Jawaid Ahmed wrote: “ …. The rabbis saw this as rebelling against their rules, the Temple…”
Tahir wrote: “She was accused of "baghia" which is rebellion if we don't use hadith and bible to give meanings to this word. She was given to temple in service of God and she walked out of temple leaving behind man made system of "Ruhbaniat" “
The following is my meager attempt to provide more comprehensive and clearer picture regarding the miraculous birth of Jesus, refuting not just above claims but any such claims. It is a bit long, please read it until the end.
Let us start from the beginning, once more.
[3:35-36]: [Mention, O Muhammad], when the wife of 'Imran said, "My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, dedicated [for Your service], so accept this from me. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing." But when she delivered her, she said, "My Lord, I have delivered a female." And Allah was most knowing of what she delivered, "And the male is not like the female. And I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled/rejected.”
[3:37]: So her Lord accepted her with good acceptance and reared her to be a beautiful, good mannered, morally sound, young lady (ḥasanan), and put her in the care of Zechariah. Every time Zechariah entered upon her in the prayer chamber, he found with her provision. He said, "O Mary, from where is this [coming] to you?" She said, "It is from Allah. Indeed, Allah provides for whom He wills without account."
1. It is clear from above that Mary was a devotee of the Temple as per the custom of the time and God accepted her into the Temple as His devotee. She grew to be an honorable, morally upright, and beautiful young lady.
2. Although, it is not mentioned clearly anywhere in Quran, the Quranic narrative in 3:36 posits that males used to be dedicated to Temple. Thus, Mary found herself among the male devotees, both young and old. When Mary grew up among them as a beautiful young lady, this must have caused a great deal of anxiety among the male devotees, particularly the young ones, thus, at least some if not many must have attempted to violate her. Verses referring to “she guarded her chastity…” are a direct reference to such attempts.
3. This situation must have alarmed the leadership of the Temple. Thus, the temple leadership decided to remove her from the temple and put her under someone’s care outside the temple. They disputed and argued among themselves (each one wanting to take charge of her for their own reasons) and followed a certain method to decide upon this as per [3:44], eventually, putting her under the care of prophet Zachariya who integrated her into his own family as per [3:37] and [19:16].
[3:44]: That (all the above from 3:35-43) is from the news of the unseen which We reveal to you, [O Muhammad]. And you were not with them when they cast their pens as to which of them should be responsible for Mary. Nor were you with them when they disputed.
4. It appears from Quran, Prophet Zachariya provided her with lodging on the eastern side of his residence [19:16], and either already had a “prayer chamber” at his house for prayers or he specifically constructed one, perhaps adjacent to her private room. Whenever, Zachariya entered her prayer chamber, he found “provisions” with her. On enquiry, she replied: “It is from Allah. Indeed, Allah provides for whom He wills without account." This cannot be referred to devotees providing her for she is no more in the Temple, and Zachariya would have known if devotees are coming to see her, thus, no point of him to enquire about these. In fact, through this encounter Mary imparted a great lesson to Prophet Zachariya as narrated in [3:38-41].
[3:42-43]: And when the ANGELS said, "O Mary, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds. O Mary, be devoutly obedient to your Lord and prostrate and bow with those who bow [in prayer]."
5. It is during this time (outside the temple and under Zachariya’s care) when Angels (plural) informed Mary of her extraordinary status among the women of the worlds. She is not only chosen above all of them, she is also purified by God. No other person in Quran is described as chosen as well as purified as Mary. THERE MUST BE SPECIAL, VERY SPECIAL PURPOSE FOR WHICH MARY WAS CHOSEN AND PURIFIED, see [3:45] below.
[3:45-46]: When the angels said, "O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be “the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary” - distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah]. He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous."
6. Thus, the purpose for which she was chosen and purified is established in 3:45, for she had to bear a child whose name will be after his mother, completely contrary to the customs of the time as well as God’s commands for other children. Please note the full name given to Jesus by God, i.e. “the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary.” This name includes “Son of Mary” as an integral part of his name. NO OTHER PERSON IN QURAN IS GIVEN SUCH A DISTINCTION. This is unique and an EXCEPTION, all else is trivial in my view.
7. Also, please note, Angels (plural) are in communication with Mary at this stage. Thus, she is being mentally prepared for what is coming. Further, qualities of her son are mentioned too in quite a few verses following this. At this, she is perplexed, as any person could be in similar situation.
[3:47]: She said, "My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me (walam yamsasnī basharun)?" He said, "Like this - God creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, 'Be,' and it is.”
8. Please note, Mary has posited the same Question and concern we have today, namely, a female cannot produce a child without a male partner, a limitation for us mortals. Also note God’s response. God is asserting His EXTRAORDINARY POWERS and WILL to CREATE as He deems necessary.
I pause here and ask my readers, is this a profile of a rebellious young lady? Is there a mention of rebellion here? She did not ask to be removed from the Temple. She is not part of the Temple since Zachariya took charge of her. How has she rebelled against the rules and regulations of the Temple? It is therefore clear she did not rebel against any system, Temple or otherwise.
Further, although she was informed by God what is “decreed by Him” for her, she must be very confused, perplexed, and thinking how this is going to be accomplished? Now to Chapter 19.
[19:16]: And mention, in the Book [the story of] Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place toward the east.
[19:17-19]: And she took, in seclusion from them, a screen. Then We sent to her Our Spirit/Ruh/energy, then this Spirit/ruh/energy assumed the likeness FOR HER of a well-proportioned man. She said, "Indeed, I seek refuge in the Most Merciful from you, if you should be fearing of Allah." He (this Spirit/energy) said, "I am only the messenger of your Lord to bestow/grant/give you a pure boy."
9. Please note, her anxiety and fear on seeing this man who intruded her privacy. Contrast this behavior of her with that she showed when Angels informed her of the good news in [3:45]. For all practical purposes, the man to her was real as is clearly established by the verse above. Undoubtedly, she was afraid, and assumed this is another attempt on her chastity/character, otherwise she could not have asked for refuge in Allah from him.
10. Second, her fear became more pronounced as this spirit/man did not mince any words, rather conveyed his purpose clearly for which he is sent, i.e. he is a messenger of her Lord and that his purpose of visiting her is to give/grant/bestow her a pure boy. Now contrast the reply of this spirit/energy (in the form of a man) with what Angels said in 3:45, i.e. This ruh/spirit/energy from Allah has come to bestow a child to her vs. good news by angels in 3:45. Thus, what Allah decreed is going to happen in this encounter.
11. She, while still apprehensive of his motive and intentions, asked exactly same question she did back in 3:47, with one more addition:
[19:20]: She said, "How can I have a boy while no man has touched me (walam yamsasnī basharun) and I am NOT A baghiyyan?"
12. Please note, she not only responds with the exact phrase “walam yamsasnī basharun” as in 3:47, but now adds to it “baghiyyan.” What are the purpose and meanings of this second phrase “baghiyyan”? So a brief detour about various meanings of this word.
This word is derived from Arabic root letters “bā ghayn yā”. Basic meanings are: to seek diligently, to desire earnestly, to endeavor sedulously – all relating to seeking and desiring exceeding just bounds, limits, and boundaries. In Quran, these basic meanings are extended to mean: seeking something; oppression; rebellion; wronging someone; grudge; jealously, envy; disobedience; and an unchaste behavior, loose character, etc. It is therefore obvious, appropriate meanings must be inferred using Tasreef, and context etc.
13. We now return to the central question posed above about the additional word “baghiyyan” in 19:20. Please note the phrase “no man has touched me = walam yamsasnī basharun” preceding “baghiyyan”. Does this phrase “no man has touched me = walam yamsasnī basharun” refer to sexually-oriented contact? The answer is absolutely, YES. Then, the word “baghiyyan” following this phrase cannot mean anything but sexually oriented. It therefore cannot mean anything except “unchaste behavior, Loose character, etc.” As a matter of fact, when Quran used this word relating the behavior of a woman, it is always in the context of sexually-oriented behavior, in fact, prostitution. For example, 24:33.
[24:33] … And do not compel your young girls to prostitution (l-bighāi), if they desire chastity, to seek [thereby] the temporary interests of worldly life. …
Dr. Sahib has rendered it as “rebellion against morality” which I think is fine, though less specific because morality is more generic and could be interpreted in different ways. To me, Quran is specific rather very specific to convey what it wants to convey.
14. These meanings of the word “baghiyyan = unchaste behavior, or loose character” in 19:20, are further supported when we answer the question, why Mary used it in 19:20 and not in 3:47? The reason is simple. In 3:47, angels are relaying to her “good news” and she was wondering how it is possible, but in 19:20, a physical man is in front of her while she is isolated from rest of her family and this man is adamant to give/grant/bestow her a pure boy as per 19:19. Thus, she is fearful and apprehensive of this man’s motives, and preempts him by telling him: “A boy for me is impossible because so far no one has touched me, and I am NOT UNCHASTE, NOT of LOOSE Character neither in the past nor at this time” and you better don’t dare to violate me. This man/spirit/ruh/energy replied:
[19:21]: He said, "Like this – thus, your Lord says, 'It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign to the people and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter [already] decreed.' "
15. The above is making the following claims: It will happen just like this - the creation of boy for you is easy for your Lord, he will be a sign and mercy for people, and that THIS MATTER IS ALREADY DECREED – THUS NO TURNING BACK FROM IT, I have come to bestow a boy on you, it will be accomplished. Thus, this ruh/spirit/energy does what it was sent for as explained in [66:12]:
[66:12]: “And [the example of] Mary, the daughter of 'Imran, who guarded her chastity, so We blew into IT (her private parts) of our Ruh/Spirit/Energy, …”
16. Please note, the Ruh/spirit/energy in 66:12 is the same that appeared to her as a man in 19:17. Thus, the result of this blowing of energy/ruh/spirit into her private parts is depicted in 19:22
[19:22]: So she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a remote place.
[19:23-26]: And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. She said, "Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten." But a male voice called her from below her, "Do not grieve; your Lord has provided beneath you a stream. And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates. So eat and drink and be contented. And if you see from among humanity anyone, say, 'Indeed, I have vowed to the Most Merciful abstention, so I will not speak today to any human.' "
17. Please note a clear absence of her husband throughout this process of pregnancy and delivery, in fact, throughout the Quran not even an allusion of her supposed husband. Further, she is instructed by this voice “not to talk to any human.”
[19:27-28]: Then she came with him to her people, CARRYING HIM. They said, "O Mary, you have certainly an amazing (fariyyan) thing. O sister of Aaron, your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother unchaste (baghiyyan)."
18. Please note, she carried her newborn back to her people. Thus, establishing that Jesus was a newborn child in the cradle when she brought him to her people.
19. The word “fariyyan” in 19:27 is indicative of extreme perplexity, stunning, and disbelief. Mary was known to be morally upright and strong woman. Thus, they were in shock to see Mary with this new born, without a father. MAY, I ASK MY READERS, WHY SUCH A DISBELIEF AND SHOCK IF SHE WAS MARRIED AND HAD A CHILD? After all, did they not see people having children after they get married? Thus, it is clear, she was not married when she had baby Jesus.
20. If their objection was only to her marriage against Temple’s norms, as some claim, why this disbelief/shock when she returns with a child but not when she gets married right in front of them? Thus, it is obvious she was not married when she had Jesus.
21. On seeing Mary with her newborn, her people with a sense of disbelief accused her of being unchaste. In fact, they did not accuse her directly, rather through linguistic niceties via her mom and dad. i.e. they were not bad in character as you Mary has proven to be. Please note exactly same word “baghiyyan” used in 19:28 as was used in 19:20. Thus, UNMISTAKABLY the word “baghiyyan” refers to unchaste behavior.
[19:29]: So she pointed to him. They said, "How can we speak to one who is in the cradle a child?"
22. She was already under instructions by God not to speak to anyone, she now points to her son, baby Jesus, in the cradle.
[19:30-33]: [Jesus] said, "Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet. And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakah as long as I remain alive. And [made me] dutiful/good to MY MOTHER, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant. And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive."
23. Note, reference to Jesus’ father is missing everywhere in Quran. 19:32 is clear example of him having no father, else there is no reason as to why Jesus himself skipped good behavior towards his own father, if any.
24. Baby Jesus speaks, but does not respond directly to the allegations on her mother, rather he goes through a long list, establishing his credentials first. Some ask why he did not defend her mother directly? What could have he said in her defense? If he says she is not unchaste, they will ask who is your father then. Since she is not married, he cannot answer that question in a simple way. If he says, I am created by God without father, they, then would make God his father, which some of them eventually did, which God refuted immediately in 19:35. Instead, Jesus established his credentials first, which he did. On seeing and hearing this miracle baby speaking, her people’s main belief and attitudes at the time of Quran could be summed up as follows:
Group 1: Those who believed in his miraculous birth without any male’s intervention and thus became believers.
Group 2: Those who doubted his miraculous birth and kept blaming her for unchaste behavior.
Group 3: Those who could not believe in the miraculous birth without some intervention, assumed God did the act of being father, thus, God became the Father, and Jesus a son, another God.
Group 4: Those who doubted his miraculous birth and did not blame her for unchaste behavior, rather found a scapegoat in the form of Joseph, the carpenter.
These are most likely attitudes and beliefs prevalent at the time of prophet Muhammad. Thus, Quran sums it up:
[19;34]: That is Jesus, the son of Mary - THE WORD OF TRUTH about which they are in dispute/doubt.
25. Thus, Jesus is the “word of truth” born to Mary without a father. This fact is brought home in 3:39-60 as well as 3:47:
[3:59-60]: Indeed, the example of Jesus to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; THEN HE SAID TO HIM, "BE," AND HE WAS. The truth is from your Lord, so do not be among the doubters.
[3:47]: … He said, "Like this - God creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, HE ONLY SAYS TO IT, 'BE,' AND IT IS.”
26. Thus, 3:59-60 is yet another clear reference informing us that prophet Jesus is created like Adam, through God’s command of BE, thus, o’ prophet Muhammad you should not doubt it as others have done in 19:34. One can read the Quran from cover to cover, Group 1 is the only group (among the groups mentioned above) supported by the Quran, all other beliefs and attitudes are refuted within the Quran.
Dear brothers and sisters, this is what I understand from the book, Quran. You are entitled to your take on it.