Parallelism: Jesus Christ and Clay Birds

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Parallelism Between the Qur'an
and Judeo-Christian Scriptures
By: Julian Charteris
Introduction
Talking Baby Jesus
Sanhedrin 37a
The Raven & the Burial of Abel
The Quranic Version of Trinity‎
Jesus Christ & the Clay Birds
Mary & Zachariah
Mary, Jesus & the Palm Tree
Satan & His Refusal to Prostrate
The Queen of Sheba
Abraham & the Idols
The Wealth of Korah
Conclusion

Qur'anic Account[edit]

According to the Qur'an, Jesus Christ (with the permission of Allah) created a clay bird which he blew into and brought to life.

And (make him) a messenger to the Children of Israel (saying): I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, that I determine for you out of dust the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird with Allah’s permission, and I heal the blind and the leprous, and bring the dead to life with Allah’s permission; and I inform you of what you should eat and what you should store in your houses. Surely there is a sign in this for you, if you are believers.
When Allah will say: O Jesus, son of Mary, remember My favour to thee and to thy mother, when I strengthened thee with the Holy Spirit; thou spokest to people in the cradle and in old age, and when I taught thee the Book and the Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel, and when thou didst determine out of clay a thing like the form of a bird by My permission, then thou didst breathe into it and it became a bird by My permission; and thou didst heal the blind and the leprous by My permission; and when thou didst raise the dead by My permission; and when I withheld the Children of Israel from thee when thou camest to them with clear arguments -- but those of them who disbelieved said: This is nothing but clear enchantment.

Apocryphal Account[edit]

This story is a clear parallelism of two apocrypha, which are as follows:

The First Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ

This is also known as The Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of the Saviour, and was written around 400 CE.[1]

1. “And when the Lord Jesus was seven years of age, he was on a certain day with other boys his companions about the same age. 2. Who at play made clay into several shapes, namely, asses, oxen, birds, and other figures. 3. Each boasting of his work and endeavoring to exceed the rest. 4. Then the Lord Jesus said to the boys, I will command these figures which I have made to walk. 5. And immediately they moved, and when he commanded them to return, they returned. 6. He had also made the figures of birds and sparrows, which, when he commanded to fly, did fly, and when he commanded to stand still, did stand still; and if he gave them meat and drink, they did eat and drink. 7. When at length the boys went away and related these things to their parents, their fathers said to them, Take heed, children, for the future, of his company, for he is a sorcerer; shun and avoid him, and from now on never play with him.”

The Second Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ

This is also known as The Infancy Gospel of Thomas – probably a fragment of the Gospel of Thomas, and was written around 140 CE.[2]

1. “I, Thomas, an Israelite, judged it necessary to make known to our brethren among the Gentiles, the actions and miracles of Christ in his childhood, which our Lord and God Jesus Christ wrought after his birth in Bethlehem in our country, at which I myself was astonished; the beginning of which was as follows. 2. When the child Jesus was five years of age and there had been a shower of rain that was now over, Jesus was playing with other Hebrew boys by a running stream, and the waters ran over the banks and stood in little lakes; 3. But the water instantly became clear and useful again; they readily obeyed him after he touched them only by his word. 4. Then he took from the bank of the stream some soft clay and formed out of it twelve sparrows; and there were other boys playing with him. 5. But a certain Jew seeing the things which he was doing, namely, his forming clay into the figures of sparrows on the Sabbath day, went presently away and told his father Joseph, 6. Behold, your boy is playing by the river side, and has taken clay and formed it into twelve sparrows, and profanes the Sabbath. 7. Then Joseph came to the place where he was, and when he saw him, called to him, and said, Why do you that which is not lawful to do on the Sabbath day? 8. Then Jesus clapping together the palms of his hands, called to the sparrows, and said to them: Go, fly away; and while you live remember me. 9. So the sparrows fled away, making a noise. 10. The Jews seeing this, were astonished and went away and told their chief persons what a strange miracle they had seen wrought by Jesus.”

Muslim Objections Refuted[edit]

This parallelism has never been explained by Muslims except to use it to perversely claim that the Bible is corrupted. They argue that the original Bible contained the apocryphal story of Jesus making and animating clay birds, and that the Qur'an was merely correcting a wrongful exclusion of these apocrypha from the canon.[3]

This is erroneous as the sira tells how Muhammad, far from receiving these stories from Allah (via the angel Jibreel/Gabriel), heard it from three Christians. Saifullah & Azmy of Islamic-awareness have kindly provided the following evidence here.

“[Those who talked to Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, were Abu Haritha Ibn `Alqama, Al-`Aqib `Abdul-Masih and Al-Ayham al-Sa`id.] They were Christians according to the faith of the king with differences between them; they say: He is Allah, and say: He is Son of Allah, and say: He is the third of three [i.e., part of Trinity] and these are the claims of Christianity. [They use as evidence for their claim that He is Allah the argument that] he used to raise the dead, cure the sick, create from clay bird-like structure then breathe into it to make it a [living] bird. All this was by the leave of Allah, the Praiseworthy the Exalted {to appoint him as a sign for men} (Maryam:21). They also argue for saying that he is Son of Allah by saying he had no known father and spoke in infancy which is something never done by any human being. They use as evidence for their claim that He is the third of three [i.e., part of Trinity] the argument that Allah says: We did, We commanded, We created and We judged [i.e., by using the plural for Himself], and whereas if He was one, He would say: I did, I judged, I commanded and I created; but it is He, Jesus and Maryam. The Qur'an was revealed addressing all these arguments.”
Abu Muhammad `Abd al-Malik Ibn Hisham al-Ma`afiri, Al-Sirah Al-Nabawiyyah, 1998, Volume II, Dar al-Hadith: Cairo (Egypt), p 181-182.
“The names of the fourteen principal men among the sixty riders were: `Abdul-Masih the `Aqib, al-Ayham the Sayyid; Abu Haritha b. `Alqama brother of B. Bakr b. Wa`il; Aus; al-Harith; Zayd; Qays; Yazid; Nubayh; Khuwaylid; `Amr; Khalid; `Abdullah; Johannes; of these the first three named above spoke to the Apostle. They were Christians according to the Byzantine rite, though they differed among themselves in some points, saying He is God; and He is the son of God; and He is the third person of the Trinity, which is the doctrine of Christianity. They argue that he is God because he used to raise the dead, and heal the sick, and declare the unseen; and make clay birds and then breathe into them so that they flew away; and all this was by the command of God Almighty, 'We will make him a sign to men.' They argue that he is the son of God in that they say he had no known father; and he spoke in the cradle and this is something that no child of Adam has ever done. They argue that he is the third of the three in that God says: We have done, We have commanded, We have created and We have decreed, and they say, If He were one he would have said I have done, I have created, and soon, but He is He and Jesus and Mary. Concerning all these assertions the Qur'an came down.”
A. Guillaume, The Life Of Muhammad: A Translation Of Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah, 1998, Oxford University Press: Karachi (Pakistan), p 271-272.

Conclusion[edit]

The parallelism between the Qur'an’s ‘Jesus animating clay birds’ verses and the apocryphal infancy gospels is strong, suggesting that Allah was not the author of the Qur'an, nor is he the God of the Christians. There are various reasons why these apocryphal gospels are not included in the canon; the First Gospel of the Infancy is a comparatively late work while the Second Gospel of the Infancy (actually a fragment of the Gospel of Thomas) is a famous forgery. Both these apocrypha contain verses that contradict the canonical Gospels.

According to the sira, the purported sources of the story are three Christians who spoke to Muhammad. These Christians were either heretics or they were unsure of doctrine as their errancies were then repeated in the Qur'an. These errancies include Jesus animating clay birds, the talking baby Jesus, and the Trinity comprising God, Jesus and Mary (Father, Son and Mother).

References[edit]

  1. The Canon of Scripture blueletterbible.org
  2. The Canon of Scripture blueletterbible.org
  3. M S M Saifullah & Hesham Azmy - Is The Bible In Our Hands The Same As During The Time Of Muhammad(P)? Islamic Awareness


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