Isa, Jesus, Mary, Miriam, and Linguistics...


#1

I posted this (more or less) on another thread, and received a very unsatisfying answer (which I’ll post). As I am not a linguistics expert, I am open to correction. The following, however, is what I have learned and what I propose for discussion:

What is Jesus’ name?

In Hebrew, it would be Yeshua (with the glutteral stop at the end - Yesh-UA). In the Qur’an, He’s called Isa (with the glutteral stop at the beginning - EEsau). In doing this, they draw a mistaken and quite horrible parallel with Esau (from Jacob and Esau). As there are NO other Esaus in the bible, it is clear that this is a mistake made by the author and NOT an alternate spelling of a “common” name.

Definite assertion: Jesus was not named “Esau”. Esau was the enemy of “Jacob”, a patriarck of the Jews who would be renamed “Israel”. Esau is the enemy of Israel. Would any patriotic and loyal American now name his child “Osama Bin Laden Smith” or “Saddam Husein Jenkins”? Not a chance. It is illogical and without basis for a parent to name their child after their sworn enemy. There are several James in the Bible, a couple of Marys, and even a few Joshuas - but there’s only one Esau. It would be like me naming my child LuciferL. It just wouldn’t happen.

The problem would appear to arise from either an un-discipled christian telling Muhammad what we believe or it may also have been that Jews were saying Jesus’ name was Esau in order to link Him to one accursed by Judaism. I found the following in a biography of Muhammad, which would lend credibility to this theory:

After the death of his grandfather, his uncle Abu Talib then assumed responsibility for raising Muhammad. Abu Talib was a businessman involved in trade so it is likely that Muhammad went with him on business trips and encountered both Jews, 280 miles to the north in Madina, and Christians also to the north and to the south in Nejran. History tells us that when he was 12 he accompanied his uncle on a trading caravan to Syria.

In any event, ***we ***(christians) know Jesus’ name because our Early Church Fathers thought He was God, and preserved His name for us in detail and in many verifiable documents. Muslims logically have no reason to claim they know the name of Jesus with any such certitude; their only argument is that because the Qur’an was “divinely revealed” to them, the New Testament simply cannot be believed - which is circular logic, really. How do you know the Qur’an is true? Because Muhammad says it is. How do you know Muhammad is true? Because the Qur’an says he is.

Additionally, there is the following conflict with regards to the Blessed Mother:

At length she brought (the babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms), They said: "O Mary! Truly a strange thing has thou brought! “O sister of Aaron, thy father was not a man of evil, nor your mother a woman unchaste!”
– Sura 19:27-28

And Mary, the daughter of `Imran, …
– Sura 66:12

Miriam was the sister of Aaron and Moses. Mary was not. They were separated by some 1400 years. Their names do sound alike, though… In any case, here we see how Muhammad would appear to have been led to believe that Miriam and Mary (Hebrew: Maryam) were the same person. Also, we know that Mary’s mother and father were Anna and Joachim (from the Proto-Evangelion of James and other traditions). What’s more, the Hadiths call Moses and Aaron the sons of 'Imran as well, which further confuses the issue by drawing an even stronger link to the Mary-'Imram direct relationship (sunnah.org/ibadaat/fasting/ascen3.htm ).


#2

Here is the response I received:

Actually, his proper name was Eesa which is in Arabic, or Esau in the Hebrew language and classical Yeheshua. and I quote this “Transforming “Esau” to (J)esu(s) - Jesus - makes it unique. This unique (?) name has gone out of currency among the Jews and the Christians from the 2nd century after Christ. Among the Jews, because it came to be a name of ill - repute, the name of one who blasphemed in Jewry (sic); and among the Christians because it came to be the proper name of their God. The Muslim will not hesitate to name his son Eesa because it is an honored name, the name of a righteous servant of the Lord.” So Actually his real name was Eesa § like how we Muslims call him.[Bold added]

and

You and Christian missionaries say that Prophet Muhammad § did not know the difference between Mary the mother of Jesus § and Miriam the sister of Aaron (pbuh). The time span between both was more than a thousand years. In the Arabic construction of the sentence, sister is also considered as a descendant. Thus, when the people said to Mary, Ukhta Haroon i.e. ‘sister of Aaron’ it actually means descendant of Aaron (pbuh). This shows how Much you know the

To which I replied:

My Protestant brotheren won’t let me get away with simply saying that “brother” or “sister” means distant relation when I speak of Jesus’ brothers and sisters (they think Mary had other kids) - I see no reason why I should let you get away with that now. In order to show them that the word has many meanings within the bible, I have to show several other verses which clearly show what I say to be the case (‘brother’ is used where a previous chapter gives the lineage of the same people as ‘son of a brother’ or ‘nephew’), I have to demonstrate from the text that it can’t mean what they say as that would make other verses illogical (120 kids from the same mother, etc.), I have to use typology and prophesy to show how it would be contradictory, I have to show extra-biblical writings which unanimously verify that this is the case, and I have to demonstrate this to the satisfaction of my Protestant brother.

I now invite you to show me that Mary is not the actual daughter of 'Imram according to the Qur’an, and that Aaron is not her actual brother according to the Qur’an.

…To which I received the response that the Bible shows that “daughter” can mean “descendant”, so the Qur’an must be right and I should mind my own business.

Could someone please unravel this Gordian Knot for me?

Shalom,
RyanL


#3

[quote=RyanL]…To which I received the response that the Bible shows that “daughter” can mean “descendant”, so the Qur’an must be right and I should mind my own business.
[/quote]

That’s funny, but I can’t say I’m surprised. Did they cite any specific Bible passages? If not, then it sounds like a pretty typical cop-out to me. Especially when they threw in that you should “mind your own business.” :rolleyes:

Your information was pretty interesting though. I’ll have to look more into that.


#4

[quote=RyanL]I Would any patriotic and loyal American now name his child “Osama Bin Laden Smith” or “Saddam Husein Jenkins”? Not a chance. It is illogical and without basis for a parent to name their child after their sworn enemy.

[/quote]

passed a dentist’s office last Sunday with the name Osama Bin Laden something something (very long name) DDS. Poor chap was probably born before we knew about our “sworn enemy”.


#5

[quote=exoflare]That’s funny, but I can’t say I’m surprised. Did they cite any specific Bible passages? If not, then it sounds like a pretty typical cop-out to me. Especially when they threw in that you should “mind your own business.” :rolleyes:

Your information was pretty interesting though. I’ll have to look more into that.
[/quote]

No, no Bible passages were cited, and the “mind your own business” was a paraphrasing of mine of the response he gave. It more or less said, “Who are you to question the Arabic language? Do you speak Arabic?!? huff and fumes I don’t need to answer your questions (unspoken…because they’re hard!).” After that, no further attempt at explaination was given.

The root of my question is, more or less, if the Qur’an was dictated by God through Gabriel, why the apparent errors?

RyanL


#6

[quote=exoflare]That’s funny, but I can’t say I’m surprised. Did they cite any specific Bible passages? If not, then it sounds like a pretty typical cop-out to me. Especially when they threw in that you should “mind your own business.” :rolleyes:

Your information was pretty interesting though. I’ll have to look more into that.
[/quote]

No, no Bible passages were cited, and the “mind your own business” was a paraphrasing of mine of the response he gave. It more or less said, “Who are you to question the Arabic language? Do you speak Arabic?!? huff and fumes I don’t need to answer your questions (*unspoken…because they’re *hard!**).” After that, no further attempt at explaination was given.

The root of my question is, more or less, if the Qur’an was dictated by God through Gabriel, why the apparent errors?

RyanL


#7

bump


#8

It deserves a bump!!!


#9

Have I asked an unanswerable question? :whistle:


#10

…You know, you can tell me if I have gone too far and am now being shunned…I can take it…:hmmm:

RyanL


#11

The problem would appear to arise from either an un-discipled christian telling Muhammad what we believe or it may also have been that Jews were saying Jesus’ name was Esau in order to link Him to one accursed by Judaism. I found the following in a biography of Muhammad, which would lend credibility to this theory:
[/font] [font=Arial]

Have you read the Quran? I seriously dont understand how anyone can say that Mohamed recieved this info from someone else on his trips to different areas. Have you read it?!

I dont know the answer to this question…God willing post it on whyislam.org/forum there are many muslims there

Miriam was the sister of Aaron and Moses. Mary was not. They were separated by some 1400 years. Their names do sound alike, though… In any case, here we see how Muhammad would appear to have been led to believe that Miriam and Mary (Hebrew: Maryam) were the same person. Also, we know that Mary’s mother and father were Anna and Joachim (from the Proto-Evangelion of James and other traditions). What’s more, the Hadiths call Moses and Aaron the sons of 'Imran as well, which further confuses the issue by drawing an even stronger link to the Mary-'Imram direct relationship (sunnah.org/ibadaat/fasting/ascen3.htm ).

Chatper Mary! One of my favorite chapters in the Quran. God doesnt call Mary the sister of Aaron. The people do. Read the chapter, and I will explain the context…but you should get it by reading. let me know


#12

[quote=Faith101]Chatper Mary! One of my favorite chapters in the Quran. God doesnt call Mary the sister of Aaron. The people do. Read the chapter, and I will explain the context…but you should get it by reading. let me know
[/quote]

I have read most of the Qur’an in bits and pieces, but it has been a long time since I have tried to work straight through. As for Mary - are you saying that God allowed things into the Qur’an that were incorrect, and did not bother to offer rebuke?

Shalom,
RyanL


#13

[quote=RyanL]Have I asked an unanswerable question? :whistle:
[/quote]

Peace Ryan…

I think we have a total of 4 muslims on this entire forum…with 100 threads about misconceptions of Islam…they spread pretty thinly.

Go to whyislam.org/forum where there are more muslims, hopefully they can answer your question


#14

[quote=RyanL]I have read most of the Qur’an in bits and pieces, but it has been a long time since I have tried to work straight through. As for Mary - are you saying that God allowed things into the Qur’an that were incorrect, and did not bother to offer rebuke?

Shalom,
RyanL
[/quote]

you didnt read the context! ok, here goes

When Mary came to the people carrying a baby (Jesus Christ peace be upon him)…ahh let me just paste the verses

At length she brought the (babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: “O Mary! truly an amazing thing hast thou brought!
O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!” (19:27-28)

From my studies…the people called her a “sister of aaron” as we are all sisters and brothers in belief in God. They are saying “how could you do sucha thing, oh sister of a pious man.”

In terms of God rebuking…there is nothign to rebuke…God is telling us the story of what happened. Other tings that people have said are recorded in the Quran like pharoah saying “I am god, the great” is that true? NOO…but its what happened

i hope that makes sense


#15

[quote=Faith101]From my studies…the people called her a “sister of aaron” as we are all sisters and brothers in belief in God. They are saying “how could you do sucha thing, oh sister of a pious man.”

In terms of God rebuking…there is nothign to rebuke…God is telling us the story of what happened. Other tings that people have said are recorded in the Quran like pharoah saying “I am god, the great” is that true? NOO…but its what happened
[/quote]

Faith101,

I have just finished reading Surah Maryam, and I believe I understand the context. Can you show me anywhere else in the Qur’an where someone is called a “brother” or “sister” where the literal sense is clearly not meant?

As for a rebuke - I agree, one is not necessary, unless the people were saying that Mary was the literal sister of Aaron. So far, I have seen no evidence that it means what you claim. I understand how allegorically we can all be brothers and sisters, as long as God is acknowledged as the Father, but I have yet to read where in the Qur’an that backdrop is used…

Shalom,
RyanL

(Oh…and I understand about taking your time to answer…sorry if I was impatient!)


#16

[quote=Faith101]"…O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!" (19:27-28)

From my studies…the people called her a “sister of aaron” as we are all sisters and brothers in belief in God. They are saying “how could you do sucha thing, oh sister of a pious man.”

… its what happened
[/quote]

I’ve been thinking about it, and what you are saying is that this term of respect (“Sister of Aaron”) was used by the people at that time (“it’s what happened”). If this was, indeed, a saying used by the people of New Testament times (or earlier), [font=Arial]there would be one place we would be sure to see it - in the Bible. But there is no place where Mary or anyone else is metaphorically called “sister of Aaron”. Perhaps I am being too narrow. Let’s expand our search to find, “sister of Aaron”, “brother of Aaron”, “sister of Moses”, and “brother of Moses”, used as a metaphor.[font=Arial] Again, there is no one metaphorically referred to in the Bible as any of the above. Moses was truly a great Israelite leader. Certainly if the Jews were going to call people “brother” or “sister” after saints of old, Moses would get his fair share of people identified with him. I would expect that he would get a larger amount of people called after him than Aaron would. But, no where, is it found in the Bible that anyone is called, “brother of Moses”, “sister of Aaron”, etc.

Because I understand that you are short on time, I have taken a look into what the Qur’an says about “brothers” and “sisters”. I have found [/font]that there are about 14 times the actual Arabic word “sister” (ukhtun) is used in the Qur’an. One time it refers to “Mary, sister of Aaron”. Eleven times it refers to a blood relative, one time it is used as “sister-nation” (7:38), and one time it refers to “sister-sign”, (43:48). Each of the metaphorical uses of “sister” refers to a case of concurrent relationship. And, in each use of relational “sister”, the reference is to an actual relative. I expanded the search to include, “brother of Aaron”, “sister of Moses”, and “brother of Moses”. Again, at no time is the idiom used to represent someone being called “brother” or “sister” with respect to someone who has preceded him by hundreds of years. Further, I find that “brother” (akhun) is used about 82 times in the Qur’an. Much of the time it is used literally. Many times it is used metaphorically, as in living Muslims being “brothers” in the faith, or one man being a “brother” to his living tribe. In no case is it ever used to metaphorically between a living man, and one who has preceded him by hundreds of years. In other words, there is no other textual support for this idiom’s model in the Qur’an. I’ll also note that Aaron is mentioned about 20 times in the Qur’an. Only Mary is called “sister of Aaron” after him. Moses is mentioned I would say about 150 times, more or less. In no instance, is anyone called, “brother or sister of Moses” metaphorically.
[/font][font=&quot][font=Arial] Am I missing something?

Shalom,
RyanL
[/font][/font]


#17

Faith101,

I have just finished reading Surah Maryam, and I believe I understand the context. Can you show me anywhere else in the Qur’an where someone is called a “brother” or “sister” where the literal sense is clearly not meant?

not a problem.

To the Madyan (people) (We sent) their BROTHER Shu’aib. Then he said: “O my people! serve Allah, and fear the Last Day: nor commit evil on the earth, with intent to do mischief.” (Chapter #29, Verse #36)

Shu’aib (pbuh) is a Prophet…not sure of his english name…but his daughter is believed to be the woman that Moses (pbuh) married. I’ve also found the similar verses talking about Noah and Hud (english name?) and Lot and others that referred to them as brothers to the people that they were sent to (also means that God chose people from among themselves to relay to them the message)

Its stated clearly here

The Believers are but a single BROTHERhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) BROTHERs; and fear Allah, that ye may receive Mercy. (Chapter #49, Verse #10)

Also, this is a statemtent the Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) made about Jesus (pbuh).

"Both in this world and in the Hereafter, I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, the son of Mary. The prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one.


#18

I’ve been thinking about it, and what you are saying is that this term of respect (“Sister of Aaron”) was used by the people at that time (“it’s what happened”). If this was, indeed, a saying used by the people of New Testament times (or earlier), there would be one place we would be sure to see it - in the Bible. But there is no place where Mary or anyone else is metaphorically called “sister of Aaron”. Perhaps I am being too narrow. Let’s expand our search to find, “sister of Aaron”, “brother of Aaron”, “sister of Moses”, and “brother of Moses”, used as a metaphor.[font=Arial] Again, there is no one metaphorically referred to in the Bible as any of the above. Moses was truly a great Israelite leader. Certainly if the Jews were going to call people “brother” or “sister” after saints of old, Moses would get his fair share of people identified with him. I would expect that he would get a larger amount of people called after him than Aaron would. But, no where, is it found in the Bible that anyone is called, “brother of Moses”, “sister of Aaron”, etc

Just because its not in there, doesnt mean people didnt do it. Also there are things found in the Quran that are not in the bible…for instance the additional miracle of Jesus talking as a baby defending his mother against those who called her unchaste.

Try not to look at the Quran with Bible eyeglasses.

In no case is it ever used to metaphorically between a living man, and one who has preceded him by hundreds of years

It is in the accepted saying of the Prophet (look at post above)

In other words, there is no other textual support for this idiom’s model in the Qur’an. I’ll also note that Aaron is mentioned about 20 times in the Qur’an. Only Mary is called “sister of Aaron” after him. Moses is mentioned I would say about 150 times, more or less. In no instance, is anyone called, “brother or sister of Moses” metaphorically.
[/font][font=Arial][font=&quot][font=Arial] Am I missing something?

In all honesty, what are you trying to say? I showed you above how people living at the same time and people living at separate times can be called brothers…both in the Quran and Hadith.

For someone who can understand the trinity, I am rather confused why you cant understand this.


#19

[quote=Faith101]Just because its not in there, doesnt mean people didnt do it. Also there are things found in the Quran that are not in the bible…for instance the additional miracle of Jesus talking as a baby defending his mother against those who called her unchaste.

Try not to look at the Quran with Bible eyeglasses.
[/quote]

I don’t know about the part where he’s defending his mother, but the part where Jesus is speaking in the cradle actually comes from the heretical gospels. These legends were already circulating in the times directly after Jesus, and there was nothing new or novel about them by the 7th century. However, they had already been rejected as truth and were not included in the Bible when it was compiled long before.


#20

[quote=exoflare]I don’t know about the part where he’s defending his mother, but the part where Jesus is speaking in the cradle actually comes from the heretical gospels. These legends were already circulating in the times directly after Jesus, and there was nothing new or novel about them by the 7th century. However, they had already been rejected as truth and were not included in the Bible when it was compiled long before.
[/quote]

Mary was a virgin right. She had a baby right. SO no one is going to be lieve a woman when she says “i know i have this baby, but Im still a virgin!” That is why in the Quran, they harassed her as she came in with her child, making fun of her. And that is why Jesus peace be upon him spoke in the cradle…to defend his mother so that people would know that she is a righteous woman. Makes sense…otherwise, why wasnt she killed for having premarital sex. Or did people think she was married and then not a virgin?


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.