Mary in Islam

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Saint Mary, The Holy Virgin
(سانت ماري، العذراء المقدسة)
Virgin Mary and Jesus (old Persian miniature).jpg

The Virgin Mary and Jesus in a Persian miniature.
Virgin, The Purified, The Exalted, Mother of Isa, Keeper of Chastity, Mystic, Female Exemplar, Maternal Heroine, Queen of the Saints, The Holy Virgin, Our Lady, Blessed Mary Sai'ma, Mustafia, Rāki’ah, Sājidah, Qānitah, Siddiqah, Tāhirah
Born c. 20 B.C.E, Jerusalem
Died c. 100-120 C.E, Jerusalem
Venerated in All of Islam, All of Christianity
Feast 8 September (in Christianity)

Mary (Arabic: مريم; Marīam), the mother of Jesus (عيسى; ʿĪsā) is venerated in Islam. She is one of the most important and righteous women in Islam. She is mentioned in the Quran more than in the New Testament. She is the only woman mentioned by name in the Quran. Many Muslim women look up to her as an example. According to the Quran, Allah (God) chose Mary above all women of all nations. The Quran states:

Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah hath chosen thee and purified thee- chosen thee above the women of all nations.

—Quran, sura 3 (Al Imran), ayah 42.

Mary in the Quran[change | change source]

Mary is mentioned in the Quran frequently. Her life narrative occurs in the earliest chapters. The nineteenth chapter is named after her. The chapter is called Maryam.

Family[change | change source]

In the Quran, Mary is believed to have come from the house of Amram.

Birth[change | change source]

The birth of Mary is mentioned in the Quran in various chapters. Her father Joachim (Arabic: يواكيم; Imran) and her mother Anne (آن; Hannah) are also mentioned in the Quran. The Quran tells that Joachim and Anne were old and had no children for years. One day Anne saw a bird feeding her young. Seeing this made Anne want a child for herself. She prayed to Allah for a child. She promised that if her prayers were answered, her child's life would dedicated to the service of Allah. Anne also prayed for her child to be protected from the "touch" of Satan (إبليس‎; Iblīs).

Early years[change | change source]

The Quran tells that Mary grew up in the temple of prayer and had a special place of her own in the temple. The Quran narrates that there was a cast of whom shall be the guardian of Mary. The outcome was the Prophet Zechariah. Often, Zechariah would visit the chamber of Mary, and he would find her with plenty of food. He always asked her where she got the food. Mary's answer was "Allah provides to whom he will". Zechariah would not question this because, being a Prophet, he would have known that Allah is the provider of all things and life.

Annunciation[change | change source]

The birth of Jesus and the Annunciation of Mary are very important to Islam. They are considered to be some of the most important miracles of Allah. The first mention of the Annunciation following the Birth of Jesus is in sura 19 (Maryam)ayah 20. The Quran tells that the Angel Gabriel (Arabic: الروح القدس, al-Ruḥ al-Quds, Jibra'il) came to the Virgin Mary and told her that she would be pregnant with a holy child. The Virgin Mary asks how she will be pregnant when no man has touched her. The Angel Gabriel tells her that for Allah all things are easy and the Birth of Jesus will be a sign for mankind. The birth is mentioned later at sura 66 (At-Tahrim) ayah 12, where the Quran tells that the Virgin Mary remained pure while Allah created Jesus inside her womb.

Virgin Birth of Jesus[change | change source]

Virgin Mary nurtured by a palm tree, as described in the Quran.

The Quran narrates the virgin birth of Jesus many times. The Quran states that Jesus was born when Allah breathed on Mary while her body was chaste.

Mary with Jesus near the Palm tree where she gave birth.

The Quran's narrative of the birth is different from the New Testament. The Quran tells that Mary was having childbirth pain. Then she saw a nearby palm tree and held on to it. While she was holding on to the palm tree, a voice came beneath her, beneath the tree. The voice said, "Grieve not! for thy Lord hath provided a rivulet beneath thee; And shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm-tree: It will let fall fresh ripe dates upon thee." Mary then promised not to speak with any man that day. Later, Mary brought Jesus to the temple. All of the men in the temple made fun of her, except Zechariah, who believed in the virgin birth. All of the Israelites questioned her on how could she have a baby without a man. The Virgin Mary pointed to Jesus who spoke his first prophecy.

Mary in Muslim tradition[change | change source]

Mary is one of the most honored and respected figures in Islam and Muslim history. Many women look up to her as an example. Many Muslims consider her to be one of the most righteous women in history. Some Muslims consider her to be a female prophet. Many Muslims also visit Christian shrines. For example, Muslims visit the Bath of Mary in Jerusalem. Muslims believe this is where Mary took her first bath. Some plants were named after Mary. One of the plants is the Kaff Maryam. That plant is used by Muslims women to help pregnancy. The liquid from the plant can also be drunk praying.

Islamic literature or the Quran does not state the later events of the Virgin Mary's life such as the Assumption. Some Muslim scholars accept that the assumption was a part of the Virgin Mary's life. Some events in Muslim literature are not in the Bible. For example, Mary visited Rome with John and Thaddeus.

Arabic titles[change | change source]

  • Qānitah: Mary is called this name in sura 66:12. It refers to Mary spending her childhood in the Temple of Prayer.
  • Siddiqah: Mary is called this twice in sura 5 (Al-Ma'ida), ayat 73-75. It means "She who confirms the truth or She who has faith".
  • Sājidah: Mary is called this name in the Quran. It means "She who prostrates to God (Allah) in worship". The Quran states that Mary prostrated to Allah:

"O Mary! Worship your Lord devoutly: prostrate yourself".

  • Rāki’ah: Mary is also called this name in the Quran. "It means She who bows down to God (Allah) in worship". The Quran states that Mary bowed down to Allah in worship:

"O Mary! Bow down in prayer with those men, who bow down." This is believed to be the command to Mary by the Angels.

  • Tāhirah: This name for Mary means "She who was purified".
  • Mustafia: This name for Mary means, "She who was chosen". The Quran states that Mary was chosen by Allah above every women of every nation:

"O Mary! God has chosen you and purified you and again he has chosen you above all women of all nations of the worlds"

  • Sa’imah: This name for Mary means, "She who fasts". Mary is reported to fasts one-half of a year in some Muslim traditions.

Burial place[change | change source]

Mary is believed to have been buried at Tomb of the Virgin Mary in Kidron Valley. The tomb is at the foot of the Mount of Olives.