Miracles and Manners of Jesus: It’s the Christmas season, and how do Muslims reconcile not celebrating Christmas? What is our version of Christ, dear brothers and sisters? The environment around us is an environment of a holiday, an opportunity for us to have discussions. Obviously, when it’s Christmas season, there are multiple topics of that discussion. One topic of that discussion is to look at the origins of a holiday and to see where it actually comes from. Another topic of that discussion is how Muslims reconcile not celebrating Christmas with their professed love for Isa (AS), for Jesus, peace be upon him. And then, of course, the discussions about how Muslims can maintain their identity while still being friendly, good, and kind to their neighbors, while still preserving their own religion and their own identity.
The conversations that start to arise about, well, what does it mean to us? We don’t celebrate Christmas. What is our version of Christ? What is our love of Jesus, peace be upon him, and how do we reconcile your belief in him and not attribute certain things to him? So, in the spirit of these conversations that we have with our co-workers and our friends and our neighbors, it’s important for us to talk about who Isa (AS) is to us and who Isa (AS), in fact, was in his own words and what were the miracles of Isa (AS) are, what are the Manners of Jesus (peace be upon him), getting through the holiday, the commercialization of a holiday, and everything in between to the man himself and to what his mission actually was.
Now, for this, We want to focus on something very specific, which is his miracles and then manners of Jesus (peace be upon him), with some emphasis on the second one especially for Muslims because neither of those two things are random. His miracles are not random, and he is a prophet with many miracles, a prophet whom Allah speaks about his miracles in great detail. Some miracles found in the Quran and in the Hadith of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) are not even found in Christian literature, right, or at least in the Bible as it exists today, the interpretations and extrapolations of the Bible. These miracles that are upheld, but then the second part of that, manners of Jesus (peace be upon him) and some of the ways that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) conveyed that to us and what that means for us. Thus, it is clear that Islam does not believe that the occurrence of such amazing miracles is evidence of a man who was divine in the first place. Therefore, rather than serving as evidence of his divinity, his miracles serve as evidence of his divine mission and manners of Jesus (peace be upon him).
As with the other prophets, when Allah provides us with a glimpse into the manners and character of the prophets who have preceded us, they are not only to be admired but also to be assimilated and applied to our own lives in order to benefit from the wisdom of this noble and powerful Prophet Isa (AS). The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said that there is no person who is closer to Jesus, the son of Mary (AS), because there was no Prophet between he and I. A prophet who is mentioned in the Quran over 25 times and it starts with the miracle of his birth. And, obviously, Allah (subhah wa tala) explains that while we uphold the miracle of Isa (AS) being born to his pure mother, a Virgin Mary (AS), who is mentioned her own right, has an entire Surah named after her. “I am the servant of Allah,” was the man’s first words when he was a newborn in the cradle, and there’s, of course, in that a testimony of monotheism (Tawhid) and upholding of monotheism but also honoring his mother and immediately clearing his mother’s name from the accusations that will come towards her, may peace be upon her, when people accuse her of different things that Allah (subhanahu watala) allows the baby to speak immediately from the cradle and say, “I am the servant of Allah.” And that is actually a form of honoring him. That is actually a form of upholding his honor, as Allah (subhanahu watala) says, “The Messiah would never be too proud to be a servant of Allah, nor would the angels nearest to Allah. Those who are too proud and arrogant to worship Him will be brought before Him all together.”
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him), of course, taught us to say, “ashadualla ilaha illallah wa ashhadu anna muhammadarrasulullah“, “Do not just say he is the messenger of Allah, but rather say about me ashhadu anna muhammadarrasulullah, testify that Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is the servant and the messenger of Allah.” Because when Allah takes you as a Abd, a servant, and you have a Lord and a sustainer, that is actually who he is, then that is a form of elevating and honoring the person. And so Isa (AS) immediately says, “Inni Abdullah”, hence his first miracle is documented in the Quran as such. And then you find the verse in Surah Imran, “And a messenger to the children of Israel. indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord that I design for you from clay that which is like the form of a bird. And then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by the permission of Allah.” (Quran 3:49) And then Allah (subhanahu wa tala) continues with the words of Isa (AS) in this regard, and he said that, “I cure the blind and the leper and I give life to the dead by the permission of Allah, and I inform you about that which you eat and you store in your homes. And in that is a sign from Allah subhana wa tala so that you may believe.” So Isa (AS) mentions these miracles in every single time, by the permission of Allah. Now, these miracles are not random, and there’s something special about each and every single one of them that We want to go into for a moment.
The Miracles were from God, they were not random
Number one, the Ulama (scholars) mentioned that Isa (AS) is the last prophet to Bani Isreal, and hence the miracles that were given to him were plentiful and comprehensive and so undeniable. As this is a proof for or against the people as their Prophet highlights things for them, and So Isa (AS) was given all of these different types of miracles. It is not a sign of his divinity, but rather something you see with the prophets of Bani Israel, which Allah gave them great miracles because Bani Israel was an Aja’ib nation, in which things appeared before them in specific ways, and Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) mentioned some of these events to us.
Now, why a bird from clay? You start from that. Some of the scholars mentioned that, of course, as Isa (AS) is coming to these people, his main audience is Bani Israel, but at that time, you also have the Roman presence in Jerusalem. And as the Roman presence is now prominent in Jerusalem, you start to have sculptures that are prominent and Roman sculptures that are placed strategically by Herod around the city of Al Quds. And, of course, we know that Allah subhanahu Wa ta’ala would challenge such people to say, “Create” on the day of judgment, and they would not be able to create. And so Allah gives a miracle to all of the people in that sense that a bird is given life only by the permission of Allah subhanahu wa taala, that Isa (AS), just like other prophets from Bani Israel, few of them were given this ability to raise someone who had passed away. So Isa (AS), Allah gave him a miracle that was more decisive than that. So Allah subhah wa tala makes it so that Isa (AS) could go to the grave of a person who died hundreds of years ago and say Bismillah and raise that person from the dead, an amazing Miracle.
After all of this, what did they say to him, those healers? They said, “No, no, this is just sorcery, he’s just playing with people’s eyes.” At this point, they still insisted on their disbelief. And so the Miracles of Isa (AS), each one of them fits a particular goal and a particular Hijah, a particular proof, and all of them speak to the power of the one that sent him and sent the prophets before and sent the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam after him and even his return alayhis salam, the return of all of Isa (AS), all of it, every miracle that he comes with is one that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala unlocks great proofs and great blessings for the people through his return. May Allah subhanahu wa taala send his peace and blessings upon him.
Manners of Jesus Christ (Isa A.S)
Now, when it comes to manners of Jesus (peace be upon him), Isa (AS) was an anti-dunya prophet, he was a Zahid, he was an ascetic. So when you read about his wisdom, when you read his beautiful words, however, they come to us, they’re all about the preference of the Akhirah (Hereafter) to this Dunya (World), the preference of the Hereafter to this world, World. Why? Because Isa (AS) said to those who had manipulated the text, “You placed the world over your head, and you’ve placed the Hereafter under your feet. Your addiction to the material world has caused you to abandon even the most sacred of Revelation and to use it to hurt and to harm and to exploit.” And so, with Isa (AS), you find this to be a common theme in his descriptions as he teaches the people Zuhd, asceticism and not to attach themselves to this Dunya too much.
The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam says in a Hadith, Isa (AS) saw a man in front of him stealing. So he said to him, “Did you steal?” He said, “No, by Allah, I swear by Allah, by the one in whom there is no God but him, I did not steal.” Isa (AS) was given the ability to know what people were storing in their homes at times. What did the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam say that Isa (AS) said? He said, “I believe in Allah, and I will consider my vision, my eyesight, to not be truthful in this regard.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] What is this? A lesson of is the good assumptions that he had of people. You know, imagine the miracle that has been given to him, and in this regard, Isa (AS), he’s teaching what? Do not let your eyes fall on the faults of people because if you let it constantly navigate The Faults and the flaws of people, your heart will harden, and you’ll become ignorant of yourself and arrogant as well.
The fact that even this prophet of Allah is teaching us this. before a world of social media, do not let your eye wander towards the faults and the flaws of people, whether it’s virtually or in front of you. Instead, purify your heart and look to the world with a different type of vision. That’s one of the manners of Jesus (peace be upon him) that we learned from him, and it tells us something about him and it tells us something about not letting a superiority or a perceived superiority cause you to belittle and to harm and to use the faculties that Allah gave you. This man who Allah subhanahu watala gave power to raise a dead person to life and to heal is worried about how he’s using his tongue and his eyes.
So what about us? What about us with our vision and with our speech and ensuring that we use it only in ways that are righteous? Isa (AS) is teaching us manners, and he’s teaching us as well that while these Miracles are given as a gift from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, there is a righteous vessel that encompasses those Miracles, and that when it came to this Dunya, Dunya in the eyes of Isa (AS), the material world in the eyes of Isa (AS) was not anything that could possibly taint or corrupt. So, we ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to send his peace and blessings upon all of the messengers and prophets of Allah. We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to allow us to follow in the footsteps of the Prophets and The Messengers and the martyrs and the truthful ones and the righteous ones. And we ask Allah to allow them to be our companions in the highest level of Jannah.