Miriam- Christmas Mother

May is devoted to Mary, as we have previously discussed.  Mary.  So many names for the mother of Christmas.  Mary, Miriam, Maryam, St. Mary, Mother Mary, Virgin Mary, Blessed Virgin, Holy Mother, Mother of God, Chosen One, Purified One, Truthful One, and maybe thousands more.  Natalie and I were discussing in this weeks recording about the role Mary plays in various religions and denominations.  Most surprising to many might be the role the Mother of God plays in the Qur’an.

Mary is worshipped and honored by Muslims and is a key figure in Islam.  She is the mother of Jesus (Isa) who is created through divine intervention.  In the Qur’an Mary is called Maryam.  She is the most honored woman in the holy text and is mentioned more in the Qur’an more than she is in the Christian New Testament.  She is the only woman directly mentioned in the entire readings.  There are only 8 of nearly 150 chapters (sura) in the Qur’an named for people and #19 is the only named for a woman, Maryam.  Muslims see her most similarly to Roman Catholics, referring to her as “Our Lady”.  Muslims share the view of her as a virgin mother of God  and she is “exalted above all women of the universe”.  They also share in the belief of her immaculate conception- her parents were barren and her mother prayed to God to grant her a child and she was rewarded with the birth of Maryam. Her life chronicled in the Qur’an is almost identical to the events outlined in the Gospel of Luke.  She truly is the holiest of women.

You will regularly see lines from her sections in the Qur’an on the mihrab of many mosques, most notably the Hagia Sophia.  The mihrab is the important wall that identifies what direction to face towards Mecca.  Throughout the Islamic world Maryam is an example to all women and they regularly visit shrines in her name.  Having grown up a Roman Catholic this resonates well with me.  Mary was always THE example of the perfect Christian woman.  Looks like we aren’t alone in our veneration of the Mother of God.