39 Mary, What a Strange Thing You Have Done!
Uzza: The Dome of the Rock was built over the rock outcrop where Abraham is said to have offered a son to god. It was built to honour their common ancestor which is why when it was built, Jews were invited to worship there as they would in a synagogue. It even honoured the Christians, proclaiming in one of the more than fifty inscriptions that circle the perimeter, and which are said to be Koranic in origin, that the virgin Mary is a Messenger of Allah.
Gerry: I wasn't aware of that.
Uzza: That may be because there is no verse in the Koran that says such a thing.
Gerry: But, you just said that the inscriptions on the Dome were from the Koran.
Uzza: The original Koran, maybe?
Gerry: But, Mary’s story is in the modern Koran. In fact, she is the only woman in the Book whom Allah mentions by name.
Uzza: In the original Koran she may have been more than just the mother of the lesser prophet Jesus, but a messenger in her own right.
Bob: The Virgin Mary, the only woman mentioned by name in the Koran? That is weird. Why her?
Uzza: Allah could not avoid it. He needed her help to discredit the Christian claim that her son is His son.
Bob: Why again?
Uzza: The entire concept of the Koran is based on a simple premise: God had gotten fed up with sending His instructions on how we should live and how He should be worshipped via prophets who did not communicate His message accurately or were misunderstood by a less than receptive audience. God’s patience had run out. He would send one last messenger, his greatest messenger, with his final instructions for mankind: the Koran. Anyone who did not heed what this ultimate messenger told them was doomed to an eternity in Hell.
Bob: Sounds like a plan.
Uzza: There was only one problem with this latest divine plan for getting humanity to behave: Jesus. If God had already come down to earth to deliver his message personally in the person of Jesus, then sending another messenger with a final message from on High made no sense. If Muhammad’s claim to be the last and greatest messenger of God was to have any credibility, the Christian claim that Jesus was the Son of God had to be discredited and Mary was central to a strategy to do just that.
Bob: That’s smart, having a mother agree that her son is nothing special.
Uzza: In a somewhat convoluted plot, Allah has Mary take the newborn Jesus to see whom He calls “her people” after giving birth under a palm tree with the baby Jesus or Gabriel, none can agree as to who of the two is the one who looked up “from beneath her” and told her not to worry.
Archie: If Gabriel was the father, that’s the least he can do. And, if he wasn’t, what the hell was he doing down there looking up not being a woman or a close male relative.
Uzza: As to Gabriel, he may have been the father if a revelation about his appearing before a confined Mary in the form of a “well-shaped human being” to tell her of her impending pregnancy is any clue.
Bob: If it was Jesus, that was one special baby. Why would his mother deny it?
Uzza: [somewhat exasperated] She did not deny her son was special, as far as we know, she simply agreed with him that he was not son-of-God special. Anyway, when she shows up with a baby and no husband, “her people” think it strange and tell her so.
Bob: Her people think Mary is a slut?
Uzza: I wouldn’t go that far, but “her people” ask her how a sister of Aaron – don’t ask how that makes any sense – a daughter of a father who was a good man and a mother who was chaste could do such a thing.
Bob: Good question. Enquiring minds want to know.
Uzza: Mary keeps her cools and points to the baby Jesus who has been placed in a crib. Without being asked, only hours after exiting the birth canal, the infant Jesus loudly proclaims that he is not God’s son but a messenger of Allah. A rebuttal of Christian dogma which Allah himself immediately vouches for as being the truth.
Archie: That is one precocious baby, I must say. A baby speaking complete sentences almost right after popping out, that is special, even godlike.
Uzza: Jesus was special, not as special as Muhammad, not special like a god is special, but special nonetheless.
Archie: Special like your archenemy is special.
Bob: Obviously Jesus knows who the father is. Why not name the guy who put the bun in Mary’s oven if it was not the Big Guy who did it?
Archie: Get real! From what we have been told about the story in the Koran, Gabriel is likely the father. If he is, then Mary did the dirty deed with something or someone other than her husband, or with Allah himself. From Allah’s point of view, the less said about the father the better, and He wrote the book, so He can reveal whatever He wants to reveal.
Uzza: And what He wants to reveal is that Jesus denounced from the moment he was born and throughout his life that he is not Allah’s son, and that those who say he is are perverts. This denial is central to a story that could not be told without mentioning Jesus’ mother by name.
Bob: By not having Mary show up with a husband, the Koran does away with the pretense in the Bible that she had a husband with whom she never had sex – at least, not until Jesus was born. But still, like Bob said, if I was a god who wanted to prove that a woman’s baby was not mine I would not make her out to be a single mother with husband unknown. But, that is not what bothers me. What’s with her giving birth under a palm tree, out in the open? That is not realistic.
Archie: And the rest is?
Uzza: It is not only a changed message Muhammad delivered but a change of venue, with the more significant events of the Bible occurring at or near Mecca, the most flagrant being Abraham’s aborted infanticide.
Gerry: The fact that Mary had her son deliver one of the more momentous messages of the Koran should have been reason enough for the inscription on the Dome of the Rock.
Uzza: All messengers of Allah delivered messages about His greatness and His short-temper personally, Mary did not do that. There had to be something in another Koran where she did, for her to be considered a messenger.
Archie: And were would we find this other Koran?
Uzza: What may be a copy of the original Koran was discovered in the walls of the Great Mosque of Sana'a in Yemen with whose construction Muhammad was involved. During renovations in the 1970s, what is known as the Sana'a Manuscript, was found in the walls. When Yemeni authorities were informed that this possibly earliest Koran contained minor but significant differences from the version that orthodox Islam maintains is the perfect unchanging Word of God, they restricted access to the more than 40,000 pieces of parchment from the earliest days of Islam.
Gerry: You’re saying that the inscription on the Dome of the Rock may be from this earlier version?