Was Maryam A Hermaphrodite?

Question

A Sheikh has mentioned that according to his understanding, Maryam, the mother of Jesus, was a "hermaphrodite" (a rare form of living organism, plant or animal that has both male and female reproductive organs, inside or outside of body). He made this verse of Quran a base of his approach to this matter:

Then when she delivered her child Maryam (Mary), she said: "O my Lord! I have delivered a female child," - and Allah knew better what she delivered, - "And the male is not like the female, and I have named her Maryam (Mary), and I seek refuge with You (Allah) for her and for her offspring from Shaitan (Satan), the outcast. (Q. 3:36)

The part of the verse saying (Allah knew better what she delivered), according to him, is reference, to establish such theory on this matter. What is your point of view of this?


Answer

As for the argument presented by the said scholar it is not tenable. There is nothing in the words of the Qur'an which can take us to that conclusion. We believe that the first part of the verse expresses the unexpected surprise of the mother of Hazrat Maryam who was expecting a male child who could be devoted to the service of God. When she says that she had delivered a girl she was somewhat shocked. God Almighty says that God knew better what she gave birth to. The next sentence which this scholar pleads to for his view in fact clarifies that no male child could equal this blessed female. Leave aside our understanding of the verse and consider the fact that no word in the sentence can be taken to mean that independently. If in some other verses of the Qur'an made it clear that it was neither a male nor a female then one could plead to this verses as supporting evidence. But this group of verses and many others in the Qur'an clarify that it was a miracle of God that Jesus was born without father. There are many clear Qur'anic verses which liken the birth of Jesus with that of Adam who too like Jesus was not born through normal reproductive course.

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