Mary, the Saintly Woman and Her Son

The sūrah then puts them face to face with this clear fact in the hope that they will reason properly and bring themselves to understand things as they are. This is coupled with amazement that even after this exposition, they continue to reject the facts: “The Christ, son of Mary, was but a Messenger: other messengers have passed away before him. His mother was a saintly woman. They both ate food [like other human beings]. Behold how clear We make [Our] revelations to them and behold how perverted they are.” (Surah Al-Maidah verse 75)

The verse describes both mother and son as people who ate ordinary food. This was a simple fact in the lives of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) and his saintly mother. Eating food is a characteristic of living creatures which proves the humanity of Christ and his mother. Food is normally eaten to satisfy an undeniable physical need. Whoever needs to eat food in order to live cannot be a deity. God’s life needs no food to support it because He lives and remains alive by Himself. He does not need to have any created thing like food to enter or leave his body. Limitless is He in His glory.

This logic is so clear and powerful that no one can deny the fact it states. It is followed, therefore, by a condemnation of the Christians’ attitude in so far as they refuse to accept it: “Behold how clear We make Our revelations to them and behold how perverted they are.” (Verse 75)

This ordinary human life which Christ lived has troubled those who wanted to make him a deity in spite of his teachings to the contrary. They went to a great deal of trouble and argument about Christ’s nature and whether it was Divine or human, as we have already briefly explained. Speaking from a different angle, but using the same clear logic, the sūrah wonders at their objectionable stance: “Say: Would you worship in place of God anything that has no power to harm or to benefit you? It is God alone who hears all and knows all.” (Surah Al-Ma’idah Verse 76)

It should be noted that the Qur’ānic verse deliberately uses the word “anything” rather than “anyone” in order to group together all creatures that have been worshipped, including those who have reason. The Qur’ān here refers to the fact that they are creatures and, as such, they are far removed in nature from Divinity. Thus, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and Mary are included under “anything” because, by nature, they are some of God’s creation. The expression contains its own powerful connotations implying that it is totally illogical for anything or anyone to be worshipped when they can neither harm nor benefit anyone.

It is God alone who hears all and knows all.” (Verse 76) As such, it is God who can cause harm and bring benefit. It is He who hears the supplication of His servants, accepts their worship and knows what they entertain in their minds and what intentions they have behind their supplication and worship. Other beings cannot answer prayers or supplication since they cannot hear or know everything.

This part is concluded with a general appeal the Prophet is required to make to the people of earlier revelations: “Say: People of earlier revelations(Jews and Christains)! Do not overstep the bounds of truth in your religious beliefs, and do not follow the vain desires of those who have gone astray in the past, and have led many others astray and are still straying from the right path.” (Surah Al-Ma’idah Verse 77) All these deviant beliefs have originated with trying to give Jesus (peace be upon him) a supreme position of honour, which caused them to `overstep the bounds of truth.

The vain desires of Roman rulers brought about idolatrous beliefs into Christianity and the clerical synods’ same desires gave rise to all those allegations which have distorted the Christian faith. It should be remembered that Jesus Christ delivered his message in all honesty as a Messenger of God. He said: “Children of Israel, worship God, my Lord and your Lord. Whoever associates partners with God, God shall forbid him entrance into Paradise and his abode will be the Fire. Wrongdoers will have no helpers.” (Surah Al-Ma’idah Verse 72) This last address is a final attempt to save the people of earlier revelations(Jews and Christains) and to help them rid themselves of deviation, conflict and vain desire.

Taken from In The Shade of The Qur’an Volume_4_surah_5 page 170-171

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