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Bible & Quran

The Birth and Life of Mary

the Qur’an

“The Birth and Life of Mary”

Sura 3

The Family of Imran

33. Surely Allah chose Adam and Nuh and the descendants of Ibrahim and the descendants of Imran above the nations.
34. Offspring one of the other; and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.
35. When a woman of Imran said: My Lord! surely I vow to Thee what is in my womb, to be devoted (to Thy service); accept therefore from me, surely Thou art the Hearing, the Knowing.
36. So when she brought forth, she said: My Lord! Surely I have brought it forth a female-- and Allah knew best what she brought forth-- and the male is not like the female, and I have named it Marium, and I commend her and her offspring into Thy protection from the accursed Shaitan.
37. So her Lord accepted her with a good acceptance and made her grow up a good growing, and gave her into the charge of Zakariya; whenever Zakariya entered the sanctuary to (see) her, he found with her food. He said: O Marium! whence comes this to you? She said: It is from Allah. Surely Allah gives to whom He pleases without measure.

Sura 19

Marium

22. So she conceived him; then withdrew herself with him to a remote place.

27. And she came to her people with him, carrying him (with her). They said: O Marium! surely you have done a strange thing.
28. O sister of Haroun! your father was not a bad man, nor, was your mother an unchaste woman.
29. But she pointed to him. They said: How should we speak to one who was a child in the cradle?

 

Sura 66

The Prohibition

12. And Marium, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity, so We breathed into her of Our inspiration and she accepted the truth of the words of her Lord and His books, and she was of, the obedient ones.

 

The Non-Canonic Gospels

“The Birth and Life of Mary”

Infancy Gospel of James, or Protovangelium

I. I In the histories of the twelve tribes of Israel it is written that there was one Ioacim, exceeding rich: and he offered his gifts twofold, saying: That which is of my superfluity shall be for the whole people, and that which is for my forgiveness shall be for tile Lord, for a propitiation unto me.

IV. 1 And behold an angel of the Lord appeared, saying unto her: Anna, Anna, the Lord hath hearkened unto thy prayer, and thou shalt conceive and bear, and thy seed shall be spoken of in the whole world. And Anna said: As the Lord my God liveth, if I bring forth either male or female, I will bring it for a gift unto the Lord my God, and it shall be ministering unto him all the days of its life.

VI. 1 And day by day the child waxed strong, and when she was six months old her mother stood her upon the ground to try if she would stand; and she walked seven steps and returned unto her bosom. And she caught her up, saying: As the Lord my God liveth, thou shalt walk no more upon this ground, until I bring thee into the temple of the Lord. And she made a sanctuary in her bed chamber and suffered nothing common or unclean to pass through it. And she called for the daughters of the Hebrews that were undefiled, and they carried her hither and thither.

VIII. 1 And her parents gat them down marveling, and praising the Lord God because the child was not turned away backward.

And Mary was in the temple of the Lord as a dove that is nurtured: and she received food from the hand of an angel.

“The Birth and Life of Mary”

The Gospel of the Nativity of Mary

CHAP. 1 - The blessed and glorious ever-virgin Mary, sprung from the royal stock and family of David, born in the city of Nazareth, was brought up at Jerusalem in the temple of the Lord.

CHAP. 3 - …Accordingly thy wife Anna will bring forth a daughter to thee, and thou shall call her name Mary: she shall be, as you have vowed, consecrated to the Lord from her infancy, and she shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from her mother’s womb. She shall neither eat nor drink any unclean thing, nor shall she spend her life among the crowds of the people without, but in the temple of the Lord, that it may not be possible either to say, or so much as to suspect, any evil concerning her. Therefore, when she has grown up, just as she herself shall be miraculously born of a barren woman, so in an incomparable manner she, a virgin, shall bring forth the Son of the Most High, who shall be called Jesus, and who, according to the etymology of His name, shall be the Saviour of all nations. And this shall be the sign to thee of those things which I announce: When thou shalt come to the Golden gate in Jerusalem, thou shalt there meet Anna thy wife, who, lately anxious from the delay of thy return, will then rejoice at the sight of thee. Having thus spoken, the angel departed from him.

CHAP. 6 - And when the circle of three years had rolled round, and the time of her weaning was fulfilled, they brought the virgin to the temple of the Lord with offerings. Now there were round the temple, according to the fifteen Psalms of Degrees,[1] fifteen steps going up; for, on account of the temple having been built on a mountain, the altar of burnt-offering, which stood outside, could not be reached except by steps. On one of these, then, her parents placed the little girl, the blessed virgin Mary. And when they were putting off the clothes which they had worn on the journey, and were putting on, as was usual, others that were neater and cleaner, the virgin of the Lord went up all the steps, one after the other, without the help of any one leading her or lifting her, in such a manner that, in this respect at least, you would think that she had already attained full age. For already the Lord in the infancy of His virgin wrought a great thing, and by the indication of this miracle foreshowed how great she was to be. Therefore, a sacrifice having been offered according to the custom of the law, and their vow being perfected, they left the virgin within the enclosures of the temple, there to be educated with the other virgins, and themselves returned home.

Wisdom 8:19-20

“And I was a witty child and had received a good soul. And whereas I was more good, I came to a body undefiled.”

 

“The Birth and Life of Mary”

The Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of the Saviour

3. Wherefore, after sunset, the old woman, and Joseph with her, came to the cave, and they both went in. And, behold, it was filled with lights more beautiful than the gleaming of lamps and candles, (4) and more splendid than the light of the sun. The child, enwrapped in swaddling clothes, was sucking the breast of the Lady Mary His mother, being placed in a stall. And when both were wondering at this light, the old woman asks the Lady Mary: Art thou the mother of this Child? And when the Lady Mary gave her assent, she says: Thou art not at all like the daughters of Eve. The Lady Mary said: As my son has no equal among children, so his mother has no equal among women.

 

The Bible

“The Birth and Life of Mary”

Matthew

Chapter 1

18. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
20. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25. And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

 

Luke

Chapter 1

26. And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27. To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35. And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37. For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
39. And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;
40. And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

 

COMMENTARY

In the Qur’an:

1. This is the story of Mary’s birth and youth.

In the non-canonical book entitled the “Infancy Gospel of James” or, “Protevangelium”, we can read this story in greater detail. Great emphasis is made of Mary being an unusual girl; she was born and placed into a special room so that nothing “unclean” would come into her presence (a very strange explanation).

2. In the Qur’an she lived in the Temple:  “whenever Zakariya entered the sanctuary to (see) her, he found with her food. He said: O Marium! Whence comes this to you? She said: It is from Allah. Surely Allah gives to whom He pleases without measure.”

In the non-canonical “gospel” we read the same story: “And Mary was” in the temple “of the Lord as a dove that is nurtured: and she received food from the hand of an angel.”

3. We can only find reference to Mary’s parents in the Apocrypha, which is a portion of writings not considered to be inspired of God and therefore not included in the Bible. It seems that  the Qur’an used some of the tales from the Apocrypha.

According to the Qur’an, Mary met Zechariah in her childhood: Sura 3:37 “... gave her into the charge of Zakariya;”

4. In the “Infancy Gospel of James” we see that major emphasis was placed upon the statement that Mary was “clean” and recognized by people as “special”; so the high priest had put her in the Temple to live. Also we learn that Mary regained her virginity after the birth of Jesus and remained a perpetual virgin:  “9:3 A virgin hath brought forth, which her nature alloweth not”.   In this text we can see the influence of the Cult of the Virgin Mary which began in the 5th century (The Council of Ephesus in 431AD sanctioned the cult of the Virgin as the Mother of God; thus the dissemination of images of the Virgin and Child, which came to embody church doctrine, soon followed.). This contradicts the Bible: “… There is none righteous, no, not one…” (Romans, Chapter 3:10). And “…since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”  (Romans 3:23)

5. The Apocrypha tries to deny that Joseph was Mary’s husband:

“2 And Joseph refused, saying: I have sons, and I am an old man, but she is a girl: lest I became a laughing-stock  to the children of Israel.”,

“…And Joseph was afraid, and took her to keep her for himself…”

“…It is Mary that was nurtured up in the temple of the Lord: and I received her to wife by lot: and she is not my wife, but she hath conception by the Holy Ghost…”.

6. Mary was a daughter of Imran (Amram) and sister of Haroun (Aaron).

In the Bible:

1. We first learn about Mary when the angel Gabriel comes to visit her with a special message.

2. According to the Bible no woman (even as a child)  was allowed to enter the Sanctuary (and certainly not to live there), only male priests.

Exodus, Chapter 28:1, 41

“1. And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons.….

 41. And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.”

3. Mary came to the house of Zechariah only after she became pregnant.

4. Mary received the Holy Spirit together with the disciples and the apostles:

Acts, Chapter 1:

 12. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.
13. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon  Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. 14. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

Acts, Chapter 2:

1. And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Bible declares that Jesus was the firstborn of Mary, indicating that she had more children with her husband Joseph:

Luke, Chapter 2:

1. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be

taxed.
2. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius  was governor of Syria.)
3. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

 4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is  called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David)
5. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great  with child.
6. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger;  because there was no room for them in the inn.

Mark, Chapter 3:

31. There came then his brethren and his mother, and,  standing without, sent unto him, calling him.
32. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto  him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.
33. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?
34. And he looked round about on them which sat about  him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
35. For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is  my brother, and my sister, and mother.

 

5. The Bible speaks of Joseph as Mary’s husband:

 Matthew, Chapter 1:

“…19. Then Joseph her husband, being a

just man, and  not willing to make her a publick example, was minded  to  put her away privily …”

6. There are several Miriams in the Bible, not only one. The first one is Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, and the second one we are concerned with in this reference is Mary, the mother of Jesus. Miriam is their Hebrew name. The names of Mary’s parents are not recorded in Scripture, but Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, had a father named Amram.

Numbers, Chapter 26:

“…59. And the name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, whom her mother bare to Levi in Egypt: and she bare unto Amram Aaron and Moses, and Miriam their sister…”

 

The Qur’an confuses the two women as one person; Miriam, the sister of Aaron and Moses, with Mary/Miriam, the mother of Jesus.

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