Matt C. Abbott
October 19, 2011
A Muslim's view of Fatima and Christianity
By Matt C. Abbott

I was a bit surprised to receive the following email from a Muslim, Salah H. (slightly edited):

    'As a Muslim, let me add another perspective to your interesting [Feb. 13, 2005] article. The name Fatima is not just beloved to us; it is also blessed by the Quran since Fatima is the daughter of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), and the Quran has dedicated an entire verse in blessing the immediate family of the prophet. Therefore, the name is blessed and is significant to us Moslems, and after the Portugal appearance, the name has interestingly become blessed to Christians, too!

    'Is this not a sign from Almighty God for Christians and Moslems to get together in finding their common cause? I find it extraordinary that the Virgin Mary did not address herself as the Mother of God, which Moslems refute intensely, nor did she address her son Jesus Christ (PBUH) as God. Did the Virgin not say to the three children that they were going to be persecuted for your acts? Aren't the Muslims are being severely persecuted for their beliefs? And in the rosary, did Jesus not pray to God for our daily bread, a strong indication that he is not God? Don't Muslims pray five times a day to God?

    'Finally, the Virgin Mary talked about conversions, and don't we see massive conversions of Christians to Islam being the fastest-growing religion in the world? It's a great sign to the West to go back to God and worship him the manner he prescribed to be worshipped.'

I responded (slightly edited):

    'Thank you for the email, Salah. While I have no doubt that the Virgin Mary's appearance at Fatima was significant in more ways than one, I have to respectfully yet strongly disagree with you that the apparition in any way rejected the divinity of Christ. Same with the prayers of the rosary. [Here and here] are links to articles you may want to read.

    'Also, I have to add that many Christians worldwide have been severely persecuted simply because of their beliefs — and in some countries, they're attacked and murdered, as I'm sure you're aware.'

Salah H. responded (slightly edited):

    'Thank you for taking the time to reply. I believe that Christians and Muslims have plenty in common in both practice and belief, save, of course, for the divinity of Christ and his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Trinity. It may sound surprising to you that one of the pillars of Islam is the mandatory requirement in the belief of the message of Jesus Christ, which we believe he delivered from our father — the father of humanity, not just his father — to us.

    'It is very interesting for me to note that the father of all prophets, Abraham, and the first of them all preached monotheism as the fundamental pillar of the religion. This principle was not contradicted by Prophet Moses and was confirmed by Prophet Mohammed (oh people of Israel your Lord is thy One).Yet strangely enough it is claimed by Christians that it was only Jesus who introduced the highly controversial principle of the Trinity, which is refuted by both Jews and Muslims alike and there is not a single verse in the Bible to substantiate it.

    'Finally, it is my firm belief that submission to the one and only Lord of the heavens and the earth (Arabic for Islam) was the religion of all the prophets, including Jesus, but corruption of the followers distorted the beautiful message and divided us. And if believing in the divinity of Jesus is enough to save a soul from condemnation, why would they need to be accountable for their deeds on earth? I think the potential consequences of this principle are clear to all.

    'I say nothing about the Third Secret revealed by the Blessed Virgin but not disclosed by the Vatican! I believe it talks about corruption creeping inside the Church to the higher echelons of power and that people would need to convert en mass to the religion that is free from corruption in holding the flag of monotheism high alone with great reverence to The Almighty Lord and all his noble messengers.'

I must say that it's the first time I've heard a theory about the Third Secret of Fatima involving the "need" for Christians to convert to Islam! Obviously Salah holds very misguided views of Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. I do, however, appreciate his respectful tone despite our profound theological disagreements.



Related links:

'Inside Islam: A Guide for Catholics'

'Cleansing Fire': Islam, diversity, and anti-Christian sentiment

'The Fourth Secret of Fatima': Is Pope Benedict's life in danger?

© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.


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