To An-Nasarah, with Love

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// December 25th, 2006 // Blog

I came across some very beautiful verses from the Qur'an recently. I felt the reminder was quite relevant for the type of bloggers i seem to be engaging with these days.

The people i am referring to are Christians, and the verses are these:

Strongest among men in enmity to the believers will you find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers will you find those who say, “We are Christians”: because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant. And when they listen to the revelation received by the Messenger, you will see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognise the truth: they pray: “Our Lord! we believe; write us down among the witnesses. What cause can we have not to believe in Allāh and the truth which has come to us, seeing that we long for our Lord to admit us to the company of the righteous?”. And for this their prayer has Allāh rewarded them with gardens, with rivers flowing underneath – their eternal home. Such is the recompense of those who do good. But those who reject Faith and belie our Signs – they shall be companions of Hell-fire.
[The Qur'an, Al-Maeda: 82-86]

From my own experience, i have perceived that those who strive to base their lives on the teachings of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) are often compassionate and humble folk. As a Muslim who struggles to perfect her own character based upon the noble example of Muhammad (peace be upon him) i appreciate the effort they exert towards self-improvement.

Before people start reminding me about the Crusades and other more recent clashes between the Muslim and Christian worlds, i'd like to remind them that Christianity and Islam hold the two top slots in the league table of world religions – that's a heck of a load of people! Something like half the planet's population altogether. It would be naive to expect so many people to get on with eachother at every level, all the time – especially as most of us fall short of practising the altruistic ideals of our respective religions. When people can't even get on with their own blood relatives, it's a bit rich to be picking on three billion strangers. Human beings will always be at war; secularising the world won't cure us of this blood lust. It is a disease that can only be cured by a genuine fear of God and of His Final Judgement upon us; the strongest encouragement known for dealing justly with our neighbours, whatever their creed.

Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Exchange gifts and mutual love arises” (Ibn 'Asakir). Thus in order to increase the lurve between us, i thought i would give my Christian brethren a “gift” which is fitting for the time of year. One that will hopefully reveal how much we share in our love for Christ (peace be upon him).

To TIO, Dan, the guy with the megaphone who proclaims the “Good News” outside Stratford tube station everyday come rain or shine, my long-time friend KGB, my old school friends Anna and Mary, the dispersed nuns of the convent school i attended many years ago, and to any other Christians i have known and will come to know… this is for you!

***

The Family of Imran – As Narrated in the Qur'an

Surah Aal-e-Imraan, 33-41

Allāh did choose Adam and Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of Imran above all people, Offspring, one of the other: And Allāh hears and knows all things.

Behold! a woman of 'Imran said: “O my Lord! I do dedicate unto You what is in my womb for Your special service: So accept this of me: For You hear and know all things.”

When she was delivered, she said: “O my Lord! Behold! I am delivered of a female child!” – and Allāh knew best what she brought forth – “And no wise is the male like the female. I have named her Mary, and I commend her and her offspring to Your protection from the Evil One, the Rejected.”

Right graciously did her Lord accept her: He made her grow in purity and beauty: To the care of Zakariya was she assigned. Every time that he entered (her) chamber to see her, He found her supplied with sustenance.

He said: “From where have you got this?”

She said: “From Allāh, for Allāh Provides sustenance to whom He pleases without measure.”

There did Zakariya pray to his Lord, saying: “O my Lord! Grant unto me from You a progeny that is pure: for You are He that hears prayer!”

While he was standing in prayer in the chamber, the angels called unto him: “(Allāh) does give you glad tidings of Yahya [John], witnessing the truth of a Word from Allāh, noble, chaste, and a prophet – of the (goodly) company of the righteous.”

He said: “O my lord! How shall I have a son seeing I am very old and my wife is barren?”.

“Thus” was the answer “does Allāh accomplish what He wills.”

He said: “O my Lord! Give me a Sign!”

“Thy Sign,” was the answer, “Shall be that you shall speak to no man for three days but with signals. Then celebrate the praises of thy Lord again and again, and glorify Him in the evening and in the morning.”

Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allāh has chosen you and purified you – chosen you above the women of all nations.

“O Mary! Worship your Lord devoutly: Prostrate yourself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down.”

This is part of the tidings of the things unseen, which We reveal unto thee (O Messenger) by inspiration: You were not with them when they cast lots with arrows, as to which of them should be charged with the care of Mary: Nor were you with them when they disputed (the point).

***

The Nativity – As Narrated in the Qur'an

Surah Maryam, 16-34

Relate in the Book (the story of) Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place in the East. She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent her our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects.

She said: “I seek refuge from you to Allāh, Most Gracious: (come not near) if you do fear Allāh.”

He said: “No, I am only a messenger from your Lord, (to announce) to you the gift of a holy son.”

She said: “How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?”

He said: “So (it will be): Your Lord said: 'that is easy for Me, and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us': It is a matter (so) decreed.”

So she conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree: She cried (in her anguish): “Ah! would that I had died before this! Would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight!”

But (a voice) cried to her from beneath the (palm-tree):
“Grieve not! For your Lord has provided a rivulet beneath you; And shake towards yourself the trunk of the palm-tree: It will let fall fresh ripe dates upon you. So eat and drink and cool (your) eye. And if you see any man, say, 'I have vowed a fast to Allāh, Most Gracious, and this day will I enter into no talk with any human being'”.

At length she brought the (babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms).

They said: “O Mary! truly an amazing thing have you brought! O sister of Aaron! Your father was not a man of evil, nor your mother a woman unchaste!”.

But she pointed to the babe.

They said: “How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?”.

He [the baby] said:
I am indeed a servant of Allāh. He has given me revelation and made me a prophet; And He has made me blessed wheresoever I be, and has enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live; (He) has made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable; So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)!”.

Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute.

***

The Miracles of Jesus – as Narrated in the Qur'an

Al-Maeda, 110-111

Then will Allāh say:
“O Jesus the son of Mary! Recount My favour to you and to your mother.

Behold! I strengthened you with the Holy Spirit [the Angel Gabriel], so that you spoke to the people in childhood and in maturity.

Behold! I taught you the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel,

And behold! You made out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My leave, and you breathed into it and it became a bird by My leave, and you healed those born blind, and the lepers, by My leave.

And behold! you bring forth the dead by My leave.

And behold! I did restrain the Children of Israel from (violence to) you when you showed them the clear Signs, and the unbelievers among them said: 'This is nothing but evident magic.'

And behold! I inspired the disciples to have faith in Me and My Messenger.

They said: 'We have faith, and do you bear witness that we bow to Allāh as Muslims'”.

***

Say: “O people of the Book (Jews and Christians): Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allāh, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allāh.

Then, if they turn away, say: “Bear witness that we are Muslims.

[Quran 3:64]

One Response to “To An-Nasarah, with Love”

  1. Sumera says:

    Lovely reminder. Too often we focus on the small differences and forget about the larger similarities – :)

    The account of Isa (as), Maryam (as) is so touching and heart warming.

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