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 - all-about-the-virgin-mary.com/mary-in-islam-and-protestantism.html