The Antichrist in Muhammad: The Blessed Virgin Mary
Christians and in which Catholics place such hope for dialogue with Muslims and conversion of Muslims, while superficially similar to some of the Catholic doctrines, have an entirely different meaning in the Qur'an. In the Qur'an, they have no relationship in to the Incarnation and Redemption and Salvation which are at the heart of the Gospel.
Mary's titles in the Qur'an and Islamic tradition are theologically false friends.
If Jesus is not God incarnate, the Redeemer of all mankind, the Savior of all men, and Mary not the Mother of God (Theotokos), the Mother of the Redeemer, and the Mother of the Savior, then to what avail does the Qur'an provide such titles to Mary such as a sinless and noble virgin and mother of a mere human prophet named 'Isa?
While Muslims see Mary as the mother of Jesus, the Mater Iesu (ibn Maryam), and therefore hold her in great regard because of their regard for Jesus as prophet only, they do not see her, and--as long as they are held captive by the Qur'an and the false doctrine of Muhammad--cannot see her properly in the order of grace. That is, they do not know her as the mother of God, the Mater Dei or Theotokos, nor as the mother of the Redeemer, the Redemptoris Mater, nor as the Mother of their Savior, the Mater Salvatoris, nor as the Mother of the Church, the Mater Ecclesiae.
For Mary to have any theological, soteriological, charisological, or ecclesiological significance, the Muslim would have first to accept Jesus as the Son of God, as mankind's Redeemer, and as his Savior, and recognize his need to be baptized into his mystical Body the Church. This requires a direct proclamation of the Gospel message that Jesus is Lord and God, and that he came to redeem and save Muslims from their sins, something neither Muhammad nor his Shari'a can do.
"One cannot think of the reality of the Incarnation without referring to Mary, the Mother of the Incarnate Word," wrote Blessed John Paul II in his encyclical Redemptoris Mater. (RM, No. 5) It is clear from the Qur'an that the opposite is not the case. "It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! when He determines a matter, He only says to it, "Be", and it is." (Qur'an 19:35) The Qur'an shows that one can think of the reality of Mary without referring to the reality of the Incarnation. But it is a categorical mistake to think of Mary without giving thought to the Incarnation, which is exactly what Muslims do.
The Muslim's devotion to Mary, as sincere as it may be, is rendered cancerous by Islam's unequivocal theological denial of the divine Sonship of Jesus, the rejection of Jesus as Redeemer of mankind, and its rejection of Jesus as the unique Savior from sin and death. By denying the greater truth of Jesus, Islam mars the subordinate truth of Mary which relies on the superordinate truth that Jesus is Lord, and all that Lordship means.
The Church could not be clearer that our understanding of Mary is directly related to our understanding of Jesus Christ. The Catechism, for example, states:
"The 'splendor of an entirely unique holiness' by which Mary is 'enriched from the first instant of her conception' comes wholly from Christ: she is 'redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son.' (LG 53, 56) The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person 'in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places' and chose her 'in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love.'" (Eph. 1:3-4) (CCC § 492)
Mary's response to the angel Gabriel in the Qur'an is not Christocentric. It is not, as it is in the Gospel: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word." (Luke 1:28-38). As the Catechism explains this verse: "Thus, giving her consent to God's word, Mary becomes the mother of Jesus. Espousing the divine will for salvation wholeheartedly, without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son; she did so in order to serve the mystery of redemption with him and dependent on him, by God's grace." (CCC § 494)
Quoting St. Augustine, the Catholic Catechism observes something essential about Mary which we ought not to forget. "Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ." (
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Muhammad, antichrist, redemption, salvation, Jesus, Mary, Andrew M. Greenwell
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