Saturday, December 23, 2006

Paying respect to Mother Mary, upon her be peace

One of the most commonly held misconceptions among Christians, be they western or eastern is that Muslims don't believe in Jesus Christ and Mother Mary. Even i have experienced church leaders going out and telling at the sunday sermon these wrong stuff either from their ignorance or just to divide the brotherhood and sisterhood of human race, the family of God. A little exploration of Muslim faith will show that Muslims not only believe in Jesus Christ, but also believe him as the promised Messiah and also await for his second coming. Muslim faith is incomplete without the faith in the mighty messenger Jesus Christ. At the same time Muslims hold deep respect for the mother of Jesus Christ, Mary. I quote here from an article titled: MARYAM, the mother of Jesus: the best of women - in order to clear some of the commonly held misconceptions.

You may be surprised to learn that Muslims love and honor Mary, the mother of Jesus (peace be upon them both). In fact, when naming the best woman to ever live, the Prophet Muhammad (upon him be peace) named Mary, known as Maryam in Arabic, as the best woman to ever live!

In the Quran, there is without a doubt no woman that is given more attention than Maryam. She is mentioned 34 times in the Quran and there is an entire chapter dedicated to her and her history, Chapter 19 entitled Maryam. It can be seen that Maryam is highly honoured in Islam by that fact that of the 114 chapters in the Quran, Maryam is among the eight few who have a chapter named after them.

Maryam is also the only woman to be specifically named in the Quran. As a matter of fact, Maryam is mentioned more times in the Quran than in the entire New Testament, and there is more information about her life contained in the Quran than in the New Testament.

Maryam is so highly respected in Islam that she has been described as possessing the perfection of human spiritual attainment, and is revered by Muslims for her spirituality and piety. God says of Maryam in the Quran: “Right graciously did her Lord accept her, He made her grow in purity and in beauty” (Quran 3: 37). Because of her purity and complete devotion to God, Maryam is a role model to Muslim women all around the world, who look to her as the example of what an ideal Muslim woman should aspire to be. (no wonder Muslim women cover their head just as mother Mary did)

However, not only is Maryam a role model to women, but she is also an example to men. Maryam is described as a siddiqa, meaning the Most Truthful, which is the category placed immediately after the rank of the prophets. Both women and men look to Maryam for her sense of spirituality, as she is given the honour of being described in the Quran as one of the qanitin (Quran 66:12), a masculine plural form that indicates one obedient to God. This emphasises the fact that Maryam’s virtue is not confined by gender, and she is an example for all who believe, male and female. Maryam’s spirituality is one of her outstanding characteristics that all Muslims strive to emulate.

Another fact worth noting is that according to some scholars, Maryam in Hebrew means ‘the woman worth two men’. Once again, this emphasises that Maryam is an example to all people, whether male or female, as Maryam was able to have both child and provision and she needed no man for that. Maryam is certainly one of the best examples of a successful Muslim woman, and she is still as relevant to society today as she was in her own time.

There is no faith or holy book that honours Maryam and holds her in such high esteem as does Islam in the Quran. The Quran relates the pure character and high status of Maryam from her own birth till the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus. As an example to all humankind, Maryam was preferred over all women to be the mother of Jesus. This is seen in the Quran when the angels said to Maryam, “O Maryam! Verily, God has chosen you, purified you, and chosen you above the women of the worlds” (Quran 3:42). So it must be understood that Maryam holds one of the most honoured positions in the hearts of Muslims of all times and places.

Muslims aim to completely submit themselves to the will of God, and Maryam is the prime example of this. She showed complete submission to God even when it meant that her own family would accuse her of being unchaste when they discovered she was pregnant (Quran 19:16-21). This demonstrates Maryam’s complete devotion to God, and highlights to us her intense spirituality and piety. Maryam was able to completely submit herself to God, showing that she was a true “Muslim”, as the word “Muslim” means one who submits (to Divine Will). And in the religious sense, Islam actually means peace and purity achieved by submitting to the will of God and obeying Divine law. All these factors are demonstrated in the life of Maryam, a true example of a successful woman. ... read the full article here.

:: Mother Mary in Quran: Also here is an article that compile the verses of Quran which mentions about Mary and her life.
:: Wikipedia article: Islamic view on Virgin Mary
:: The Quranic chapter titled in the honored name of Mary.

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