and miraculous conception of Jesus Christ.1 Thus

وَالَّتِى احْصَنتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنْفَخْنَا فِيْهَا مِنْ رٌوْحِنَا وَجَعَلْنَهَا واْبنَهَا آيَةً للْعَلمِينَ
And her who kept her maidenhood, and into whom we breathed of our spirit, and made her and her son a sign to all creatures. Sura Al-Anbiya' (xxi) v. 91.
Nadhir Ahmad in his Urdu translation explains the words, 'we breathed of our spirit,' to mean that 'she conceived without a husband,' and interprets the 'sign' as that of 'God's perfect power.'
Zamakhshari says: 'The meaning of the text is, "We breathed the spirit into Jesus within her, that is, we quickened him within her womb."'
معناه نفخنا الروح فى عيسىا فيها أي احييناه فى جوفها
Of 'the sign' he says, it is Mary's giving birth to him whilst having no husband— غير فحل
In Sura Maryam (xix), a Sura of the same period, we read of Mary:—

When she went apart from her family eastward, and took a veil to shroud herself from them: and we sent our spirit to her and he took before her the form of a perfect man,
She said, 'I fly for refuge from thee to the God of Mercy if thou fearest him.'
He said : 'I am only a messenger of thy Lord to bestow un thee a holy son.' 17-19.

Some commentators translate v. 18 thus:—
I fly for refuge from thee to the God of Mercy. If thou fearest him, begone from me.
These words in italics are added and seem necessary to complete the sense.
Baidawi says غلاماً زكياً 'holy son' may mean 'pure from sins'— طاهرا من الذنوب
Zamakhshari defines 'holy son'—
وَلدً سوياً غلاماً زكياً — i.e. as one in whom there is no blemish or physical defect.
In these verses, the spirit is said to take the form of a man. From Sura Al-An'am (vi) 9 it appears that an angel if sent would take a human form; and so it is believed that it was Gabriel who was here sent to Mary.
Maulavi Muhammad 'Ali says that this was a vision and not an actual visit.
A late Meccan Sura speaks of the child thus born as perfect;—

'Yet when God had given them a perfect child they joined partners with Him in return for what He had given them. Sura Al-A'raf (vii) 193.

The immaculate conception is again referred to in an early Madina Sura thus:—

Verily Jesus is as Adam in the sight of God, He created him of dust: He then said to him ' Be' and he was. Sura Al-'Imran(iii) 52.

The Arabic is إن مثل عيسىا عند الله كمثل آدم i.e., neither Adam nor Christ had a human father. Baidawi comments on it thus, ان شائه الغريب كشاءن آدم —'His nature (or rank) was extraordinary, like that of Adam.'


as all these men of old were the peculiar favourites of heaven, so now he, the greatest of the Prophets, was the special recipient of God's grace. As they were treated with scorn, so was he.

In the Sura Al-Qamar(liv) stories of the prophets are repeated and an account of the opposition they met with is given. The general position is stated in:—

They have treated the prophets as impostors and follow their own lusts. 3.

They called Noah an impostor and rejected him; the people of Lot treated his warning as a lie. To the people of Pharaoh came the threatening but they too treated miracles as impostures. Then turning to the people of Mecca, Muhammad says:—

Are your infidels, O Meccans, better than these?
Is there an exemption for you in the sacred Books? 43.
Taste ye the touch of hell. 48.

In the Sura Ash-Shu'ara'(xxvi) it is shown how Moses, Noah, Lot, and other prophets were treated with scorn and accused of imposture. These stories are related at great length and the conclusion drawn is that the opposition of the Meccans to Muhammad is, judging from the past, just what a true prophet might expect; but this did not justify the conduct of the Meccans who are sternly rebuked in the words:—

Shall I declare unto you upon whom the devils descend. They descend upon every lying and wicked person. 221.

But all those who thus scoff and mock should take warning by the punishment which came to the