In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
This which we recite to you is a revelation and a wise reminder. The case of Jesus in the sight of Allah is the same as the case of Adam. He created him of dust and then said to him: “Be’ and he was. This is the truth from your Lord; be not, then, among the doubters. If anyone should dispute with you about his (truth) after all the knowledge you have received, say; Come! Let us summon our sons and your sons, our women and your women, and our people and your people; then let us pray humbly and solemnly invoke Allah’s curse upon the ones who lie. The House of Imran, “Aal-Imran”; 3:58-61)
Commentary by Sayyid Qutb, Translated by A.A. Salahi & S.A. Shamsi.
Over the last issue we have carried commentary on the passage of the Surah which relates the story of Jesus; his birth to his virgin mother, the miracles he performed and the attitudes of the children of Israel toward him and his message. We concluded last issue with a commentary on the verses which relate that Allah has gathered Jesus to Him and caused him to ascend to Him after having cleansed him of mixing with the disbelievers. We stopped at the end of the verse which explains the doom of the disbelievers and the reward the believers receive on the Day of Judgement. At this point in the story of Jesus which has been beset by controversy the Surah adds certain comments establishing the basic facts which are deduced from narrating such a story. The Prophet is instructed on how to answer the people of earlier revelations with decisiveness which ends all controversy and makes the facts, as stated by Islam, absolutely clear to all. These conclusions begin in the Surah by a statement of the truthfulness of the revelations received by Muhammad (Pbuh); This which we recite to you is a revelation and a wise reminder.
These stories and all the Qur’anic instructions are revelations from Allah. Allah recites His revelations to His Messenger (Pbuh). This expresses the honour and compassion Allah bestows on His messenger. What honour is greater than that Allah. Himself recites to His Prophet (Pbuh) His own revelation and wise reminder. That it is a wise reminder needs no assertion, because it states the great and basic facts which concern man and life in a method and a style which address human nature directly and gently, and appeal to it in a friendly way which is unknown in any address made by any other speaker.
This is followed by a final comment on the true nature of Jesus (Pbuh) and on the phenomenon of creation in relation to Allah’s will which creates everything as it has created Jesus; The case of Jesus in the sight of Allah is the same as the case of Adam. He created him of dust and then said to him; Be, and he was. The birth of Jesus is indeed amazing when it is compared to what is familiar to man. It is, however, far from amazing when compared with the creation of Adam, the father of the human race. The people of the scriptures who debated and argued about the nature of Jesus, because of his miraculous birth, and weaved around him all sorts of legends and fantasies because he had no father believed that Adam was created of dust, and that it was the blow of Allah’s spirit which made of him a human being. They have not weaved any similar legends around Adam as they did around Jesus. They did not claim that Adam had any divine nature. Yet, the very element which made Adam a human being is the same one which caused Jesus. There was also the divine command “Be”, to initiate whatever Allah wants to initiate, and it comes into existence. We can then appreciate the simplicity of this fact of the creation of Jesus, Adam and all creatures. We find ourselves accepting it with ease and clarity. We indeed wonder why should the birth of Jesus lead to all these disputes and arguments when it has taken place according to Allah’s law which applies to all creation.
We can also appreciate the method of the Qur’an, the wise reminder, in addressing human nature with simple, realistic and natural logic which makes even the most complicated of matters appear to be the most simple.
When we have had this clear statement of the facts, a direct address is made to the Prophet (Pbuh) reassuring him of the truth which he has received and which is recited to him. That truth is stressed on the mind of the Prophet and the minds of his Muslim companions who were exposed to the doubts raised by the people of earlier revelations and who might have been confused by their invalid arguments. This is the truth from your Lord; be not, then, among the doubters.
The Prophet (Pbuh) never entertained even the slightest of doubts as to the truth of what was revealed to him from his Lord at any moment in his life. The fact that this reassurance is needed, however, gives us an idea of how far the schemes of the enemies of the Muslim community have been effective on some of its members at that time. It also indicates that the Muslim community will always be subject to such schemes, and will always need reassurance of the truth it holds in the face of all schemers and deceivers. For these renew their scheming and adopt new methods, of deception in every generation.
Now that the whole affair is stated absolutely clearly and the truth has appeared to all, Allah instructs His noble messenger to end all arguments and debates about this straight forward affair and invite those who continue to argue to join Him in a mutual prayer to Allah to judge between them, in the form which is explained in the next verse; If anyone should dispute with you about this truth after all the knowledge you have received, say; Come! Let us summon our sons and your sons, our women and your women, and our people and your people; then let us pray humbly and solemnly invoke Allah’s curse upon the ones who lie.
The Prophet did actually call on those who disputed what he said on this matter to have a meeting attended by all people. All those who attended would pray Allah humbly to curse the party which lied. His opponents, however, feared the results of such a prayer and refused the offer. The truth was then clear for everyone to see. The reports which we have of that particular affair tell us that they have not accepted Islam because they have been keen on maintaining their positions among their people. The clergy at the time enjoyed great many privileges, power, and luxurious life. We have to remember that those who try to turn people away from this religion, do not need any proof to accept it. They simply follow their own interests and try to safeguard their own ambitions. Such an attitude is bound to make people turn away from the clear truth which is apparent to all.