First of all, I apologize for the length of this question. But I think this is a very important subject to think about.

Majority of Muslims believe that Imran in the Quran is father of Mary. But I think muslims are making a mistake. For the following reasons, I think Imran in the Quran is the father of Musa (pbuh) and Harun (pbuh), not the father of Mary:

1) In the Jewish scriptures, the father of Musa (pbuh) and Harun (pbuh) is "Amram".

Amram married his father's sister Jochebed, who bore him Aaron and Moses. Amram lived 137 years. (Exodus 6:20)

2) In the New Testament, Mary is a relative/cousin of Elizabeth, who is from the lineage of Aaron (Harun). So this means Imran (Amram) is the ancestor of Mary.

3) Ancient biblical manuscripts have shown that the father of Mary was named "Joachim", not "Amram", nor "Imran".

4) In the Quran, Allah refers to Mary (mother of Jesus) as the "Ubnata Imran" in Surah Tahrim, Ayah 12. "Ubnata Imran" literally translates to "Daughter of Imran", but in Arabic tradition, this can also mean "grand-daughter of Imran" or "great grand-daughter of Imran" or "female descendant of Imran".

5) In the Quran, Allah refers to Mary (mother of Jesus) as "Ukhtu Harun" in Surah Maryam, Ayah 28. "Ukhtu Harun" translates to "Sister of Harun". Anyone who understands the language of the Quran should know that "sister" in the Quran can also refer to female descendant. So Mary is the female descendant of Harun (pbuh) and Imran. Not the daughter of Imran.

6) In the Quran, the mother of Mary is unnamed but she is called "Umra'atu Imran" in Surah Imran, Ayah 33. According to the English translated Quran, this translates to "Wife of Imran". However, in Arabic, "Umra'atu Imran" can also mean "Woman of Imran". This could mean that Mary is not the daughter of Imran, but her descendant.

7) Ancient biblical manuscripts have shown that the father of Mary was named "Joachim", not "Amram", not "Imran".

8) Allah says in Surah Imran, Ayah 33:

God did choose Adam and Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of Imran above all people (Quran 3:33)

According to most Islamic scholars, Imran in this ayah refers to Amram, the father of Musa (pbuh) and Harun (pbuh).

  • 1
    This looks more like a topic of discussion rather than a practical and answerable question; you clearly already know what the predominant Islamic belief is on this matter. As-written, this is just going to attract opinion and argument, which is not what the Stack Exchange model is geared for.
    – goldPseudo
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 6:41
  • Who said that Islamic scholars say that 'Imran in 3:33 refers to the father of Musa and Harun? So far i couldn't find backup for that!
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 13:53

2 Answers 2


No, Muslims are not misinterpreting Surah Al-Imran

  1. According to historians the time between Musa (PBUH) and Issa (Jesus) is 1200 year or more.
  2. It’s for sure Al-Imran in this verse is the family of Maryam (Mary), and not Musa’s , In Quran:

[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."

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 ]." 3:35-36

  1. Imran in Arabic is Amram in Hebrew.
  2. I cannot tell if "Joachim" is a second name, but it is common people known with two names.
  3. You say “Allah refers to Mary (mother of Jesus) as "Ukhtu Harun" This is not accurate, Alah mentions what Jewish said so it is the Jewish who refered t Mary as "Ukhtu Harun" not Allah
  4. ”There is disagreement about "Ukhtu Harun":

    a. Like Harun in worship (Ukht= similar) as in :

    [ Allah ] will say, "Enter among nations which had passed on before you of jinn and mankind into the Fire." Every time a nation enters, it will curse its sister (La-anat Ukhtaha)... 7:38

    b. O sister of Harun(brother of Moses), and she was one of his descendants, as they may call a Tamimi: Oh brother of Tamim, and Mudhari: Oh brother of Mudhar.

    c. Attributed to a good man named Harun(not Musa’s brother), because she worshiped as much as him.

The most accepted opinion to me (following scholars) that this Harun is not Musa's brother for the following Hadith:

Mughira b. Shu'ba reported: When I came to Najran, they (the Christians of Najran) asked me: You read" O sister of Harun" (i. e. Hadrat Maryam) in the Qur'an, whereas Moses was born much before Jesus. When I came back to Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) I asked him about that, whereupon he said: The (people of the old age) used to give names (to their persons) after the names of Apostles and pious persons who had gone before them. Sahih Muslim 2135

This hadith proves it as another man called Harun.

Ibn Al-Qayyem says that nothing in the verse suggests that Harun is the son of Omran nor he is the brother of Musa. Knowing that, and saying he is Harun the son of Imran and brother of Musa is a sign of either a misunderstanding or corrupt intent.

  • Quran 3:33 literally translates to "woman of Imran", not "wife of Imran". Couldn't this also mean "female descendant of Imran"?
    – user16329
    Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 21:14
  • 1
    Great explanation about Ukhtu Harun. I remember that Ahmed Deedat mentions something similar in his talks.
    – Kilise
    Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 21:18
  • @curiosity ...No, I'm not familiar with "woman of " for the descendant, I know (brother , sister, son, and cousin) but woman limited to my knowledge is only for the wife, or maybe you can help with an example.
    – M.M
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 3:18
  • @Kilise ... Thank you for leaving a positive comment.
    – M.M
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 3:20
  • @curiosity امْرَأَتُ عِمْرَانَ the accurate translation of this is "wife of imran" .
    – Kilise
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 7:55

'Imran, 'Amram etc. is a question of "transmission" and adaption in the Arabic language read for example in wikipedia. And also take a look at the picture on Arabic wikipedia.

Whether it is 'Imran, 'Emran, Amram or 'Umran عمرام او عمران is a question of taste and how the name might be adapted in a special language and in the case of Hebrew and Arabic later transliterated.

So far the linguistic part.

When used in the Quran al-'Imran in first place refers to the Family of Mariam the mother of 'Isa.
In 3:33 it refers to them not to the father of Moses and Haroon:

Allah also chose the household of 'Imran, the father of Marym bint 'Imran, the mother of 'Isa, peace be upon them. (tafsir ibn Kathir)

So if in surat al-'imran Allah is speaking about the wife of 'Imran it refers to the mother of Mariam.

The wife of 'Imran mentioned here is the mother of Maryam, and her name is Hannah bint Faqudh. Muhammad bin Ishaq mentioned that Hannah could not have children and that one day, she saw a bird feeding its chick. She wished she could have children and supplicated to Allah to grant her offspring. Allah accepted her supplication, and when her husband slept with her, she became pregnant. She vowed to make her child concentrate on worship and serving Bayt Al-Maqdis (the Masjid in Jerusalem), when she became aware that she was pregnant. (tafsir ibn Kathir)

In at-Tahrir wa tanwir with my own (shortened) translation:

وأما آل عمران : فهم مريم ، وعيسى ، فمريم بنت عمران بن ماتان كذا سماه المفسرون ، وكان من أحبار اليهود وصالحيهم ، وأصله بالعبرانية ( عمرام ) بميم في آخره ، فهو أبو مريم . وفي كتب النصارى : أن اسمه ( يوهاقيم )، فلعله كان له اسمان ، ومثله كثير .

Al-'Imran are: Maryam and 'Isa, Maryam is the daughter of 'Imran ibn Mataan (this is how the Mufassirun named him), ... the Hebrew origin is 'Amraam ... he's the father of Maryam. And in the Christian books his name is Johaqim (Joachim), so maybe he had more then one name...

وليس المراد هنا عمران والد موسى وهارون ؛ إذ المقصود هنا التمهيد لذكر مريم وابنها عيسى ، بدليل قوله : ( إِذْ قَالَتِ امْرَأَتُ عِمْرَان )

And this verse doesn't refer to 'Imran the father of Musa and Haroon. As this verse wants to start quoting about Maryam and her son 'Isa because it says: (when the wife of 'Imran said)

Scholars of tafsir say between 'Imran ('Amram) the father of Musa and 'Imran (Joachim or Johaqim) the father of Mariam there are 1800 years

On the verse from surat Maryam

(O sister of Harun!) This means, "O one resembling Harun (Aaron) in worship.''

(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. Concerning Allah's statement, (Tafsir ibn Kathir)

In at-tahrir wa-tanwir (my own fast and shortened translation):

فقوله تعالى يا أخت هارون يحتمل أن يكون على حقيقته . فيكون لمريم أخ اسمه هارون كان صالحا في قومه

It is possible that by (O sister of Aaron) it means that she really had a brother called Haroon, who was a man that has been known to be good and devoted.

ويحتمل أن معنى أخت هارون أنها إحدى النساء من ذرية هارون أخي موسى

And it is possible that she was a woman among the descendants of Haroon the brother of Musa.

See also this fatwa (in Arabic) on the relation between al-'Imran and Musa and Haroon.
And this about the relation between 'Isa and Yahya.

  • But that's not my point. If Mary's father's name was Joachim, then how do you possibly get "Imran" out of "Joachim"?
    – user16329
    Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 16:07
  • Let me be a but more specific. Let's ignore the name "Imran" for now. According to Biblical scriptures, Musa and Harun's father is Amram and Mary's father is Joachim. But according to Muslims, Musa and Harun's father is Amram and Mary's father is also Amram. But Amram's name is mentioned only 3 times in the Quran. Most muslims think these three verses are referring to Mary's father (who was actually named Joachim). But I think these 3 verses are referring to the father of Musa and Harun.
    – user16329
    Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 16:16