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I'm reading Sura 19, Maryam, and while I've always been familiar of the birth narrative of Isa, I never pondered how the Qur'an reconciles the immaculate conception of Maryam & miraculous birth of Isa. Of course, Islam does not believe that Isa is the son of God, but who then is Isa's father?

Isa's identifying title as "son of Mary," places unconventional emphasis on Mary's motherhood because for both texts and cultures at this time, individuals were identified by their male relatives. So does the Quran and its commentators not have any statement on who Isa's father is? Indeed it was miraculous, but how/why would Isa be born without a father?

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What's to reconcile?

The Qur'anic account of Isa's birth is pretty much exactly the same as that held by Christians: He had no earthly father, rather he was miraculously conceived and birthed by Mary.

The only difference between the Islamic and the Christian understanding of this event is that we don't claim that this makes Isa the "Son of God". Rather, the Qur'an explicitly likens his creation to that of Adam:

Indeed, the example of Jesus to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, "Be," and he was. ('Ali 'Imran 59)

God is capable of all things: If He wills to create a human being from scratch, without relying on such mundane things as "parents", this is easy for Him. Isa is no more a "Son of God" than Adam is. He is the son of Mary.

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