Virgin Mary Seen as a Model for All Muslims
Interview with Islamic Theologian Sherazade Hushmand

ROME, DEC. 10, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Muslims venerate Mary, the Pope reminded the faithful Sunday during his Angelus address. Iranian Muslim theologian Sherazade Hushmand affirms that view.

There are verses in the Koran that include a significant prayer to God by Mary's mother, Hushmand explained in this interview with Vatican Radio.

--Q: Of what significance is the figure of Mary to Muslims?

--Hushmand: She is very present in the Koran, which presents her, specifically, as Mary Immaculate. In the third sura, beginning with verse 34 and subsequent ones, the Koran speaks about this aspect of Mary, about her total purity.

Speaking of Mary, one of the verses talks about freedom. The woman of Hemram, who is Mary's mother, prays to God saying: "God, I dedicate to you the one I have in the womb, and I dedicate her so that she will be free, absolutely free."

This word is used only once in the Koran, and only for Mary. This freedom is an absolute freedom from all what might be seen as sin, evil, failure, weakness. Mary is pure of all this. Then comes God's affirmation: "I accept her."

--Q: Do all followers of Islam believe this?

--Hushmand: In Chapter 66, the last verse, 12, the Koran says: "Do you want me to give you a faithful example to follow, valid for all the world's believers?" Mary is proposed there as the example. This is very strong -- because not only is Mary an example and a symbol for Christians to follow, but also in the Koran, Mary becomes a symbol and model for all believers, also for Muslims themselves.

--Q: And what does this mean in everyday life?

--Hushmand: To have hope, to have a model to follow, to have such a pure woman to look up to and to go forward, a woman who had complete confidence in God. She is the example of confidence, total confidence in the Absolute, in the God who is Supreme Perfection and Beauty.

This is how we follow her, always having confidence, even in difficulties and in face of things we cannot understand.

Like her, who was asked to have a Son -- the Koran says -- without a material father, a physical father, and she trusted and went ahead. So, like her, we take her as model and trust God totally, including in difficult and hard moments of life.
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