Mary, the holiest woman ever in Islam

Dr. Adel Elsaie

Source: Page 183

The First miracle of Jesus in The Holy Quran

Mary is the holiest woman ever (Chapter �Surah� 3, verse �Ayah� 42) - not Muhammad�s (Pbuh) mother, daughter, or wife. One complete chapter in the Quran is devoted to Mary with her name as the title of chapter 19. The Bible does not give Mary the same honor. The Quran mentions Jesus and Mary 34 times and Muhammad 4 times.

I tried unsuccessfully to find out what happened to the Virgin Mary after Jesus and what was her role in the early Christian history? To the Christian, Mary is a model to all believers. To the Muslims she is the holiest woman ever among all the Jewish, Christian and Muslim women. When Mary holds such a unique stature, one would be tempted to know everything available about her role. Jesus was obedient to his parents, (Luke 2:51). When Jesus began his public ministry, he called his mother �woman�, (John 2:4, 19:26). Sometimes I wonder if this is the same Jesus that said in Matthew 19:19 �Honor your father and your mother.� This would indicate that Mary�s maternal role on his behalf is finished. It is hard to believe that Jesus called his mother �woman�. Is this a permit for anyone to call his mother woman? Or was this the writing of someone that did not appreciate the mother of Jesus for one reason or another? Looking at the Holy Bible, Easy to Read Version, I found that in John 2:4, the word �woman� is replaced by �Dear woman.� This was a little bit of a relief; at least someone else feels that it is inappropriate to call the holiest woman ever simply a �woman�. A Christian apologist suggested that Jesus called his mother �woman� in a soft tone! There is no knowledge about �tape recording� the tone of Jesus! The question still remains. Did Jesus call his mother woman, dear woman, mother, or dear mother? Did he or did he not honor his mother? And, what was Mary�s role after Jesus?

Surah Maryam (Mary)

There is a chapter in the Quran, named Surah Maryam, �Mary�s Chapter.� Chapter number 19 named in honor of Mary the mother of Jesus. Such an honor is not found in the Bible. Out of the 66 books of the Protestants or the 73 books of the Roman Catholics, not one is named after Mary or Jesus. Mary is chosen in the Quran as having an esteemed position above all the women of the world:

�Behold the angels said: O Mary! Allah Hath chosen thee and purified thee - chosen thee above the women of all nations� (Surah 3, Ayah 42).

This is the position of Mary in Islam. If Muhammad were the author of the Quran, then he would not have failed to include with Maryam, the mother of Jesus, his own mother, or his own wife, or his own daughter. This is one of the proofs that the Quran is not his own work. Keeping in mind that he was, in fact not learned, i.e. unlettered.

The story of Mary is spread into many chapters in the Quran. Mary�s mother, Hannah, was barren. She poured out her heart to God: If only God would grant her a son, she would surely dedicate such a son for the service of God in the temple. God granted her prayer, not a son but instead delivered a daughter called Mary. She was disappointed, because in no way is the female like the male, for what she had in mind. She had made a vow to God. She waited for Mary to grow up to fend for herself. When the time came, Hannah took her daughter to the temple, to hand her over for temple services. Every priest was clamoring to be the godfather of this child. They cast lots with arrows for her to see who would achieve this honor. Eventually she fell in the lots of Zakariya, the father of John the Baptist (Prophet Yahya in Quran), but not without a dispute. Every time Zakariya visited Mary to check on her needs, he found her surrounded by light and food. When he asked Mary where does she get this food, she answered from Allah. This inspired Zakariya to ask God for a son knowing that his wife was barren. So God granted him John the Baptist. Mary�s mother asked for a son, but Allah gave her much more. He gave her a daughter and then made this daughter the holiest woman ever. Such generosity from the Almighty!

The first section of Surah Maryam tells the story of Zakariya and the birth of John the Baptist. The Islamic name for John is �Yahya� which suggests life. The Hebrew form is �Johanan� which means �Jehovah has been Gracious.� The Quran says that Allah, for the first time, named his prophet a name that never existed before, John.

The second section of Surah Maryam, Surah 19, Ayah 16 to 40, tells the story of the birth of Jesus:

16. Relate in the Book (the story of) Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place in the East.

17. She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent her our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects.

18. She said: �I seek refuge from thee to ((Allah)) Most Gracious: (come not near) if thou dost fear Allah.�

19. He said: �Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son.

20. She said: �How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?�

21. He said: �So (it will be): Thy Lord saith, �that is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us�: It is a matter (so) decreed.�

22. So she conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place.

23. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree: She cried (in her anguish): �Ah! would that I had died before this! would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight!�

24. But (a voice) cried to her from beneath the (palm-tree): �Grieve not! for thy Lord hath provided a rivulet beneath thee;

25. �And shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm-tree: It will let fall fresh ripe dates upon thee.

26. �So eat and drink and cool (thine) eye. And if thou dost see any man, say, �I have vowed a fast to ((Allah)) Most Gracious, and this day will I enter into not talk with any human being��

27. At length she brought the (babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: �O Mary! truly an amazing thing hast thou brought!

28. �O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!�

29. But she pointed to the babe. They said: �How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?�

30. He said: �I am indeed a servant of Allah. He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet;

31. �And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live;

32. �(He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable;

33. �So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)�!

34. Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute.

35. 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.

36. Verily Allah is my Lord and your Lord: Him therefore serve ye: this is a Way that is straight.

37. But the sects differ among themselves: and woe to the unbelievers because of the (coming) Judgment of a Momentous Day!

38. How plainly will they see and hear, the Day that they will appear before Us! but the unjust today are in error manifest!

39. But warn them of the Day of Distress, when the matter will be determined: for (behold,) they are negligent and they do not believe!

40. It is We Who will inherit the earth, and all beings thereon: to Us will they all be returned.

The above verses represent the personal side of the experiences of the worshippers of Allah in relation to their families or environment.