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Book's List > Muhammad and Christ > Chapter 3: Circumstances Relating to Birth > Section 3: Extraordinary Occurrences at the Time of Birth



Chapter 3:
Circumstances Relating to Birth --
Section 3:
Extraordinary Occurrences at the Time of Birth

The third argument in this connection deals with a very unimportant matter. I may, however, say a few words about it before taking up the next question. It is asserted that extraordinary occurrences were noticed at the birth of Jesus and not at the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad:

Extraordinary happenings occurred at the birth of Christ, for instance, a withered palm-tree became green and gave fruit, a fountain flowed, angels came down to comfort Mary as is mentioned in the second section of the chapter Mary. But at the birth of Hadrat Muhammad, no miracle or extraordinary happening occurred; and no proof of miracles is met with in the Qur'an; therefore the son of Mary excels the son of Aminah.

It is a fact that the Holy Qur'an does not speak of any miracle having taken place at the birth of Jesus. An angel no doubt comforted Mary, but that was due to her giving birth to the child under very awkward circumstances. It was in an inn, but there being no place inside she had to wrap him in "swaddling clothes" and lay him "in a manger." The Holy Qur'an does not mention these details but from it too appears that Mary was at the time on a journey and did not enjoy the comforts of a home or of a helper. She stood in need of comfort indeed, and it is in fact to direct attention to her great distress at the time of birth that the Holy Qur'an speaks of the comfort given her by the angel. As regards the withered tree becoming green and the fountain flowing, the Qur'an nowhere says so. All that it says is:

And the throes of childbirth compelled her to betake herself to the trunk of a palm-tree ... Then a voice called out to her from beneath her: Grieve not, surely your Lord has made a stream to flow beneath you, and shake towards you the trunk of the palm-tree, it will drop on you ripe dates, so eat and drink and refresh the eye (19:23-26).

These verses show that the palm-tree was there already and the voice only directed Mary's attention to the fact that she could get both food and water without going far in search of them, there being fresh ripe dates on the palm-tree to which she had betaken herself to seek relief from the throes of childbirth, and fresh water in a stream that flowed beneath her.

Even if we suppose that there was a miracle in providing food for a woman, it dwarfs into insignificance before the mighty sign that was shown at the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace. The Holy Qur'an speaks of this in clear terms:

Have you not considered how your Lord dealt with the possessors of the elephant? Did He not cause their war to end in confusion and send down to prey upon them birds in flocks casting them against hard stones; so He rendered them like straw eaten up (ch. 105).

The reference here is to the memorable invasion of Makka by Abraha, the Christian viceroy at Yaman, of the king of Abyssinia. Abraha's object was to destroy the Ka`ba so as to divert the Arab religious enthusiasm, as well as the Arab trade, to Sana`a where he had built a magnificent cathedral for the purpose. This army is known in Arabia as the ashab al fil, or the possessors of the elephant, because of the presence of elephants in it. When the huge army was only some three days' march from Makka, `Abdul-Muttalib, the grandfather of the Holy Prophet, unable to defend the Ka`ba, thus prayed to God: "Defend, O Lord! Thine own House, and suffer not the cross to triumph over the Ka`ba." A virulent form of small-pox or some other pestilence broke out in Abraha's army which retreated in confusion and dismay and the Ka`ba was thus miraculously saved from the evil intentions of the Christians. And history shows that this happened in the year 570 of the Christian era, the year of the birth of our Holy Prophet. This is indeed a mighty sign which was shown to the world at the birth of our Holy Prophet. What significance can be attached to Mary's finding dates on a palm-tree and water in a stream when compared with the wonderful sign shown at the advent of the Holy Prophet! This is related in the Holy Qur'an, while numerous other signs that took place at his birth are met with in the Reports.




Chapter 3: Circumstances Relating to Birth; Section 2: Mother's Greatness

Chapter 4: The Call

Book's List > Muhammad and Christ > Chapter 3: Circumstances Relating to Birth > Section 3: Extraordinary Occurrences at the Time of Birth


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