Prophet Isa [Jesus] (Peace be upon him)
His name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah. (Aal-i Imran, 3/45)
Hz. MARYAM (MARY)
As it was mentioned in the previous chapter, Hz. Isa’s mother was Hz. Maryam, who gave birth to him without a father.
Hz. Maryam’s father was Imran and her mother was Hanna. Maryam belonged to the tribe of Masan of Children of Israel. Her lineage goes back to Hz. Sulayman (Solomon).1
Hz. Maryam was always engaged in worshipping in her small room on the eastern side of Masjid al-Aqsa. Only Hz. Zakariyya entered her room. Despite this, Hz. Maryam always had a cover over the door.2 Thus, she acted cautiously to protect her chastity. Once, Hz. Jibril came while she was worshipping. He was disguised as a young man.3 Hz. Maryam was appalled when she suddenly saw a man that she did not know. Since she did not know why he had come, she said to him,
"O stranger! I take refuge in Allah from your evil. If you fear Allah go away and make me feel safe from your evil."4
Hz. Jibril's arrival like that was a testing for Hz. Maryam. Allah Almighty wanted to make it clear how fastidiously she protected her chastity.
Hz. Jibril introduced himself immediately in order to eliminate Hz. Maryam’s fear. He told her that he was Jibril.5 Hz. Maryam felt relieved; she was convinced that he was Jibril.(*) Thereupon, Hz. Jibril told her the reason why Allah sent him to her:
"O Maryam! I am only a messenger from your Lord to announce to you the gift of a holy son"6 His name is Masih, son of Maryam. He is distinguished and honorable in both the world and the hereafter; he is among those who were made close to Allah. He will speak to people in the cradle and when he grows up. He is among the righteous people." 7
Hz. Maryam was surprised by this unexpected good news. She was astonished by the news that she would have a child though he was not married. She expressed her astonishment by asking Jibril,
"How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?"8 Hz. Jibril said,
"Allah has power over everything. He creates whatever He wishes. When He decides about something, He says "be" and it takes place. He will create your child without a father as a sign of His majesty and power.”9
After this statement, Hz. Jibril blew toward Hz. Maryam (causing a magnetic effect) and left. At that time, Hz. Maryam was about 15 years old.
The divine will decreed that Hz. Isa was going to be born. The reason why Hz. Maryam asked Hz. Jibril how it could take place was not because of doubting the divine power. Hz. Jibril told her about something that would take place for the first time since the time of Hz. Adam. In fact, Hz. Adam was created out of mud without a father and mother. The power that created him definitely had the ability to create Hz. Isa. However, a long period of time passed after that; people reproduced through marriage. Coming to existence through another way seemed almost impossible after Hz. Adam. To tell someone that a child was going to be born without a father would definitely cause astonishment. That was why Hz. Maryam was astonished. To be the subject of such an extraordinary event that nobody had experienced before excited and astonished her. Besides, what was she going to say to the other people? How was she going to make them accept such a thing? Were they going to believe that she had a baby without a father? These issues were the biggest causes of her excitement and astonishment.
HZ. ISA’S BIRTH
After this good news of Jibril’s, Hz. Maryam increased her prayers and worshipping. She started to thank Allah more.
After a while, signs of pregnancy became apparent in Mary. Thereupon, she retired into seclusion, to a remote place away from people.10 She was going to wait for her child to be delivered.
Pregnancy was very difficult. Hz. Maryam had sorrowful and troubled days. Once, she was walking around in the garden of the place where she was staying; she was under a dry date tree. Her pains increased. She held onto a date branch and started to think: People knew her as a clean and chaste girl. What would they say when they saw her with a baby? Hz. Maryam’s heart seemed to be stopping when she thought about the blaming words and accusations she would hear. She said to herself,
"Ah! Would that I had died before this! Would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight!"11
Suddenly, the dry date tree that Hz. Maryam was holding started to green and give fruit.12 There was a similarity between the dry tree becoming green and giving fruit and Maryam’s giving birth to a child without a father. Hz. Maryam thought about this issue and consoled herself; she felt that her troubles were relieved.
At the end of the ninth month of her pregnancy, Hz. Maryam gave birth to her son Isa.
With the birth of Hz. Isa, Hz. Maryam’s anxiety increased. She started to think about how she would meet people like that. What was she going to say when they asked, “Where did this baby come from?”
While sitting sadly with those thoughts in mind, Hz. Maryam suddenly heard a voice. It said,
"Do not grieve." Hz. Maryam looked at the baby in her arms in surprise. Yes, the voice came from him. He continued:
"Mum! Your Lord has created a glorious child (that is, me) from you.13 And shake toward you the trunk of the date tree: eat its fruits that will fall down. When you feel thirsty, drink from the rivulet flowing under your feet. (According to a narration, when Hz. Isa was born, Allah Almighty created a rivulet from the ground where his feet touched.) Cool your eye with me. Do not worry.
And if people ask you about me, say `I have vowed a fast to Allah, the Most Gracious, and this day will I enter into no talk with any human being.'" Then, show me to them.14
With the inspiration and power of Allah, Hz. Isa talked, guided his mother and consoled her though he was a new-born baby.
In the shari'ah of the Prophet Zakariyya, it was possible to fast by not talking to people. The little Isa wanted his mother to do so and told her that he was going to answer the people who would ask questions.
Indeed, it was very difficult for Hz. Maryam to defend herself and to acquit herself. Only the speech of the baby in the cradle could have silenced them and persuaded them that it was a miracle.
HOW DOES THE QURAN EXPLAIN HZ. ISA’S BIRTH WITHOUT A FATHER?
• Hz. Isa is similar to Hz. Adam.
Christians do not accept that Hz. Isa was born without a father. They say that nobody can come to the world without a father and claim that Hz. Isa is Allah’s son. The Quran rejects their claim as follows:
"This similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam: He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be" and he was.15
As it is known, in similes the thing to which something is likened should be stronger than the thing that is likened in terms of the reason for likening. In the simile that is used in the verse, Hz. Isa is likened to Hz. Adam; in this simile, Hz. Adam is superior in terms of extraordinariness. That is, both of them are similar since they were both created without a father but Hz. Adam had no mother.
What is meant by this simile is to silence the deniers and to tell people about the truth by eliminating the issue that may lead to suspicion. We can sum up as follows:
Hz. Isa is a human being that was created in an extraordinary way. That he was created like that does not mean that he is God as Christians claim. The big aspersion cast by Jews is eliminated.16
We need to quote the explanation made by Badiuzzaman Said Nursi regarding the proof of the birth of Hz. Isa without a father here:
At one time, an unfortunate doctor said, "Hz. Isa had a father"17, showing a verse as evidence with a crazy interpretation. The following definite decree: "The similitude of Jesus before God is as that of Adam" and similar ones show definitely that Hz. Isa had no father; thus no importance may be given to the words of those who attempt to change through idiotic, forced interpretations this firm and authentic truth, due to supposing to be impossible contravention of a law of human reproduction.
For there is no law at all that has no exceptions and from which individuals are exempt. And there is no universal rule which has not been breached by extraordinary individuals. Since the time of Adam there has been no law to which there have been no individual exceptions.
Firstly, the law of reproduction was violated in regard to origins by the origins of the two hundred thousand animal species, and brought to an end. That is, the two hundred thousand progenitors of the species, quite simply like Adam's, violated the law of reproduction. They were not born of a father and mother, and were given existence outside the law. Furthermore, the greater part—innumerable individuals—of the hundred thousand species we see with our eyes every spring are created outside that law, on the surface of leaves and on putrified matter.
So you can see just how unreasonable is someone who cannot accept with his reason the exception of a single individual in one thousand nine hundred years to a law that was violated and breached at its origin and has been so even every year, and clings to forced interpretations of the definite statements of the Qur'an.
The things those wretches call natural laws are the laws called ‘adatullah' or Divine practices, which are a universal manifestation of the Divine command and dominical will, and which Almighty Allah changes for certain instances of wisdom. He shows that His will and choice govern in everything and in every law. Certain extraordinary individuals breach those ‘practices.' This truth He points out through His decree, "The similitude of Jesus…".18
Dr. Haluk Nurbaki makes the following scientific explanation on the birth of Hz. Isa without a father:
In man's cells, his genetic codes are hidden. No cell can produce a new human being by decoding it. Only the sex cells were created in a way that can decode them. However, the phases of preparation for reproduction of these cells are very interesting. If we think of a woman reproduction cell (a big cell called ovum), it exists as a whole surrounded by rich chemicals which have not been known very well yet. Every woman has an average of four hundred cells like that. These cells become ready when she reaches the age of puberty. Each one of these cells was created carefully. For, their number is very small: 400, which is a very low number in terms of cell biology. Every month, one of these cells are transferred into the abdominal cavity by being retouched a bit in a complicated hormonal system and then to the reproduction tubes through reproduction ducts. The phase called retouch is actually the division of the cells into two in the middle. When these cells, called ovum, take action to produce a new human being, the genetic codes are cut into two. They are made ready for insemination so that the other half is taken from the father; this biological tradition has been going on since the beginning of humanity. Thus, the birth of a new living being is removed from the biologic will of a human being and is given to the full control of Allah. If it had not been like that and if the ovum of the woman had gone to the uterus with the ability to repeat itself and a baby had been born on its own, the physical and biological structure of the mother would have repeated and new faces would not have been seen. Due to this fine wisdom, the authority of the ovum to produce a baby was removed from it though it had the ability to produce a child alone. Then, the real miracle is not to give birth to a child without a father but to be forced to give birth to a child with a father.
When these biological facts are taken into consideration, if a scientist describes Hz. Isa’s birth without a father as "impossible", it means he says, "I do not know biology." However, the intervention of Allah Almighty is necessary for an ovum cell to continue reproduction in order to produce a human being on its own by decoding.
This subtlety is described as an extraordinary scientific miracle in the chapter of Maryam. Jibril’s beaming Maryam down or having an unknown magnetic effect on her expresses this fact. Otherwise, Allah Almighty could have said, “I wished it and created Hz. Isa in Maryam’s womb." On the contrary, the expression of Allah Almighty's special intervention through Jibril aims to emphasize this fact.
All of the researches done in laboratories by believing or unbelieving scientists are in the direction of making use of the secret of this verse whether they notice it or not.”19
• Hz. Isa is mentioned by being attributed to his mother in the Quran
In the Quran, no prophet is mentioned by their fathers' or mothers' names like "son of …….". All prophets are mentioned by their names like Adam, Idris (Enoch), Nuh (Noah), Hud, etc. However, Hz. Isa is always mentioned as “Isa son of Maryam” in the verses and is attributed to his mother. With this expression, the Quran rejects all of the wrong ideas and unjust slanders about him:
Hz. Isa is not Allah's son as Christians claim. He was born of Hz. Maryam. His difference from other people is that he was born without a father, thanks to the power of Allah. Allah Almighty had created Hz. Adam without a mother and father before him. Hz. Isa is similar to him. Therefore, he is not a deity.
Hz. Isa is not son of Yusuf (Joseph) as Jews claim.20 He is a word thrown by Allah into Maryam. He was created without a father with the order "Be!"
In a hadith the Prophet (pbuh) resembled his cousin Hz. Ali to the state of Hz. Isa and said, “O Ali! You resemble the state of Hz. Isa. Jews hated him and accused his mother. They denied his prophethood and perfection. Christians loved him but transgressed the limits and called him 'the son of God.”21
Some Shiites loved Hz. Ali excessively and said, "Ali is Allah." Umayyads and Kharijites denied him completely and refused his perfection.
THE BABY THAT TALKED
Hz. Maryam waited for 40 days after giving birth to her son Isa. When she became clean after the puerperum, she returned to her place.
When the people saw Hz. Maryam carrying a baby in her arms, they were astonished. Then, they got furious and started to criticize and blame her:
"O Maryam! What did you do? What is this baby in your arms? O sister of Aaron (Harun)22 ! Your father was not a man of evil, nor your mother a woman unchaste. You used to be a chaste girl that worshipped until recently. How come you did such a bad thing? You disgraced yourself and your family."23
To do an ugly and forbidden deed is bad for everybody and it necessitates punishment. However, if they are committed by the children of righteous people and scholars, they are worse and necessitate more punishment. Therefore, her nation reminded Hz. Maryam that her family was righteous and blamed and criticized her more than others.
* * *
When Hz. Maryam was criticized and insulted by her nation, she did not say anything. She pointed to the baby in her arms. She meant, "Ask him." The people thought Hz. Maryam was mocking them. They said,
"How can we talk to a child in the cradle? He cannot answer us. Do you want to waste our time since you cannot answer it?"24
However, something unexpected happened. Upon the sign of his mother, the baby in the cradle started to speak. He spoke clearly: "I am indeed a servant of Allah: He has given me revelation and made me a prophet; He has enjoined on me prayer and charity as long as I live. He has made me kind to my mother, who is chaste and whom you blame. He did not make me an unfortunate oppressor. So Peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die and the day that I shall be raised up to life again."25
This answer of Hz. Isa’s was very significant. That he started his talk as, "I am indeed a servant of Allah" was a rejection beforehand of those who would claim that he was a deity. He acquitted his mother by saying, “He has made me kind to my mother.”
According to what is reported in the tafsir called Hazin, these words of Hz. Isa’s were uttered at a place where Hz. Zakariyya was present. When Hz. Isa started to speak, Hz. Zakariyya encouraged him and said, “Talk with your evidence and silence them.”26
When Hz. Isa uttered those words, he was a baby of 40 days old. After he uttered them, he kept silent. He did not speak again until he reached the normal age of speaking.27
As it is seen, Hz. Isa first stated that he was a servant of Allah; thus, he refused Christian's claim in the future that he was a deity and he proved that Allah was free from having a child and a partner. After that, he proved that his mother was innocent and chaste.
As a matter of fact, it was necessary to prove his mother's innocence first in appearance because that accusation was in question at that time. Hz. Isa was called Allah’s son afterwards.
We understand that the elimination of the accusation and slander that Allah had a son was more important than the elimination of the accusation against Hz. Isa’s mother. Besides, there is an indication here that the rights of Allah are superior to the rights of parents. When the rights of Allah are necessary to be fulfilled, the rights of parents are fulfilled later. As a matter of fact, the demands of parents that necessitate disobedience to Allah's decrees are not fulfilled. In that case, it is wajib not to obey the orders of parents.28
The order of a person who orders disobedience to Allah and committing a sin is not fulfilled no matter who he is (the president, parents or any other person). This is a principle of Islam.29
They show that it is the primary duty of a believer to give priority to the rights of Allah. Therefore, Hz. Isa rejected the slanders and accusations to be made against Allah Almighty in the future before rejecting the accusations against his mother.30
THE MARTYRDOM OF HZ. ZAKARIYYA AND YAHYA
Hz. Isa’s speech in the cradle refuted the accusations of Jews about Maryam. Therefore, they kept silent. However, after a while, they started to make the same accusations and cast aspersions. They claimed that Maryam had committed fornication; they said nobody could be born without a father. Some of them even said, "Probably Zakariyya committed it." In the course of time, people started to believe in this idea. Eventually, they were agitated and killed the Prophet Zakariyya, who was innocent.31
They did not stop there. Afterwards, they also martyred the Prophet Yahya due to something insignificant.32
Due to these evil murders, Jews are mentioned as the killers of prophets in the Quran and condemned.
No other nation in history dared to kill their prophets.33
THE PROPHETHOOD OF HZ. ISA
Realizing that Jews were going to attack her after martyring Hz. Zakariyya, Hz. Maryam left Quds with her son. She settled in a place higher than the sea level. It was a nice place with fresh air, water and fruits.34 According to some narrations, it was a place in Egypt.35
Hz. Maryam stayed there for 12 years. Then, she returned to Quds and settled in a village there.
She lived there until Hz. Isa reached the age of 30.36
When he became 30, Allah sent Hz. Isa as a prophet to Children of Israel.
After stating that He sent Noah (Nuh) and Abraham (Ibrahim) as prophets, Allah Almighty stated that some of them believed but that many of them became rebellious transgressors.37
In the verse that followed, it is stated that many more prophets were sent after Nuh and Ibrahim and finally Jesus the son of Mary was sent as a member of the chain of prophets who shared the same belief in order to guide his nation.38
As soon as Hz. Isa became a prophet, he started to call Jews to the right path:
"I am definitely a messenger sent to you. I call all of you to worship Allah, who is one. I ask you to do good deeds and to avoid bad deeds."
Prophethood was a big claim. Therefore, the people doubted it. They asked him to show evidence and a miracle.
Hz. Isa addressed them as follows:
"All right. I will make a bird out of mud and blow into it. With the permission of Allah, this bird will come to life and fly. I will also make blind people see. I will cure the skin disease of the incurable people with dappled and mottled skin. I will revive the dead people. I will also tell you what you eat, drink and keep in your houses. Do you promise that you will believe in me after I do them?"
All of the Jews said,
"Yes, we will believe in you then."
Hz. Isa picked a piece of mud. He shaped it like a bird. Then, he prayed and blew onto it. Suddenly, the bird came to life and started to fly by flapping its wings.39
The Jews were surprised. They whispered among themselves by looking at one another:
"This is great magic."
Instead of believing, the Jews started to look for excuses though they saw the miracle. One of them said,
"O Isa! Show us how you cure blind people."
They found a blind person and brought him to Hz. Isa. When Hz. Isa touched the eyes of the blind person with his hands, his eyes started to see. He shouted joyfully:
"I can see! I can see!" Hz. Isa also cured the people with incurable skin diseases with the permission of Allah.
The Jews did not believe despite these miracles that cured people. They wanted bigger miracles. They said,
"We will not believe in you unless you revive a dead person." Thereupon, Hz. Isa revived 4 dead people in front of the Jews with the permission of Allah. The first one was a friend of Isa’s. He had died 3 days ago. They went to his grave. Hz. Isa prayed Allah to revive him. In front of the people, the grave opened and the dead man stood up by shaking off the dust on him.
The Jews were astounded but they did not find this miracle sufficient. They demanded some other miracles. Thereupon, Hz. Isa revived the son of an old woman. He got out of the coffin and stood up while being taken to the grave thanks to the prayer of Hz. Isa.
The Jews had not been satisfied yet. Hz. Isa revived another person who had died a few days ago as the third person. These people, who were revived by Hz. Isa lived for a while after being revived.
The Jews objected to Hz. Isa by saying, “Maybe, they had not died yet. How do we know you revived them?" Therefore, they asked him to revive a person that had died a long time ago, for instance, Hz. Nuh’s son Sam. Hz. Isa revived Hz. Nuh’s son Sam with the permission of Allah. Sam witnessed that Hz. Isa was a prophet and died again. Even after seeing this clear and great miracle, Children of Israel denied him again. They said,
"They are all magic. This man is a magician."40
After these miracles, Hz. Isa told each Jew what they ate, drank and kept in their houses.41 This miracle alone was enough for a conscientious person as proof of the prophethood of Hz. Isa. However, Children of Israel insisted on their denial.
Allah Almighty sent down a holy book called the Gospel to Hz. Isa afterwards. This book confirmed the Torah brought by Hz. Musa and clarified some issues about which Jews fell into dispute. It removed some decrees that had been forbidden by the Torah, making some things easy for people.42
Confirming the Torah means believing that it is one of the holy books and that it is true. Therefore, to remove some decrees is not contrary to confirming it.
In fact, all prophets unanimously agree on the principles of belief. The issues that they differ are related to some details. The changes in some details are similar to the changes in clothes based on seasons and drugs based on illnesses. There are no contrasts in principles.
The Gospel sent down to Hz. Isa is defined through the following five attributes in the Quran:
a) It is guidance for people. For, there are verses mentioning the true principles of belief in the Gospel, which is guidance for people.
b) It is light for people. Since it contains the legal decrees that lead to the happiness of people, it deserves the name light.
c) It confirms the Torah. The Gospel approves that the Torah, which was sent before it, is a heavenly book and that it was necessary to act in accordance with it when it was valid.
d) The Gospel is guidance for people in terms of another aspect. For, the Gospel is guidance for people since it contains the legal decrees; in addition, it is also guidance for people since it gives the glad tidings that Hz. Muhammad is going to be sent as a prophet and it mentions his attributes. As a matter of fact, many Christians believed in the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) due to the attributes mentioned in the Gospel.
e) The Gospel is preaching and advice for those who fear Allah because it contains a lot of preaching and advice.43
After Hz. Isa, the Gospel underwent many distortions.
After the revelation of the Gospel, Hz. Isa read the people the preaching and advice in the Gospel and tried to guide them. He said to them,
"O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, who is my Lord, and your Lord… This is the only true way leading to salvation.
Whoever joins other gods with Allah―Allah will forbid him the Garden and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help.”44
According to narrations, only 12 people accepted the call of Hz. Isa and believed in him.45 These holy people are called the apostles (hawaris: hawariyyun) in the Quran.46
Hawari means white and pure; it also means sincere friend and helper.
The Prophet (pbuh) stated the following about Hz. Zubayr bin Awwam, one of the ten people who were promised Paradise: “Every prophet has a hawari. My hawari is Hz. Zubayr.”47
Hz. Zubayr is the Prophet's paternal aunt's son. He is the first person to draw his sword in the way of Allah and he resisted in the Battle of Uhud. He received the glad tiding and compliments due to his service, which pleased the Prophet, in the Battle of Khandaq.
Aliyyu’1-Qari interprets the word hawari as sincere helper in the explanation of the book called Mishqat.
This first meaning is preferred for Hz. Isa’s friends called hawaris. The second meaning is accepted for some companions of the Prophet (pbuh) when they are called hawaris.48
Some scholars explain the reason why they are called hawaris as follows: they clean the spirits of people from ignorance and doubts by teaching them the religious decrees.
Hawaris were noble and rich people of high ranks before they believed in Hz. Isa. After they believed in him, they started to earn their livings through their hands. Some of them washed clothes; some of them fished and others hunted.49
Hawaris were loyal and persistent people in terms of their belief. They resisted all kinds of oppression and pressure inflicted upon them by the community. They never gave up. Hz. Isa sometimes sent them to the places around to guide the people.
THE TABLE THAT CAME DOWN FROM THE SKY
When Hawaris believed in Hz. Isa, they asked him,
"O Isa, the son of Mary! Can our Lord send down to us a table set from heaven?" 50 This request of Hawaris' included a demand for a miracle. However, miracles were shown to prove the trueness of prophethood. Therefore, these demands always came from unbelievers. A believer did not need and should not have needed a miracle. Therefore, Hz. Isa said, "Fear Allah if you have faith. Do not ask something like that."51
Hawaris told Hz Isa that he did not have to worry:
"We definitely have faith. However, we wish to eat from a table our Lord will send in order to satisfy our hearts. We also want to see the trueness of your words with our own eyes so that we ourselves may be witnesses to the miracle."52
When Hz. Isa found out that they wanted it with a sincere intention, he became glad. He decided to pray Allah for it.
According to a narration, Hz. Isa made ghusl before starting to pray; he put on a woolen garment and wept by lowering his head. He performed a prayer of two rak'ahs. Then, he started to pray as follows: 53
"O Allah, our Lord! Send us from heaven a table set that there may be for us― for the first and the last of us a solemn festival and a sign from you; and provide for our sustenance, for you are the best Sustainer."54
There is something remarkable here. When the apostles mentioned the reason why they wanted the table they used the word eating first; they mentioned their religious and spiritual purposes after that. However, Hz. Isa mentioned the religious purposes first and expressed worldly purposes like eating and being fed after that. Thus, he showed that the otherworldly issues need to be preferred to the worldly issues. Besides, he used the word sustenance instead of eating and fulfilled his duty of thanking and praising the Sustainer.
When this fine understanding and spiritual alertness is taken into consideration, the difference of spiritual perfection, that is, the different between prophethood and sainthood becomes clear.
Allah Almighty accepted Hz. Isa’s prayer but He also warned him: "I will send it down unto you: but if any of you after that resists faith, I will punish him with a penalty such as I have not inflicted on anyone among all the peoples."55
According to a narration, the table was sent down on a Sunday. It was full of various bounties and sustenance. The apostles ate from them as much as they wanted. Then, Christians accepted that day as a holiday. Thus, the prayer of Hz. Isa was accepted.56
The table sent down from the sky increased the power of the apostles' belief. Their belief was elevated to the level of investigative belief from imitative belief. Once, Hz. Isa asked them the following question:
"Who will be my helpers to the work of Allah?"
With their hearts full of belief, the apostles said all together,
"We are Allah's helpers; we believe in Allah and bear witness that we are believers."57
After answering Hz. Isa like that, the apostles turned to their Lord and prayed Him as follows:
"Our Lord! We believe in what you have revealed, and we follow the Messenger; then write us down among those who bear witness.”58
Indeed, the apostles kept their promise they gave to Allah and Hz. Isa; they served the true religion until they died. They put up with all kinds of troubles, pressure and torture in the way of Allah; they showed patience. They did not give up their belief in the least.
HZ. ISA GIVES GLAD TIDINGS ABOUT THE LAST PROPHET
All prophets informed their ummahs about the prophet of the end of time. The prophets made their ummahs promise that they would believe in him if they met him.59
The Prophet that mentioned Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) the most was Hz. Isa.
Hz. Isa always told his followers that a prophet that would be the leader of the world would come. He said that he would leave and be a sign for his advent.
This issue is stated as follows in the Quran:
— And remember Jesus, the son of Mary, said: "O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah (sent) to you confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving glad Tidings of an Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad."60
As it is seen, Hz. Isa mentioned our Prophet by using his name Ahmad. The Prophet stated the following indicating this issue:
"My name is mentioned as Muhammad in the Quran, Ahmad in the Gospel and Ahyad in the Torah.”61
In many places in the Gospel, the attributes and ethics of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh), the place where would emerge, the place to which he would migrate, how his religion would spread to the world are mentioned in detail. After the prophethood of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh), Christians changed and distorted most of these signs. For instance, Sheikh Rahmatullah Hindi, an Islamic scholar, proves most of these distortions in his book called Izharu’1-Haqq. Despite those distortions, Husayn al-Jisri found about 110 signs in the Gospel about our Prophet. If this is the amount found after distortion, you can imagine how much it was before its distortion.62
The reason why Hz. Isa mentions Hz, Muhammad so much is as follows:
1. Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) saved Hz. Isa from the lies, denials and slanders of Jews.
2. Our Prophet has a lighter and easier shari'ah compared to the hard and heavy shari'ah of Jews. Besides, it completed and perfected the shari'ah of Hz. Isa. For, the shari'ah of Hz. Isa generally consisted of advice. It did not have many decrees about the worldly life.
Therefore, Hz. Isa always said, “The leader of the world is coming", when he mentioned our Prophet (pbuh) and gave glad tidings to his apostles.63 The Prophet stated the following in a hadith:
"I am the closest to Isa, son of Maryam, in the world and the hereafter. In fact, all prophets are like half brothers. Their mothers are different. That is, they have the same religion: the religion of oneness.”64
HZ. ISA IS RAISED TO THE SKY
The Jews saw that Hz. Isa never stopped telling people about his cause despite their oppression and pressure. This increased their fury and agitated their jealousy. Eventually, they decided to conspire against him. One of them was going to pretend to have believed and join the apostles. He was going to find out the place and time of their meeting; then, the Jews were going to attack them. They believed that Hz. Isa's cause would end if they killed him.
They fulfilled the plan at once. They got a person called Taitanos to join the apostles. They made their plan cleverly. However, they were not aware of the divine plan waiting for them. Their plan was going to be reversed.
While the Jews were preparing for the assassination, Allah Almighty informed Hz. Isa about the situation through revelation.
The divine revelation ordained the state of Hz. Isa and his religion after that as follows:
"O Isa! I will take you and raise you to Myself and clear you of the falsehoods of those who blaspheme.65 I will prevent them from killing you. I will make those who follow you superior to those who reject faith (Jews) to the Day of Resurrection; then, you will all return unto Me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein you dispute.”66
The verse above completely reject the claim of Jews that they killed Hz. Isa. the word "mutawaffika" is used in the verse. Allah Almighty used this word to address Hz. Isa. Scholars disagreed about the meaning of this word. Tafsir scholars interpreted it as follows:
a) Tawaffi means death. However, this death took place after Hz. Isa was raised to the sky. He was raised to the sky while he was alive. He will complete his lifespan and die before Doomsday strikes. This completion of lifespan will take place in the form of his coming down to the world and acting in accordance with the rules of Islam for a while, bringing peace to the world and dying after that. This is a narration reported by Qatada. This is the most common and famous view.67 For, there are various hadiths stating that Hz. Isa was raised to the sky with both his spirit and his body. For instance, the following is stated in a hadith: “Isa did not die. He will return to you before the Day of Judgment.”68 In this sense, there is a glad tiding by Allah Almighty that He would prevent him from being killed by his enemies and that He would protect him from their evil deeds.69
b) Tawaffi means death. However, this death took place before he was raised to the sky. He remained as a dead person for about seven hours and then he was revived. After that, he was raised to the sky. This narration is weak.70
c) It means to make someone sleep. In that case, mutawaffika means “I will put you to sleep. I will raise you to the sky while you are asleep.”71
d) It means to remove him from the world.72
e) It means I will clear you of natural lust and human traces, which prevent you from entering the realm of angels.
In the verses in which Hz. Isa’s being raised to the sky is mentioned, this deed is attributed Allah Almighty. That is, it is stated that Allah Almighty raised him to the sky with His power. Christians do not attribute it to Allah Almighty. They believe that Hz. Isa went up to the sky through his own power.73
In this verse (Aal-i Imran, 55), it is indicated that those who follow Hz. Isa will always be superior to Jews in all centuries and that Jews will always live in contempt.
It is clearly stated in another verse that shame and destitution were pitched over Jews and that they will always live in contempt and abasement.74
What is meant by those who follow Hz. Isa is the real and sincere believers of Christianity up to the time of the advent of Islam and the ummah of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) after that. For, the ummah of Islam believes in Hz. Isa and confirms his prophethood. Besides, they follow Hz. Muhammad, whom Hz. Isa mentioned many times and in whom Hz. Isa encouraged his apostles to believe. Therefore, after the advent of Islam, his real followers are the ummah of Islam. In this sense, it is understood that Jews will be defeated by the ummah of Islam in all centuries. (*).
JEWS CRUCIFY TAITANOS
According to narration, about 4 thousand Jews came together and surrounded the house where Hz. Isa was living. They were waiting for the sign of Taitanos, whom they had sent into the house. However, Allah Almighty removed Hz. Isa from the earth and raised him to the sky.
When Taitanos could not see Hz. Isa in the house, he was astonished. He went to the door to tell people about the situation. Meanwhile something unexpected happened. Allah made his face resemble the face of Hz. Isa. When the Jews saw him, they thought he was Hz. Isa. They caught him. They were very angry. They shouted,
"Hang him! Hang the magician Isa!" They started to drag the man whom they thought to be Hz Isa. They did not listen to him when he said, "I am not Isa." They insulted and swore at him continuously.
They crucified him on a cross made of wood in the biggest square of the city. They started to stone him. Blood was coming from his head, face and feet. They left him like that and he died.
Then, they left, thinking that they killed Hz. Isa. They thought it was over.
When the excitement was over and they looked at him calmly, they were astonished. The face of the man they crucified resembled the face of Hz. Isa but his body did not resemble him at all. Where was Taitanos, their friend?
Thereupon, they started to argue. Some of them said the person they killed was not Isa while others claimed that he was Isa.
The Quran points to this issue of resembling and states that the claim of Jews that they killed Isa, son of Mary, is not true; it also states that they themselves fell into dispute about it.75
Christians believe that Hz. Isa was really crucified and died. They even say that he begged Jews in order to save his life.76
Fakhruddin Razi criticizes this belief of Christians' as follows in his couplets:
"I am surprised by the state of Hz. Isa in the eyes of Christians. They attribute him to Allah as his father. However, they also accept the claim of Jews that he was crucified and killed. We need to ask them what his father was doing then if it really happened. If He was pleased with what Jews did, Christians need to thank Jews. If they killed Allah's son despite the wish of Allah, it means Jews are superior and Christians need to worship them.”77
HZ. ISA IS ALIVE
Hz. Isa was not crucified or killed. Allah Almighty removed him from the hands of the ferocious unbelievers and raised him to the sky. He is alive like Hz. Idris (Enoch), who was raised to the sky before him. Both prophets live in the same level of life.
Badiuzzaman Said Nursi explains the form and level of life of Hz. Idris and Hz. Isa as follows:
"Both prophets were removed from the requirements of humanity. That is, they do not need eating and drinking; they do not need air, water, etc.
They entered an angelic life and acquired a luminous fineness. They are present in the heavens with their earthly bodies, which have the subtlety of bodies from the World of Similitudes and the luminosity of star-like bodies. They are in the sky like that.78
HZ. ISA WILL RETURN TO THE EARTH AT THE END OF TIME
According to the hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Hz. Isa, who was raised to the sky with his spirit and body, will come down to the earth from the sky, kill Dajjal (Antichrist) and strengthen Islam by acting in accordance with the rules of Islam. Accordingly, the religion of Christianity will return to its real and pure form at the end of time and Christianity will unite with the truths of Islam by divesting itself of wrong beliefs. Consequently, Christians and Muslims will support each other against the movements of unbelief and deviation that deny Allah and defeat them. Badiuzzaman said Nursi expresses this truth as follows:
"At the end of time, Isa (Upon whom be peace) will come and will act in accordance with the Shari’a of Muhammed (PBUH),” indicates that at the end of time the religion of Christianity will be purified and divest itself of superstition in the face of the current of unbelief and atheism born of Naturalist philosophy, and will be transformed into Islam. At this point, just as the collective personality of Christianity will kill the fearsome collective personality of irreligion with the sword of heavenly Revelation, so too, representing the collective personality of Christianity, Isa (Upon whom be peace) will kill the Dajjal, who represents the collective personality of irreligion, that is, he will kill atheistic thought."79
In another place, he expresses it as follows:
“Christianity will either erupt, or being purified will lay down its arms before Islam. It was split apart several times and Protestantism emerged. Then Protestantism was rent and approached the true affirmation of divine unity. It is preparing to be rent again. It will either erupt and be extinguished, or it will see before it the truths of Islam, which encompass the basis of true Christianity, and it will lay down its arms.
The Prophet Muhammad (Upon whom be blessings and peace) alluded to this great mystery when he said: “Jesus will come having descended from the skies; he will be of my community and will act in accordance with my Shari‘a.”80
“When Isa (Upon whom be peace) comes, it is not necessary that everyone should know him to be the true Jesus. His elect and those close to him will recognize him through the light of belief. It will not be self-evident so that everyone will recognize him.”81
STORIES AND NICE SAYINGS ABOUT HZ. ISA
Once Satan became visible to Hz. Isa and said to him,
"O Isa! Say, 'La ilaha illallah (There is no god but Allah)'” Hz. Isa said to him,
"This is the true word. I will utter him but not upon your request." Then, he said, “La ilaha illallah”.
Aliyyu’l-Hawas said, "Satan wanted Hz. Isa to follow him by doing so. However, as a prophet, Hz. Isa did not follow him and rejected him. He uttered La ilaha illallah truly.
* * *
Hz. Isa said, "A person who shows patience to an unjust and evil word gets ten rewards.”
* * *
According to a narration, Hz. Isa met a man. His eyes were blinded; he was hit by the disease of speckled skin; he also had leprosy and he could not stand up due to paralysis. When Hz. Isa approached him, he heard the man say, "Praise be to Allah who protected me from the diseases that most people caught." He asked the man, "What are the diseases that Allah protected you from?" The man said, "Allah protected me from the ignorance of not recognizing him; He honored me with divine knowledge."
Hz. Isa said to him, "You have told the truth. Give me your hand." The man stretched his hand to him. Then, he got rid of all of his illnesses; he became a person with one of the most beautiful faces. Hz. Isa did not leave this man until he was raised to the sky. He worshipped Allah together with that man.
* * *
Hz. Isa said,
"Increase the thing that fire and soil cannot eat." The people asked, "What is it?" He said, "To do favors (good deeds)."
* * *
They asked Hz. Isa,
"What is the biggest mischief?" He said,
It is the deviation of a scholar. For, when he deviates and goes astray, the world is shaken. The ignorant people make use of it. They show it as an example and try to justify their disobedience."
* * *
Hz. Isa said, “Do not give gems to pigs. Knowledge is more valuable than gems. A person who is not fit for knowledge is worse and meaner than a pig."
* * *
Hz. Isa stated the following in a sermon:
"O Children of Israel! Do not utter wisdom near ignorant people because you will have wronged wisdom. Do not avoid uttering wisdom near wise people because you will have wronged wise people if you avoid. Do not reward oppressors; virtues will become valueless if you do so.”
* * *
They asked Hz. Isa, “Why are old people more ambitious than young people?” Hz. Isa answered,
"For, they have experienced what young people have not experienced.”
* * *
They asked Hz. Isa,
"Who did you receive your good manners from?" He said,
"I did not receive them from anybody. However, I saw the ignorance of the ignorant people and I kept away from it."
* * *
When the apostles saw Hz. Isa coming out of a man who was known as an evil and shameless man, they asked him,
"O Ruhullah! What were you doing there?"
Hz. Isa said,
"A doctor goes to the place where patients are."
* * *
According to a narration, somebody from Children of Israel was a highwayman for 40 years. Once, he met Hz. Isa and one of his apostles. The man thought, “This is Hz. Isa and the man with him is one of his apostles. I will join them and started to walk behind them. When he approached the apostle, he asked himself, "Can a man like me approach an apostle?" Thus, he criticized himself. On the other hand, the apostle thought, “How can this highwayman walk next to me?" Then, he approached Hz. Isa. Thus, one of them acted modestly and the other arrogantly. Thereupon, Allah Almighty sent the following revelation to Hz. Isa:
"Tell both of them that I have erased what they did in the past. They should start doing deeds from scratch. I eliminated the previous worshipping of the apostle because he liked himself. I forgave the sins of the highwayman because he despised himself.”
Hz. Isa told both of them about the situation and accepted the highwayman as one of his apostles.
* * *
Once, Hz. Isa asked Children of Israel,
"Where does a seed spring up?" They said,
"It springs up in the soil." Hz. Isa said,
"I am telling you the truth. Like a seed, wisdom also springs up in the hearts that are modest and under the feet of people."
* * *
It is narrated that Hz. Isa sat facing an old ironsmith and prayed,
"O Allah! Stop this man's desire from the world." The man suddenly put the hammer down and sat in the corner of the workshop. He left the things to be done as they were. When Hz. Isa saw it, he prayed again,
"O Lord! Increase this man's desire." The man stood up, took his hammer and started to work again." Thereupon, Hz. Isa approached the old man and asked him why he stopped and then started to work again." The old man said,
"I thought, 'I am getting old. How long more do I intend to work? I must stop working.' Then, I stopped working. "Then, I thought, 'I need food as long as I live. I cannot stop like that.' Then, I started to work again."
Desire revives man; despair kills him.
* * *
Malik bin Dinar narrates:
Hz. Isa was passing by the dead body of a dog with his apostles. The apostles said,
"It smells terrible." Hz. Isa said,
"It has very bright teeth." Hz. Isa spoke like that in order to prevent his apostles from backbiting by seeking mistakes and to teach them that everything had a good aspect; therefore, it is better to find the good aspect and speak about it than to seek mistakes.
* * *
Once, Hz. Isa went to a place where the Jews had gathered. They started to say bad things about him. He spoke to them mildly and softly. They said to him,
"They are saying bad things about you but you still say good things." He said to them,
"Everybody sells what he has."
* * *
According to a narration, Hz. Isa saw a man and asked him,
"What do you do?" The man said,
"I am busy with worshipping." Hz. Isa asked,
"Who supports your living?" The man said,
"My brother does." Hz Isa said,
"The real worshipper is your brother."
* * *
Hz Isa asked his apostles, “If you saw the wind open the private parts of your brother, what would you do?" The apostles said, “We would cover them." He said, “No, you would open them more." They said, "How could we do such a thing?" Hz. Isa said, “When you hear something about your brother or see his mistake, you add something more and say it to others. It is like opening the private parts of a sleeping man more.”
1 M. Asım Köksal, ibid p. 303
2 Maryam, 16-17; M.Vehbi, ibid, VIII, 3200
3 Maryam 17; The reason why Hz. Jibril came in the form of a man is that Hz. Maryam could not see him in his original form.
4 Maryam, 18
5 Maryam, 19
(*) The reason why Hz. Maryam believed that he was Jibril is the security and knowledge given to her by Allah Almighty.
6 Maryam, 19
7 Aal-i Imran, 45- 46
8 Maryam, 20; Aal-i Imran, 47
9 Maryam, 21; Aal-i Imran, 47
10 Maryam, 22
11 Maryam, 23
12 M. Vehbi, ibid, VIII, 3206see also Baydawi.
13 Maryam, 24. M. Vehbi, ibid, VIII, 3206-3207 The word sarriyen mentioned in the verse may mean Sayyid, which indicates Hz. Isa. According to another interpretation, it means a small stream. According to some narrations, when Hz. Isa was born, a small spring occurred on the ground where he stepped on. Allah Almighty met the water need of Hz. Maryam like that, giving her consolation. We took both meanings into consideration.
14 Maryam, 25-26; M. Vehbi, ibid, VIII, 3207
15 Aal-i Imran, 59, The order "Kun" (Be) in various places of the Quran is the expression of His speedy creation and the effect of His power. What is meant by Allah’s order “be” is His power's effect on what he wishes without any barriers and causes. Allah does not address everything as "be" and it is not necessary. (H. Jisri, ibid, 644)
16 H.Jisri, ibid, 644
17 Footnote: While these wonderful states of an extraordinary human being who is the leader of about one fourth of the humanity and who is transferred from being a human to being an angel in a way and who makes the skies his abode by leaving the earth necessitates a wonderful form of the law of reproduction, it does not fit and it is not necessary to include the law of reproduction in an unknown, unnatural, and low way in it. The clear verses of the Quran do not accept interpretation. How can the law of the gender of angels, which is outside the law of reproduction and which is not harmed at all and the strong laws like the clear verses of the Quran be distorted in order to repair the law of reproduction that is harmed in one hundred aspects?
18 See Badiuzzaman said Nursi, Lem’alar (Flashes), (Ottoman version) 39-41
19 Haluk Nurbaki, Kur’an-ı Kerim’den ayetler ve İlmi gerçekler
20 Yusuf (Joseph) was Hz. Maryam’s cousin. According to the narration of the Bible, he was the fiancé of Hz. Maryam. Jews claim that Hz Isa was not born without a father and that his father was Hz. Maryam’s fiancé Yusuf.
21 See Badiuzzaman said Nursi Mektubat (Letters), 109: Fikri Yavuz Hz. Peygamberin Dilinden Dört Halifesi, 255 (563/41)
22 It is stated in the verse that her nation addressed Hz. Maryam as “Harun’s sister”. There is controversy about who this Harun is. Some interpreters claim that he may be Hz. Musa’s brother Harun. In that case, it is understood that Hz. Maryam comes from the progeny of Hz. Harun. (A person from the tribe of Tamim is addressed as "O sister of Tamim"; similarly, Hz. Maryam is addressed as "O sister of Harun" since she comes from the progeny of Harun.) However, according to the preferred view, this Harun is a real brother of Hz. Maryam. The rank mentioned in the verse strengthens the possibility of a real brother. Some interpreters say it is possible that there was a man called Harun in her nation whom Hz. Maryam accepted as a model due to his piety and worshipping. (Suat Yıldırım, Peygamberimizin Kur’an Tefsiri, 179).
23 Maryam, 27-28; M. Vehbi, ibid, VIII. 3209-3210.
24 Maryam, 29; M.Vehbi, ibid, VIII, 3210
25 Maryam, 30-33
26 See Hazin, III, 241
27 ibid, III, 241
28 See Luqman, 13-14.
29 See al-Ajluni, Kashfu’1-Khafa’, 11. 365, 3076. hadith.
30 Hazin, III, 241.
31 A. C. Paşa, ibid, I, 39.
32 The incident that caused the martyrdom of Hz. Yahya is narrated as follows in history resources: Herod Antipas, a Jewish king, wanted to marry his brother, Philips’ wife Herodias and asked Hz. Yahya to fulfill the act of marriage. However, Hz. Yahya did not accept this marriage, which was regarded as haram according to Jewish shari'ah. Thereupon, the king got angry and sent him to prison. Herodias asked the king to kill Hz. Yahya. However, the king did not accept it because he was afraid of the reaction of the people. Thereupon, Herodias, who desired to be the queen, used her own daughter Salome to seduce the King Herod. The King fell in love with Salome; when he understood that there was nothing else to do but to marry Herodias in order to have Salome, he agreed to kill Hz. Yahya. He had Hz. Yahya’s head and arms cut off; thus, he martyred Hz. Yahya. (For detailed information, see Yıllarboyu Tarih, December 1981). One of the arms of Hz. Yahya is in Topkapı Palace Museum.
33 M. Vehbi, ibid, II, 567
34 al-Mu’minun, 50; M. Vehbi ibid, IX, 3636
35 A.C.Paşa ibid, I, 41
36 ibid, I, 41
37 al-Hadid, 26
38 al-Hadid, 27; The word "taqwiya" menetioned in the verse is derived from the word head, whose original form means nape. It means to send someone after someone else, to send someone after someone else's trace. (See M. H. Yazır, ibid, VI, 4765)
39 According to the majority of the narrations, the bird that Hz Isa shaped and then blew in order to revive was a bat. He showed this miracle upon the request of Jews. According to a narration, this bird flew a distance that everybody could see and fell down dead when it flew away from the people's visual range. (M. Vehbi, II, 605-606)
40 M. Vehbi, ibid, II, 606
41 Aal-i Imran, 49
42 See az-Zukhruf 65; Aal-i Imran, 50
43 al-Maida, 47; M. Vehbi, III, 1236
44 al-Maida, 72; Aal-i Imran, 51; az-Zukhruf, 63-64; Maryam, 36
45 A.C.Paşa ibid, I, 24; H. Jisri, ibid, 637
46 Aal-i Imran, 52; as-Saff, 14
47 Buhari, K. al-Jihad, Bab: 40; Muslim, K. as-Sahabae, Bab: 6
48 H. Jisri, ibid, 638.
50 al-Maida, 112.
51 al-Maida, 112; M. H. Yazır, ibid, II, 1846
52 al-Maida, 113; M.H.Yazır, II,1846
53 M. Vehbi, ibid, IV, 1358
54 al-Maida, 114; M. H. Yazır, ibid, II, 1846
55 al-Maida, 115; ibid, II 1847
56 ibid, II, 1848
57 Aal-i Imran, 52.
58 Aal-i Imran, 53.
59 See M.H.Yazır, ibid, II, 1140; M. Vehbi, ibid, II, 652
60 as-Saff, 6
61 Mektubat (Letters), 175.
62 Mektubat(Letters), 149
63 Mektubat(Letters), 176-177
64 Tajrid Trnsl.
65 The meaning of the word "tathir" (cleaning) here is to remove Hz. Isa from the unbelievers. This word is used to honor Hz. Isa’s dignity. This word indicates that those who insist on unbelief are dirty in terms of ethics and creed.
66 Aal-i Imran, 55
67 M.H.Yazır, ibid, II, 1113
68 ibid, II, 1112
69 H. Jisri, ibid, 641
70 M. H. Yazır, ibid, II, 1115; M. Vehbi, ibid, II, 614
71 ibid, II, 1115; M. Vehbi, ibid, II, 614
72 M. Vehbi, ibid, II, 614
73 H. Jisri, ibid, 650.
74 For the interpretation of this verse, see Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, Sözler (Words), 422-423.
(*) Badiuzzaman said Nursi explains as follows that today's Jewish state does not contradict with the verse: The Jewish nation has always been excessive in its love of life and this world, and has therefore deserved the blows of abasement and misery it has received every century. However, in the Palestine question it is not love of life and this world, but a significant sort of national and religious feeling because Palestine is where the prophets of the Children of Israel are buried, and the prophets belonged to their nation. In consequence they have received no swift blows. A small group could never otherwise have held out in the midst of the vast Arab lands; it would quickly have been humiliated.” (Şualar (Rays), 460-461).
75 An-Nisa, 157
76 H.Jisri, ibid, 650
77 ibid, 650-651
78 Mektubat (Letters), 6
79 Mektubat, Birinci Mektup (Letters, First Letter)
80 Bukhari, Anbiya, 49; Muslim, Iman, 242-247; Tirmidhi, Fitan, 62; Musnad, 4:226.
81 Mektubat, On Beşinci Mektup (Letters, Fifteenth Letter)