Does the Qur'an Say that Mary Was Worshipped As Part of The Trinity?

Published on: Wednesday 28 Sep, 2005

By: administrator

Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi

The Christian missionaries have engaged in bitter polemics since the advent of Islam. One of their common allegations is that they claim that in Sura’ Al-Maiah (5):119, the Qur’an made a “mistake” in claiming that the Trinity consists of God, Jesus and Mary. The said verse is as follows:

“And behold! God will say: ‘O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, ‘Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah’ He will say: ‘Glory to Thee! Never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, Thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, though I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden.’” (Qur’an 5:116)

Upon careful observation, one would indeed see that God have indeed spoken the Truth:

  • The mentioning of the “Trinity” appears in the Holy Qur’an in verses 4:171 and 5:73. In these two verses the name of Mary is not mentioned as “the third Person of the Holy Trinity”.
  • Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches can be found filled with carved or molten images and/or statues of Jesus Christ and his mother Mary, in various sizes and shapes.
  • Most of these statues or images are placed in the prominent places of the prayer halls of these Christian Churches for venerating and worshipping of these entities. One would also notice that the majority of the attending congregates would kneel, worship, venerate and pray before these images as their reverent rituals and inherited traditions. Many devoted believers would place lighted candles in front of these statues or images before worshipping or paying their homage.
  • These Catholic congregates who venerate Lord Jesus as their God and call Virgin Mary as the “Mother of God”, do form the bulk of the Christians community. It has been so since the inception of the Roman Catholic Church. The Protestants, who separated from the Roman Catholics, nearly ten centuries after the advent of Islam, do not have the statues of Mother Mary in their Churches, although at one time Mary did play a pivotal role.
  • As for the Holy Ghost, the third person of the Holy Trinity, no Christian Church has so far instituted its venerating representation, image or semblance for their Churchgoers.

Under the heading MARY, we find the following information that supports the above argument.

Mary’s exalted position also earned her the titles Mother of God and Coredemptrix, suggesting that she played an active role in the redemption of mankind along with her son. The Mother of God title was applied early in church history, based on the notion that Jesus was fully God as well as human. This was established as a doctrine in the 4th century. In the Eastern churches this doctrine played a major devotional role and became a favorite subject for icon painters. During the Reformation era it was accepted by both Catholic and Protestant scholars, though Mary’s role in Protestant theology has declined markedly since then.[1]

It is clear that for all practical purpose and in reality, when the issue is of worshipping, venerating, deifying and/or idolizing is concerned, it is Mary – the theotokos (Mother of God), and not the Holy Ghost, which has that kind of rank and status. Briefly, in terms of veneration, the idols of Jesus and Mary are treated as deities. The Holy Ghost is not venerated as a deity in the manner that Jesus’ and Mary’s idols were treated. The quoted verse from the Holy Qur?an questions such Divine Rank and Status that have been assigned by the followers of Jesus to him and his mother.

The quoted verse does not speak of the Church developing the enigmatic doctrine of Trinity in the fourth century. It is in fact accepted that the doctrine of Trinity evolved and took its final shape nearly 350 years of CE. Bart D. Ehrman observes that

Christianity in the second and third centuries was in a remarkable state of flux. To be sure, at no point in its history has the religion constituted a monolith. But the diverse manifestations of its first three hundred years – whether in terms of social structures, religious practices, or ideologies – have never been replicated.

Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the realm of theology. In the second and third centuries there were, of course, Christians who believed in only one God; others, however, claimed that there were two Gods; yet others subscribed to 30, or 365, or more. Some Christians accepted the Hebrew Scriptures as a revelation of the one true God, the sacred possession of all believers; others claimed that the scriptures had been inspired by an evil deity. Some Christians believed that God had created the world and was soon going to redeem it; others said that God neither had created the world nor had ever had any dealings with it. Some Christians believed that Christ was somehow both a man and God; others said that he was a man, but not God; others claimed that he was God but not a man; others insisted that he was a man who had been temporarily inhabited by God. Some Christians believed that Christ’s death had brought about the salvation of the world; others claimed that his death had no bearing on salvation; yet others alleged that he had never even died.[2]

So, in conclusion, there is no point calling the modern-day Trinitarian Christianity as ‘true’ Christianity and all others as ‘false’ since the evolution of this doctrine itself is very late. The early Christianity themselves had bizarre beliefs about their doctrine as well as their Scriptures.

And only God knows best.

References

[1] Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia (1995), under the heading “Mary”

[2] Bart D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption Of Scripture: The Effect Of Early Christological Controversies On The Text Of The New Testament, 1993, Oxford University Press, London & New York, p. 3

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Category: Quran ,Quranic Commentary


  1. shadowofears says:

    The obvious conclusion is that for all practical purpose and in reality, when the issue is of Worshipping, Venerating, Deifying and/or Idolizing, it is Mary – the “Mother of God” and not the Holy Ghost has that kind of rank and status. Briefly, the historical figures of Jesus and Mary are venerated as Deities. The Holy Ghost is not venerated as a Deity.

    The quoted verse from the Holy Qur’an questions such Divine Ranks and Status that have been assigned by the followers of Jesus to him and his mother. The verse does not speak of the Church developed enigmatic Doctrine of Trinity.

    Theologically speaking, the concept of Holy Ghost as ‘Filioque’(“a double procession”) was added to the Original Doctrine much later. As taught by the Greek theologians and advocated by St. Augustine, it simply makes the Holy Ghost a “go-between” communications or things that proceed from the Father and is received by an individual via Jesus Christ. One may argue that since the Holy Ghost emanates from God the Father, it is also God. In reality, this would only be possible if there was a “total emanation” (100% transfer). If that be the case, then the Primary Source has either annihilated Himself (Itself) or has produced a Clone. God the Father still exists and Christians with their Trinitarian Beliefs yet claim God is One.

    During his ministry, Jesus Christ had taught in very explicit language to worship the “Father in Heaven” (see Matthew 6:5-13). Jesus never ever taught his followers to make images of him and/or his mother and then venerate either of them. In this regards, the Protestants consider themselves a step ahead and reformed than their counterparts.

    The quoted verse from the Holy Qur’an is a direct challenge to those who make the graven images of Jesus and Mother Mary. The Almighty God in the Second of the Ten Commandments also warns mankind against making of graven images and worshipping them. (See Exodus 20:4).

  2. jacob says:

    Dear friend in One and the Only God,
    Catholic Christians use the statues of St.Mary and other saints in churches to make people remember them always and keep their holy lives close to their heart and lead good life like them to get in to the eternal life. They are done for enhancing the believes of the people as regards the people sent by God. Orthodox Christians don’t place such statues but they do keep paintings by the Legends regarding the people of God. Such Icons or Paintings are not worshiped by Christians. They are being used to remind us about the era of their life and their teachings.
    Please note… Mary is not being worshiped as part of trinity by Christians world wide. Christians do intercession prayer through Mary and other saints. As they were dearer to God, Christians ask the saints to pray for their sins and have mercy on them. This is done on the belief that departed souls always praise the Most High along with the Angels. The practice is not in any way against the teachings of the Holy Bible and the Holy Quran. As regards trinity-
    Trinity means- God,Son and the Holy Spirit.
    Our God is one and will always be.
    God’s spirit came on Mary and she became the mother of the holy child.
    Holy spirit stands for God himself. We use this terminology as God’s spirit appeared in the form of flames, strong wind … on the day of the Pentecost when the frightened disciples became powerful, brave and holders of strong faith. The messiah and the messenger Jesus is preached as son as the spirit of God took body from a woman. Hence the face of Jesus depicted the holiness of the Most High!.
    Please ,don’t think ever that the concept of trinity is against God’s existence as the one and the only God.
    Christians attempt to reach the Most High(Allah) through the teachings and the life of Jesus.
    Please be happy that Christians and Muslims are not on parallel tracks but for sure meet at a common point…
    -The Most High-
    Some interpretations and opinions by people on different contexts may create dilemma … please don’t matter … we are one in God.
    Let us embrace each other on similarities.
    May God Bless all of us…!

  3. A believer says:

    To Jacob:

    “The practice is not in any way against the teachings of the Holy Bible and the Holy Quran.”

    As far as my understanding goes, that is against the teachings of the Quran. In Islam, there are no need for intercession prayers. The relationship is between man (or woman) and God. By praying to a third party, you would in fact be worshiping them. Certain ideas in the Quran came about to reverse this practice of praying to saints. The only one worthy of worship and prayer, in Islamic tradition, is God himself. Praying to a third party could indeed be seen as a form of worship. Islam sought to stop that and take the power of prayer, forgiveness and redemption away from the people of the religion, and bring it back solely to God.

    Further to the point in the blog post, the beginnings of Christianity are very uncertain. The way the Bible was formed in its current state, the traditions and practices all came out of major conflict within the religion itself. The set of books that are the bible were chosen during the time of Constantine to align with a particular school of thought. Many practices were included in early Christianity from pagan traditions to make conversion of the pagans easier. So what we know as Christianity today may not actually be the teachings and practices of Jesus (who I might add, was indeed Jewish)

    Just my two cents