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The current issue is always free to everyone - The Virgin Maryam of Surah - Student Writers’ Corner

As-salaam alaykum wa ramahtullah wa barakatuh jianim and extended community,

The Virgin Maryam of Surah 3 and 19 is discussed in the New Testament in the Book of Revelations of the modern Bible. I don't know how many books of the Injl had been gathered at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alaihi wa salaam), but the earliest depiction of Maryam and Christ (al-Masih according to the Qur'an and the Injil) is said to have been painted by St. Luke. The earliest Fathers and Mothers of the Christian Church were in North Africa, according to the Vatican. Saints Augustine, Tertullian, and Origen are said to have been North Africans, along with at least three Popes. The Roman Empire began to accept Christianity as a political policy during the reign of an African Pope. Of course, Maryam umm al Isa traveled to Africa (Roman controlled Egypt) to escape Herod's persecutions, and African Christians asked Amr Ibn Al-As to enter Byzantine Egypt during the Church's conflicts over the concept of Trinity.

In this tragic era, Black African Muslims women were treated as prostitutes in al-Qahira by “paler” Muslims, and many Muslim scholars sought to divorce East Africans from their African roots in favor of a “paler” origin. Yet a Black woman was the mother of Hassan, who was a hero at the victory of Muslim forces in Constantinople. Many Africans were also sold by Muslims to parts of Asia; they were still, too often, depicted as only servants rather than scholars; sex therapists, or concubines rather than chaste women. Too many boys were castrated, and treated as lustful animals (presuming Scheherazade's stories have been properly translated).

Maryam umm al Isa was blessed with miraculous food from Allah (swt) her entire life, well before Christ was born. In fact, Allah took care of Maryam directly, even though she was in the home of Zakariya (Surah 3, al-Imran). Allah made sure that Maryam's mother gave birth to a daughter (3:36), so we know that Maryam was both a blessing and blessed. Maryam was servant only to Allah (swt), and from what the Injil tells us, never oppressed or enslaved anyone. Christians believe that Allah (swt) allowed Maryam to speak to children at Fatima, Portugal; Cairo, Egypt; Lourdes, France; and Guadalupe, Mexico.

Christ was not a slave owner, either; he was not wealthy, and he did not abuse what temporal wealth he had. But he taught from the cradle. Some scholars say that Christ spent part of his youth studying in Africa. The Qur'an verifies that Christ is al-Masih, and a servant of Allah (swt).

As a woman of African descent, I am very grateful that Allah (swt) ordained that Maryam, the mother of Christ, flee to Africa. I am very grateful that Allah ordained that a girl be born, that Allah (swt) fed her miraculously, that Allah (swt) brought the Messiah into the world through her without a man's sperm, and Allah (swt) comforted her during the extreme pain of childbirth. I am grateful that Maryam umm al Isa and Isa al-Masih have apparently spent the last 2,000 years in constant prayer before the throne of Allah (swt). Maryam umm al-Isa is my heroine, and one of the great proofs of Allah's intervention in the lives of women.

I am also aware that many Muslim scholars say that there should be no depictions of the prophets and other holy people, however, I include the reproductions of the original painting of the Virgin Maryam and her son Isa, al-Masih to remind us that neither the Mother of al-Masih, nor al-Masih are “white” or “pale.” Muslims say that al-Masih will return. Will Christ be greeted by “pale” people with anti-”dark” racism? Will the Christians of Poland, Russia, Kazan, Spain, Romania, Italy and Georgia be more respectful to the Messiah than many Muslims?

According to the Polish American Center,

“Saint Luke the Evangelist, according to tradition, is believed to be the original artist of this painting in which Mary is depicted holding the Christ Child. This sacred picture, enshrined and venerated at the renowned Marian Shrine in Poland, was first brought from Jerusalem through Constantinople and was bestowed to the Princess of Ruthenia. It was brought to Poland in 1382 through the efforts of Ladislaus of Opole who had discovered it in a castle at Belz. To ensure its protection, he invited the Monks of Saint Paul the First Hermit from Hungary to be its guardians.

From this time onward, the historic records of the painting are documented and authenticated by the miracles associated with the painting. In 1430, a devastating attack on the Polish Shrine resulted in tragic losses and the damaging of the holy picture. To this very day, despite the attempts to repair the damage, the slashes on the face of the Virgin Mary are still visible.”

Black women, held responsible for the socialization of their children, were principally held accountable for the “irresponsible” behavior that was manifest in the black community. As a class, they were also chastised for having children out of wedlock, promiscuity, and attempts at gaining equal footing with men, black men in particular. (Clarence Lusane. Hitler's Black Victims, p. 142.) Student Guest Commentator, Maryam Sharron Muhammad Shabazz is a PhD Graduate Student, Department of History, Howard University. She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Uzbek Group 14, 2002-2003, was a TransAfrica Intern, Fall 2006 and is a General Member Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC). Click here to contact Ms. Shabazz.

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May 15, 2008
Issue 277

is published every Thursday

Executive Editor:
Bill Fletcher, Jr.

Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield

Peter Gamble
Est. April 5, 2002
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