Birth of Jesus
| Translators Note:
This issue had to be dealt with in our evidence
since the defendants had pleaded that Lahore Ahmadis are kafir
because they reject the virgin birth of Jesus, and believe that
he was conceived by Mary in wedlock through her husband. This Section
shows that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad himself believed in the virgin
birth, as do the defendants, and therefore this argument cannot
be used against him (16.1:1). As regards the Lahore
Ahmadiyya view, it must be pointed out that belief in the virgin
birth of Jesus is by no means a fundamental of the Islamic faith,
nor is it conclusively proven from the Holy Quran. It is shown here
that Hazrat Mirza gave his followers freedom to deduce from the
Quran that Jesus had a father. He told enquirers that his own belief
on this issue was purely personal, based on following the majority
Muslim view, rather than on any specific Divine guidance (16.1:6).
The Section then gives detailed arguments from
the Quran and Hadith to show the grounds for believing that Jesus
had a father (16.2). It goes on to quote the
views of many Muslim scholars who either did not accept the virgin
birth, or considered it permissible in Islam to reject this belief
(16.3). Then the opinions held by prominent followers
of Hazrat Mirza are given, also showing that it is by no means
essential to believe in the virgin birth (16.4).
At the end, the Lahore Ahmadiyya position is set out as given
by Maulana Muhammad Ali (16.4:iii): Whichever
view of the birth of Jesus a person takes, it does not affect
his faith or practice of Islam in any way.
16.1: Views of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam
From the very beginning, Muslims have differed on the issue of the birth
of Jesus. Some believe that he was born without the agency of a father,
while others hold that he did have a father. This is not an issue of faith
but an issue of history. Accepting Jesus as a prophet is what is required
of a Muslim in terms of faith.
1. As regards our Imam, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam
Ahmad, he personally believed that Jesus was born without the agency
of a father. He wrote:
- One of the doctrines we hold is that Jesus Christ and John
the Baptist were both born miraculously. ... And the secret in creating
Jesus and John in this manner was the manifestation of a great sign.
... And the first thing He [God] did to bring this about was the creation
of Jesus without a father through the manifestation of Divine power
only. (Mawahib ar-Rahman, pp. 70 72)
- The ground on which this is based is his [Jesus Christs]
creation without the agency of a human father, and the detail of this
is that a certain section of the Jews, i.e. the Sadducees, were deniers
of the Resurrection, so God informed them through some of His prophets
that a son from among their community would be born without a father,
and this would be a sign of the truth of Resurrection. (Hamamat
al-Bushra, p. 90)
- The [Arya Samajist] lecturer also objected to Mary bearing
a child by the Holy Spirit and to Jesus being born from Mary alone.
The reply is that this was done by the same God who, according to
the Arya Samaj teachings, creates millions of people in the beginning
of every new creation, just as vegetables grow out of the earth. If,
according to the Vedic teachings, God has created the world millions
of times, nay times without number, in this manner, and there was
no need that men and women should unite together in order that a child
should be born, where is the harm if Jesus Christ was born similarly?
(Chashma Marifat, p. 217)
2. Exactly the same view was advanced by Shah Wali-ullah of
Delhi in his book Taweel al-Ahadith, written in the eighteenth
3. When Master Imam-ud-Din of Gujrat was about
to write his book Al-Tanqih fi wilada-tul-Masih, in which he
proved Jesus to have a father, he wrote letters to various Muslim theologians
including Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, asking for their opinion on this
issue. By order of Hazrat Mirza, the following reply was sent:
In reply to your post-card of 19 September 1894, it is stated
that at the present time the Promised Messiah is engaged on such important
religious matters that he cannot devote his attention elsewhere. He
says that if the Almighty God were to reveal something to him about
this, you would certainly be informed. Ones concentration does
not work under ones own direction. When God wishes to reveal
something in the interest of mankind, He directs His servants
attention towards that point.
Those who come from God do not say or do anything without the command
of God. Hence Hazrat Mirza replied that God had not disclosed anything
to him about the birth of Jesus. If God were to reveal something, he would
let him know.
Yours humbly, Abdul Karim, Qadian, 23 September 1894.
4. Hazrat Mirza was also a great research scholar. Apart from
expressing his personal beliefs on this point, he also wrote about the
Law of Creation in a general context as follows:
- Man originally was not created from sperm, but one being was
created from another. After that, the second law took effect, by which
human beings are created from sperm. (Chashma Marifa,
- Every human being is born of a male and a female. If you
follow this chain to its origin, then mankind will prove to have descended
from Adam and his wife. (10 June 1903)
- Every sensible person must admit that the first era was a
period of pure Divine creation, when the general law prevailing was
that everything was accomplished without means. ... To draw a parallel
between that era and the circumstances of the present times is not
correct; for instance, no child is now born without a mother and a
father. If, however, mans creation in the beginning had depended
upon the pre-existence of parents, how would the world have come into
being? (Barahin Ahmadiyya, Part IV, p. 335)
5. When refuting certain exaggerated beliefs about Jesus, Hazrat
Mirza made the following points for the purposes of argument:
- Jesus worked with his father Joseph for 22 years as a carpenter.
(Izala Auham, footnote, p. 303)
- One should not at all be surprised that Jesus, like his paternal
grandfather Solomon, may have shown this miracle of wisdom to the
opponents of the time. (ibid., p. 304)
- The Christians cannot stand their ground against Islam because
they have taken as god a man who had a father, four brothers and two
sisters, and was constantly persecuted by the Jews. (Ruhani
Khazain, No. 2, vol. x, p. 53)
6. As the question of the birth of Jesus is
not decided conclusively in the Holy Quran, but ambiguously, when people
read this scripture some draw one conclusion and some take the opposite
view. Hazrat Mirza undoubtedly held the belief personally that Jesus
was born without the agency of a father, but he gave his followers freedom
in interpreting the Quran. This is why they had the best understanding
of the Holy Book. As a result of this freedom, some even differed with
Hazrat Mirza himself on some points. In his life-time, some of his followers
held the belief that Jesus had a father (for instance, his right-hand
man and successor Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din, for whose views see 16.4).
Hazrat Mirza always showed tolerance and broadmindedness, as shown by
the following recorded incident:
Once Hazrat Mirza asked Shaikh Qamar-ud-Din of Jhelum to show
him the verses of the Quran from which the Shaikh had concluded that
Jesus had a father. At first, the Shaikh sahib, out of respect for
Hazrat Mirza, remained silent. But upon Hazrat Mirza repeating the
question, he mentioned the arguments from the Quran that he knew.
Hearing the arguments, Hazrat Mirza said: Your arguments
are certainly strong, but until God gives me to understand this point,
I will follow the views of the majority of Muslims. ...
Hazrat Mirza said to Hakim Fazal Din [who had complained about Shaikh
sahibs belief]: How can you declare as heretic someone
who bases his arguments on the Quran? (Mujaddid
Azam, Life of Hazrat Mirza, vol. ii, p. 1342)
16.2: Arguments from Holy Quran and
I. LAW OF CREATION
One law of creation by God relates to the beginning when nothing existed.
This law, by which God brought things into being originally, is known
in the terminology of the Holy Quran as the law of Ibda (or
origination). It is a manifestation of His Divine power, and only
He knows how the creation was originated in the beginning. After that,
the second means of creation began, by which God created everything from
a pair. This second law of creation is termed the law of Iada
(reproduction or repetition) or the law of Zauj (pairing).
These laws have been referred to in the Holy Quran as follows.
1. The Laws of Origination and Reproduction
- Surely He originates the creation and reproduces it.
(The Holy Quran, 85:13)
- God originates the creation, then reproduces it, then to
Him will you be returned. (30:11)
2. The Law of Zauj or Pairs
The male-female pairs in man and animals cause the species to propagate.
- Glory be to Him Who created all the pairs, of what the earth
grows, and of their own selves, and of that which they do not know.
- He has created for you pairs from amongst yourselves, and
pairs from amongst cattle. Thus does He cause you to spread.
- And We have created you as pairs. (78:8)
3. The Divine Law of Human Birth
This is the law relating to the creation or birth of a human being as
set forth by God in the Holy Quran. No human child can be born contrary
to this law of pairs.
- Then [after the first creation] He made his progeny from an
extract of insignificant water [i.e. sperm]. (32:8)
- Surely We have created man from sperm mixed [with ovum].
- O people! Surely We have created you from a male and female.
- Let man see what he has been created from. He is created
of water pouring forth, coming from between the back and the ribs.
- Surely He has created the pairs, the male and the female,
from the sperm when it is cast. (53:45,46)
4. No Change in Divine Laws
And you will not find any change in the laws of God.
Neither Jesus nor anyone else is outside this law of God, since the Holy
Quran considers Jesus to be a mortal messenger. This is the first ground
for holding that the birth of Jesus in fact took place under the law of
pairs, as is the case with other human beings, and he was not born without
a father. Let alone the question of a human individual being born without
a mother or father, if it is supposed for the sake of argument that God
could have a son, even that could not happen without the law of pairs,
as the Holy Quran says: How could God have a son when He has no
As God has clearly laid down in the Holy Quran His law of creation
by pairs, unless He equally clearly states that He created Jesus, or
some other individual, in contradiction to this law in a novel manner,
one must accept that the means by which God brought about his birth
were all according to the law of pairs. The issue here is not
the unlimited power of God, as to whether He can create a human
being without a father, for He has the power to create a human being
even without a single parent. The question is only whether it can be
proved from the Holy Quran and authentic Traditions of the Holy Prophet
Muhammad that God caused Jesus to be born without a father. When God
Himself explains a law of creation through pairs, then unless He also
says that He demonstrated His power by going against that law in a specific
case, we cannot take any event as infringing that law. Our community
does not give any importance to this particular issue (of the birth
of Jesus); nonetheless, it is the duty of every Muslim to make known
his sincerely and honestly drawn conclusions from the Holy Quran. Believing
Jesus to have had a father or to have been born of a virgin does not
affect our religious beliefs at all, because the issue of Jesus
birth has no place in the fundamentals of the Islamic faith.
As with other prophets, the prophethood of Jesus too must be acknowledged
by a Muslim. The details of how and where he was born, where he spent
his life, and where he died, are not constituents of faith. These are
historical questions, knowledge of which can be acquired by research.
In fact, modern research about Jesus has progressed so much that matters
previously unknown are no longer secrets. Muslims and Christians have
written hundreds of books on these topics.
II. BIRTH OF JESUS IN QURAN AND HADITH
1. Birth of Jesus in the Holy Quran
The first chapter of the Holy Quran to deal with the birth of Jesus is
The Family of Amran, chapter 3 of the Holy Book. At the outset
(3:6) this chapter teaches Muslims the principle that some verses of the
Holy Quran are decisive or basic, and some others
are allegorical, figurative, or not clear-cut,
and that the latter type of verse should be interpreted according to the
definite, unambiguous teachings of the former type of verse.
At the beginning of the chapter, God has mentioned the spiritual blessings
of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, that only those who follow the Holy Prophet
shall be loved by God. In support of this claim, the example of Mary,
the mother of Jesus, is cited to show how in former times an Israelite
woman attained nearness to God by following a prophet. Then the Holy
Quran mentions the spiritual favours Mary received due to her following
of her prophet.
In the history of Mary recorded here, the Holy Quran has given three
main points of guidance to Muslims. Firstly, the Holy Prophet Muhammad
is commanded to announce to people: If you love God then follow
me. God will love you and forgive you your sins (3:31). It is
conveyed in this verse that those who follow the Holy Prophet shall
become the lovers and the beloved of God. To prove this assertion, the
Quran adds that if you study the histories of the great prophets, such
as Noah, Abraham and Moses, you find that amongst their followers there
arose many men and women who were loved by God, who were spoken to by
Him and guided by Him at every step. The example given is that of Mary.
The verses point to her purity of character and devotion to God, even
during her childhood and youth. Due to her piety and righteousness,
angels used to descend upon her and guide her by disclosing news of
the future. The Muslims are told that if they too want angels to descend
upon them, and God to speak to them and guide them at every step, like
Mary, they should become pure and devoted to worship. And if they follow
the Holy Prophet Muhammad perfectly, God would give them the spiritual
blessings He bestowed upon Mary. This is one reason for the Quran to
give the history of Mary at this point.
Secondly, when God grants His revelation and knowledge of the future
to His righteous servants, those people who are worldly-minded and have
gone astray from Divine guidance consider these revelations of the holy
ones to be based on the recipients own desires and make many false
accusations against the righteous servants of God, as the Jews did against
a lady as holy and pure as Mary. When God gave Mary, before her marriage,
the news of the birth to her of a great son, this revelation which gave
her comfort, and increased her faith, was used by the Jews to level
all sorts of false allegations against her. The Holy Quran refuted every
one of these charges and not only proved her to be pious, godly and
pure, but instituted among the Muslims an honour and title named after
her, so that whoever would follow the Holy Prophet Muhammad perfectly
and purify his character, in Gods sight he would be the like of
Mary or the like of the son of Mary. Thus did the Holy Quran not only
clear Mary of the Jews allegations against her, but bestowed upon
her a high regard in the religion of Islam. Many righteous saints have
there been amongst the Muslims who received from God the title Mary
and styled themselves as Mary or the son of Mary.
2. Prophets Ancestors in the Holy Quran
The Holy Quran has not just left the matter at explaining the law of procreation
through a pair of parents, but where it mentions the prophets collectively,
it states that they all had ancestors (on the fathers side). We
give below a translation of the Urdu rendering of verses 6:83 87
of the Holy Quran by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, a very famous Indian Muslim
scholar and writer of this century:
And (look), this was Our argument which We gave to Abraham
against his people. ... And We gave to Abraham, Isaac and (Isaacs
son) Jacob. We guided them all to the right way, and had guided Noah
before Abraham. And from the descendants of Abraham, We guided David,
Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron. Thus do We reward the doers
of good (for their good). And to Zacharias, John the Baptist, Jesus
and Ilyas all of these were of the righteous. And also to Ishmael,
Elisha, Jonah and Lot We graced them over the people of the
world. And of their fathers and descendants and brothers, many
did We guide aright. We elevated them and guided them to the right
In the above verses, amongst the prophets whose ancestors are mentioned
is included Jesus as having ancestors in the same manner as the other
prophets. Had Jesus been born without a father, he could not have been
mentioned amongst the prophets whose ancestors are referred to.
(Tarjuman al-Quran, vol. i, 1st ed., pp. 433 434)
3. Holy Prophet Muhammads explanation
After the Holy Quran, the next authority is the Holy Prophet Muhammad,
to whom this Book was revealed, and who had the best understanding of
its meanings. The whole world can err in interpreting a particular point
of the Holy Quran, but the Holy Prophet cannot. He is the premier commentator
of the Holy Quran, and an explanation given by him has precedence over
every other persons explanation. So the verdict that the Holy Prophet
gave on the birth of Jesus, during his discussion with the visiting Christian
delegation from Najran, must be considered by a Muslim to be the most
correct in this matter. This discussion is recorded as follows:
The commentators of the Holy Quran say that the delegation
[of Christians] from Najran came to the Holy Prophet. It consisted
of sixty mounted men, of whom fourteen were their prominent men. One
of them was called al-Aqib, who was their leader and whose real name
was Abdul Masih. ... A third was Abu Haritha ibn Alqamah, who was
their religious head. He was in charge of their schools, and was the
most respected of them. He had mastered all their literature, thus
acquiring a deep knowledge of their faith. The Roman [Byzantine] emperors
held him in high honour and had built churches in his name. These
people came for an audience with the Holy Prophet. ...
Therefore, in reply to the Christians questions as to who was Jesus
father, the Holy Prophet Muhammad silenced them and rendered them speechless
by expressing the view (as it appears to us) that Jesus had a father.
Had the Holy Prophet believed that Jesus was born of a virgin, he could
not have given this reply. This discussion between the Holy Prophet Muhammad
and the Christian delegation from Najran is recorded in almost all standard
classical commentaries of the Holy Quran such as Tafsir Ibn Jarir,
Tafsir Kabir, etc.
After their prayers, their leaders began talks with the Holy
Prophet. The Holy Prophet asked them to adopt Islam. They replied
that they were already following Islam. He told them that they were
wrong because they believed God to have a son, and that their worship
of the cross and eating the flesh of swine was contrary to Islam.
The Christian leaders replied that if Jesus was not the son of God,
then who was his father? Thus they continued to debate with the Holy
Prophet about Jesus. Eventually, the Holy Prophet asked them: Do
you not know that there is no son but he bears resemblance to his
father? They replied, Yes. He said: Do you
not know that our Lord maintains everything, guards and sustains it?
They replied, Yes. He said: Do you not know that
Jesus was conceived by a woman as women conceive, and she gave birth
to him as women give birth, and fed him as children are fed? And he
used to eat food, drink water, and answer the call of nature?
They replied, Yes. He said: Then how can your claim
be true. They could not answer and became silent.
(Asbab Nuzul al-Quran by Allama Abul Hasan Ali Neshapuri,
2nd edition, p. 53)
4. Marys marriage in the Holy Quran
After all this proof, there was no need to mention specifically events
such as Marys marriage, but to provide a conclusive argument to
the people of the world, the Holy Quran has also mentioned this. It tells
us that before Marys birth her mother had dedicated the child in
the womb to Divine service in the Temple. When Mary was born, her mother
prayed to God thus:
I have named her Mary, and I seek protection in Thee for her
and her offspring from the devil. (The Quran, 3:36)
From this prayer it appears that, despite the fact that she devoted Mary
to the Temple, it was not her intention that her daughter should remain
a spinster for life. Rather, she knew that on growing up Mary would marry
and have children. So she prayed not only for Mary but also for her offspring.
When Mary reached the age of training, her mother gave her in the charge
of Zacharias at the Temple. Under him she received the best spiritual
upbringing, and upon reaching youth, prayers were enjoined upon her. As
the Quran records:
O Mary! obey thy Lord, and prostrate and bow down with those
who bow down. (3:43)
After this, the Holy Quran mentions that guardianship about which there
arose a dispute. The Quran is a very orderly Book, and here all the events
are narrated in chronological sequence. First Marys birth is mentioned,
then her being entrusted to the charge of Zacharias, then her righteousness,
purity and saintliness, and then the command to her to obey God and keep
up prayer. These events lead up to her reaching adulthood. Then, that
guardianship is mentioned which means entering into matrimony. It was
necessary to deal with the question of marriage when a girl reached adulthood,
but as she had been devoted to the Temple, neither they, nor her parents
could propose a match. As was customary, it was decided by casting lots
as to who should take charge of her as his wife. Such a decision was believed
to be the Divine verdict. And as Mary was well-known for her piety and
noble character, it was natural that many should contend to have her as
While all these matters were being discussed, it was natural that,
hearing about them, all sorts of worries should arise in Marys
mind. So God set her mind at rest through His angels and gave her the
happy news of a great son. She expressed astonishment at this prophecy
in the words:
How can I have a son when no man has touched me, nor have
I been unchaste. (19:20)
As she was not married at the time, or because there were hindrances in
her way as one dedicated to the Temple, or because the sudden news of
a son before marriage would be astonishing for a virgin, Mary expressed
surprise as to how this would happen. The angel replied: God says,
It shall be so, i.e. it would be according to the natural law of
mating that is being referred to. In other words, all the obstacles will
be removed and she would be married, and the child would be born in the
chaste manner. This same point has been mentioned twice elsewhere in the
In these verses, Marys marriage is mentioned, for the Arabic word
ahsanat is used to mean marry. In the Holy Quran the words
muhsanat, muhsineen, and tahassun-an (all from the root
h-s-n) mean, respectively, married women, men who enter into
marriage with women, and to marry. In the light of this, the
words ahsanat farja-ha occurring in the above two verses mean that
Mary guarded her chastity by marriage.
- And Mary, daughter of Amran, who guarded her chastity [by
marriage ahsanat]. (66:12)
- And she who guarded her chastity [by marriage
It is incorrect to assert that these words mean that Mary guarded
her chastity by remaining a virgin. Muhammad Asad, a distinguished present-day
Muslim scholar, in his recently published English translation and commentary
of the Quran, entitled Message of the Quran, comments on these
words as follows:
... it is to be borne in mind that the term ihsan ...
has the tropical meaning of abstinence from what is unlawful
or reprehensible, and especially from illicit sexual intercourse
... thus, for instance, the terms muhsan and muhsanah
are used elsewhere in the Quran to describe, respectively, a man or
a woman who is fortified (by marriage) against unchastity.
Hence the expression allati ahsanat farjaha occurring in the
above verse as well as in 66:12 with reference to Mary, is but meant
to stress her outstanding chastity and complete abstinence, in thought
as well as deed, from anything unlawful or morally reprehensible.
Hence this expression is applicable to remaining chaste by marriage
as Asad says.
(Note 87 on verse 21:91, p. 500)
In short, the Holy Quran has discussed all aspects of the issue of
the birth of Jesus, without leaving anything out, and said, in our view,
that he was not born without a father, but had a father, as did
all prophets, and as do all human beings.
These are a few points of principle about Jesus birth which
we have concluded from the Holy Quran. If you disagree with our conclusions,
please ponder over the Holy Quran because it invites everyone to think
and reflect upon it. However, as the Holy Quran is a clear and decisive
Book, please do not let alien beliefs influence you, for the Holy Quran
is far and above these.
16.3: Muslim Views
1. The Batiniyya
The sect known as Batiniyya deny the virgin birth:
And they deny that Jesus was born without a father.
(Tahzib al-Ikhlaq, by Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, vol. i, p. 382)
2. Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (d. 1898)
This famous Muslim social reformer and educationist of nineteenth century
India denied that Jesus was born of a virgin. See his Commentary of the
Quran Tafsir al-Quran, published by Munshi Fazl Din, Kashmiri Bazaar,
Lahore, vol. ii, pp. 24 35. See also no. 6 below.
3. Ahl-i Hadith
From the Ahl-i Hadith sect, Maulavi Hafiz Inayat-ullah of Wazirabad explains
the account given in the Holy Quran (19:16 29) as follows:
Mary left her husbands house, which was on the western
side, in displeasure and went and stayed at her parents house
on the eastern side. She was not inclined to return. Meanwhile, the
truth came out and Zacharias was also grieved. Recourse was had to
both prayer and medicine, which God blessed, and addressing him revealed
that He would grant her a son. At this Zacharias let this revelation
be known to her husband, and told him to go and tell Mary about it
and bring her home. But when he got there, she made the same complaint
which prevented her return, and asked for a divorce. I seek
refuge (divorce) from you, that we cannot have relations. She
also mentioned her state of health. After some discussion, he told
her that the revelation had said clearly that this union would be
blessed and God would grant a pure boy. She wondered that since he,
her husband, had not touched her, how she could have a son? He explained
things to her and told her that her guardian (Zacharias) had sent
him to inform her of the revelation and bring her home. At last, she
returned with him, and at the appropriate time became pregnant. Then
she had to accompany her husband on a long journey for some worldly
purpose. It so happened that her pains started when they were near
a palm tree in Bethlehem. She lamented the fact that it had not happened
in a better place, so that she would have been relieved of it less
painfully. The owner of the tree, who happened to be sitting under
it selling his dates, out of sympathy let her pick any dates that
she wanted, whenever she felt the need, and let her drink from a stream
flowing under the tree as much as she wanted. He told her to rest,
and if anyone spoke to her, to just say that she had undertaken a
fast of silence. She then returned back to her people, and seeing
the baby in her arms they objected that this type of domestic life,
in breach of her parents vow, was against the religious law.
They added that her father did not break his word, nor did her mother
like such things. Mary pointed to her guardian, Zacharias, that they
should talk to him, as he had been responsible for it. They said that
her marriage had set a bad example for others, and that other children
dedicated to the Temple would also marry after growing up, disrupting
the whole organisation.
(Uyoon Zamzam fi milad Isa ibn Maryam, Darul Hadith, Gujrat,
Pakistan, 1963, pp. 172 176)
4. Ghulam Ahmad Pervez
This present-day theologian, author and founder of the Idara Tulu-i
Islam institute in Lahore, writes:
If you bear in mind this point about the creation of a human
being, the significance of the verse in question (Surely the
likeness of Jesus with God is as the likeness of Adam) becomes
clear. In other words, whatever belief the Christians may hold about
Jesus birth, they are told that in Gods eyes his birth
was like the birth of any human child, which from its inception reaches
its completion through a number of stages. Thus did it happen with
Jesus. O Prophet! what is revealed to thee about Jesus being
a human being, and about his birth, is the truth from thy Lord; so
there is no room for thee to argue or debate (3:59).
The Holy Quran has called Jesus the like of Adam also because,
according to the Gospels, he used to call himself the son of man.
For instance: Then he came to the disciples and said to them,
Sleep and take rest, the time has come and the son of man is handed
over to the sinners (Matthew, ch. 26). Hence, he who calls himself
the son of man, his birth is like the birth of Adam (or
man). He is the son of man, and born like a human.
(Shulah Mastur, pp. 132 133)
5. Sayyid Sulaiman Nadawi
He was a famous Indian Muslim theologian of earlier this century. He wrote:
Jesus had a mother and, according to the Gospel account, brothers
and sisters as well, and even a human father.
(Khutbat Madaras, p. 51)
6. Muslim Newspaper Sidq
In his paper Sidq, Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi of India (d. 1977)
received the following enquiry:
I have seen two letters of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, dated 7
August 1870 and 8 April 1882, addressed to Maulavi Mumtaz Husain.
In both these letters Sir Sayyid has emphasised that (God forbid)
Jesus being born without a father is not proved from the Holy Quran.
His birth, says Sir Sayyid, was a natural human birth. However, in
verse 20 of the chapter Mary of the Holy Quran, Mary says to
the angel Gabriel: How can I have a son when no man has touched
me, nor have I been unchaste.
The reply given was as follows:
Yours faithfully, Abul Wafa Sadiqui, Delhi 6
Sidq Yes, the majority of ulama have
taken this verse, and other verses, in the meanings which are well-known.
But Sir Sayyid and his co-thinkers have interpreted these verses to
mean, for instance, that the obstacles in the way of Mary becoming
pregnant were removed whether this conclusion is correct or
not, this interpretation does not make one subject to a verdict of
(Sidq Jadid, Lucknow, 7 April 1972)
7. Allama Al-Sayyid Abdul Qayyum Qayoomi:
It is a matter of great astonishment that despite the facts
that Mary was married and went to live with her husband, that she
and Joseph were declared wife and husband, that they lived together,
and that everything took place, yet the son to whom Mary gave birth
had no father! God forbid, God forgive us! Thank God that, in this
book, by proving the marriage of Mary, her living with her husband,
and Jesus having a father, from the Holy Quran, the Gospels, books
of Hadith, and statements of Sunni Muslim scholars, in a most detailed
and factual manner, we have refuted the false belief that Jesus had
no father and established the reality with daylight clarity.
(Haqiqat al-Masih, Gujrat, Pakistan, 1964, p. 237)
8. Muhammad Asad
In his recently published English work, The Message of the Quran,
Muhammad Asad comments as follows:
In connection with the announcement of a son to Mary, the
Quran states in 3:47 that when He wills a thing to be, He but
says unto it, Be, and it is: but since neither the Quran nor
any authentic Tradition tells us anything about the chain of causes
and effects (asbab) which Gods decree Be
was to bring into being, all speculation as to the how
of this event must remain beyond the scope of a Quran-commentary.
(Note 15 on verse 19:11, p. 459)
Hence, according to Asad, neither the Quran nor any authentic
Tradition tells us that Jesus was actually born of a virgin. Consequently,
not the slightest blame can attach to any Muslim who believes that Jesus
had a father.
16.4: Views of followers of Hazrat
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
I. HAZRAT MAULANA NUR-UD-DIN
1. Book Nur-ud-Din
Maulana Nur-ud-Din expressed the following view:
i. The Islam taught to us by that Divine Scripture,
the Holy Quran, does not say anywhere that to become a Muslim you
need to believe that Jesus had no father.
ii. The Holy Prophet has not told us that a part of
Islam is to believe that Jesus had no father.
iii. Our beloved holy Companions, our four leaders
of jurisprudence, and other great Imams, have nowhere instructed us
that it is necessary to believe that Jesus was born without a father.
iv. Our respected Sufi saints have not exhorted us
anywhere in their teachings that to attain the ranks of Divine nearness,
to accomplish self-reform, and to acquire noble morals, it is necessary
to believe that Jesus had no father.
v. Besides Jesus, how many prophets, messengers and
appointed ones of God, have there been! Is the genealogy of any one
of them recorded in the Holy Quran? In fact, God says, None
knows the hosts of thy Lord, save He. So it is not necessary
to know of the existence of everyone, let alone how they were born.
(Book Nur-ud-Din, pp. 181 182)
2. Comments on book about Jesus having a father
When Master Muhammad Saeed sent his book Saadat Maryamiyya,
about the birth of Jesus through the agency of a human father, to Maulana
Nur-ud-Din for an opinion, he gave the following reply:
God does not waste anyones effort. He says: Whoever
desires the Hereafter and makes an effort for it, and he is a believer,
these it is whose effort is rewarded. When it is accompanied
by your sincerity and the backing of the Quran, you become deservant
of Divine gratitude. ... I myself have held these beliefs since childhood,
but you have not given the arguments which I had in my mind. However,
Hazrat Mirza had said: I have not been told by revelation to
devote energy on this point. Otherwise, this is no great issue, and
if there is Divine support I can write about it. Therefore, I am silent,
and will remain silent till a Divine command comes. This is
a particular matter. But your labour cannot be worthless.
(Published in Periodical Paigham Sulh, 22 March 1929)
3. Reply to an enquiry
Shaikh Muhammad Jan, secretary of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman of Wazirabad,
made a written enquiry from Maulana Nur-ud-Din in 1911 which ran:
Sir! If a person amongst your disciples does not believe that
Jesus was born without a father, is this to the detriment of his faith?
The answer was given as follows:
As far as my understanding goes, this issue is not a part
of faith. There is no explicit direction in the Holy Quran or Hadith
to the effect that one must hold this belief. If someones research
forces this conclusion [that Jesus had a father] upon him, he cannot
help it. This is my view Nur-ud-Din.
(Al-Mahdi, January 1915)
II. THE QADIANIS
1. In a booklet entitled Izhar Haqiqat, published just before
the death of Maulana Nur-ud-Din by the Ansarullah group of Qadianis, containing
signatures of forty prominent men of the Ansarullah, they answered an
objection raised by someone against Maulana Nur-ud-Din to the effect that
he was associated with those who believed Jesus to have a father. It is
written in this reply:
You should first answer whether he [the Maulana] was associated
with the Promised Messiah, or not. Prove from Islamic law that those
who believe Jesus to have a father should be excluded from Islam,
or should be declared transgressors and disbelievers like those who
deny the caliphs.
(Izhar Haqiqat, p. 23)
2. Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, the head of the Qadianis,
replied to a Christian preacher in 1913 as follows:
The reverend says that all Muslims are agreed upon this issue,
except Sir Sayyid who has rejected it on rational grounds, but that
no one has rejected it on the basis of the Holy Quran. However, I
will go on to show that he is wrong in saying that no one has rejected
it from the Holy Quran. I will prove that people have shed light on
this from the Quran itself and have proved that Jesus was not born
without a father, but was born like the rest of the world. What I
mean to say is that there have been differences on this issue, and
that some people have believed Jesus to have had a father.
(Tashhiz al-Azhan, April 1913, pp. 165 170)
3. In 1917, the following reply was given on behalf of Mirza
Mahmud Ahmad to a question about the birth of Jesus:
The Khalifat-ul-Masih II [Mirza Mahmud Ahmad] says that it
is not on the basis of a clear verdict that he believes Jesus to have
been born without a father, but it is a mere deduction, against which
other people deduce the opposite view. However, historically the Ahmadiyya
community has held the belief that Jesus had no father.
III. HAZRAT MAULANA MUHAMMAD
In his famous Urdu commentary of the Quran, the Bayan al-Quran,
Hazrat Maulana writes:
Christians believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, and so do
Muslims generally. But there are Christians who do not believe this,
and also Muslims who do not. There is, however, one difference. If,
in fact, Jesus was not born without a father, it does not have any
effect on any religious belief of the Muslims because it is not part
of their faith to believe in the virgin birth. But the very foundations
of the structure of Christianity are uprooted if it cannot be proved
that Jesus was born without a father. For if he had a father, then
Mary did not conceive of the Holy Spirit, nor was Jesus divine, nor
is the doctrine of atonement correct.
So, Jesus not being born of a virgin uproots Christianity
altogether, but does no harm to Islam. A Muslim equally believes in
the prophethood of Jesus, whether he had a father or not. He only
wants to consider what the Holy Quran says, or what can be established
from the Holy Prophets Sayings. If these record birth without
a father, he will accept that, otherwise not. Nor would being born
without a father show him to be superior to the prophets who had fathers
because, for that matter, Adam and Eve had no father, and the Bible
mentions Melchizedek who was without father or mother,
see Hebrews 7:3. In this case, these three would be considered
superior to Jesus. But, in fact, the very argument is wrong that one
born without a father is superior.
Besides this, a Muslim does not hold that Mary conceived from
the Holy Spirit. If he was born without a father, this would merely
be one of the wonders of creation, that Mary possessed both types
of faculties. In fact, it is not even a miracle because it is necessary
for a miracle that someone should be a witness or observer. But none
except Mary could be a witness to her conceiving without a husband.
What sort of a miracle would this be? So all we have to determine
is what the Holy Quran and the Hadith disclose about this.
God Himself says that He has put into effect the law for mankind
that after the beginning this race propagates by the sperm, and He
says that He makes man from the sperm of the male mixed with the female
ovum. So unless God explicitly says that He created Jesus against
this law of mating, and in a different manner, we would have to accept
that the means which God brought about correspond to this law. There
is no question here of whether God has the power to do such a thing
or not. He can create someone without a father or a mother. The question
is only whether it can be shown from the Holy Quran or authentic Hadith
that God made Jesus without a father. When He Himself explains a law,
then unless He Himself says that in a certain case He displayed His
power as against that law, we cannot take something to have happened
in breach of His law. So if some person concludes from the words of
the Holy Quran that Jesus was born without a father, let him believe
it. I do not draw this conclusion from the Quranic words. Though I
do not consider this issue to be of any great importance, I think
that it is a Muslims duty to make known his honestly and sincerely
drawn conclusions from the Quran. Believing Jesus to have had a father,
or believing him not to have had a father, does not affect our religious
beliefs or practical actions in any way.
(Bayan al-Quran, footnote 427 under verse 3:46)