Letter: When a child is born in the Koran

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The Independent Online
Sir: I sympathise with the fastidious position set out by Khadijah Knight and Umar Hegedus (letter, 17 December) concerning the use of the versions of the nativity of the child Jesus by Muslim children in our maintained schools. Nevertheless, the point about the version in Sura 19 of the Koran is misleading.

In that version of the Nativity, Mary is accused of being unchaste, she bears the child at the base of a palm tree; and during the course of his birth, the child draws his mother's attention to a refreshing stream, and encourages her to shake the ripe dates from the tree, so that she can eat and drink. She brings the child to the people who confuse her with the sister of Moses and express astonishment. There follows one of the most beautiful and poignant verses in the Koran. The child says:

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.

To use this version in an appropriate primary school would be extremely interesting. It would be rather more 'mythical' than the versions in current use.

Yours faithfully,



17 December