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The utility of the Virgin Mary as a theme for Muslim-Catholic understanding has often been overstressed. Islam has no doctrine of original sin that might facilitate a recognition of Roman Catholic teachings concerning the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption; neither does it recognize virginity as a privileged state. Mary thus competes with several married archetypes of Muslim female piety. However, the symbolic language of the two faiths in their devotional and mystical modes reveals striking convergences in their exploration of a gendered dynamic by which heaven and earth are reconciled. Thus, symbolism, rather than founding historical figures, must be considered the basis for any dialogue that hopes to avoid both the dangers of reductionism and the sterility of a simple acknowledgement of difference.

May: A Theme for Dialogue?

The figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary has long formed a barrier to Christian ecumenism that has been both doctrinal and affective. [1] Even in the comparatively irenic conditions of the twentieth century, Karl Barth did not hesitate to view Mariology as the defining error of the Roman Church. [2] What hopes, then, are there for constructing an appropriate understanding of the Virgin, as a discrepantly shared symbol, for dialogue between Christianity and Islam? Fundamental issues touching on the nature of the two religions are raised by this question, and the following discussion will necessarily lead the reader over a diverse and contested landscape. I hope to show that, while the Virgin Mary has been overestimated as a potential shared theme for dialogue, images of the feminine, for which she frequently becomes the preeminent figure, can be read to show that the two religions are much closer in their mystical and devotional practices than their theologies might suggest.

It should be noted at the outset that the Muslim-Protestant conversation has been relatively untroubled by mariological concerns, since neither Islam nor Protestantism concedes any significant role to Mary in the economy of salvation, nor do they acknowledge the characteristic Roman Catholic doctrines of the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption, and Mary's perpetual postpartum virginity. [3] The Orthodox churches also, inasmuch as their views can be summarized in the absence of a definitive magisterial teaching, have been reluctant to accept the grander roles accorded to Mary by Catholicism, including the all-important dogma of the Immaculate Conception, [4] despite the significance of Mary as God-bearer (theotokos) and her concomitant prominence in iconography and the ecclesiastical calendar.

However, any comparative theology attempted between Islam and Catholicism runs up against the figure of the Virgin almost at once. Cheikh Bouamrane has identified four areas of dogmatic difference between the two traditions: the definition of God's unity, the locus of revelation (Bible or Qur'an), the legitimacy of Muhammad's ministry, and Mariology. [5] Present-day petitions to the Holy See urging Mary's further elevation to the status of co-redemptrix with Christ would, if successful, further exacerbate the Marian problem in dialogue.

In this way the Virgin Mary has conventionally appeared as an emblem of what Islam and Catholicism find superficially recognizable in each other but which investigation discloses as alienating. Confronted with this precious but differently appropriated woman, the mutual consideration of the two faiths has in consequence been very hesitant. Should Catholics rejoice to find Mary venerated in the Qur'an, even though she is stripped of her glory as Mother of God? Should Muslims regard what in their eyes is the risky hyperdulia accorded her by Catholicism as on balance preferable to a Christianity that hardly acknowledges Maryam at all? The dilemma has medieval roots: hence Ramon Lull's conviction, against Islam, that "the dishonour done to Christ's mother by robbing her Son of His divinity outweighed the possible value of direct praise of her." [6]

The cognitive problems entailed by this hesitancy have been made still more acute by the skewing of the mutual regard by missionary urges. Even in the modern period, study of the "other's" Virgin has commonly been pursued not for straightforwardly scholarly reasons, or even in order to find possible grounds for understanding and dialogue, but as a "bridge," or, even more frankly, as a "stepping stone." A Muslim example is supplied by Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak, the spiritual guide of the Jerrahi tariqa in Istanbul, whose devotional monograph on the Virgin must be seen in the context of his mission to the United States and Mexico. [7] Ozak ventured beyond the usual idioms of Islamic hagiography to include themes that were clearly calculated to appeal to Christians or to recent converts from Christianity:

Those faithful to God and to all His messengers express their gratitude, affection and respect for the blessed Virgin by bestowing her sanctified name, Maryam, upon their daughters. Her pregnancy through the breath of the Holy Spirit, and the exalted miracle of the manner in which she gave birth to the Messiah, is perceived by people of faith everywhere as a wondrous sign of Divine mercy.

Honored is her noble name and venerated is her noble person. Her radiant spiritual abode is in the enlightened hearts of all who believe in God Most High. She is a living saint. As one of the holy friends of God, she is not dead, but has entered the realm of eternal being. [8]

Less mystical than Ozak's piety is the approach of Patrick Ali Pahlavi, nephew of the last Shah of Iran, and author of La Fille d'Imran, published in 1991, as was Ozak's book. Pahlavi's account reads like a historical novel: it is grounded in the broad qur'anic narrative and dogmatic context, but freely weaves in incidents from the Christian scriptures, including an element of the Christian Annunciation story. The result is an eloquent and extremely French little volume that, despite its impatience with orthodoxy, clearly sees itself as an emissary for Islam. Its royal author writes in a noticeably feminist and socialist vein whose Christian equivalent might be Rosemary Ruether's "liberation Mariology," [9] which presents Mary as a rebel against priestly authority, whose admission to the Temple and studying of the Torah violate laws that Mary boldly described as "human, not divine." Pahlavi concluded his book with the following thought: "In an age when the religions are no longer understood, when male prophe ts leave people indifferent, why should we not reunite around a woman? Mary, mother par excellence, Jewess, yet simultaneously revered in the Gospels and the Qur'an, is a guide worthy to be followed ... Mary, prophet of the third millennium, pourquoi pas?" [10]

On the Catholic side, the Virgin Mary figured centrally in the missiology of Louis Massignon. Massignon viewed Islam as a divinely appointed witness to the unity of God, a religion authentic because it contained all the signs of the good news of Christ, of which the most prominent and definitive was the "Marian sign." The Badaliyya sodality that Massignon created and led felt that it became "one" with Muslims in prayerfully witnessing to the divine unity and that this identification was actualized by the intercession of the Virgin, revered so earnestly in both faiths. This Massignon saw as a means to "manifest" the truth of Christ in Islam. [11]

Writing of the use of Marian themes in dialogue, another Catholic, Georges Anawati, expressed the hope that "[p]erhaps God is inviting us to pursue this direction in order that those who are, like ourselves, sons of Abraham, and have such great respect for Mary's holiness, may be brought to know and love fully the Son." [12] Similarly, the no less hopeful Bishop Fulton Sheen wrote: "I believe that the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as 'Our Lady of Fatima' as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Moslem people," [13] a reference to the curious coincidence of the Virgin's appearance in a Portuguese village that bears the name of the Prophet's daughter. [14] It is in the academically problematic context of "outreach," too, that speculations are occasionally offered on the fact that the Virgin chooses to appear in locations shared by Muslims and Christians: Portugal was once under Muslim rule, [15] as was Medjugorje in Herzegovina, which retained a Muslim minority until 1993. [16] The important Marian shrines at Ephesus in Turkey and Zaytun in Cairo have drawn substantial crowds of pilgrims from both faiths. [17]

The Islamic Marian vein has been repeatedly mined by the Vatican itself. The Vatican II document Nostra aetate observed that Muslims "venerate Jesus as a prophet. His virgin Mother they also honour, and even at times devoutly invoke." [18] In 1988, Francis Cardinal Arinze of the Vatican's then-Secretariat for Non-Christians delivered an address to his Muslim "brothers and sisters in God" on the occasion of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Fully two-thirds of his address dealt with Mary, described by the cardinal as "the mother of Jesus, whom both Christians and Muslims--without according her the same role and title -- honour as a model for believers." [19] The response to this ranged from outright welcome by organizations such as the Turkish Ministry of Religious Affairs [20] to bitter rejection as a missionary ploy by controversialists such as Zaynab 'Abd al-'Aziz, professor of civilization at the Egyptian university of Minufiyya, whose 1995 book on the Vatican's changing approaches to Islam documents s ome allegedly less irenic statements by the same cardinal. [21]

This tangle of approaches has contrived, on balance, to veil the Virgins of Islam and Christianity from proper scrutiny and appreciation both by members of the other community and by the larger world of scholarship. Diminution of differences by both sides for well-intentioned dialogical purposes or, no less frequently, for purposes of mission has been so normal that the large volume of publications on the Muslim Mary in fact disguises a regrettable paucity of research and disciplined reflection.

There are signs that this deficiency is being remedied. In 1980, Roger Arnaldez presented an important discussion of Mary in his long study of the Muslim Jesus. [22] The proceedings of a mariological congress held in Rome in 1986 included two articles of prime importance, one of which, by Abd al-Wahid Pallavicini, may be considered the most serious attempt to date to use a historical understanding of Mary's role in Islamic spirituality as a foundation for dialogue. The other, by Samir Khalil, S.J., provides profuse illustrations of modern Arab Muslim veneration of the Virgin and the widespread incidence of Muslim pilgrimages to Marian churches, suggesting that the masses simply disregard the scruples of the theologians and insist on celebrating her as a shared figure. [23] Still more recently, Barbara Stowasser has analyzed much previously neglected Arabic material in her indispensable 1994 resource Women in the Qur'an, Traditions and Interpretation. [24] The most recent contribution has come from the late A frican-American scholar Aliah Schleifer. Her monograph The Blessed Virgin of Islam is, to date, the only scholarly, book-length biography of the Muslim Mary; it is particularly concerned to identify the apocryphal Christian sources such as the Infancy Gospel of James and the Gospel of Nicodemus that lie at the origins of many of the Islamic legends. [25]

Mary as Ideal Type

Although much work remains to be done, these investigations now provide a sufficient quarry of material from which to attempt a realistic interpretation of the meaning of Mary in Islam. It is clear at once that, in spite of all missiological hopes for the theme, Mary's archetypal role among Muslims bears little resemblance to that accorded her by Catholicism. This is nowhere more evident than with respect to her most distinctive attribute of the virgin birth. Classical Islam held the Qur'an to affirm Mary's virginity, [26] but it repudiated the Immaculate Conception as incompatible with the qur'anic narrative of the Fall, which permitted Adam a repentance sufficient to cancel the extension of original sin to his progeny. [27] While mortality and the option of actual sin are the fate of fallen humanity, humankind is not, in Augustine's phrase, a massa damnata, requiring redemptive intervention by an incarnate God who must be born free from contamination by sexuality, seen in the dominant patristic tradition a s the consequence of the mortality induced by the Fall. Instead, the Islamic Adam discourses with God, insisting that the Creator can only be diminished if the divine mercy by which God bestowed existence upon Adam and set him in the archetypal Garden is no longer available to all who freely repent and make amends. [28]

Many historians have viewed the Augustinian position that sin is an inherited moral stain as the reactive child of radically negative Manichean views of the physical world, as well as of the gnostic and other late-Hellenistic dualisms. [29] By affirming the unmediated and nonredemptive operation of grace, the Qur'an effected a return to more Semitic conceptions of soteriology and also to a strategy toward the world closer to that held by the Socratic philosophers than to the more pessimistically world-denying ethos of much later Greek thinking. Its insistence that human recalcitrance may be adequately overcome by a penitent "turning" (tawba), once the heart is softened by consideration of God's "signs" (ayat) both in nature and in a written disclosure of the divine will, was among the most fundamental of the transformations it wrought in the territories it overran in the formerly Christian Near East. It unfastened the anti-naturalist knot linking body, woman, and nature that Augustine had tied [30] and, taki ng its cue from the life of its founder, fully dissociated married sexuality from sin. Married heterosexual wrongdoing, as for Plato and Aristotle and also for the Jewish consensus, was no different from any other vice inasmuch as it consisted in divergence from a golden mean into either excess or deficiency. Indeed, Islam added to Plato's understanding of aphrodisia as a natural and necessary experience that secures the perpetuation of the species the further justification that it offered a foretaste of the delights of Paradise. [31] The eroticized Garden of the Qur'an, moreover, appeared to contrast sharply with the Christian scriptures' assurance that "one shall neither marry nor be married, one will be like the angels in heaven." [32] For Islam, the proleptic sign of a lived anticipation of the Reign of God was sexuality, where in the Christian context it had been celibacy.

In this fashion, the concept of the superior virtue of celibacy and virginity and of the ideal marriage as remaining "sine carnali commixtione" (Aquinas) could gain no significant purchase in a religious culture nurtured on the qur'anic account of the Fall. Moreover, the Augustinian confidence that "the evils of sex were particularly identified with the female" [33] was further undermined by the ambiguity of the Islamic scriptural account of the close of the "prologue in Heaven," which in the Qur'an appears as the fault of a decision made by both Adam and Eve and is only particularly associated with Eve in the hadith and historiographic literature. [34] Hence, there has been no Muslim conception of Mary as a second Eve, whose freedom from concupiscence constitutes the necessary matrix for the Savior who redeems humanity from original sin and, thereby, as in the famous play on words in the hymn Ave maris stella, changes Eve's name: mutans Evae nomen. [35]

The Qur'an's apparent affirmation of the Virgin Birth thus bears a radically diminished and altered significance, which offers the believer no clues about the route to salvation. The patristic Virgin had been constructed against the background of the older Hellenic topos of a virgin mother, such as Artemis, who engendered a divine child, [36] in order to emphasize the remarkable status of Christ, but had introduced a new element by taking the virgin birth as a radical condemnation of concupiscence and as the justification for a celibate and ascetical life, so that "Mary's life is a rule of life for all." [37] Islam preserved the belief in her virginity but did not make the inference that human sexuality is suspect. It contrived to revere her within a set of wider and rarely challenged assumptions in hagiography, which, as Tor Andrae has shown, typically regarded the virginal state as an obstacle rather than an aid to the life of the saints. [38] The point of reference was the Prophet himself, who had married several wives and whose perfection is seen by Muslim piety as unproblematically confirmed rather than compromised by his sexuality. A number of hadiths attribute to him the view that the sex act with one's spouse, if done in a considerate spirit, will be rewarded at the eschaton. [39]

On these grounds, classical Islam rejected the idea that virgin motherhood might be a condition for the purity of either mother or child. Little could be more remote from patristic ideals than the Muslim narratives of the conception of the Prophet Muhammad, which have his father entering the chamber of the Prophet's mother Amina with a bright light shining from his forehead, which vanishes once he has slept with her. [40] While affirming the virginal delivery of Christ, Islam empties it of any Christian meaning, viewing it simply as one of Mary's miracles, no more dogmatically significant as such than the miraculous appearance of fruit and water in her cell, or the visitation of Gabriel. [41]

Hence, Mary's most eminent title is not so much the virginal "al-'Adhra''' -- the term commonly used by Christian Arabs for the Virgin -- but "al-Batul": the "detached," in the sense of living in isolation from men as a pious worshiper and, hence, a virgin only by implication [42] (an implication that is further weakened by the application of the same epithet to the nonvirginal Fatima). Exegetes recount how Mary fasted and prayed in her chamber in the Temple so unceasingly that her body wasted away, while her feet were swollen from standing in prayer. [43] The Qur'an commands her to prostrate. Schleifer, pointing Out the rarity of references to prostration in biblical tradition, sees this as a rhetorical stress on her unprecedented abjection before God. [44] She memorized the Torah and outstripped all men in her sanctity -- hence, Joseph's willingness to believe her claim to an innocent conception. Some commentators interpret her "purity" as a reference to an absence of menstruation, which has been construed by jurists in Islam, as in rabbinic Judaism and some pre-modern Christian traditions, [45] as a disqualification from formal worship or entry into sacred spaces. Most exegetes, however, hold that she did menstruate, perhaps twice before the conception, and would leave the Temple precincts at that time [46]

The related issue of ancient theories of conception sheds additional light on these differing understandings of Mary's purity. The Christian tradition that culminated in Aquinas had inherited the Aristotelian teaching that the mother's function is confined to providing the "prime matter" for the embryo, while "the power of the soul, which is in the semen, through the Spirit enclosed therein, fashions the body." [47] Modern feminist thinkers have been quick to point out the implication that the female body is thus associated with grossness and corporeality; the male, with the spirit. [48] Normative Islamic embryology, however, was derived for various historical reasons from the Hippocratic and Galenic opinion that a child is created by the conjunction of male and female semen, a position that is acknowledged by a hadith that reports that man is created from "the semen of the man and the semen of the woman. The man's semen is thick and forms the bones and tendons. The woman's semen is fine and forms the flesh and blood." [49] It would have been difficult to use this view in support of ideas of the inherent grossness of the female body or of its reproductive mechanisms.

Further affirmation that her purity (safa) denotes Mary's detachment from worldly ties rather than from her body [50] is provided by the qur'anic depiction of her painful labor, [51] which contrasts with the frequent patristic insistence that Mary could not have experienced the pains of childbirth, since these were a consequence of the negative prophecy that, in the sacerdotal Genesis account, God pronounced upon Eve: "[I]n pain you shall bring forth children." [52] This radical departure from early Christian apocryphal narrative, which otherwise closely parallels the qur'anic account, [53] may be an indication of the strength of Arab naturalistic reluctance to absorb negative images of birthing, which was seen as pleasing to God, as is witnessed in hadiths such as "Whenever a woman experiences labour pains, for every contraction [talqa] she is credited with the emancipation of a living soul." [54]

Mary's virginity, while affirmed by most Muslims, hence appears as a discrepant theme within the totality of Islamic piety. It bore no significance as a proleptic transcendence either of the flesh or of a peculiarly unregenerate femininity. While a few saints in the austere second century of Islam maintained a celibate life, they had clearly made this choice from fear of worldly responsibilities rather than in emulation of a virginal paradigm. Even the famously celibate Rabi'a of Basra, who bore the epithet "second [only] to Mary the Pure," [55] was no exception. Following the decline of the second-century ascetic paradigm, the typical woman saint was almost invariably married. The cases of Umm 'Ali, the saintly wife of the Sufi Ahmad ibn Khadruya, and Rabi'a al-Shamiyya, married to the no less pious Ahmad ibn Abi'l-Hawari, were seen as entirely normative. [56]

The Islamic imagination did not, however, lack exemplars who displayed approved patterns of female sanctity. For traditional Christianity the paradigmatic status of Mary has reigned virtually unchallenged, [57] but in Islam she has powerful rivals. Far from being "alone of all her sex," she is one saintly woman among several. The miracle of the virgin birth, while unique, does not in itself set her above others. [58]

A hadith that exists in several versions tells us, "Many men have achieved perfection; but among women, perfection has been attained by only four." [59] The others on the list are the Prophet's first wife Khadija, his daughter Fatima, and Asiya, whom we are told was the wife of the Pharaoh challenged by Moses. Muslim piety thus recognizes a plurality of archetypes for female sainthood, only one of whom was unmarried. Khadija became the paragon of maternity and is regarded by some theologians as superior to all other women. [60] Pharaoh's wife, whom the Qur'an explicitly holds up as "an example [mathal] for believers," [61] is seen as the model for women caught in abusive relationships, as a hadith explains that maltreated wives may look forward to a heavenly reward equivalent to hers. [62] However, of these four, Fatima appears to have been the most commonly accepted model for Muslim female piety. She was not celibate and, indeed, became the revered wife of the caliph 'Ali and thus the female ancestor of the Ahl al-Bayt, the blessed descendants of the Prophet. Hence, she and her mother Khadija, rather than Mary, are incorporated as the supreme types of sainted motherhood, so that she is sometimes titled "Maryam al-Kubra": the Greater Mary. [63]

Fertile parallels between Fatima and Mary have frequently been drawn, taking their initial cue from hadiths such as Fatima's report that the Prophet told her on his deathbed that she was to be "the lady [sayyida] of the people of Heaven, with the exception of Mary." [64] We have already seen that she shares Mary's title of al-Batul. Miracle stories recount how Fatima, married to apostolic poverty, received fruit from God and, when questioned, offered Mary's qur'anic reply: "It is from God, Who provides without reckoning for whom He will." Fatima also bears the title "Umm Abiha" (mother of her own father), a title that may reflect some vaguely conceived borrowing from Christian themes. [65] Pious legends insist that she was exempt from menstruation, perpetually fasted and prayed, [66] was admired by other women for her domestic gifts, [67] was submissive and reclusive, led a tragic life as Mother of Sorrows (umm al-ahzan), was consoled by the Virgin following a miscarriage, and was conscious that her son woul d be martyred at the hands of an uncomprehending secular power. [68] She is exalted for being "married in heaven, conjoined in holy matrimony over which Allah presideth," for while Gabriel was the representative (wakil) of her groom 'Ali, she was given away in marriage by God. She declined offers of unimaginable treasures and told her father: "Just as you are the intercessor for all Muslims on the Day of Judgment, so let me be the intercessor for the Muslim women on that terrible day." Thus, in one mythic version, "Allah Himself confirmed Fatima's appointment as the Women's Intercessor in a signed document which Gabriel brought to Muhammad." [69]

Jane Smith and Yvonne Haddad have concluded that Fatima outstrips other women as the ideal Muslim female archetype, but, while their verdict is uncontroversial in the case of developed Shi'ism, [70] Ruth Roded claims that the earliest material depicts Fatima as "little more than a holy womb," of slight consequence because of her passive role, and that the Prophet's wife 'A'isha, active in politics and hadith narration, was a far more prominent model of faith for the early community. [71] Some support for this is provided by the statistical analysis of the best-known Sunni hadith collections, which reveals that 'A'isha is mentioned more frequently than any other woman: 433 times, compared with 386 for Fatima and only sixty for Mary. [72]

The allocation of archetypal female roles is therefore relatively clear in the cases of Khadija, 'A'isha, Asiya, and Fatima. The significance of Mary, however, appears to remain ambiguous. How might a virginal archetype be employed by a Muslim imagination that prized sexuality and that already had access to an abundance of positive female symbols in the religion's founding narrative?

The Sophianic Feminine

Muslim civilizations have typically resolved this question in the context not of formal exoteric doctrine but of asceticism and mysticism. The ascetical ethos of the extracanonical material that formed the backdrop to the construction of the Islamic Mary easily rendered her an archetype of renunciation for Muslim pietists, despite their preference for hunger over celibacy. Her fasting, which she "vowed to the All-Compassionate God," [73] proved to one mystic the particular value of fasts, which led to the encounter with God. [74] Islam's evolving hagiology also attributed paradigmatic status to her miracles. For al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi, the religion's first major theorist of sainthood, Mary demonstrated the validity of the saints' claim to know the unseen (ghayb), for, although she was not a prophet, God had revealed to her the greatness of her son while he was yet unborn. The miraculous appearance of Gabriel to Mary also allowed the Sufis to justify their belief in the saints' ability to behold nonphysical ord ers of creation. [76]

The same Tirmidhi cites Mary's qur'anic miracles as proof-texts for the belief in the prodigies of the saints (karamat al-awliya') more generally. He is joined in this by the writers of elementary Sufi manuals such as Kalabadhi, Hujwiri, and Qushayri. [77] The explicitly Marian nature of certain saintly charismata is frequently affirmed, so that, for example, we find al-Hallaj being visited by angels who bring him summer fruits in winter, as they had done for Mary in the Temple. [78] Mary's qur'anic attribute of siddiqa (the True Believer), [79] also figures as a precedent in discussions of the Sufi virtue of the trusting acceptance of God's decrees. This Mary makes no protest at the Annunciation but remains "silent and serene" (sakatat wa'tma'annat), requesting no miraculous sign or proof, and thus modeling one of the most important qualities of sainthood. [80] Here, the Mary of Islam comes close to her passive, receptive Augustinian counterpart, [81] differing only in the tradition's reluctance to draw inf erences about gender roles.

Later Sufism's interest in the Marian principle moved considerably beyond these simple themes. While Fatima and Khadija, as wives and mothers, furnished Muslims with normative models of practical femininity, Mary, wrapped in her "chador," [82] appears to have been more commonly employed as an abstract symbol for self-effacement, her austerity and purity suggesting that she will be the first of either sex to enter Paradise. [83]

This theme of spiritual purgation is taken up by Jalal al-Din Rumi, who became without question the great Marian poet of Islam. Typical of his understanding is his remarkable account of the Annunciation, which took it as a figure of the insufflation of the divine Spirit into the purified human heart. In Rumi's vision, Maryam is less the passive recipient of the word than the active mortifier of her flesh and desires who, through her detachment from the world and her deliberate pursuit of God, puts herself in the way of mystical illumination. Rumi said:

Mary became without self, and in her selflessness she said:

"I will leap into the Divine protection."

Illumination came "because that pure-breasted one had made a habit of betaking herself in flight to the Unseen." [84]

Her birthpangs, the sign of a successful via purgativa, remind us of the agonies of mortification, in the midst of which there are the fruits, or dates, representing spiritual rewards, which are nourishing compensation; as Rumi put it: "It was not until the pains of parturition manifested in her that Mary made for the tree ... The body is like Mary. Every one of us has a Jesus within him, but until the pangs manifest in us our Jesus is not born. If the pangs never come, then Jesus rejoins his origin by the same secret path by which he came, leaving us bereft and without portion of him." [85]

The perfect saint, however, is both body and soul, matrix and spirit:

You are both Adam and what pertains to Adam; you are both Jesus and Mary.

You are both the secret and the one who is privy to the secret. [86]

The matrix is indispensable, as is the saint's physical form: "Where is that sweet-breathed Christ without the mediation of Mary who is like the sea?" [87]

On occasion Rumi might identify Mary not only with the body but also with its ancient Godward passion, which is the womb of the spirit:

Love sprang from its chains and took hold of reason;

intellect cried out at the hands of Love: help! help!

The Mary of eternal love bore the wonder that was Christ,

and reason can find no redress, since she has borne such delight. [88]

Hence, of the Sufis, gathered in their sessions of invocation, Rumi could write:

They are all drinking God's wine in the garden,

and among them not one is making complaint.

Its trees [the handsome Sufis] are marvels, virgin and pregnant,

like a Mary who has neither lover nor husband. [89]

Rumi's use of Mary as emblem of divine love was unusual, although his contemporaries did on occasion employ his metaphor of Mary as the mystic's "body"; for instance, Fakhr al-Din 'Iraqi:

Our heart is dead, let us weep well for the body,

For Jesus has passed on, let us weep for Mary. [90]

The Ottoman poet Nazim, who died in Belgrade in 1695, described his own experience of illumination in these terms:

The Mary of my thought became pregnant with God's effusion.

In the cradle of my nature was born the Messiah of meaning. [91]

A comparable but more elaborate figuring of Mary as the type of the ascetic mystic, whose rapture in love earns the grace of illumination, is found in Ruzbehan Baqli, who recounted Mary's impregnation by the "bridegroom" of Reality. [92]

This view of Mary as metaphor of mystical communion with God, which we might compare to some aspects of Christian bridal mysticism, was popular among mystics of Rumi's school. However, the mystical writers who experimented with human embodiments of esoteric principles did not invariably use either the "passive" or the "active" Mary (the Mary of jadhb and suluk) in their deployment of gendered metaphors of union. A related but quite distinct tradition, in which Ibn 'Arabi is the dominant voice, seemed to prefer casting the mystic in an active male role, who quested for or awaited the favors of a transcendent Female.

The most frequent idiom in this register of mystical discourse portrays the Sufi's beloved as Layla, an Arabic woman's name that has the meaning of night. Martin Lings has summed up this image with the remark that "the blue-black night sky with its stars reflects the 'womb' of Infinite Totality in which the supreme archetypes of all existing things are mysteriously contained in One-ness." [93] This "sophianic," female face of God, typically represents the dynamism of the relationship among love, lover, and beloved, which are in reality One, so that the archetypal lover of Layla, Majnun, "is the eye by which God contemplates Himself, and thus is the love by which God loves Himself in the object of this love." [94] Deriving from an ancient Bedouin romance, the theme of Majnun "the mad," faithfully obsessed with Layla became Islam's favorite allegory of the Platonic understanding of love as a divine madness. Physical love for a woman became 'ishq majazi (metaphorical love), which sacramentally indicates ishq ha qiqi (true love), the love of the God who, but for this passion, would be unknown. Persian poetry in particular took up this theme, which reached its greatest sophistication in the Layla and Majnun romances of Nizami and Jami. [95]

This "feminine" attribute of the personalized nocturnal heaven can become the register of devotional reflection on the divine waywardness, of the coy but proud Beloved. [96] This again finds a Christian equivalent, not in bridal mysticism, but in the medieval images of the Queen of Heaven, who may appear temperamental and capricious toward her votaries but is unfailingly tender. "In this way," as Ruether remarked, "Mary becomes a humanizing element in an otherwise intolerable opposition of ... divine majesty to human sin." [97] Perhaps still another comparison can be drawn, this time with midrashic tradition, in which the Hebrew word "Layla," again signifying "night," was sometimes coupled with that of Lilith, the apocryphal "First Eve" who was created of earth, as was Adam, and whose refusal of his authority resulted in her banishment as a she-devil. [98]

In the Muslim universe, the thirteenth-century Cairene Ibn al-Farid, that most celebrated of Arab Sufi poets, composed a number of amorous odes to Layla in the formulaic, archaizing bedouin style, in which the lost wayfarer describes his single-minded errancy in the desert, as he quests for the encampment of his beloved. He asks, typically:

Was it Layla's fire that appeared at night at Dhu Salam?

Or a lightning-flash which shone at al-Zawra and al-'Alam? ...

Alas for our days at al-Khayf ... [99]

In Ibn al-Farid's hands the lightning-flash became a manifestation of the divine essence, dramatically defined against the nocturnal backdrop of nonbeing, which served to remind the poet of his former union in the primordial daytime before separation from the Beloved, a theme that was further emphasized by comparing the lightning to the flash of the beloved's teeth as she smiled. [100]

Drawing again on the rich repertory of ancient Arab images, Ibn al-Farid and Ibn 'Arabi longed to meet their sweetheart at the Ka'ba, whose primordial blackness clearly resonated with Layla's nocturnal identity; for instance: "When I embark upon the Hajj, I cry labbayk in her name." [101] She may even be conflated with the Ancient House itself, as her suitors circle it seven times as though revolving with the seven spheres of heaven: "O Ka'ba of Comeliness, to whose beauty the hearts of the discerning make pilgrimage and cry lab-bayk!" [102]

Even more characteristic of this symbolic language is the imaging of the divine Essence as a woman's face:

Is that Layla of the 'Amiriyya [clan] who has unveiled herself,

By night, transforming evening into dawn? [103]

The commentator Nabulsi explained that the "night" here referred to the darkness in which latent beings were shrouded, before Layla -- who is God as compassionately turned toward the world of emanation -- actualized Her preexistent creative command, thus giving the eternally "known" phenomena of existence a contingent reality as shadows cast by the light that shines from "within" Her. [104]

No less suggestive is a hymn to Sufism's Queen of Heaven in which Ibn al-Farid declaimed:

I pray, singing as I recite a recollection of her.

I delight in the prayer-niche, when she is my imam....

My sleep is lost, and my dawn (may you be preserved!)

and my sleeplessness remains, and my yearning grows....

She swung her flanks, so I imagined each of them that she shook

to be a rod upon a dune, over which was a full moon. [105]

Here the metaphor of the locus of mystical union, the prayer niche, is the mihrab, which has qur'anic Marian significance; in fact, the mihrabs that indicate the direction of prayer in many mosques are surmounted by the verse: "Whensoever Zachariah entered upon her in the mihrab, he found provision beside her." [106]

The moon, to which the poet compares his beloved, is a stock symbol of the Prophet, in whose immaculate purity the light of the divine sun is mirrored and shines upon the world. [107] Arberry regarded this ode as a "hymn to the Spirit of Muhammad, personified as a female beloved." [108] In the same register, the sixteenth-century Moghul poet 'Urfi proclaimed his love for two women: the Salma who is the Prophet in his existence in time, and the Layla who is his pre-existence in God's knowledge. [109] This theme derives from the tradition to which Ibn al-Farid belonged and, in particular, from Ibn 'Arabi's identification of the primordial "Muhammadan Unseen" (ghayb sayyidina Muhammad) with the Blessed Night, al-layla al-mubaraka, which the Qur'an describes as the night in which "every affair of wisdom is differentiated," [110] and which for Ibn 'Arabi denoted the level of being at which God's commands and prohibitions regarding the order of the cosmos and the moral law were differentiated and actualized. [111]

In literature such as this we discern a willingness to confer upon the Prophet the female and celestial attributes that in Christian piety have typically been reserved for the Virgin. Beginning with the apocryphal New Testament Dormition of Mary and the Transitus Mariae, Christian piety developed the assurance that Mary was carried up to heaven following her death. The process of gradual doctrinal evolution culminated in the declaration of the Assumption as infallible papal teaching by Pius XII in 1950 and the proclamation of Mary as Queen of Heaven in 1954. [112] As with her attribute of virginity, Mary's freedom from mortality was construed as an eschatological anticipation, necessary in virtue of her sinlessness.

Islam did not develop a comparable doctrine in connection with the Virgin and uncomplicatedly revered her tomb at Wadi Jahannam, near Jerusalem. [113] However, its vision of the Prophet's own Night Journey and Ascension (al-isra' wa'l-mi`raj) suggests again that it is fruitful to compare the roles of the Prophet and the Virgin in the two religions. There are a few Marian connections in the Mi`raj legends themselves, which have, for instance, the heaven-bound Prophet wondering at the light emanating from Mary's tomb, [114] or the following:

Ka'b al-Ahbar related that Mu'awiya once asked him about the Rock [sakhra], meaning the Rock of Jerusalem, and he replied: "The Rock is upon a date-palm, which stands beside one of the rivers of Paradise, and beneath which are Mary the daughter of `Imran, and Asiya the daughter of Muzahim, stringing necklaces for the people of the Garden until the Hour [of Judgment] arrives." [115]

From the Rock the Prophet is gloriously raised into heaven in angelic company, as commemorated in the great Mantle Ode (Qasidat al-Burda) of al-Busiri, whose Marian equivalents are unmistakable:

By night you traveled from sanctuary to sanctuary,

As the full moon travels in deepest darkness,

And you rose until you reached a degree

Following his death he would return to those empyrean heights, as a popular prayer implores: "Lodge him in the chambers of Paradise, at the highest degree of all." [117]

... unattained and unaspired to [by any other]. [116]

Ibn al-Farid's identification of Layla with this "heavenly" aspect of the Prophet was reinforced, as we have seen, by the use of lunar imagery, which became a recurrent trope in medieval speculative Sufism, so that Ibn 'Arabi could proclaim, "The full moon appeared in the night of hair"; [118] and even

She is one of the girls with swelling breasts who guard their honour, tender, virgin and beautiful.

Full moons above palm-branches, they are safe from waning. [119]

The parallels with Catholic devotion could hardly be more striking. The Virgin has been identified with the woman of the Apocalypse described in Rev. 12:1-6 as "standing on the moon and with the twelve stars on her head"; and the feminine signification of the moon, contrasted with the masculine sun, had long been commonplace in the symbolic systems of late antiquity. Many Greeks had believed that the moon controls the menstrual cycle and nourishes life with its beams, which are not its own, but are accumulated from the sun's rays. [120] Fertility and cyclic beliefs positing a regenerative lunar intermediary between heaven and earth -- represented, for instance, in Selene or the nocturnal goddess Hecate (who holds the key of the gate of Hades and whose symbol is a crescent moon) or Isis (represented by a crescent and star) -- enriched the symbolism of the nascent Marian cult, [121] so that the most splendid of all Marian litanies, the Litany of Loreto, could hymn her in terms of pulchra ut luna. [122]

In the case of primitive Islam, the pagan Arabian backdrop appears not to have allocated a significant role to lunar goddesses, in keeping with the usual convention among the southern Semites who represented the moon as masculine and the sun as feminine, [123] and, although Mesopotamian gnoseological and alchemical speculations that appear to have had repercussions in the development of several forms of early Islamic esotericism led to the identification of the moon with the feminine principle among some Muslims writing in ungendered languages (the Persian poet Nizami compared Mary to the full moon and Christ to the sun), [124] the Arabic masculine gender of qamar (the moon) allowed its easy appropriation as the most common metasymbol for the Prophet. Among the most conspicuous of the Prophet's miracles had been the "Division of the Moon," apparently alluded to in Qur'an 54:1 and celebrated in later panegyrics. [125] The face of the Prophet, even during his own lifetime, was compared by hadiths and by the po et Hassan ibn Thabit to the moon. [126]

Hence, the lunar imagery so luxuriantly conferred on the Virgin in Catholic Christianity is, in most Islamic contexts, the prerogative of the Prophet. He is "a full moon in blackest night," [127] "more resplendent than the full moon," [128] and "the full moon of perfection," [129] while his closest disciples are the "People of Badr," who defended his cause at the battle of that name and who are also enlightened by him as their Full Moon (badr). [130] In one Ottoman astrological tradition, the current age, as the Age of Muhammad, is also known as the Age of the Moon (devr-i qamar), the last of the seven great prophetic epochs. [131] Relatively late in Islamic history, the crescent moon famously became the symbol of the religion itself, through a process of appropriation that is still far from clear. [132] It is perhaps legitimate to suggest that the Islamic and Christian symbols coalesce in the baroque iconography of the Immaculate Conception, [133] which sometimes portrays the Virgin not only standing upon a crescent moon but apparently trampling upon it, providing a secondary symbol of her role as patroness of the Reconquista. [134]

The moon is a symbol of uniqueness and incorruptible purity, and as such overlaps with another image: that of the pearl. Again, this forms part of the Catholic iconography of the Immaculate Conception [135] and is utilized in Islam as a metaphor for the celestial Beloved, who is "a pearl hidden in a shell of hair as black as jet" [136] and, by extension, the Prophet. Hence, al-Busiri described the Prophet as "resembling a pearl concealed in an oyster-shell," [137] while the Mawlid of al-Barzinji hailed him as "the white, faultless pearl" (al-durrat al-`asma'), [138] and the Turkish eulogist Khaqani could sing, "He with a heart like the ocean was an incomparable pearl." [139]

The sea itself, mirroring the blue-black heaven, became a stock image for the Catholic Mary and the Muslim Prophet. Jerome's famous gloss of the Hebrew Miriam as Stilla Maris, which through a happy scribal error became Stella Maris, [140] was unconsciously echoed by Muslim punsters who read a quar'anic word for sea, "Yamm," into her name of "Maryam." [141] This image is amply paralleled in Muhammadan devotion, in which Rumi, for instance, called the Prophet an ocean, [142] and Hassan ibn Thabit proclaimed that he found the Prophet to be "an ocean overflowing with virtues," [143] while 'Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulsi merely reinforced the mythopoetic analogy by challenging it:

If he be compared to the sea in generosity, then the analogy is false, For the one is not sweet, while the other is sweet for all the thirsty. [144]

Both the sea and the night sky are tropes of engendering and limitless generosity. The Catholic Virgin and the Muslim Prophet are both celebrated as "full of grace," which the devotee hopes to tap through a piety of direct address and salutation, with the Ave Maria and its subsequent development via the rosary clearly paralleling the qur'anic proclamation, "God and His angels send blessings upon the Prophet. O you that have faith, send blessings upon him and salute him abundantly!" (33:56). From the sixth century to the present day, the Hail Mary, said a certain number of times, [145] has been at the forefront of the faithful Catholic hope for grace through intercession, and the Muslim salat wa-salam (prayers and salutations of peace), methodically invoked upon the Prophet, "upon whose essence and life all grace [baraka] is predicated," [146] appears to fulfill an analogous function in Muslim piety. God may appear rigorous but has nevertheless appointed a gentle mediator whom we may approach. Medieval Cathol icism was familiar with the legend of a monk who

saw in a vision two ladders, the one red, the other white. On the upper end of the red ladder stood Jesus and on the other stood His holy Mother. The brother saw that some tried to climb the red ladder, but scarcely had they mounted some rungs when they fell back; they tried again but with no better success. Then they were advised to try the white ladder and to their surprise they succeeded, for the Blessed Virgin stretched out her hand and with her aid they reached heaven. [147]

The medieval Christ was a remote, majestic judge, while the intercessor, as Mater Misericordiae, was mild and compassionate. [148] So, in Islam, the pious are sure that

Your care for me, Messenger of God, will not dwindle, even when the Generous appears with the name Avenger. [149]

The Prophet receives the epithet "God's beloved" (Habib Allah); [150] like the Virgin he is a "refuge for his sinning community" [151] and is

good and charitable, kind towards his community, tomorrow an intercessor who shall save from distress. [152]

He is "mild" (halim), [153] outstripping all others in mildness. [154] This, with his loving compassion (rahma) [155] as the one sent "as a rahma to all nations," [156] the "prophet of rahma," [157] links him to the explicitly maternal divine attributes of creation confirmed in a hadith qudsi wherein God proclaims: "I am the All-Compassionate God [al-Rahman], and I created the womb [al-rahim], deriving it from My name." [158] For Ibn 'Arabi this maternal aspect of the creative (or emanating) God was fundamental and colored his understanding of the Prophet's cosmic role as First Emanation, [159] which returns us to the figure of the celestial Layla.

Ibn 'Arabi's idea of the Light of Muhammad was already widespread in the Muslim mysticism of his day. The Prophet, in this system, becomes the first and primary created being (awwal al-makhluqat), as in the threnody of the Damascene poetess, 'A'isha al-Ba'uniyya (d. 922/1516):

The Well-Pleasing, the Chosen and the Singled-Out, Ahmad, who was elected by God before the [creation of the] Tablet and the Pen. [160]

Muhammad is the primal human being, fashioned before eternity from the divine light as a kind of materia prima, from whom all the phenomena of created existence then emanate. Ahmad is the name of this "celestial" Muhammad, who, as the isthmus (barzakh) between contingent and necessary being, receives the title Sayyid al-Kawnayn: Lord of the Two Universes. [161] As in many understandings of the Catholic Mary, he is prior to his own ancestor, Adam, affirming in a hadith that he was a Prophet "while Adam was still between spirit and body." [162] As the first manifestation of the Essence, he is the point and cause of the differentiation of being. [163]

The congruence between this system and the medieval Catholic theme of the pre-existence of the Virgin as the matrix not only of the incarnate God but of the entire created order is unmistakable. Isidore Glabas (d. c. 1397), for instance, proclaimed Mary as "the cause of their [other creatures'] creation" so that "what existed before her needed her to come into being." [164] She is the "weaver," who "spins life out of herself ... [she is] eternity spinning time, growth and destiny"; [165] she is "the Prima Materia prior to its division ... into the multiplicity of created things." [166] This theme of pre-existence in turn serves to magnify and nuance the mystery of the "election." The Qur'an itself speaks of her as the Purified and Chosen One (al-Mustafa), a gender-neutral title she shares pre-eminently with the Prophet. [167]

The Chosen One's celestial proximity to God in turn provides imaginative support for the intercessory role. Nadia Abu Zahra has pointed out that the leading themes of prophetic panegyric are the Ascension and the Intercession, [168] which are clearly two aspects of one phenomenon. The one who is exalted unto God receives the unique right to plead the case of sinners as "the boundary of created and uncreated nature." [169] The Virgin is the Gate of Heaven, [170] while Muhammad is the "Opener of what is Locked," [171] who alone occupies the mediating "Praiseworthy Station" (al-maqam al-mahmud) at the Judgment: "I shall be the first to intercede, and the first to be granted intercession on the Day of Arising, and I do not boast. I shall be the first to shake the door-rings of Heaven, and God shall open [its gates] for me, and I shall enter with those of the believers that were poverty-stricken, and I do not boast." [172]

Muslim women no less than men regarded the Prophet's intercession as a unique facet of his glory -- thus, 'A 'isha al-Ba'uniyya:

He is singled out on Doomsday to wield an intercession whose glory shall be ubiquitous as they tremble with woe. [173]

The mediatory function of this janua coeli has a further aspect, however. The Virgin and the Prophet do not simply intercede at the Judgment; they may also be appealed to before death. The reaction to the doctrine of tawassul (prayer through the saints) byscripturalist purists in both religions shows once again how comparable are the roles of the Virgin and the Prophet. In denouncing petitions to the Virgin to obtain grace for the suppliant as an "execrable blasphemy" or "idolatry," Calvin was accurately echoing the anathemas that had been hurled two centuries earlier by Ibn Taymiyya against Muslims who petitioned the Prophet in order to be more certain of the divine response. [174] Zwingli sanctioned the continuing use of the Ave Maria only on condition that it be said not as a prayer but as praise, for "the best way to honor the Mother of God is to imitate her virtues," [175] which is precisely the demand of Wahhabis, modern Muslim scripturalists intent on the Deus solus, scriptura sola principle, who perm it the invocations "upon" the Prophet but center their plans for sanctification on emulating his pattern of life (sunna). [176]

Nonetheless, the mediatory strength of the Chosen One, Helper of the Faithful, has been central to the self-definition of many Muslim and Christian collectivities, as has been starkly demonstrated in the realm of war. Often each community used the mediator as a figure for itself, in order to articulate its own sense of purity and of the impurity of the rival faith-group, which thereby became its defining antithesis. [177] Thus, the Chanson de Roland tells us that Charlemagne invoked the Virgin's help, and that Roland himself kept a thread of her vesture in the hilt of his sword, with which he hoped to smite the Saracens. [178] Serbian legend also records the message of the Virgin to Tsar Lazar at the battle of Kosovo, where Serbia's fate at the hands of the Ottoman Turks was sealed. [179] The victory of Lepanto in 1571 was attributed by Pius V to rosaries recited by the Roman confraternities, [180] and even today the militant aspect of the Virgin has not been entirely forgotten in Christian-Muslim conflicts. [181] On the Islamic side of the border, al-Busiri eulogized his Intercessor-Prophet by claiming that every saint (wali) is given victory through Muhammad, who is the Protector of his Umma, "even as a lion protects its cubs." [182]

This theme of purity was important because both the Christian Virgin and the Muslim Prophet were chosen not merely for mediatory sainthood but also for the reception of the divine word. Hence the recurrent theme of their innocence: the Prophet was afif, [183] continent and pure, and "more shy than a virgin in her tent." [184] Just as the Virgin was purified, so too, the infant Prophet experienced the washing of his heart by angels, thereby preparing it for the reception of the Word. [185] Many commentators have been intrigued by the possible esoteric analogy between Jesus and the Qur'an or between the doctrine of Incarnation, which required a sexually innocent vessel, and what Harry Wolfson dubbed "inlibration," [186] in which Gabriel inspired the "unlettered" Prophet with the "word made book." [187] In this case it has often been argued that the parallel may reflect the objective historical influence of Christology on the emerging kalam debates over the ontological status of the Qur'an. The Mu'tazilites, no torious for their belief in a Qur'an created in time, had in fact accused their Sunni adversaries of inclining to a Christian doctrine. [188] Theories of a causal connection received their first comprehensive airing at the hands of Carl Becker, [189] who attempted to locate the roots of "qur'anological" discourse in the Christologies of St. John of Damascus and Theodore Abu Qurra, a speculation that was briefly taken up by Gardet and Anawati [190] and, in more detail, by Wolfson. [191] Like many theories of influence across confessional boundaries, however, it rests mainly on circum stantial evidence, and writers such as Allard, Watt, and Madelung have tended to discount it. [192]

The weakness of the case for a Christian etiology for Muslim doctrinal development does not, however, reduce the significance of the parallel. An appealing economy of salvation demands what Catholic theology terms a "natural sign," requiring not merely the principial manifestation of the sacred in history but also the provision of a relational human pattern to symbolize it and to demonstrate its transformative power. In Christianity, the process of doctrinal evolution that transferred the focus of attention away from the Jesus of the Q-document and the Synoptic Gospels, which had presented him primarily as moral exemplar, and toward the divine savior revealed by St. Paul, introduced a degree of complexity into the idea of imitatio Christi that could pose practical dilemmas for piety, insofar as the word made flesh is taken to be removed from normal humanity by what Islam would call inimitability (ijaz), not mere inerrancy (isma). In the case of Islam, the absence of a St. Paul perpetuated a Semitic stress up on divine transcendence (tanzih) and, thus, upon the uncomplicated humanity and consequent imitability of the Prophet. Platonic themes of divinization, or internal Islamic reflections on the need to approach the mysterium fascinans through those who had themselves approached it, in due course rendered traditions of prophetic hyperdulia acceptable, but in mainstream Sunnism these never overstepped the line into latria, outright worship. As the Sufi poets insisted:

Renounce what the Christians say concerning their prophet,

Then speak what praise you will of him [Muhammad], and do it well;

For the most that can be said is that he was mortal man, and that he was the best of God's creation in its entirety. [193]


Although Mary receives no less attention in the Qur'an than she does in the pages of the Christian scriptures, the progressively adumbrated doctrine of Christ as divine Redeemer ultimately assured her a far more exalted place in the Catholic context than she generally achieved among Muslims. Of no significance to kalam theology, and problematic as a role model because of her virginity, the Mary of exoteric Islam seldom lives up to the promise of the extensive and lyrical qur'anic treatment. The dazzling Mariologies of the Christian Middle Ages were, however, partly paralleled in Islamic esoteric circles by complex deployments of the theme of Layla as image of the sophianic feminine. Layla was utilized by Ibn 'Arabi's tradition as a component of theories of the high rank of the feminine principle, albeit in a fashion very distinct from that common in Christian devotion, since, although Layla and the Christian Mary were both celebrated for their active role toward creation, Muslims paid less attention to the p assive, receptive, Godward aspect of the mediatrix, perhaps because an image of the receptive female was provided by the more earthly figure of Fatima. At times, too, Layla was a figure for God, as encompassing creation in potentia. She is even identified with the pre-existent Prophet as Ahmad, thus providing support for the view that historically male religious models and archetypes are less determinative of gender value than some feminist thinkers have assumed. [194]

Whether or not she was identified with the Prophet, Layla, however, formed no part of a gendered salvific system. The richly gendered dynamic of Augustinian and much subsequent Western soteriology, which linked the female to the body and to sin and the male to salvation, was entirely foreign to Islamic theology and higher mysticism. Mary Daly has attempted to salvage the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception that, "sprung free from its Christolatrous context, says that, conceived free of 'original sin,' the female does not need lobe 'saved' by the male." [195] No such redefinition could occur among Muslims, simply because their soteriology is entirely without gender -- as are the Muslim God and the Word Made Book.

A further conclusion can be suggested, this time in the context of the methodology of religious studies. Interreligious comprehension and analogy are often better served by considering patterns and tropologies rather than individuals. A simple comparison between the Catholic and Muslim Marys invites the conclusion that the faiths are divided by categoric differences. "Exoteric" madrasa Islam has found no doctrinal use for a virginal archetype, and it uncomplicatedly rejects any role for Mary in salvation history, confining her significance to inclusion and possible pre-eminence among the female dramatis personae of communal memory, insofar as these are drawn upon differently by variant Muslim cultures as foundations for the construction of satisfying models of womanhood.

Had the expression of Islam in history been exhausted by the purely exoteric, a Durkheimian-constructivist conclusion that gender images in Islam are mere "dependent variables" might have been inescapable. However, as the above brief summary shows, and as contemporary scholarship is coming to acknowledge, a casual identification of the conceptual core of Islam with the kalam risks falling into the reductionist error of assuming that what has been centrally constitutive of the Christian tradition must also define what is central to Islam. When we accept, as medieval Muslims customarily did, that mysticism is no less significant a discipline to the faith, despite its frequent marginality in Christian contexts, a new perspective is opened up that reveals striking convergences.

Anselm believed that one should ascribe to the Virgin "so much purity that more than that one cannot possibly imagine except for God." [196] That the same desire was at work in Islam is shown by the consequent resemblances in the traits, symbols, and role attributed to the Christian Virgin and to the metahistorical Muslim Prophet. Mircea Eliade paid regrettably little attention to Islam, but his work on archaic symbols such as the moon, the pearl, and the sea, which he showed to play comparable roles in dissimilar religious cultures, [197] would have benefited greatly from access to the sources that are now being tapped by Islamicists. The fact that Muhammad and Mary do not merely share many functions in eschatology and mystical cosmology but are also signified by many of the same metaphors appears to support Eliade's confidence that religion is only partially intelligible as social dynamics. Further, the rich symbolic vocabulary with which the religions have clothed and illustrated their soteriologies shows that the human ontological thirst expresses itself in recognizably similar ways, despite the variance of cultural context and formal

exoteric theology. Were more scholars to recognize that Islam and Catholicism have both found satisfying techniques of accommodating and nurturing primordial symbols, dialogue might learn how to compare the truly comparable, thus yielding a harvest richer than has previously seemed possible.

Timothy John Winter (Muslim) has been a University Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Cambridge since 1997. In 1992-94, he directed the Bosnian Information Centre (the Bosnian government's diplomatic post in London). In 1985-89, he directed the Almihdar Translation Office in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (commercial and legal translation and interpreting). He holds a B.A. and an M.A. (1985) in Arabic studies from Pembroke College of the University of Cambridge, as welt as having three years of study at traditional institutions in Cairo (1981-82, 1983-85). He has also taken language courses at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London, and spent a semester at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (1991). He has presented several papers, including ones to the Conference of the European Association of Iranian Studies, the Centre of Islamic Studies, and the British Council. His article, "The Last Trump Card: Islam and the Supersession of Other Faiths," w as published in 1999 in Studies in Interreigious Dialogue. He translated and introduced Al-Ghazali on Disciplining the Soul (Islamic Texts Society, 1995; repr., 1997).

(1.) There is a vast literature here. See, e.g., Alberic Stacpoole, ed., Mary's Place in Christian Dialogue (Slough: St. Paul Publications, 1982); Thomas A. O'Meara, Mary in Protestant and Catholic Theology (London and New York: Sheed and Ward, 1966).

(2.) Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics (New York: Scribner, 1956), 1/2, pp. 142-143. See P. S. Fiddes, "Mary in the Theology of Karl Barth," The Month, vol. 22 (1989), pp. 300-309. Barth's uncompromising stance contributed to the Marian reaction in Roman Catholic circles, which was partly moderated by Vatican II and which lay behind the traditionalist Mariology of Hans Urs von Balthasar, among others. It may also help to explain the mid-twentieth-century Roman Catholic interest in the Muslim Mary, evinced in such works as J.-M. Abd el-Jalil's Marie et l'Islam (Paris: Beauchesne, 1950), grounded in the centuries-old Franciscan advocacy of the Immaculate Conception; the Jesuit J. Courtois's Mary in Islam (Calcutta: The Little flower Press, 1954); and the Dominican M.-M. [=G.] Anawati's "Islam and the Immaculate Conception," in D. O'Connor, ed., The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1958). Anawati's Dominican tradition, following Aquinas, had been slow to affirm the Immaculate Conception and, even today, sometimes appears to regard it with a certain detachment, despite its proclamation as infallible teaching in 1854; Anawati's sympathetic account of Islam, here and elsewhere, was perhaps facilitated by this characteristically Dominican commitment.

(3.) See O'Meara, Mary. The largely Protestant volume edited by Colin E. Gunton, Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), does not mention Mary.

(4.) See M. Jugie, La Mort et l'Assomption de la Sainte Vierge: Etude historico-doctrinale (Rome: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1944); Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, tr. members of the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius (Cambridge: James Clarke & Co., 1957), p. 140.

(5.) Cheikh Bouamrane, "Conditions d'un dialogue islamo-chretien," in Roger Arnaldez and S. Van Riet, eds., Recherches d'Islamologie: Recuell d'articles offert a Georges C. Anawati et Louis Gardet par leurs colleges et amis (Louvain: Editions Peeters, n.d.), p. 63.

(6.) Norman Daniel, Islam and the West: The Making of an Image (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960), P. 173.

(7.) Muzaffer Ozak al-Jerrahi (d. 1985), Blessed Virgin Mary, tr. Muhtar Holland (Westport, CT: Pir Press, 1991).

(8.) Ibid., pp. 56-57.

(9.) See Rosemary Radford Ruether, Sexism and God-Talk: Toward a Feminist Theology (Boston: Beacon Press; London: SCM, 1983), pp. 139-158; see also Leonardo Boff, The Maternal Face of God: The Feminine and Its Religious Expression, tr. Robert R. Barr and John W. Diercksmeier (San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row, 1987), pp. 188-189.

(10.) Patrick Ali Pahlavi, La File d'Imran (Paris: PAW, 1991), pp. 101, 104.

(11.) Massignon's views on Mary are set forth most explicitly in an interview titled "Le Signe Mariale," Rhythmes du Monde, vol. 3 (1948), pp. 7-16, which is conveniently summarized in David A. Kerr, "He Walked in the Path of the Prophets: Toward Christian Theological Recognition of the Prophethood of Muhammad," in Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad and Wadi Zaidan Haddad, eds., Christian-Muslim Encounters (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1995), pp.428-430. Cf. further Pierre Rocalve, Louis Massignon et I'Islam (Damascus: Institut francais de Damas, 1993), pp.88,95.

(12.) Anawati, "Islam and the Immaculate Conception," p. 461. For the "stepping-stone" theme, see also R. J. McCarthy, "Mary in Islam," in Stacpoole, Mary's Place, p. 211.

(13.) Cited in Jane I. Smith and Yvonne Y. Haddad, "The Virgin Mary in Islamic Tradition and Commentary," The Muslim World 79 (July/October, 1989): 185. The coincidence is also noted and held up as a sign of hope in Francis Johnston, Fatima: The Great Sign (Chumleigh: Augustine, 1980), p. 126.

(14.) The classic account of the Fatima apparitions is in L. Kondor, ed., Fatima in Lucia's Own Words (n. p., 1976).

(15.) Fatima is near Santarem, whose memorable capture from the Moors is celebrated in Portugal's national epic, the Lusiads (see Luis de Camoes, Os Lustadas, ed. Silverio Benedito, 5th ed. [Lisbon: Ulisseia, 1997], canto ii.55 [p. 135]).

(16.) The Medjugorje visions are briefly recounted in Michael P. Carroll, The Cult of the Virgin Mary: Psychological Origins (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986), pp. 123-124.

(17.) The Ephesus shrine was established following the visions of the early-nineteenth-century German nun Catherine Emmerich; however, Muslims visit the location in substantial numbers. A joint Muslim-Christian pilgrimage to Ephesus was instituted by Louis Massignon; see his "La notion du voeu et la devotion musulmane a Fatima," in his Opera minora, vol. 1 (Beirut: Dar al-Maaref, 1963), p. 581. Muzaffer Ozak included in his devotional work on Mary an appeal to construct a mosque at Ephesus, adding that "we would, by doing this, be fostering the development of love between Christians and Muslims. It would be a place for sincere lovers of the Virgin from both noble traditions to meet and experience the sweetness of holy friendship" (Ozak, Blessed Virgin Mary, p. 60). For the Cairo apparitions, which lasted from 1968 to 1971, and of which the majority of witnesses appear to have been Muslims, see Carroll, Cult of the Virgin Mary, pp. 211-216, which draws heavily on Cynthia Nelson, "The Virgin of Zeitoun," World view, vol. 16 (1973), pp. 5-11.

(18.) See "Declaration sur les relations de l'eglise avec les religions non-chretiennes," Nouvelle Revue Theeologique, vol. 87 (1965), p. 1101.

(19.) Cited in Smith and Haddad, "Virgin Mary," p. 186.

(20.) Personal communication by a member of the Turkish religious hierarchy.

(21.) Zaynab 'Abd al-'Aziz, al-Fatikan wa'l-Islam (Cairo: Dar al-Quds, 1995).

(22.) Roger Arnaldez, Jesus fils de Marie prophete de l'Islam (Paris: Desclee, 1980).

(23.) Shaikh 'Abd al-Wahid Pallavicini, "Corrispondenze Mariane nella tradizione Islamica: elementi per un dialogo," and Samir Khalil, "Quelques expressions de la piete mariale contemporaine chez le musulmans d'Egypte (et d'Irak)," in Elio Peretto, ed., Maria nell'Ebraismo e nell 'Islam Oggi (Rome: Marianum; and Bologna: Dehoniane, 1987), pp. 119-140 and 141-166, respectively.

(24.) Barbara Freyer Stowasser, Women in the Qur'an, Traditions and Interpretation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), pp. 67-82.

(25.) Aliah Schleifer (d. 1997), Mary, The Blessed Virgin of Islam (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 1998).

(26.) The modern exceptions, who are concerned to minimize supernatural elements in the Qur'an, include the leading reformist figure of nineteenth-century Indian Islam, Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (see Geoffrey Parrinder, Jesus in the Qur'an [London: Sheldon Press, 1965], p. 70); the more recent Pakistani theologian Ghulam Parviz (see Smith and Haddad, "Virgin Mary," p. 175); and, in Egypt, the scripturalist and rationalizing reformer Rashid Rida (Jane Dammen McAuliffe, "Chosen of All Women: Mary and Fatima in Qur'anic Exegesis," Islamochristiana, vol. 7 [1981], p. 23).

(27.) Qur'an 2:37; see also 7:18-21.

(28.) See the dialogue reported by Ibn 'Abbas in 'Abd Allah al-Baydawi, Anwar al-tanzil wa-asrar al-ta'wil (Istanbul: al-Matba'a al-'Uthmaniya, 1329AH), p. 5; for the Muslim Fall, see the stimulating discussion in David Burrell and Elena Malits, Original Peace: Restoring God's Creation (New York and Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1997), pp. 8-10.

(29.) The point has been made most forcefully in Peter [Robert Lamont] Brown, The Body and Society: Men, Women, and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity, Lectures on the History of Religions N.S. 13 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988); cf. also Marina Warner, Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary, new ed. (London: Picador, 1990), p. 56.

(30.) Kim Power, Veiled Desire: Augustine's Writing on Women (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1995), pp. 182-183. For his view of intercourse as a discordiosum malum, an abiding principle of discord lodged in the human person since the Fall, see Brown, Body and Society, p. 408.

(31.) Michel Foucault, The Use of Pleasure (London: Peregrine, 1987), pp. 44, 48; Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, On Disciplining the Soul, tr. Tim Winter (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1995), p. 165.

(32.) Mt. 22:30; see Lucien Legrand, The Biblical Doctrine of Virginity (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1963), pp. 44-45.

(33.) Warner, Alone, p. 57; cf. Jane Tibbetts Schulenberg, Forgetful of Their Sex: Female Sanctity and Society ca. 500-1100 (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1998), p. 127.

(34.) Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-rusul wa'l-muluk, ed. M. J. de Goeje et al. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1879-1901), vol. I/i. pp. 105-106; for some hadith, see Stowasser, Women in the Qur'an, pp. 25-38; cf. also Leila Badawi in Jean Holm and John Bowker, eds., Women in Religion (London: Pinter, 1994), p. 87. That the association of Eve with the Fall was not always carried over into the learned imagination is shown by the popular Indian bride's manual, Bihishti Zewar, which relates the story of the Fall but attributes no blame to Eve; see Barbara Daly Metcalf, Perfecting Women: Maulana Ashraf 'Ali Thanawi's Beheshti Zewar: A Partial Translation with Commentary (Berkeley, CA, Los Angeles, and Oxford: University of California Press, 1990), p. 258. Thanawi (1864-1943) conformed to tradition by adding to her name the phrase "upon her be peace," a reminder that Eve had become a highly venerated figure in Islam; cf. the similar practice of 'A'isha al-Ba'uniyya, in Faris Ahmad al-'Allawi, 'A'isha al-Ba'uniyya al-Dima shqiyya: Ashhar a'lam Dimashq awakhir 'ahd al-Mamalik--Dirasa wa-nusus (Damascus: Dar Ma'add, 1994), P. 138. An apocryphal hadith even regards her as a Prophet; see Daniel Gimaret, La Doctrine d'al-Ash'ari (Pads: Cerf, 1990), p. 456. The present writer has witnessed the ongoing custom of visiting the site of Eve's tomb in the Saudi port city of Jeddah.

(35.) Warner, Alone, p. 60. The pairing appears to have begun early, with Justin Martyr (c. 155 C.E.), and was taken into the mainstream by Irenaeus and Tertullian. See, e.g., Rosemary Radford Ruether, Mary -- The Feminine Face of the Church (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1977), p. 53; and Power, Veiled Desire, pp. 182-187. Note that the linking of Eve with Mary is so remote from Islamic conceptions that Ibn 'Arabi in fact paired Eve with Jesus and Adam with Mary; see Sachiko Murata, The Tao of Islam (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1992), p. 178.

(36.) Warner, Alone, pp. 34, 35; Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image (London: Viking, 1991), p. 479.

(37.) St. Ambrose, cited in Michael O'Carroll, Theotokos: A Theological Encyclopedia of the Blessed Virgin Mary, rev. ed. (Wilmington, DE: Michael Glazier, 1983), p. 178. See also Augustine: "Let us love chastity above all things, for it was to show that this was pleasing to Him that Christ chose the modesty of a virgin womb" (cited in Warner, Alone, p. 54). Cf. Schulenberg, Forgetful, p. 127.

(38.) Tor Andrae, In the Garden of Myrtles: Studies in Early Islamic Mysticism, tr. Birgitta Sharpe (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1987), pp. 41-50.

(39.) E.g., Muslim, Zakat, 52.

(40.) E.g., Ibn Hisham, Sira Rasul Allah, ed. F. Wustenfeld (Gottingen: Dieterichsche Universitats-Buchhandlung, 1859), p. 101. This did not diminish the assurance of Muslim writers that Amina was "pure" (tahira) as were all the Prophet's "ancestral wombs" (al-Ba'uniyya, in al-'Allawi, 'A'isha, pp. 137-139, 150).

(41.) Qur'an 3:37 and 19:16-26; however, the purity celebrated here denotes marital fidelity, not sexual continence.

(42.) She is, however, referred to as "al-'Adhra''' in some Muslim sources, as well as in modern popular devotion, possibly under Christian influence; see Khalil, "Quelques expressions," pp. 146-147. Also see the popular Egyptian hymn recorded by Enno Littmann in his Islamisch-arabische Heiligenlieder (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1951), pp. 9, 16, 18. For al-Batul, see E. W. Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon (London: Williams and Norgate, 1863), vol. 1, p. 150.

(43.) Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wa'l-nihaya, vol.2 (Cairo: Matba'a al-Sa'ada, 1351/1932), p. 59.

(44.) Schleifer, Mary, p. 57.

(45.) For medieval penalties applied to menstruating women who entered churches, see Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1966), p. 61; see also Brown, Body and Society, p. 146.

(46.) Ibn Kathir, Bidaya, vol.2, P. 64; Ozak, Blessed Virgin Mary, p. 36; Schleifer, Mary, p. 29; Smith and Haddad, "Virgin Mary," p. 173.

(47.) Summa Theologica, cited in Roger Lipsey, ed., Coomaraswamy II: Selected Papers (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1977), pp. 243-244. For the implications of this view for Mariology, see Hilda Graef, Mary: A History of Doctrine and Devotion, vol. 2, From the Reformation to the Present Day (London: Sheed and Ward, 1965), p. 14.

(48.) E.g., Warner, Alone, pp. 40-41; and Ruether, Sexism and God-Talk, pp. 125-126.

(49.) Ali ibn Abi Bakr al-Haythami, Majma' al-zawa'id wa-manba' al-fawa'id, vol. 8 (Cairo: al-Khanji, 1352AH), p.241, citing Ibn Hanbal's Musnad. The translation is that of Basim Musallam, Sex and Society in Islam (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), p. 52; see further his important discussion of Islam's Galenic biology on pp.39-59.

(50.) As observed by Stowasser, Women in the Qur'an, p. 78.

(51.) Qur'an 19:23. For some Muslim folk beliefs about invocations to Mary by women during their confinement, see Pallavicini, "Corrispondenze," pp. 119-120.

(52.) Gen. 3:16. See, e.g., the view of St. John Damascene cited in Francis Dvornik, "The Byzantine Church and the Immaculate Conception," in O'Connor, Immaculate Conception, p. 96. For an example of one pre-modern Western attitude to childbirth, see the "Prayer of the Pregnant Woman Awaiting Her Confinement," used in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France: "In my confinement, strengthen my heart to endure the pains that come therewith, and let me accept them as the consequence of your judgement upon our sex, for the sin of the first woman....Never can they be as harsh as I deserve, for although holy matrimony has made my conception legitimate, I confess that concupiscence mingled its venom therewith and that it has urged me to commit faults which displease you" (cited in Jacques Gelis, History of Childbirth: Fertility, Pregnancy, and Birth in Early Modern Europe, tr. Rosemary Morris [Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991], p.155). For feminist criticism of the patristic "demonizing" of childbirth, see, e.g., Po wer, Veiled Desire, p. 44. It should be noted, however, that, despite a lack of support from the early Sira narratives, the medieval Muslim imagination thought it important to attribute a pregnancy free of discomfort to the Prophet's mother, although her labor was painful; this is the view of al-Ba'uniyya, in al-'Allawi, 'A'isha, pp. 145, 151.

(53.) Cf. the new translation of the Infancy Gospel of James in Robert Miller, ed., The Complete Gospels (San Franscisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994), p. 393.

(54.) Cited in 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, al-Ghunya li-talibi tariq al-Haqq. tr. Muhtar Holland as Sufficient Provision for Seekers of the Path of Truth, vol. 1 (Hollywood, FL: Al-Baz Publications,

(55.) The title is conferred by Farid al-Din 'Attar, Tadhkirat al-awliya' (London: Luzac; and Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1905-07), vol. 1, p. 59. For her renunciation of marriage, in view of its worldly entanglements, see Margaret Smith, Robi'a the Mystic and Her Fellow-Saints in Islam (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1928), pp. 10-13; Barbara Helms, "Rabi'ah as Mystic, Muslim, and Woman," in Arvind Sharma and Katherine F. Young, eds., The Annual Review of Women in World Religions, vol.3 (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1994), pp. 40-43. Cf. also the following: "These and other women reject the idea of marriage, because a man who will be sufficiently ascetic and share their devout life is difficult, if not impossible to find ... Men are a worldly amusement and diversion, and they will easily distract women from God" (Ruth Roded, Women in Islamic Biographical Collections: From Ibn Sa'd to Who's Who [Boulder, CO, and London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1994], p. 98). The idea that her renunciation of marriage was linked to a transcendence of physical desire was not unknown, but it existed in a distinctly minor key (see Smith, Rabi'a, p. 10).

(56.) See, e.g., 'All Shir Neva'i, Nasa'im al-mahabba min shama'il al-futuwwa, ed. Kemal Eraslan (Istanbul: Istanbul Universitesi, 1979), pp.444, 447.

(57.) Discontent with the passivity of traditional images of the Virgin has recently induced some feminist theologians to search for alternatives. Ruether, e.g., has held up Mary Magdalene as a supplementary archetype, citing her independence, her faithfulness at the cross, and her witness to the Resurrection (see Ruether, Mary, pp. 39-40).

(58.) Cf. the following: "A grace that is specific cannot outdo one that is limitless. Consider the grace of chaste Mary who, without intercourse, gave birth to a son. Yet her grace does not do away with that of Aisha and Fatima, since theirs has not been restricted among the whole of womankind" (Sharaf al-Din Maneri, The Hundred Letters, tr., intro., and notes Paul Jackson, The Classics of Western Spirituality [New York and Ramsey, NJ: Paulist Press, 1980], p. 81).

(59.) E.g., Muslim, Fada'il al-Sahaba, 12.

(60.) For her role as mother, see Aliah Schleifer, Motherhood in Islam (Cambridge: Islamic Academy, 1986), pp. 86-87. Her superiority is affirmed by the early "creed" known as the Wasiya of Abu Hanifa; see A. J. Wensinck, The Muslim Creed (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1932), p. 130; cf. p. 183, with 'A'isha coming a close second.

(61.) Qur'an 66:11. For Asiya, see Stowasser, Women in the Qur'an, pp. 59-60.

(62.) Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Ihya' 'ulum al-din, vol. 2 (Cairo: Mustafaal-Halabi, 1347AH), p. 39

(63.) Smith and Haddad, "Virgin Mary," p. 180; McAuliffe, "Chosen of All Women," p. 27. The same title assumed particular importance in Isma'ili devotion; see Louis Massignon, "La Mubahala de Medine et l'Hyperdulie de Fatima," in Massignon, Opera Minora, vol. 1, p. 568.

(64.) Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 61.

(65.) In Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd ed., vol. 2, p. 848 (L. Veccia Vaglieri); Massignon, "La notion," p. 585n. This latter image of Fatima as "figure de Marie" appealed to Massignon's imagination, as he conjured with Isma'ili numerology: "le nom initiatique de Fatima est Fatir, soit 290, qui eat aussi le nombre initiatique de Marie (Maryam=290)," etc. (Louis Massignon, "Les sept dormants d'Ephese [ahl-al-kahf] en Islam et en Chretiente," Revue des Etudes islamiques, vol. 22 [1954], p.64).

(66.) Littmann, Islamisch-arabische Heiligenlieder, p. 20.

(67.) Esko Naskati, "Women of the Prophet's Family," in Bo Utas, ed., Women in Islamic Societies (London: Curzon, 1983), pp. 246-247.

(68.) Smith and Haddad, "Virgin Mary," pp. 180-181.

(69.) Jan Knappert, Islamic Legends, vol. 1 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1985), pp. 240-241.

(70.) See, e.g., Asaf A. A. Fyzee, A Shi'ite Creed (Tehran: World Organization for Islamic Services, 1402/1982), p. 95.

(71.) Roded, Women, p. 23. For Fatima's submission to Abu Bakr's election as caliph, see Wilferd Madelung, The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 50-51; cf. 'A'isha's political activism (Madelung, Succession, pp. 170-176). 'A'isha is held up as a model of female scholarship in Thanawi's Beheshti Zewar(Metcalf, Perfecting Women, p. 274), where she is given considerably more attention than Fatima (Metcalf, Perfecting Women, p. 281). For her role as exemplar, see further D. A Spellberg, Politics, Gender, and the Islamic Past: The Legacy of 'A'isha bint Abi Bakr (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994).

(72.) The onomastic count was carried out with the Thesaurus Islamicus computerized hadith database as updated to December, 1997, including the collections of Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daud, Nasa'i, Tirmidhi, Ibn Maja, Malik, Ibn Hanbal, al-Darimi, al-Humaydi, and al-Daraqutni. Names appearing in isnads have not been included in this search. Figures for other prominent women include: Hafsa, 158; Zaynab bint Jahsh, 143; Umm Salama, 108; Khadija bint Khuwaylid, 88; Zaynab bint Muhammad, 81; Umm Habiba, 24; Umm Kulthum bint Muhammad, 16; Asiya, 14; and Ruqayya bint Muhammad, 12.

(73.) Quar'an 19:26.

(74.) Ayn al-Qudat al-Hamadhani, Tamhidat, ed. 'Afif 'Usayran, 3rd ed. (Tehran: Kitabkhane-yi Manushihri, 1370 AN solar), p. 91.

(75.) al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi, Khatm al-awliya', ed. 'Uthman Yahya (Beirut: Institut de Lettres Orientales, 1965), p. 399.

(76.) Ayn al-Qudat, Tamhidat, p. 293.

(77.) See al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi, Khatm al-awliya', p. 399; Muhammad al-Kalabadhi, al-Ta'arruf li-madhhab ahl al-tasawwuf, ed. A. Arberry (Cairo: al-Khanji, 1352/1933), p. 44; 'Ali al-Jullabi al-Hujwiri, Kashf al-Mahjub, tr. Reynold A. Nicholson (Leiden: E. J. Brill, and London: Luzac, 1911), p. 230; and Abu'l-Qasim al-Qushayri, al-Risala, ed. 'Abd al-Halim Mahmud and Mahmud ibn al-Sharif (Cairo: Dar al-Kutub al-Haditha, 1385/1966), p. 667.

(78.) Louis Massignon, The Passion of al-Hallaj, Mystic and Martyr of Islam, vol. 3, tr. Herbert Mason (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1982), p. 220. The same miracle often appears in Jalal al-Din Rumi; see, e.g., his Kulliyyat-i Shams-i Tabriz, vol. 2, ed. Badi' al-Zaman Furuzanfar (Tehran: Amir Kabir, 1363 AH solar), p. 157, 1.8558.

(79.) Qur'an 5:75.

(80.) See al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi, commenting on Qur'an 66:12, where Mary "put her trust [saddaqat] in the words of her Lord and His Scriptures, and was of the obedient, humble worshippers [al-qanitin]" (al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi, Khatm al-awliya', p. 399).

(81.) Brown, Body and Society, p. 407.

(82.) Hakim Sana'i, Mathnaviha, ed. Muhammad Taqi Razawi (Tehran: Intisharat-i Daneshgah-i Tihran, 1348 AH solar), p. 156.

(83.) Attar, Tadhkirat al-awliya', vol. 1, p. 59.

(84.) Jalal al-Din Rumi, Mathnavi-yi ma'navi, ed. and tr. R. A. Nicholson (London: Luzac; and Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1925-40), vol. 2 (11.3707-3708).

(85.) A. J. Arberry, Discourses of Rumi (London: John Murray, 1961), p. 33.

(86.) Rumi, Kulliyyat, vol. 1, p. 13 (1.169).

(87.) Ibid., vol. 1, p.20 (1.284).

(88.) Ibid., vol. 2, p. 194 (11.9272-9273).

(89.) Ibid., vol. 2, p. 223 (11.9838-9839).

(90.) Fakhr al-Din 'Iraqi, Kulliyyat, ed. Sa'id Nafisi ('Tehran: Kitabkhane-yi Sana'i, 1335 AH solar), p. 201.

(91.) Agah Sirri Levend, Divan Edebiyatt (Istanbul: Enderun Kitabevi, 1980), p. 125.

(92.) See the long passage translated in Schleifer, Mary, p. 92.

(93.) Martin Lings, Symbol and Archetype (Cambridge: Quinta Essentia, 1991), p. 40. Luce Irigaray reads nocturnal metaphors of the feminine as a derogatory contrast with the God who is light (Margaret Whitford, ed., The Irigaray Reader [Oxford: Blackwells, 1991], p.167), which seems indefensible in the context of Sufi tropology.

(94.) Henri Corbin, introduction to his translation of Ruzbehan Baqli's Kitab-i 'Abhar al-'ashiqin: Le Jasmin des Fideles d'amour (Paris: Verdier, 1991), p.38.

(95.) As'ad E. Khairallah, Love, Madness, and Poetry: An Interpretation of the Magnun Legend (Beirut: Orient-Institut der Deutschen Morgenlandischen Gesellschaft, 1980), pp. 97-125.

(96.) See, e.g., Ibn al-Farid, Diwan ed. 'Abd al-Khaliq Mahmud (Cairo: Dar al-Ma'arif, 1984), p. 202; and Ibn 'Arabi, Tarjuman al-ashwaq, ed. and tr. Reynold A. Nicholson (London: Royal Asiatic Society, 1911), p. 41.

(97.) Ruether, Mary, p. 53.

(98.) Deborah F. Sawyer, Women and Religion in the First Christian Centuries (London: Rout-ledge, 1996), pp. 138-139; see Barbara Borts, "Lilith," in Sybil Sheridan, ed., Hear Our Voice: Women Rabbis Tell Their Stories (London: SCM, 1994), pp. 98-109.

(99.) Ibn al-Farid, Diwan, pp. 179, 180.

(100.) Ibid., p. 75; see 'Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulsi, "Sharh Diwan Ibn al-Farid," in Rashid ibn Ghalib, ed., Sharh Diwan Ibn al-Farid (Cairo: al-Matba'a al-Azhariyya, 1319-20), vol. 1, p. 142; also see vol. 1, p. 198. The theme of the bariq al-thanaya is standard in Ibn 'Arabi as well; see, e.g., Tarjuman, p.27 (tr. p. 96).

(101.) Ibn al-Farid, Diwan, p. 205. "Labbayk" (at Thy service) is from the canonical pilgrimage litany. See also Ibn 'Arabi, Tarjuman, p. 17 (tr. p. 61).

(102.) Ibn al-Farid, Diwan, p. 75; cf. Nabulsi, "Sharh," vol. 1, p. 142. Ibn 'Arabi recalled how the Ka'ba once appeared to him as a young woman; see Charles-Andre Gilis, La Doctrine initiatique du pelerinage a la Maison d'Allah (Paris: L'Oeuvre, 1982), p. 44. See further F. Meier, "The Mystery of the Ka'ba: Symbol and Reality in Islamic Mysticism," in Joseph Campbell, ed., The Mysteries: Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1955), pp. 149-168; for the seven rounds as emblems of the ascent through the seven spheres, see Meier, "Mystery," p. 162.

(103.) Ibn al-Farid, Diwan, p. 177.

(104.) Nabulsi, "Sharh," vol. 2, p.35.

(105.) Ibn al-Farid, Diwan, pp. 205-206; Nabulsi, "Sharh," vol. 2, pp. 136-137, 144.

(106.) Qur'an 3:37; for Mary's mihrab see further Ibn Kathir, Bidaya, vol.2, p. 58.

(107.) "Just as the sun is manifested at night through the moon...the light of the shining moon is the sunlight established in it like a polished minor, so that by its purity it reveals its light, without there being any transferral or incarnation" (Nabulsi, "Sharh," vol. 2, p. 69).

(108.) A. J. Arberry, tr. and annotated, The Mystical Poems of Ibn al-Farid, Chester Beatty Monographs 6 (Dublin: Emery Walker, 1956), p. 92.

(109.) Annemarie Schimmel, And Muhammad Is His Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic Piety (Chapel Hill, NC, and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1985), p.207.

(110.) Qur'an 44:3-4.

(111.) Muhyi'l-Din Ibn 'Arabi, al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya (Bulaq: al-Matba'a al-Misriya, 1293AH), vol.1 p. 142.

(112.) Warner, Alone, p. xxiii. For the Assumption, see Graef, Mary, vol. 1, pp. 133-138; for the idea of the Queen of Heaven, see Graef, Mary, vol. 1, pp. 142, 248.

(113.) Ibn Shaddad, al-A`laq al-Khatira fi dhikr umara al-sham wa'l-Jazira, vol. 2, ed. Sami al-Dahhan (Damascus: Institut francais de Damas, 1382/1963), p. 288. This was taken to be a straightforward tomb, rather than the site of a dormition. For Muslim legends of her death, see Smith and Haddad, "Virgin Mary," pp. 171-172.

(114.) Pallavicini, "Corrispondenze," p. 122.

(115.) Ibn Kathir, Bidaya, vol. 2, p. 63.

(116.) Sharaf al-Din al-Busiri, Burdat al-Madih, fasl 7.

(117.) al-Jazuli, Dalail al-Khayrat, hizb 4.

(118.) Ibn 'Arabi, Tarjuman, p. 38 (tr. p. 130).

(119.) Ibid., p. 41 (tr. p. 136).

(120.) Warner, Alone, pp. 257, 260.

(121.) Baring and Cashford, Myth of the Goddess, p. 565. For images of Hecate, see George E. Bean, Turkey beyond the Maeander (London: Benn, 1971), p. 72; and E. O. James, Cult of the Mother Goddess (London: Thames and Hudson, 1959), pp. 152-153. For Selene, see Robert Turcan, The Cults of the Roman Empire (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), pp. 161, 252.

(122.) Cited in Marienlexicon (St. Ottilien: EOS Verlag, 1991), vol. 3, p. 75.

(123.) M. Rodinson, "La lune chez les Arabes et dans l'Islam," in La Lune: mythes et rites (Paris: Seuil, 1962), pp. 153-215.

(124.) Nizami, Iskandar-name, cited in Gholam Hosein Darab, tr. and intro., Makhzanol Asrar The Treasury of Mysteries of Nezami of Ganjeh (London: Arthur Probsthain, 1945), p. 61.

(125.) E.g., 'Abd al-Gnani al-Nabulsi, Nafahat al-azhar ala nasamat al-ashar (Bulaq: al-Matba'a al-Misriya, 1299AH), p. 184; 'Ali Shir Neva'i, Ferhad u Sirin, ed. Gonul Alpay (Ankara: Sevinc Matbaasi, 1975), pp. 88-89.

(126.) Bukhari, Manaqib, 23; Hassan ibn Thabit, Diwan, ed. 'Abd al-Rahman al-Barquqi (Beirut: Dar al-Andalus, 1386/1966), p. 138: he was "like the crescent moon, full of grace, possessed of compassion [rahma]"; cf. also Schimmel, And Muhammad, p. 124. The moon is also the most frequently encountered theme in the material assembled by Ibn Kathir on the Prophet's physical beauty; Shama'il al-Rasul (Cairo: Isa al-Babi al-Halabi, 1386/1967), pp.5-8.

(127.) Nabulsi, Nafahat, p. 169.

(128.) Jazuli, Dala'il al-Khayrat, hizb 4. See also, e.g., Suleyman Celebi, Mevlid-i Serif, Over-sattning och transkription au Sidney E. Hage (Stockholm: Forfattares Bokmaskin, 1984), p. 69: "his face a radiant moon."

(129.) al-Ba'uniyya, in al-'Allawi, 'A'isha, p. 209.

(130.) Ibn al-Farid Diwan, p. 204; cf. Nabulsi, "Sharh," vol. 1, P. 205.

(131.) Levend, Divan Edebiyatt, p. 202. History began with the "Age of Saturn" (zuhal), which was the "Age of Adam," the two names sharing the same numerological value, etc.

(132.) Rodinson, "La lune," p. 203; R. Ettinghausen, "Hilal," in Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd ed., vol. 3, pp. 381-385.

(133.) For the crescent moon as a symbol of the Immaculate Conception, see G. Ramsauer, "Halbmond," in Marienlexicon, vol. 3, pp. 74-75. The symbol appears to have been abandoned once the medieval idea of the moon's perfect incorruptibility was challenged by scientific advances. Note the following amusing incident: "In 1612 Galileo's friend Cigoli was commissioned to fresco the domed ceiling of the Pauline Chapel in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. The artist was permitted to depict there the Virgin Mary standing on a crater-pocked doubt inspired by one of Galileo's original drawings. To this day Cigoli's painting is officially and prudently called the Assumption rather than the Immaculate Conception" (Samuel Y. Edgerton, Jr., The Heritage of Giotto's Geometry: Art and Science on the Eve of the Scientific Revolution [Ithaca, NY, and London: Cornell University Press, 1991], p. 253).

(134.) Such a double entendre would have been too hazardous to record in writing, but the emergence of the "trampled" crescent in the two Catholic regions most conscious of a Muslim threat is unlikely to be coincidental. Spain -- and particularly the formerly Muslim city of Seville -- were the focus of seventeenth-century efforts to elevate the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and Seville's greatest artist Murillo (1617-82) is celebrated for his inmaculadas, which show the triumphant Virgin trampling on a crescent. Murillo, who owned a slave who may have been of Muslim origin, was closely connected to the Inquisition and painted the Inquisitor General himself (see Enrique Valdivieso, Murillo: Sombres de la Tierra, Luces del Cielo [Madrid: Selex, 1990], pp. 18,127).

Also a native of Seville was the other great painter of inmaculadas, Zurbaran, whose greatest work was the altarpiece for the Carthusian monastery of Santa Maria de la Defensi6n at Jerez de la Frontera, which portrayed the Virgin's miraculous appearance to rout the local Moors in 1370 (see Jonathan Brown, "Patronage and Piety: Religious Imagery in the Art of Francisco de Zurbaran,: in Jeannine Baticle, Zurbaran [New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1988], pp. 6-7). Zurbaran was also commissioned to support the regeneration of the Marian shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the spiritual center of the Reconquista, among whose most fervent devotees was Queen Isabella. He contributed eight paintings to this militant Marian shrine, including a celebrated image commemorating a massacre of Moors in North Africa (see Jonathan Brown, Images and Ideas in Seventeenth-Century Spanish Painting [Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978], pp. 112-114, 118, 121). See Baticle, Zurbaran, p. 169, for a reproduction of o ne of his characteristic inmaculadas. While the identification of the crescent as an Islamic symbol was not commonplace in the Ottoman Empire at this period, it was taken as such by the Hapsburgs, given its frequent appearance on Ottoman war banners. (As early as 1375 a Catalan sea-chart illustrated Muslim ports with crescent banners; see Rodinson, "La lune," p. 213; for the development of the symbol on the Ottoman side, see Ismail Hakki Uzuncarsili, Osmanh devletinin saray teskilati [Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, 1945), pp. 245-246). For some images of Austrian and south German virgins trampling a mondsichel, a tradition continuing into the high Rococo period, see, e.g., Marienlexicon, vol. 3, p. 432, and vol. 4, p. 635.

(135.) Maurice Vloberg, "The Iconography of the Immaculate Conception," in O'Connor, Immaculate Conception, pp. 485-486.

(136.) Ibn 'Arabi, Tarjuman, p. 40 (tr. p. 134).

(137.) Busiri, Burdat al-madih, fasl 3.

(138.) al-Barzinji Mawlid.

(139.) Schimmel, And Muhammad, p. 39. See also Suleyman Celebi, Mevlid-i Serif, p. 65: "from that oyster-shell that pearl was born."

(140.) Graef, Mary vol. 1, pp. 162, 174; Warner, Alone, p. 262. The tale of the scribal error has been contested.

(141.) Annemarie Schimmel, "Jesus and Mary as Poetical Images in Rumi's Verse," in Haddad and Haddad, Christian-Muslim Encounters, p. 145.

(142.) Schimmel, And Muhammad, p. 61.

(143.) Cited in Nabulsi, Nafahat, p. 136. See further Ibn Kathir, Shama'il, p. 62.

(144.) Nabulsi, Nafahat, p. 137. See also Busiri, Burdat al-madih, fasl 3: ka'l-bahri fi karami.

(145.) Graef, Mary, vol. 1, pp. 230-231.

(146.) Jazuli, Dala'il al-Khayrat, hizb 4. For the development of prayer beads in Catholicism, see Eithne Wilkins, The Rose-Garden Game: The Symbolic Background to the European Prayer-Beads (London: Gollancz, 1969); in Islam, see Ignaz Goldziher, Gesammelte Schriften, vol. 2 (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlagsburhhandlung, 1968), pp.374-379.

(147.) Alphonsus de Liguori, The Glories of Mary, cited in Ruether, Mary, p. 65. See also Boff, Maternal Face of God, p. 250, on the theme that "Jesus will condemn, but Mary will save."

(148.) The contrast was particularly unacceptable to Luther; see Heiko A. Oberman, "The Virgin Mary in Evangelical Perspective," J.E.S. 1 (Spring, 1964): 289.

(149.) Busiri, Burdat al-madih, fasl 10.

(150.) Tirmidhi, Manaqib, I.

(151.) Suleyman Celebi, Mevlid-i Serif, p. 68.

(152.) Nabulsi, Nafahat, p. 136.

(153.) Ibid p. 145.

(154.) al-Ba'uniyya, in al-Allawi, 'A'isha, p. 134.

(155.) "Compassion" is a customary but inadequate rendering of rahma. whose resonance is not far from the Christian scriptures' agape, as is shown by the hadith with which Ghazali closed his Ihya' 'ulum al-din. The Companions are moved to tears at the sight of a woman reunited with her child, and the Prophet tells them: "Truly, God will show even more rahma towards you all than does this woman towards her son" (Bukhari, Adab, 18; Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, The Remembrance of Death, tr. T. J. Winter [Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1989], pp. 260-261). God's personal, loving rahma is thus a central Muslim assumption, despite the popular view repeated by, e.g., Hans Kung that, for the Qur'an, "Love is not a divine predicate; God is not love" (Hans Kung, Christianity and the World Religions: Paths of Dialogue with Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism [Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1986], P. 90), which also neglects the qur'anic divine name, "The Loving" (al-Wadud; Qur'an 11:90 and 85:14). Kung is merely one of the more pro minent advocates of an ancient theme in Christian assessment of Islam that implicitly sees it as a relapse into Judaic or "Pharisaic" formalism. See, e.g., "By contrast with Muhammad, the decisive thing that interested Jesus was quite different from, say, the rules for ritual purity or the prohibition of wine" (Kung, Christianity and World Religions, p. 92; his emphasis), a view that fails to take note of the relatively small space occupied in the Qur'an by such matters when set beside the core issue of the Prophet's preaching, which was the summons to repentance and a pure monotheism. Kung again suggested that dialogue would be virtually impossible when he commended the judgment of Friedrick Durrenmatt that "Muhammad, of course, has nothing in common with Jesus ... but Muhammad can well be compared to Paul and Karl Marx" (Kung, Christianity and World Religions, p. 93), a judgment that neglects recent scholarly understandings of "gospel freedom" as the concept of St. Paul rather than of the halakhically obser vant Jesus.

Paul Tillich is guilty of a comparable misunderstanding on the Protestant side; see the following: "The question is whether the manifestation of the divine in the juristic realm is its ultimate manifestation" (Paul Tillich, Writings on Religion/Religiose Schriften, ed. Robert D. Scharlemann [Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, 1988], p. 262), an interrogation that Tillich framed against Islam that normative Sunni Muslims who regarded Sufism as a necessary discipline of faith (not only Rumi, and Ibn 'Arabi and their heirs, but also the likes of Nawawi, Suyuti, and Ghazali) would have found unintelligible. These judgments, which limit or even deny the transformative centrality of rahma in Islamic spirituality, derive ultimately from a vaguely conceived assimilation of Islam to a stereotyped Judaism (cf. Renan's dismissal of the Arabs as "Jews on horses") which enabled the partial mobilization of ancient, even antisemitic, critical themes against the new religion.

(156.) Qur'an 21:107.

(157.) Jazuli, Dala'il al-Khayrat, hizb 4.

(158.) Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, vol. 1 (Cairo: al-Maymaniya, 1313AH), pp. 191, 194.

(159.) Ibn 'Arabi, Fusus, al-Hikam, with the Sharh of 'Abd al-Razzaq al-Qashani (Cairo: Mustafa al-Halabi, 1386/1966), p.326. Tillich used to remark that his view of God as the "Ground of Being" was more of a "mothering" than a "fathering" symbol (cited in Ruether, Mary, p. 11).

(160.) Ba'uniyya, in al-'Allawi, Aisha, p.207.

(161.) Ibid, pp. 127-131; cf. Busiri, Burdat al-madih, fasl 7.

(162.) Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 1; cf. Ba'uniyya, in al-'Allawi, 'A 'isha, pp. 129-130.

(163.) For Muhammad as demiurge, see Gerhard Bowering, The Mystical Vision of Existence in Classical Islam: The Qur'anic Hermeneutics of the Sufi Sahl At-Tustari (d. 283/896) (Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, 1980), pp. 147-153.

(164.) Graef, Mary, vol. 1, p. 343; see also p. 345.

(165.) Baring and Cashford, Myth of the Goddess, p. 559.

(166.) Alan W. Watts, Myth and Ritual in Christianity (London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 1954), p. 107.

(167.) Qur'an 3:42; Smith and Haddad, "Virgin Mary," p. 177. For the Prophet as al-Mustafa, see, e.g., Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 6, p. 25; Busiri, Burdat al-madih, fasl 3; Ibn Kathir, Shama'il, p.57; and Schimmel, And Muhammad, p. 26.

(168.) Nadia Abu Zahra, The Pure and the Powerful (Reading, G.B.: Ithaca Press, 1997), p. 42.

(169.) St. Gregory Palamas, cited in Lossky, Mystical Theology, p. 194, from "In Dormitionem," P.G., CLI, 468AB.

(170.) Graef, Mary, vol. 1, p. 230.

(171.) From the Salat al-Fatih of the tariqa Tijaniyya, cited in Jamil M. Abun-Nasr, The Tijaniyya: A Sufi Order in the Modern World (London: Oxford University Press, 1965), p. 187.

(172.) Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 1; see Ghazali, Remembrance of Death, p. 216, and pp. 210-216 for other accounts; cf. also Schimmel ,And Muhammad, pp. 81-104.

(173.) al-Ba'uniyya, in al-'Allawi, 'A'isha, p. 134.

(174.) Graef, Mary, vol. 1, pp. 11-12, 13; Ahmad ibn Taymiyya, Qa'ida jalila fi'l-tawassul wa'lwasila (Beirut: Dar al-Furqan, 1988).

(175.) Oberman, "Virgin Mary," p. 290.

(176.) Abd al-Rahman Al al-Shaykh, Fath al-Majid sharh Kitab al-Tawhid, with notes by 'Abd al-'Aziz Ibn Baz (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-'Arabi, 1415/1995), pp. 251-259.

(177.) Human communities, particularly in liminal situations, typically express their concept of identity in terms of purity (see Douglas, Purity and Danger, p. 124). The "Other" is thus the one that threatens violation.

(178.) Arthur S. Way, tr., The Song of Roland (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1913), pp. 74, 91.

(179.) James W. Wiles, tr., The Mountain Wreath of P. P. Nyegosh, Prince-Bishop of Montenegro, 1830-1851 (London: G. Allen and Unwin, 1930), p. 70n.

(180.) Graef, Mary, vol.2, p. 17.

(181.) Many of the Phalangists who massacred Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps in 1982 had affixed images of the Virgin to their rifle-butts (see Robert Fisk in The Independent, December 3, 1997). On recent events in Medjugorje, where Mary has been a symbolic focus of anti-Muslim sentiment among Croats, Ed Vulliamy has written: "[i]n the souvenir shops, statuettes of the Madonna were on sale in trays next to others full of Swastikas, Maltese Crosses and other Nazi regalia. The HVO [Croat militia] put out a verbal warning that anyone found sheltering Muslims in the Holy City would have their homes blown up" (Ed Vulliamy, Seasons in Hell: Understanding Bosnia's War [London: Simon and Schuster, 1994], p. 260).

(182.) Busiri, Burdat al-madih, fasl 8.

(183.) Nabulsi, Nafahat, pp. 147, 156, etc.; Hassan ibn Thabit, Diwan, pp. 137, 151. In non-Arabic languages that could not retain the dual significance of the word "mustafa," the preferred term was often "pur-safa" (full of purity); see, e.g., Suleyman Celebi, Mevlid-i Serif, p. 76.

(184.) Bukhari, Manaqib, 23.

(185.) Ibn Hisham, Sira Rasul Allah, p. 106; the Marian parallel was pointed out by Anawati in "Islam and the Immaculate Conception," p. 459.

(186.) Harry Austryn Wolfson, The Philosophy of the Kalam (Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 1976), p. 244.

(187.) See, e.g., Pahlavi, La Fille d'Imran, p. 97, and more especially several esoterists such as Frithjof Schunon: "The function of the Prophet is from this point of view analogous and symbolically even identical to that of the Holy Virgin, who was likewise the 'ground' for the reception of the Word" (Frithjof Schuon, The Transcendental Unity of Religions, tr. Peter Townsend (London: Faber and Faber, 1953; repr. - New York: Harper & Row, 19751, p. 139); see also Pallavicini, "Corrispondenze," p. 128.

(188.) See, e.g., al-Ma'mun's letter in which he reproached non-Mu'tazili 'ulama, for "resembling [dahaw] the Christians in their claim that Jesus son of Mary is not created, since he is the word [kalima] of God" (Tabari, Tarikh, vol. III/2, p. 1118).

(189.) C. H. Becker, Islamstudien, vol. 1 (Leipzig, 1924), pp. 432-449.

(190.) Louis Gardet and M. M. Anawati, Introduction a la theologie musulmane: essai de theologie comparee (Paris: J. Vrin, 1948), pp. 38-39.

(191.) Wolfson, Philosophy, p. 313.

(192.) Michel Allard, Le probleme des attributs divins dans la doctrine d'al-A 'ari et de ses premiers grands disciples (Beirut: Imprimerie Catholique, 1965), p. 161; W. Montgomety Watt, "Early Discussions about the Qur'an (pt. 1)," Muslim World 40 (January, 1950): 27; Wilferd Madelung, "The Controversy on the Creation of the Koran," in 3. M. Barral, ed., Orientalia Hispanica (Leiden: E. J. Brill. 1974), pp. 512, 518-521.

(193.) Busiri, Burdat al-madih, fasl 6.

(194.) The argument for the gender ambiguity of the figure of Christ, made by Janet Martin Soskice in "Blood and Defilement: Jesus, Gender, and the Universality of Christ," ET: The Bulletin of the European Society for Catholic Theology, vol. 2 (1994), pp. 230-241, would seem to be supported by the case of Sufi devotion to the Muhammadan Layla. In both cases, the religious imagination has been able to nuance or revise the gender of historical human prototypes.

(195.) Mary Daly, Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberadon (Boston: Beacon Press, 1973), p. 87.

(196.) Cited by Oberman, "Virgin Mary," pp. 276-277, from Anselm, De conceptu virginali, cap. 18, in P.L., 158, 451A.

(197.) Mircea Eliade, Patterns in Comparative Religion, tr. Rosemary Sheed (London and New York: Sheed and Ward, 1958), pp. 154-187, 205-207, 440; for the moon, see also idem, The Myth of Eternal Return, tr. Willard R Trask (New York: Pantheon Books, 1954), pp. 86-88.
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