Exposing more of Shabir Ally’s misinformation
We continue from we previously left off (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/25/what-type-of-messiah-does-the-quran-say-jesus-happens-to-be-pt-1/).
Mary’s lineage according to Islamic Scholars
In the clip, Ally made the assertion that some of the Muslim commentators believed Mary was from the line of Aaron, which would mean that she was of the tribe of Levi. This, in turn, would place Jesus within the priestly line, as opposed to the Davidic one. Ally further stated that “In the Islamic view, on the other hand, there is no mention that he is of Davidic descent.”
This, again, is another one of Ally’s outright lies since Muslim tradition unanimously acknowledges Mary’s descent from David.
For instance, one of Islam’s greatest scholars and historians Al-Tabari links Jesus’ mother to David, and even went as far as to “borrow” the genealogy of Joseph found in Matthew’s Gospel!
“The Persians assert that sixty-five years after Alexander seized Babylonia, and fifty-one years after Arsacid rule began, Mary the daughter of ‘Imran gave birth to Jesus. But the Christians assert that Jesus was born to her 303 years after Alexander conquered Babylonia, and that John the Baptist was born six months before Jesus. They report that Mary was pregnant with Jesus when she was thirteen years old. They also report that Jesus lived thirty-two years and a few days before his ascension, and that Mary lived six more years after his ascension, altogether over fifty years. They assert that John and Jesus met in the Jordan River when Jesus was thirty years of age, and that John was slain before the ascension of Jesus. Zechariah b. Berechiah, the father of Yahya b. Zechariah, and ‘Imran b. Matthan, the father of Mary, were married to two sisters. One was married to Zechariah- she was the mother of John, the other was with ‘Imran b. Matthan, and she was the mother of Mary. ‘Imran b. Matthan died when the mother of Mary was pregnant with her. When Mary was born, Zechariah provided for her after her mother’s death, because her aunt, the sister of her mother, was with him. The name of Mary’s mother was Hanna bt. Faqud b. Qabil; the name of the sister of Mary’s mother, that is, the name of John’s mother was Elizabeth bt. Faqud. Zechariah provided for Mary, and she was engaged to Joseph b. Jacob b. Mathan b. Eleazar b. Eliud b. Achim b. Zadok b. Azor b. Eliakim b. Abiud b. Zerubbabel, b. Shealtiel b. Jechonia b. Josiah b. Amon b. Manasseh b. Hezekiah b. Ahaziah b. Jotham b. Uzziah b. Joram b. Jehosaphat b. Asa b. Abijah b. Rehoboam b. SOLOMON B. DAVID.
According to Ibn Humayd – Salamah – Ibn Ishaq: As far as I could learn from her lineage, Mary was the daughter of ‘Imran b. Josiah b. Amon b. Manasse b. Hezekiah b. Ahaziah b. Jotham b. Azariah b. Amaziah b. Joash b. Ahaziah b. Joram b. Jehosaphat b. Asa b. Abijah b. Rehoboam b. SOLOMON. (The History of al-Tabari Volume IV – The Ancient Kingdom, Moshe Perlman trans. [The State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany, NY 1987], pp. 103-104; bold emphasis mine)
Hence, al-Tabari cites traditions that affirm that both Joseph AND Mary were descendants of King David.
Another renowned scholar Ibn Kathir wrote the following in reference to Q. 19:16 (http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/19/16):
(And mention in the Book, Maryam,) She was Maryam bint `Imran from the family lineage of Dawud. She was from a good and wholesome family of the Children of Israel. Allah mentioned the story of her mother’s pregnancy with her in Surah Al `Imran, and that she (Maryam’s mother) dedicated her freely for the service of Allah. This meant that she dedicated the child (Maryam) to the service of the Masjid of the Sacred House (in Jerusalem). Thus, they (Zakariyya, Maryam’s mother and Maryam) were similar in that aspect. (Bold emphasis mine)
And here is what he wrote concerning Q. 3:33:
Allah states that He has chosen these households over the people of the earth. For instance, Allah chose Adam, created him with His Hand and blew life into him. Allah commanded the angels to prostrate before Adam, taught him the names of everything and allowed him to dwell in Paradise, but then sent him down from it out of His wisdom. Allah chose Nuh and made him the first Messenger to the people of the earth, when the people worshipped idols and associated others with Allah in worship. Allah avenged the way Nuh was treated, for he kept calling his people day and night, in public and in secret, for a very long time. However, his calling them only made them shun him more, and this is when Nuh supplicated against them. So Allah caused them to drown, and none among them was saved, except those who followed the religion that Allah sent to Nuh. Allah also chose the household of Ibrahim, including the master of all mankind, and the Final Prophet, Muhammad. Allah also chose the household of `Imran, the father of Marym bint `Imran, the mother of `Isa, peace be upon them. SO `ISA IS FROM THE OFFSPRING OF IBRAHIM, as we will mention in the Tafsir of Surat Al-An`am, Allah willing, and our trust is in Him… (Ibid.: http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/3/33; bold and capital emphasis mine)
Ibn Kathir also mentions specific Muslim scholars who used the example of Jesus to prove that a man can trace his lineage through his mother:
“… Mentioning `Isa in the offspring of Ibrahim, or Nuh as we stated above, is proof that the grandchildren from a man’s daughter’s side are included among his offspring. `Isa is included among Ibrahim’s progeny through his mother, although `Isa did not have a father. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Harb bin Abi Al-Aswad said, ‘Al-Hajjaj sent to Yahya bin Ya`mar, saying, “I was told that you claim that Al-Hasan and Al-Hussein are from the offspring of the Prophet, did you find it in the Book of Allah? I read the Qur’an from beginning to end and did not find it.” Yahya said, “Do you not read in Surah Al-An`am…
(and among his progeny Dawud, Sulayman…) until, (and Yahya and `Isa…).
Al-Hajjaj said, “Yes.” Yahya said, “Is not `Isa from the offspring of Ibrahim, although he did not have a father!” Al-Hajjaj said, “You have said the truth.”’ For example, when a man leaves behind a legacy, a trust, or gift to his ‘offspring’ then the children of his daughters are included. But if a man gives something to his ‘sons’, or he leaves a trust behind for them, then that would be particular to his male children and their male children…” (Q. 6:84-90 http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/6/84; bold emphasis mine)
The following Muslim scholars all concur with Ibn Kathir regarding this issue:
And Zachariah and, his son, John, and Jesus, son of Mary — THIS SHOWS THAT [the term] ‘SEED’ (dhurriyya) CAN INCLUDE OFFSPRING FROM THE FEMALE [side] — and Elias, the paternal nephew of Aaron, brother of Moses; all, of them, were of the righteous. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn: http://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=6&tAyahNo=85&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2; bold and capital emphasis ours)
(And Zachariah and John and Jesus and Elias. Each one (of them)) We guided by bestowing upon them prophethood and Islam; and all of them were of the seed of Abraham (was of the righteous) i.e. they were messengers. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs: http://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=6&tAyahNo=85&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2; bold emphasis mine)
Out of these seventeen prophets identified in the cited verses, Sayyidna Nuh is the patriarch of Sayyidna Ibrahim. The rest have been called their progeny: (and, of his progeny, to Dawud and Sulayman … ). This poses two difficulties. The first could be about Sayyidna ‘Isa who, because of his father-less birth, is a progeny of Sayyidna Ibrahim from the daughter’s side, that is, not a paternal grandson, instead, is a grand-son from the maternal side.
If so, how would calling him his progeny would be correct? Most learned Muslim scholars and jurists have answered it by saying that progeny is inclusive of both paternal and maternal grandsons. It is from here that they prove that Sayyidna Hasan and Sayyidna Husain stand included under the progeny of the Holy Prophet. (Ma’ariful-Qur’an, by Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi’, translated by Muhammad Shamim, revised by Taqi ‘Usmani, Volume 3, p. 406: https://ia802707.us.archive.org/2/items/maarifulquran-english-pdf/MaarifulquranEnglishPdf-Vol3-Page399-453ByMuftiShafiUsmaniRah.pdf; bold emphasis mine)
Now according to the following Muslim source, all of the classical Islamic scholars unanimously held to the view the blessed mother of our risen Lord was a descendant of king David:
“The Qur’an informs us that the father of Mary was named ‘Imran and the classical Muslim scholars UNANIMOUSLY ACCEPT that she was from the line of the prophet David… Differences of opinion emerge, however, over the intervening genealogy, most probably due to a lack of familiarity with such foreign names and consequent error in recording them in the Arabic orthography. According to the Spanish exegete al-Qurtubi, ‘All these differences are mentioned because the Prophets and Messengers are all descendants one of the other.’ The following genealogy (taking into account orthographic variations), which is attributed to Ibn Ishaq or directly to the Prophet’s companion Ibn ‘Abbas, is the most generally accepted: Mary bint ‘Imran ibn Yashim ibn Misha ibn Hazqiya ibn Yawish (ibn Isha ibn Yahushafat) IBN SULAYMAN IBN DAWUD… Although the name of her mother is not supplied in the Qur’an, it is universally accepted as Hanna bint Faqudh.” (Aliah Schleifer, Mary The Blessed Virgin of Islam [Fons Vitae; ISBN: 1887752021; July 1, 1998], pp. 22-23; bold and capital emphasis mine)
Therefore, the claim that Mary was one of the descendants of Aaron holds no weight since there is no reliable historical data to support it.(1)
Now Ally may try to counter this fact by appealing to Luke 1:36 which identifies Elizabeth as Mary’s kinswoman or relative:
“Listen, your cousin Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age. And this is the sixth month with her who was declared barren.”
Ally may argue that, since Elizabeth is said to be a descendant of Aaron (cf. Luke 1:5), Mary must have also been from the household of Aaron.
There are two main problems with his argument. First, Luke goes out of his way to affirm Jesus’ Davidic descent,
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. The angel came to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.’ When she saw him, she was troubled by his words, and considered in her mind what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Listen, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. And of His kingdom there will be no end.’” Luke 1:26-33
“Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, who was the son of Heli, who was the son of Matthat, who was the son of Levi, who was the son of Melchi, who was the son of Jannai, who was the son of Joseph, who was the son of Mattathias, who was the son of Amos, who was the son of Nahum, who was the son of Esli, who was the son of Naggai, who was the son of Maath, who was the son of Mattathias, who was the son of Semein, who was the son of Josech, who was the son of Joda, who was the son of Joanan, who was the son of Rhesa, who was the son of Zerubbabel, who was the son of Shealtiel, who was the son of Neri, who was the son of Melchi, who was the son of Addi, who was the son of Cosam, who was the son of Elmadam, who was the son of Er, who was the son of Joshua, who was the son of Eliezer, who was the son of Jorim, who was the son of Matthat, who was the son of Levi, who was the son of Simeon, who was the son of Judah, who was the son of Joseph, who was the son of Jonan, who was the son of Eliakim, who was the son of Melea, who was the son of Menna, who was the son of Mattatha, who was the son of Nathan, who was the son of David, who was the son of Jesse, who was the son of Obed, who was the son of Boaz, who was the son of Salmon, who was the son of Nahshon, who was the son of Amminadab, who was the son of Ram, who was the son of Hezron, who was the son of Perez, who was the son of Judah,” Luke 3:23-33
“Brothers, I may speak confidently to you concerning the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. But being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of his seed according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,” Acts 2:29-30
“When He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, of whom He testified, saying, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will fulfill My entire will.’ From this man’s descendants God has raised a Savior for Israel, Jesus, according to His promise.” Acts 13:22-23
As do the rest of the inspired NT writers (cf. Matthew 1:1; Mark 10:47-48; Romans 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:8; Hebrews 7:14; Revelation 5:5; 22:16).
Secondly, the only thing that Luke 1:36 would prove is that Elizabeth had Judean blood in her, not that Mary was of the stock of Aaron. After all, the Holy Bible clearly teaches that Levitical priests were allowed to marry women from any of the twelve tribes of Israel:
“He shall take a wife in her virginity. A widow, or a divorced woman, or a defiled woman, or a prostitute, these he shall not marry. But he shall take for a wife a virgin of HIS OWN PEOPLE,” Leviticus 21:13-14
The prophet Ezekiel, in his vision of a restored priesthood and temple, further clarifies this point:
“But the Levites who have gone far from Me when Israel went astray, who went astray away from Me after their idols, they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity. Yet they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house and ministering to the house. They shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them… Nor shall they take for their wives a widow, nor her who has been put away. But they shall take maidens of the seed of THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, or a widow who had a priest before.” Ezekiel 44:10-11, 22
The Holy Bible also provides an example of a priest who had married a woman from Judea, and who was actually a descendant of king David:
“So when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she rose up and mounted a campaign to destroy all the royal offspring of the house of Judah. But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and stole him away from the king’s sons who were going to be put to death, and she placed him and his nurse in a bed chamber. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of King Jehoram and wife of Jehoiada the priest (since she was a sister of Ahaziah), hid Joash from Athaliah. And she did not put the royal child to death.” 2 Chronicles 22:10-11
What the foregoing shows is that it is more reasonable to assume that Elizabeth was from the line of David from her mother’s side, which would account for her being related to Mary.
As such, Luke 1:36 does very little to establish that Mary was from the line of Aaron, especially when the Biblical data points in the direction of her being a descendant of king David.
We have more to say in the third part of our rebuttal (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/25/what-type-of-messiah-does-the-quran-say-jesus-happens-to-be-pt-3/).
(1) It seems that Ibn Kathir wanted to have his cake and eat it too since elsewhere he claims that Mary was a descendant of Aaron, and therefore of Levitical stock:
`Ali bin Abi Talhah and As-Suddi both said, “It was said to her…
(O sister of Harun!) referring to the brother of Musa, because she was of his descendants.” This is similar to the saying, `O brother of Tamim,’ to one who is from the Tamimi tribe, and `O brother of Mudar,’ to one who is from the Mudari tribe. It has also been said that she was related to a righteous man among them whose name was Harun and she was comparable to him in her abstinence and worship… (Q. 19:28 http://www.alim.org/library/quran/AlQuran-tafsir/TIK/19/27; bold and underline emphasis ours)
Ibn Kathir must have forgotten what he wrote elsewhere in affirming Jesus’ Davidic descent. Besides, it is obvious why here, in this passage, he would argue for Mary being a descendant of Aaron since he saw the problem this Quranic verse posed for his belief in the divine origin of the Islamic scripture.
However, his proposed solution still leaves him with a gross error since one doesn’t refer to a person being the brother or sister of a particular individual when speaking of one’s physical ancestry. Rather, the correct phraseology is to describe someone as the son or daughter of so and so, just as we find in the following examples:
“There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.” Luke 1:5
“He will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God.” Luke 1:16
“Then should not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham whom Satan has bound these eighteen years, be loosed from this bondage on the Sabbath?” Luke 13:16
“He cried out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Those who went in front rebuked him, so that he would keep quiet. But he cried out much more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’” Luke 18:38-39
“Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham.’” Luke 19:9
Therefore, Ibn Kathir’s interpretation is mistaken and this gross Quranic blunder still remains unsolved.