Trinity: Mary Worshipped as A God?
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
It is common among Christian missionaries to say, “the Quran got the trinity wrong.” Hence, they assume that the trinity that is mentioned in the Quran speaks of Mary as part of the Christian trinity. What they do not perceive is that nowhere in the Quranic verses they cite, does it indicate Mary of being part of the trinity.
The aim of this article is to respond to the claims made by missionaries that the Quran got the trinity wrong. Let’s now read the verses they use as proof that the Quran says, ‘Mary is part of the Trinity’,
“And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah?’” He will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, you would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen.” – Quran 5:116
From this passage Christians think it speaks about the Trinity, but they are wrong. If we read the verse from start to end one will not find the word “Trinity” in there. Another passage they use as proof that the Quran got the Trinity wrong is,
“O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of God aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an apostle of God, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so, believe in God and His apostles. Say not “Trinity” : desist: it will be better for you: for God is one God: 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 God as a Disposer of affairs.” – Quran 4:171
Again, the above verse does not say anything about Mary being part of the trinity. If one reads the above verse carefully, it is clear that the passage is mainly speaking of Jesus. The name of Mary is used, because Allah is elucidating, making Christians ponder that Jesus son of Mary was only a messenger of God, and through His (God’s) command, he (Jesus) became a created being that was born in the womb of Mary.
Then after that, Allah says, “say not trinity” (or three). It is quite clear that the verse does not say anything about Mary being part of the Trinity.
The Quran does speak about the Trinity somewhere else but says nothing about Mary being part of the Trinity. Here is the verse:
“They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One God. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them.” – Quran 5:73
As we read the above passage, it does speak about the trinity, but does not mention anything about Mary being part of the trinity.
Another thing critics love citing for chapter 4 verse 171, is use classic commentaries such as Tafsir al-Jalalayn, and Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs, by that they conclude the Quran is a false book and not from God, since they believe the trinity consists of “the Father, Son and Mary.” Nowhere in the verse (Quran 4:71) does it say that the trinity consists of, “the Father, Son and Mary.”
Even if we agree with what some of the commentators like Tafsir al-Jalalayn and Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs said, it will not disprove what the Quran already stated. The Scholars made that comment, because they were referring to some Christian sects, who believed that trinity consisted of the “Father, the Son and Mary.”
Another thing if you read their exegesis, nowhere will you see them mention that this ‘belief was believed by all Christians.’ There is vast amount of evidence from the Church Fathers that there was certain sect(s) in Arabia that believed the trinity consisted of: “Father, the Son and Virgin Mary.”
1. George Sale
“This notion of the divinity of the virgin Mary was also believed by some at the council of Nice, who said there two gods besides the Father, viz., Christ and the Virgin Mary, and were thence named Mariamites. Others imagined her to be exempt from humanity, and deified, which goes but little beyond the Popish superstition in calling her the compliment of the Trinity, as if it were imperfect with her. This foolish imagination is justly condemned in the Koran as idolatrous….” 
2. Reverend Gilbert Reid D.D.
“As to Christianity as it was represented in Arabia, it was not a clear untarnished theism, but tritheism. The Heavenly Father, Mary the mother of God and Jesus their son, were WORSHIPPED as three Gods, and their images appeared in the churches along with the images of other saints. Christianity as taught by Christ had lost its identity in the formalism and errors of the church of Arabia.
Still more the truths pro-claimed by God through all the ages had been lost sight amid the vain imaginings of men’s hearts. The only God of, an omnipresent spirit, without form or body. The reformation of Mohammed was thus a return to the first and second commandment of the Prophet Moses, which Jesus himself had taught.” 
3. English theologian Theophilus Lindsey
“The followers of Christ had been for some ages quarrelling and destroying each other in their heats and disputes, not concerning the Supreme Father of all, to whom they paid little attention; but about the nature of Christ. And of the Holy Spirit, and many other objects of worship, which they invented. (t)
The notion of the divinity of the Virgin Mary was believed by some even at the council of Nice: who said there were two gods besides the Father, viz. Christ and the Virgin Mary, and were thence names Mariamites. Others imagined her to be exempt from humanity, and deified: which goes but little beyond the Popish superstition, in calling her the complement of the Trinity…” 
4. William Cook Taylor
“In Arabia itself some of the worst heresies were propagated: the chief of these were the heresies of the Ebonites, the Nazareans, and the Collydrians, the last of which derived its name from the collyris, or twisted cake offered by them to the Virgin Mary, whom they worshipped as a deity. It is known to all readers of ecclesiastical history that a sect called Mariamites exalted the Virgin to a participation in the Godhead, and that writers of the Romish Church have named her the ‘complement of the Trinity…” 
5. John Holmes
“…Jacobites, so called from Jacobus, Bishop of Edessa in Syria, and whose doctrine, directly contrary to that of the Nestorians in one point, denied the double nature of Christ in his state of incarnation: Mariamites, so called because they worshipped the Virgin Mary, and regarded her as, along with the Father, and the Son one of the persons of the Divine Trinity” 
6. John Henry Blunt D.D.
“In Accordance with which are the statements of certain writers, logically in agreement with the worship they advocate, that St. Mary has been assumed into the Trinity, so as to make it a quaternity, that Mary is the ‘compliment of the Trinity.’” 
7. Allan Freer
Nestorians, so called from their founder, Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople and whose heresy consisted in a recondite distinction between Jesus the man, and Christ the God-man; Jacobites, so-called from Jacobus, Bishop of Edessa in Syria, and whose doctrine directly contrary to that of the Nestorians in one point, denied the double nature of Christ in his state of incarnation:
Mariamites, so-called because they worshipped the virgin Mary, and regarded her as, along with the Father and the Son, one of the persons of the divine Trinity: and collydrians, a sect guilty of similar heresy, and deriving their name from their practice of offering to the virgin Mary a particular kind of cake, called Collyris. 
8. John William Draper
In the east, in consequence of the policy of the court of Constantinople, the Church had been torn in pieces by contentions and schisms. Among a countless host of disputants may be mentioned Arians, Basilidians, Carpocritains, Collydrians, Eutychians, Gnostics, Jacobites, Marcionites, Marionites, Nestorians, Sabellians, Vallentians. Of these them ; the Collydrians worshipped the Virgin as a divinity, offering her sacrifices of cakes… 
We can see from the academic references quoted that Mary was indeed believed to be part of the trinity by certain Christian sects of Arabia.
Question: “why does the Quran in chapter 5 verse 116 state Mary is a God?”
Well, it’s clear that the Quran is in dialectic discussion with the native Arabs of that time, when it was first revealed. The Quran is naturally responding to ideas and teachings of people had at that time. So, the Quran is correcting their error in worshipping Mary and bringing them back to the path of worshipping God as One (Monotheism) and none else besides Him i.e., no worship of Mary or Jesus.
The Quran also makes it abundantly clear that Jesus never told people any of this. Allah is asking Jesus on the day of judgement, “did you tell people to worship You and your mother as Gods?” In the presence of the people, to bring them to judgement. It will be obvious that Jesus won’t accept any responsibility as he is not the one who commanded such a thing. Here are many more academic sources that attest to Mary being worshipped as a God
1. Reverend Henry Adelbert Thomson (Cincinnati, Ohio)
It is plain that the tendency to sail with the popular wind, which existed in church dignitaries of that age as well as in this, easily prevailed on many who held ecclesiastical office, so that they approved or winked at beliefs and practices which more independent clergymen considered erroneous. The people carried the clergy along with them.
Even the fearless and powerful Augustine, and with him such strenuous men as John Chrysostom and two Gregories of Nazianzen and Nyssa, were unable to stem the tide in some matters of which were disapproved. The worship of Mary and the Saints met the popular mood and pleased the popular fancy, so the great leaders.
Confronted by an enthusiasm they were really powerless to curb, endeavoured to the point out and maintain a distinction between latreia and douleia. But, once having given way, even partially, to the prevailing opinion, these same great men were afterward quoted as conservators and expounders of the tradition which, through them, thus received the more impressive authority the pure Christian doctrine had led to veneration of Saints; the adoration of the feminine ideal, together with the peculiar relationship of Mary to Christ, had designated her as “Queen of Saints;” the practice of Mariolatry gained a tremendous impulse, along with the Worship of Saints, especially in the post Nicene period….. the Church was still more effectually darkened, and its doctrine debased.
In such a period those elements of the Faith which almost readily lent themselves to idolatry suffered most in purity and gained most in practice. Saints, relics, images, with Mary, as Queen of Heaven, at their head, almost completely absorbed the worship of the people. 
2. Ernst Benz
The virgin birth entered into creeds of all Christendom and became one of the strongest motifs in the liturgy and worship of the early Church. Veneration of the mother of God took a tremdous leap from the moment Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Empire and the pagan masses began pouring into the Church. For thousands of years the religious mentality of the peoples of the Mediterranean basin and near East had been shaped by the cult of the great Mother Goddess and Divine Virgin.
From the ancient popular religions of Babylonian Ishtar to the mystery religions of the late Hellenistic age the great Goddess had been worshipped under a variety of forms. The peoples who had practiced her cult could not easily adjust to the sole dominance of the Father God and to the strictly patriarchal structure of Judaic religiosity, which had been taken over by the early Christians.
This ancient tradition sought a new mode of expression within the Christian Church and found it in adoration of the Virginal Mother of God in whom the mysterious union of the divine Logos with human nature had been accomplished…. In Egypt the veneration of Mary began very early. Origen, the Alexandrian father of the Church, employed the term theotokos- God bearer in the third century.
The second council of Ephesus gave its sanction to this title. The second council of Constantinople added the epithet ever-lasting Virgin.” The prayers and hymns of the Orthodox Church invoke the name of the mother of God as often as the names of Christ and the Holy Trinity. A god example of such homage is found in the Eucharistic liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, at the conclusion of the great intercessory prayer:
“Truly worthy is it to praise Thee God bearer, eternally blessed and perfectly irreproachable Mother of our God, who art more worthy of honor than the cherubim and incomparably more glorious than the seraphim, who intact, hast borne the Divine Logos-Thee the true Mother of God, we Praise.” 
3. Professor of the New Testament Beverly Roberts Gaventa
“Orthodox theologians insist Mary is deserving of this grace, and it is for that reason that she is identified as Panhagia, or All Holy. From birth she is without sin. Her own holiness and her divine maternity warrant the high veneration given to her by the Church. Mary is “the first of all humanity to have attained, through the complete transfiguration of her being, that to which every creature is summoned.
She has already transcended the boundary between time and eternity and now finds herself in the Kingdom which the Church awaits with the second coming of Christ.”
Because of Mary’s own holiness, she stands in solidarity with the sanctified humanity who constitute with the Church. For those reasons, Orthodox Christian tradition icons and hymns praise Mary at ‘the centre of the Saints as a representation of the worshipping and praying community.’” 
4. Professor James R. Adair
“…the highest veneration was given to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Historically Marian veneration can be connected with the controversies over the use of the term theotokos, rejected by Nestorius but accepted by most Christians of the day. The veneration of Mary was especially popular among the common people and the Monks, particularly in the EAST.” 
5. Reverend James Gardner
“Mariolatry, the worship of the Virgin Mary. In the fourth century, in consequence of prevalence of the ascetic spirit, the most extravagant opinions began to be entertained of the merit of virginity, and Mary, the mother of our blessed Lord, was venerated as the ideal of the celibate life. About this time an opinion arose that there were in the temple of Jerusalem virgins consecrated to God, among whom Mary grew up in vows of perpetual Virginity.
In the end of the fourth, it became customary to apply to Mary the appellation, “Mother of God.” …the worshippers of Mary prevailed, and in the fifth century images of the Virgin were placed in the Churches holding the infant Jesus in her arms.
Once introduced, this species of worship spread rapidly, and Mary became a conspicuous object of veneration in the Churches, both of the East and West. towards the close of the tenth century the custom became prevalent among the Latins, of celebrating masses, and abstaining from flesh on Saturdays, in honour of Mary.
About the same time the daily office of St. Mary, which the Latins call lesser office, was introduced, and it was afterwards confirmed by Pope Urban II. In the council of Clement. The Rosary also came into use, consisting of fifteen repetitions of the Lord’s prayer, and one hundred salutations of St. Mary: and the Crown of St.
Mary, as it was called by the Latins consisted of six or seven repetitions of the Lord’s prayer, and sixty or seventy salutations according to the age ascribed by different authors to the Holy Virgin.
Mariolatry now became an established doctrine and practice in the Church of Rome, and down to the present day has continued to occupy a very spicuous place in her ritual; while with equal intensity Mary receives the worship of Oriental Church under the name of Panagia, or All-Holy…” 
6. German Professor Johann Heinrich Kurtz
…the Collydrians- a female sect in Arabia dating from the fourth century- who offered to her bread-cakes (in imitation of the heathen worship of ceres). Epiphanius, who opposed that sect, maintained: On the Antidicomarianites, comp. 92. But during the Nestorian controversy Mariolatry became again more general in the Church. In the fifth century, the 25th march was celebrated as the Feast of the Annunciation… 
7. Reverend John Dowling
When we observe, on the one hand, the earnest manner in which these fathers contend for perpetual virginity of Mary, and on the other hand the extravagant honors attached to the virgin state, we need not be surprised that the notion soon became prevalent among some that ‘the mother of God.’ As she was now frequently denominated, was herself worthy of the honors of divine worship.
Accordingly, about this time, we find that a sect sprang up, whose peculiar tenet it was, that the Virgin Mary should be adored in worship, and that religious honors should be paid to her. They were called Collyridians, from collyridae, the cakes which they offered to the virgin… 
8. Church of England quarterly review
The first persons upon record, as offering divine honors to the Virgin Mary, were the Collyridians, who derived their names from the…, or certain cakes, which they offered annually to Saint Mary, in sacrifice upon her festival, when they worshipped her as a goddess. This superstition came from Thrace, and the yet more distant regions of Scythia and Arabia… 
9. Professor of the New Testament studies Amy-Jill Levine
“There are even stronger hints that Mary was venerated as a goddess. By the fourth century, Epiphanius (315-403 CE) was ordering the faithful not to worship Mary but only the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, suggesting that such activity had been transpiring for a while.” 
10. Professor of religious studies Gail Paterson Corrington
“It would certainly not have been surprising if the Christian women of Egypt had found another divine mother with whom to identify; the Christian women of Arabia, to Epiphanius’s consternation, did a similar thing in their worship of Mary rather than Jesus… The cakes (kollybas) offered by the Collyridians to Mary in the worship are described in a way similar to the cakes offered Isis as the queen of heaven…” 
11. Mary Walsh
“The first council’s decision was approved, and Mary was the theotokos, ‘The Mother of God.’ This date, A.D. 431, marks the time when Mary was in the ascendancy, and her veneration and worship began. …. About the middle of the fourth century, according to Jerome, Augistine, Gregory, Epiphanius, and others, teachings came in regarding Virgins who had taken the vows of sanctity and chastity and who devoted their lives to the service of the temple at Jerusalem.
Among these virgins was Mary, who had consecrated her life to God by taking the vow of perpetual virginity. It was declared that her marriage to Joseph was formal, and that she continued a virgin until her death. This was the new teaching, and it caused long debated arguments as to whether Mary was actually a perpetual virgin.
The other phrase of the new teaching was that Mary was the ‘Mother of God’ and was therefore entitled to devotion and honor.
These extravagant honors conferred on Mary led to the development of a sect called Collyridian, derived from the word collyridae, the cakes which were offered to the Virgin. This sect regards Mary as worthy of divine worship. Thus, the floodgates were opened for the beatification of the Virgin.” 
12. Thomas Anthony Trollope
Collyridians, from Greek word signifying a piece of bread or cake in a cylindrical form; a sect of Christians, who arose towards the conclusion of the fourth century, and, together with another sect, called the Antidico-Marianites, filled all Arabia with controversies and disorder.
These latter maintained that the Virgin Mary did not preserve immaculate state after the birth of Christ, in jospeh autem mariti sui concubitu adhuc indulgebat. The Collyridians, on contrary, who are said to have chiefly consisted of women, worshipped the Virgin as a goddess, and sought favours by libations, sacrifices, and oblations of cakes. 
13. Professor Maxwell E. Johnson
“Epiphanuis of Salamis (315-403 CE), according to his witness, not only was there in existence an anti-Marian group called the Antidicomarianites, who denied Mary’s perpetual virginity, but also an EXTREME pro-Marian group, known as the Conllydrians (from cakes), a group comprised mostly of women who worshipped Mary as a goddess, offered her and then consumed small cakes, and had a female priesthood…” 
14. Protestant theologian and Church historian Phillip Schaff writes,
“Epiphanius, in his seventy-eighth heresy, combats the advocates of the opposite view in Arabia toward the end of fourth century (367), as heretics under the title of Antidiomarianites, opposer’s of the dignity of Mary i.e., of her perpetual virginity. But, on the other hand, he condemns, in the seventy-ninth heresy, the contemporaneous sect of the Collyridians in Arabia, a set of fanatical women, who, as priestesses rendered divine Worship to Mary.” 
15. Reverend George William D. Evans
The religious worship now paid to the virgin seems clearly deducible from that which was paid to the female deities of old. How reluctantly the converts from heathenism bade adieu to that sex as objects of worship, is evident from heretical opinions held by the sect of the Collydrians- a sect which arose towards the close of the fourth century, and offered up cakes (collyridae) to the Virgin Mary, as a goddess, and the Queen of heaven… 
16. Erich Fromm
“In the Nestorian controversy a decision against Nestorius was reached in 431 that Mary was not only the mother of Christ but also the mother of God, and at the end of the fourth century there arose a cult of Mary, and men addressed prayers to her.
About the same time the representation of Mary in the plastic arts also began to play a great and ever-increasing role. The succeeding centuries attached more and more significance to the mother of God, and her worship became more exuberant and more general. Altars were erected to her, and her pictures were shown everywhere.” 
17. English historian Edward Gibbon
“The Christians of the Seventh century had insensibly relapsed into a semblance of paganism: their public and private vows were addressed to the relics and images that disgraced the temples of the East: the throne of the Almighty was darkened by a cloud of martyrs, and saints, and angels, the objects of popular veneration; and the Collydrian heretics, who flourished in the fruitful soil of Arabia, invested the Virgin Mary with the name and honors of a goddess.
The mysteries of the Trinity and incarnation appear to contradict the principle of the Divine unity. In their obvious sense, they introduce three equal deities, and transform the man Jesus into the substance of the Son of God:
and orthodox commentary will satisfy only a believing mind: intemperate curiosity and zeal had torn the veil of the sanctuary; and each of the Oriental sects was eager to confess that all, except themselves, deserved the reproach of Idolatry and Polytheism.
The Creed of Mahomet is free from suspicion or ambiguity; and the Koran is a glorious testimony to the unity of God. The Prophet of Mecca rejected the worship of idols and men, of stars and planets, on the rational principle that whatever rises must set, that whatever is born must die, that whatever is corruptible must decay and perish.” 
We can conclude that the Quran nowhere says that “Mary is part of the trinity.” I responded to critics claims on Scholars (commentators of the Quran), they also never said, “Mary is believed by all Christians to be part of the trinity.” Their views were based on certain sects of Arabia which believed that Mary is part of the trinity.
I also referenced two dozen or more academic quotes from Christian experts, that Virgin Mary indeed was worshipped, and she was part of the trinity. I believe everything I have presented is in my favour that the Quran is not wrong in responding to the Christians of that time in Arabia that they worshipped Mary as a Goddess.
Allah knows Best
 The Koran translation and Notes (2007) by George Sale page 27
 Gilbert Reid – The Biblical World: Volume 48, Number. 1, page 12
 An Examination of Mr. Robinson of Cambridge’s Plea for the Divinity of Our Jesus Christ [London: Printed for J. Johnson, No. 72 St. Paul’s Church-Yard] by Theophilus Lindsey page 124
 Readings in Biography: A Selection of the Lives of Eminent Men of All Nations [The second Edition. London: John W. Parker, West Strand. (1899)] by William Cooke Taylor page 192
 The Eclectic Magazine: Foreign Literature science and Art. [September to December 1850.] By John Holmes Agnew, Walter Hilliard Bidwell, volume 21, page 40
 Dictionary of Doctrinal and Historical Theology by John Henry Blunt page 441
 The North British Review [Febraury 1850 – August 1850] by Allan Freer Volume 13, page 197
 History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science [New York : D. Appleton and company 1875] by John William Draper page 78 – 79
 Henry Adelbert Thompson The Catholic Cultus of the Virgin Mary: The American Journal of Theology: Volume 10, No. 3, page 480 – 484
 The Eastern Orthodox Church: Its Thought and Life by Ernst Benz page 61 – 62
 Mary: Glimpses of the Mother of Jesus by Beverly Roberts Gaventa page 15 -16
 Introducing Christianity by James R. Adair page 207
 The faiths of the world : an account of all religions and religious sects, their doctrines, rites, ceremonies, and customs (1858) by Reverend James Gardner, Volume 6, page 372 – 373
 History of the Christian Church to the Reformation by Professor Johann Heinrich Kurtz page 223
 The History of Romanism: from the Earliest Corruptions of Christianity to the present time [sixth edition 1845] by Reverend John Dowling page 82
 The Church of England quarterly review, [London: William Edward Painter, 342 strand] – volume 9, page 172
 A Feminist Companion to Mariology by Amy-Jill Levine, Maria Mayo Robbins page 173
 Gail Paterson Corrington Her Image of Salvation: Female Saviors and Formative Christianity page 96 – 97
 Bible Lessons For Catholics [Copyright 2002, Published by TEACH services, INC.] by Mary Walsh page 70 – 71
 An encyclopædia ecclesiastica; or, A complete history of the Church by Thomas Anthony Trollope page 403
 Praying and believing In early Christianity by Maxwell E. Johnson page 83
 History of the Christian Church [Third revision – New York: Charles Scibner’s Sons 1891] by Phillip Schaff Volume 3, page 417
 The classic and connoisseur in Italy and Sicily, with an appendix: (1835) by Reverend George William D. Evans volume 2, page 59
 The Dogma of Christ: And Other Essays on Religion, Psychology and Culture by Erich Fromm page 62 – 63
 The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, [Philadelphia 1816] by Edward Gibbon – Volume 6, page 249–
Allah knows Best
Almighty Allah is the highest and most knowledgeable, and the attribution of knowledge to him is the safest.
Right from Almighty Allah and wrong from me and Satan
Prepared by Mohamad Mostafa Nassar-
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Arrogance is not only a sign of insecurity, but also a sign of immaturity. Mature and fully realised persons can get their points across, even emphatically without demeaning or intimidating others.