Imran in Islam

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Imran (عمران) in Islam is presented as the father of Moses and Aaron and "Maryam" who gave birth to Jesus. Islam scholars, aware of the problem with this (given that Jesus and Moses were lived some 1000 years apart in time), have traditionally tried to explain these to be two separate men named Imran (the one being the father of Moses and Aaron, and the other being the father of Maryam), but the Qur'an itself makes no such distinction, and indeed strongly suggests that these were in fact the same man. Critics have pointed this out, and maintain that the error in the Qur'an is understandable, as it reflects a misconception and conflation that was and perhaps still is common among the laity.

Family of Imran

The third (in traditional order) sura is called آل عمران (aal imraan, "the family of Imraan"). Verse 3:33 says that the family of Imran was chosen by Allah:

Indeed, Allah chose Adam and Noah and the family of Abraham and the family of 'Imran over the worlds -

Allah chose:

  • Adam
  • Noah
  • Family of Abraham
  • Family of Imran

But what is the family of Imran?

Imran is the father of Maryam, the mother of Jesus

The sura "Family of Imran" contains a story of Imran's wife giving birth to Mary, the mother of Jesus:

3:35 [Mention, O Muhammad], when the wife of 'Imran said, "My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service], so accept this from me. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing."

3:36 But when she delivered her, she said, "My Lord, I have delivered a female." And Allah was most knowing of what she delivered, "And the male is not like the female. And I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the mercy of Allah ]."


3:45 [And mention] when the angels said, "O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary - distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah ].

It's also in 66:12:

And [the example of] Mary, the daughter of 'Imran, who guarded her chastity, so We blew into [her garment] through Our angel, and she believed in the words of her Lord and His scriptures and was of the devoutly obedient.

Imran is the father of Moses and Aron

This was confirmed to Muhammad by Allah himself:

So, I asked my Lord, "Who is this" He said, "This is your brother Musa, son of `Imran (موسى بن عمران), and those who followed him among the Children of Israel." I said, "O Lord! Where is my Ummah" Allah said, "Look to your right on the hill," and I looked and saw faces of men. Allah said, "Are you pleased" and I said, "I am pleased O Lord!" Allah said, "Look to the horizon to your left" and I saw faces of men. He again asked, "Are you pleased," and I said, "I am pleased, O Lord!" He said, "And with them are seventy-thousand who will enter Paradise without reckoning."
Tafsir Ibn Kathir on 56:27-40, it's also in Sahih Ibn Ibban, Sahih al Mawarid and others [1]

The term Aron, the son of Imran (هارون بن عمران) was also mentioned in tafsir Ibn Kathir, but only in the non-abridged Arabic version. [2]

See also