Christmas is a festival foreign to both the Qur’an and the Bible. But like the Bible the Qur’an speaks about the virgin birth of Jesus, it calls Jesus the second Adam and the Word of God, Spirit from God and Word of Truth. It acknowledges His divinity and preexistence saying that Jesus was God’s word sent to Mary. Obviously, in order to reach her, He had to exist before His conception. The many Qur’anic verses that seem to deny Christ’s divinity, do in reality warn us not to dehumanize Him.
At Christmas the western world appears to celebrate Christ’s birthday. Yet the real date is unknown. Instead they celebrate the festival of the winter solstice on December 25, which is the birthday of the sun god Mitra or Sol Invictus. Because from that time on the days on the northern hemisphere become longer again.
In Islam no feast is celebrated according to the solar calendar. All feast days are determined by the lunar calendar. Thus new year and all the other festivals move every year a little backward traveling through the whole solar year. This is one way of many by which Islam underscores his utter rejection of the solar worship.
About the birth of Jesus the Qur’an reports how the angel Gabriel appears to Mary and she says in horror: “O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has ever touched me?” (Al ‘Emrān 3:47) The Qur’an says that she gave birth to Jesus as a virgin. Therefore He did not have a direct genetical father. “And that woman who had kept her chastity, we breathed into her of our spirit and made her and her son a sign to the whole world.” (al-Anbiyā 21:91; 66:12) As the Bible said: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35) “Son of God” was to the Jews since the times of David an honorific title of the Messiah.
Jesus is the second Adam
By this »inspiration« of the spirit, which the Qur’an speaks about, the life of the second Adam began: “Surely before God the parable of Jesus is like the parable of Adam, whom He created out of dust, and then said: Be!, and he was.” (Al ‘Emrān 3:59) Paul also writes: “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” (1. Corinthians 15:45)
Jesus was sent to Mary
But Paul adds: “The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.” (1. Corinthians 15:47 ESV) The Qur’an also knows about Christ’s preexistence: “Truly, the Messiah Jesus, Son of Mary is God’s messenger and His word that He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him.” (an-Nisā’ 4:171) More and more Muslims see in this verse that Jesus must already have existed before His conception. Else, how should God have sent Him to Mary? The Qur’an calls Jesus in this verse clearly: Word of God as the Bible says in Revelation 19:13: “His name is called The Word of God.”
Also in another verse the Qur’an confirms: “This is Jesus, Son of Mary, the word of truth concerning which they are in doubt.” (Maryam 19:34) This is a Biblical concept, because Jesus said: “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35) “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
Does the Qur’an deny Christ’s divinity?
Christ’s preexistence and divinity are part of the message of the Qur’an, but this is mostly overlooked because there are many verses speaking out against dehumanizing Christ. Yet the Qur’an sees in Jesus God’s Word and Spirit from Him. Therefore Jesus cannot be only of human nature.
Yet Christians have dehumanized Christ in such a way that Christ became their “new” God who superseded the “old” God in an antisemitic way including His laws (Sabbath and dietary laws, prohibition of images and alcohol), including his promises (to Ishmael and Israel). Christians Christianized (baptized) disobedience and all sorts of sins including idolatry and gambling. They did no longer prostrate before the One God, yet the prayed to numerous saints, especially to Mary. Even in Protestantism of today Christ’s sinless life is considered to be utopian by and large because His dehumanized nature seemingly prevented Him from being as temptable as we are.
We will look closer into the Qur’anic verses that warn us not to dehumanize Christ in the newsletter coming up.
Along these lines I wish all readers a safe weathering of the winter solstice and an eye for the bigger picture. May Allah guide us and our loved ones on the right path that was prepared by Jesus, yes that even is Jesus Himself.