Islam, Jesus, and Clay Birds

The Qur’an contains certain stories found in Jewish and Christian apocrypha (daif writings). Among the most well known is the narration of the child Jesus turning clay birds into living ones:

"And (appoint him) an apostle to the Children of Israel, (with this message): "'I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah’s leave
Surah 3:49


"…]thou makest out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My leave, and thou breathest into it and it becometh a bird by My leave,"
Surah 5:110

As suggested earlier, these stories are not found in the Canon of Scripture but in stories that served to fill in the gaps (so to speak) of Jesus’ hidden life (the period of time before His public ministry.) Interestingly enough the narration of Jesus turning clay birds into living ones is found in material that would have been accessible to Muhammad. The infancy “gospel” ascribed to St Thomas was possibly originally written in Syriac, as well as the Arabic infancy “gospel” which is dated to the 6th century. The later infancy account is interesting in that it begins with, “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” which may have inspired the “Bismillah…” seen in the beginning of all Surat with the exception of Surah Tawbah (9).

Here are quotes from the apocryphal sources:
Infancy Gospel of Thomas**
“This child Jesus, when five years old, was playing in the ford of a mountain stream; and He collected the flowing waters into pools, and made them clear immediately, and by a word alone He made them obey Him. And having made some soft clay, He fashioned out of it twelve sparrows. And it was the Sabbath when He did these things. And there were also many other children playing with Him. And a certain Jew, seeing what Jesus was doing, playing on the Sabbath, went off immediately, and said to his father Joseph: Behold, your son is at the stream, and has taken clay, and made of it twelve birds, and has profaned the Sabbath. And Joseph, coming to the place and seeing, cried out to Him, saying: Why do you do on the Sabbath what it is not lawful to do? And Jesus clapped His hands, and cried out to the sparrows, and said to them: Off you go! And the sparrows flew, and went off crying. And the Jews seeing this were amazed, and went away and reported to their chief men what they had seen Jesus doing.”

The Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of the Saviour
36. Now, when the Lord Jesus had completed seven years from His birth, on a certain day He was occupied with boys of His own age. For they were playing among clay, from which they were making images of asses, oxen, birds, and other animals; and each one boasting of his skill, was praising his own work. Then the Lord Jesus said to the boys: The images that I have made I will order to walk. The boys asked Him whether then he were the son of the Creator; and the Lord Jesus bade them walk. And they immediately began to leap; and then, when He had given them leave, they again stood still. And He had made figures of birds and sparrows, which flew when He told them to fly, and stood still when He told them to stand, and ate and drank when He handed them food and drink. After the boys had gone away and told this to their parents, their fathers said to them: My sons, take care not to keep company with him again, for he is a wizard: flee from him, therefore, and avoid him, and do not play with him again after this.
The Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of the Savior**
46. Again, on another day, the Lord Jesus was with the boys at a stream of water, and they had again made little fish-ponds. And the Lord Jesus had made twelve sparrows, and had arranged them round His fish-pond, three on each side. And it was the Sabbath-day. Wherefore a Jew, the son of Hanan, coming up, and seeing them thus engaged, said in anger and great indignation: Do you make figures of clay on the Sabbath-day? And he ran quickly, and destroyed their fish-ponds. But when the Lord Jesus clapped His hands over the sparrows which He had made, they flew away chirping.

Infancy “gospel” of Thomas
Arabic “gospel” of the Infancy

The answer is easy Thomas. You can quote any book, if it has things that match the Quran then it is from Allah, and the other things that refute Muhammad in the same book are not from Allah, so the author is both inspired and non-inspired, even if the author of the book existed long time after Jesus or His apostles and his identity is totally unknown. Gnostic writings? Ridiculous apocrypha? Christian legends of later centuries? so what? all from Allah since Muhammad uttered them via Jibreel.

But when it comes to the NT quoted by the apostolic church fathers who knew the apostles, they question it’s authors and hence the message.

By the way, Muhammad quoted different apocryphas, the ones i found add up to 6 or 7 but islamized them of course like when an apocrypha says " i am the son of God", Muhammad turns it into the slave of Allah. All of them must have been both inspired and uninspired by Allah since all refute Muhammad, even the ones he quoted from or heard about but it could be that Muhammad’s duty was to pick from third, fourth and fifth century apocrypha to teach Christians about the Jesus the apostles and their apostolic disciples knew and read and preached about.

On a side note, why would Jesus turn clay into birds? miracles not only assist the message of a prophet, but they serve a purpose, they aren’t random displays of power. Splitting the red sea served a purpose, healing and multiplying food served a purpose but what does turning clay into birds serve

Peace inJESUS,

Someone can only go so far until the evidence becomes overwhelming.

I just hope Muslims understand why accepting Muhammad from our perspective is an impossibility.

God bless,

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the apostles and their apostolic disciples knew and *wrote *and preached about.

The follwing verse also from Apocrypha:

I can tell you what you eat, and what you store in your homes. This should be a proof for you, if you are believers." S. 3:49

ok, the author is attributing to Jesus the knowledge of the unseen, but what does telling people about what they store in their houses serve?


By the way, Jesus talking in the cradle is also found in the apocrypha. Creating Clay birds in the apocrypha is about Jesus’ childhood but it was revealed to Muhammad that it happened in his adulthood.

Interesting enough it’s found in the Arabic “gospel” of the Infancy. The same one which narrates the turning of clay birds into living ones.

you will find many more :wink:
there was a thread called parallelism between quran and apocrypha (if i recall well the title), long time ago. If you find it, you will find many other apocryphas “revealed” to Muhammad.

Perhaps the scariest belief of Islam is that before the end of the ages, Muslims must fight the Jews, and than Jesus will come and kill them [the Jews]. I’m thinking Mohammed was pretty pissed when the Jews and Christians rejected him, so he used Jesus as a way to get back at both of them.

There are no miracles that serve no purpose. All of them are done for a reason. What would the reason of Jesus speaking as an infant?

I wish all Muslims had a “to you on your way” attitude about religion.

To announce to the world that only at seven, this boy came from God?


Mother Mary § was unmarried. She was not supposed to have a baby . So , Jesus § defended his innocent mom by declaring that he is a slave of God.

After hearing such from a newborn baby , people understood it’s a miracle birth & they did not harm Mary §.

And God Knows Best.

This is the biggest line of pooh that I have seen on this thread.

First, if she was unmarried, you are calling her son and those who knew her liers. Everyone in the Bible holds that she was married to Joseph. Including Mary herself. Yet again, Islam insults the people in the Christian Bible by calling them liers

Second, if he had spoken, the people would have thought him possessed or demonic and killed them both.

Do you have relevant quranic verses to support this or is it merely your interpolation.

I see a problem with this rationale. If Jesus as a small boy announced himself as someone special from God by performing miracles, it would surely attract huge attention and excitement from the village people. Remember the village of Nazareth was a small town of perhaps of about less than1000 people. In this scenerio everybody would know each other.

He would become a sort of young Dalai Lama. There is no evident to support this. Jesus grew up as any ordinary boy in a normal family. In fact later on in his ministry as adult, people were surprised that he was full of wisdom considering he was merely a son of a carpenter. That raection would be unlikely if he had from childhood known to people as a special person from God.

Secondly, Joseph married his mother to avoid the scandal. Mary’s pregnancy at less than three months need not necessary be known to the whole village. Young maiden still can hide those thing. It was only known to Joseph who quickly married her after knowing she was with child.

Thus the early infancy miracles really serve no useful and symbolic purpose and is not consistent with why miracles should happen.


Quran , chapter 19. Mary

But she pointed to the babe. They said: “How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?”

He said: "I am indeed a servant of Allah. He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet;

"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)”!

Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute.

. It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! when He determines a matter, He only says to it, “Be”, and it is.

. Verily Allah is my Lord and your Lord: Him therefore serve ye: this is a Way that is straight.

verses 29-36

related links :

What does the Qur’an say about Jesus?

Do Muslims believe in the virgin birth of Jesus?

The first chapter of the Arabic “gospel” of the Infancy says the following:

  1. We find what follows in the book of Joseph the high priest, who lived in the time of Christ. Some say that he is Caiaphas. He has said that Jesus spoke, and, indeed, when He was lying in His cradle said to Mary His mother: I am Jesus, the Son of God, the Logos, whom you have brought forth, as the Angel Gabriel announced to you; and my Father has sent me for the salvation of the world. **

Muhamad, “one untimely born” as his father died before he was born was raised in the household of his merchant uncle and served as a guard on his caravans. These caravans routeenly saught shelter in the fortified monestaries of the apostate Christian sects which even today predominate in the area. The Prophet was an extrodinariall gifted young man who soaked up the teachings of these monks who embraced the Gospel of Thomas which had long since been discredited as apocraphal. It is no wonder that these folk tales found their way into his writings.

The sunna of Muhammad says he used to be taken to these monastries for healing.

Thank you for your gracious reply. I am a blunt man and have often been answered with blunt objects by men and women of various faiths. Your cultured nature is refreshing.


I agree with the contents of your post.


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