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20. For Readers of the Qur'an

Mary's Family According to the Qur'an

We read about her father 'Imran, that Allah chose and selected him with Adam, Noah and Abraham out of all other people and that he shall hand down this privilege to his seed and consequently to Mary and her Son.

"33 Allah chose Adam and Noah and the house of Abraham and the house of 'Imran above all beings, 34 the seed of one another; Allah hears, and knows." (Sura Al 'Imran 3:33-34)

٣٣ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَى آدَمَ وَنُوحاً وَآلَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَآلَ عِمْرَانَ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ ٣٤ ذُرِّيَّةً بَعْضُهَا مِنْ بَعْضٍ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ. (سُورَة آل عِمْرَان ٣ : ٣٣ - ٣٤)

According to the Qur'an, the wife of 'Imran expected a baby, and even before it was born, she presented the embryo in her womb as an offering to Allah. Yet, when she gave birth to a girl, she was sorry and called her Mary, "the bitter one", for she knew that a female, according to the Qur'an, is only worth half as much as a male (Suras al-Baqara 2:282 and al-Nisa' 4:11). In spite of this degradation, she placed the newborn girl and her offspring under the protection of the Almighty, that she and her son may be protected from any evil influence of Satan.

"35 When the wife of 'Imran said, 'My Lord I have vowed to you, in dedication, what is within my womb. Receive this from me; you are the all-hearing omniscient. 36 And when she gave birth to her she said, 'My Lord, I have given birth to her, a female.' And Allah knew what she had given birth to (because) the male is not as the female. 'And I have named her Mary, and I commend her to you with her seed, to protect them from the accursed Satan.' " (Sura Al 'Imran 3:35-36)

٣٥ إِذْ قَالَتِ امْرَأَةُ عِمْرَانَ رَبِّ إِنِّي نَذَرْتُ لَكَ مَا فِي بَطْنِي مُحَرَّرًا فَتَقَبَّلْ مِنِّي إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ ٣٦ فَلَمَّا وَضَعَتْهَا قَالَتْ رَبِّ إِنِّي وَضَعْتُهَا أُنْثَى وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا وَضَعَتْ وَلَيْسَ الذَّكَرُ كَالأُنْثَى وَإِنِّي سَمَّيْتُهَا مَرْيَمَ وَإِنِّي أُعِيذُهَا بِكَ وَذُرِّيَّتَهَا مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ. (سُورَة آل عِمْرَان ٣ : ٣٥ - ٣٦)

The people of the village where Mary lived, later on, called her daughter of 'Imran (Sura al-Tahrim 66:12) and Aaron's sister (Sura Maryam 19:28). This specification can help us to determine her relations with the members of her family in the Torah. In the Book of Numbers we read that her father's name was Amram, her mother's Jochebed, and her brothers' Aaron and Moses.

"And Kohath begot Amram. The name of Amram's wife was Jochebed the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt; and to Amram she bore Aaron and Moses and their sister Miriam." (Numbers 26:58-59)

In the Torah we can read about three notable events in the life of Maryam, the daughter of 'Imran:

1. Miriam saved, with the help of her mother Jochebed, her youngest brother Moses, when Pharaoh had given an order to kill every newborn male of the tribes of Jacob. Then the mother made a vessel (a small basket) of bulrushes for him, covered it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it among the reeds by the river's bank. His sister stood afar off, to know what would happen to him. They purposely hid Moses in a place where the daughter of Pharaoh used to come down to the river to bathe. And while her maidens were walking along the riverside, they suddenly saw the basket among the reeds and the baby inside. Maybe he was weeping out of hunger or thirst. The maidens took the basket to the daughter of Pharaoh, who had compassion on him when she recognized that he was one of the rejected children of the Hebrews. Then Miriam, Moses' sister, drew near and asked kindly, "Do you need a wet nurse for the child?" Pharaoh's daughter ordered her to bring such a nurse immediately. Miriam went away quickly to bring her mother. Pharaoh's daughter agreed to entrust Jochebed with the child and gave her wages for nursing him. The princess had adopted the child and concerned herself in bringing him up. So he was united into Pharaoh's house where he received the best education in the Nile Valley. (Exodus 2:1-10 and Sura al-Qasas 28:11-13)

2. Miriam and all the children of Jacob were saved by the Lord from the soldiers of Pharaoh. The waters of one of the arms of the Red Sea were driven back by a violent storm and the refugees crossed the sea on dry ground. Pharaoh's entire army, however, drowned when the sea came back. After this great rescue, Moses began to praise the LORD before his people. Also, Miriam took the timbrel to sing and give praise to the LORD their Savior. Thus, Miriam was the imam of all women in prayer. (Exodus 15:20-21)

3. Miriam and Aaron opposed Moses and spoke openly against him when Moses married a foreign black Ethiopian woman. Moses maybe thought that he would be able to rule over the tribes without partiality. The LORD punished Miriam so that she became leprous. But Moses prayed for his rebellious sister and she was healed after seven days of repentance and isolation in the wilderness. (Numbers 12:1-15).

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