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The Childhood of Jesus

1. It is reported that Abu Ja‘far [Imam Baqir (‘a)] said: “When Jesus the son of Mary was born, when he was one day old he was like a two month old boy. When he was seven months old, his mother took his hand and brought him to a school and sat him before a teacher. The teacher said to him, “Say: ‘In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.’” Jesus said, “In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.”

The teacher said to him, “Say abjad.”1 Jesus raised his head and said, “Do you know what is abjad?” The teacher raised the lash to hit him. Jesus said, “O my teacher! Do not hit me if you know it, and if not, ask me so that I may explain it.” He said, “Explain it to me.” Jesus said, “As for the alif, it is a blessing (ala’) of Allah, and the ba is the bliss (bahjah) of Allah, and the jim is the beauty (jamal) of Allah, and the dal is the religion (din) of Allah.

Hawwaz: the ha is the terror (hawl) of hell, and the waw is ‘Woe (wayl) to the people of the fire,’ and the za is the moaning (zafir) of hell. Hutti: The sins are forgiven (huttat) of those who ask the forgiveness of Allah. Kaliman: The speech (kalam) of Allah, there is no one who can change His words.Sa‘afis: Measure for measure (sa‘) and wages for wages. Qarashat: He will gather them (qarashahum) and resurrect them.” Then the teacher said, “O woman! Take your son’s hand, indeed he already knows, and he has no need of a teacher.”2

2. Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) said, “Verily, Jesus the son of Mary, used to cry intensely, so that Mary was at wits end regarding his profuse crying. He said to her, ‘Get some of the bark of that tree, make a tonic from it and feed me with it.’ When he drank it, he cried intensely. Mary said, ‘What sort of prescription did you give me?’ He said, ‘O my mother! Knowledge of prophethood and weakness of childhood.’”3

  • 1. An old Semitic sequence of letters, called abjad, is used in Hebrew and Arabic in which each letter is used to represent a number in addition to its vocal value
  • 2. Bihar, 14, 286, 8
  • 3. Bihar 14, 254, 47

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