10. God Wants to Respect Maryam, It Is His Will

The sura “Maryam” gives certain specifics on the manner in which she received the Good News: “And, in Scripture, Maryam is mentioned when she retired from her family in a place toward the East. And she put a veil between herself and them. We sent her our Spirit who presented himself to her in the form of a perfect man. She said: ‘I take refuge against you with the All Merciful; may you be pious!’ He said: ‘I am in fact a Messenger of your Lord to give you the gift of a pure boy.’ She said: ‘How will I have a boy, when no man has touched me, and I am not a prostitute?’ He said: ‘Thus shall it be! This is easy for Me, your Lord has said! And We will make of him a sign for the people, and a mercy on Our part. It is a thing already done.’ She became with child of the boy and retired herself with him in a faraway place” (s. 19, 16-22).

The text of the Koran is not clear. It lends itself to an interpretation where Maryam would have conceived in a way that would make one think of the action of a demon of the night or of that of a man.

Things are much more limpid when we read the account of the Annunciation to Maryam in the Gospel according to Saint Luke:

“In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was ‘Mary.’ And he came to her and said, ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!’ But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.

And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear of son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.’

And Mary said to the angel: ‘How can this be, since I have no husband?’

And the angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.’

And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.”

In the Gospel, Jesus (‘Issa) is clearly conceived of the Holy Spirit, the angel is clearly a simple immaterial messenger who asks of Maryam her consent: he does not come to announce to her what is already done, as if she was but a slave who had only the duty to follow the desires of her master. Does woman exist only to be crushed before the wills of men, and beyond that, before the will of God, or is she a human person like man?

More generally, what is the model of the relations of human beings among themselves and especially with God? A rapport of slave-like submission? The perfect society that God wants, is it a society made of masters and slaves?

The Virgin Mary, Maryam the very pure, shows clearly that it is not so. God wants to respect her intelligence and her heart, it is His Will. Sadly, many are those who do not understand the Will of God and who make of it a caricature in view of using it for their own power.