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Volume 22, Number 6November/December 1971

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The Christmas Story—According to the Koran

The first Christmas as told in the Koran, the Holy Book of the Muslim faith. . .

And mention in the Book, Mary, when she withdrew from her people to an eastern place, and she took a veil apart from them; then We sent unto her Our Spirit that presented himself to her a man without fault.

She said, 'I take refuge in the All-merciful from thee! If thou fearest God. . .' He said, 'I am but a messenger come from thy Lord, to give thee a boy most pure.'

She said, 'How shall I have a son whom no mortal has touched, neither have I been unchaste?' He said, 'Even so thy Lord has said: "Easy is that for Me; and that We may appoint him a sign unto men and a mercy from Us; it is a thing decreed."'

So she conceived him, and withdrew with him to a distant place. And the birthpangs surprised her by the trunk of the palm-tree. She said, 'Would I had died ere this, and become a thing forgotten!' But the one that was below her called to her, 'Nay, do not sorrow; see, thy Lord has set below thee a rivulet.

Shake also to thee the palm-trunk, and there shall come tumbling upon thee dates fresh and ripe. Eat therefore, and drink, and be comforted; and if thou shouldst see any mortal, say, "I have vowed to the All-merciful a fast, and today I will not speak to any man. Then she brought the child to her folk carrying him; and they said, 'Mary, thou hast surely committed a monstrous thing! Sister of Aaron, thy father was not a wicked man, nor was thy mother a woman unchaste.'

Mary pointed to the child then; but they said, 'How shall we speak to one who is still in the cradle, a little child?' He said, 'Lo, I am God's servant; God has given me the Book, and made me a Prophet. Blessed He has made me, wherever I may be; and He has enjoined me to pray, and to give the alms, so long as I live, and likewise to cherish my mother; He has not made me arrogant, unprosperous.

Peace be upon me, the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I am raised up alive!'

That is Jesus, son of Mary, in word of truth, concerning which they are doubting.

The Koran Interpreted, an English translation by A.J. Arberry

This article appeared on pages 2-3 of the November/December 1971 print edition of Saudi Aramco World.


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