Reading the Quran, one thing I have noticed is that Jesus is the only person (I have noticed so far) given the title "son of mother's name". The disciples , the Jews & the angel Gabriel all calling him "son of Mary".

Quran 5:112 [And remember] when the disciples said, "O Jesus, Son of Mary, can your Lord send down to us a table [spread with food] from the heaven? [Jesus] said," Fear Allah, if you should be believers."

Quran 4:157 And [for] their saying, "Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah ." And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.

Quran 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 ].

I'm struggling to find out why the disciples would find the need to call him the son of Mary, wouldn't this be very obvious to Jesus?

According to the information I know about Islam so far, it is the orthodox belief among Muslims that this was 100% genuinely what the disciples said , like a written tape recorder (in their own language). It is also the orthodox belief that Jesus never said he was anything other than a servant of God, and certainly never claimed to be the son of God. So logically his followers would never had thought of him to be anything other than a servant of God. It is also the orthodox belief that the Quran is not a product of Muhammad but a product of God.

But the attitude I (and many others) are getting is that the author of the Quran is making a theological point, emphasising him being born of an earthly mother, in order to deny his divinity as the son of God. This obviously being completely against the teaching of the Quran (because Jesus never gave such an impression to the disciples).

The question being again, what was the need of his closest friends, the angel Gabriel & the Jews calling him the son of Mary?

  • 1
    Because he doesn't have a father?
    – Casanova
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 18:22
  • This would have been very obvious to him, why should it be his title?
    – user22010
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 18:23
  • 1
    Because of his miraculous birth without a male intervention I would guess
    – Casanova
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 18:26

4 Answers 4


Jesus was called Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus son of Mary) because it was the tradition of his people (the semitic Jews) to add the parents name with their names. Jesus didn't have a father or a son, so his sole blood relation would be his mother, Mary.

"Son of X", "daughter of Y", father of Z" and "mother of U" were a common feature of Semitic names in ancient times, and they are still used, for example in Arabic names. They are also common in modern day Israel. See Jewish Surnames and Patronymic names.

The words used are

ibn, bin, ben, bar for son
bint for daughter
abu, abba for father
umm for mother

For example the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) was called Muhammad ibn Abdullah (Muhammad son of Abdullah) and Abul Qasim (father of Qasim). Umar was called Umar Ibn Khatab (Umar son of Khatab). Ali was called Ali ibn Abi Talib (Ali son of the father of Talib).

Among the ancient Jewish rabbis who lived near the birth of Jesus, consider Yose ben Yoezer (Yose son of Yoeser), Joshua ben Perachiah (Joshua son of Perachiah), Judah ben Tabbi, Simeon ben Shetach, Eliezer ben Jose, Johanan ben Zakai, Joshua ben Hananiah, Simeon bar Yochai (Simeon son of Yochai)

For examples in the Gospels see:

Matthew 16:17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.

Matthew 4:21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them,

Matthew 10:3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;

Mark 2:14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.

Mark 3:18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot

Luke 6:16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Luke 3:2 during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.

John 1:42 Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter[a]).

  • 2
    Maybe another reason why the Quran stresses the word Son of Maryam so many times, (and not on other prophets), could be the fact that the people of ahlu kitab either denied him OR called him son of god, or god. So the Quran programs it into the one listening, son of Maryam, not god.
    – Kilise
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 20:49
  • Note in the Bible the disciples never call him by his name. Why would the angel need to mention he is the son of Mary while talking to Mary? it would have been (very) obvious to her that he would be her son. The angel (and Mary) would had known the cultural customs, it is like saying to Mary "he will be a Nazarene" "he will speak Aramaic".
    – user22010
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 22:31
  • 1
    @aaa Its understood that the narrative of the Quran is not a carbon copy of the narrative of the NT, all we can do here is to give the cultural context where the disciples could reasonably have called him "son of Mary". The angel is prophesying the name of the Messiah, and the patronym "ibn Maryam" is part of the name, you may as well argue that the title "His Word" and the phrase "blessed in this world and the hereafter" and in 3:46 "of the righteous" are obvious and unnecessary when he is the Messiah.
    – UmH
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 6:49
  • @aaaa maybe it is useful to calm her bothers about people can think he is son of some man.
    – qdinar
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 7:25

The Jews denied he was of virgin birth and referred to him as "Yashua bin Yosef"; english would be "Joshua son of Joseph"; see Talmud and Historian Josephus. The name "Jesus" is foreign to Aramaic and Hebrew, a Greek distortion in the New Testament which I think translated means "I am".

Only one of the Gospels, Gospel of John, referred to him as "son of God" and I think only in one verse. The rest of the gospels often refer to him as "son of man". I am not sure if "son of man" is acceptable in Islam (another discussion).

The rest of the references as "son of God" occur within St. Paul of Tarsus letters. While St. Paul was a very good teacher and pious person, even he did not claim he was a prophet ie messenger of God. So if he is not a messenger then his writings, sayings, and sermons are based on inferred knowledge, opinion, and interpretation (akil); not transcendentally transported knowledge directly from God (nakil). Another discussion.

To answer your question we have several references to the same person:

According to Jews : Yashua bin Yosef or Joshua, son of Joseph

According to original and arian Christianity: Jesus, son of man

According to Pauline and Orthodox Christianity: Jesus, son of God

According to Quran and Islam: Isa ibn Merriam or ie Isa, son of Mary

All unanimously agree that he was the son of Mary. Mary or the Angel Jibrail named him Isa according to the Quran, Yashua according to gospels. The sh sound is not present in Greek and other languages so the name Isa is universally pronounced in every language and therefore used in the Quran as another mercy to mankind. Just as Musa is more universally pronounceable than Moshe. So we can see why the Quran refers to him as

Isa ibn Merriem

eliminates all confusion and distortion, ie purified pages

repetition for importance and emphasis.

El Hamdu Lilah

  1. I think Allah specially says in that way to tell us, the later generation of Prophet Muhammed through Quran that Jesus is the son of Mary and not His like Christians say. Cause there is only one Jesus who is a prophet mentioned in Quran, so there is not need to distinguish Jesus son of Mary from Jesus son of X or Y.

  2. And it may also be for the fact that Jesus didn't have a father for his birth, so Allah says that he is a miracle by calling him Jesus son of Mary.

I stand with the first point, because Allah doesn't have a children so he repeatedly calls Jesus as son of his mother. Of course there are verse where Jesus is only called by his name. But I think these may be the reason Allah says in several verse as Son of Mary


The reason that Jesus was called the Son of Mary because in the Jewish Traditional culture they would recognize the person under the Mothers Name

  • 1
    Welcome to Islam SE. Please consider editing your answer and add some references. I also recommend you to read How to answer.
    – Kilise
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 19:04

You must log in to answer this question.