Mary (Arabic: مريم [Maryam], Aramaic: ܡܪܝܡ [Mariam], Greek: Μαριάμ [Mariam], Hebrew: מִרְיָם [Mariam]) was the mother of Jesus and the wife of Joseph. Her story is recounted in Suwar 3 and 19 of the Qur'an and in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
- 1 Qur'annic account
- 2 Biblical account
Mary's birth and childhood
Mary was the daughter of 'Imran, and tradition names her mother Hannah. When Hannah was pregnant with Mary, Hannah vowed to dedicate the child to God, and when she gave birth to Mary, she kept her promise, dedicating her and her progeny to God, and asked God to protect Mary and his progeny from evil.
Mary was raised by the priest Zachariah, and God provided for Mary.
When the wife of Imran said,Lord, I have vowed to Thee, in dedication, what is within my womb. Receive Thou this from me; Thou hearest, and knowest.
And when she gave birth to her she said,Lord, I have given birth to her, a female.(And God knew very well what she had given birth to; the male is not as the female.)And I have named her Mary, and commend her to Thee with her seed, to protect them from the accursed Satan.
Her Lord received the child with gracious favour, and by His goodness she grew up comely, Zachariah taking charge of her. Whenever Zachariah went in to her in the Sanctuary, he found her provisioned.Mary,he said,how comes this to thee?From God,she said. Truly God provisions whomsoever He will without reckoning.— Surah 3:35–37 (Arberry)
An angel [Gabriel, according to the Gospel of Luke] appeared to Mary and told her that God had selected her to be the mother of the Messiah, Jesus, and that Jesus would be able to speak as an infant. Mary asked how could a virgin such as herself conceive a child, and the angel told her that God can do anything.
And when the angels said, "Mary, God has chosen thee, and purified thee; He has chosen thee above all women.
"Mary; be obedient to thy Lord, prostrating and bowing before Him."
(That is of the tidings of the Unseen, that We reveal to thee; for thou wast not with them, when they were casting quills which of them should have charge of Mary; thou wast not with them, when they were disputing.)
When the angels said, "Mary, God gives thee good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary; high honoured shall he be in this world and the next, near stationed to God.
"He shall speak to men in the cradle, and of age, and righteous he shall be."
Lord,said Mary,how shall I have a son seeing no mortal has touched me?Even so,God said,God creates what He will. When He decrees a thing He does but say to itBe,and it is.— Surah 3:42–47 (Arberry)
And mention in the Book Mary when she withdrew from her people to an eastern place,
And she took a veil apart from them; then We sent unto her Our Spirit that presented himself to her a man without fault.
She said,I take refuge in the All-merciful from thee! If thou fearest God…
He said,I am but a messenger come from thy Lord, to give thee a boy most pure.
She said,How shall I have a son whom no mortal has touched, neither have I been unchaste?
He said,Even so thy Lord has said:Easy is that for Me; and that We may appoint him a sign unto men and a mercy from Us; it is a thing decreed.
So she conceived him, and withdrew with him to a distant place.— Surah 19:16–22 (Arberry)
Mary began giving birth to Jesus by a palm tree, and the pain was intense. Jesus then spoke with and comforted her. He told her that the Lord had provided her with a small stream from which to drink, and he told her to shake the palm tree in order to obtain fresh, ripe dates. He also told her to tell any human person she meets that she is abstaining from speaking with any human person due to her vow to God.
So she conceived him, and withdrew with him to a distant place.
And the birthpangs surprised her by the trunk of the palm-tree. She said,Would I had died ere this, and become a thing forgotten!
But the one that was below her called to her, "Nay, do not sorrow; see, thy Lord has set below thee a rivulet.
"Shake also to thee the palm-trunk, and there shall come tumbling upon thee dates fresh and ripe.
"Eat therefore, and drink, and be comforted; and if thou shouldst see any mortal, say, 'I have vowed to the All-merciful a fast, and today I will not speak to any man.'"— Surah 19:22–26 (Arberry)
When Mary returned home with the infant Jesus, the people initially assumed that she committed an act of adultery. Mary pointed to her son, and the people asked why they should listen to an infant, who they assumed could not speak. The infant Jesus then spoke and told the people of his relationship with God; this miracle proving Mary's innocence and Jesus' prophethood.
Then she brought the child to her folk carrying him; and they said, "Mary, thou hast surely committed a monstrous thing!
"Sister of Aaron, thy father was not a wicked man, nor was thy mother a woman unchaste."
Mary pointed to the child then; but they said,How shall we speak to one who is still in the cradle, a little child?
He said, "Lo, I am God's servant; God has given me the Book, and made me a Prophet.
"Blessed He has made me, wherever I may be; and He has enjoined me to pray, and to give the alms, so long as I live,
"And likewise to cherish my mother; He has not made me arrogant, unprosperous.
"Peace be upon me, the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I am raised up alive!"— Surah 19:27–33 (Arberry)
Prophecy about Immanuel and His virgin mother
While King Pekah of Israel (Ephraim) and King Rezin of Aram (Syria) were plotting to invade and partition the kingdom of Judah, God sent His prophet Isaiah to King Ahaz of Judah. God promised to save Judah and to bring disaster upon Judah's enemies if Ahaz is faithful to God.
God commanded Ahaz to ask for a sign, but Ahaz refused the command. The prophet Isaiah admonished Ahaz for trying God's patience and told Ahaz that God has selected a sign for Ahaz:
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Listen carefully, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and she will call his name Immanuel (God with us). He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. For before the child will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land (Canaan) whose two kings you dread will be deserted [both Ephraim and Aram].— Isaiah 7:14–7:16 (AMP)
The virgin in this prophecy was Mary, as an angel of the Lord told Joseph (Matthew 1:23).
The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that God had selected her to be the mother of the Messiah and God's Son, Jesus. Mary asked how could a virgin such as herself conceive a child, and Gabriel told her that God can do anything. Mary accepted God's will, and the angel left.
Now in the sixth month [of Elizabeth’s pregnancy] the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, the angel said,Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.But she was greatly perplexed at what he said, and kept carefully considering what kind of greeting this was. The angel said to her,Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Listen carefully: you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and eminent and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob (Israel) forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.Mary said to the angel,How will this be, since I am a virgin and have no intimacy with any man?Then the angel replied to her,The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you [like a cloud]; for that reason the holy (pure, sinless) Child shall be called the Son of God. And listen, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For with God nothing [is or ever] shall be impossible.Then Mary said,Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.And the angel left her.— Luke 1:26–1:38 (AMP)
May then visited Zachariah's wife Elizabeth in Judah. Elizabeth's baby [John the Baptist] leaped in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and praised Mary.
Blessed [worthy to be praised] are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed [spiritually fortunate and favored by God] is she who believed and confidently trusted that there would be a fulfillment of the things that were spoken to her [by the angel sent] from the Lord.— Luke 1:42–1:45 (AMP)
Mary then thanked and praised God. Mary stayed with Elizabeth for around three months.
Mary was betrothed to Joseph at the time of Jesus' conception. When Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant, he assumed that it was the result of adultery and considered divorcing Mary. An angel of the Lord then appeared to Joseph in a dream and told Joseph about God's role in Jesus' conception and Jesus' destiny as the Messiah and told Joseph to commit to marrying Mary. The angel also told Joseph to name Mary's son Jesus ("The Lord is salvation").
When Joseph woke up, he did as the Lord commanded and married Mary.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by [the power of] the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her [promised] husband, being a just and righteous man and not wanting to expose her publicly to shame, planned to send her away and divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying,Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a Son, and you shall name Him Jesus (The Lord is salvation), for He will save His people from their sins.All this happened in order to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet [Isaiah]:Behold, the virgin shall be with child and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel—which, when translated, means,God with us.Then Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and he took Mary [to his home] as his wife, but he kept her a virgin until she had given birth to a Son [her firstborn child]; and he named Him Jesus (The Lord is salvation).— Matthew 1:18–1:25 (AMP)
Emperor Caesar Augustus of the Roman Empire ordered a census of all peoples in the Roman Empire, including the Jews. Joseph and Mary then traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem, a city of David, his people, in order to register.
While in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus. She wrapped him in cloths, and they stayed in a manger, since they were not any private rooms available for them in the inn.
Meanwhile, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared before shepherds in the fields along with a flash of light from God. The shepherds were frightened, but the angel told them that brought good news: the Savior had been born and is wrapped in cloths in a manger in Bethlehem. A heavenly host then praised God and asked for peace for the people.
The shepherds then decided to go to Bethlehem and visit the Messiah in the manger. When they arrived, they saw that what the angel had said was true, and they shared what they heard from the angel. Mary greatly appreciated what they said:
But Mary treasured all these things, giving careful thought to them and pondering them in her heart (Luke 2:19 (AMP)). The shepherds then returned to their flocks, honoring and praising God along the way.
Meanwhile, three magi saw a star from God and traveled to Judah in order to praise the newly-born Messiah. They visit King Harold, and the news disturbed him. Harold gathered priests and scribes, and they told Harold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, in line with a prophecy stated by the prophet Micah. Harold then sent the magi to Bethlehem and asked them to report back to him.
The magi continued on to Bethlehem with the star leading them there. The star led them to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and the magi praised and worshiped him. The magi then gave Jesus gold, frankincense, and myrrh as gifts.
God warned the magi through a dream not to report back to Harold, so the magi returned home by a different route.
Jesus presented at the Temple
In accordance with God's Laws, Jesus was circumcised on his eighth day, and Joseph named him Jesus, in accordance with what the angel had told him.
Forty days after Jesus' birth, Mary took Jesus to the temple for purification and the dedication of her Firstborn in accordance with the laws of Moses. They also sought to sacrifice two turtledoves in accordance with God's Laws.
The Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon, who was a righteous, devout believer awaiting the Messiah, that he would see the Messiah before dying. He then went to the Temple, held Jesus, and thanked God for allowing him to live long enough to see the Messiah. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, he also revealed that Jesus was going to provide revelations for gentiles and bring honor and glory for the people of Israel.
Mary and Joseph were amazed by what they heard. Simeon also blessed Mary and Joseph and told Mary that Jesus was the Messiah and that some will oppose Him.
The prophet Anna also praised God and spread news of the Messiah.
Afterward, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph returned to Nazareth.
After the magi departed, God commanded Joseph (via a dream) to flee with Jesus and Mary to Egypt, since King Harold sought to find and kill Jesus. Joseph did as God commanded and fled to Egypt with Jesus and Mary.
Harold eventually realized that the magi were not going to report back to him and became furious. He ordered his men to kill all male children in Bethlehem and the general area who were two years old or younger.
When Harold died, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and commanded him to return to Israel, since the dead Harold no longer presented a danger to them. However, Harold's son Archelaus was ruling Judea, so God warned Joseph in a dream, and Joseph moved his family to Nazareth in Galilee.
Mary and Joseph find Jesus at the Temple
Every year, Mary and Joseph would go to Jerusalem with Jesus for the Passover feast. When Jesus was twelve years old, they went to Jerusalem for Passover again. After staying in Jerusalem for the required amount of days, Mary and Joseph began their journey home. Unbeknownst to his Mary and Joseph, Jesus remained in Jerusalem.
After a day of journeying, Mary and Joseph discovered that Jesus was not with them and began searching for Him. When they still could not find Him, they searched for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. They still did not find Jesus, so they returned to Jerusalem in order to search for Him there.
Three days later, they found Him at the Temple. Jesus was listening to and questioning the teachers there, and the people around Jesus were amazed by His understanding and His answers. Mary and Joseph were overwhelmed by what they were seeing, and Mary asked Jesus about why He had done this and told Jesus that they were looking for Him. Jesus then asked why they were looking for Him when He was to be found at His Father's house. Mary and Joseph did not understand, and Jesus went back to Nazareth with them. Jesus was a good son, and Mary appreciated Him.
When they saw Him, they were overwhelmed; and His mother said to Him,Son, why have You treated us like this? Listen, Your father and I have been [greatly distressed and] anxiously looking for You.And He answered,Why did you have to look for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?But they did not understand what He had said to them. He went down to Nazareth with them, and was continually submissive and obedient to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.— Luke 2:48–2:51 (AMP)
Water into wine
Mary, Jesus, and Jesus' apostles attended a wedding in Cana in Galilee. Mary told Jesus that there was not any more wine. Jesus reassured her, and Mary asked the servants to listen to Jesus.
When the wine was all gone, the mother of Jesus said to Him,They have no more wine.Jesus said to her,[Dear] woman, what is that to you and to Me? My time [to act and to be revealed] has not yet come.His mother said to the servants,Whatever He says to you, do it.— John 2:3–3:5 (AMP)
Jesus then told the servants to fill the six waterpots (around twenty or thirty gallons each) used for purification up with water. The servants did this, and Jesus told them to draw out some of the water and give it to the headwaiter. They did this, and the headwaiter drank what was once water and recognized it as wine and better than the wine that had run out.
This was Jesus' first miracle, and His disciples firmly believed in Him. Jesus, Mary, His brothers, and His disciples then went to Capernaum and stayed there for a few days.
Jesus' crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension
Mary, her sister [possibly Salome], Clopas' wife Mary, and Mary Magdalene stood by Jesus during His crucifixion. Jesus greeted His mother Mary and His disciple [possibly John] and reminded His disciple [John] of his [John's] mother [Salome]. The disciple [John] then brought his mother [Salome] home.
But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, His mother’s sister [Salome], Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. So Jesus, seeing His mother, and the disciple whom He loved (esteemed) standing near, said to His mother,[Dear] woman, look, [here is] your son!Then He said to the disciple (John),Look! [here is] your mother [protect and provide for her]!From that hour the disciple took her into his own home.— John 19:25–19:27 (AMP)
Jesus then said that He was thirsty, and sour wine was given to Him. Jesus announced the end (
It is finished! (John 19:30 (AMP))), bowed His head, and died. Three days later, Jesus was resurrected.
After Jesus' ascension, Mary as praying with Jesus' brothers and His disciples in an upper room in Jerusalem.