believers, … And who guard their private parts, Except from their spouses, that is those whom they justly and rightfully own in proper wedlock, in that case they are not to be blamed, But those who seek anything else (to satisfy their sexual desire) beyond this, it is they who are the transgressors, … It is they who are the real heirs; Who will own Paradise where they shall abide forever.[7]

The above verse clearly lays down that a conjugal act within a married relationship is a chaste act, else Islam would transform into doctrine of Christianity of an inborn sin – Job 25:4. How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman? [New King James Version]. Thus Mary preserved her chastity through her marriage.

Out of her marriage, birth of Jesus and his attributes are foretold to Mary:

3:45. (Recall the time) when the angels said, `O Mary! Allâh gives you good tidings through a (prophetic) word from Him (about the birth of a son) whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, (he shall be) worthy of regard in this world and in the Hereafter and one of the nearest ones (to Him),
3:46. `And he will speak to the people when in the cradle (- as a child) and when of old age, and shall be of the righteous.'[8]

Maryam, mother of Jesus is mentioned by her name on numerous occasions in Quran because of her high status due her piety. As far as father of Jesus (i.e. Joseph) is concerned he is lumped up with general mention of fathers of the prophets:

6:83. …Abraham…
6:84. …Isaac and Jacob…Noah…David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron…
6:85. …Zachariah, John, Jesus and Elias…
6:86. …Ismâîl and Elisha and Jonah and Lot…
6:87. And (We exalted men) from among their fathers and their descendants and their brethren. We chose them and We guided them along the exact right path.[9][Emphasis added]

Similar to verse 3:47 above, elsewhere Quran gives the prophecy of birth of Jesus to his mother, Mary: 

19:16. And give an account of Mary in this Book when she withdrew from her people to an eastern spacious place (of the temple).
19:17. Then she screened herself off from them. Then We sent to her Our (angel of) revelation and he presented himself to her in the form of a perfect and well-proportioned man.
19:18. Mary said, `I invoke the Most Gracious (God) to defend me from you. If you guard the least against evil (leave me alone).'
19:19. He said, `I am but a messenger of your Lord. I give you (glad tidings of) a most pure son.'
19:20. She said, `How can I bear a son while no man (has married me and) has yet touched me, nor have I been unchaste.'[10]
19:21. (The angel) said, `So the fact is (just as you describe). Your Lord has said, "It is easy for Me. (We shall do it) so that We make him a sign and a (source of) blessing from Us for the people. It is a matter ordained".'[11]

In fulfillment of the prophecy, Mary gets married as mentioned in verse 3:44 above and then she conceives Jesus:

19:22. She (- Mary) conceived him (- the child) and withdrew with him to a remote place[12][which could be within the temple that Mary lived in or possibly to her hometown for a prenatal care].

Continuing from above Mary is talking to herself, praying for help or even addressing her husband during her childbirth[13]:

19:23. (At the time of the delivery of the child) the throes of child birth [– of Jesus] drove her [– Mary] to the trunk of the palm-tree[14]. She said, `Oh! would that I had become unconscious before this and had become a thing gone and forgotten.'[15]

In Quran creation of every human is the same:

23:12. We create a human being from an extract of clay;[16]

It would be quite fanciful to imagine God making a human cast of clay and then breathing into him His spirit before Adam came to life. Isn’t it simple to think that from clay grow the plants, animals eat the plants, man then eats the salts in clay, the plants and animals to become and stay alive, and to develop his physical and intellectual identity? Elementally humanity comes from clay and returns to clay. Quran puts it quite succinctly when it states We create a human being from an extract of clay. The emphasis is on extract, which in modern interpretation points to carboniferous biology that comes out of clay, of man and every living thing on earth. How true.

Now, going back to birth of Jesus, Quran is quite clear as to how he was created:

3:59. Verily, the case of Jesus is as the case of Adam in the sight of Allâh. He fashioned him out of dust, then He said to him,`Be’, and he came to be.[17]

i.e. Jesus (PBUH) was born just like Adam (who is a template of mankind) from clay and by natural conception because both belong to mankind:

39:13. O mankind! [including Jesus,] We have created you out of a male and a female…[18]

As far as Adam, the first human to receive the revelation is concerned, that stage for human species took some time in its evolutionary timeframe:

76:1. There did pass over a human being a while of a long space of time when he was not a thing worth mentioning.[19]

Similar to a skeptic Mary, her uncle Zachariah in his old age was foretold of a child, John. This might seem nothing short of a miracle given Zachariah’s then skepticism for reasons beyond his control:

3:38. Then and there did Zachariah pray to his Lord saying, `My Lord! grant me, by Your Own grace, pure and pious descendant, You alone are indeed the Hearer of prayers.'
3:39. So the angels called to him as he stood praying in the Sanctuary, `Allâh bears you the glad tidings of John, who shall confirm the word of God and who shall be noble, utterly chaste, a Prophet from among the righteous.'[20]

Note, nowhere Quran mentions Zachariah’s wife being old and postmenopausal, except that she was apparently barren to Zachariah:

3:40. `Lord!’ he said, `How shall I have a son now that old age has already come upon me and my wife is barren?’ (The Lord) said, `Such are the ways of Allâh, He does what He will.’[21]

In the above verse we find an apparent age difference between Zachariah and his wife, an indication that in the then pervading social norms, older men married younger women, which in secular history also happened with Mary and even Abraham.

Such are the ways of Allâh, He does what He will by some medical treatment as shown by next verses:

21:89. And (We showed Our favours to) Zachariah. Behold! he called out to his Lord and prayed to Him, `My Lord, do not leave me solitary, alone (and heirless), You are Best of those who remain after (-You alone are the Everlasting God).'
21:90. So We heard his prayer and granted him (a son) John, and cured his wife (of sterility) making her fit (for bearing children) for him. They used to vie one with another in (doing) good deeds and call upon Us with (mixed feelings of) hope and fear, and they were humble before Us.[22]

Elsewhere as well the narrative of Zachariah and his son John is mentioned:

19:2. (This is) an account of the mercy of your Lord (shown) to His servant Zachariah,
19:3. When he called upon his God, crying aloud (in humble supplication).
19:4. He said (praying), `My Lord! now the very bones within me have waxed feeble and the hair of (my) head are all gray and hoary, my Lord! never have I been (hitherto) deprived of a favourable response to my prayer to You.
19:5. `I fear (for the unrighteousness of) my kinsfolk after me, and my wife is barren. Grant me by Your (special) grace a (pious and righteous) successor,
19:6. `Who may be an heir to me and inherit (the divine blessings promised to) the House of Jacob and make him, my Lord! well-pleasing (to You).'
19:7. (God accepted his prayer and said,) `Zachariah! We give you the glad tidings of (the birth of) a son, named Yahyâ (- John, – who will live long). We have made none like him (in your house) before this.'
19:8. He (- Zachariah) said, `My Lord! how shall I beget a son when my wife is barren and I have (already) reached the extreme (limit of) old age?'
19:9. (The Lord) said, `So shall it be,' and (the angel bearing the revelation) said, `Your Lord says, "It is easy for Me, and behold, I have created you before this whereas you (too) were nothing".'[23]

In the verse 19:9, the phrase about Zachariah – "It is easy for Me, and behold, I have created you before this whereas you (too) were nothing" clearly implies that all births are conceived in the same manner, from the union of mother and father.

Similar to Mary and Zachariah, a skeptical Sarah too is amazed of her being foretold of birth of Isaac in her self-perceived ‘old age’:

11:69. And certainly, Our messengers came to Abraham with good tidings. They said, `(We bid you) peace.' He said, `Peace be (on you too) always.' And he lost no time in bringing them a roasted calf.
11:70. But when he saw that their hands did not extend to that (meal) he considered it strange on their part and apprehended evil from them. They said, `Have no fear for we have been sent to the people of Lot.'
11:71. And his wife was standing (nearby) and she too was inspired with awe. So we gave her good tidings of (the birth of) Isaac and after Isaac of (his son) Jacob.
11:72. She said, `O wonder for me! Shall I bear a child while I am a very old woman and this husband of mine (also) a very old man? This is a wonderful thing indeed!'
11:73. They (- Our messengers) said, `Do you marvel at the decree of Allâh? Members of this house! the mercy of Allâh and His blessings are upon you. Surely, He is the Lord of all praise, Owner of all glory.'[24]

In all three examples above, the parents i.e. Mary, Sarah and Zachariah are skeptical for various reasons of their own for them to even possibly imagine having a child, which they did in due course when the prophecies to each one of them unfolded for them.

The advocates of a birth of Jesus without conception from a human father frequently base their case for him being referred in Quran frequently as ‘son of Maryam’ e.g.

5:46. And We sent Jesus, son of Mary, in the footsteps of these (Prophets), fulfilling that which was (revealed) before him, of the Torah, and We gave him the Evangel which contained guidance and light, fulfilling that which was (revealed) before it, of the Torah, and was a (means of) guidance and an exhortation for those who guard against evil.[25]

Jesus is referred to by his mother’s name either because it is the intention of Quran to expunge the doctrine of innate ‘original sin’ as promulgated in Christianity in which pregnancy of mothers is sinful[26] or because of the prominent position that Maryam enjoys. She is singularly surrounded in blood relations by various prophets, whose uncle (Zachariah), cousin (John the Baptist) and son (Jesus) were prophets or merely for the fact that in Jewish tradition children are remembered by their mother's name e.g.[27]

20:94. (Aaron [addressing his brother, Moses]) said, `O son of my mother! do not hold me by my beard nor (pull me) by my head. (If I was not strict to them it was because) I was afraid lest you should say, "You have caused a disruption among the Children of Israel and did not preserve my word".' [28]

In the above verse, by addressing each other, in Jewish tradition, via their mother did not mean that Moses and Aaron did not have a father.

On the contrary, in Arab tradition, children are usually identified by their father's name unless the mother holds a prominent position, which does not mean either that they do not have mothers or fathers respectively. With changing times and customs, due to children out of wedlock in the present day Western cultures, it would be odd if someone is asked about their fathers. For them it is more prudent and socially acceptable to ask of their mothers. It does not imply that they do not have their fathers.

David is mentioned in Quran of having a son, Solomon, while there is no mention of David’s wife. Does it mean that Solomon came into this world without having a mother?

38:30. And We gave (a pious son like) Solomon to David. How excellent a servant (of Ours) he was! For he turned to Us in obedience and repentance again and again.[29]

Quran refers to Mary as daughter of Amran (the father of Moses and Aaron) while it does not mention father of Asiya, the Phaoah's wife, which in turn does not mean that Asiya had no father – see v. 66:11-12 below.[30]

66:11. And Allâh compares those who believe to the wife of Pharaoh [– Asiya]. Behold! she said, `My Lord! make for me an abode in the Garden (of Paradise) close to You and deliver me from Pharaoh and his work and deliver me from the wrongdoing people.[31]

The chastity of mother naturally has a bearing on her children:

66:12. And Allâh (next compares the believers to) Mary, the daughter of Amrân, she who took care to guard her chastity, so We breathed into him (the believer who is exemplified here) Our inspiration, while she declared her faith in the revelations of her Lord and His Scriptures and she became of the devoted ones to prayers and obedient to Him.[32] [Emphasis added].

In the above verse in context of a believer, including Jesus, with Mary as an example of purity, note the use of the term him, the male gender rather than her. This removes any misconceptions of 'immaculate' impregnation of Mary without a husband, rather affirms an 'immaculate' Jesus because We breathed into him [, not her,] Our inspiration. Additionally, Jesus was already-existing as an individual from parental conjugation, when We breathed into him Our inspiration after which he became 'immaculate'. This is the same immaculate birth of each human that Quran mentions elsewhere as well:

32:7. Who made perfectly well all that He created. And He originated the creation of a human being from clay.
32:8. Then He created his seed from an extract of an insignificant fluid (derived by his consuming food produced from clay or soil).
32:9. Then He endowed him with perfect faculties (of head and heart in accordance with what he is meant to be) and breathed into him of His spirit (thus made him the recipient of the Divine word). And He has given you hearing, eyes and hearts. Yet little are the thanks you give.[33]

The reason as to why Jesus is mentioned as son of Mary in Quran is quite eloquently explained in the following excerpt:

The mere fact that no mention is made, in the Holy Quran, of Jesus' father is not sufficient to show that he had no human father. No mention is likewise made of the father of Moses, nor of the the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Does it follow, then, that they had no human fathers? The Holy Quran is not a book on genealogy to have kept such a record. Jesus has purposefully been called Ibn-i-Maryam (son of Mary) in the Holy Quran. With this single stroke it has overturned and demolished the Christian doctrine of the Divinity of Jesus. It is written in The Book of Job (Old Testament), How can he be clean that is born of a woman? (25:4). The Quran, arguing ad hominem, said unto the Christians that Jesus, having been born of a woman (Mary), could not even be clean, much less to be regarded as a Divine Being Who is above every kind of uncleanliness and impurity.[34]

Thus, by calling Jesus as son of Mary is another example where The Qur'an is the Watcher over the old Scriptures and guards the Truth in them:

5:48. To you (O Messenger) We have sent the Book in Sure Truth confirming the Divine Origin of whatever Scripture [besides Torah, Zabur and Bible, Zend Avesta, Bhagavad Gita, Tipitaka, Tao Te Ching etc.] was before it. The Qur'an is the Watcher over the old Scriptures and guards the Truth in them.
5:15. O people of the Scripture! Our Messenger, who has come to you, unfolds many teachings of the Scripture which you had kept hidden, and many a thing he passes over. There has come to you, indeed, from Allâh a Light and the perspicuous Book (–the Qur'ân) that distinguishes the right from the wrong.[35]

The subject matter of birth of Jesus is further explained in the book ‘Birth of Jesus’[36] by Dr. Basharat Ahmad, that reader may refer to as well.
 


[1] Al-Anam – The Cattle: Nooruddin
[2] al Imran – The Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[3] Matthew 1:18-25
[4] – Mark 6:3. Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him. [New King James Version]
– Matthew 13:55. Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? [New King James Version]
– John 7:3. His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. [New King James Version]
[5] al Imran – The Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[6] Al-Ambiya – The Prophets: Nooruddin
[7] Al-Muminun – The Believers: Nooruddin
[8] al Imran – The Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[9] Al-Anam – The Cattle: Nooruddin
[10] This is a possible reference to the prevailing monasticism amongst the Israelites that Mary belonged to and later the Christians as well – 57:27. …And We placed compassion and mercy in the hearts of those who followed him [–Jesus], but as for monasticism they invented it themselves, We did not enjoin it upon them…. Al-Hadid – The Iron: Nooruddin.
[11] Maryam – Mary: Nooruddin
[12] Maryam – Mary: Nooruddin
[13] The observation is by Shabbir Ahmed.
[14] Mary, similar to Maya , the mother of Siddharta Gautama Buddha, apparently gave birth in the manner of holding on to tree limb to ease the pangs of labor – as depicted in a carving for the latter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_(mother_of_Buddha)#mediaviewer/File:SiddhartaBirth.jpg
[15] Maryam – Mary: Nooruddin
[16] Al-Muminun – The Believers: Nooruddin
[17] al Imran – The Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[18] Al-Zumar – The Multitudes: Nooruddin
[19] Al-Insan – The Human Being: Nooruddin
[20] al Imran – The Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[21] al Imran – The Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[22] Al-Ambiya – The Prophets: Nooruddin
[23] Maryam – Mary: Nooruddin
[24] Hud – Hud : Nooruddin
[25] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[26] Psalm 51:5. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. [New King James Version]. See also Romans 5:12-21, 1 Corinthians 15:22.
[27] al-ahmadiyya, p.16, March 1979
[28] Ta Ha – The Perfect Man! be at Rest: Nooruddin
[29] Sad – The Truthful God: Nooruddin
[30] al-ahmadiyya, ‘Jesus had a father’, p.10, January 1979
[31] Al-Tahrim – The Prohibition: Nooruddin
[32] Al-Tahrim – The Prohibition: Nooruddin
[33] Al-Sajdah – The Prostration: Nooruddin
[34] A Reply to the Christian Pamphlet – The History of Hadjie Abdoellah, p. 42-3, by Mirza Masum Beg B.A., Editor, 'The Light' Lahore.
[35] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[36] ‘Birth of Jesus’ by Dr. Basharat Ahmad, revised and edited by Imam Kalamazad Mohammed. Pub: 2005. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Literary Trust of Trinidad and Tobago.

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