Whilst the Christian world celebrates today the birth of the ‘son of God’ (na’uthubillah, may Allah save us from this falsehood) it is worth remembering that Isa (as) is our prophet.
There is so much confusion about this great prophet’s life and struggles due to the dominant and inaccurate Christian portrayal of him that it can become hard to see him as our prophet.
We can look at Isa’s (as) miraculous birth as a sign of Allah’s existence and that there is more to truth than just that which can be proven by science. It is an important lesson in an era of scientific thinking where everything needs to be explained by science to be true and all that beyond is questioned as fanciful speculation.
But we can also look at Isa’s (as) birth from another perspective.
Surah Maryam recounts the scene when Jibrail (as) came to Maryam (as) and approached her in human form:
قَالَتْ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِالرَّحْمَٰنِ مِنكَ إِن كُنتَ تَقِيًّا
‘She said, “Indeed, I seek refuge in the Most Merciful from you, [so leave me], if you should be fearing of Allah .”
قَالَ إِنَّمَا أَنَا رَسُولُ رَبِّكِ لِأَهَبَ لَكِ غُلَامًا زَكِيًّا
He said, “I am only the messenger of your Lord to give you [news of] a pure boy.”
قَالَتْ أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لِي غُلَامٌ وَلَمْ يَمْسَسْنِي بَشَرٌ وَلَمْ أَكُ بَغِيًّا
She said, “How can I have a boy while no man has touched me and I have not been unchaste?”
قَالَ كَذَٰلِكِ قَالَ رَبُّكِ هُوَ عَلَيَّ هَيِّنٌ ۖ وَلِنَجْعَلَهُ آيَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَرَحْمَةً مِّنَّا ۚ وَكَانَ أَمْرًا مَّقْضِيًّا
He said, “Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign to the people and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter [already] decreed.’ “ [Maryam: 18-21]
Earlier in Surah Maryam, Allah ﷻ informs the incredulous Prophet Zakariya (as) about the good news of a son when both he and his barren wife were in their very old age. The angle uses the same words: ‘Thus, your Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me.’
The impossible is possible for Allah ﷻ and not only that, it is easy.
We live in a time of great fitnah with problems which seem insurmountable. We have been conditioned to think by this secular world that what you achieve is down to you. That it is your effort and abilities that make you what you are and define what you can or cannot achieve. So, when we look at the problems that the Ummah faces today, we think how can we overcome these issues with my limited strength, my limited knowledge, my limited resources etc?
We have been conditioned to forget that it isn’t really our power that achieves victory, but it is Allah’s ﷻ. And nothing is impossible for Allah, al Qawiyy (the Possessor of All Strength), al Qahhar (the Subduer).
Take Musa (as) arriving at the Red sea with his people pursued by Fir’oun. Most thought death was certain, but Musa was reassured:
قَالَ كَلَّا ۖ إِنَّ مَعِيَ رَبِّي سَيَهْدِينِ
‘[Musa] said, “No! Indeed, with me is my Lord; He will guide me.” [Ash-Shu’ara: 62]
And as we know, it was Allah ﷻ who divided the sea making the impossible possible. However, Musa (as) was commanded to do something first.
فَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ مُوسَىٰ أَنِ اضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ الْبَحْرَ ۖ فَانفَلَقَ فَكَانَ كُلُّ فِرْقٍ كَالطَّوْدِ الْعَظِيمِ
‘Then We inspired to Musa, “Strike with your staff the sea…’ [Ash-Shu’ara: 63]
He was asked to strike the sea with his staff. Why? How can a stick possibly divide the sea? Impossible. But it was never about the stick. It was about doing his part and Allah ﷻ doing His part. That is the sunnah of Allah ﷻ. The power is with Allah ﷻ, but He expects us to do our part.
The prophets understood that. Why did Nuh (as) build a boat in the middle of the desert? Why did Muhammad ﷺ prepare for Badr? Why did the sahabah and those that followed them through our history- be it against the Mongol invasion, or Salahuddin retaking Jerusalem or Muhammad ibn Fatih taking Constantinople- prepare and take action. The Muslims did their part and Allah ﷻ did His.
Never did the Muslims just say, well that’s it, can’t do anything, let’s wait for Imam Mahdi and the end of time!
And Allah’s ﷻ help and victory are promised. It is inevitable. It will happen. Because Allah ﷻ has made a promise to the believers and He never breaks His promise.
وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَىٰ لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُم مِّن بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا ۚ يَعْبُدُونَنِي لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُون
‘Allah has promised those who have believed among you and done righteous deeds that He will surely grant them succession [to authority] upon the earth just as He granted it to those before them and that He will surely establish for them [therein] their religion which He has preferred for them and that He will surely substitute for them, after their fear, security, [for] they worship Me, not associating anything with Me. But whoever disbelieves after that – then those are the defiantly disobedient.’ [An-Nur: 55]
So, will you be of those who believe in this promise and act according to it?