Do Muslims Believe that Mary Can Intercede for Men?

The Qur’an speaks of Mary in respectful, even admiring terms, and frequently invites the faithful to “remember her”: yes, “mention Mary” (Qur'an 19: 76). The common sight of Muslim men and women in Marian shrines invites one to ponder: Does Islam teach anything about Mary’s intercession like the Catholic Church (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 62 or 69)?

An example from Algiers

In Algiers, Algeria, the Basilica of Our Lady of Africa wasn’t Islamized during the recent push of Islamism, but has remained a place of pilgrimage. In the apse of that sanctuary is the inscription:

“Our Lady of Africa, pray for us and for the Muslims!”

This is a prayer written by Christians, accepted and tolerated by Muslims.

An example from Mozambique

In 1948, in Nampula, a delegation of Muslims interrupted a procession for Our Lady of Fatima, and their president, Galamussen R. Bangy, delivered an address to the Virgin by reading the following declaration:

“The Islamic community of S. A.Aga Khan, from the province of Niassa, united in the veneration of Our Lady of Fatima, cannot fail to pay its most sincere homage to the venerable Pilgrim statue who, from the Cova da Iria is being carried throughout the world and who, in this moment of historic importance, gives us the great honor and privilege of coming to us.”

O Our Lady of Fatima, bless our city

O Our Lady of Fatima, bless the whole human race, so that it may follow a path of peace, human fraternity and spiritual elevation.

O Our Lady of Fatima, grant concord to all men on earth.

O Our Lady of Fatima, allow us to pay you this homage, although insignificant, which comes directly from our hearts full of veneration and true love.[1]

This speech could partly be one suited for the occasion, to entertain local conviviality. We can’t dismiss the possible confusion for the Muslim audience between “Our Lady of Fatima” and “Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet” either. The fact remains that what you have here is an expression of the Muslims’ popular trust in Mary’s intercession. This Muslim prayer is a blessing for peace that could take root – although indirectly – with the surah of Mary, where the son of Mary is described as a non-violent being on whom Peace rests (Qur’an 19 : 33).

The Teaching of Islam

The Qur’an teaches that intercession is possible, but does not say who can intercede. Some verses warn that at the last Judgment, no one will be able to intercede before Allah, who will remain the only patron (surah 2: 48 or surah 6 : 51). (Cf. what has been said about determinism.)

In particular, there won’t be the possibility of intercession for those who will not have recognized in Muhammad the messenger of Allah (Surah 9 : 80).

Popular faith expects a certain intercession from Muhammad

Muhammad is the only one who can intercede because all others have sinned:

Adam ate of the fruit of the tree,

Noah did not take care of those who were sent to perdition,

Abraham argued about the religion agreeable to God,

Moses killed a man,

Jesus and his mother were adored as if they were gods. [2]

In such a context, speaking objectively of an intercession from Mary, whether in favor of Muslims or non-Muslims, doesn’t make a lot of sense in Islam.

An example that happened in Jordania

A monk from the abbey of Latroun in Israel shared a story he heard from the very mouth of Father Joseph, pastor of Anjara:

Nasser, a young Muslim serving as a paratrooper for the Jordanian army in Amman, was bedridden after making a bad landing and hurting a vertebra. He wasn’t recovering. Nasser’s fiancée was a young Muslim girl, raised by the Sisters of the Rosary. The young people felt a great sadness about the future. Nasser was sent to London where an unhappy injection left him paralyzed for life. Back at the military hospital of Amman, he learned that his fiancée’s parents wanted to break off the engagement and he himself agreed.

However, a friend of the girl, Sister L. of the Rosary, went to visit Nasser through an inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and gave him a Miraculous Medal. He kissed it and accepted to wear it. Sister L. told him: "What the doctors can’t do, God will do and heal you."

That night, Nasser heard a voice telling him: "Nasser, you are healed now, get up."

He answered: "It’s impossible, I am paralyzed for life."

A second time the voice said: "Nasser, you are healed now, get up."

Same answer.

The third time, the voice said: "I am the Mother of Jesus, in his Name, I have healed you, get up." At that moment, he felt two strong hands pulling him up. He was healed. Exulting with joy, truly healed, he woke up the whole hospital. Doctors and nurses couldn’t believe their eyes.

The next day, he asked for a certificate stating that his recovery was miraculous. He only received a certificate attesting that his recovery was humanly unexplainable. No matter, Nasser became an apostle of Mary and proclaimed everywhere that “Sittna Mariam,” Our Lady Mary, healed him. He attended a Mass of thanksgiving with his fiancé. Now nothing prevented their marriage. And Bishop Sinnaan, the bishop the Amman, was informed of the fact and of Nasser’s desire to become a Christian. [3]

Sister L. entrusted the paralyzed man to Mary’s intercession. This was the meaning of her gesture when she had given Nasser a Miraculous Medal. However, the Muslim faith does not teach that Mary intercedes for men.

This is where another revelation came in for the young Muslim, which occurred in a private manner, through a voice he heard (it is of little relevance here how he heard it, interiorly or exteriorly).

To remain a Muslim wasn’t for Nasser the coherent and harmonious thing to do while he had gained this new consciousness of Mary’s intercession; so he decided to become a Christian.

[1] P. Demoutiez – M. T. Pereira da Cunha, Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Peregrina do Mundo, Lisboa 1953,- cité da E. Oggé, La Madonna Missionaria, Edizioni Missioni Consolata, 2° editino, Turin 1968, p. 333.

[2] (SMITH J. AND HADDAD Y., The Islamic Understanding of Death and Resurrection, Albany 1981, p. 80)

[3] Article de "Message et Messagers" #163, 1984, - Told in "Recueil marial" (1986) by Brother Albert Pfleger, Marist

Breynaert (Françoise Breynaert)


About the author

Breynaert (Françoise Breynaert) View all publications

Née en 1963. Docteur en théologie (Marianum, Rome). J'ai rencontré les fondateurs du projet "Marie de Nazareth" en septembre 2001 et je me suis mise à leur service en partant à Rome dès le mois d'octobre. J'ai étudié à la faculté pontificale de théologie "Marianum", en apportant au projet des fiches de synthèse en français, entre les années 2002 et 2005. Pendant ces années à Rome, en 2004, j'ai soutenu une thèse de doctorat "L'arbre de vie, symbole de la spiritualité de saint L-M de Montfort", avec la mention Summum cum laude (mention suprême).
En 2006, j'ai donné la formation mariologique au séminaire franciscain de Jérusalem (en italien). Entre temps, j'ai aussi parfois donné des sessions de formations dans des communautés classiques ou dans d... See more