The story of the Nativity is
undoubtedly the most famous story of birth in the history of mankind. According to the author of the article, Ayman
al-Tuhāmī, there is no major theological disagreement between Islamic and Christian narratives of the
birth of Jesus Christ.
Al-Tuhāmī said that although they give different accounts of the birth
of Jesus Christ, the gospels of Matthew and Luke complement each other perfectly "like two strands of hair braided
together." Both accounts indicate that Jesus Christ was born to the Virgin Mary, a simple and poor young woman who
was engaged to Joseph, a carpenter.
Al-Tuhāmī explained that the main point of theological
disagreement between Muslims and Christians is how each side regards Christ: while Christians call Christ the "Son
of God," the Qur’ān describes him as the "servant of God." [Reviewer: Muslims believes that all
creatures are servants of God. In the Qur’ān, Jesus Christ, who is called
‘Īsá in Arabic, is consistently referred to as "‘Īsá Bin Maryam"
(Jesus, the son of Mary) because, in Muslim belief, Jesus had no biological father].
According to the
gospels, Mary was visited by an angel who brought to her the message that she would give birth to Christ [Reviewer:
This is according to Luke’s account. In Matthew’s account, Joseph was visited by an angel who persuaded
him to marry Mary rather than send her away or expose her pregnancy].
The Qur’ān and the
Bible depict the Virgin Mary’s fears and worries when she knew of her virginal conception. They both indicate
that an angel appeared to the Virgin Mary and told her that her conception was a miracle from God. The
Qur’ān reads: "She said: how can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I
been unchaste? He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord sayeth: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may
make of him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained." [Chapter of Maryam [Mary]
19: 20, 21, ’The Meaning of the Glorious Qur’ān’ by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall] "The
angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the
holy one to be born will be called the Son of God." [Luke 1: 35, The Holy Bible, New International
Al-Tuhāmī indicated that while the Bible elaborates on the story and journey of Mary
and Joseph to Bethlehem, the Qur’ān does not make any reference to Joseph. "And she conceived
him, and she withdrew with him to a far place. And the pangs of childbirth drove her unto the trunk of the
palm-tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died ere this and had become a thing of naught, forgotten!" [19: 22, 23].
Al-Tuhāmi stated, "The above-mentioned ’far place’ is not specifically stated, but it most
probably refers to Bethlehem."
According to al-Tuhāmī, the difference between the
Qur’ānic and Biblical accounts of the Nativity is clearly revealed in the Virgin Mary’s
reaction when she gave birth to Jesus Christ. The Qur’ān stated that Mary was afraid of
disgrace, but her fears were soon allayed when Christ talked to her in his cradle. "Then (one) cried unto her from
below her, saying: Grieve not! Thy Lord hath placed a rivulet beneath thee," [19: 24]. The Biblical version of the
story says that upon hearing of her pregnancy, Joseph was initially inclined to break off their betrothal. However,
following a dream in which he was reassured that Mary was still a virgin and that her child was conceived by the
Holy Spirit, Joseph agreed to marry Mary.