Sunday, 10 February 2013
The Immaculate Conception & Islam
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The Immaculate Conception is a dogma of the Catholic Church. It maintains that from the moment she was conceived in the womb, the Mary (a.s.) was kept free of Original Sin and was filled with the sanctifying grace normally conferred during baptism. The Immaculate Conception is not to be confused with the perpetual virginity of Mary (a.s.) or the virgin birth of Jesus (a.s.). It refers to the conception of Mary (a.s.) by her mother, Hannah (r.a.).
The defined dogma of the Immaculate Conception regards original sin only, saying that Mary (a.s.) was preserved from any stain. The proclaimed Roman Catholic dogma states, "that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin." Therefore, being always free from original sin, the doctrine teaches that from her conception Mary (a.s.) received the sanctifying grace that would normally come with baptism after birth. The definition makes no declaration about the Church's belief that the Blessed Virgin (a.s.) was sinless, in the sense of actual or personal sin. However, the Church also holds that Mary (a.s.) was also sinless personally, that she was, "free from all sin, original or personal".
Some Christians have mistakenly claimed that the Immaculate Conception of Mary (a.s.) is a teaching of Islam. George Seale commented in 1734, on the passage in the Qur’an, “It is not improbable that the pretended Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary is intimated in this passage. For according to a tradition of Muhammad, every person that comes into the world, is touched at his birth by the devil, and therefore cries out, Mary and her son only excepted; between whom, and the evil spirit God placed a veil, so that his touch did not reach them. And for this reason they say, neither of them were guilty of any sin, like the rest of the children of Adam.”
When she was delivered she said, “O my Lord! behold! I am delivered of a female child!” And Allah Knew best what she brought forth, “and is not the male like the female. I have named her Mary and I commend her and her offspring to Thy Protection from the Evil One, the Rejected.” (Surah Ali ‘Imran:36)
Others have further claimed that the Roman Catholic Church derives its doctrine from the Islamic teaching. Edward Gibbon wrote in “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”, circa 1788: “The Latin Church has not disdained to borrow from the Qur’an, the Immaculate Conception of his virgin mother.” The Qur’an Affirms Mary’s (a.s.) virginity and virtue but it repudiates the doctrine as it is known in Christianity. We do not believe in Original Sin. There is no inherited fault in the genesis of humanity that requires further salvation other than repentance. And since we do not believe in Original Sin, the Immaculate Conception of Mary (a.s.) is irrelevant. In a sense, all humanity is immaculately conceived since we are all born sinless and Muslim.