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20. For Readers of the Qur'an

The Surprise in the Life of the Virgin Mary

According to the Qur'an, the angels of Allah appeared and spoke to the praying Mary and addressed her with a heavenly revelation:

"42 When the angels said, 'Mary, Allah has chosen you, and purified you; he has chosen you above all women in the worlds. 43 Mary, be obedient to your Lord, prostrating and bowing before him." (Sura Al 'Imran 3:42-43)

٤٢ وَإِذْ قَالَتِ الْمَلاَئِكَةُ يَا مَرْيَمُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَاكِ وَطَهَّرَكِ وَاصْطَفَاكِ عَلَى نِسَاءِ الْعَالَمِينَ ٤٣ يَا مَرْيَمُ اقْنُتِي لِرَبِّكِ وَاسْجُدِي وَارْكَعِي مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ. (سُورَة آل عِمْرَان ٣ : ٤٢ - ٤٣)

In this verse, Muhammad testifies explicitly that Mary is the best woman in this world and in the next. She is "the unique woman" who became an example and Imam to all other Muslim women. According to the Qur'an, she was not pure in herself, but Allah purified her by his choice and call.

The angel Jibril (and other angels) in the Qur'an, suddenly appeared to Mary and declared to her the remarkable verse:

"When the angels said, 'O Mary, Allah gives you good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Christ, 'Isa, the Son of Mary; highly honored in this world and the next, and one of those brought near to Allah" (Sura Al 'Imran 3:45).

إِذْ قَالَتِ الْمَلاَئِكَةُ يَا مَرْيَمُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُبَشِّرُكِ بِكَلِمَةٍ مِنْهُ اسْمُهُ الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ وَجِيهاً فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ وَمِنَ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ. (سُورَة آل عِمْرَان ٣ : ٤٥)

Mary became afraid after this revelation and took refuge in the All-Merciful to protect herself from this foreign messenger (Sura Maryam 19:19). But the angel continued his call and confirmed to her that he was specially sent to grant her a boy most pure. Mary refused this promise and confessed that no man had touched her:

"She said, 'How shall I have a lad and no man has touched me, neither have I been unchaste?' " (Sura Maryam 19:20)

قَالَتْ أَنَّى يَكُونُ لِي غُلاَمٌ وَلَمْ يَمْسَسْنِي بَشَرٌ وَلَمْ أَكُ بَغِيّاً. (سُورَة مَرْيَم ١٩ : ٢٠)

He, who carefully studies the conversation between Jibril and Mary in the Qur'an, finds striking principles:

-- The Virgin Mary talked directly with Jibril, the messenger of Allah, and he answered her; therefore, she is considered in the Qur'an to be a prophetess, having received a revelation from the Almighty Allah. Moreover, Allah put his own Word in her and made her a sign unto all beings.

-- Allah personally sent his good news to Mary that Christ would be born of her. Who will dare to stop Allah from speaking or revealing? His revelation was not brought in the form of a threat, or as a warning or a commandment, but in the form of a good tiding of the birth of the "Word of Allah" incarnate in Christ.

-- The Virgin Mary could not immediately recognize the secret of this declaration. She rejected the claim that she would give birth to a child. Mary testified that she was a pure virgin, never touched by a man, nor raped. Both the Qur'an and the Gospel confirm together the virginity of Mary, the mother of Christ.

-- The angel in the Gospel explained to her, "with God nothing is impossible" (Luke 1:37). According to the Qur'an, Allah himself breathed into her so that she gave birth to a sinless boy most pure (Suras al-Nisa' 4:171; Maryam 19:19; al-Anbiya' 21:91; al-Tahrim 66:12).

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