Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

1/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

To the extent that Islam's view of Jesus is motivated by the spirit of antichrist--a position amply proved by prior articles in this series--Islam's view of Mary is motivated by a like spirit.

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.

Highlights

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Muhammad, antichrist, redemption, salvation, Jesus, Mary, Andrew M. Greenwell


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) -- Without doubt, the Qur'an gives a preeminent place to Mary (Maryam), the mother of Jesus (Umm 'Isa).  It is in fact remarkable that the Qur'an appears to recognize Mary's preeminent sanctity and her virginal conception of Jesus (e.g., Qur'an 19:20-22; see also 3:47, 21:91, 66:12).  Some argue by implication that the Qur'an also asserts Mary's perpetual virginity so that Islam teaches that Mary was a virgin ante partum, in partu, et post partum (before, during, and after birth), but this is highly doubtful since Islam does not not give any particular religious or spiritual value to virginity. 

She appears, like in the Gospels though with markedly different theological meaning, to be the most blessed of women: "Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah hath chosen thee and purified thee--chosen thee above the women of all nations." (Qur'an 3:42)  Mary is an example of fidelity and holiness.  "And Mary the daughter of 'Imran, who guarded her chastity; and We breathed into (her body) of Our spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His Revelations, and was one of the devout (servants)."  (Qur'an 66:12)

She is called by the Muslims Sayyidatuna Maryam (loosely translated as "Our Lady," or "Our Mistress"),  an honorific title not unique to her and which she shares with three other women, Khadijah and 'Aisha (two wives of Muhammad), and the wife of the Pharaoh Ramses II named Asiya (who, according to the Qur'an 28:7-9 saved Moses, though here it contradicts Exodus 2:7, which states it was the daughter of the Pharaoh, not his wife, who saved Moses from death.)  In assessing this honorific title, it should be noted that Mary is not considered one of the Ummahat al-Muʾminin, "mothers of the faithful," an honorific title reserved to Muhammad's many wives.  (Qur'an 33:6)

In the Qur'an, Mary's birth is perceived as miraculous, the result of the pious prayers of her parents 'Imran (a likely confusion by Muhammad with Amran, the father of Moses and Aaron and their sister Miriam, since the name has no relationship to the traditional name Joachim) and Hannah (whom Christians call Anne).  (Qur'an 3:36-38) 

Some commentators even go so far as to suggest that Muhammad taught the immaculate conception of Mary (e.g., Patrick Hughes in his Dictionary of Islam), and point to a hadith where Muhammad reportedly said, "'There is none born among the off-spring of Adam, but Satan touches it. A child therefore, cries loudly at the time of birth because of the touch of Satan, except Mary and her child . . . ."   E.g., Sahih al-Bukhari, 4.55.641.  However, inasmuch as Muhammad clearly rejected the doctrine of original sin, it is not reasonable to interpret this hadith in favor of the doctrine of immaculate conception which presupposes an understanding of the former doctrine. 

There is, finally, no mention of Mary's assumption into heaven one way or other in the Qur'an.

Despite the differences, then, it seems nevertheless significant that Mary is the only woman in the entire Qur'an mentioned by name.  She has an entire chapter named after her (Chapter 19, Sura Maryam).  She is mentioned 34 times in the Qur'anic text, and so, superficially at least, would appear to be given great importance by Muhammad.

Given the rigorously antichristian position of Muslims in all other major doctrines, Catholics with their sensitivity for things Marian have been particularly tempted to see the Qur'anic emphasis on, and positive view about, Mary as a source of possible inroads into the conversion of Muslims.  For example, it was the great Archbishop Fulton Sheen's belief that Muslims, who are notoriously difficult to bring to Christianity, would be converted not through the direct proclamation of the truths of Christ, but rather indirectly, through the "summoning of the Moslems to a veneration of the Mother of God" and through Mary to the fullness of Christ.

The perception is that the Qur'anic veneration given to Mary is a chink in the Islamic armor that allows the the arrow of the Gospel to touch the heart of the Muslim.  This is a popular and widely-held perception.

However, in my view, while undoubtedly well-intentioned, this seems to me to be a theological cul de sac. While this view is without doubt advanced in good faith, sincerely, and with the desire to spread the Gospel, it is my belief that it may be built upon a mistaken and superficial understanding of Islam and its understanding of Mary.

The reason for this is that Mary's titles and privileges, which mean so much to 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."  (CCC 506)  It is the entire first half of St. Augustine's sentence that Muhammad rejects.

Mary's faith informs our faith, is in fact a model for it:   As Blessed John Paul II explains in his encyclical on Mary: "Another essential element of Mary's maternal task is found in her words to the servants: "Do whatever he tells you." [John 2:5]  The Mother of Christ presents herself as the spokeswoman of her Son's will, pointing out those things which must be done so that the salvific power of the Messiah may be manifested."  (RM, 21)  This is absent in the Qur'an.  In the Qur'an, Mary has no faith in Christ as the Son of God, as her Redeemer, as her Savior, and the Mary of the Qur'an does not tell us to do whatever Christ tells us.

The Mary in the Qur'an is not the Mater Fidei and Mater Fidelium, the Mother of Faith and of the Christian Faithful.  The Mary of the Qur'an is a Muslimah, a Muslim, not a Christian.  "O Mary! worship thy Lord devoutly: Prostrate thyself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down.'" (Quran 3:42-43).  She prays to Allah, not to the Holy Trinity.

The Catholic devotional rule ad Iesum per Mariam, as promoted by St. Louis de Montfort among others saints and spiritual guides, works marvelously well, as those who are devoted to Mary (including this author) know.  But it is a rule for Christians, not for non-Christians.

The crucial key to the efficacy of the formula ad Iesum per Mariam is that the Marian devotion has to be authentic.  In other words, it already presumes a deep attachment and faith in Jesus as God, as Redeemer, and as Savior.

As Blessed John Paul II, a Christian with impeccable Marian credentials, wrote in his Letter to the Montfort Religious Family, "[a]uthentic Marian devotion is Christocentric."  (Monfort Letter, No. 2)  The Catechism's presentation is crisp and succinct: "What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ."  (CCC 487

What Islam believes about Mary is based upon what it believes about Jesus, and what it teaches about Mary illumines its belief about Jesus.  So it turns out that we are dealing with two completely different Marys, one true and one false, just like we are dealing with two completely different Christs, one true and one false.  To the extent that Islam's view of Jesus is motivated by the spirit of antichrist--a position amply proved by prior articles in this series--Islam's view of Mary is motivated by a like spirit.
 
As Blessed John Paul II pointed out in his Marian encyclical Redemptoris Mater, "If it is true, as the Council itself proclaims, that "only in the mystery of the Incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light," then this principle must be applied in a very particular way to that exceptional "daughter of the human race," that extraordinary "woman" who became the Mother of Christ. Only in the mystery of Christ is her mystery fully made clear." (No. 4)

The Catechism wonderfully expounds on the "mystery of Christ" in sections 512-70.  Yet it is the very "mystery of the Incarnate Word" that Muhammad rejected, and the Mary of the Qur'an has no attachment--none at all--with the mystery of the Incarnate Word.

The rejection of the "mystery of the Incarnate Word" has more than Mariological ramifications.  It also has Trinitarian effects. This relationship of of Mary to Christ the Incarnate Word is essential in devotion to her as it is Trinitarian only with this link.  "Mary's total relativity to Christ and through him," leads us "to the Blessed Trinity."  (Montfort Letter, No. 3)   Authentic devotion to Mary is inextricably tied to devotion to Jesus as the Incarnate Word and through the Incarnate Word to the Blessed Trinity. 

The Muslim devotion to Mary, while sincerely held, is not authentic because it has no tie--none at all--to Jesus as the Incarnate Word, the Redeemer of the world, and the Savior of all mankind.  It has therefore no Trinitarian tie-in which would make it authentic  "St Louis Marie expresses the Trinitarian dimension of his relationship with God: "Hail Mary, beloved Daughter of the Eternal Father! Hail Mary, admirable Mother of the Son! Hail Mary, faithful Spouse of the Holy Spirit!" (The Secret of Mary, p. 71). (quoted in Montfort Letter, No. 3)  To a Muslim, each one of these utterances is blasphemous, infected by the worst of sins, one that is taught will send you to hell: shirk.  That's how far apart the Muslim Mary is from the Christian Mary.

The Muslim view of Mary is no closer to Catholicism than the Muslim view of Jesus, which means theologically they are worlds apart.  In my view, Muhammad's concessions to Jesus and to Mary in the Qur'an are nothing less an exploitation and perversion of the Gospel calculated to persuade or finagle simple Christians into his greater theological system.  When that failed, Muhammad turned to violence.

Succinctly put, the antichrist  Mary in the Qur'an is a Trojan Horse.  With respect to the  Mary of Islam, we might paraphrase Virgil:

Timeo Mahometanos et dona ferentes. 


Beware of Mohammedans bearing gifts.

-----

Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas and practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He is married with three children.  He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum.  You can contact Andrew at agreenwell@harris-greenwell.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Middle East

Five people killed right after 72-hour truce declared in Gaza Watch

Image of The shelling occurred amid growing White House irritation with the scope of civilian casualties resulting from Israel's ground and air war.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Five people were killed a few short hours later a 72-hour ceasefire was declared in Gaza. Both United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had previously announced that an unconditional humanitarian truce in Gaza would ... continue reading


Report: Forty Five Christian Churches and Institutions Destroyed Since ISIS Established Caliphate Watch

Image of Some reports indicate that ISIS now has roving patrols in the city of Raqqa, including women draped in head to floor burqas, who are ordered to ensure strict compliance with their version of Islamic Dress codes.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

ISIS Jihadist thugs have taken an axe to the tomb of Jonah, destroying it with a kind of gleeful and mad abandon. They ripped down the Cross from St. Ephrem's Cathedral and replaced it with their dreaded black flag.They are massacring people, severing heads, and ... continue reading


'I will not let another Holocaust happen!' Sign the petition in support of Iraqi Christians forced to flee from persecution Watch

Image of Christians in Mosul embrace one another as they are forced to leave absolutely everything behind at gunpoint.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The plight of Iraq's Christians has now lasted longer than a decade, and recent militant uprisings in Mosul threaten to expunge the neighboring Chaldean-Assyrian-Syriac villages. Iraqi Christians have fled Mosul in droves, but some remain behind, awaiting their ... continue reading


WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - Islamic Caliphate celebrates Eid with VIDEO OF MASS CHRISTIAN GENOCIDE Watch

Image of This video capture shows the moment an ISIS terrorist finishes the last man our of what appears to be hundreds systematically killed near Tikrit. Christians are next and may already be included in this number.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic Caliphate terrorists continue to produce and disseminate videos of their brutal executions. In their most recent release, they celebrate the arrival of Eid, the end of Ramadan, by rounding up and executing hundreds of young men, setting the macabre events ... continue reading


WARNING GRAPHIC, RAW PHOTOS -- ISIS on Christians: 'There is nothing to give them but the sword' Watch

Image of Soldier's heads were hoisted on poles as they were killed in Syria.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has warned Christians, possibly for the last time, saying "there is nothing to give them but the sword." Across Northern Iraq, Christians are huddled in refugee camps, trapped in the desert, or trapped in their homes, waiting for death. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Drought now hammering war-torn Syria Watch

Image of The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement warns that limited winter rain and high summer temperatures has affected agriculture and food production across the nation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On top of all the trials and tribulations facing war-torn Syria, a worsening drought there now has "dire humanitarian consequences for millions." The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement warns that limited winter rain and high summer temperatures ... continue reading


'LEAVE US ALONE!' top Israeli official says to Obama Watch

Image of Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel wants President Barack Obama to cease his interference with the Jewish state during its conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While the United States and Israel remain the staunchest of allies, top Israeli official, Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel wants President Barack Obama to cease his interference with the Jewish state during its conflict with Hamas in Gaza. "Leave us ... continue reading


Holy month of Ramadan ends with Eid Mubarak 2014 Watch

Image of Ramadan is an annual celebration held during the ninth month of the 12-month Islamic calendar, starting after the sighting of the new moon.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The holy month of Ramadan ended this year as Muslims worldwide celebrated with prayer and food during the Eid al-Fitr festival this past Monday. The end of Ramadan 2014, the Islamic holy month of fasting, lasted for three days. The event marked the anniversary ... continue reading


Christians flee as Islamic ISIS gets ready for a 'Christian Holocaust' Watch

Image of Christians are fleeing for their lives in parts of northern Iraq where Islamic militants issued an ultimatum to convert or be killed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Iraq will soon be a Christian free nation, the only vicar of the only Anglican church in that country warns. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Canon Andrew White, also known as 'the bishop of Baghdad' gave this warning after the deadline set by Islamic militants to ... continue reading


Massive underground bunkers empower Hamas in Israeli conflict Watch

Image of Other than giving Hamas tax revenue and weapons, the tunnels supply in-demand civilian goods like food and medicine, as well as infrastructure materials including concrete and fuel.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cut off from the rest of the world with three sides enforced by Israel and Egypt, coupled with shelling maintained by sea and in the air above its coastal strip, Gazans have found a way around their confinement by tunneling underground. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 26:11-16, 24
11 The priests and prophets then said to the chief ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:15-16, 30-31, 33-34
15 Let not the waves wash over me, nor the deep ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 14:1-12
1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 2nd, 2014 Image

St. Eusebius of Vercelli
August 2: Christians who breathed a sigh of relief when Constantine ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter