Was Mary the sister of Aaron and the daughter of Imran?

Question

The Quran mentions about Maryam (PBUH) that she was born to the wife of Imran. This is how the name of Surah Aal-e-Imran refers to Jesus (PBUH) and his followers. In Surah-e-Maryam Quran mentions her tribe refers to her “Sister of Haroon” when they are surprised to see her with a child. Now, In western tradition Mary’s father is named ‘Joachim’ while ‘Amram’ is the name of the father of Moses (PBUH) whose brother and sister were Aaron and ‘Miriam’.

There seems to be some confusion here. Can you please offer some clarification? Is there any other source outside of The Quran which mentions that Mary’s father was also known as ‘Imran’?


Answer by Mushafiq Sultan

Thank you for your question. First of the all, the names of Mary’s parents are not mentioned in any reliable source and neither in the Bible. The name Joachim is found in an apocryphal gospel of James. Since the genealogies of Jesus (A.S.) in the canonical gospels of Matthew and Luke do not explicitly name either of Mary’s parents but apparently name two different fathers of Joseph, many Protestant scholars argue that the genealogy in Luke is actually the family tree of Mary and that Heli is her father. So there is no consensus on Joachim being the father of Mary (A.S.).

The Almighty has called the Qur’an a Muhaymin (guardian) over previous books.

وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُهَيْمِنًا عَلَيْهِ

“Then [O Prophet!] We have revealed to you this Book with truth in corroboration of the Book before it, and standing as a guardian over it…” (Qur’an 5:48)

Commenting on it, Ustaz Ghamidi writes,

“The actual word is: مُهَيْمِن. It is an adjective formed from the words هَيْمَنَ فُلاَنٌ عَلَى كَذَا which means “a guardian” and “a protector”. The implication is that the Qur’ān is the real authentic and trustworthy version of the Book of God. Thus if the veracity of something mentioned in the Torah or other scriptures is to be judged, it can only be done by regarding the Qur’ān as the standard and the real reference point. Whatever it judges to be right is right and whatever it judges to be wrong is wrong and must necessarily be rejected.”

Since the Qur’an, the Word of God, has stated that Mary’s father was Imran, we will take the Word of God as supreme and final, because it reveals much of what the Jews and Christians used to hide or ignore (Qur’an 5:15). In the Bible, Mary is referred to as the cousin of Elizabeth (Luke 1:36). Elizabeth was from the line of Aaron as she is said to be from the ‘daughters of Aaron’ (Luke 1:5). Therefore, most likely Mary also belonged to the priestly line of Aaron (A.S.) and as such the Jews addressing her as a ‘sister of Aaron’ is not confusing at all. This way of addressing someone was common in Arabic and Hebrew. Commenting on Qur’an 19:28, Ustaz Ghamidi has explained this as follows:

“Mary was from the descendants of Aaron. In classical tribal languages, this style of addressing a person as a relation of a distant ancestor was commonly employed. For instance, in the Arabic language, a man of the tribe of Mudar is addressed as Akh al-Mudar (Brother of Mudar). In our view, this very meaning is intended here, because while rebuking her it was apt to say that O woman of the priestly family of Aaron, how could you get involved in this iniquitous act when your father was a noble man and your mother was chaste?” (Ghamidi; Al-Bayaan; Commentary on Qur’an 19:28)

Hope this helps.

Regards,

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