It warms my heart that the “Christmas story” as told in the Bible is also found in the Qur’an. Here it is:
The Christmas story begins in Chapter 19, aptly named Mary. The Qur’an (19:16-17) begins, “Recount in the Book how Mary withdrew from her people to an eastern place and kept herself in seclusion from them.”
“We sent her Our angel, who presented himself to her as a full-grown human being. When she saw him, she said, ‘I seek refuge in the compassionate God from you; [do not come here] if you fear the Lord’” (Qur’an 19:17-18). That angel is Angel Gabriel, who visited Prophet Muhammad many times, most famously for the first time on Mount Hira in 615. That moment began the revelation of the Qur’an.
Angel Gabriel replied, “I am only the messenger of your Lord. I shall bestow upon you the gift of a son [Jesus] endowed with purity” (Qur’an 19:19). While the Qur’an does not say that Jesus is God, he is nevertheless venerated as a prophet and Christ.
Mary responded, “How can I have a son when no man has touched me; and neither have I been unchaste?” (Qur’an 19: 20). Gabriel replied, “So shall it be, your Lord says, ‘This is easy for Me; and We shall make [Jesus] a sign to people and a blessing, from Us. This has been decreed’” (Qur’an 19: 21).
The Qur’an (19:22) proceeds, “So [Mary] conceived him and withdrew with him to a distant place.” Then, “… she brought him to her people. They said, ‘O Mary, you have indeed done something terrible!” (Qur’an 19:27).
At this point Mary then pointed to Jesus, who said, “I am God’s servant. He has given me the Book and made me a prophet; He has made me blessed wherever I may be, and has enjoined upon me prayer and almsgiving throughout my life” (Qur’an 19:30-31).
Jesus continued as noted in Qur’an (19:32-33), “[God] has made me dutiful toward my mother, and He has not made me arrogant or wicked. Blessed was I on the day I was born, and blessed I shall be on the day I die and on the day I am raised to life again.”
In summary, Mary is a pious woman who committed herself in service to God. The Qur’an also attributes the miraculous birth of Jesus as only possible due to the will of God.
I hope this short post reminds you of the bonds between the Bible and the Qur’an and between Christians and Muslims.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas.