The Birth and Lineage of the Virgin Mary

Virgin Mary, Apse Mosaic at Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey (photo: iStock by Getty Images).

The books of the contemporary New Testament offer very little substance with regard to the background of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The only readily available information can be seen in Luke, where Mary is said to have been a relative of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, and where it is stated that Mary spent three months of her pregnancy in the house of Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist.20 In contrast, the Qur'an offers a great deal of information regarding Mary.

Behold! a woman of 'Imran said: "Oh my Lord! I do dedicate unto Thee what is in my womb for Thy special service: so accept this of me: for Thou hearest and and knowest all things." When she was delivered, she said: "O my Lord! Behold! I am delivered of a female child!" - And Allah knew best what she brought forth  - "And no wise is the male like the female. I have named her Mary, and I commend her and her offspring to Thy protection from the evil one, the rejected." Right graciously did her Lord accept her: He made her grow in purity and beauty; to the care of Zakariya was she assigned. Every time that he entered (her) chamber to see her, he found her supplied with sustenance. He said: "O Mary! Whence  (comes) this to you?" She said: " From Allah: for Allah provides sustenance to whom He pleases , without measure."21

Three points emerge from the foregoing Qur'anic quote. First, the reference to "a woman of 'Imran' appears to be a statement that the lineage of Mary's mother traced back to the Biblical Amram, the son of Kohath, a member of the Levite tribe of Israel, and the father of Moses.22 As there was a pronounced tendency among the Israelites to marry within their own clan/tribe, in all probabilities, Mary was of the Levite tribe. Second, the quotation specifically states that Mary was miraculously "supplied with sustenance" from Allah. Third, the same passage from the Qur'an distinctly says that Mary was placed in the care of Zechariah, while Luke merely says that Mary visited Zechariah and Elizabeth for three months during her pregnancy. As an additional fourth point, and referring back to a previously quoted passage from the Qur'an, it is noted that several individuals cast lots with arrows to see who would be entrusted with the care of Mary.23

The above four points find specific support in the so-called New Testament apocrypha. The Gospel of the Birth of Mary, preserved in a reference given by Faustus, the Bishop of Riez in Provence, directly states that Mary was a Levite.24 Further, a passage from the New Testament apocrypha says that angels fed Mary during her stay at the Temple in Jerusalem.25 Third, regarding Mary being entrusted into Zechariah's care, the New Testament apocrypha provides support, by noting that Zechariah petitioned the High Priest about Mary.26 Further, two passages in the New Testament apocrypha provide evidence for such an event, with Joseph being the one who was chosen to succeed Zechariah in taking care of Mary.27

Jesus Speaks in Infancy

In a moving passage, the Qur'an describes the reaction of people to Mary having given birth to Jesus. Apparently, they were all too ready to think the worst about this righteous young woman, her pregnancy, and her subsequent child. To all of them, Mary  said noting in defense, but pointed to her infant child. Thereupon, the infant Jesus spoke, defending his mother's honor and preaching to the onlookers.

When she brought the infant Jesus to her people, they reacted sharply: "O Mary! Truly an amazing thing hast thou brought! O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor was thy mother a woman unchaste!" But she pointed to the babe. They said: " How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?" He said: "I am indeed a servant of Allah: He hath given me revelations and made me a prophet; and He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me prayer and charity as long as I live: (He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable;.."28

The foregoing account of the birth of Jesus does not appear in the current New Testament. However, the story of Jesus speaking while still an infant in the cradle is preserved in the New Testament apocrypha. 29

Jesus and the clay pigeons

Two different passages in the Qur'an refer to Jesus fashioning a clay bird, and then, by Allah's will, making it come alive.

She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?" He said: "Even so: Allah createth what He willeth: when He hath decreed a plan, He but saith to it, 'Be', and it is ! And Allah will teach him the book and wisdom, the law and the gospel, and (appoint him) a messenger to the children of Israel, (with this message): 'I have come to you, with a sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah's leave: and I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by Allah's leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely, therein is a sign for you if ye did believe;..' " 30

Then will Allah say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! recount My favor to thee and to thy mother. Behold ! I strengthened thee with the holy spirit, so that thou didst speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught thee the book and wisdom, the law and the gospel. And behold! Thou makest out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My leave, and thou breathest into it, and it becometh a bird by My leave, and thou healest those born blind, and the lepers, by My leave. And behold! Thou bringest forth the dead by My leave. And behold! I did restrain the children of Israel from (violence to) thee when thou didst show them the clear signs, and the unbelievers among them said: "This is nothing but evident magic."31

The story of Jesus causing, by the will of Allah, a clay bird to come to life is not found in the contemporary New Testament. But, this story in the Qur'an can be found in the New Testament apocrypha.32

Summary and Conclusions 

Taken together the Bible and the New Testament apocrypha offer dramatic parallels to many passages in the Qur'an. Such parallels suggest that Christians are well advised to explore the substantial interface between Islam and Christianity. With this vary view, the chapters in this book are presented.

Excerpted from the book "The Cross & The Crescent" by Dr. Jerald F. Dirks.

Dr. Jerald F. Dirks received his Bachelor of Arts (philosophy) from Harvard College in 1971, his Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School in 1974, his Master of Arts (clinical child psychology) from the University of Denver in 1976, and his Doctor of Psychology degree in clinical psychology from the University of Denver in 1978. In 1969, he obtained his License to Preach from the United Methodist Church, and he was ordained into the Christian ministry (deaconate) by the United Methodist Church in 1972. He converted to Islam in 1993 and completed his sessions program certificate in Islamic studies from Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in 1998. He is the author or co-author of over 60 published articles in the behavioral sciences (primarily in psychosomatic medicine), over 140 published articles on the Arabian horse and its history, and over 220 published articles and formal presentations on Islam, comparative religion, and private Islamic education in America. He has lectured widely on Islam at American colleges and universities.


20. Luke 1:35, 39 -56
21. Qur'an
22. Exodus 6:16-20.
23. Qur'an 3:44.
24. The Gospel of the Birth  of Mary.   In Platt RH, Brett JA.
25  The Protevangelion of James 8:2.   In Platt RH, Brett JA.
26. The Protevangelion of James 8:3-4 In Platt RH, Brett JA.
27. The Gospel of the Birth of Mary 5:4 - 6:7 and The Protevangelion of James 8:6 - 16. In Platt RH, Brett JA.
28. Qur'an 19:27 - 32.
29. The First Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ 1:2 In Platt RH, Brett JA.
30. Qur'an 3:47 - 49.
31. Qur'an 5:110.
32. The First Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ 15:6. In Platt RH, Brett JA.

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Older Comments:
truelly the birth of jesus was a miraculous one just like Adam alayhi salam but what i really cant understand is how people come with rankin jesus as the real son of God.

Assalamualaikum wrbt and greetings to all.

To Brother Samir and other Muslims, I had challenged Velde and Kam in the other articles in my post e mail, I challenged them to tell us that since there are so many versions of the bible, so which version was claimed to be copied from ?

Yet they, with the arrogrance failed to respond to my challenge. I did even mentioned that the Quran even contained the finding of science, i.e. one in which scientist found only about a hundred of years ago, but has always been in the Quran ever since, like the development of life in the embryo or womb, and these matters are not found in the bible.

And I told them not to have the audacity to create such baseless or presposterous claims and even challenged them again on which version of the bible was said to be copied into the Quran.

I posed a challenge to them - Is it the bible version with most contradictions. They didn't answer to my challenge and it speaks for itself.

Regarding Mr. Verde's comment about quran copying the bible: how do you explain the prophets Hud and Saleh - in the quran but not in the bible. Where did this new information come from? If the quran copied the bible why didn't it also copy the notion of Jesus being the son of God, or stories like God wrestled with humans (Jacob) and lost? How would you explain the 1st revealed verse of the quran: 96:1 "Read, in the name of thy Lord who created. Created Man from something that clings". Where in the bible does it say we were created from something that clings (e.g. describing the behavior of the fertilized embryo clinging to the wall of the uterus after entering it)?

Brief response to Ter Velde

Salaamu alaikum all,

Please answer this simple question:- How come the Quran did not copy all the false statements that contradict established scientific facts found in the Quran and scientic text books false statements such such as the earth is flat etc...
You can't answer this question because it's beyond what you know. The correct answer is Islam came before Judaism and Christianity and the Quran is the true word of God and all scientific statements in the Quran are proven today to be 100 true facts!!!


Referring to Mr. F. ter Velde
- The Arabic version of the Bible was not present at the time of Prophet Muhummad (pbuh). The earliest Arabic version of the Old Testament is that of R. Saadias Gaon of 900 C.E. - more than 250 years after the death of our beloved Prophet. The oldest Arabic version of the new Testament was published by Erpenius in 1616 C.E. - about a thousand years after the demise of our Prophet.
- The Biblical description of the flood in Genesis chapter 6, 7 and 8 indicates that the deluge was universal and it destroyed every living thing on earth. This story of the flood, as given in the Bible, contradicts scientific evidence from archaelogical sources which indicate that the eleventh dynasty in Egypt and the third dynasty in Babylonia were in existence without any break in civilisation and in a manner totally unaffected by any major calamity which may have occurred in the 21st century B.C. This contradicts the Biblical story that the whole world had been immersed in the flood water. In contrast to this, the Qur'anic presentation of the story of Noah and the flood does not conflict with scientific evidence or archaeological data.

It is illogical to assume that Prophet Muhummad (pbuh) had borrowed the story of the flood from the Bible and corrected the mistakes before mentioning it in the Qur'an.
[Dr. Zakir Naik]

Referring to Mr Velde... Making a statement that the Quran was a copy of the bible is a mischievous statement without a scintilla of proof stated. Muhammad (PBUH) could not read nor write. He did not have a large court nor the resources to call learned men from all over the known world to educate him in Judaism and Christianity. Even kings did not necessarily have that resource then. He did no leave Hijaz his entire life. The Prophet's entire being has been well document and analysed more so than any prophet in history about his life, no stone has been unturned.

Muhammad (PBUH) The seal of all Phrophets could not have had that comprehensive a knowledge to be able to write the Holy Quran based on his faculties. Proven and Analysed over and over again throught time.

What was revealed to him and written in the Holy Quran is the Word of Allah.. Mr Velde.. show evidence to the contrary, not with wild conjecture.

Many names and facts in the Quran are taken from the Bible. The Islam is written in the 7th centuary after Christ. Pity is that they did not exactly copy the facts from the Bible and changes most things. Nobody can trace who did so and why.

Dear Gumel,

Bravo! May ALLAH bless you for taking the time to read the chapter Al-Maidah or the Table Spread and highlighting the issue I had mentioned in my previous email. I had mentioned that perhaps the author of the article should write another book with this Surah in mind. It seems that he would not need to any longer.

The Quran heralds the Truth! They are afraid to accept this book because it would tarnish the scribes who have written about Allah books. They cannot do so, since it would mean a loss of complete faith in religions other than the religion of Islam! "But if only they knew, if only they knew!"

Thank you brother. The quotes from the Quran are profound indeed!

The Quran vindicates the Prophet Isa. "Have they not learned?"



O people of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth.The Messiah Jesus son of Mary was only a Messenger of Allah and His Word which He conveyed unto Mary and a Spirit from Him.So believe in Allah and His Messengers and say not Three (i.e Trinity) it is better for you Allah is only One God.(Quran Surah Nisa).On the Day of Judgement Allah (S.W.T)would interogate Jesus in this manner as narrated in the Quran in the Table Spread." O Jesus did you say unto mankind: Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah.Jesus would reply Glory be to you.It was not mine to utter that which I had no right.If I had ever said it then You would have known.You know what is in my mind and I do not know what is in your mind.Lo Thou only Thou art the knower of Things Hidden.I spoke unto them what You commanded me (saying) Worship Allah my Lord and your Lord.I was witness of them while I dwelt amongst them but when you took me You were watcher over them.You are Witness over all Things.So this would take place on the Day of Judgement.Finally let me remind the readers about this Verse Say: O People of the Book Come to agreement between us and you;that we shall worship none but Allah and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him and that none of us shall take others for Lords beside Allah and If they turn away then say:Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered i.e.Muslims So the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam.He created him of dust then He said Be and he is. And whoso disputes with you concerning him after the knowledge which has come to you:Say Come let us summon our sons and your sons and our women and your women and ourselves and yourselves then we pray humbly and invoke the Curse of Allah upon those who lie.Allahu Akbar.So as Allah said this is the truth from Your Lord so be not among the doubters.Say He is Allah the One the Independent He begets not nor was He begotten none comparable to Him

Assalam aliakum
Thank you for emailing me this article. I really enjoyed reading this as it is such a beautiful story to read in the Holy Quran. Before I converted to Islam I was a christian so the stories of Mary and Jesus (A.S.) always hold a special place in my heart. I will also plan to purchase the book as well . Islam and Christianity are so closely related. It is so important to talk about the simulairities in a clear, beautiful, and peaceful way.

Inshallah , I plan to share this article with my family who are Christians.

Sr. Michelle

Thank you so much for the article on the Lineage of the Blessed Mother Mary. It is through such rare yet well documented articles that awareness will come. It is through awareness that global peace will come.

Suzan Sofia McGovern

Salaamu alaikum,

We have been telling the Christians and the Jews that Jesus is NOT A JEW but A LEVITE hundreds of times and since 1989. Thanks in part to the master evangelilogist DD (Doctor in divinity) the self-learned late great Allama (master scolar) (the 20th century renewer of the deen of the Christians) AHMAD DEEDAT but very few of them are good listeners and are willing to investigate...

For more details pls buy AHMAD DEEDAT's book: THE CHOICE and also buy his tapes. I am not sure if Islamic book stores have his VHS tapes on DVD Rom format or not but please give it a try.

Pls ignorant Christians and Jews and Muslims & others do us a favor pls keep your mouth locked if you are going to jump the gun and say things like Jesus is a Jew or make ignorant statements such Islam started with the messenger of Allah Muhammed instead of Ibraham (peace be upon them all).

The author uses the Gnostic Texts to persuade Christians that they share with Muslims greater similarity of belief regarding Jesus than they might have realized.

However, it is as impossible for Christians as it is for Muslims to accept the Gnostic Texts under any circumstances. Gnostic writings are completely outside the acceptable framework of both faiths.

Please consider the following text taken from Wikipedia, and you will not be able to fall for such a nonsensical idea as this author proposes.

Quote: In Gnosticism, Jesus is said to have brought the secret knowledge (gnosis) of the spiritual world necessary for salvation.[66] Their secret teachings were paths to gnosis, and not gnosis itself. While some Gnostics were docetics, other Gnostics believed that Jesus was a human who became possessed by the spirit of Christ during his baptism.[67] Many Gnostics believed that Christ was an Aeon sent by a higher deity than the evil demiurge who created the material world. Some Gnostics believed that Christ had a syzygy named Sophia. The Gnostics tended to interpret the books that were included in the New Testament as allegory, and some Gnostics interpreted Jesus himself as an allegory. The Gnostics also used a number of other texts that did not become part of the New Testament canon.



The virgin Mary was of the lineage of King David, of the tribe of Judah. She brought forth the promised seed of the woman to crush the head of the serpant that beguiled Eve and led mankind to sin and death from the very beginning. She brought forth the promised King of the Jews to govern eternally on the throne of David, to save mankind from their sins ... Mary the mother of child Jesus was a saint, special among women. Respects to the fellow believers and saints but worship pertains to the One and only One sovereign, supreme, Almighty God through His begotten Son Jesus. Amen

Let none venture to present something that distorts the established truth.


Dear Jearld,

Thank you for highlighting this issue. The family of Imran were indeed very pious. And yes, they were blessed by Allah. What a pity that some of us has wasted valuable time denying the words of Allah.

Thank you. Thank you indeed.

Did you look at Surah Al-maidah? In this Surah Jesus denied that he told the people that he and his mother were Gods. Perhaps, another book?




He who bears witness that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah,He is One and there is no associate with Him that Muhammad is His Slave and His Messenger,that Isa (Jesus) is His Slave and Messenger and His Word which He communicated to Mary and His Spirit,Paradise is True and Hell is True (in other words) believe in all these Allah would make him to enter Paradise whatever his deeds may be.The conditions explained in this Hadith is very clear and straight forward.This is the simple message of Islam as Allah has clearly stated Oh People of the Book let us come to agreement with you i.e we don't worship anybody except Allah (God) i.e not worshipping Prophets Angels or anybody besides God and we dont take any one as Lord,that i.e the Prophets were not Divine although as as sign of respect Jesus was given the title Kalimatullah Word of Allah and Ruh Minhu Spirit which was also mentioned in the Bible.The only thing which we differ regarding Jesus like all others he was a human being and Prophet of Allah not His Son as others want us to believe simply because he was born without father.What will you say to Adam who had no father or mother or his wife Eve.He had no father or mother and Eve was born without mother which was more miraculous than that of Jesus yet we don'yt call her daughter of God or Adam as son of God.So if we believe as the Hadith has stated Allah in His Infinite Mercy cause us to enter Paradise whatever may be our deeds.It is up to us as there is no compulsion in Religion truth is clear from falsehood.May Allah give all of us guidance to guide us on the right path not the path of those who go astray or who earned His anger, Amen.