- Religion and Philosophy
Mary The Chosen One
Respect given to Mary
Christians and Muslims both regard to Marry as the mother of Jesus, she is bestowed immeasurable respect from both of Abrahamic faiths, a thing that is not known to lots of Christians. But there are some issues about Mary on which both religions - Islam an Christianity - do not agree. Although she is maligned by Jews yet She is such a recognized figure in all three Abrahamic faiths. In Quran, she is given great respect to an extent that whole chapter is enshrined as ‘Maryam”, which is chapter 19. Maryam is the Islamic name of Mary the mother of Jesus (P.b.u.h), no such honor is accorded to Mary the mother of Jesus in Christian Bible.Out of the 66 books of the Protestants and 73 books of the Roman Catholics, not one is named after Mary or her son. You will find books named after Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, but not a single one is that of Jesus or Mary! Furthermore, in New testament, She is mentioned 18 times and in Quran 32 times.
Respect given to family of Mary
Chapter 3, Ali-Imran is named after her father – Joechim ( named as Imran in Islamic traditions) – His prophet hood is not known. Quran testifies that Joechim’s family was blessed and it is referred in same breath as the blessed families of Adam, Noah, Abraham.
Quran says: “Allah chose Adam, Nuh (Noah), the family of Ibrahim and the family of `Imran above the nations; Offspring, one of the other, and Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.” (Aal Imran: 33-34)
Allah has said in Quran that He chose these people and their progeny for human guidance and their betterment. The family of Imran descended from Ibrahim (Abraham)P.b.u.h. The family of Abraham descended from the Noah and family of Noah descended from the Adam. The family of Joachim has been thus respected in Quranic traditions and widely revered by the Muslims as is by the Jews and Christians.
Chapter Marry 19:22
The birth of Mary according to Glorious Quran
The Quran has revealed the story of Mary in detail, in comparison Christian Bible is reticent on early life of Mary. Anne (Hannah in Islam), the mother of Mary, wished to have dedicated her unborn child in service of God, so She naturally wished for the male child as suitable for the purpose, but God had other plans.
She was sister of Prophet Zachary’s wife, Ann (Hannah in Islamic traditions) and her husband believed they would never bear a child, but upon a sincere and heartilysupplication of Ann and her vowing that born child would solely be dedicated to the service of God’s house in Jerusalem. God answered Her prayer and She eventually realized this great news and became pregnant so turned God for the fulfillment of the sacred promise:
Quran bears witness of this “O my Lord! I have vowed to You what is in my wombto be dedicated for Your services, so accept this, from me. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knowing.” (Quran 3:35)
So the Mary was to come in to this world with a especial mission associated to her even before her birth, Ann in her supplication asked God to keep her child free from worldly affairs and save from the evil. By asking God to keep her child in service, sheindirectly was freeing her child from the bounds of mortal freedom that today’s humanity so aspires to. But to Ann, true freedom can only be attained through the service of ‘The Creator’. So the Mary even before her birth, was the free person, free from any worldly desires and Ann having given birth to female child turned to God for she wanted a male child:
“‘O my Lord, I have delivered a female child,’ and the male is not like the female, and I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge with You for her and her offspring from Satan, the outcast.” (Quran 3:36)
Ann from the very start faced a dilemma of how could a little girl be working in God’s house, as only male child would be suitable for such a mission. Her brother in law, Zachary (Zakaria) comforted her that God knew what she has delivered, and this girl – Mary - is from the best of creation.
Mary as the chosen one
Quran says: Behold! The angels said, 'Oh Mary! God has chosen thee and purified thee, chosen thee above the women of all nations…(3-42)
Mary is bestowed as ‘chosen on’ above the women of all the nations, She was a Jew not an Arab. However her being chosen above the women of all the nations including the Arab, is told to the nation that rivaled Jews. And there is ample historical proof that Both Jews and Arabs rivaled one another for centuries even before the advent of Islam, not surprisingly hence, they still are opponents. Jews used to call Arabs names and as the unlettered people, there was to an extent a Jewish apathy towards Arabs. But Quran goes out-of-the-way telling Arabs of the time and the ones to come later that no Arab woman, or the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) or any of Hs wife, but the woman who is Jewish is chosen above the women of all nations.
Mary was so pious and Godly that every preacher/pastor in house of God contested to acquire her for the guardianship. It was Zachary who eventually became, according to a divine plan, the guardian of Mary who was a especial child for she was going to give a miraculous birth to a very especial person aswell. Keeping the enormity of the task, God made Mary high in character and manner:
In Quran it is evident “So her Lord accepted her with goodly acceptance, and made her grow in a good manner, and put her under the care of Zachary.” (Quran 3:37)
Zachary as a guardian of the Marry built a private room for her, one for she was a girl and two so She can worship God during her private time. He visited her frequently, and often surprised to see fresh food and fruit in room. As per Islamic traditions, It is believed that during winter season she used to have fruits of the summer and during summer she used to have fruits of the winter. One day Zachary inquired of this, and She replied:
“It is from God. Verily, God provides sustenance to whom He wills without limit.” (Quran 3:37)
Marry hears of a son
Mary had a deep faith in God, her entire life was dedicated to service of God, but her faith was about to be tested after she hears of son going to be born of her womb. While she was in seclusion from rest of the society, a man appeared before Mary and said:
“She screened herself from them; We sent to her Our Spirit, and he appeared before her in the form of a man in all respects.” (Quran 19:17)
Mary was afraid and tried to flee. She appealed to God saying:
“Verily! I seek refuge with the Most Gracious (God) from you, if you do fear God.” The angel said: “I am only a Messenger from your Lord to you, announcing the gift of a righteous son.” (Quran 19:18-19)
Mary was baffled after hearing what came off from angle’s mouth, she was unmarried at that point and a virgin who kept chaste, of which Quran bears witness, and there is no better witness than Quran.
"She guarded her virginity, so we breathed into her of our spirit and made her and her Son a sign to the worlds"(Sura al-Anbiya' 21:91).
She rightfully was amazed and inquired incredulously:
“‘O my Lord! How will I have a son when no man has touched me?’ He said, “So (it will be): for God creates what He wills; when He has decreed something, He says to it only ‘Be’ – and it is.” (Quran 3:47)
God Almighty created Adam without either mother or father; and similarly Jesuswas created without a father but from a chaste mother. From a God who only says “Be it” and it comes to existence. Muslims do believe on the miraculous birth of Jesus (P.b.u.h), a birth without male and female intervention, of which most of themodern day Christians are doubtful of. For Muslims it is enough that their Holy book testifies in favour of a chaste Mary (p.b.u.h).
Although Quranic and Biblical anecdotes of Mary have many commonalities but one view that is held by Christians; She eventually marrying, is totally rejected by Islam. Time passed and according to Islamic scholars, time of her pregnancy was normal, and as the time of delivery came near, She retreated to Bethlehem, even though her faith was not to oscillate it was strong yet she was bit anxious and tense. Upon which, Angel Gabriel comforted her:
“ O Mary, verily God gives you glad tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah,Jesus, the son of Mary – held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and will be one of those who are near to God.” (3:45)
Maryam al-Muqaddasa: a film based on Islamic traditions about the life of Saint Mary.
Jesus is born
The hour of reckoning finally came as Mary carried her child to the people. Whoimmediately started accusing her of adultery. Jews of the time said that She was from a respectable and a pious family therefore such an act was not to be associated with Her or Her family. As a result God Almighty ordered her to point her finger to a new born baby – Jesus. People laughed at her and said ludicrously that how can a child talk but Jesus (p.b.u.h) was not a normal child, almost everything associate with Him is miracle and He as a child went on to perform first miracle and began speaking as a child:
“Verily! I am a slave of God. He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet; and He has made me blessed wheresoever I be, and has enjoined on me prayer, and alms, as long as I live, and to be dutiful to my mother, and made me not a wretched tyrant. And peace be upon me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!” (Quran 19:30-34)
Jesus Christ was kind and respectful to her Mother Mary, but Christian Bible paints a complete different picture, St.John in his book, describing the marriage feast at Cana, tells that Jesus behaved disrespectfully to His mother Mary . He calls her “WOMAN,” and He goes on to say to her – “what have I to do with thee?” What connection is there between you and me, or what have I got to do with you?
Maryam (p.b.u.h) is referred to in the Quran (5:75) as a ‘Siddqa’ (truthful one). But the Arabic word ‘siddiqa’ implies more than just speaking the truth. It entails that one who is bestowed such a title, has achieved a high level of piety and righteousness, one who is not just truthful with him/her self or with the humanity but one who is true to God in words and actions. Mary the mother of Jesus, the daughter of Imran, under the guardianship of a Prophet (Zachary p.b.u.h), was one of her kind - the ‘Siddiqa’ - the One who is chosen above the women of all the nations, One who fulfilled her covenant with God by worshiping Him with utmost sincerity and complete submission.
We Muslims revere and love Maryam (p.b.u.h) and Her son Jesus Christ; one of the mightiest messenger of Almighty God. Yet we Muslims and Christians are enemy, I think understanding each other may lessen the animosity between us, after all we all have to turn to God, and it is ‘He’ who would judge us both. So until that time we should try to live in peace with one an other, and be respectful of each other’s faith.