Al-Liqa’ Center for Religious and Heritage Studies in the Holy Land
Wednesday Forum titled
“Annunciation (Al-Bishara) in the Holy Bible and in the Holy Qur’an”
Mahmoud Abu Katteh
Thursday, 22nd of March, 2012
at 5:00 p.m
A number of friends of Al-Liqa’ academicians, clergy and students from Bethlehem Bible College attended a panel comprising Prof. Mahmud Abu Katteh and Rev. Dr. Yuhanna Katanacho who focused on the concept of Annunciation (Al-Bishara) in the Holy Qur’an. The moderator of the panel was Dr. Geries S. Khoury.
Prof. Abu Katteh, in his lecture focused on the linguistics origin of the “Al-Bishara” which means the good news. He started with Joseph story and quoted a verse from the Holy Qur’an to illustrate the meaning of Al-Bishara: “Then there came a caravan of travelers: they sent their water-carrier (for water), and he let down his bucket (into the well)...He said: "Ah there! Good news! Here is a (fine) young man!" So they concealed him as a treasure! But Allah knoweth well all that they do!”( Sura of Joseph,19)
Likewise, Prof. Abu Katteh quoted from the Qur’an the following verse about Abraham “So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear.” (Al-Safat, 101) Abraham’s wife Sara laughed upon hearing that she will give birth and especially that she was very old “And his wife was standing (there), and she laughed: But we gave her glad tidings of Isaac, and after him, of Jacob.” (Hud, 71) Prof. Abu Katteh, in addition quoted from the Sura of Mary the following verse to illustrate the annunciation:” to Zakariya: "O Zakariya! We give thee good news of a son: His name shall be Yahya: on none by that name have We conferred distinction before." (Mary, 7) He, likewise, quoted from The 'Imran Sura a verse to illustrate Al-Bishara to Hanneh who will give birth to a female child. “When she was delivered, she said: "O my Lord! Behold! I am delivered of a female child!"- and Allah knew best what she brought forth- And no wise is the male Like the female. I have named her Mary…”(The House Of 'Imran, 36) ; and at the end he spoke about Al-Bishara to Mary and cited the following Qur’anic verse:” “Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah.” (The House Of 'Imran, 45)
Rev. Dr. Hanna Katanacho stressed that Al-Bishara is in the New Testament means the good news. The origin of the New Testament word in Greek is “enangelion” which means the good news, the word “enangelion” is repeated one hundred and twenty times in the New Testament. The New Testament is deeply rooted in the teachings of the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament predicted the good news of the coming of the Christ as was foretold by the Prophets. He also spoke about his personal experience with the New Testament. Following the two lectures a question and answer session took place in a quiet and frank manner. The discussion revolved around the meaning of “Annunciation” in the two heavenly religions: Islam and Christianity.