2

Some Christians argue that, "the Quran 5:116 wrongly defines the Trinity. Trinity is not Allah, Jesus and Mary. Further Catholics do not worship Mary but pray via her to God." How do we respond to this?

And behold! Allah will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah'?" He will say: "Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden.

-- Quran 5:116

  • So you acknowledge that the rest are wrong right? Do you mean intercession? or what? Your question isn't clear – Honey Feb 28 '17 at 17:32
  • Welcome to Islam.SE. Please take this two minute tour to understand the basic functions of the site. – Sakib Arifin Feb 28 '17 at 17:33
  • i do not see word "trinity" in the cite – qdinar Mar 1 '17 at 6:15
2

The Quran doesn't have any concept of Trinity. And neither does it define trinity. It it in fact, totally against this concept. The Quran says in its chapter 4 verse 171:

O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, "Three"; desist - it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.

And there is no definition of trinity in the verse in the question. According to the Sahih International translation of the verse, it says:

And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, "O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, 'Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?'" He will say, "Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen.

When God is addressing Christians or Jews in the Quran, he is not always referring to every Christian or Jew, rather often you'll find that specific groups are being addresses, in one place God asks Jesus () if he asked the people to worship himself and his mother, different denominations of Christianity may not adhere to the same beliefs, God addresses & warns different denomination, i.e. not all denomination of Christianity believe that Mary should be worshipped.

Saying that it contains a wrong concept of trinity is a logical fallacy.

  • 1
    Ibn Kathir contradicts you, he's explicit that this is in reference to the trinity idea in Christianity, quote: "The Christians, may Allah curse them, have no limit to their disbelief because of their ignorance, so their deviant statements and their misguidance grows. Some of them believe that `Isa is Allah, some believe that he is one in a trinity and some believe that he is the son of Allah." – G. Bach Feb 28 '17 at 20:17
  • @G.Bach "Some of them believe that `Isa is Allah, some believe that he is one in a trinity and some believe that he is the son of Allah." - is that trinity or three diff concept? – Sakib Arifin Feb 28 '17 at 20:57
  • 1
    No one's suggesting that Islam or the Quran teaches the Trinity, but that its description of what Christians believe is wrong. – curiousdannii Feb 28 '17 at 22:35
1

I think that this can be answered in two parts.


1) Does the Quran say that Christians believe in the divinity of Mary mother of Jesus.


Yes, it sort of does. Though it does not necessarily imply that all Christians believe that, nor is it explicitly stated that the established concept of Trinity is the divinity of God, Jesus and Mary(rather than the Holy Spirit). Indeed the Prophet Muhammad(p.b.u.h) interacted with diverse sects that were present in his region at his time and they had diverse beliefs.

Its true that most mainstream Christian denominations today and even in the past did not consider Mary to be divine ... but fringe sects have existed that believed that, see Collyridianism for an example. Some of these sects were present in the time of the Prophet Muhammad(p.b.u.h) and interacted with him and so God revealed verses of the Quran regarding their beliefs. Furthermore, in the strict Sunni view at-least, Catholic reverence for and prayer to Mary would fall under the definition of shirk.


2) Does the Quran misinterpret the canon Christian belief of Trinity? Specifically does it mix the Holy Spirit with Mary, mother of Jesus?


The Quran mentions the word three as applied to Christian belief in two different places 4:171 and 5:73. Its not explicitly stated what this belief is but in the first instance the Quran goes on to reject the divinity of Jesus and the angels(4:172) ... keep in mind that the Holy Spirit is the Angel Gabriel in Islamic belief.

4:171 O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, "Three"; desist - it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.

4:172 Never would the Messiah disdain to be a servant of Allah, nor would the angels near [to Him]. And whoever disdains His worship and is arrogant - He will gather them to Himself all together.

Again, Angel Gabriel is the Holy Spirit in Islam:

16:102 Say, [O Muhammad], "The Pure Spirit(Ruh al Qudus cognate to Hebrew for Holy Spirit ) has brought it down from your Lord in truth to make firm those who believe and as guidance and good tidings to the Muslims."

2:97 Say, "Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel - it is [none but] he who has brought the Qur'an down upon your heart, [O Muhammad], by permission of Allah, confirming that which was before it and as guidance and good tidings for the believers."

2:98 Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and His messengers and Gabriel and Michael - then indeed, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers.

In the second instance, the Quran goes on to establish the Humanity of Jesus and his mother Mary.

5:73 They have certainly disbelieved who say, "Allah is the third of three." And there is no god except one God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will surely afflict the disbelievers among them a painful punishment.

~

5:75 The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of truth. They both used to eat food. Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded.

Ibn Kathir, discusses this in some length while commenting on 5:73. Unfortunately the abridged version available in English is incomplete. You can see the full arabic version here, see last paragraph of page 1 and first para of page 2. I'll try to give a rough translation. Ibn Kathir mentions two opinions, he mentions

Mujahid who said that the Christians believe in a Father, a Son and the Word who issued from the Father to the Son. They differed about the three and had various sects with diverse beliefs, each of which declared the other a disbeliever, while in truth they were all disbelievers.

Ibn Kathir also mentions the opinion of Saddi:

who said that they believed that Jesus and Mary are Allah as detailed later on about God's dialouge with Jesus on the Day of resurrection. I believe this is the more correct opinion, and God knows best.

The point is that its not Islam's job to define Christian beliefs and terminology as they evolved and diverged through time and geography. Islam rejects the divinity of any person or being other than Allah, it rejects the divinity of Angels, the Holy Spirit and Mary ... and it rejects the belief that Allah and Jesus are the same person (5:17).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.