The Birth of Maryam (Mary)

The Quran has recorded the birth of the mother of Jesus, Maryam (Mary), in this same chapter A`LI IMRAN (The Family of Imran).

"When she was delivered , she said, "O my Lord! Behold! I am delivered of a female child!" And God knew best what she brought forth. "And no wise is the male like the female. I have named her Maryam (Mary) and I commend her and her offspring to thy protection from the evil one, the rejected." 3/36. Imam Qurtubi has stated that this verse describes the birth of Maryam (Mary), mother of Jesus. As her mother had decided to dedicate her child to the service of the sanctuary, she felt slightly disappointed upon seeing that her child was female, wondering how she could donate her to the sacred mosque. Nonetheless, she was still pleased upon attaining a child, and said in surprise, "O Lord! Behold! I am delivered of a female child!" Her Lord replied, "The male you asked for is not like this female."

Imam Qurtubi (d.671/1227) has stated that only males were freed for the service of the mosque, but Allah accepted Maryam, so Hanna brought her up to a reasonable age then covered her in a cloth and sent her to the mosque, fulfilling her oath and to freeing herself from her promise. Imam Qurtubi and Imam Ibn Kathir have explained the meaning of protection mentioned in the above verse 3/36, as being safeguarded from the devil’s pricking at the time of birth.

Qurtubi has supported his view by stating the Hadith recorded by Imam Muslim(d.261/839) in the Book of Virtues, upon the authority of Abu-Hurayrah(d.57/635) that the prophet Muhammad  has stated,

"No child is given birth to, but the devil pricks it so that it weeps due to the pricking of the devil, except Maryam (Mary) and her son."

Imam Qurtubi has adopted the explanation given in this particular Hadith and has narrated from Qatadah Ibni Du’amah (d.117/695) that, "Allah created at Maryam’s birth and I`sa’s  birth a screen to save them from ‘the Satan,’ who pricks every child, upon being introduced into this world. The Devil could not reach beyond the screen, thus Maryam and her son I`sa u, were both safeguarded from the devil, but he would still accompany them throughout life, as he accompanies all others. But during the crucial moment at birth, the Devil could not harm them with his evil touch.

Abu-Hurayrah then said, "You may recite if you so wish, the verse, "I seek protection for her and her offspring against Satan the accursed."


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