The Prophet, the Virgin, the Mother: The Role of Mary in the Qur’an | – Culture – Broadcasts

Status: 06/05/2022 11:08 AM

In Christianity, Mary is revered and celebrated – but the mother of Jesus also plays an important role in the Qur’an. She is the only woman to have a Surah named after her: Surat Maryam.

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5 minutes

by Karen Dzionara

Virgo, mother, cross-border – Maria has many faces. The fact that an entire surah in the Qur’an is named after her is exceptional. Islamic theologian Mona Tatari explains that the reason is not just because Maria is a woman: “This is important because there are very few surahs that have a personal name as their title. In general, the titles are always meant to be a kind of reading aid in how to better understand the content of the next surah. And the necessity that is there means that we must read Surah 19 with Mary by our side, so to speak, so that we can understand her as much as possible.”

Maryam has a central role in the Qur’an

In this surah, Mary sets the tone – this is one aspect. But it is also about another important characteristic closely related to Mary: “It is interesting that the character of Mary presents one of the ninety-nine names of God, namely, that God is the All-Merciful, the All-Merciful. In the chronology of the Qur’an, it is Mary who calls upon God. In the name of the Compassionate, and by her message Oral, mercy is first mentioned in the Qur’an, a basic theological category and closely related to Mary in the Qur’anic text.”

Mona Tatari © Karin Dzionara

Mona Tetri is Professor of Islamic Theology at the University of Paderborn.

Similar to the Bible, Mary also has a central role in the Qur’an – she is the mother of the prophet Jesus, but not the mother of God, as in Christianity. Maria in the Qur’an is a single mother, and there is no man besides her. The professor of Islamic theology in Paderborn stresses that this is a particular challenge: “She also goes through phases of despondency, fear and despair, but then, with her connection to God, she is also able to change her life.”

Maria in the Qur’an: A strong woman

Mary – Prophet, Virgin and Mother: There are many similarities in the biblical tradition when it comes to Mary. Mona Tatari and fellow Catholic, Klaus von Stosch, dealt with the character of Marie. They summarized the results in the joint book “The Prophet – the Virgin – the Mother. Mary in the Qur’an”. For the Muslim theologian, Maria is a powerful woman in the Qur’an: “The Qur’an has this in common with the Christian idea: the Qur’anic text tells us that Maria became pregnant with a child without being touched by a man. In Islamic traditions, this is often understood as an expression of God’s power. So God can Also bypassing the laws of nature if he so chooses. I’m not sure that’s the theological point at this point. I think the theological point is that when he’s dealing completely with God – and this is represented here by a woman – then he can bear wondrous fruits. And there’s a very existential message behind it. That is why Mary is also described in the Qur’an as a role model, men and women.”

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Mosaic of the Virgin Mary and the Son of Jesus in the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.  © imago

Christians revere her – as the Virgin Mary, Mother of God and first disciple of Jesus. But what few know: Mary is of great importance to many Muslims. more

A new understanding of the roles of women and men?

Mary’s story is read today in a new and different way – with the questions contemporary theologians are asking about the text. Liberal and deeply religious. In terms of understanding the role of women and men, Maryam in the Qur’an can also be an important source of inspiration, says Mona Tatari: dedicated to God, obedient to God, very pious, very spiritual woman. But if we look closely at the Qur’anic text, it will be very difficult because it essentially represents the overturning of the stereotypical roles of what is supposed to be a typical man or a typical woman.”

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Mary and Jesus in the manger © fotolia Photo: Alexander Hoffmann

Christianity and Islam are closer than you think. Even the Bible and the Qur’an sometimes tell the same stories. more

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