(3:33) Truly Allah chose Adam and Noah and the descendants of Abraham and of 'Imran above all mankind.
['Imran was the father of Moses and Aaron, and has been mentioned in the Bible as Amram.]
(3:34) (for His messengership) - a people alike and the seed of one another. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.
(3:35). (He also heard) when the woman of 'Imran said: 'O Lord! Behold, unto You do I vow that the child in my womb is to be devoted to Your exclusive service. Accept it, then, from me. Surely You alone are All-Hearing, All-Knowing.'
[If the 'woman of 'Imran' is interpreted as the wife of 'Imran, this 'Imran must be different from the 'Imran just mentioned (see the preceding verse). In the Christian tradition the name of the father of Mary is mentioned as Joachim. If this expression, however, is interpreted to mean 'a woman of the house of 'Imran', it would mean that the mother of Mary belonged to that tribe. There is, unfortunately, no definite source of information that would lead us to prefer one interpretation to the other, as there is no historical record either about who the parents of Mary were, or to which tribes they belonged. Were we to accept the tradition that the mother of John (Yahya) and the mother of Jesus were cousins, then it would be valid to interpret the expression as meaning 'a woman of the tribe of 'Imran' for, according to the Gospel of Luke, the mother of John was one of the daughters of Aaron (Luke 1:5). ]
(3:36) But when she gave birth to a female child, she said: 'O Lord! I have given birth to a female' - and Allah knew full well what she had given birth to - 'and a female is not the same as a male. I have named her Mary and commit her and her offspring to You for protection from Satan, the accursed.'
(3:37) Thereupon her Lord graciously accepted Mary and vouchsafed to her a goodly growth and placed her in the care of Zechariah. Whenever Zechariah visited her in the sanctuary, he found her provided with food. He asked her: 'O Mary, how did this come to you?' She said: 'It is from Allah. Allah provides sustenance to whom He wills beyond all reckoning.'
[This section refers to that period of Mary's life when she attained her majority and was admitted to the Temple of Jerusalem, and devoted all her time to remembering God. Zechariah, into whose care she was given, was perhaps the husband of her maternal aunt, and was one of the guardians of the Temple. This Zechariah is not to be confused with the Prophet Zechariah whose assassination is mentioned in the Old Testament. ]