بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Mariam (a.s) the mother of prophet Essa (a.s) has a unique and elevated status in Quran as the only woman mentioned by name in Quran. No other woman is mentioned by personal name in Quran. Allah declares her to be the one chosen over all the women of the world. We will see what Quran says about Mariam (a.s) in this post:
3:35 إِذْ قَالَتِ امْرَأَتُ عِمْرَانَ رَبِّ إِنِّي نَذَرْتُ لَكَ مَا فِي بَطْنِي مُحَرَّرًا فَتَقَبَّلْ مِنِّي ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
When woman of Imran said. “My Lord! verily I dedicate to You, freeing, what is in my belly. Thus accept from me, verily You hear and know all things.”
Mariam (a.s) belonged to a very pious family. Her father’s name was Imran.
3:36 فَلَمَّا وَضَعَتْهَا قَالَتْ رَبِّ إِنِّي وَضَعْتُهَا أُنثَىٰ وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا وَضَعَتْ وَلَيْسَ الذَّكَرُ كَالْأُنثَىٰ ۖ وَإِنِّي سَمَّيْتُهَا مَرْيَمَ وَإِنِّي أُعِيذُهَا بِكَ وَذُرِّيَّتَهَا مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ
So when she gave birth to her, she said: “My Lord, I gave birth to a female and Allah knows better with what she gave birth to. “And the male is not like the female and I named her Mariam, and I seek protection from you for her and her descendants, from the Satan the cursed/expelled.
Prophet Zakariaya (a.s) was her guardian. She grew up in purity and blessings endowed from Allah.
3:37 فَتَقَبَّلَهَا رَبُّهَا بِقَبُولٍ حَسَنٍ وَأَنبَتَهَا نَبَاتًا حَسَنًا وَكَفَّلَهَا زَكَرِيَّا ۖ كُلَّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا زَكَرِيَّا الْمِحْرَابَ وَجَدَ عِندَهَا رِزْقًا ۖ قَالَ يَا مَرْيَمُ أَنَّىٰ لَكِ هَٰذَا ۖ قَالَتْ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَن يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ
Thus graciously did her Lord accept her. He made her grow in purity and beautiful way. To the care of Zakariya, was she assigned. Every time that Zakarya entered her chamber, he found her supplied with sustenance (food). He asked. “O Mariam! from where this comes to you?” She said. ” this is from Allah, for Allah provides sustenance to whom He pleases without measure.”
Mariam (a.s) is the chosen women by Allah over all the women in all the worlds.
3:42 وَإِذْ قَالَتِ الْمَلَائِكَةُ يَا مَرْيَمُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَاكِ وَطَهَّرَكِ وَاصْطَفَاكِ عَلَىٰ نِسَاءِ الْعَالَمِينَ
And when the angels said, “O’ Mariam, surely Allah has chosen you and purified you and He has chosen you above the women of all the worlds.”
The below ayat states the legitimacy of women doing congregational prayers.
3:43 يَا مَرْيَمُ اقْنُتِي لِرَبِّكِ وَاسْجُدِي وَارْكَعِي مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ
“O Mariam! Be obedient to your Lord devoutly, prostrate yourself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down.”
She was given the glad tidings of a Word and a Sign from the Lord, the prophet Essa (a.s).
3:45 إِذْ قَالَتِ الْمَلَائِكَةُ يَا مَرْيَمُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُبَشِّرُكِ بِكَلِمَةٍ مِّنْهُ اسْمُهُ الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ وَجِيهًا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَمِنَ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ
When the angels said ‘O Mariam!Allah gives you the good news of a Word from Him, named the Maseeh, Essa, the son of Mariam, honorable/conspicuous in this world and in the hereafter and he shall be of close associates (of Allah)
3:47 قَالَتْ رَبِّ أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لِي وَلَدٌ وَلَمْ يَمْسَسْنِي بَشَرٌ ۖ قَالَ كَذَٰلِكِ اللَّهُ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ ۚ إِذَا قَضَىٰ أَمْرًا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ
She said, ‘My Lord, how can there be a son for me, when no human touched me? He (Allah) said, ‘This is how Allah creates what He wills, when He has decreed an order, He says it to , ‘be’ and it is!
The birth of prophet Essa (a.s) is a miraculous birth, intended as a sign for the mankind.
19:21 قَالَ كَذَٰلِكِ قَالَ رَبُّكِ هُوَ عَلَيَّ هَيِّنٌ ۖ وَلِنَجْعَلَهُ آيَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَرَحْمَةً مِّنَّا ۚ وَكَانَ أَمْرًا مَّقْضِيًّا
He said. “So (it will be)’. Your Lord said, ‘that is easy for Me, and to appoint him as a sign for mankind and a mercy from Us. It is a matter decreed.’
Prophet Essa (a.s) is also called the spirit of Allah, is a sign of the Lord born of a virgin birth.
21:91 وَالَّتِي أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهَا مِن رُّوحِنَا وَجَعَلْنَاهَا وَابْنَهَا آيَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
And her who guarded her private parts. We breathed into her of Our spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all the worlds.
There are two main cultures in the wold known as ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ culture. In terms of feminism, Western culture is more liberal and open, while the Eastern culture is more demure and virtues conservative values. Mariam (a.s) segregated herself from her society adopting eastern values and she made a barrier from the societal influences on her.
19:16-17 وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ مَرْيَمَ إِذِ انتَبَذَتْ مِنْ أَهْلِهَا مَكَانًا شَرْقِيًّا فَاتَّخَذَتْ مِن دُونِهِمْ حِجَابًا فَأَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْهَا رُوحَنَا فَتَمَثَّلَ لَهَا بَشَرًا سَوِيًّا
Remember in the book, Mariam, when she withdrew from her people to an eastern place. Then she took a hijab/veil apart from them, then We sent to her Our Rooh/Spirit. So he was an even example of a human for her.
After she segregated herself from the societal influences and teachings, Allah sent His Spirit i.e the essence/understanding of His Words. The Spirit and essence of the Words of Allah do not come with the worldly teachings, in fact the prevalent teachings only cause distortion in the understanding of Allah’s Book with their association of anecdotes and historical background to Allah’s Book. The spirit of Allah came to her through a bashar/human.
19:20 قَالَتْ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِالرَّحْمَٰنِ مِنكَ إِن كُنتَ تَقِيًّا
She said. “I seek refuge from you to (Allah) Most Gracious, if you fear Allah.”
The above is the normal reaction by a person on first encounter with the spirit of Allah. The understanding and spirit of the Words of Allah is so much apart from previous beliefs and societal teachings that it is hard to believe on them and people ask Allah’s refuge.
19:19-21 قَالَ إِنَّمَا أَنَا رَسُولُ رَبِّكِ لِأَهَبَ لَكِ غُلَامًا زَكِيًّا قَالَتْ أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لِي غُلَامٌ وَلَمْ يَمْسَسْنِي بَشَرٌ وَلَمْ أَكُ بَغِيًّا قَالَ كَذَٰلِكِ قَالَ رَبُّكِ هُوَ عَلَيَّ هَيِّنٌ ۖ وَلِنَجْعَلَهُ آيَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَرَحْمَةً مِّنَّا ۚ وَكَانَ أَمْرًا مَّقْضِيًّا
He said. “Without doubt, I am a messenger from your Lord, (to announce) to you a holy son. She said. “How shall I have a son, while no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?” He said. “So (it will be)’. Your Lord said, ‘that is easy for Me, and to appoint him as a sign for mankind and a mercy from Us. It is a matter decreed.’
The virgin birth of prophet Essa (a.s) was explained to her as prophet Essa (a.s) is decreed to be a sign for mankind.
19:22-23 فَحَمَلَتْهُ فَانتَبَذَتْ بِهِ مَكَانًا قَصِيًّا فَأَجَاءَهَا الْمَخَاضُ إِلَىٰ جِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ قَالَتْ يَا لَيْتَنِي مِتُّ قَبْلَ هَٰذَا وَكُنتُ نَسْيًا مَّنسِيًّا
So she conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree. She cried (in her anguish). “Ah! would that I had died before this! would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight!”
Mariam (a.s) went to a remote place from her home for the childbirth. The place she went is characterized by date palm trees so should be a desert/semi desert type of place.
19:24-25 فَنَادَاهَا مِن تَحْتِهَا أَلَّا تَحْزَنِي قَدْ جَعَلَ رَبُّكِ تَحْتَكِ سَرِيًّا وَهُزِّي إِلَيْكِ بِجِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ تُسَاقِطْ عَلَيْكِ رُطَبًا جَنِيًّا
Thus it was cried to her from beneath the (palm-tree). “Grieve not! for your Lord has provided a rivulet beneath you; “And shake towards yourself the trunk of the palm-tree. It will let fresh ripe dates fall upon you.”
Allah a created a miraculous spring under her feet in that desert/semi desert land. She was able to eat ripe dates in that land.
23:50 وَجَعَلْنَا ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَأُمَّهُ آيَةً وَآوَيْنَاهُمَا إِلَىٰ رَبْوَةٍ ذَاتِ قَرَارٍ وَمَعِينٍ
And We made the son of Mary and his mother, a Sign. We gave them shelter on raised ground of tranquility and springs.
The raised place and miraculous underground spring of water in desert land of dates are associated with Mariam (a.s) and prophet Essa (a.s) in Quran as per above ayahs. However in history books they are associated with a story of prophet Ibraheem (a.s) leaving his wife and son in the desert.
19:26 فَكُلِي وَاشْرَبِي وَقَرِّي عَيْنًا ۖ فَإِمَّا تَرَيِنَّ مِنَ الْبَشَرِ أَحَدًا فَقُولِي إِنِّي نَذَرْتُ لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ صَوْمًا فَلَنْ أُكَلِّمَ الْيَوْمَ إِنسِيًّا
So eat and drink and cool (your) eye. And if you see any person, say, ‘I have vowed a fast to (Allah) Most Gracious, and this day I will not enter into talk with any human.
When the spirit of Allah first comes to a person a new journey of understanding starts which is sometimes 180 degrees apart from the previous beliefs of the person. There could be lot of unanswered questions and confusions at that time. At that time, a saum/roza of speaking is desirable, that one should not communicate the understanding of the signs of Allah in public until the right time i.e when sufficient understanding and strength of belief is achieved.
19:27-28 فَأَتَتْ بِهِ قَوْمَهَا تَحْمِلُهُ ۖ قَالُوا يَا مَرْيَمُ لَقَدْ جِئْتِ شَيْئًا فَرِيًّا يَا أُخْتَ هَارُونَ مَا كَانَ أَبُوكِ امْرَأَ سَوْءٍ وَمَا كَانَتْ أُمُّكِ بَغِيًّا
Then she came with him (Essa) carrying him to her people, they said O’Maryam, without doubt you have come with a fabricated thing. O’sister of Haroon, your father was not a wicked man and nor your mother a wrongdoer/rebellious.
Her people blamed her for bringing a fabrication to them, while they acknowledged the piety and goodness of her family. When she was accused of making fabrication, instead of responding herself, she referred them to the messenger of her times.
Another thing to note is the relationship of Mariam (a.s) with Haroon (a.s) as brother and sister. While history books keep them about six hundered years apart in time line, Quran informs they were in about the same era.
Outside of biblical scripture and related books derived from these scriptures, there is next to nothing in evidence in the historical record for Moses’s existence. There is no exact time line which confirms in which era prophet Moosa (a.s) lived – with scholarly conjectures spanning more than half a millennium. The only book which gives chronological data is bible. The chronological history that is in most people minds comes from Bible. Quran does not give a chronological timeline however informs the relationship of Mariam (a.s) and prophet Haroon (a.s) emphasizing that general understanding of history mainly coming from Bible is flawed.
19:29-30 فَأَشَارَتْ إِلَيْهِ ۖ قَالُوا كَيْفَ نُكَلِّمُ مَن كَانَ فِي الْمَهْدِ صَبِيًّا قَالَ إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ آتَانِيَ الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلَنِي نَبِيًّا
Thus she pointed towards him (baby Essa). They said. “How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?” (Essa) said, ‘I am indeed a servant of Allah: He has given me Al-kitab (the book) and made me a prophet’
Prophet Essa (a.s) was a sign of Allah to mankind. He declared his prophet-hood from childhood and told them that he has been given Al-Kitab by Allah, so they better not call her mother a fabricator. Prophet Essa (a.s) is also a prophet by birth (please see earlier post about Nabi Ummi- topicsfromquran.com/2019/01/05/ummi-prophet-and-ummi-nation/)
66:12 وَمَرْيَمَ ابْنَتَ عِمْرَانَ الَّتِي أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِنَا وَصَدَّقَتْ بِكَلِمَاتِ رَبِّهَا وَكُتُبِهِ وَكَانَتْ مِنَ الْقَانِتِينَ
And Mariam the daughter of Imran, who guarded her private parts; and We breathed in it (private part) from Our spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His books, and she was of the devout/obedient ones.
Mariam (a.s) testified with the Words of the Lord and His Books. She was devout and she protected her private parts. Prophet Essa’s birth was a miraculous birth, who was born of a single parent i.e his mother only.
Later people continued to doubt in prophet Essa’s miraculous birth from a single parent. Any suggestion of birth of prophet Essa (a.s) by coupling, is termed as a grave insinuation (bohtan-e-Azeem) on Mariam. it is not taken lightly by Allah and he warns against such dis-beliefs in very stern language in the book.
4:156 وَبِكُفْرِهِمْ وَقَوْلِهِمْ عَلَىٰ مَرْيَمَ بُهْتَانًا عَظِيمًا
And with their Kufr/rejection: and what they uttered against Mariam/Mary a grave false charge.
19:88-92 وَقَالُوا اتَّخَذَ الرَّحْمَٰنُ وَلَدًا لَّقَدْ جِئْتُمْ شَيْئًا إِدًّا تَكَادُ السَّمَاوَاتُ يَتَفَطَّرْنَ مِنْهُ وَتَنشَقُّ الْأَرْضُ وَتَخِرُّ الْجِبَالُ هَدًّا أَن دَعَوْا لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ وَلَدًا وَمَا يَنبَغِي لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ أَن يَتَّخِذَ وَلَدًا
They said, Most Gracious has taken a son! Indeed you have put forth a thing most monstrous! The skies would burst and the earth be split asunder, and the mountains are torn to pieces. As they called a son for the Most Gracious. For it is not for the most Gracious that He should take a son.