But, even so, the Jews never ventured to assert that Miriam remained alive until the time of Christ, nor to identify her with the Virgin Mary.

Let us now see what the Qur'an and the Traditions relate regarding the latter.

In Surah III., Al 'Imran, 31, 32, we read:—

"When 'Imran's wife said, ‘My Lord, verily I have dedicated to Thee what is in my womb, as consecrated: receive it therefore from me: verily Thou art the Hearer, the Knower.’ When therefore she bore her, she said, ‘My Lord, verily I have borne her, a female’ — and God was well aware of what she had borne, and the male is not as the female — ‘and verily I have named her Mary, and verily I commit, her and her seed unto Thee from Satan the stoned.’ Accordingly her Lord received her with fair acceptance, and He made her grow with fair growth, and Zacharias reared her. Whenever Zacharias entered the shrine unto her, he found food near her. He said, ‘O Mary, whence is this to thee?’ She said, ‘It is from God: verily God feedeth whomsoever He willeth, without a reckoning.’"

In addition to and explanation of this narrative, Baidawi and other commentators and traditionists inform us of the following particulars. 'Imran's wife was barren and advanced in age. One day, on seeing a bird giving food to its young ones, she longed for offspring, and entreated that God would bestow on her a child. She said, "O my


God, if Thou givest me a child, whether it be a son or a daughter, I shall offer it as a gift in Thy presence in the Temple at Jerusalem." God heard and answered her prayer, and she conceived and bore a daughter, Mary. Jalalu'ddin tells us that the name of Mary's mother was Hanna. When she brought Mary to the Temple and handed her over to the priests, they accepted the offering and appointed Zacharias to guard the child. He placed her in a room, and permitted no one but himself 1 to enter it; but an angel supplied her with her daily food.

Returning to the Qur'an (Surah III., 37-42), we learn that, when Mary was older, "The angels said, ‘O Mary, verily God hath chosen thee and purified thee, and He hath chosen thee above the women of the worlds. O Mary, be devout to thy Lord, and worship, and bow with those that bow.’ That is part of the announcement of the invisible; we reveal it to thee 2; and thou 2 wast not with them when they threw their reeds (to see) which of them should rear Mary: and thou 2 wast not with them when they disagreed. When the angels said, ‘O Mary, verily God giveth thee good tidings of a Word from Himself, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus Son of Mary, illustrious in the world and in the hereafter, and from among those who draw

1 A reference to the Law which prohibited any but the High Priest from entering the Holy of Holies.
2 i. e. Muhammad.