This issue analyzes the critical comments from my previous article on the Islamic-Catholic connection.
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
Due to the critical comments I received regarding my previous post on this subject, I felt it necessary to respond and let you draw your own conclusions. This post is longer than most, but is the most significant I have ever written. If we don”t get certain crucial issues right, all our knowledge of current events means nothing. The accusations claimed that I was dead wrong in stating that:
1. Mary is given a higher status than Jesus in the Koran. The comment asserted that in Islam, Jesus has the same status as Muhammad, Noah and Moses.
2. Muslims are attracted to the Marian apparitions (Mary sightings). The comment asserted that Islam discourages such an idolatrous practice.
3. There is any real connection between Islam and Catholicism. One comment claimed that I knew nothing about the teaching of the Catholic Church.
Regarding point one, what would you conclude if you came across these passages in the Koran and the following interview?
And remember the angel”s words to Mary. They said: “[Allah] has chosen you. He has made you pure and exalted you above womankind” (Sura 3:42).
The Messiah, the son of Mary, was no more than an apostle: other apostles passed away before him. His mother was a saintly woman (Sura 5:75).
The following interview shows what one Muslim scholar had to say regarding the position of Mary within Islam. The Catholic News agency Zenit: The World Seen from Rome, was questioning the Iranian scholar and theologian Sherazade Hushmand.
Question: Of what significance is the figure of Mary to Muslims?
Hushmand: She is very present in the Koran, which presents her, specifically as Mary Immaculate. In the third sura, beginning with verse 34 and subsequent ones, the Koran speaks about this aspect of Mary, about her total purity. Speaking about Mary, one of the verses talks about freedom. The woman of Hemram, who is Mary’s mother, prays God saying, “God, I dedicate to you the one I have in the womb, and I dedicate her so that she will be free, absolutely free.” This word is used only once in the Koran, and only for Mary. This freedom is an absolute freedom from all what might be seen as sin, evil, failure, weakness. Mary is pure of all this. Then comes God’s affirmation: “I accept her.”
Question: Do all followers of Islam believe this?
Hushmand: In chapter 66, the last verse, 12, the Koran says: “Do you want me co… READ MORE to give you a faithful example to follow, valid for all the world’s believers?” Mary is proposed there as the example. This is very strong-because not only is Mary an example and a symbol for Christians to follow, but also in the Koran, Mary becomes a symbol and model for all believers, also for Muslims themselves.
Regarding point two, Sura 21:91-93 states that Mary has been made as a sign to all mankind. Here”s what the Qur”an says about signs:
Momentous signs have come to you from your Lord [Allah]. He that sees them shall himself have much to gain, but he who is blind to them shall lose much indeed (Sura 6:104).
Six years ago, Reuters News Service wrote a very interesting article titled “Twist of Globalization: All Faiths Come Together.” It told of a great multitude, including Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims that regularly worshipped at famous Roman Catholic shrines to venerate the Virgin Mary. They routinely drink holy water, light votive candles, and pray fervently to the Madonna.
Regarding point 3, the previous article quoted directly from the official Catechism of the Catholic Church. If that’s not good enough, consider the words of Pope John Paul II from his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope:
“After my election as Pope, as I became more involved in the problems of the universal Church, I came to have a similar conviction: On this universal level, if victory comes it will be brought by Mary. Christ will conquer through her, because he wants the Church’s victories now and in the future to be linked to her.”
A common Muslim argument against me was that if I wasn’t using the most recent verses from the Qur’an regarding any subject, I cannot rely on the verse to represent the latest truth. “Virgin Mary Seen as Model for All Muslims,” Online posting: www.zenit.org, Dec. 10, 2001.
 ExpressIndia website, Reuters, Online posting: www.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=35246&headline=Twist~of~globalisation:~Allaiths~come~together, August20, 2004.
AS I SEE IT
God Doesn’t Change
I am so glad that there is no variation or shifting shadow (James 1:17) with the God I love and serve. He does not change (Malachi 3:6) and is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Every word of God is tested (Proverbs 30:5). What was true in the first verse of the Bible is still true in the last.
Several of the comments stressed the oneness of the God of the Koran and the God of the Bible. I couldn’t disagree more. Perhaps the most telling distinction lies in how one can know he is going to heaven. Allah requires that you kill your enemies to earn you a spot in heaven. The God of the Bible required the death of His only Son, so that His enemies could spend eternity with Him in heaven. Does that sound like the same God to you?
The Same God?
Followers of Allah who die while taking out as many Christians and Jews as possible are called martyrs. Jesus Christ willingly underwent the torture of crucifixion, taking the sins of the world upon Himself and experiencing the wrath of God we deserved. Does that sound like the same God to you?
The God of the Bible took the initiative and dealt with the one thing that separated us all from Him-our sin. Jesus became the perfect and pure sacrifice. His resurrection proved that God accepted His sacrifice on our behalf. Since Christ removed our sin, God is free to restore us to the relationship Adam and Eve originally had with God, regularly experiencing God’s unconditional love, mercy, and grace. I invite my Muslim friends (as well as all my readers) to get to know the God of the Bible. He’s waiting to hear from you.
Read my original article on this subject.