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Is it permissible to call Maryam, the mother of the Messiah (peace be upon him) a “saint”?

Question: 178240

Last night I was reading Qur’an and my mother said to me: “They are going to show a film about the ‘saint’ Maryam.” I said: “She is not a saint,” meaning that we should not call her by this name. Is it correct to call her a saint?

Praise be to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah and his family.

The word
saint (qiddees) comes from a root meaning holy or pure [this is
applicable to both the English and Arabic words]. Al-Quddoos (the Most Holy)
is one of the names of Allah, and refers to the One Who is pure and free of
all faults and defects, as it says in Lisaan al-‘Arab, 6/168-169.
However, Maryam (may Allah be pleased with her) is not described as a
qiddeesah or saint, either in the Book of Allah or in the Sunnah of the
Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). Rather this
title is given to her by the Christians, by way of exaggerated veneration,
to the extent that they elevated her to the status of “the mother of God” –
exalted be Allah far above what they say.

Allah, may
He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

(remember) when Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection): ‘O ‘Eesa
(Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)! Did you say unto men: Worship me and my
mother as two gods besides Allah?’ He will say: ‘Glory be to You! It was not
for me to say what I had no right (to say)’”

[al-Maa’idah 5:116]. 

al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

… The
Oriental Orthodox Christians wrote a document in which they affirmed their
beliefs, in which they said: ‘Verily the saint (or holy) Virgin Mary gave
birth to a god, our Lord Jesus Christ, who is like his Father in nature and
like people in humanity.’ They affirmed that he had two natures and one
entity, and is one person of the godhead, and they cursed the Nestorians. 

End quote
from al-Jawaab as-Saheeh li man baddala Deen al-Maseeh, 4/248 

See also
Hidaayat al-Hayaara by Ibn al-Qayyim, p. 178-179; al-Bidaayah
wa’n-Nihaayah by Ibn Katheer, 2/121 

Maryam (may Allah be pleased with her) is described in the Book of Allah and
the Sunnah of His Messenger as a siddeeqah and virgin. 

Allah, may
He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): 

Messiah (‘Eesa (Jesus)), son of Maryam (Mary), was no more than a Messenger;
many were the Messengers that passed away before him. His mother (Maryam
(Mary)) was a Siddeeqah (i.e. she believed in the words of Allah and His
Books). They both used to eat food (as any other human being, while Allah
does not eat). Look how We make the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses,
lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) clear to them, yet look how they are
deluded away (from the truth)”

[al-Maa’idah 5:75]. 

(1742) narrated that the Negus sent for Ja‘far ibn Abi Taalib and his
companions (may Allah be pleased with them), who had migrated to Abyssinia,
to ask them about the Messiah (peace be upon him) and what they said about

Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: The people met together and
said to one another: What will you say about ‘Eesa when he asks you about
him? They said: By Allah, we will say about him what Allah said and what our
Prophet brought,

no matter what the consequences.
When they entered upon him, he [the Negus] said:

What do you say about ‘Eesa ibn Maryam? Ja‘far ibn Abi Taalib
said to him: We say about him what our Prophet taught: he is the slave of
Allah and His Messenger, a Spirit created by Him and His word that He
bestowed upon Maryam the Virgin. The Negus struck his hand on the ground and
picked up a stick, then he said: Eesa ibn Maryam is no different than what
you said, not even as much as this stick.

Classed as
saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh as-Seerah 

What we
must do is say about ‘Eesa (peace be upon him) and his mother (may Allah be
pleased with her) what Allah, may He be exalted, and His Messenger
(blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said about him, and we should not
go beyond that and adopt what the people of the Book say or believe, whether
that is the exaggeration of the Christians about them or the disrespect of
the Jews towards them. 

Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in
your religion, nor say of Allah aught but the truth. The Messiah ‘Eesa
(Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and
His Word, (‘Be!’ – and he was) which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a
spirit (Rooh) created by Him; so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say
not: ‘Three (trinity)!’ Cease! (it is) better for you. For Allah is (the
only) One Ilaah (God), Glory be to Him (Far Exalted is He) above having a
son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth.
And Allah is All-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs”

[an-Nisa’ 4:171]. 

See also
the answers to questions no. 10836 and

And Allah
knows best.


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