Mary in Islam and Protestantism

In December 2003, the Blessed Mother graced the cover of 3 major Protestant magazines with total circulation of more than half a million.

They include The Lutheran – the official publication of the denomination that launched the 16th century Protestant rebellion against the Catholic Church – as well as Christianity Today, the magazine of record for evangelical Protestantism, and Good News, a publication for evangelical Methodists. The articles in all three magazines agree that Protestants have neglected Mary for too long, and that it is high time for Protestants to re-consider the place of Mary in Protestantism.

Indeed, more and more non-Catholics are beginning to find a place for Mary in their religions.

Numerous books on Mary have been written by Protestant scholars, many with the common exhortation for Protestants to take a closer look at Mary. Stories abound about Buddhists and other non-Catholics visiting the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, a traditionally-Catholic symbol of Marian devotion. Muslims, on the other hand, very much revere and respect Mary. In fact, Mary is mentioned more times in the Koran, Islam’s Holy Book, than in the Bible!

Mary is likewise a topic in many ecumenical discussions – scholarly discussions between Catholic theologians, Protestant scholars, Muslims, and other religions with the objective of unearthing more and more “common ground” among the religions. In June 2001, after returning from an interfaith conference held at Lourdes, Cardinal Francis Arinze, then president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, declared that Mary is a starting point for presenting the Christian message to believers of other religions. Participants of the conference included Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran representatives and theologians. “We must thank God for the positive connotations that Mary has for the other religions”, explained Cardinal Arinze.

What place does Mary have in other religions, particularly Islam and Protestantism? What place can she have in the future? Is there a chance, no matter how remote, of the various great religions uniting under the mantle of Mary?

Islam and Mary

Mary is the only woman mentioned by name in the Koran as many as 34 times – more than the number of times she is mentioned in the Bible!

Many Catholics do not know that Mary is very much loved and highly-regarded by Muslims. She is the only woman mentioned by name in the Koran as many as 34 times – more than the number of times she is mentioned in the Bible! An entire Chapter, entitled “Mariam” or Mary, is dedicated to her, and is described by Muslims as among the most beautiful chapters in the entire Koran. The third chapter in the Koran is named after her father, Imran.

The Koran speaks of Mary’s presentation in the temple of Jerusalem, of her purification, of the annunciation, of her virginal conception of Jesus and of the birth of her Son, Jesus.

Mary is recognized and revered by Muslims as the most sanctified and the greatest of all women, the perfection of human spiritual attainment:

“Behold! The angels said: 'O Mary! God hath chosen thee and purified thee - chosen thee above the women of all nations. O Mary! Worship thy Lord devoutly: Prostrate thyself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down”. (Koran 3: 42-43).

Indeed, it comes as a surprise to many Catholics that Muslims accept Mary’s perpetual virginity, and indirectly, her Immaculate Concepcion - two key Marian dogmas. In the Koran, Mary is recognized as the only creature who was immaculate even before she took human form, preserved from sin her whole life. We read in the Koran Mary’s mother praying:

“Lord, I dedicate to Your service that which is in my womb. Accept it from me. You alone hear all and know all. And when she was delivered of the child, she said: 'Lord, I have called her Mary. Protect her and all her descendants from Satan… her Lord graciously accepted her” (Koran 3:35-37).

In another section, the Koran says:

“And the angel said: 'O Mary, Allah has chosen you and purified you. He has chosen you above the women of all peoples. O Mary, be devoted to your Lord.” (Koran 3: 42-43).

The Koran likewise speaks of Mary’s virginity:

“To the faithful, God has set an example… Mary… who preserved her chastity and into whose womb We breathed of Our spirit; who put her trust in the words of her Lord and His scriptures, and was truly devout” (Koran 66: 11-12).

The article continues with Mary and Protestantism - here -

So I obvi do not speak for all Protestants. Most would agree with most all points about Mary, save for her sinlessness and assumption to heaven and being born without the stain of original sin and perpetual virginity and not having other children. Veneration to a point is important because she is the most blessed mother of Yeshua. Actually veneration is the only point that they will definitely agree with you on. I think Lutherans though have a very close view to yours on this subject.

Conversion techniques involving Mary is so interesting I have never heard of that kind of thing being tried. Probably because very few of my catholic friends do cold call evangelism. I will ask the few among them I actually consider christians. This really could only be an opening thing for the reason that just because you agree at one point does not mean you will not butt heads at another

I think it’s incredible how Protestants from today, not all but a lot, try to make mary look like a bad person. They say she had more kids, or that Jesus didn’t respect her at the wedding at Cana, or how she had sin. They think by talking bad about her you shoe Jesus that you love him more. But, it’s way off. You should love her and respect her because she’s the mother of Jesus the second part of the trinity.

I do not think that saying someone had children makes them bad. I think if anything children were thought of as a blessing from God. By all rights my love for Jesus should make what I feel or think of Mary look like hatred. Do I venerate Mary yes and should everyone yes but do I need to accept things the are superfluous no.

Mary’s great! I like her too.

When it comes to Islam, it seems the understanding of the Trinity is a bit warped as it involves Mary:

O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist - it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs*.

Interestingly enough, the Qur’an has Jesus being born of the Holy Spirit… One of the actual Trinity in Christianity.

This is true as I had heard some disrespectful comments about our Blessed Mother. I guess it is an attempt to discourage praying to Mary and at the same time be an affront to our Catholic faith. From what I have read, Muslims venerate Mary more than Protestant Chritians!

I remember being surprised that Muslims venerated Mary and that she was included in the Koran. This was interesting to hear yet more about this.

I’m glad for that.

But the problem most major protestants have is that they say, that we Catholics have it wrong, and they say that Mary did have more children. See that is a huge contradiction to what the Original Protestant leaders said like Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli. They all said that Mary was ever Virgin and had no more children. Which is way off based with what today Protestant preachers state.

Im not saying having kids is bad, heck, We the Catholic Church state that contraception and abortion is wrong, but the Church has said since Christianity emerged that Mary was ever Virgin.

Its just incredible that Protestants say that. I mean if somebody alienates my mom, talks bad about her, I’m not going to like that person, I think Jesus being God would have the same feelings.

I can truly say I’ve never heard Mary disparaged in a Protestant service, and I’ve been to many different denominations’ services. Mary is held up to be blessed, and as a role model of faith. Jesus declares we can have faith akin to the faith of His Mother, and in fact says that those who do His will are His sister, brother, mother.

Protestants believe the virgin Mary was a young lady of faith, who trusted in God above and beyond those around her. Most, such as I, don’t believe in the immaculate conception of Mary, nor that she was sinless. That actually lets us identify with her more, because she was in need of a Saviour just as we are/were. She is indeed seen as the “God-bearer” because we obviously agree Jesus is God the Son. Most of us don’t feel that consummating her marriage to Joseph would be a sin, in fact, consummation is a hallmark of true marriage. So, in short, to us, saying Mary and Joseph consummated their marriage, even perhaps having children together, and that she needed a Saviour, are not negative things in the least and we mean no disrespect. Quite the opposite.

I would point out something from protestant circles that those of you from the RC perspective may not see; the protestants I’ve heard discuss the idea of Mary in Islam are not looking favorably on Roman Catholics and Muslims bonding over Mary, in fact they use it to further attempt to show the dangers of venerating Mary. I believe part of the problem, from their perspective, is that it continues to give the veneer of a link from Christianity to Islam.

So I hear this kind of thing all time but I do not understand what it has to do with anything. What do the beliefs of the people who started the protestant split have to do with me and what I believe? I am not held to believing something just because other people do no matter how influential a person was or is in the church. Here is the crux of the matter as far as I am concerned, unless you are prepared to say that it is necessary that I believe this in order that can be a christian I don’t see why I should accept it. Thinking that Mary possessed all the things I mentioned in my first post adds nothing to my faith. Maybe you will say that in thinking these things are true I will have a deeper y richer walk and understanding of mysteries of the church. When or If the spirit convicts me that I should believe these things awesome if not it must not have been that important.

Until then Pray with me.

This is something muslims parrot when discussing with Christians regarding Mother Mary, which is, the Quran mentions her name 34 times, more times than our Bible.

**Read the Quran and you’ll see that Mary is only mentioned by her name 11 times only. **

Not 34

People fail to see that the Quran titles Jesus as: “Jesus the son of Mary.”

If you add just this alone it’s mentioned 23 times in the Quran

23 + 11 = 34

In closing - NO, Mother Mary is NOT mentioned 34 times in the Islamic book.

Im sorry to burst your bubble, but some churches, do state that Mary had sin, others that Jesus did not hold any esteem towards her (making him break the commandment which states honor your father and mother) others have even called her worse things. Like I said earlier, these things being said is way different from Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli

You aren’t bursting my bubble. :shrug: I’m sharing my experience with Methodists, Baptists, Pentecostals, Church of Friends, Christian church, etc… I’ve been to all of them and never heard Mary bashed. I’m sure there are places that do so, just saying I’ve never experienced it.

One other point, as I said, most protestants do believe Mary was a sinner, just like all humanity, and in need of a Saviour. That isn’t putting Mary down to a Protestant.

I suggest you go to the link and contact them so this can be corrected - if in fact you are correct.

But see that is not right, how can Mary be sinner, if in Job it says that nothing pure can come out of something impure. Or when the Archangel Gabriel, says Hail, full of grace, when your full of something isn’t it common sense that you don’t have space for anything else. Or how about in 2 Corinthians 6:14-15, which states that one cannot be in both sides, of the light and darkness. Remember God molded us in the womb. Don’t you think knowing how great God is that if he did an amazing job with us, that he’s going to one up his mom? Of course he was, because he wanted a mother to be a role model. Yes, Mary needed a savior like you and me, but she gave birth to the Savior. Also, was just as active helping evangelize. When she found out that she will be the Mother of Jesus, what did she do, on Luke 1:39, she went to a region of Judea, to visit and help her cousin Elizabeth. Or how about at the Wedding of Cana, you honestly think that Jesus being God didn’t know that they had ran out of wine, yet he allowed his Mother, to intercede.

I don’t have to go anywhere.

I use an Islamic site to read the Quran on line as well as ahadith and tafsirs.

The word(s) “Mary” appears 34 time(s) in 31 verse(s) in Quran in Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation.

The word(s) “son of mary” appears 23 time(s) in 22 verse(s) in Quran in Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation.

Amen. While I can’t speak for protestants, Lutherans need to do much more regarding the Blessed Virgin. Luther called here the brightest and most noble gem in Christianity, except for Christ. If that is the case, she is the best example to set before our people as the way to be a Christian.


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