The Birth of Jesus in the Qur'an
compared to the flight of the Holy Family in the Apocrypha
Sura 19:22-26 tells us:
So she conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree: She cried (in her anguish): "Ah! would that I had died before this! would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight!" But (a voice) cried to her from beneath the (palm-tree): "Grieve not! for thy Lord hath provided a rivulet beneath thee; "And shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm-tree: It will let fall fresh ripe dates upon thee. "So eat and drink and cool (thine) eye. And if thou dost see any man, say, 'I have vowed a fast to (Allah) Most Gracious, and this day will I enter into not talk with any human being'"
The incident was probably taken from an apocryphal work entitled "History of the Nativity of Mary and the Infancy of the Saviour" which probably is derived from an ancient source. According to this book, this event occurred during the Flight into Egypt and not during the birth of Jesus - Muhammad apparently misunderstood the story or did his own editing. This tale records how Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus began there journey. After two days traveling the story tells us :
"But on the third day after he had set out, it came to pass that Mary became exhausted in the desert through the excessive heat of the sun. When therefore she saw a tree, she said unto Joseph, 'Let us rest a little while under the shadow of this tree.' And Joseph hasted and brought her to that palm-tree, and took her down off her beast. When Mary sat down, she looked up to the top of the palm-tree, and seeing it full of fruit said to Joseph, 'I desire, if it be possible, to take of the fruit of this palm-tree.' And Joseph said unto her, 'I marvel that thou speakest thus, since thou seest how high the branches of this palm-tree are. But I am extremely anxious about water, for it has now been exhausted in our skin-bottles, and have nowhere whence we can fill them and quench our thirst.' Then the Child Jesus, who with joyful countenance lay in His mother the Virgin Mary's bosom, said to the palm-tree, O tree, lower thy branches and refresh My mother with thy fruit.' Instantly the palm-tree at this word bowed its head to the sole of Mary's feet: and they plucked the fruit which it bore, and were refreshed. And afterwards, when all its fruit had be plucked, the tree still remained bent, since it was waiting to rise up at the command of Him, whose command it had bowed down. Then Jesus said unto it, 'O palm-tree, arise and be of good cheer, and be thou a companion of My trees that are in My Father's Paradise. But with thy roots open the spring that is hidden in the ground, and let water flow forth from that spring to quench our thirst.' And the palm-tree instantly stood erect, and streams of very clear, cool, and very sweet water began to come forth from amid its roots. And when they beheld those streams of water, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy; and they with all their quadrupeds and attendants were satisfied and thanked God."
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