Translation Chapter 1

The purpose of this Book

1Many have set out to write a narrative of the events (concerning ‘Īsā al-Masīh) that have taken place[1]among us. 2In fact, those who from the beginning were eye-witnesses of these events and servants of the word passed on to us the account of what they had seen. 3 It seemed good to me[2]also to write an orderly account for you, most noble Theophilus,[3]after I had carefully investigated everything from that period of time.4My purpose is that you may know for certain the truth of the message you have been taught (concerning al-Masīh ‘Īsā).

The Angel Jibrīl announces the birth of Prophet Yahyā to Prophet Zakarīyā (peace be upon them)

5 In the time of Herod,[4]king of Judea, there lived a Jewish priest[5]named Zakarīyā who was part of the priestly division of Abijah. His wife, Elizabeth, was also descended from Hārūn. 6 They were both righteous in the sight of Allah and blameless, walking in all the commands and requirements of the Lord. 7They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both elderly.[6]

8It so happened, when Zakarīyā was serving as a Jewish priest before Allah and his priestly division was on duty, 9 that he was chosen by lot, according to Jewish priestly custom, to enter the Lord’s Bayt ul-Muqaddas[7]to burn incense.[8]10 The whole assembly was praying outside at the time for burning incense.

11 While he was there, an angel of the Lord appeared,[9] standing to the right of the place for burning incense.[10]12When he saw the angel, Zakarīyā was shaken and overwhelmed with fear. 13But the angel said to him, ‘Don’t be afraid, Zakarīyā! Your du’ā has been answered and your wife, Elizabeth will bear you a son. You are to name him Yahyā.[11]14 He will be your joy and delight, and many will rejoice at his birth,15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or alcohol. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit[12]even in his mother’s womb. 16He will turn back many of the Banī Isrā’īl to the Lord their God. 17And he is the one who will go ahead of the Lord in the spirit and power of Ilyās,[13]to turn the hearts of the parents towards their children,[14]and the rebellious to the wisdom of the righteous; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’[15]

18 Zakarīyā said to the angel, ‘How can I be sure about this? I’m an old man and my wife is elderly too.’[16]

19 The angel answered him, ‘I am Jibrīl and I stand in the presence of Allah. I was sent to speak to you and announce this good news to you. 20 But now you will be silent and unable to speak until the day these things happen, because you did not believe my message which will be fulfilled in its appointed time.’

21Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zakarīyā and were surprised that he was taking so long in al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas. 22 When he came out, he was not able to speak to them, and they realised he had seen a vision in al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas. He kept making signs to them with his hands and remained unable to speak.

23 When the time of his service in al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas was completed, he left to go home. 24Soon after this, his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months did not appear in public. 25 ‘This is what the Lord has done for me,’ she said. ‘Now he has shown his concern for me by taking away my disgrace among the people.’

The Angel Jibrīl (pbuh)announces the birth of ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)to Maryam (pbuh)

26In the sixth month, the angel Jibrīl was sent from Allah to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin who was pledged to be married to a man named Yūsuf from the house of Dāwūd. The virgin’s name was Maryam.28The angel came to her and said, ‘As-salāmu ‘alaykum, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’

29Maryam was deeply disturbed by his message and wondered what this greeting might mean. 30 The angel said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid, Maryam, for you have found grace from Allah. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to name him ‘Īsā.[17]32He will be great and will be called spiritual Son of al-Muta’ālī.[18]The Lord Allah will give him the throne of his father Dāwūd. 33 He will reign over the house of Ya’qūb forever; his kingship will never end.’[19]

34 ‘How can this happen,’ Maryam asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’[20]

35 The angel replied, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of al-Muta’ālī will overshadow you. For this reason, the child to be born will be holy.[21]He will be called the spiritualSon of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is expecting a child in her old age; she who was called infertile is now in her sixth month of pregnancy. 37 For nothing is impossible with Allah.’[22]

38Maryam said, ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May it happen to me as you have said.’

Then the angel left her.

Hazrat Maryam (pbuh)visits Hazrat Elizabeth (pbuh)

39In those days Maryam set off and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea. 40 There she went into Zakarīyā’s house and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Maryam’s greeting, the baby leaped for joy in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42She exclaimed in a loud voice, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child in your womb! 43And how is it that the mother of my Lord[23]has come to me? 44For as soon as I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb leaped for joy and gladness. 45You are blessed because you have believed that the Lord will fulfil what he has said to you.’

Hazrat Maryam’s (pbuh)Nashīd

46Then Maryam said,

‘My soul glorifies the Lord

                  47and my spirit rejoices greatly in Allah my Saviour,[24]

48for he has looked with favour on the humble status of his servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed,

                  49for al-Qādir[25]has done great things for me.

Al-Quddūs[26]is his name.

                  50His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation

51 He has done mighty acts with his arm,[27]

            He has scattered those whose hearts are proud.

52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones

            but the humble he has honoured.

53 He has filled the hungry with good things,

            but the rich he has sent away empty.

54 He has helped the Banī Isrā’īl, his servant,

            remembering his mercy.

55 This is what he promised to our ancestors,

            to Ibrāhīm and his descendants forever.’[28]

56 Maryam stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

The birth of Prophet Yahyā (pbuh)

57 The time came for Elizabeth to have her baby, and she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown such great mercy to her and they rejoiced with her.

59 On the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zakarīyā after his father. 60 But his mother said, ‘No! He is to be called Yahyā.’

61 They said to her, ‘None of your relatives has that name.’

62 They signalled with their hands to his father to find out what he would like the child to be called. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, ‘His name is Yahyā.’ Everyone was astonished.

64 Immediately Zakarīyā’s mouth was opened and his tongue released, and he started to speak, praising Allah. 65 Everyone in the neighbourhood was filled with awe, and throughout the entire hill country of Judea, people were talking about all these events. 66 Everybody who heard pondered them and asked, ‘What is this child going to be?’ For the Lord’s hand was with him.

Prophet Zakarīyā’s (pbuh)Nashīd

67The child’s father Zakarīyā was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy:

68 ‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of the Banī Isrā’īl,

            for he has shown his concern and redeemed his people.

69He has raised up a strong king[29]in the house of Dāwūd, his servant,

            who will bring salvation for us,[30]

                  70just as he said through his holy prophets from past ages.

71 This salvation is from our enemies

            and from the hand of all who hate us.

72 Allah has shown mercy to our ancestors

            and has remembered his holy covenant,

                  73- the oath which he swore to Ibrāhīm our father.[31]

He promised 74 to deliver us from the hands of our enemies,

            that we might worship him without fear,

                  75 in holiness and righteousness in his presence all our days.

76 And you, child, will be called a prophet[32]of al-Muta’āli.

For you will go ahead of the Lord to prepare his ways,[33]

                  77to give knowledge of salvation to his people

            through the forgiveness of their sins.

78 Out of the merciful heart of our God,

            the dawn from heaven will break upon us,

79 to shine on those in darkness

            and those living in the shadow of death,[34]

to guide our feet into the way of peace.’

80 The child grew and became strong in spirit. He lived in the wilderness until the time of his public appearance to the Banī Isrā’īl.


[1]Or ‘that have been fulfilled’.

[2]Hazrat Luke (pbuh), the author of this book in the Injīl. For how this can be reconciled with the claim that the Injīl is the word of Allah SWT, which the Injīl makes for itself and which the Qur’an also confirms, see Appendix A, The Revelation of the Holy Injīl.

[3]Theophilus may have been the sponsor of this book. He is addressed as a person of status, but we know nothing more about him (see also Injīl, Acts 1:1. Acts was also written by Hazrat Luke (pbuh)and is addressed to Theophilus). His name means ‘Lover of Allah’.

[4]Herod ruled Judea as a client king of the Roman Empire from 34 BC to his death in 4 BC. The events described here took place in the last two or three years of Herod’s reign. It should be noted that the Common or Christian dating system is not found in the Injīl, but was worked out by a Christian monk in the 6thCentury AD. This dating system miscalculated the birth of ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)by a few years, as the Injīl tells us that Sayyidnā ‘Īsā (hpbuu)was born before the death of Herod, which happened in 4 BC.

[5]Jewish priests were descended from Prophet Hārūn(pbuh)and served in al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas. Their role is summarised in 1stBook of Chronicles 23:13:

Hārūn was set apart, he and his descendants for ever, to dedicate the most holy things, to offer qurbānī in the presence of the Lord, to serve him and to give blessings in his name for ever.

[6]See Qur’an, Maryam 19:4-5, where Prophet Zakarīyā (pbuh)says,

“My Lord! Verily my bones have grown feeble, and my head glistens with white hair...  and my wife is barren...”

[7]Or ‘temple’, originally built by King Sulaymān (pbuh)in Jerusalem. It was destroyed by the Babylonians and then rebuilt in the sixth century BC.

[8]A Jewish priest was required to burn incense every morning and evening, (see Taurāt, Exodus 30:7-8). There were around 18,000 priests descended from Prophet Hārūn (pbuh)at this time, in twenty-four divisions, of which the division of Abijah was one. Within each division, priests were chosen for duties in al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas by casting lots. This would be a once in a lifetime experience for Prophet Zakarīyā (pbuh).

[9]See Qur’an, Āl-’Imrān 3:39 ‘Then the angels called to him while he was praying in the sanctuary...’

[10]The place for burning incense is often translated, ‘altar of incense’. It was in the ‘holy place’ in front of the curtain that shielded the ark of the covenant (Taurāt, Exodus 30:6; 40:5, 27). Only Jewish priests were allowed there. Prophet Zakarīyā’s task was to burn incense on the altar and then prostrate himself in prayer.

[11]See Qur’an, Maryam 19:7, "O Zakarīyā! We give thee good news of a son: His name shall be Yahyā...”(AYA). See also,Qur’an, Āl-’Imrān 3:39. Yahyā means, ‘The LORD has been gracious’.

[12]Rūh ul-Quddus or Allah’s Spirit, in this instance not to be confused with the Angel Jibrīl (pbuh)or another angel. Also in v35, 41, 67.

[13]An account of the life of Prophet Ilyās (pbuh)can be found in 1stBook of Kings 17:1 – 2ndBook of Kings 2:18. See also Qur’an, as-Sāffāt 37:123-132.

[14]Prophet Yahyā (pbuh)would fulfil the words of the Prophet Malachi (pbuh)revealed about 400 years earlier;

 ‘See, I myself am sending the Prophet Ilyās to you before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. He will turn back the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with utter destruction.’(Book of the Prophet Malachi 4:5-6)

[15]This fulfils other words of the Prophet Malachi(pbuh),

‘See, I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord whom you are seeking will come to his Bayt ul-Muqaddas; the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight - he is coming!’ says the LORD Almighty.(Book of the Prophet Malachi 3:1)

[16]See Qur’an, Āl-’Imrān 3:40, He said, “My Lord, how shall I have a boy when age has overtaken me and my wife is barren?”.See also, Qur’an, Maryam 19:8.

[17]See Qur’an, Āl-‘Imran 3:45,

When the angels said, “O Mary, truly God gives thee glad tidings of a Word from Him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, high honored in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought nigh.

See also, Qur’an, Maryam 19:19. The name, ‘Īsā means, ‘The LORD saves.’ In Injīl, Matthew 1:21 Yūsuf (pbuh), who was pledged to be married to Maryam (pbuh), is told by an angel,‘you are to name him ‘Īsā, because he will save his people from their sins.’

[18]Or, ‘spiritualSon of the Most High.’ We have translated ‘huios hupsistou,’ and ‘huios theou’ in v35, from the original Greek as ‘spiritualSon of al-Muta’ālī/ God’ to show that this is not a physical or biological son-ship, but a spiritual son-ship that is spoken of. For more discussion see Appendix B, The Translation: ‘spiritualSon of God’.

[19]  About 730 years earlier, Prophet Isaiah (pbuh)had prophesied,

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given...
 His dominion and peace will increasewithoutend.
He will reign on Dāwūd’s throne
    and over his kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and for ever.
(Book of the Prophet Isaiah 9:6, 7)

The Angel Jibrīl (pbuh)is here announcing that these words are about to be fulfilled.

[20]See Qur’an, Maryam 19:20, She said, “How shall I have a boy when no man has touched me, nor have I been unchaste?”See also, Qur’an, Āl-’Imrān 3:47.

Prophet Isaiah (pbuh)had also predicted about 730 years earlier that:

the Lord himself will give you a sign: See, the virgin is with child, and she will give birth to a son, and she will name him Immanuel (meaning, ‘Allah with us’).(Book of the Prophet Isaiah 7:14).

[21]  See Qur’an, Maryam 19:19, He said: "Nay, I am only a messenger from your Lord, (to announce) to you the gift of a holy son.(AYA).

[22]See Qur’an, Maryam 19:21, He said, “Thus shall it be. Thy Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me.’”

[23]‘my Lord’ here refers to al-Masīh. Elizabeth (pbuh)may be thinking here of Zabūr, Psalm 110:1, where Prophet Dāwūd (pbuh)says,

                  Yahweh (the Hebrew personal name for Allah) said to my Lord,

‘Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies as a footstool under your feet.’

The one Prophet Dāwūd (pbuh)addresses as ‘my Lord’ was widely believed to be al-Masīh. See footnote for Injīl, Luke 20:42-43 for more details on Zabūr, Psalm 110:1.

[24]‘Lord’ in v46 and ‘Allah my Saviour’ in v47 refer to the same Being.

[25]The Mighty One.

[26]Or ‘Holy’.

[27]The Holy Books sometimes speak of Allah SWT having physical characteristics such as an arm as here (see Taurāt, Exodus 6:6; 15:16), or hand (e.g. Qur’an, Āl-‘Imrān 3:73, al-Fatah 48:10), face (e.g. Taurāt, Numbers 6:25-26, Qur’an, al-Baqarah 2:115). Some Jewish, Christian and Muslim scholars view such descriptions as purely metaphorical. Others suggest they depict realities that at present are beyond our understanding. For example, in Islam, theAsh‘arī tradition affirms what is revealed even though we do not know how it can be true. We accept it, bi lā kayf– ‘without asking how.’


[28]See Qur’an, al-Tahrīm 66:12,

                  Mary, the daughter of ʿImrān… confirmed the Words of her Lord and His Books; and she was among   the devoutly obedient.

[29]Literally, ‘horn’ which here symbolises a strong king.

[30]Prophet Zakarīyā (pbuh)is speaking here, not about Prophet Yahyā (pbuh), who was from the house of Prophet Hārūn (pbuh), but about al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu)who was from the house of Prophet Dāwūd (pbuh), see v27, 32.

[31]See Taurāt, Genesis 22:15-18 (which takes place just after Prophet Ibrāhīm (pbuh)has sacrificed a sheep in place of his son),

The Angel of the Lordcalled to Ibrāhīm from heaven a second time 16 and said, ‘I swear by myself, declares the Lord: because you did this and did not keep back your son... 17 I will surely bless you and I will greatly increase your offspring so that they are as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your offspring will take possession of the city gates of their enemies, 18 and in your offspring all nations on earth will find blessing, because you obeyed my command.’

[32]See Qur’an, Āl-‘Imran 3:39,

"Allah does give you glad tidings of Yahyā, witnessing the truth of a Word from Allah, and (be besides) noble, chaste, and a Prophet,- of the (goodly) company of the righteous."(AYA).

[33]SeeBook of the Prophet Isaiah 40:3,

A voice calling out:
‘In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.

Also, Book of the Prophet Malachi 3:1, quoted in the footnote at Luke 1:17.

[34]See the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 9:2,

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
    a light has shone.