All About Mary

Religion Wall Stone Church Engraving Virgin Mary
All About Mary

I am here to explore Mary mother of Jesus/God through the words of the, Qur’an, Bible and Gnostic gospels.

The Qur’an is the inspired scripture of Islam; in the year 610 CE the revelation began with the sending down of the first 5 Ayat of Surah (chapter) 96 The Pen.

The Angel Jibril (as) appeared to Muhammad when he was in the Cave on Mount Hira for meditation during the month of Ramadan, he received the first revelation from the Archangel Jibril (Gabriel). On this first appearance, Gabriel (as) said to Muhammad: “Iqraa,” meaning Read or Recite and Muhammad said I cannot read; after the third order to recite Jibril embraced him with a mighty embrace and again said repeat after me “Recite in the name of your Lord who created! He created man from that which clings. Recite; and thy Lord is most Bountiful, He who has taught by the pen, taught man what he knew not.”

Jibril (as) visited the Prophet as commanded by Allah revealing Ayat (meaning signs, loosely referred to as verses) in Arabic over a period of twenty-three years. The revelations that he received were sometimes a few verses, a part of a chapter or the whole chapter. Sometimes revelations came down in response to an inquiry by the nonbelievers.

The revealed verses were recorded on a variety of available materials (leather, palm leaves, bark, shoulder bones of animals), memorized as soon as they were revealed, and were recited in daily prayers by Muslims [Qur’an 80:13-16]. Angel Gabriel taught the order and arrangement of verses, and the Prophet instructed his several scribes to record them in that order [Qur’an 75:16-19 and 41:41-42]. Once a year, the Prophet used to recite all the verses revealed to him up to that time to Gabriel to authenticate the accuracy of recitation and the order of verses [Qur’an 17:106]. All the revealed verses (over a period of 23 years and ending in 632 CE) were compiled in the book known as Qur’an.

Over the centuries Mari ‘am yasue, Mary mother of Jesus, who first of all appeared in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Q 3,19 moved from the ordinary Jewish mother to the Mother of God and co-redeemer, one akin to deity. These concepts are not Biblical nor Qur’anic, much of our Christian mythology in many areas come from the Gnostic gospels.

On the Arabic Peninsular when Islam arose there was no Arabic Bible, until the year 1000, and so the Qur’an was the only commentary on the Bible in the classic Arabic of its immediate intended readers. Christians in the Qur’an’s environment would have heard the Bible not in Greek, but in the Syriac translation of the Bible known as the Peshitta.

The Quran was also the reflection of the heresies in the Eastern Churches at that time. – another address

We all want to read as complete a biography of someone as we can If we only consider the Biblical Canonical Gospels we find very little about Mary herself- These are the incidents we need or desire to know.

Her parentage, and the Birth, occupation – These are not found in the Bible, then the accounts of her family life.  The Annunciation to Mary by the Angel Gabriel, Jesus’ Nativity, her interactions with the child Jesus and the adult Jesus the crucifixion and her later life. We will find some of these accounts echoed in the Qur’an. Though nowhere in any Gospel, Gnostic or otherwise or the Quran can we find a description of the Assumption of Mary.

The Gnostic gospels and literature, along with the Qur’an speak of the barrenness of Anna and the desire Joachim and Anna have for a child. Something we have pondered –  where, how did Mary come into this world.

Conception of Mary

Anna and Joachim were childness, Joachim was very rich and always gave double offering and as “the feast of the dedication drew near, Joachim, with some others of his tribe, went up to Jerusalem, and at that time, Issachar was high-priest; went to make his offering, as usual. However, because he had no seed in Israel Ruben forbade him to make his offering to the Lord. Joachim was saddened and went into the desert for 40 days and nights, fasting, leaving Anna bemoaning her barrenness and her widowhood.

” Suddenly, an angel of the Lord stood in front of her, saying, “Anna, Anna, the Lord God has heard your prayer. You will conceive and give birth and your child will be spoken of everywhere people live.” (THE INFANCY GOSPEL OF JAMES CHAPTER 4 verse 1)

Anna promised God that no matter the sex of the child she would dedicate it to the Temple.

Two angels appeared to Joachim telling him that Anna had conceived a child, hence the Immaculate Conception for Anna had conceived by the Holy Spirit “3 Be not afraid, Joachim, nor troubled at the sight of me, for I am an angel of the Lord sent by him to you, that I might inform you, that your prayers are heard, and your alms ascended in the sight of God.’(The GOSPEL of the BIRTH OF MARY.), Ch 2 v 3

Dedication to the Temple

The Qur’an puts it this way: [Mention, O Muhammad], when the wife of ‘Imran said, “My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service], so accept this from me. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing.” But when she delivered her, she said, “My Lord, I have delivered a female.” And Allah was most knowing of what she delivered, “And the male is not like the female. And I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the mercy of Allah]. “So, her Lord accepted her with good acceptance and caused her to grow in a good manner and put her in the care of Zechariah.”

(Q3 35,36,37a SAHIH INTERNATIONAL)

Presented to the Temple/ Zechariah as ward

When Mary was three years of age her parents called all the pure women of the Hebrews to bring their lamps to light Mary’s way to the Temple. Mary climbed the steps into the Temple and never did she look back the priest blessed her and said “The Lord God has magnified your name for all generations; (8) through you the Lord will reveal deliverance to the children of Israel in the last days.” (THE INFANCY GOSPEL OF JAMES CHAPTER 7verse 7,8) And while Mary was there she received food from the hand of the angels, Zechariah said “O Mary, from where is this [coming] to you?” She said, “It is from Allah. Indeed, Allah provides for whom He wills without account.”. (Q3 37b SAHIH INTERNATIONAL)

[Apparently it was a practice among the Hebrews to dedicate daughters   to serve the Temple These are pious women devoted to a liturgical function. In fact, the Court of Women might exist formally for these special “liturgical women.”.]’ And you, you virgins; who weave fine linen   And silk with gold of Ophir’,[ 5. Baruch’s Complaint and God’s Reassurance 2 Baruch THE BOOK OF THE APOCALYPSE OF BARUCH THE SON OF NERIAH 6-8 verse 19]

Yusuf Ali says in his tafsir

The mother of Mary expected a male child. Was she disappointed that it was

a female child? No, for she had faith, and she knew that Allah’s Plan was better

than any wishes of hers. Mary was no ordinary girl: only Allah knew what it was

that her mother brought forth.

 The female child could not be devoted to Temple service under the Mosaic

law, as she intended. But she was marked out for a special destiny as a miracle child,

to be the mother of the miracle-child Jesus. She was content to seek Allah’s

protection for her against all evil. There is a certain sense of pride in the girl on

the part of the mother.

Again Yusef Ali writes in his tafsir:

When Mary was twelve years of age and had entered into womanhood the Priests were concerned that she might pollute the sanctuary. The Qur’an 3:44 has it “when they cast their pens as to which of them should be responsible for Mary, it is Zechariah who makes a home for her in his private apartment(Q19) The Gnostics say that at this time all the widowers of Israel were summoned to the Temple, each one given a staff. (8) And the one whom the Lord God points out with a sign, she will be his wife.” (9) So the heralds went out to the whole surrounding area of Judea and the trumpet of the Lord rang out and all the men rushed in.’(Infancy Gospel of James)

And the high priest said, “Joseph! Joseph! You have been chosen by lot to take the virgin into your own keeping.” For Josephs staff had received the sign of the Dove (Infancy gospel of James 9:7) And Joseph took her home as guardian.

 

Conception of Jesus

 

Sometime later Mary and all the other pure virgins of Israel were recalled to the temple to spin thread for the curtains, and Mary was chosen to work with the purple and silver, etc. And while there 5)’ an angel stood before her saying, “Do not be afraid Mary. You have found grace before the Lord of all. You will conceive from his word the power of God will come over you. Thus, the holy one who is born will be called son of the highest. (8) And you will call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (9) And Mary said, “See, I am the servant of the Lord before him. Let it happen to me according to what you say.”(Infancy gospel 11.7a-9)

 

As we see the words of the angel are similar to that of the Canonical Gospel of St Luke.” Mary said ‘let it be done to me as you say”” [And mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah]. Q3:44, as does the Qur’an,

Again, this demonstrates the virginity of Mary since Joseph/Zechariah is not present.

When Joseph noticed Mary’s pregnancy as did the High Priest they were both subjected to trial by the water of the wrath of God and were sent into the desert from where they returned unharmed therefore proving that they were both pure.

Luke 1:

The Nativity of Jesus

 

“And there was no room in the Inn”

And when Mary’s time came she took shelter in a cave while Joseph searched for a Hebrew Midwife, having found one it was unnecessary, and the Midwife meeting Salome on the way retold the story and Salome examined Mary most privately to discover that Mary was indeed still a virgin, she was. (infancy Narrative 19.19-21.1) The ensuing Narrative is a merging of Matthew and Luke’s Nativity stories except that Zechariah is murdered and Simeon made Priest in his sted.

The annunciation and the Birth of Jesus Q19

And his humanity

( 16 )   And mention, [O Muhammad], in the Book [the story of] Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place toward the east.

( 17 )   And she took, in seclusion from them, a screen. Then We sent to her Our Angel, and he represented himself to her as a well-proportioned man.

( 18 )   She said, “Indeed, I seek refuge in the Most Merciful from you, [so leave me], if you should be fearing of Allah.”

( 19 )   He said, “I am only the messenger of your Lord to give you [news of] a pure boy.”

( 20 )   She said, “How can I have a boy while no man has touched me and I have not been unchaste?”

( 21 )   He said, “Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign to the people and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter [already] decreed.’ ”

( 22 )   So she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a remote place.

( 23 )   And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. She said, “Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten.”

( 24 )   But he called her from below her, “Do not grieve; your Lord has provided beneath you a stream.

( 25 )   And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates.

 

26 )   So eat and drink and be contented. And if you see from among humanity anyone, say, ‘Indeed, I have vowed to the Most Merciful abstention, so I will not speak today to [any] man.’ ”

( 27 )   Then she brought him to her people, carrying him. They said, “O Mary, you have certainly done a thing unprecedented.

( 28 )   O sister of Aaron, your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother unchaste.”

( 29 )   So she pointed to him. They said, “How can we speak to one who is in the cradle a child?”

( 30 )   [Jesus] said, “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet.

( 31 )   And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakah as long as I remain alive

( 32 )   And [made me] dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant.

( 33 )   And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive.”

 

( 34 )   That is Jesus, the son of Mary – the word of truth about which they are in dispute.

( 35 )   It is not [befitting] for Allah to take a son; exalted is He! When He decrees an affair, He only says to it, “Be,” and it is.

( 36 )   [Jesus said], “And indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path.”

( 37 )   Then the factions differed [concerning Jesus] from among them, so woe to those who disbelieved – from the scene of a tremendous Day.

( 38 )   How [clearly] they will hear and see the Day they come to Us, but the wrongdoers today are in clear error.

 

In the bible we believe Jesus was crucified dead and buried, rose from the dead and Ascended into heaven. Mary, his other was one of the women present at his death. The bible and Quran both show that Mary was never mentioned for her own sake once Jesus was born and thereafter was not mentioned unless Jesus too ,was mentioned.

That “Woman behold thy” son etc

Mary’s spiritual maternity begins at the foot of the cross. In the disciple who has been entrusted to her, Mary not only sees a dear friend of her son, but all disciples of Jesus who have now become her children in a radically new way. This new People of God is really the Church, and Mary is the Church in her maternal role of welcoming God’s word and God’s people as her own.2

Mary spends her last days near Jerusalem

There are no records anywhere though there is this: As legend says, Mary did not live in the city of Ephesus itself because she liked remoteness, so she inhabited a small house on a hill to the left of the road from Jerusalem. It was a very lonely place, but had many fertile slopes as well as rock caves where several Christian family members and friends of Mary already lived. John had a house built for her there. She lived in what one would call a scattered village, as there were both Jewish and Christian settlers living in caves fitted out with woodworks, or in huts or tents. Mary’s house was the only one built of stone.

Mary as Deity

Jesus’ statement, on the Day of Judgment, that his people made him a “god” after his death, is recorded in the Holy Quran as follows:

“And when God will say: ‘O Jesus, did you say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides God?’ He will reply: ‘Glory be to Thee! it was not for me to say what I had no right to say. If I had said it, Thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I know not what is in Thy mind. Surely Thou art the great Knower of the unseen. I said to them naught save as Thou didst command me: Serve God, my Lord and your Lord; and I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when Thou didst cause me to die Thou wast the Watcher over them. And Thou art Witness of all things’.” (5:116, 117)

 

Bibliography

  • Al-Quran – القرآن الكريم. 2017. Surah Ali ‘Imran [3] – Al-Qur’an al-Kareem – [ONLINE] Available at: https://quran.com/3. [Accessed 28 October
2017]
  • The PROTEVANGELION; or, An Historical Account of the BIRTH of CHRIST, and the Perpetual VIRGIN MARY, his Mother, by JAMES THE LESSER, Cousin and Brother of the Lord Jesus, chief Apostle and first Bishop of the Christians in Jerusalem. Arizona State University | Ranked #1 university in the US for innovation | ASU. 2017. Arizona State University | Ranked #1 university in the US for innovation | ASU. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.asu.edu/. [Accessed 28 October 2017].
  • The Lost Books of the Bible: The Gospel of the Birth of Mary. 2017. The Lost Books of the Bible: The Gospel of the Birth of Mary. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/lbob/lbob05.htm. [Accessed 28 October 2017].
  • THE BOOK OF THE APOCALYPSE OF BARUCH THE. 2017. THE BOOK OF THE APOCALYPSE OF BARUCH THE. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.pseudepigrapha.com/pseudepigrapha/2Baruch.html. [Accessed 28 October 2017].