Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Mary and the Trinity: a comment on Qur'an 5:119

Sometimes there is confusion about the verse in Qur'an 5:119, which mentions the beliefs of some who considered Mary to be part of the Trinity.

This verse, Qur'an 5:119, says in meaning:

This verse of the Qur'an in fact shows knowledge about one of the other early sects of Christianity. One of their documents is known by early Christian writers as the "Gospel of the Hebrews," which was a generic name they gave to any early gospel account in Hebrew. In the fragments we now have this Gospel (known from quotes by early Christian writers), it explicitly identifies Mary with the Holy Spirit. It is this kind of deifying of both Jesus and Mary which the Qur'an is opposing in the above verse.

Here is an excerpt from this Gospel, as paraphrased by Cyril of Jerusalem (4th century):

From this excerpt, it is clear that the religious sect who accepted this text believed that both Jesus and Mary (may peace be with them) existed in heaven before coming to earth. Mary was a power who came into the world.

The Christian writer Origen (3rd century) also writes:

[The above quote from "Just now.... my hairs", was also quoted by Jerome.]

This quote further shows that there was a group, who considered themselves Christian, who identified Mary with the Holy Spirit, which probably indicates that they deified Mary along with Jesus (peace be with them). Just as Trinitarian Christians today consider both Jesus and the Holy Spirit to be divine.

[Reference for the quotes: "The Complete Gospels: Annotated Scholars Version" (HarperCollins, 1994), see under "Gospel of the Hebrews," pp. 430 ff.]

Therefore, the Qur'anic verse is referring quite clearly to this particular Christian sect, who deified both Jesus and Mary, and could still have been in existence in the 7th century C.E. when the Qur'an was revealed.

The Qur'an quite independently opposes the current Trinitarian views of modern-day Christians, who deify Jesus but not Mary. The Qur'an quite clearly opposes their Trinitarian creed in verses like 3:59, 4:171, 5:17, 5:175, and its opposition against the crucifixion and resurrection in 4:157.

May Allah guide us all to the truth.


Fariduddien Rice

Copyright © 1997, 1998 Fariduddien Rice.  Permission to reprint and distribute is granted only if this notice is included, and the text is not modified in any way, shape or form to alter the intended meaning.

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