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The Family of Imran
|No. of Rukus||20|
|No. of verses||200|
|No. of words||3503|
|No. of letters||14605|
|Opening muqaṭṭaʻāt||Alif Lam Mim|
Imran in Islam is regarded as the father of Maryam. This chapter is named after the family Imran, which includes Imran (Joachim), Saint Anne, Mary, and Isa (Jesus). The chapter is believed to have been revealed in Medina and is either the second or third Medinan surah as it engages both the Battle of Badr in its first section and the battle of Uhud at its end. Almost all of it also belongs to the third year of the Hijra with the possible exception of verse 61, which mentions the event of Mubahala and therefore might have been revealed during the visit of the Najrān Christian deputation which occurred in the 10th year of the Hijrah. This chapter primarily focuses on the departure of prophethood from the Mosaic dispensation.
Another speculation is that since the event of Mubahala is the highlight of this surah, Āl ʻImrān refers to the ancestry of Mary who is named by her mother it could also refer to the progeny of Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib, whose name has been reported as Imran by Shi'i commentators. Either way the Quran juxtaposes the male lineage of the family of Ibrahim (Abraham) and the distinctly feminine lineage of Jesus and the family of Imran as a challenge to the Jews and Christians of Medina.
The first 7 verses are notable for the way in which the creation of humankind is given a feminine origin "It is He Who forms your shape in the wombs of the mothers as He pleases." The Quran itself is given a feminine source in "the mother of the Book" in verse 7. This awakens the listener to the surprise births about to be revealed in later events of the surah. Firstly the unexpected female birth of Mary and in turn to the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus. It is noticeable that all the miracles of Jesus presented here, breathing life into clay birds, healing the sick are nurturing, caring, are feminine in character.
Verse 7 is notable for several reasons. It states that:
- Some Quranic verses are to be understood by others
- Some verses are allegorical
- It includes a disclaimer against misrepresenting the allegorical verses as factual.
- It states that a set of people are to be consulted, those firmly rooted in knowledge.
Shi'a understand those firmly rooted in knowledge to be Muḥammad ibn ʿAbdullāh ibn Abdul-Muttalib ibn Hashim's (Muhammad) household (Arabic: Ahl al-Bayt). Sunni understand them to the Muslim jurists (Arabic: ulama).
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