Mary in Islam

Last week we looked at the important role Mary plays in the Anglican Church now we turn from Christian religions and explore how Mary is looked at in the Muslim world.

In the Islamic world Mary or Maryam is considered one of the most righteous and greatest women as she is the only woman mentioned in the Quran. In fact she has a larger role in the Quran than in the New Testament and even has an entire surah (chapter) named for her. We are treated to the life of Mary from her birth to the birth of Isa (Jesus). According to the Quran, Mary’s parents, Hannah and Imran, were old and childless yet one day as Hannah saw a bird tending its young her desire for a child grew. Hannah prayed to God to grant her desire for a child and if so the child would be dedicated to God’s service. Hannah eventually conceived and bore a daughter and according to tradition she was born without the touch of Satan. Mary was raised by her uncle Zechariah at the temple. Mary grew up and an angel appeared to her, this story unfolds similar to that in the Gospel of Luke. The birth of Jesus is a bit different as from the birth it is said he was talking from the cradle, but we will get to that at a later time.

So Mary is an important figure in the Islamic world as well, and we all should keep her as an example of how to be faithful to God. Therefore we aren’t all that different from one another as Rumi points out “All religions, all this singing, one song. The differences are just illusion and vanity. Sunlight looks a little different on this wall than it does on that wall and a lot different on this other one, but it is still one light.”

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