Who is Zechariah? Mary's Father by Adoption?
In the Qur'an, we read that Allah received Mary with favor, for she was faithful in prayer. Zechariah, her father by adoption, was made responsible for her:
"Then her Lord received her (i.e. Maryam) with gracious favor, and he caused her to grow up like a nice plant, and entrusted her to Zechariah. Whenever Zechariah entered upon her in the sanctuary he found provisions with her. 'Mary', he said, 'how does this come to you?' 'It is from Allah,' she said. Truly Allah provisions whomsoever he wills without reckoning." (Sura Al 'Imran 3:37).
فَتَقَبَّلَهَا رَبُّهَا بِقَبُولٍ حَسَنٍ وَأَنْبَتَهَا نَبَاتًا حَسَناً وَكَفَّلَهَا زَكَرِيَّا كُلَّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا زَكَرِيَّا الْمِحْرَابَ وَجَدَ عِنْدَهَا رِزْقاً قَالَ يَا مَرْيَمُ أَنَّى لَكِ هَذَا قَالَتْ هُوَ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ. (سُورَة آل عِمْرَان ٣ : ٣٧)
It becomes clear from this and other Qur'anic verses that Muhammad here speaks about another Mary, namely Christ's mother. Mary, the sister of Aaron, lived first in Egypt, then she fled with her people to the wilderness where she died 1350 years before Christ (Numbers 20:1). The first Mary belonged to the tribe of Levi, which is the tribe of the priesthood in Israel; Mary, the mother of Christ, lived hundreds of years later in the days of Zechariah who ministered as an appointed priest in the temple of Jerusalem at the time of the Romans. This second Mary also belonged to the tribe of Levi, because Elisabeth, the wife of Zechariah, was of the descendants of Aaron (who was like Moses from the Tribe of Levi, Exodus 6:16-20) and Mary, the Mother of Christ was a relative of this Elizabeth. (See Luke 1:5 and 36) Therefore, the second Mary, Christ's mother, did not flee from Egypt with Moses, as Aaron's sister did, and she did not walk with her people through the Wilderness of Sinai. She lived one-hundred kilometers North of Jerusalem in Nazareth, a town in Galilee. These two Marys were made one in the revelation of Muhammad.
Despite his old age, Zechariah became Yahya's father, that is Zechariah is the father of John the Baptist, who prepared the way for the Son of Mary. When this John, the son of Zechariah, faced King Herod and rebuked his adultery, the prophet who cried out in the wilderness was imprisoned at the king's order and was then beheaded. (Sura Al 'Imran 3:38-41; Sura Maryam 19:3-15; Luke 1:5-80 etc.).