Prayers of Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus

Mary was a 1st-century BC Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth, and the mother of Jesus, according to the New Testament and the Quran.

The gospels of Matthew and Luke in the New Testament and the Quran describe Mary as a virgin; according to Christian theology she conceived Jesus through the Holy Spirit while still a virgin. The miraculous conception took place when she was already betrothed to Joseph. She accompanied Joseph to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.

The Qur’an informs us that the father of Mary was named ‘Imran and the classical Muslim scholars unanimously accept that she was from the line of the prophet David. Islamic sources say that Mary remained a virgin even after the birth of Jesus has no basis in the Bible.

The Story of the Blessed Virgin Mary

  1. And make mention, in the Book, of Mary.2 She withdrew from her family to a chamber (in the Temple) facing east (to devote herself to worship and reflection).

  2. Thus, she kept herself in seclusion from people. Then We sent to her Our spirit, and it appeared before her in the form of a perfect man.3

  3. She said: “I seek refuge in the All-Merciful from you, if you are a pious, God-conscious one.”

  4. He replied: “I am only a messenger of your Lord to be a means (for God’s gift) to you of a pure son.”

  5. She said: “How shall I have a son, seeing no mortal has ever touched me, and I have never been unchaste?”

  6. He said: “Just so. Your Lord says: ‘It is easy for Me; and (it must be just so) so that We make him for humankind a sign (of Our Power on account of his birth) and a mercy from Us (on account of his being a Messenger). It is a matter already decreed.”

  7. So she conceived him, and then she withdrew with him to a distant place.

  8. And the throes of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a date-palm. She said: “Would that I had died before this, and had become a thing forgotten, completely forgotten!”

  9. (A voice) called out to her from beneath her: “Do not grieve! Your Lord has set a rivulet at your feet.

  10. “And shake the trunk of the date-palm towards you: it will drop fresh, ripe dates upon you.”4

  11. “So eat and drink, and be comforted. If you should see some person, say (through gesture): “I have vowed a fast of silence to the All-Merciful, so I cannot speak to any human being today.”

  12. She came to her people, carrying him. They exclaimed: “O Mary! You have come for sure with an unheard of, mighty thing!

  13. “O sister of Aaron,5 your father was never a wicked man, nor was your mother unchaste.”

  14. Mary pointed to him (the infant, signifying that they should ask him). They cried: “How can we talk to one in the cradle, an infant boy?”

  15. (The infant) said: “Surely I am ‘abdulLāh (a servant of God).6 He (has already decreed that He) will give me the Book (the Gospel) and make me a Prophet.

  16. “He has made me blessed (and a means of His blessings for people) wherever I may be, and He has enjoined upon me the Prayer (the Salāh) and the Prescribed Purifying Alms (the Zakāh—and to enjoin the same upon others) for as long as I live.

  17. “And (He has made me) dutiful towards my mother, and He has not made me unruly, wicked.

  18. “So peace be upon me on the day I was born and the day of my death, and the day when I will be raised to life.”

  19. Such was Jesus, the son of Mary, in the words of the truth about which they (the Jews and Christians) have been doubting (and disputing amongst themselves and with each other).

  20. It is not for God to take to Himself a child. All-Glorified is He (in that He is absolutely above doing such things). When He decrees a thing, He does but say to it “Be!” and it is.

  21. “Surely, God is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. This is a straight path (to follow).”

  22. And yet, the parties (the Jews and Christians) have differed among themselves (about him). Woe, then, to those who disbelieve, because of the meeting of an awesome Day.

  23. How well they will hear and how well they will see on the Day when they come before Us (the truth that they hide or push away will be clear to them)! But today (it will be of no avail to) the wrongdoers, (and they) will be in obvious loss.

The Quran 9: 16-38 (Translation by Ali Unal)


2. The Qur’ān presents Mary as one of the two exemplary women before the advent of the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings (66: 12). The Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, mentions her as one of the greatest four of all women, the other three being ‘Āsya, the wife of the Pharaoh; Khadījah, the Prophet’s first wife; and Fātimah, his daughter (al-Bukhārī, “Anbiyā,” 45).

Mary was perfectly chaste, devout, and righteous. Her mother dedicated her to the service of the Temple. She spent all her time in that service and in the worship of God. She used to pray, prostrate, give thanks, and feel the inspiration of angels in her heart. God chose her as the virgin mother of the Prophet Jesus, upon him be peace, who was distinguished among the Prophets with his superior spirituality. (Also, see 3: 35–37, 42–48.)

3. As explained in Appendix 12, the spirit is the source of both physical and spiritual life. For this reason, it is used in the Qur’ān to describe both Revelation and the angel of Revelation (Gabriel). The designation of the angel as spirit is made because angels are spiritual.

Concerning the identity of the spirit who appeared before Mary in the form of a perfect man, the majority of interpreters of the Qur’ān are of the opinion that he was Gabriel. There are several arguments to support this, among these being that the Qur’ān mentions Gabriel as the Spirit of Holiness (16: 102) and the Trustworthy Spirit (26: 193). In verse 19 of the sūrah, the spirit presents himself as a messenger or envoy of the Lord. The Qur’ān also mentions Gabriel as a noble messenger (69: 40). The same event, or other aspects of this event, are told in Sūrat Āl ‘Imrān, 3: 45–47. These verses mention angels rather than a single angel. This means that Gabriel came to Mary to be a means of God’s conveying to Mary the gift of a son, while other angels gave her the glad tidings of that son.

Despite the opinions of many interpreters of the Qur’ān concerning the identity of the spirit mentioned above, some hold the view that it may be another being mentioned in several places of the Qur’ān with the name of the Spirit, and about whose identity there is an explanation in sūrah 70, note 1.

There are reports in the Gospels that Virgin Mary was later married to Joseph, the carpenter, and gave him sons and daughters. However, contrary to some Protestants who read these reports literally and argue that Mary gave birth to additional children, Catholics read them metaphorically, and believe that she remained a perpetual virgin. It is much more likely that a chaste woman like Mary, who gave birth to a great Prophet like Jesus, upon him be peace, without a father, would not have later married a man.

The verse indicates that spirit beings may assume visible forms. But the Qur’ān is not alluding to modern necromancy, which some “civilized” people practice by trying to contact the spirits of the dead; for these, in reality, are evil spirits masquerading as dead people. Rather, this form is the form known to certain saints, like Muhyi’d-dīn ibn al-‘Arabī, who could communicate with good spirits at will, make contact, and form relations with them.

4. While some of the commentators are of the opinion that the person who called out to Mary was the Spirit, others argue that that person was the newborn child; that the rivulet emerged suddenly; and the date-palm, which had been dried up, grew green all at once and yielded fresh, ripe dates. We cannot deny such miracles could happen during the birth of a Prophet, as many miracles were reported to take place during the Prophet Muhammad’s birth. Whichever of these views is right, and whether this place suddenly became a restful place with a spring or not, we learn from 23: 50 that the place to which Mary retreated was a lofty, quiet ground with a spring flowing in it.

5. It was a custom among the Children of Israel that they gave or linked their children to the names of renowned people, or people were linked with one of their renowned ancestors. Mary was a descendent of Prophet Aaron, upon him be peace, so people called her the sister of Aaron.

6. It can be expected that different opinions will emerge concerning a person who was born without a father from a chaste virgin. In this way, it was not long after his being withdrawn from the earth that some erroneously declared Jesus, upon him be peace, to be – God forbid! – God Himself; while others claimed him as God’s son, with his virtuous mother being the mother of God, although they also reported that she married a man after Jesus’ birth and gave him many children. By causing Jesus, upon him be peace, to speak while he was a baby in the cradle, the Almighty made him proclaim first that he was a servant of God, and forewarned against possible deviations. Using in the basic formula of Islam, the standard religion, preached by the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, that “I bear witness that there is no deity but God, and again I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger,” Prophet Jesus, upon him be peace, stressed that he was, first of all, God’s servant and, then, one of His Prophets.

7. All the Prophets came with the same essentials of belief, worship, morality, and behavior. The only difference was in some secondary laws relating to changing time and conditions. Like all other Prophets, the Prophet Jesus, upon him be peace, also mentioned the Divine Oneness, Divine Books, Messengership, the Prescribed Prayer and Prescribed Purifying Alms as the primary essentials of his mission.

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