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  • Was Jesus Actually Born In Bethlehem?

    Posted by Abdullah Ijaz on September 14, 2023 at 7:03 am

    So, Mary became pregnant with that child and [leaving the Temple] went away from everyone with what she bore to a distant place. (19:22)
    Ghamidi Sahab’s footnote:
    It is evident from the Gospels that this place was Bethlehem. In her situation, the only option left was to go far away from the notice of people to secure herself from any cursing and accusation at least in her period of pregnancy.

    I have the following questions:
    1. Bethlehem was approximately 6 miles away from the temple. How can it be considered a distant place?
    2. The historians Ibn Saad, Yaqut, and Ibn ‘Asakir state that Jesus was born in the vicinity of Nazareth. Does their view align better with the Quranic wording and context, as explained by Ghamidi Sahab?
    3. Many modern Christian biblical scholars argue that Jesus’ birthplace, as described in the Gospels, is ahistorical and instead propose that he was born in Nazareth. Given that even Christian scholars themselves question the historicity of this account, why do we rely on potentially unreliable information from the Gospels?

    Dr. Irfan Shahzad replied 1 week ago 3 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • Was Jesus Actually Born In Bethlehem?

    Dr. Irfan Shahzad updated 1 week ago 3 Members · 5 Replies
  • Dr. Irfan Shahzad

    Scholar September 15, 2023 at 1:04 am

    Historical happenings are accepted on the principle of their probability and plausibility. Bible the not altogether an unreliable source of Jewish history. Since Maryam resided in the temple, and she moved away from there, and in her condition, it was not possible to travel far. Therefore it is probable she settled at a place as described in the biblical sources.

    • Abdullah Ijaz

      Member September 15, 2023 at 6:04 pm

      I agree that it’s not entirely unreliable, but this specific information in the Bible is considered ahistorical and unreliable by many modern scholars. If this event occurred in the early months of pregnancy, it is possible for someone to travel a considerable distance. According to the Gospel of Luke, when Mary became pregnant, she was in Nazareth, unlike the Quran. So, according to the Gospel of Luke, she had to travel quite a distance. Additionally, according to Ghamidi, she needed to go far away to protect herself from cursing and accusations. However, this seems implausible considering that Bethlehem is not very far away; it’s only 6 miles away.

      Sir, you didn’t address my question about what aligns better with the Quranic wording and context, as explained by Ghamidi Sahab.

  • Faisal Haroon

    Moderator September 15, 2023 at 8:09 pm

    The walking distance from Temple Mount to Bethlehem is roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes, which is not too short of a distance. This is in today’s world, and it can be safely assumed that two thousand years ago the distance would have been greater because towns were much smaller. Also in the absence of paved paths, it can be assumed that it would have taken much longer to cover the distance. The walking distance from Temple Mount to Nazareth in today’s world is roughly 32 hours. It’s implausible that a pregnant woman would have traveled that far on foot.

    In your original question you did not ask what aligns better with the Quran, but the answer to that question is that the Quran does not provide any indication in this regard. As Irfan sahab explained above, historical events are accepted on the basis of plausibility and probability. Even if our assumptions in such matters are incorrect, it makes no difference to the core message of religion, which is what we should be focused on as opposed to immaterial details.

    • Abdullah Ijaz

      Member September 16, 2023 at 4:35 am

      Sir, according to the same gospel used as a source of information that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, it is stated that Mary traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem while pregnant. Traveling this far while pregnant is possible if she undertook the journey in the early months of her pregnancy. Additionally, people from Jerusalem could easily visit Bethlehem, as they could ride on horses and donkeys. I did ask whether their view aligns better with the Quran: “Does their view align better with the Quranic wording and context, as explained by Ghamidi Sahab?”

      Lengthy walks were common for people during Jesus’ time. I agree that this doesn’t affect the core message of the religion, but my question pertains to its historical nature.

  • Dr. Irfan Shahzad

    Scholar September 17, 2023 at 11:25 pm

    The description in the Quran of the event is such a way that it makes no difference, whether the place is near the temple or far away from it. The historical record in the Bible is plausible, even if not proven. Therefore it is acceptable unless proven wrong, and if proven wrong, it does not affect the description.

    One may argue that she might have not waited for the pregnancy to get noticeable and left the place early for a faraway place. But the description in the Quran seems to suggest that it was not a place very far away.

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