8. Have You Said: Take Me and My Mother for Two Divinities?
If Jesus were a “walad Allah” he would be an exterior creature even while being carnally linked to God, which would be an absurdity and a contradiction. The word Son “Ibn,” as we have seen cannot be reduced justly to the carnal signification of “walad,” child.
But if we do not understand this, we could imagine that at the day of judgment God will remind us: “‘Issa (Jesus), son of Maryam, did you say to the people: Take me and my mother for two divinities, at the side of God?” (Sura “The Table” 5, 116).
In addition to this error, we can imagine another in connection with the identity of “my mother” in this verse. In Aramean, the Holy Spirit is a feminine word which has a maternal connotation. For example, Saint Aphraate (called the Sage of Persia) fears that in marriage a man forgets God “his Father and the Holy Spirit his mother.” (1)
In the Assyro-Chaldean Church (of Aramean language) the expression “mother of Jesus” designates the Holy Spirit (a feminine term) and this expression is still completely ordinary today. This is certainly the meaning of the expression “mother of ‘Issa (Jesus)” in verse 116 of the Sura “Al Ma-ida, The Table Served”: “When God will say: ‘Issa (Jesus), son of Maryam, did you say to the people: Take me and the Holy Spirit for two divinities, at the side of God? The irony of the verse does not rest on the invention that consists in putting Maryam at the side of God but on the fact that ‘Issa (Jesus) is himself put on the scene at the day of Judgment to accuse the Christians (here Arabs) of believing in him and in the Holy Spirit! That his “mother” was the Holy Spirit, many ancient Muslim commentators still knew very well: all indicate regarding this verse (s. 5, 116) that it is about the Holy Spirit and not the Virgin Mary. (2)
This means also that this verse is addressed to the Christian Arabs who share the theological expressions of the Persian and Chaldean world, about a thousand kilometers from Mecca. But to speak of this is politically very incorrect: if a verse of the Koran cannot be explained except in a Syro-Aramean context, how can Islam have appeared so far away from it? (3).
As for the Christians, it is very evidently false to say that they adore the goddess Maryam as a companion of Allah, a divinity. They venerate the one who gave birth of Jesus while remaining a virgin. This is a royal maternity: the child of Maryam is of the descendance of David (Daoud) and his reign will not have an end. Her child (walad) is a “Word” coming from God (his Son-ibn)! The amazement, wonder, bewilderment before such a maternity lead to the veneration of Maryam the very pure.
(1) APHRAATE, Les exposes (writings between 336 and 345), translated by Marie-Joseph Pierre, Sources Chrétiennes n. 359. Cerf, Paris 1989, t. 2, p. 791.
(2) Cf. AZZI Joseph, Le prêtre et le prophète : aux sources du Coran, Maisonneuve & Larose, Paris 2001, p. 169.
(3) We could read on this subject: Patricia CRONE & Michael COOK, Hagarism. The Making of the Islamic World, 1977. Christoph LUXENBERG, Die Syro-Aramaiche Lesrt des Koran (2004): The Kokran comes in part from texts transposed from the Aramean (Syriac) into Arabic. Markus Groß / Karl-Heinz Ohlig (Hg.), Vom Koran zum Islam (Schriften zur frühen Islam-geschichte und zum Koran, Volume 4, 2009): The Syriac (Aramean) context of the writing of the Koran; the pursuit of the writing and the rewriting of the Koran in the 8th and 9th centuries.