As opposed to the New Testament, the Qur'an has copious mention of Mary, starting from her birth, to her seclusion, the annunciation and her giving birth to Jesus. While the Qur'an has lots of things to say regarding the childhood of Mary, the New Testament contains nothing of the sort. It practically sheds no light on the life of Mary before she became pregnant.
The Qur'anic narrative begins with the pregnancy of the wife of ‘Imran. When the wife of ‘Imran became pregnant, she took a vow to dedicate the child in her womb to God [Qur'an 3:35]. She was disappointed when she delivered a girl who was named Mary; but God accepted the female child [v. 36-37]. Zakariyya was appointed as the guardian of Mary [v. 37]. The angels informed Mary that God had purified her and chosen her above the women of the world. She was asked to bow down in prayer and spend time in worship [v. 42-43]. Being a pious woman, Mary had secluded herself from the people and devoted her life to God. Whenever Zakariyya entered Mary's mihrāb, to his surprise, he always found her being provided with food miraculously. When Zakariyya, Mary's caretaker, asked her who was providing her mysterious assistance, she says: "It is from Allah. Surely Allah gives to whom He pleases without measure" [v. 37]. Therefore, it is God, not Zakariyya, who is Mary's true keeper.
The Qur'an informs us that God preferred the family of ‘Imran above all the people [v. 33]. This is consistent with the picture of Mary depicted in the Qur'an, a pious woman, chaste, dedicated to serving God and putting her trust in Him. God chose her above the women of the world. Thus Mary not only came from a very illustrious family but also one which was very devout. The Qur'an connects Mary with another illustrious and pious family of the past; the events leading to it which we shall now turn our attention.
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