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Sura 3
Aya 49
وَرَسولًا إِلىٰ بَني إِسرائيلَ أَنّي قَد جِئتُكُم بِآيَةٍ مِن رَبِّكُم ۖ أَنّي أَخلُقُ لَكُم مِنَ الطّينِ كَهَيئَةِ الطَّيرِ فَأَنفُخُ فيهِ فَيَكونُ طَيرًا بِإِذنِ اللَّهِ ۖ وَأُبرِئُ الأَكمَهَ وَالأَبرَصَ وَأُحيِي المَوتىٰ بِإِذنِ اللَّهِ ۖ وَأُنَبِّئُكُم بِما تَأكُلونَ وَما تَدَّخِرونَ في بُيوتِكُم ۚ إِنَّ في ذٰلِكَ لَآيَةً لَكُم إِن كُنتُم مُؤمِنينَ

Muhammad Asad

and [will make him] an apostle unto the children of Israel."1 "I HAVE COME unto you with a message from your Sustainer. I shall create for you out of clay, as it were, the shape of [your] destiny, and then breathe into it, so that it might become [your] destiny by God's leave;2 and I shall heal the blind and the leper, and bring the dead back to life by God's leave;3 and I shall let you know what you may eat and what you should store up in your houses.4 Behold, in all this there is indeed a message for you, if you are [truly] believers.
  • The passage which follows here - up to the end of verse 51 - may be understood in either of two ways: as part of the announcement made to Mary (implying that he would thus speak in the future) or, alternatively, as a statement of what, at a later time, he actually did say to the children of Israel. In view of the narrative form adopted in verses 52 ff., the second of these two alternatives seems preferable.
  • Lit., "[something] like the shape of a bird (tayr); and then I shall breathe into it, so that it might [or "whereupon it will"] become a bird...". The noun tayr is a plural of ta'ir ("flying creature" or "bird"), or an infinitive noun ("flying") derived from the verb tara ("he flew"). In pre-Islamic usage, as well as in the Qur'an, the words ta'ir and tayr often denote "fortune" or "destiny", whether good or evil (as, for instance, in 7:131, 27:47 or 36:19, and still more clearly in 17:13). Many instances of this idiomatic use of tayr and ta'ir are given in all the authoritative Arabic dictionaries; see also Lane V, 1904 f. Thus, in the parabolic manner so beloved by him, Jesus intimated to the children of Israel that out of the humble clay of their lives he would fashion for them the vision of a soaring destiny, and that this vision, brought to life by his God-given inspiration, would become their real destiny by God's leave and by the strength of their faith (as pointed out at the end of this verse).
  • It is probable that the "raising of the dead" by Jesus is a metaphorical description of his giving new life to people who were spiritually dead; cf. 6:122 - "Is then he who was dead [in spirit], and whom We thereupon gave life, and for whom We set up a light whereby he can see his way among men - [is then he] like unto one [who is lost] in darkness deep, out of which he cannot emerge?" If this interpretation is - as I believe - correct, then the "healing of the blind and the leper" has a similar significance: namely, an inner regeneration of people who were spiritually diseased and blind to the truth.
  • I.e., "what good things you may partake of in the life of this world, and what good deeds you should lay up as a treasure for the life to come".