Mother Mary and Islam
by Ella Rozett
Related pilgrimage sites:
1. The house in Ephesus, Turkey where Mother
Mary lived with the Apostle John after they
left Jerusalem because of persecutions. This
is where the assumption took place. The occasion
and the site are sacred to Muslims and Christians
alike. Every Sunday at least some Muslims come
here before Hazreti Meryem Ana,
Her Majesty Mother Mary and attend mass. (See
more about this place under "Mother Mary
and the Goddess".)
2. Another site where Mary is honored and
invoked by both Christians and Muslims is the
11th century monastery of Kykkos on Cyprus,
an island inhabited by believers in Jesus and
Mohammed. Followers of both faiths flock to
an ancient icon of Mary, said to have been painted
by Luke the Evangelist himself. Many miracles
have happened when people prayed before this
image. In fact, it is deemed so powerful that
it is treated like the Ark of the Covenant:
completely veiled from sight, but venerated
as the presence of God among his people. (Regarding
Mary as the new Ark of the Covenant goes back
to the first days of Christianity and is rooted
in Revelation 11:19-12:1.)
3. Zeitoun is a town in Egypt where Mary appeared
on numerous occasions between April 2nd 1968
and May 2nd 1971. Over one million Muslims,
Christians, and Jews came to her apparition
site (above St. Mary's Coptic church) and confirmed
having seen her. Many were cured of incurable
diseases. Even the Egyptian government's police
investigation concluded that the apparitions
of Mary in Zeitoun are an undeniable fact.
In countless places where Muslims and Christians
live together they share a devotion to Mary.
Another example is Our Lady of Africa in Algiers,
Algeria, Protectress of Muslims and Africans.
On the wall behind her statue in the Catholic
basilica a big inscription in French reads:
"Our Lady of Africa, pray for us and for
the Muslims." On any given day one may
see Muslims kneeling in the basilica, bringing
their petitions to Our Lady, whom they call
Lala Meriem. A devout Muslim artist with a deep
love for the mother of the great prophet Jesus,
crafted the precious robes she wears.
The Quran, the holy book of Islam, was presumably
dictated to the Prophet Muhammad by the Archangel
Gabriel. It recounts the same stories as the
Bible only in different versions and often with
different interpretations. It tells of Adam,
Noah, Moses, Abraham, and Jesus. Jesus is not
seen as the Son of God but as a prophet. Yet
he is special because he ascended into heaven
and because of his virgin-mother Mary, whom
Islam holds in extremely high esteem. There
are actually more verses in the Quran that speak
about Mary than in the Bible. A whole chapter,
or Surah, is called after her.
Not only that, Mary is mentioned in the Quran
as well as in the Hadith, the traditional sayings,
attributed to Muhammad himself. Here he says
of her: "The best of the worlds women
is Mary. (
) Among women, none attained
perfection except Mary the daughter of Imran
(Joachim in Hebrew), and Asiya, the wife of
Pharaoh" (who saved Moses from her husbands
Marys Arabic name Maryam, is close
to her actual Hebrew name "Miriam",
which became Maria in Latin. On his web site
fonsvitae.com David Burell says: "When
any Muslim mentions Mary, he or she always refers
to her as Our Lady Mary May the
peace of God be upon her."
Apparently Her Majesty Mother Mary reciprocates
the appreciation of her Muslim children. In
Medjugorje she was once asked who was the holiest
person in the valley. To every Catholics
surprise she named a Muslim woman.
Excerpts from the Quran:
Surah 3, called "The House of Imran",
verses 30-41 tells the story of Jesus, his mother
and his grandparents:
"God chose Adam and Noah and the house
of Abraham and the House of Imran above all
beings, the seed of one another; God hears and
When the wife of Imran (Marys mother)
said, "Lord, I have vowed to Thee in dedication
what is within my womb. Receive Thou this from
me; Thou hearest and knowest." And when
she gave birth to her (daughter) she said, "Lord,
I have given birth to her, a female." And
God knew very well what she had given birth
to; the male is not as the female. "And
I have named her Mary and commend her to Thee
with her seed, to protect them from the accursed
Her Lord received the child with gracious favor
and by His goodness she grew up comely (in the
temple), Zachariah taking charge of her. Whenever
Zachariah went in to her in the Sanctuary, he
found her provisioned. "Mary," he
said, "how does this come to thee?"
"From God," she said.
(Then follows the same story as in the Bible
about Zachariahs barren wife Elizabeth
conceiving John "who shall confirm a Word
"And when the angels said, "Mary,
God has chosen thee, and purified thee; He has
chosen thee above all women. Mary, be obedient
to thy Lord, prostrating and bowing before Him.
) When the angels said, "Mary, God
gives thee good tidings of a Word from Him whose
name is Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary; high honored
shall he be in this world and the next, near
stationed to God. He shall speak to men in the
cradle and of age, and righteous he shall be."
"Lord," said Mary, "how shall
I have a son seeing no mortal has touched me?"
"Even so," God said, "God creates
what He will."
Surah 19, called "Mary", verses
"And mention in the Book Mary when she
withdrew from her people to an eastern place,
and she took a veil apart from them; then We
sent unto her Our Spirit that presented himself
to her (as) a man without fault. She said, I
take refuge in the All-merciful from thee! If
thou fearest God
He said, I
am but a messenger come from thy Lord, to give
thee a boy most pure.
She said, How shall I, whom no mortal
has touched, neither have I been unchaste, have
a son? He said, Even so thy Lord has said:
"Easy is that for Me; and that We may appoint
him a sign unto men and a mercy from Us; it
is a thing decreed."
So she conceived him, and withdrew with him
to a distant place. And the birth pangs surprised
her by the trunk of the palm-tree. She said,
Would I had died ere this, and become
a thing forgotten! But the one that was
below her called to her, Nay, do not sorrow;
see, thy Lord has set below thee a rivulet.
Shake also to thee the palm trunk, and there
shall come tumbling upon thee dates fresh and
ripe. Eat therefore, and drink, and be comforted;
and if thou shouldst see any mortal, say, "I
have vowed to the All-merciful a fast, and today
I will not speak to any man."
Then she brought the child to her folk carrying
him; and they said, Mary, thou hast surely
committed a monstrous thing! Sister of Aaron,
thy father was not a wicked man, nor was thy
mother an unchaste woman.
Mary pointed to her child then; but they
said, How shall we speak to one who is
still in the cradle, a little child? He
said, Lo, I am Gods servant; God
has given me the Book, and made me a Prophet.
Blessed He has made me, wherever I may be; and
He has enjoined me to pray, and to give the
alms, so long as I live, and likeweise to cherish
my mother; He has not made me arrogant, unprosperous.
Peace be upon me, the day I was born, and the
day I die, and the day I am raised up alive!
That is Jesus, son of Mary, in word of truth,
concerning which they are doubting: it is not
for God to take a son unto Him. Glory be to
Him! When He decrees a thing, He but says to
it Be, and it is. Surely God is
my Lord, and your Lord; so serve Him. This is
a straight path."
Surah 21, called "The Prophets",
"And (then there was) she who guarded her
virginity, so We breathed into her of Our spirit
and appointed her and her son to be a sign unto
all beings. Surely this community of yours is
one community, and I am your Lord; so serve
Surah 66, called "The Forbidding",
"And Mary, Imrans daughter, who guarded
her virginity, so We breathed into her of Our
Spirit, and she confirmed the Words of her Lord
and His Books, and became one of the obedient."