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Written on Christmas Eve 2010
Christmas and Muslims

Translation by: Jamil

My congratulations for this occasion of the Birth of Jesus Christ (PBUH), the impeccable Messenger of God, the pride and prestige of mankind, and the ideal human respected by mankind, to all of the humanity, his followers and particularly my Christian countrymen (and women). And for the mankind in search of truth, I also wish true following of the divine teachings of this faithful and honest model.

The presence of millions of Muslim Iranians in Western countries and their daily interactions with Christians in both living and working environments has created a distinct opportunity for the followers of both faiths to come to mutual understanding, respect, and exchanging religious, cultural and artistic experiences above and beyond the historical bitterness, biases and aggressions of the Crusades and their current political and economic positions and stances, and reach the freedom, consciousness, security and observation of transcendental divine moral values, the common goal of all divine messengers.

Divine messengers, in contrast to philosophers who deliver totally independent and sometimes contradictory ideas, have all commonly emphasized a central idea: Pure Theism, Prudence (acting with a view to future), and good behavior. Each and every one of them acknowledged the previous one and in some cases annunciated the next. If there are differences (which there are a lot!), they are those of their followers bounded in their respective ethnic and racial biases! They (the messengers/prophets) were all from the same essence and the spirit and essence of their teachings were the same.

Despite the distinctive glorious positions of Jesus Christ (PBUH) and Merry (God’s Blessings On Her) in the Koran, the continuance of historical differences among Muslims with Christians has led to negligence of the proper knowledge and understanding of the stature of this prophet and his significant position in history. In our own country, Iran, apart from those who seriously indulge themselves in Christmas for its festivities, decorations, and customs, and overtake the Armenians (Christians) in buying the Christmas tree, Muslims generally on this occasion do not spend and pay even a fraction of the money and attention they usually devote to paying tribute to religious figures and occasions. This is despite the fact that the extent and details of the lives of Jesus (PBUH) and Merry (GBOH) described in Koran are far greater than those in the Bible. An honest and fair Christian Nun has told the author, “whenever I want to speak on the life of Jesus I have to refer to Koran, for it is only there that details of his life is abundantly found!”

While I hope that Muslims shall move in a direction to receive the benefit of the distinguished character of this “Ideal Model”, will try to present some of the main points in holy Koran reflecting the very distinguished and glorious position of Jesus Christ (PBUH):

In the hope that Muslims seek greater benefit from this 'ideal model', below are some of the main points on these distinguished personalities to be found in the Qur'an:

1. “Maryam” (Merry) is the name of a chapter (Surah) in the Qur'an in which she is glorified as the First Lady of all women of the world - "O Maryam! God has chosen you and purified you, chosen you above the women of all nations...." [3:42]

2. The Third Chapter of the Qur'an entitled “Al Imran” (The Family of Imran), describes the family and the genealogy of Jesus Christ and recalls the sincere prayers of his grandmother - the wife of Imran - that changed the direction of historical events!

3. “Ya Seen”, one of the most widely read and recited chapters of the Qur'an opens with the mission of Christ’s representatives (the Apostles) to guide people - "When We (first) sent to them two apostles..." [36:14]

4. The names of Jesus (Issa) and Mary (Maryam) are cited 70 times in the Holy Qur'an, which after the name of Moses (Musa, peace be upon him, which is cited 136 times) have the highest frequency of citation of all prophets' names. The name of the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) is cited only 4 times! Do the followers of the two faiths have such open-mindedness and fairness? Jesus and Merry are the subjects of about 100 verses of Koran!

5. The history of the Israelites (Children of Israel, “Bani Israel”) is described in 36 chapters and 760 verses, almost one fifth of the Qur'an. Learning the history and experiences of this race (ethnic group) is strongly emphasized in the Holy Book and tradition of Muslims, though most of us are negligent!

6. A great part (40%) of 5 long chapters of the Qur'an Koran are devoted to describing the histories of Judaism and Christianity (Baqara 35%, Al Imran 62%, Nissa 15%, Ma’ida 60%, and An’aam 35%). Is it then reasonable to neglect the history and experiences of these people?

7. The Qur'an reiterates 16 times that this Book not only acknowledges the truths in the Torah and Bible but that it also is the protector and guardian of such truths: "Verily this is a Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds...Is it not a Sign to them that the Learned of the Children of Israel knew it (as true)? [26:192...197]

8. Glorifying the Christian Apostles, the Qur'an calls them the audience of revelation and pure helpers (supporters) of God (Ma’ida 112, Al Imran 52, and Saff 14).

9. The Qur'an confirms the sanctity of Jesus (peace be on him) by the power of the angel “Holy Spirit” (Baqara 87 and 253) and considers him a symbol of pure and clean soul and God’s special grace (Nissa 171).

10.Jesus in the Qur'an, as in the Bible, is the “word of God” (an important influencing force, Al Imran 45 and Nissa 171) and an “example” and a model of the perfect human being for the Israelites to follow (Zukhruf 57)

As we conclude this surah, we pray that God gives us all the privilege, of making our ibada purely to Him, only asking for His help. For Him to Guide us along the same path of His prophets and those of His most devoted servants. And for Him to grant us the ability to keep ourselves far away from a path of misguidance and those deeds and thoughts which displease Allah

Peace and blessings on him, in his birth, in his death, an on the day of his resurrection (Maryam 33).