The Story of Maryam in the Quran

The Story of Maryam in the Quran

Mary, the mother of Jesus is one of the most revered figures in the Qur’an, whoever claims love of Jesus must love Mary. Within Christianity, those who claim to love Jesus and by default his mother, we find extremes within them with regards to Mary. The Catholics, depict her through art work and even worship her. On the other extreme, the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, pay virtually no attention to her at all. Whereas, Islam as in all things doesn’t not go to extremes either way, it is a faith of moderation. Islam does not allow the worship of any being but Allah, it recognises Jesus as a mighty messenger of Allah in the same way it recognises Muhammad as a Prophet of Allah.

Mary’s Name in Islam

 Mary is spoken of very highly in the Quran, as a matter of fact, there is a chapter in the Qur’an tilted Mary, unlike the whole of the Bible there is not a single chapter dedicated to Mary. Not just that but Mary is the only woman to be named in the Qur’an, making her the most exalted female in all of Islam. She is referenced by name and by titles a total of 70 times throughout the Qur’an. This is many more times than many of the male prophets mentioned in the Qur’an. Her story is mentioned in seven different surahs, with one being named of after her, the 19th chapter of the Qur’an. 

The Virtue of Mary

No child is born but he is pricked by the Shatytan and he begins to weep because of the pricking of the Satan except the son of Mary and his mother”. [1]

And Abu Huraira recites:

“..and I seek your protection for her and her offspring from Satan, the accursed.”[2]

Both verses demonstrate the nobility of Mary, that she was not touched by the Shaytan at birth and he mothers supplications for her daughter and her daughters offspring.

The Qur’anic discussion on Mary

The Qur’an begins its discussion on Mary from verse 16 of surah Maryam, where she secludes herself and moves eastwards, where she devotes herself to the worship of Allah. Soon after, in verse 17, Allah sends the Angel Jibreal in the form of a man, to inform her of great news.


 The response of an innocent chaste woman was one of fear and seeking Allah’s protection from this ‘man’.

She appealed, “I truly seek refuge in the Most Compassionate from you! ‘So leave me alone’ if you are God-fearing.” [3]

Shortly after, she was reassured that he was an angel and he was not there to harm her rather to give her glad tidings of a son, to which she naturally rejected but was informed that this is the order of the all Mighty. The Qur’an then informs us:

So she conceived him and withdrew with him to a remote place.”[4]    

The next stage of the story as mentioned in the Qur’an, is about Mary giving birth to Jesus, and this process was detailed in the Qur’an:

Then the pains of labour drove her to the trunk of a plam tree. She cried, “Alas! I wish I had died before this, and was a thing long forgotten.”[5]

Her people’s reaction to the Birth of Jesus

Mary was from the children of Israel, and these people had a history on how they behaved with Prophets and righteous people, (See Islamic Courses Online courses titled ‘The Family of Imran’ and ‘Maryam, Mother of Jesus’). They were a rebellious people, the Qur’an describes an amazing scene in which Mary carrying her new born greets the elders of her community, the Rabbis, and the Qur’an recalls their reaction.

Then she returned to her people, carrying him. They said in shock “O Marry! You have certainly done a horrible thing! O Sister of Aaron! Your father was not an indecent man, nor was your mother unchaste.”[6]  

They immediately accused her of infidelity and she was deeply offended, but she did as she was ordered and that was to simply point to the new born and for her to not talk. As she did that, the rabbis responded shocked and belittled, how can this child talk from the cradle. Then one of the greatest miracles were witnessed, in verse 30 to 33, Jesus the infant baby spoke from the cradle affirming his miraculous birth and that he was a messenger of Allah.

Jesus declared, “I am truly a servant of Allah. He has destined me to be given the scripture and to be a prophet. He hs made me a blessing wherever I go, and bid me to establish prayer and give alms-tax as long as I live. And to be kind to my mother. He has not made me arrogant of defiant.” [7]

Important concluding aspects of a Muslims faith (Aqeedah) about Mary
  1. She was a virgin, but she gave birth to Jesus.
  2. She was chosen by Allah above all other women.
  3. Mary was falsely accused of infidelity by the Rabbis.
  4. The 19th chapter in the Quran is named after her.
  5. She experienced many miracles, from zakariyah find all kinds of food in her chamber to the virgin birth of Jesus.
  6. She was Modest, Pious and Chaste, never had she been touched by a man.


Muslims still adhere to these principles, they are pillars of their faith. Unlike some Christians today who deny the virgin birth and they propagate the fact that Mary had a relationship with a man named Joseph, we find Muslims are truer and more loyal to Mary and ultimately to Jesus. So, if one claims to love Jesus, then he should follow the pure unadulterated teachings of Jesus and not exaggerate in the role and position of these two mighty personalities. Jesus said he is a servant of Allah, nothing more.  

[1] Sahih Muslim, Haith Abu huraira

[2] Ali-Imran 3:36

[3] Maryam 19:18

[4] Maryam 19:22

[5] Maryam 19:23

[6] Maryam 19: 27-28

[7] Maryam 19:30-33

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