Understanding Mary in Muslim-Christian Dialogue in Relation to Muslim Missionary Instruction and Christian Proclamation

  • Donald H. J. Hermann Catholic Theological Union
Keywords: Mary, Muslim-Christian Dialogue


This article will consider the proper place of Mary in Muslim-Christian dialogue.  Theological dialogue is identified as one of the major forms of interreligious interaction.  However, it is asserted that dialogue is most useful when it is constrained by the commitment to mission by the members of the respective faiths that are in dialogue.  In Muslim-Christian dialogue constraints are imposed by the Islamic obligation of da-wa or missionary instruction and the Christian mission of proclamation. Much of Muslim-Christian dialogue on Mary has focused on commonalities of biographical accounts of Mary in the Bible and the Qur’an.  However, because of differences in fundamental theological convictions, such dialogue fails to produce significant insight and can lead to mere acceptance of oppositional belief.  Instead, dialogue which focuses on basic religious problems such as the role of humans in divine revelation can lead to shared insights.  One example views Mary as the means to a virgin or divine birth, and Muhammad as the means of transmitting the word of God directly into the Arabic Qur’an.  Another views Mary and Muhammad as the bearers of “God’s word.”  These examples of authentic Christian-Muslim dialogue establish the possibility of authentic theological dialogue undertaken consistently within the Christian mission of proclamation and the Islamic direction of da’wa.

Author Biography

Donald H. J. Hermann, Catholic Theological Union
Donald H. J. Hermann is a candidate for the E.D.Min. degree at CTU. He is also completing the requirements for the Diploma in Anglican Studies at Bexley Seabury Seminary in Chicago. He is Professor of Law and Philosophy at DePaul University College of Law where he teaches a course in Catholic Law and Social Justice.