Surah al-Anbiya' (The Prophets ) 21 : 91

وَٱلَّتِىٓ أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهَا مِن رُّوحِنَا وَجَعَلْنَٰهَا وَٱبْنَهَآ ءَايَةً لِّلْعَٰلَمِينَ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
And [mention] the one who guarded her chastity [i.e., Mary], so We blew into her [garment] through Our angel [i.e., Gabriel], and We made her and her son a sign for the worlds.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

Finally, Mary is mentioned along with her son. We note that Mary is not mentioned here by name, because the main reference in the chain of prophets is to her son, while she is second to him in this account. Reference is made to her main quality that is related to her son. Thus she is the one “who guarded her chastity,” keeping herself pure of all sexual contact. Normally, this expression of guarding one’s chastity is used to refer to marriage, because it protects against sin. Here it refers to its primary meaning, which is purity of all contact, whether legitimate or not. Thus, Mary is held innocent of all accusations levelled by the Jews against her and against Joseph the carpenter, who was with her in the service of the temple. The Gospels now in circulation claim that he married her but did not consummate the marriage and she remained a virgin.

So, Mary guarded her chastity, and God breathed into her of His spirit. The breathing is left general here, unlike Sūrah 66, The Prohibition, where its location is mentioned. We discussed this in our commentary on Sūrah 19, Maryam. In order to stick to the general atmosphere generated by the text of this sūrah, we prefer not to add any details here, confining ourselves only to what is directly mentioned.

We “caused her, together with her son, to become a sign to all mankind.” Indeed she was a unique sign, without similar example, whether in the past or in the future, a single such case in the history of mankind. Such a special case is worthy of our contemplation, for by doing so we recognize God’s power, unrestricted as it is by anything whatsoever. It is the power that designs natural laws and sets them in operation, but which is not subservient to them. It remains free of all restrictions.

2. Linguistic Analysis

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6. Frequency of the word

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7. Period of Revelation

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According to  Ibn Attiyah and Qurtubi there is consensus on this Surah being a Makki Surah -

"Both the subject matter and the style of the Surah indicate that it was sent down in the third stage of the life of the Prophet at Makkah" [Ref: Mawdudi]

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