Translation Chapter 2

The birth of al-Masīh‘Īsā (his peace be upon us)

At that time a decree went out from Caesar Augustus[1]that there should be a census of the entire Roman Empire. 2This was the first census that was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria[2].3Everyone went to register in their own town.

4 Yūsuf went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the town of Dāwūd called Bethlehem, because he was from the house and family line of Dāwūd.5 He went there to be registered with Maryam who was engaged to be married to him and was pregnant. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 She gave birth to a son, her firstborn[3]. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger[4], because there was no available guest room for them.

An Angel announces al-Masīh ‘Īsā’s birth to shepherds

8 Now there were some shepherds in that region who were out in the open country, keeping watch over their flock at night. 9 An angel of the Lord stood near them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Listen! I have good news for you – news of great joy which will be for all the people. 11For today a saviour has been born to you in the town of Dāwūd. He is al-Masīh[5], the Lord. 12 And this is the sign for you: you will find the baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.’

13 Suddenly there was a great multitude of the armies of heaven with the angel, praising Allah and saying,

14‘Glory to Allah in the highest heaven,

            and upon earth peace to people on whom his favour rests.’

15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to each other, ‘Let’s go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has revealed to us.’

16 So they hurried there, and they found Maryam and Yūsuf and the baby, lying in a manger. 17 When they had seen him, the shepherds made known what the angel had told them about this child. 18 Everyone who heard marvelled at what the shepherds told them.19 But Maryam treasured all these things and reflected deeply on them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising Allah for all they had heard and seen, which were just as the angel had told them.

‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)is circumcised

21 After eight days, the time came for the child to be circumcised. They named him ‘Īsā, which was what the angel had called him before he was conceived.

22When the time of their purification was completed according to the sharī’ah of Mūsā[6], Maryam and Yūsuf took ‘Īsā to Jerusalem to present to the Lord. 23It is written in the Taurāt of the Lord that every firstborn male is called holy to the Lord[7], 24and sacrifice is to be offered according to what is said in the Taurāt of the Lord – a pair of pigeons or two young doves[8].

Hazrat Simeon (pbuh)and Hazrat Anna (pbuh)prophesy about ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)

25 There was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout, and he was waiting for Allah to bring comfort to the Ban-i Isrā’īl[9], and the Holy Spirit[10]was upon him. 26The Holy Spirit had also made known to him that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Masīh. 27 Led by the Spirit, Simeon went to al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas, just as the parents were bringing in the child ‘Īsā, to do for him what was required according to the custom of sharī’ah (revealed to Prophet Mūsā). 28 Simeon took the child in his arms and praised Allah, saying:

29‘Now Sovereign Master, you are letting your servant depart in peace,

            just as you promised.

30For with my own eyes I have seen your salvation,

                  31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,

32 a light for revelation to the nations[11],

            and for glory to your people, the Ban-i Isrā’īl.’[12]

33 The child’s father and mother were astonished at what was said about him.34Simeon gave du’ā for them and said to Maryam, his mother, ‘Listen! This child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many of the Ban-i Isrā’īl, and to be a sign that will be rejected, 35so that what many people really think will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul.’

36 There was also a prophet named Anna, the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher[13]. She was very old, having lived with her husband for seven years of marriage, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four[14]. She did not leave al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas, but worshipped with fasting and du’ā both night and day. 38At that very hour she was standing there praising Allah, and she spoke about ‘Īsā to all who were longing for the redemption of Jerusalem[15].

39After they had completed everything according to the sharī’ah of the Lord (revealed to Prophet Mūsā), they returned to their own town of Nazareth in Galilee. 40 The child grew and became strong. He was full of wisdom, and the grace of Allah was upon him.

‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)in Jerusalem for Passover Eid

41 Now his parents used to go to Jerusalem every year for the Passover Eid[16].42When ‘Īsā was twelve years old they went up to Jerusalem as was usual at the time of the Eid. 43When the days of the Eid were completed, they began the journey home, but the boy ‘Īsā stayed in Jerusalem, and his parents were not aware of it. 44 They thought he was among their fellow pilgrims and they travelled a day’s journey. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him there. 46 After three days they found him in al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 All who heard him were astonished at his understanding and the answers that he gave.

 48 When his parents saw him they were overwhelmed. His mother said to him, ‘Son, why did you do this to us? Look, your father and I were worried sick searching for you!’

49 ‘Īsā said to them, ‘Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I had to be in my Heavenly Father’s[17]house?’

50 But they did not understand what he had said to them.

51 He left with them and came to Nazareth and he was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 ‘Īsā grew physically and increased in wisdom, and in favour with Allah and people.

 

[1]Roman emperor from 27 BC to 14 AD.

[2]Or, ‘This was the census that was taken before the one when Qurinius was governor of Syria.’

[3]The prophet Micah (pbuh) (c. 700 BC) had foretold:

‘But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    you who are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler among the Ban-i Isrā’īl.
His origins are from of old,
    from ancient days.’

 Therefore, he will give up the Ban-i Isrā’īl
    until the time when she who is in labour gives birth to a son,
and the rest of his brothers return
    to the Ban-i Isrā’īl.

 He will stand and shepherd his people
    in the strength of the Lord,
    in the honour of the name of the Lordhis God.
And they will live in safety, for then his greatness
    will be known to the ends of the earth,

and he will bring peace. (Book of the Prophet Micah 5:2-5)

[4]A container for feeding cattle.

[5]Or ‘Messiah’ or ‘Christ’, meaning Anointed One. Anointing was the action of pouring and rubbing olive oil onto a person or thing, often a person’s head. Among the ancient Isrā’īlites it symbolised that the person or thing being anointed was being set apart for special and holy service for Allah SWT, and also being given power from Allah to perform that service. At the beginning of their public service imāms, kings, and at least on one occasion, a prophet, were anointed (Taurāt, Leviticus 8:12, 1st Book of the Prophet Samuel 16:13, 1st Book of Kings 19:16).

The Qur’an also attributes the title ‘al-Masīh’ exclusively to Prophet ‘Īsā (hpbuu) eleven times (Āl-’Imrān 3:45, an-Nisā’ 4:157, 171, 172, al-Mā’idah 5:17 [twice], 72 [twice], 75, at-Tawbah, al-Barā’ah 9:30, 31).

See Appendix C, ‘The Title: “Al-Masīh”‘ for more details.

[6]40 days after the birth. See Taurāt, Leviticus 12:1-4.

[7]See Taurāt, Exodus 13:2.

[8]See Taurāt, Leviticus 12:8. This was the offering for poorer people. Those who could afford it had to offer a lamb (Taurāt, Leviticus 12:6).

[9]Hazrat Simeon’s hope and expectation was that Allah would deliver the Ban-i Isrā’īl from the variety of pagan foreigners who had ruled over them for the past 600 years or so, and thus bring comfort and peace. This peace and deliverance would be brought in by al-Masīh. The promise of comfort for the people of Allah was based on the writings of the Prophets, eg Book of the Prophet Isaiah 40-55. (Later, ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu) would redefine this hope and expectation by redefining who were the true Ban-i Isrā’īl).

[10]Rūh ul-Quddus or Allah’s Spirit, in this instance not to be confused with the Angel Jibrā’īl (pbuh) or another angel. Also v26.

[11]In this context, ‘nations’ refers to the other nations who are not the Ban-i Isrā’īl. This reference to ‘the nations’ and to ‘all peoples’ in v31 clearly indicates that ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu) would be a prophet for all nations, not only the Ban-i Isrā’īl. Similarly, the Qur’an speaks of the Injīl as ‘a guidance to mankind’ (Āl-’Imrān 3:4) – not only for the Ban-i Isrā’īl.

[12]Hazrat Simeon’s words here echo prophecies about al-Masīh in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah such as the following, where Allah says to his Servant,

‘It is too small a matter for you to be my servant
    to raise up the tribes of Ya’qūb
    and bring back those of the Ban-i Isrā’īl who survived.
I will also make you a light for the nations,
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’
(Book of the Prophet Isaiah 49:6)

[13]One of the twelve tribes of the Ban-i Isrā’īl descended from Prophet Ya’qūb (pbuh).

[14]Or ‘then had been a widow for eighty-four years’.

[15]Jerusalem was at that time under foreign Roman occupation. These people’s hope was that Allah would redeem Jerusalem through al-Masīh.

[16]This commemorated the occasion when Allah brought out the Ban-i Isrā’īl from slavery to Pharaoh in Egypt. See Taurāt, Exodus 12:1-30.

[17]When al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu) speaks of Allah as his ‘Father’ it does not mean a physical or biological relationship. To highlight this fact, we have translated into English as ‘HeavenlyFather’. So when the Qur’an says of Allah, ‘He begets not, nor was he begotten’ (al-Ikhlās 112:3), it can be understood to be in agreement with the Injīl, because the Injīl does not teach that Allah physically begets or is begotten. See Appendix B, ‘The Translation: “spiritual Son of Allah”‘.