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HomeCritical QuestionsThe Virgin Maryam (Mary) in Islam

The Virgin Maryam (Mary) in Islam

How does the Quran mention the Virgin Maryam (Mary)?

The Virgin Maryam (Mary) is known for her chastity and piety in Islam and is mentioned as one of the women of Paradise in hadith sources [ 1].  Virgin Maryam who the 19th surah is named by her name, is the only female name mentioned in the Quran. Maryam and her family are mentioned in the 3rd surah, the surah of Ali’Imran.

Although it is not known when the Virgin Maryam was born, her mother gave her the name Maryam, which means “worshipper”[2]. According to the Qur’an, her father’s name is Imran, and according to historical sources her mother’s name is Hannah. Her mother prayed to Allah to protect Maryam and her descendants against the devil, and she dedicated Maryam to Allah before she was even born.[3]

The husband of the aunt of the Virgin Maryam, Zakariyya, is one of the prophets who was sent to the Israelites. According to the Qur’an, lots were drawn among the people who would protect Maryam, and the prophet Zakariya protected and looked after her.[4] According to Islamic sources, it has been interpreted   that her mother named her Maryam, and lots were drawn to protect her in the death of her father before Maryam was born.[5]

The annunciation of Prophet Isa (Jesus) to the blessed Virgin Maryam (Mary)

Whenever Prophet Zakariyya went to visit the Virgin Maryam, he saw fresh food there and asked where it came from. The Virgin Maryam replied that she was provided with sustenance from Allah.[6] Again, according to the verses, before the Virgin Maryam was pregnant, she was told that she will have a child who will speak in the cradle, and it will be a dignified child in this world and in the hereafter.[7] The angel Jibril appeared to her in human form and announced that she would be pregnant with a baby boy. However, since the Virgin Mary was a chaste woman, she wondered how it would be if no man had touched her, and Allah stated that it will not be difficult for Him.[8]

The conception of the Virgin Maryam in the 12th verse of Surah At-Tahrim has been described as; “There is˺ also ˹the example of˺ Mary, the daughter of ’Imrân, who guarded her chastity, so We breathed into her ˹womb˺ through Our angel ˹Gabriel˺. She testified to the words of her Lord and His Scriptures, and was one of the ˹sincerely˺ devout.” Allah, who created Adam without parents by blowing His soul into Him stated that it was very easy for him with this example.[9]

What happened before the birth of Prophet Isa (Jesus) christ?

The Virgin Maryam retired to a place far from people until the time of her birth, and when she went into labor, she leaned against a date tree and expressed her sadness, “I wish I had died earlier”, afraid that people would accuse her of unchastity. Allah also informed her with a voice that she should shake the date tree and eat the fresh dates that fell, and that it is sent water source below her, also ordered her not to talk to people for a while.[10]

When the Virgin Maryam gave birth to baby, people heard about it and said words condemning her, but she, following Allah’s command, pointed to the baby without speaking to anyone. Prophet Isa was a baby in swaddling at that time. He spoke with a miracle of Allah and told people that he was a prophet.[11]

Great importance of the blessed Virgin Maryam (Mary) for Muslims

The Virgin Maryam is a woman who has always been praised and valued in Islamic sources. While Maryam is shown as an example for believers in the Qur’an [12], Prophet Muhammad also reminded the importance of the Virgin Maryam saying, “The best of women in her time is Maryam, the daughter of Imran, and the best of the women of this ummah is Khadija (the first wife of Prophet Muhammad [PBUH]).”[13]

According to Islamic belief, both the Virgin Maryam and her son, Prophet Isa, are precious servants of Allah.[14] The birth of Prophet Isa without a father, the miraculous birth of a baby by the Virgin Maryam, the speech of the baby in the cradle are all events that happen only by the will of Allah. It is unacceptable in Islam to attribute different meanings to these extraordinary events, to deify prophet Isa, or to attribute the Virgin Maryam to the mother of God.[15]

Summary:

1. In Islamic sources, the Virgin Maryam (Mary) is widely regarded and used as an example for Muslims, particularly because of her chastity.

2. Maryam is the name of a surah in the Quran, and Maryam is the only woman mentioned in the Quran. Maryam’s family is also specifically addressed in the Quran.

3. The Annunciation of Prophet Isa (Jesus) to the Blessed Virgin Maryam (Mary)

and the events that took place before and after the birth of the prophet Isa (Jesus) were mentioned in the Quran.


[1] Ahmed Ibn Hanbel, Musnad , III, 64, 80, 135
[2] Ali’Imran,36
[3] Ali’Imran,35-37
[4] Ali’Imran,44
[5] Bukhari, “Anbiya”, 44
[6] Ali’Imran ,37
[7] Ali’Imran ,45-46
[8] Maryam,16-21
[9] Al-Hijr, 29
[10] Maryam, 22-26
[11] Maryam, 27-33
[12] At-Tahrim/11-12
[13] Bukhari, “Anbiya”, 32, 45-46, “Manaqib al-Ansar”, 20
[14 Al-Ma’idah, 75
[15] An-Nisa, 171

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