For example, how old was Mary when she had Jesus?
When we approach the question of how old Mary was when she gave birth to Jesus, it's important for us to recognize and to refrain from imposing on antiquity the norms of the 21st century.
In 2012, mothers' average age for the first birth was 25.6 years in the United States and 28.1 years in the United Kingdom. These ages have been rising. In the 1970s, they were about 20 years, but even 20 years is old by historical norms. Until the age of industrialization and urbanization, girls were married and began to bear children not long after their bodies became ready - i.e., the onset of menstruation - during their teenage years, and the wording in the Bible points to this range:
"Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:26-34)
She is called a "virgin," but also "among women." When Gabriel announces her impending conception, she already is "betrothed to a man" and expresses knowledge of the need for sexual intercourse to conceive: “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
According to the Bible, Mary was a teenager. But according to the Quran (see Bible vs. Quran), Mary was about 1,500 years old, quite older than the lady above, when she bore Christ:
"Then she brought [Jesus] to her people, carrying him. They said, "O Mary, you have certainly done a thing unprecedented. O sister of Aaron, your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother unchaste." - Quran 19:27-28
"And Mary, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity, and We breathed into (her body) of our spirit; and she believed in the words of her Lord and of His revelations, and was of the devoutly obedient." - Quran 66:12
There are a number of "Mary" - also spelled "Maria" or "Miriam" in English - in the Bible. One of them is the mother of Jesus:
"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: after His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit." - Matthew 1:18
But the Mary who is the "daughter of Imran" (spelled "Amran" in the Bible) and the "sister of Aaron" was the sister of Moses who lived in the 15th century BC:
"The name of Amram's wife was Jochebed the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt; and to Amram she bore Aaron and Moses and their sister Miriam." - Numbers 26:59
Therefore, unless Mary was 1,500 years old when she had Jesus - indeed, unless Joseph married a 1,500 year old virgin - Muhammad mistook two different women in the Bible as the same.
Why does the Quran contain such glaring errors?
The proximate reason is that Muhammad was illiterate and therefore could not read the Bible for himself. He had only a vague and often incorrect knowledge of it from what others read to him.
The ultimate reason, of course, is that Muhammad was a false prophet (see Muhammad False Prophet) who did not speak for God and who tried to cover up this and other glaring errors in the Quran that he authored (see Errors in Quran) with Naskh.
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