When naming the best woman who ever lived, Mohammed named Mary (Maryam in Arabic), the mother of Jesus, as the best woman to ever live.
"When the wife of Imran said:
'O my Lord! I have vowed to You what is in my womb [my child] to be dedicated to Your services, so accept this [my vow] from me. Verily, All-Hearer, the All-Knowing.' Then we she delivered her 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 and I seek refuge with You for her and for her offspring from Satan, the outcast.' " (Quran 3:35-36)
The wife of Imran, and mother of Mary, out of her devotion to God vowed to dedicate the child in her womb to the sacred service of God and asked God to accept her vow. Her hopes were in a male child who will be brought up to service the places of worship and be dedicated to serve God. Delivering a female child, she realized that things did not go according to her plan, but decided to fulfill her vow, and Maryam was the name of the child. And she made a prayer for her newly born asking God to protect her and her offspring from Satan. The verses following described the response of God to the vow and to the prayer of the mother:
"So her Lord accepted her [Maryam] with good acceptance." (Quran 3:37).
Quran verses 3:37 continue ..
"So her Lord accepted her with good acceptance. He made her grow in a good manner and put her under the care of Zachariya. Every time he entered Al-Mihrab (the praying place) to visit her, he found her supplied with sustenance [food]. He said:
'O Maryam! From where have you got this?' She said:
'This is from Allah. Verily, Allah provides sustenance who He wills, without limit.' "
So Mary was accepted by God, and was brought up in a good manner after she was put under the care of Zachary. Through her devotion and righteous upbringing and the prayer from her mother, Mary became the best woman to ever live as depicted in the Quran in the verses 3:42:
"And (remember) when the angels said: 'O Maryam (Mary)! Verily, Allah (God) has chosen you, purified you (from polytheism and disbelief), and chosen you above the women of the world (of her lifetime).' "
Mary Receives a Visit.
In the19th chapter of the Quran (which is called Maryam) Mary receives a visitor from God:
"And mention in the Book, Maryam [i.e. mention, O Mohammed, in the Quran the story of Mary], when she withdrew from her family to a place facing east. She placed a screen from them; then We sent to her our angel (Jibrael, or Gabriel), and he appeared before her in the form of a man in full human form. She said:
'I seek refuge with The Most Beneficent [God] from you, if you do fear Him.' (The angel) said:
'I am only a Messenger from your Lord, (to announce) to you the gift of a righteous son.' She said:
'How can I have a son, when no man has touched me, nor am I unchaste?' He (the angel) said:
'So (it will be), your Lord said: 'That is easy for Me: And to appoint him as a sign to mankind and a mercy from Us (from God)', and it is a matter (already) decreed (by God).' " (Quran 19:16-21)
In these verses, it is described how the pious virgin Mary is visited by angel Gabriel, who appears before her in a form of a man. Not knowing who he is, she fears for herself, but he asserts to her that he is an angel, a Messenger from her Lord, and announces to her news of her miraculous conception of a son. In shock, she questions, affirming her chastity. The angel answers that such a conception, though miraculous, is easy for The Lord, all He needs to say is "Be." and it is. And that these are matters decreed by Him, for greater purposes and to the benefit of mankind.
And then, miraculously, Mary becomes pregnant. The emotional story of her pregnancy follows:
"So she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a far place . And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a date-palm. She said:
'Would that I had died before this, and had been forgotten and out of sight!' Then a call unto her from bellow, said:
'Grieve not! Your Lord has provided a water stream under you; And shake the trunk of the date-palm towards you, it will let fall fresh ripe dates upon you. So eat and drink and be glad, and if you see any human being, say:
'Verily! I have vowed a fast unto the Most Beneficent so I shall not speak to any human being this day.' " (Quran 19:22-26)
From these versus one mentally pictures Mary, driven out of town, out of sight to Bethlehem valley 4-6 miles from Jerusalem, in the pain of labor, and in fear of what is going to happen to her. It is her first child, she has no husband. What will her people, the Jews, say? What will they do? How will she react? With all that, she wishes that she was dead, but the God who gave her the miracle, the God to Whom she worshipped, to Whom she devoted her life, did not forsake her. A voice came from beneath her, soothing and comforting her, and guiding her. And when she gave birth, the voice instructed her not to speak or explain, but make a vow of silence and everything will workout.
"Then she brought him (the baby) to her people, carrying him. They said:
'O Maryam! Indeed you have brought a thing which is greatly evil! O sister of Haron (i.e. O you who we consider the like of Haron, who was a pious man at the time of Mary)! Your father was not a bad man (adulterous), nor was your mother an unchaste woman.' Then she pointed to him (to the baby). They said:
'How can we talk to one who is a child, in the cradle?' " (Quran 19:27-29)
Mary gives birth to the child, and takes him back to her village. And there Mary meets the Jews. Upon seeing her with her baby, they are struck. In their eyes, she has done a heinous crime. Their argument was: 'How could you do something so evil! We always considered you a model person of piety, and you come from a pious family -- known and respected!'. But Mary obeys the commands of her Lord. She is quiet and points to the baby.