Did you know that there is an entire chapter of the Quran devoted to Mary? There is! And this year we have a unique opportunity to join Imam Mohamed Almasmari, Sr. Zaynab Salman, and Rev. Bill Danaher of Christ Church Cranbrook at the Muslim Unity Center to explore how Islam and Christianity both revere Mary.
The program was the result of a joint interfaith class with the Muslim Unity Center and Orchard Lake Community Church. Over the course of their meetings, it became clear that there was a mutual interest in exploring how Mary is viewed in the Quran.
“A story like this can bring people together during this season,” says Imam Almasmari. “It’s a great time for people to come together and talk about somebody we all admire.”
Many people are surprised to find out that Islam is not a completely different faith, according to Imam Almasmari. The Quran, he says, continues the chain of the bible, recognizing not just Mary, but Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jesus, Noah, Moses, Jacob, Lot and Joseph as prophets.
Although there are differences in the narratives, such as the Quran regarding Lot as a prophet where the bible does not, there also many similarities, such as the reverence for Mary.
“I want this to be a unifying even where we come together and put these differneces aside,” says Imam Almasmari. “The whole point of the program is to discover how much we have in common.”
The program will include a video of the recitation of the Quran chapter on Mary with English subtitles, a presentation by Sister Salman about Mary, and a question and answer session with Imam Almasmari and Rev. Danaher, as well as refreshments.
It is, says Imam Almasmari, a chance to “commemorate her legacy, to talk about what we know about Mary and who she is in our faith tradition.”