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Silent Years of Jesus!

Silent Years of Jesus!

Gospels always wink an eye at the early life of Jesus in his childhood. They only mention his relation through to Joseph the carpenter and his journey to Jerusalem as a ritual customary act for his people at the time. Mathew outlines the early life of Jesus in the following lines:

“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.” (Matthew, 1: 18-25)

He showed us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and the Magi of the East came carrying the prophecy of his birth as the king of the Jews. He goes on to mention Herod’s talk with the Magi:

“Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him. ” (Matthew 2: 1-13)

After Joseph heard of the death of King Herod, the angel appeared in a dream to him in Egypt, saying,”

“take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt.. “(Matthew 2: 19-23). He went Galilee then lived with Jesus in Nazareth.

Mark mentioned nothing about the childhood of Christ and his birth he talked directly about his meeting with John the Baptist while preaching. John, as well, overlooked the childhood of Jesus!

Surprisingly, some of Biblical thinkers acknowledge these facts, but they, however, present untenable justifications to the issue. Saud Suhail, an Arab priest, says,  “These are silent years! Gospels and the New Testament do not mention anything about them. What the Gospels mentioned about the early life of Jesus is very little: His birth (Luke 2: 1-7), being  circumcised and named when he was eight days old, (Luke 2:21), presenting him to the Lord in the Temple when he was 40 days old (Luke 2: 22-24), the escape of the family, Joseph and Mary and the child to Egypt for fear of the oppression of Herod (Matthew 2: 13-15), bringing Jesus to Jerusalem on Passover when he was 12 years old (Luke 2: 39-53). Then the Gospels are silent and do not mention anything about his life for 18 consecutive years until he became 30 years old. From the age of 12 till 30 are silent years in gospels. One may wonder that Jesus’s ministry longed for only three years in before being killed when he was 33 years old then rose to the heaven, bringing salvation and redemption to the sinful world. Thus, what Christ was Jesus doing in those silent years?! ”

Suhail claimed that the Christian history stopped for a moment to answer this question, but through “Apocrypha texts, which include Christological and theological fallacies, which are incompatible with the correct image and concept of Jesus Christ, as presented by the Bible and New Testament which are canonical. These Apocrypha-texts, according to him, claim that  Jesus went to India and called for Buddhism and include myths and fictional supernatural practices by Jesus in his childhood.

He insists that Jesus’ childhood was normal and was not miraculous; he justifies its silence in the following false interpretations: “This verse (Luke 2:52) gives us the idea that Christ was growing like other people in wisdom, rank and grace. The second observation, about the practice of Christ during the silent years, indicates that Jesus worked in carpentry as Joseph did, as Mark says, “Isn’t this the carpenter the son of Mary…” (Mark 6: 3). Finally, there is, however, a spiritual lesson we may draw from such silent years that one should not show-off and seek power or authority, for the great Savior Jesus Christ spent most of his life in humility, tranquility and peace, away from the love of show-off. He lived most of his life in silence in preparation to a fruitful spiritual ministry in the Kingdom of God, which has changed and continues to change millions of people throughout history! ”

However, is not the researcher’s right to know the fallacies by such Apocrypha-texts in order to weigh them and put them in their proper place? Is the mention of supernatural practices of Christ in his childhood enough to disregard these texts?! Could not such supernatural practices be as a prophecy foretelling the content of his message?!

The Qur’an as the seal of the heavenly scriptures presents such phase of Christ’s early life in detail. We hear the tongue of Christ in the cradle telling the truth which shocks many Christians today. As a baby Jesus declares his bondage to God Almighty as his servant or worshiper and not being a son to Him God nor to Joseph the Carpenter:

“So she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a remote place. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. She said, “Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten.” But he called her from below her, “Do not grieve; your Lord has provided beneath you a stream. And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates. So eat and drink and be contented. And if you see from among humanity anyone, say, ‘Indeed, I have vowed to the Most Merciful abstention, so I will not speak today to [any] man.’ ” Then she brought him to her people, carrying him. They said, “O Mary, you have certainly done a thing unprecedented. O sister of Aaron, your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother unchaste.” So she pointed to him. They said, “How can we speak to one who is in the cradle a child?” [Jesus] said, “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet. And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakah as long as I remain alive And [made me] dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant. And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive.” That is Jesus, the son of Mary – the word of truth about which they are in dispute. It is not [befitting] for Allah to take a son; exalted is He! When He decrees an affair, He only says to it, “Be,” and it is. [Jesus said], “And indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path.” (19:22-36)

These verses (ayas) declare the chastity and modesty of Mary. She was away from adultery and carried Jesus without a husband. The Qur’an also presents the sound doctrine carried by Jesus and for which he called. It shows the Jews and Christians the truth of God and rectify some of their false doctrines,

“O People of the Scripture, there has come to you Our Messenger making clear to you much of what you used to conceal of the Scripture and overlooking much. There has come to you from Allah a light and a clear Book. By which Allah guides those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace and brings them out from darkness into the light, by His permission, and guides them to a straight path.” (5: 15-16 )

It is strange enough that Luke mentions two contradicting phrases in his Gospel when he transmitted Mary’s reply to the angel when he gave her the glad tiding that she would conceive a baby:

“But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.” (Luke 29: 1-35). She replied, “How will this be, since I do not know a man?”

Luke allegedly attributes Jesus to God as his son and mixes the words of the angel with his own infidel words:

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,” (Luke, 1: 32)

As for the Qur’an, falsehood cannot not reach it; It invalidates the Christian claim and slander that Christ is the Son of God or the son of man. He is the noble Word of Allah (God) as created by his word “be and he was”

“[And mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah]. He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous.”. (3:45-46

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Influence of Historical-Intellectual Heritages On Christianity

Throughout its history, Christianity has been influenced by various types of human thought, making it a fertile ground for many pagan and philosophical texts whose followers still cling and preach to. In this article, we see some of the aspects of this influence and how Christians have influenced the teachings of Prophet Jesus badly and have had a tendency contrary to what he -peace be upon- him followed.

Influence Of the Old Testament

Christianity was influenced by the Old Testament. It is no wonder for according to the Gospels, Jesus “came to complete the law not to abolish”. But, however, it is more astonishing that the Christian tradition inherited even Jewish distortions and false doctrines.

Pagan Influence

There are many axes for Christian-pagan influences came from several aspects, including Christian-non-Christian influence by the conversion of non-Christians to Christianity and bringing their inherited ideas to Christianity:

Aminus (d. 242 AD) introduced pagan ideas to Christianity after he  had embraced it and turned back to Roman paganism.

When the philosophy of Plotinism and other philosophies was spread, Christianity, like all others, was influenced and influenced by it.

Jesus’ teachings were mixed with pagan idolatrous ideas that interpreted the universe and the concept of God according to pagan philosophies and Greek mythology. Those ideas permeated the Indian circles of Buddhism, Hinduism, and other religions. Buddha’s teachings were on the Scene five centuries before  Christ and modern studies shows some identical teachings for both of them as the Gospels present Jesus’ life.

The idea of ​​Trinitarianism was endorsed by the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, reflecting the modern Platonism that brought most of the ideas of Eastern philosophy. Plotinus (d. 270 AD) who travelled to Persia and India  had a prominent impact on Christian beliefs. Christianity became a complex of different beliefs and cultures. He stated that the world in its management and action is subject to three things:

  1. The first Old Originator.
  2. Mind.
  3. Spirit, which is a source from which all spirits are emitted.

All of such ideas laid the foundation for the Trinity as the originator was considered to be God and the mind to be the Son and the Spirit is the Holy Spirit.

The doctrine of the Trinitarianism was not known in the Apostolic Age (French Apostle).In the French Encyclopedia, we find, “The Old disciples of Jesus knew him very well and were devoted to him were too far from considering him as a hypostasis in a trinity to the Creator. Putus and other disciples could only consider him a s only a man who received revelation from his Lord.    

Dapliu Reid says, “Paul changed Christianity that he became its second founder. He rather became the founder of the ecclesiastical Christianity .Luni Nick observes that “Without Paul Christianity would have become a sect of Judaism and would not have been a universal religion”.

Christianity was influenced by the religion of the Mitras in Persia, about six centuries B.C. and which included narrations near to the story of the Last Supper.

Christianity was also influenced by Hindu ideas of Trinitarianism which upholds that God has three names: Vishnu, the Preserver, and Shiva, the Destroyer Brahma, the Creator. The Indian ideas of hypostases and crucifixion for atonement for sin, asceticism and monasticism and getting rid of money to be admitted into the kingdom of heaven all had their great influence on the Christian doctrines distorting its real image.

Islamic Position on Such Impact

The Qur’an outlines the message that Jesus (peace be upon him) brought in its original dress and how he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) called on people to monotheism and worship Allah only as a god. He rejected paganism, worship of other than Allah and all forms of exaggeration in his person, his mother or the Holy Spirit:

“So she pointed to him. They said, “How can we speak to one who is in the cradle a child?” [Jesus] said, “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet. And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakah as long as I remain alive And [made me] dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant. And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive.” That is Jesus, the son of Mary – the word of truth about which they are in dispute. It is not [befitting] for Allah to take a son; exalted is He! When He decrees an affair, He only says to it, “Be,” and it is. [Jesus said], “And indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path.” (19:-29:37)

The features and characteristics of his message in the Koran agreed to the message of his predecessors of Messengers or Prophets:

“I said not to them except what You commanded me – to worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took me up, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness” (5: 117).

Although Islam  realizes all such aspects of distortions on the Christian side, it maintains  a fair and just position where it considers the heavenly origin of Christianity and Shows false doctrines to its followers and deals peacefully with them. It forbids shedding their blood as long as they were peaceful to Muslims. Islam guaranteed them certain rights known as the rights of the people of “dhimmah” (i.e. who had a truce with the Mulsims). Prophet – peace be upon him- says -:

“Be kind to (Christian) Copts for they share us  a pledge of peace and maternal relationship”.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade his followers from rush to judge all that is mentioned in the Gospels as false and said:

“Do not trust the people of the book and do not distrust them i.e. Do not believe them in all of what they say and do not disbelieve them in all of what they say).

in Fat-h al-Bari, Ibn Hajar said: “The sayings by the people of the book (Jews and Christian) (which are not known to be false or right) are equivocal: They may be true or false. Therefore, the Prophet prohibited them to believe them, lest that they be believe in a lie, and also prohibited them to disbelieve in them, lest that they may be true (i.e. they should keep silent at them).

The Prophet (peace be upon him), moreover, prohibited his companions  to rely on the Christian and Jewish traditions in approving or disapproving religious teachings for the distortions they had and their deviation from the right path and real messages of the Prophets.

It is reported that, once, Omar ibn Al-Khattab came to the Prophet bearing a sheet of paper of the Jewish and Christian scriptures and read it before the Prophet who reprimanded Omar for the act for it may lead to suspecting the real message of Islam. He showed him that had Moses was alive, he would have believed in him (Prophet Muahammad).


References

-ManiAl-Juhani, Al-Mawsuah Al-Muassarah fi Al-Adiyan Wal Madhahib Wal Ahzahb Al-Muasirah,  Al-Nadwah Al-Alamiyyah publishinghouse.

-Shalabi, Christianity in Islam.

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