Story of a Holy Birth
When my Egyptian colleague came with a surprising answer!!!
DR. JAVID IQBAL
A decade and a half back in Libya, an Egyptian colleague asked me to take his call duty on 7th of January--the day signifying their big feast, as he related. Though willing to do him a favour, I was curious to know the details of the big occasion. “Christmas; dear” was the answer to my query. Taken aback, I retorted “Christmas-- doesn’t it fall on 25th December?” “Yes, for some sects” replied my colleague--a Coptic Christian. Subsequent to taking my colleague’s call, I was curious to dig deeper into the subject. Apart from Egyptian Coptic Church, Russian Orthodox Church also decrees 7th January to be the Christmas day…DoB of Jesus Christ [Issa Messiah (A.S)]
Four versions of Gospels - Matthew, Marco, Luke and John - are authentic holy versions for Christians. Gospel of Barnabas stays away from mainstream Christianity, as it authenticates much that Islam has to say of Christianity. Gospel of Barbanas predicts the advent of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Its Italian version in a Vienna library was first revealed in early 20th century mainly due to an intense research. Barnabas was one of the twelve prime associates of Jesus Christ.
The account of birth, the timing, as well as the place where Jesus Christ was born varies as related in Gospels from historical compilation of the Jesuit era and the Quranic version. Luke’s Gospel [chapter: 2, verse: 1-7) relates it to the Roman taxation decree issued by Caesar Augustus, entailing taking a census of all the subjects of mighty Roman Empire. It needs to be remembered that in the Jesuit era, Romans were masters of the known civilized world, mainly located around the Mediterranean Sea—some historians like to call it the lake of history. The verses relate that Joseph, the husband of Mary [Syeda Maryam (RA)] otherwise a Nazarene [resident of Nazareth] moved to his native Bethlehem to get enrolled for paying the decreed taxes. Bethlehem, the city of David [Hazrat Dawood (A.S)] was presumed to be the city where the Messiah…the deliverer would be born. It was believed that the deliverer would re-enforce the Jewry and rid the Jews of Roman tyranny.
Old Testament [(Isaiah) 7:13-16] relates, “in the family of David, fourteen generations after him shall be born Immaneul/Emmaneul” [another attribute of Jesus Christ]. However when Jesus Christ appeared and started preaching, the Jews refused to accept him as their redeemer. On the contrary, he was accused of blasphemy in the court of Roman Governor…Pontius Pilate and the verdict of crucifixion obtained. Christians say the sentence was carried out. Nay, says the Holy Quran—he was lifted to heavens.
Renan, the master historian of Jesuit era contradicts the biblical view. He asserts that Jesus was born at Nazareth, a small town of Galilee, which before his time had no celebrity. All his life he was designated by the name of “the Nazarene” [chapter 1]. On Bethlehem being the birthplace, as projected in Gospels, Renan puts it as merely a legend, based on the universal belief that the Messiah would be son of David, and, like him, would be born at Bethlehem [Chapter: XVth]. On the year of birth, what Renan contends points to Christian era starting earlier than believed by the civilized world? Gospels of Luke and Matthew relate the holy birth to census conducted on decree of Caesar Augustus. It took place under the reign of Augustus, about the Roman year 750, probably some years before the year 1 [one] of that era which all civilized people date from the day on which Jesus Christ was born, contends Renan.
Holy Quran relates of the childbirth in Surah (Maryam [019.023]) “And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree: She cried (in her anguish): Ah! Would that I had died before this! Would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight”. In order to soothe the sentimental turbulence and provide comfort, Mary heard a sound in wilderness, noted in Surah (Maryam [Mary]) [019.024]) “But (a voice) cried to her from beneath the (palm-tree): “Grieve not! for thy Lord hath provided a rivulet beneath thee” Thus directed to the place to deliver, way to ease her pain was suggested--Surah (Maryam [Mary]) [019.025]) “And shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm-tree: It will let fall fresh ripe dates upon thee”. The verses provide the view that Islamic Scholar project-- as the dates ripen in early spring, ‘Holy Birth’ might have taken place in early spring and not in December or January.
Whatever be the day of the birth--25th December/7th January or early spring--a few years before or after ‘Census’ conducted by the Roman Empire, while providing the academics, the theologians, an anthropologist, some food for thought--an exercise worth undertaking, it does not affect the defining moment in evolution of human thought with divine inspiration. Jesus Christ came with a message for Beni Israel/Israelites. Israel was another attribute of Jacob [Hazrat Yaqub (A.S)] belonging to family of Abraham [Syedena Ibrahim (A.S)]. The message as related in various verses of Holy Quran was meant for Beni-Israelis, their indiscretion noted in verse after verse, mostly in Surah Baqr [the Cow]. Beni-Israelis were not interested in liberation from bondage, preferring the loaves and crumbs, thrown by Romans and following the wayward practices of their priestly class. They were encaged, spiritually as well as temporally. Jesus Christ predicted, what would befall them. Encyclopedia Britannica records the event: “In the year 70 A.D, such a calamity struck Jerusalem, which has had no parallel, anywhere else in the world. Utter turmoil spelt fall of Jerusalem. The temple [of Solomon…Heikel-e-Suleimany] was burnt and this resulted in fall of Jewry”.
Six centuries later, Beni-Ishmaels became the chosen people by the will of Allah, with the advent of Prophet Mohammad [PUBH].
The lesson is clear, those who digress, shall be degraded.
Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]
Lastupdate on : Mon, 24 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 24 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 25 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST
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