Hz. Isa spoke when he was in the cradle. Did he continue speaking after that incident or did he return to normal?

The Details of the Question

- Did he have a childhood like other children after that with the permission of Allah?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The information we have shows that Hz. Isa (Jesus) stopped talking after that incident and he acted like other babies. (see Razi, at-Tafsirul-Kabir, XXI/194; Qurtubi, XI/103).

According to what we learn from the Quran, Hz. Maryam received divine mercy and prosperity under the date tree. Her fear and sadness disappeared. Although it was winter, the date tree yielded fruit and the dates on the branch fell in front of Hz. Maryam. Meanwhile, Hz. Isa was born. She held her child with excitement and joy. However, the distress in her heart did not end. She had a baby without getting married. How would she tell her tribe about it? They would not believe in her no matter what she did or said. The Lord of the Realms said to her,

"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." (1)

Some extraordinary incidents took place when Hz. Isa was born. We will mention some of them here. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) stated the following in a hadith:  

"There is none born among the off-spring of Adam, but Satan touches it. A child therefore, cries loudly at the time of birth because of the touch of Satan, except Isa (Jesus), the son of Mary." (2)

It is narrated that when Hz. Isa was about to be born, a group of devils saw this. They tried to approach him but they could not. They informed Iblis, their leader, about it. After listening to the devils, Iblis thought there was something special about it and he himself went there. When he went there, he saw that there was a mother and her son protected by an army of angels. This incident is indicated in the hadith above.

The following is stated in another narration: Some people who set out to look for Hz. Maryam met a shepherd on the way. When they asked him if he had seen Hz. Maryam, the shepherd said,

"I have not seen the person you have mentioned. However, something I had never experienced before happened last night. All of my cows turned toward that valley you see and prostrated."

In another narration, the shepherd pointed at the valley and said he saw a luminous light descend there. (3)

After the birth, Yusuf (Joseph), Maryam’s cousin, took her to a cave and she stayed there until her puerperal period ended. After forty days passed, she took him on her lap and set off toward the city.

As Maryam approached the city, her excitement increased. The news that Maryam was coming to the city with a baby reached the city. When the mischief-makers heard the news, they took action. A large group of people met Maryam. They asked her,

"O Maryam! Who is the baby on your lap?"

Hz. Maryam, who was performing a fast of silence, did not answer. Thereupon, the people started to ask different questions. This incident is narrated as follows in the Quran:   

"At length she brought the (babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: "O Mary! Truly an amazing thing hast thou brought!" (4)

Hz. Maryam did not answer the questions and showed patience. They started to harass her verbally:

"O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste." (5)

There are various views about who the Harun mentioned in the verse was. One of them is that Maryam’s ancestor Harun was meant. According to another view, that person was a man called Harun who was known for his immorality. They mentioned him as Maryam’s brother in order to insult her. According to another narration, Harun was a person among the relatives of Maryam’s father who was famous for his honor and chastity. Allah definitely knows best.

Maryam could not put up with the verbal harassments any longer and pointed to the child on her lap. She wanted to say, "Do not ask me; ask the baby; he will answer you." This incident is narrated as follows in the Quran:

"But she pointed to the babe. They said: ‘How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?’" (6)

This attitude of Maryam’s increased the tension among the crowd. How could they talk to a baby? They though Maryam overstepped the limit and she made fun of them in addition to her immorality. They said,

"Her making fun of us is worse than her fornication."

According to a narration, Hz. Isa was sucking at that time. When he heard it, he stopped sucking, turned his face toward them, leaned to the left and made a gesture with his index finger. It is said that Hz. Isa talked to them when he was in the cradle and that he did not talk to them again until he reached the usual age of talking. Meanwhile, Hz. Zakariyya heard about the incident and arrived there. He addressed Hz. Isa, who was on his mother’s lap as follows:

"Speak if you have been ordered to speak."

Meanwhile, something astonishing took place. It is narrated as follows in the Quran:

"He (the baby) said: ‘I am indeed a servant of Allah: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet.’" (7)

When the crowd saw that the baby spoke, they were terrified. They had never seen or heard something like that before. The baby continued speaking:

"And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live; "(He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable; "So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)." (8)

Those who witnessed this incident could not say anything. They left quietly.


1. Maryam, 26
2. Bukhari, Anbiya 44, Bad'ul-Khalq 11, Tafsir, Aal-i Imran 2; Muslim, Fadail 147, (2366)
3. Ibn Kathir, Hadislerle Kur'an-ı Kerîm Tefsiri, translated by Bekir Karlığa - Bedrettin Çetiner, Vol. 10, p. 5135
4. Maryam, 27
5. Maryam, 28
6. Maryam, 29
7. Maryam, 30
8. Maryam, 31-33;

(Peygamberler Tarihi, Osmanlı Yayınevi, I/275)

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