jump to navigation

Virgin Mary ( Peace Be Upon her) May 17, 2008

Posted by ayaat in stories.
Tags:
add a comment

According to the historical sources, Mary was born at a time when the chaos mentioned earlier in the book was happening, when Roman oppression was real, and the Jews were impatiently awaiting the Messiah’s arrival. She was a descendent of `Imran, whose family had been made superior by God (Qur’an, 3:33).

 God chose her from among them, purified her, and placed her above all other women, for as the Qur’an reveals:

 

And when the angels said: “Mary, God has chosen you and purified you. He has chosen you over all other women. Mary, obey your Lord and prostrate and bow with those who bow.” (Qur’an, 3:42-43)


One of Giovanni Bellini’s masterworks depicting Mary (1481) on display in the Frari church.

The family of `Imran was known to believe in God, to seek His good pleasure in whatever they do, and to always respect the limits that He has established. When Imran’s wife learned of her pregnancy, she immediately turned to God in prayer and dedicated her unborn child to God. It is a sign of her true submission to God that she named her child Maryam (Mary in English), meaning “someone who is always worshipping God.” This subject is revealed in the Qur’an:

 

Remember when the wife of ‘Imran said: “My Lord, I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service]. Please accept my prayer. You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.” When she gave birth, she said: “My Lord! I have given birth to a girl”-and God knew very well what she had given birth to, male and female are not the same-“and I have named her Mary and placed her and her children in Your safekeeping from the accursed Satan.” (Qur’an, 3:35-36)

God reveals that Mary’s mother dedicated her to God, “consecrated for His service.” The Arabic word used here, i.e., muharraran, means “one who is wholly preoccupied with the Hereafter, who has no business with the world, who worships God at all times, who is in the service of the House of God, who is sincere in his or her worship and, who has no worldly intentions in his or her worship.” Imran’s wife asked God to allow Mary to serve only Him, and for her to become totally devoted to His good pleasure rather than other people’s.

 

When Mary was born, Imran’s wife asked God to protect Mary and her descendents from the evil of Satan. God answered her sincere prayer and gave Mary a superior morality. The Qur’an reveals how carefully Mary was raised under God’s protection:

 

Her Lord accepted her with approval and made her grow in health and beauty. And Zechariah became her guardian. (Qur’an, 3:37)


A view of the Sea of Galilee


O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an apostle of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His apostles. Say not “Trinity” : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah. Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. (Qur’an, 4:171)

God states that Zechariah was a righteous servant who was favored over all beings, and one guided to a straight path as a Prophet. God praises him in the Qur’an and points out his impeccable character (Qur’an, 6:85-87). Zechariah, who took on the responsibility of caring for Mary and thus witnessed many of her miracles, realized that she was God’s chosen one.

 

For instance, whenever Zechariah entered the presence of Mary, who always worshipped by herself, he found food with her. The Qur’an says:

 

Every time Zechariah visited her in the praying chamber, he found food with her. He said: “Mary, how did you come by this?” She said: “It is from God. God provides for whoever He wills without any reckoning.” (Qur’an, 3:37)

Mary became well known in her community as a member of her family who was dedicated wholeheartedly to God. The Qur’an speaks of her chastity in particular, as follows:

 

And Mary, the daughter of ‘Imran, who guarded her chastity-We breathed Our Spirit into her, and she confirmed the Words of her Lord and His Book and was one of the obedient. (Qur’an, 66:12)

Mary’s Encounter with Gabriel

Mary’s life was full of miracles, one of which was her encounter with Gabriel. At a particular stage in her life, Mary left her community and family and secluded herself somewhere in the east. There, the Qur’an mentions that Gabriel appeared to her in the form of a man:

 

Mention Mary in the Book, how she withdrew from her people to an eastern place and veiled herself from them. Then We sent Our Spirit to her, and it took on for her the form of a handsome, well-built man. She [Mary] said: “I seek refuge from you with the All-Merciful if you guard against evil.” (Qur’an, 19:16-18)


Van de Velde’s (1851-52) Nazareth water painting, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

 

   

  

 

 

 

  

  

 

 

 

And We sent Jesus son of Mary following in their footsteps, confirming the Torah that came before him. We gave him the Gospel containing guidance and light confirming the Torah that came before it, and as guidance and admonition for those who guard against evil. (Qur’an, 5: 46)

 

 

 

At first, she did not know that the unknown person was Gabriel. Thus, she immediately sought refuge with God when he approached and said that she was a God-fearing believer. Her words make it clear that she was a God-fearing and chaste servant. Gabriel introduced himself by stating that he was sent by God to give her the following good news:

 

He said [to Mary]: “I am only your Lord’s messenger so that He can give you a pure boy.” (Qur’an, 19:19)

When the angels said: “Mary, your Lord gives you good news of a Word from Him. His name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, of high esteem in this world and the Hereafter, one of those brought near.” (Qur’an, 3:45)

Mary received this important news and asked Gabriel how she could have a child while she was still a virgin:

 

She said: “How can I have a boy when no man has touched me and I am not an unchaste woman?” He said: “It will be so, for your Lord says: ‘That is easy for Me. It is so that We can make him a Sign for mankind and a mercy from Us.’ It is a matter already decreed.” So she conceived him and withdrew with him to a distant place. (Qur’an, 19:20-22)

She said: “My Lord, how can I have a son when no man has yet touched me?” He said: “It will be so.” God creates whatever He wills. When He decides on something, He just says to it “Be!” and it is. (Qur’an, 3:47)

Gabriel replied that God has the power to do anything and that He needs only to say “Be!” and it is. This is how Mary conceived Jesus-by the will of God and without ever being touched by a man. Her pregnancy was created independent of the worldly order in a miraculous way. As our Lord reveals, after receiving this good news, Mary withdrew to somewhere quiet. God supported her during that time in every way and provided all that a pregnant woman could wish for psychologically as well as materially. He made her withdraw from her people, who would not have been able to comprehend her situation, and thereby prevented the physical or spiritual damage that they could have caused her.

 

JESUS’ BIRTH

In the Qur’an, God draws the attention to the fact that Jesus was unique in every respect. First of all, he was born without a father. Through His angels, God revealed to Mary before Jesus’ birth that her son would be the Messiah and have many other God-given qualities as well. In fact, Jesus had the honor of being called “God’s Word”:

 


( A voice called out to Mary:)
Shake the trunk of the palm toward you and fresh, ripe dates will drop down onto you. Eat and drink and delight your eyes…” (Qur’an, 19:25-26)

The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God and His Word, which He cast into Mary, and a Spirit from Him. (Qur’an, 4:171)

When the angels said: “Mary, your Lord gives you good news of a Word from Him. His name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, of high esteem in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near.” (Qur’an, 3:45)

In the Qur’an, the expression “God’s Word” is only used for Jesus. God revealed his name before his birth and named him “Messiah Jesus,” as a Word from Him. This is another sign that Jesus’ creation differs from that of all other people.

 

God sustained Mary in the best way during her pregnancy and Jesus’ birth, and also guided her. He made the environmental conditions favorable for her, for since she had removed herself from her family and community, she was all alone. With the help of God, Mary managed this difficult situation by herself and gave birth to her son without any complications. God reveals His grace for Mary in the following verses:

 


And (remember) her who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her of Our spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples. (Qur’an, 21:91)

The pains of labor drove her to the trunk of a date-palm. She exclaimed: “Oh if only I had died before this time and was something discarded and forgotten!” A voice called out to her from under her: “Do not grieve. Your Lord has placed a small stream at your feet. Shake the trunk of the palm toward you, and fresh, ripe dates will drop down to you. Eat and drink and delight your eyes. If you should see anyone at all, just say: ‘I have made a vow of abstinence to the All-Merciful, and today I will not speak to any human being.'” (Qur’an, 19:23-26)

As the verses tell, God helped Mary with revelation and told her not to lose heart. He revealed to her everything that she needed to know, and ensured that she would have an easy birth. God’s grace and protection for her are shown in this event.

 

When Mary returned to her people together with Jesus, her people slandered her with ugly accusations based on speculation, even though they knew her and her dedication, as well as that of her family, to God, and her chastity. The circumstances of Jesus’ birth are, in reality, a miracle that God granted to Mary’s people and proof of His existence. However, her people failed to understand this, and so made unfounded allegations against her and tried to make their slander stick:

 


A Peter Paul Rubens oil painting (1624) depicting people paying their respects to Mary following the birth of Jesus. Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium.

She brought him to her people, carrying him. They exclaimed: “Mary! You have done an unthinkable thing! Sister of Aaron, your father was not an evil man nor was your mother an unchaste woman!” (Qur’an, 19:27-28)

In reality, Mary was being tried with these ugly allegations. For such a devout and chaste person to be slandered in this way is a test from God. When confronted this situation, she turned to God and placed her trust in Him, knowing that He would help her against her people’s accusations. She sought only His help and support and received His favor and mercy.

 

God helped His chosen servant in her time of trouble with another miracle: He revealed to her that she should not speak when her people wanted her to, but to point to Jesus when they accuse her. The Qur’an reveals this order in the following way:

 

“If you should see anyone at all, just say: ‘I have made a vow of abstinence to the All-Merciful, and today I will not speak to any human being’.” (Qur’an, 19:26)

When God gave her the good news of Jesus’ birth, He also revealed that Jesus would speak as a baby in the cradle. This miracle became a big help for Mary from the Lord:

 


Lorenzo Lotto’s (1505-06) painting depicting Mary and the Disciples. This work is on display at the Church of Santa Cristina near Treviso, Italy.

He will speak to people in the cradle, and also when fully grown, and will be one of the righteous.” (Qur’an, 3:46)

In a miraculous way, God made Jesus give the explanation that was expected of Mary. By this miracle, He restored her good reputation and informed the Children of Israel of Jesus’ appointment as His Messenger to them:

 

She pointed toward him. They asked: “How can a baby in the cradle speak?” He [Jesus] said: “I am the servant of God. He has given me the Book and made me a Prophet. He has made me blessed wherever I am, [has] directed me to perform prayer and give alms as long as I live, and to show devotion to my mother. He has not made me insolent or arrogant. Peace be upon me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I am raised up again alive.” (Qur’an, 19:29-33)

Jesus declares that he is God’s servant, that he has been given revelation, that he is a Prophet expected to call to faith when he reaches adulthood, that he must perform the prescribed prayers (salat) and give alms (zakat), that he must respect his mother’s word, and that he will die and be resurrected on the Day of Judgment.

 

This situation proved to the Children of Israel that they had encountered an extraordinary event: the birth of the Messiah for whom they had been waiting. God reveals:

 

… and she [Mary], who protected her chastity. We breathed into her some of Our Spirit and made her and her son a Sign for all the worlds. (Qur’an, 21:91)

The verses also reveal that those people who continue to slander Mary will be punished (Qur’an, 4:156-57).

site in wikimapia

source

Advertisements