12.09.2006

Questions, questions.

So I'm researching for this project for class, and I'm checking out the Koran, to see what I can see, and I stumbled on this:

Sura XIX: Mary (Revealed at Mecca)

Kaf. Ha. Ya. A'in. Sad. [several little carats, etc. left out because I don't know how to do them]
A mention of the mercy of thy Lord unto His servant Zachariah.
When he cried unto his Lord a cry in secret,
Saying: My Lord! Lo! the bones of me wax feeble and my head is shining with grey hair, and I have never been unblest in prayer to Thee, my Lord.
Lo! I fear my kinsfolk after me, since my wife is barren.
Oh, give me from Thy presence a successor
Who shall inherit of me and inherit (also) of the house of Jacob. And make him, my Lord, acceptable (unto Thee).
(It was said unto him): O Zachariah! Lo! We bring thee tidings of a son whose name is John; We have given the same name to none before (him).
He said: My Lord! How can I have a son when my wife is barren and I have reached infirm old age?
He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me, even as I created thee before, when thou wast naught.
He said: My Lord! Appoint for me some token. He said: Thy token is that thou, with no bodily defect, shalt not speak unto man three nights.
Then he came forth unto his people from the sanctuary and signified to them: Glorify your Lord at break of day and fall of night.
(And it was said unto his son): Oh John! Hold fast the Scripture. And We gave him wisdom when a child.
And compassion from Our presence, and purity; and he was devout,
And dutiful toward his parents. And he was not arrogant, rebellious.
Peace on him the day he was born, and the day he dieth, and the day he shall be raised alive!
And make mention of Mary in the Scripture, when she had withdrawn from her people to a chamber looking East,
And had chosen seclusion from them. Then We sent unto her Our spirit and it assumed for her the likeness of a perfect man.
She said: Lo! I seek refuge in the Beneficent One from thee, if thou art God-fearing.
He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow upon thee a faultless son.
She said: How can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste?
He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained.
And she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a far place.
And the pangs of childbirth drove her unto the trunk of the palm tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died ere this and had become a thing of naught, forgotten!
Then (one) cried unto her from below her, saying: Grieve not! Thy Lord hath placed a rivulet beneath thee.
And shake the trunk of the palm-tree toward thee, thou wilt cause ripe dates to fall upon thee.
So eat and drink and be consoled. And if thou meetest any mortal, say: Lo! I have vowed a fast unto the Beneficent, and may not speak this day to any mortal.
Then she brought him to her own folk, carrying him. They said: O Mary! Thou hast come with an amazing thing. Oh sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a wicked man nor was thy mother a harlot.
Then she pointed to him. They said: How can we talk to one who is in the cradle, a young boy?
He spake: Lo! I am the slave of Allah. He hath given me the Scripture and hath appointed me a Prophet,
And hath made me blessed wheresoever I may be, and hath enjoined upon me prayer and alms-giving so long as I remain alive,
And (hath made me) dutiful toward her who bore me, and hath not made me arrogant, unblest.
Peace on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!
Such was Jesus, son of Mary: (this is ) a statement of truth concerning which they doubt.
It befitteth not (the Majesty of) Allah that He should take unto Himself a son. Glory be to Him! When He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is.

That's just the first thirty-five lines, according to the translation I have. But I think it's pretty interesting. Jesus says from the cradle, "Peace on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!" As far as I know, Muslims generally deny the death of Christ on the cross, sometimes saying that God substituted Judas for Him at the last moment (which raises its own set of questions, such as: Is God duplicitous?), and that Jesus was taken bodily into heaven (see Sura III--it's vague, but I believe that's the prooftext) instead of dying. But the writings on Jesus make it pretty clear that He was a prophet, and just after birth He prophesied that He would die and live again. If He did not die, then He was a liar from birth and no prophet. The test of a prophet for the People of the Book has always been that 100% of the man's word would come true; the Torah explicitly said to kill a prophet whose word did not come true. It's a high standard, but it's really the only standard that can make sense. If Jesus said He would die and live again, but if He never died, then He was not a prophet. If the Koran called Him a prophet, but He could not stand to the test of a prophet, then does the Koran lie? If Jesus said in the Koran that He would die, how can Muslims deny His death on the cross?

Portions of the Koran taken from:
Pickthall, Mohammed Marmaduke. The Meaning of the Glorious Koran: An Explanatory Translation. New York: The New American Library, date unknown.

1 comment:

John said...

Hey, someone here told me the other day they thought the Bible said where Mary went after Jesus died and rose again.

I think I just read where they got that idea, "And make mention of Mary in the Scripture, when she had withdrawn from her people to a chamber looking East..."

Thanks for clearing that up =)

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