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The virgin birth in Islam

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Muslims, Just like Christians believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. Some Christians often wonder what’s the significance and reasoning behind the virgin birth from the Islamic perspective, which we intend to explain in the following article.

The Quran mentions the virgin birth of Jesus saying:

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Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah;

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"He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be (of the company) of the righteous."

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She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touchedme?" He said: "Even so: Allah createth what He willeth: When He hath decreed a plan, He but saith to it, 'Be,' and it is!

Well known Islamic commentator, Ibn Kathir, gives the following explanation behind these verses, he writes:

Delivering the Good News to Maryam of `Isa's Birth

This Ayah contains the glad tidings the angels brought to Maryam that she would give birth to a mighty son who will have a great future. Allah said,

(Remember) when the angels said: "O Maryam! Verily, Allah gives you the glad tidings of a Word from Him,) a son who will come into existence with a word from Allah, `Be', and he was. This is the meaning of Allah's statement (about Yahya)

(Believing in the Word from Allah.) [3:39], according to the majority of the scholars.

(His name will be Al-Masih, `Isa, the son of Maryam) and he will be known by this name in this life, especially by the believers. `Isa was called "Al-Masih'' (the Messiah) because when he touched (Mash) those afflicted with an illness, they would be healed by Allah's leave. Allah's statement,

Isa, the son of Maryam) relates `Isa to his mother, because he did not have a father.

Held in honor in this world and in the Hereafter, and will be one of those who are near to Allah.) meaning, he will be a leader and honored by Allah in this life, because of the Law that Allah will reveal to him, sending down the Scripture to him, along with the other bounties that Allah will grant him with. `Isa will be honored in the Hereafter and will intercede with Allah, by His leave, on behalf of some people, just as is the case with his brethren the mighty Messengers of Allah, peace be upon them all.

`Isa was Created Without a Father

When Maryam heard the good news that the angels conveyed from Allah, she said;

(“O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me.'')

Mary said, "How can I have a son while I did not marry, nor intend to marry, nor am I an indecent woman, may Allah forbid'' The angel conveyed to Maryam, Allah's answer,

(So (it will be) for Allah creates what He wills.)

He is Mighty in power and nothing escapes His ability. Allah used the word `create' here instead of the word `does' as in the tale about Zakariyya [3:40], to eradicate any evil thought concerning `Isa. Allah next emphasized this fact when He said,

(When He has decreed something, He says to it only: "Be! ? and it is.) meaning, what Allah wills, comes into existence instantly and without delay. In another Ayah, Allah said,

(And Our commandment is but one as the twinkling of an eye.) [54:50], meaning, "We only issue the command once, and it comes into existence instantly, as fast as, and faster than, a blink of the eye. ''

So the Islamic reasoning behind the virgin birth is to show God’s strength and how he can do what he wills whenever he wills, he just says be and it is. As the commentary says, he is mighty in power and nothing escapes his ability, so this is showing that God is able to do all things, including a birth of a child with no father in the case of Jesus, and also a birth of a child with no father and mother, such as in the case of Adam. It’s a sign and miracle for the people to witness.

The Quran touches on the virgin birth again in Surah Maryam:

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Relate in the Book (the story of) Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place in the East.

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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

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She said: "I seek refuge from thee to (Allah) Most Gracious: (come not near) if thou dost fear Allah."

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He said: "Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son.

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

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He said: "So (it will be): Thy Lord saith, 'that is easy for Me: and (We wish) toappoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us':It is a matter (so) decreed

Here we see why God carried out the virgin birth, as verse 21 says, God wanted to make Jesus as a sign for the people. What this basically means is that God wanted the virgin birth to signify a mighty miracle and mighty proof and sign from God. A virgin birth is something impossible and unthinkable, so what better proof do we need than the existence of a divine being and creator than a virgin birth occurring? This was a very strong proof and sign for the people of Jesus’ time, and those of future generations.

So in conclusion, the Islamic perspective on the virgin birth of Jesus was that it was a miraculous deed done by God, as a sign to Jesus’ people, and as a sign to future generations, a sign displaying God’s power and strength. A sign showing Jesus’ special place, as well as the fact that Jesus was sent by God with a divine message.

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