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Quran Chapter 19 [part 1] - Mary - Stories of the Prophets, Mary and Her Pregnancy, Reality of Jesus

The Meccan sura takes its name from the story of Mary (verses 16–35). It recounts the grace given by God to a number of prophets and tells aspects of their stories. The claim that Jesus is the son of God is firmly denied, as is the assertion that the angels are God’s daughters. From verses 66 to 98 the sura discusses the arrogant assertions of the disbelievers of Mecca. The Prophet is told that God’s punishment is coming to them and exhorted not to be impatient for it to arrive or to receive the revelation (verses 64–5).

In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy

Story of Prophet Zechariah

1 Kaf Ha Ya 'Ayn Sad

2 This is an account of your Lord’s grace towards His servant, Zachariah, 3 when he called to his Lord secretly, saying, 4 ‘Lord, my bones have weakened and my hair is ashen grey, but never, Lord, have I ever prayed to You in vain: 5 I fear [what] my kinsmen [will do] when I am gone, for my wife is barren, so grant me a successor––a gift from You–– 6 to be my heir and the heir of the family of Jacob. Lord, make him well pleasing [to You].’ 7 ‘Zachariah, We bring you good news of a son whose name will be John––We have chosen this name for no one before him.’ 8 He said, ‘Lord, how can I have a son when my wife is barren, and I am old and frail?’ 9 He said, ‘This is what your Lord has said: “It is easy for Me: I created you, though you were nothing before.” ’

10 He said, ‘Give me a sign, Lord.’ He said, ‘Your sign is that you will not [be able to] speak to anyone for three full [days and] nights.’ 11 He went out of the sanctuary to his people and signaled to them to praise God morning and evening.

Prophet John

12 [We said], ‘John, hold on to the Scripture firmly.’ While he was still a boy, We granted him wisdom, 13 tenderness from Us, and purity. He was devout, 14 kind to his parents, not domineering or rebellious. 15 Peace was on him the day he was born, the day he died, and it will be on him the day he is raised to life again.

Mary and Her Pregnancy with Jesus

16 Mention in the Quran the story of Mary. She withdrew from her family to a place to the east 17 and secluded herself away; We sent Our Spirit to appear before her in the form of a perfected man. 18 She said, ‘I seek the Lord of Mercy’s protection against you: if you have any fear of Him [do not approach]!’ 19 but he said, ‘I am but a Messenger from your Lord, [come] to announce to you the gift of a pure son.’ 20 She said, ‘How can I have a son when no man has touched me? I have not been unchaste,’ 21 and he said, ‘This is what your Lord said: “It is easy for Me– We shall make him a sign to all people, a blessing from Us.”’ 22 And so it was ordained: she conceived him. She withdrew to a distant place 23 and, when the pains of childbirth drove her to [cling to] the trunk of a palm tree, she exclaimed, ‘I wish I had been dead and forgotten long before all this!’ 24 but a voice cried to her from below, ‘Do not worry: your Lord has provided a stream at your feet 25 and, if you shake the trunk of the palm tree towards you, it will deliver fresh ripe dates for you, 26 so eat, drink, be glad, and say to anyone you may see: “I have vowed to the Lord of Mercy to abstain [a] from conversation, and I will not talk to anyone today.”’

27 She went back to her people carrying the child, and they said, ‘Mary! You have done something terrible! 28 Sister [b] of Aaron! Your father was not an evil man; your mother was not unchaste!’ 29 She pointed at him. They said, ‘How can we converse with an infant?’ [c] 30 [But] he said: ‘I am a servant of God. He has granted me the Scripture; made me a prophet; 31 made me blessed wherever I may be. He commanded me to pray, to give alms as long as I live, 32 to cherish my mother. He did not make me domineering or graceless. 33 Peace was on me the day I was born, and will be on me the day I die and the day I am raised to life again.’

Reality of Jesus

34 Such was Jesus, son of Mary. [This is] a statement of the Truth about which they are in doubt: 35 it would not befit God to have a child. He is far above that: when He decrees something, He says only, ‘Be,’ and it is. 36 ‘God is my Lord and your Lord, so serve Him: that is a straight path.’ [d] 37 But factions have differed among themselves. What suffering will come to those who obscure the truth when a dreadful Day arrives! 38 How sharp of hearing, how sharp of sight they will be when they come to Us, although now they are clearly off course! Warn them [Muhammad] of the Day of Remorse when the matter will be decided, 39 for they are heedless and do not believe. 40 It is We who will inherit the earth and all who are on it: they will all be returned to Us.

Story of Abraham and His Father

41 Mention too, in the Quran, the story of Abraham. He was a man of truth, a prophet. 42 He said to his father, ‘Father, why do you worship something that can neither hear nor see nor benefit you in any way? 43 Father, knowledge that has not reached you has come to me, so follow me: I will guide you to an even path. 44 Father, do not worship Satan– Satan has rebelled against the Lord of Mercy. 45 Father, I fear that a punishment from the Lord of Mercy may afflict you and that you may become Satan’s companion [in Hell].’ [e] 46 His father answered, ‘Abraham, do you reject my gods? I will stone you if you do not stop this. Keep out of my way!’ 47 Abraham said, ‘Peace be with you: I will beg my Lord to forgive you– He is always gracious to me– 48 but for now I will leave you, and the idols you all pray to, and I will pray to my Lord and trust that my prayer will not be in vain.’ 49 When he left his people and those they served beside God, We granted him Isaac and Jacob and made them both prophets: 50 We granted Our grace to all of them, and gave them a noble reputation.


a. Sawm can mean ‘abstinence’ from food or from speech.

b. Either she had a brother called Aaron, or was simply of Aaron’s tribe: in Arabic ‘sister/brother of’ can mean ‘relation of’, e.g. ‘brother of Hamdan’ meaning ‘of the tribe of Hamdan’.

c. See note to 3: 46. Here again the term mahd refers to any level place rather than the concrete ‘cradle’.

d. Some suggest that Muhammad is ordered to make this statement; others that it is Jesus speaking.

e. Or ‘that you will be a supporter of Satan’.

The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics)

The Qur'an / a new translation by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem, copyright © 2004 Oxford World's Classics (Oxford University Press). Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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