This winter Discover Islam held an interactive exhibition about Mary, the mother of Jesus. Islam reveres both Jesus and his mother, Mary. In fact, Mary, or Maryam, as she is known in the Quran, is considered by Muslims to hold an exalted spiritual position among women, as the only woman mentioned by name in the Qur’an. The 19th chapter of Qur’an is named after her and her story is recounted here and in other parts of the Qur’an.
So, often it comes as a huge surprise to people of other faiths to discover that the Qur’an narrates her story in detail. The Islamic view about Mary has some similarities with other faiths. She was a descendant of David and Jacob – peace be upon them – and therefore of noble heritage.
And (mention) when the angels said, ‘O Mary, indeed God has chosen you, purified you, and chosen you above the women of the worlds. (Quran 3:42)
The angels went on to tell her that she would have a special baby, through a virgin birth:
“She said, ‘My Lord, how can I have a son when no man has touched me.’ He said, ‘So (it will be,) for God creates what He wants. When He decides something, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.”
The Prophet Muhammad – Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him – highlighted the great status of Mary by drawing four lines on the ground and asking his companions, “Do you know what this is?”. They replied “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He – Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him – explained:
The best of the women of Paradise are Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid, Faatimah bint Muhammad, Aasiyah bint Mazaahim the wife of Pharaoh, and Maryam bint ‘Imraan – may Allah be pleased with all of them.
(Reported in the Musnad of Imaam Ahmad, 2663)
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