The first mosque named “Mariam, Umm Eisa (Mary, Jesus’ Mother) Mosque.”
►A mosque in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has been renamed “Mariam, Umm Eisa (Mary, Jesus’ Mother) Mosque.”
Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Abu Dhabi crown prince and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces, ordered that the mosque be renamed to “consolidate bonds of humanity between followers of different religions.”
[Mary (Mariam) is revered in Islam as the mother of Jesus. She is mentioned in the Qur’an 34 times, while Jesus (Isa) is mentioned 25 times.]
Rev. Elias D. Mallon places this development in context:
“Our Lady plays an important role in Islam. She is the virgin mother of Jesus, although with no connotation of the Incarnation as understood by Christians. She is the one who hears God’s word and believes it. And in the Qur’an, she is the focus of Chapter 19.
“When members of the early Muslim community fled to Abyssinia (ancient Ethiopia) to escape persecution, they were required by the king to explain their new faith. When he heard of the devotion they had to Mary, he immediately accepted them as protected refugees.
“Two women play a major role in Islam. The first is Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad and wife of Ali bin Abi Talib. The second is Mary, Mother of Jesus. Known among Muslims as Fatimah al-Zahra, “the Illustrious,” the daughter of the Prophet is widely revered in Sunni and especially Shi’ite Islam.
“While it is common among Shi’ites to have mosques bearing the name of Fatimah, to my knowledge this mosque in Abu Dhabi is the first to be named after the Virgin Mary.” ◘