Sunday, February 12, 2017
Islam and Mary the Theotokos: Another note on the Satanic element in Islam
I've written a few essays on a "Satanic element" in Islam. To fend off the literalists (who abound in our modern times among both Christians and agnostics/atheists) at the pass, I would quote in this regard a caveat I wrote in the introduction to my first piece on this (Islam and the Psychology of Satan: The Tragicomedy of Hell on Earth) back in 2009:
"A caveat to the reader: I embark upon this meditation from the perspective of an imaginative agnostic, not as a follower of Christianity or any other religion. My years of having informally studied the history of Western religions and Judaeo-Christian theology—along with the symbology of mythopoetics of the philosophers Eric Voegelin, Simone Pétrement and Paul Ricoeur, as well as the historian Jeffrey Burton Russell and the anthropologists Mircea Eliade, Henri Frankfort and Thorkild Jacobsen—will have doubtlessly helped me here and informed this little exercise in many ways, some obvious, some subtle. Furthermore, I refract my meditation through a Christian lens, so to speak, for the cogent reason that Islam’s theology is really an anti-theology based on repudiating Judaeo-Christian theology and supposedly correcting it."
A collection of my previous essays on this topic may be found on this Google page.
Today's essay adds yet another intriguing piece to the puzzle, the Mary of the Gospels; and I remind the reader that in this series, I am looking at Islam through the lens of Satan's psychology.
First, let us consider Mary, and what she means to orthodox Christianity (Catholic and Orthodox): She is revered as the Mother of God, as the Theotokos (a Greek coinage in the Patristic period, literally meaning "God-birthgiver"). Throughout Patristic and Medieval Christian history, she represents the pinnacle of motherhood and womanhood, and as such, second to Jesus Christ, her son, as a human mediator for mankind. The paradox that Jesus is her son, and He is her God, is beautifully captured throughout the Patristic period and the Middle Ages in pictorial and sculptural art, song and poetry.
Since I have my eye out for the context mentioned above (interpreting Islam as crypto-Satanic), one certain verse of the Koran struck me as relevant in this regard. As Wikipedia puts it succinctly:
In Qur'anic verses 21:91 and 66:12, Allah says that he breathed into Maryam's vagina in order to conceive Isa.
(For those who still don't know, "Maryam" is the Islamic way of rendering Mary, and "Isa" is Jesus.)
Especially the second verse (66:12) explicitly presents this:
And Mary, daughter of 'Imran, whose body was chaste, therefor We breathed therein something of Our Spirit.
Now, the Arabic word translated with such gingerly decorum by Marmaduke Pickthall (a 19th century British convert to Islam) as "was chaste" is also translated as "her chastity" which is more accurate, since the Arabic word is a noun, not an adjective. The Arabic word is farj, which properly translates as "vagina" (or in our more genteel past, her "pudenda"). The other crucial word there is "therein" (we can already see how incoherent it is to say "We breathed therein" when there is no preceding object into which "We breathed"),
A more honest and accurate translation is by Edward Henry Palmer -- also a 19th century British Orientalist, as was Pickthall, but having the decisive advantage of being a non-Muslim:
And Mary, daughter of Imran, who guarded her private parts, and we breathed therein of our spirit and she verified the words of her Lord and His books, and was of the devout.
I.e., the Koran there is saying that Allah (the royal "We") blew "our" spirit into Mary's vagina. To get back to my original point, then, I have recently read this from the perspective of Allah being Satan. In essence, what's going on in this verse from this perspective is that Satan, knowing well how the accursed Christians revere Mary, thought he would insert (pun intended) a verse to get back at the Christians by saying he defiled her in the most outrageous manner -- essentially sexual molestation (if not rape) dressed up as some kind of divine intervention (and if the reader consults my other essays on this topic, he will see my argument of how Islam represents a master stroke by the evil genius Satan to construct a world religion purporting to worship God but actually worshiping him).
Well, today I see an essay by Raymond Ibrahim on Jihad Watch -- Muhammad's Sexual Fantasies of the Virgin Mary -- that sheds further light on this. Ibrahim cites not only a hadith but also the teachings of a modern Muslim cleric who both basically say that Mohammed was looking forward to Paradise, where he will have sex with Mary -- and Ibrahim adds the telling point that Muslims have used this as a way to insult and humiliate Christians.
In this context, it is worth noting that Ibrahim provides an oddly mild defintion for the Arabic word involved here:
(Note: the Arabic word for “marriage” denotes “legal sexual relations” and is devoid of Western, “romantic,” or Platonic connotations.)
While Ibrahim is correct that the Arabic word -- nikah -- "is devoid of Western, “romantic,” or Platonic connotations" -- he is strangely softening the meaning of it. From what I've heard from Arabic speakers, nikah is the Arabic equivalent of our "F word". So that's what the hadith and this cleric are saying -- that in Paradise, Mohammed will get to f*** Mary.
This not only impugns Mary's honor with the sick joke that is Islam; it directly and perniciously contravenes orthodox Christian Mariology, attested at least as early as the 4th century A.D., by which Mary is proclaimed to be aeiparthenos: ever-virginal.