Written by: Sagher Mahmood Bajwa (Missionary Canada)
The virgin birth of Jesus Christ (as) is a belief central to Christianity and supported by Islam. The virgin birth of Jesus (as) is one of many miraculous occurrences found in the history of Prophets. Unfortunately, most religions have understood them as supernatural marvels. On the contrary, the Ahmadiyya Muslim perspective on this subject is logical and in complete harmony with the laws of nature. In this article, I will explain how and why Jesus (as)’s birth was a virgin birth.
Modern scientific data categorially rejects the father-son relationship between God and Jesus (as). As we know, the birth of a child relies on equal partaking of a male and female. Human cells contain 46 chromosomes, 23 of which are present in a woman, and the other 23 are provided by a man by way of insemination. Anything even marginally more or less than this would result in serious deformities in a newborn. Either we commit grave blasphemy and conclude God has 23 chromosomes or we settle with the idea that God created extra chromosomes in Mary. Regardless, the deduction of literal sonship is impossible.
Furthermore, according to the Bible, Jesus (as) was not the only person born without a father. That’s right, Adam1 and Eve2 are clearly to have been born without a father according to the Bible. In fact, Malchesidec is said to have been born without mother or father.3 Therefore, if being fatherless connotes divinity, is the King of Salem not more worthy of it than Jesus (as)?
How was Jesus (as) born?
Hadrat Khalifat ul Masih IV (ra) states, “At lower orders of life two phenomena are scientifically well established: Hermaphroditism and Parthenogenesis. As such, the miraculous birth of Jesus (as) to Mary (as) can be understood to belong to some similar natural but very rare phenomenon, the peripheries of which are not yet fully fathomed by man.”4
Since scientific findings are limited in this area, human knowledge has not yet gained full insight into this spectacle. However, this means doors of possibilities remain open. The fact of the matter is that single mother births, although rare, have undeniably transpired. One such case in South America was thoroughly studied and accepted by scientists. It was heavily promoted by a local journalist, so much so, that the news reached the United States. Thereafter, a team of scientists were sent to the country to investigate. There findings were miraculous! Hadrat Khalifat ul Masih IV (ra) explained:
“A girl gave birth to a girl and she claimed that she was absolutely chaste and there was no question of her ever meeting any boy. Now, her mother knew the girl and also knew the history of school going and conduct and behavior and so on and she was 100% certain that she is
1 Genesis 2:7
2 Genesis 2:21-22
3 Hebrew 7:1-3
4 Christianity, A Journey from Facts to Fiction, Mirza Tahir Ahmad (ra), Page 5, Islam International Publications Ltd. (2006)
right…they proved that in this case she was the child of her grandfather because in some cases during the embryonic stage the sperm of the father gets involved and trapped in the would be uterus of the child if it is a female and it can be preserved, by nature and after a while when the girl reaches the age of maturity then it fertilizes the ovum and the result is a virgin birth.”5
Therefore, as far as possibilities are concerned, there are possibilities. With the advancement of science, maybe we will know exactly how these marvels take place or maybe we won’t. Nonetheless, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s viewpoint on this is that it was certainly according to hidden laws of nature. Our lack of knowledge on the laws of nature does not indicate something is a supernatural occurrence. Rather, it reinforces that our God is the All Knowing and All-Powerful, which is why we as humans are His subservient.
Why was Jesus (as) born fatherless?
The Promised Messiah of Islam has beautifully explained God’s wisdom behind Jesus (as)’s fatherless birth. Hadrat Musleh Maood (ra) writes:
“We have heard from the Promised Messiah (as) that the fatherless birth of Jesus (as) was a change of direction to tell the Jews that God Almighty has turned His face from the Israelites; and because their evil deeds, God is now going to transfer the chain of prophecy to another nation. Because the chain of prophecy is sustained through patriarchy, God the Almighty demonstrated by the fatherless birth of Jesus (as) that from now on there is no man left among the Jews whose progeny could attain prophethood. Therefore, we have created a prophet without a father and only his mother is an Israelite; but the future prophet will not come from the Israelites. And Allah the Almighty will sever His relationship completely with Israel.”6
The covenant made with Abraham was in regard to both his sons, Isaac and Ishmael. The words of this covenant are as follow:
9 And God said unto Abraham, thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; every man child among you shall be circumcised.
11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
5 A few Questions and Answers about Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad (ra), Transcribed from Audio Recordings by Al Islam Team
6 Tafsir Kabir, Hadrat Mirza Bashir ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad (ra), Chapter 19, Volume 4, Page 153, First Edition
13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
15 And God said unto Abraham, as for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.
16 And I will bless her and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? And shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!
19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation7
In this covenant, Isaac has been mentioned before Ismael. This means that through Isaac, the Children of Israel, would be the beneficiaries of this promise. Thus, as long as they uphold the covenant they will continue to be flourished with benefits. But when they would start to disregard the covenant, the divine blessings will be transferred to the House of Ismael. This shift of blessings from the house of Isaac to the house of Ismael is also mentioned in Deuteronomy. It states “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear.”8
Thus, while the fatherless birth of Jesus Christ (as) came as an alarming notice to the Israelites that they were no more worthy of Prophethood, it also brought glad tidings to the progeny of Ishmael (as) that it was time for their great nation to be established. Ultimately, this fulfilled the promise of the advent of that great prophet who was to be akin to Moses (as) and about whom there were many prophecies in the Old and the New Testament. This Prophet was none other than Muhammad (sa).
7 Genesis 17:9-20
8 Deuteronomy 18:15