Does Quran err in describing the Christian concept of God?
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
Christians often allege that Quran condemns ideas in Christian conception of God which are hypothetical and untrue, thus they try to find fault with the Quran. In the following lines we explain various Quranic verses condemning such ideas and their context and rationale.
There are a few verses in the Quran refuting various heretical Christian concepts of God. All of them should be taken as they are without making any assumed connections between them.
1- Qur’anic verses condemning Christian concepts of God:
“O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity” : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.” (Quran 4:171)
This verse condemns the common Christian concept of Trinity.
“In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary.” (Quran 5:17, 72)
This verse condemns the belief held by Jecobites, the followers of Jacob Baradaeus, that Christ is ‘perfect god’ along with being perfect man.
“And behold! Allah will say: ‘O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah’?” (Quran 5:116)
First of all there is nothing in the context that relates the idea of Mary taken as God to Trinity. This passage no way defines and points to the definition of Trinity. It only condemns the idea of Mary as God.
Christians say that this is not a valid argument as Christians don’t consider Mary to God, but the fact remains that such ideas have been held by certain denominations and groups. Infact some even took Virgin Mary to be a part of their ‘Holy Trinity’.
2- Mary as God among Christians:
George Sale in his Preliminary Discourse on Quran mentions a certain group named Collyridians that had origins in Arabia who introduced the Virgin Mary as God. He writes;
“Among the Arabs …the Collyridians …introduced the Virgin Mary for God, or worshipped her as such, offering her a sort of twisted cake called collyris, whence the sect had its name.”
‘This notion of the divinity of the Virgin Mary was also believed by some at the Council of Nicaea, who said there were two gods besides the Father, viz., Christ and the Virgin Mary, and were thence named Mariamites.’ (Preliminary Discourse, Section II, Quran vol.1)
Similarly John William Draper writes;
“…the Marionites regarded the Trinity as consisting of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Virgin Mary; the Collyridians worshiped the Virgin as a divinity, offering her sacrifices of cakes;” (History of the Conflict between Religion and Science, Chapter 3)
Classical Muslim scholar Ibn Hazm also mentions a sect Al-Barbarania who believed in Jesus (PBUH) and his Mother as God. (Al-Milal wal-Nahl 1/27)
All these facts establish the solid basis on which Qur’an condemns the notion of taking Virgin Mary as God!
INDEED ALLAH KNOWS THE BEST!
.. by Waqar Akbar Cheema