Theological and historical errors in the Qur'an:

Mary was not part of the Christian trinity!

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Islam: Truth or Myth? start page



Muhammad was not a very well informed theologian when he wrote the Koran. Yes, we know, Muslims will tell us that Muhammad didn't write the Qur'an. After all that way they can blame Allah for the errors and their prophet remains sinless and blameless!

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Mohammed mistakenly thought that Mary was the third member of the Christian trinity.

ďAnd when Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Didst thou say unto mankind: Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah? he saith: Be glorified! It was not mine to utter that to which I had no right. If I used to say it, then Thou knewest it. Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I know not what is in Thy Mind. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Knower of Things Hidden? (Koran 5:116)



1.      Thanks to Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, continuing trend towards the worship of Mary that is in full bloom today, Islam views the worship of Mary as a Bible doctrine. This is not true.

2.      The Koran represents Christians as worshipping Mary as the third member of the Trinity, when in fact the only ones worshiping Mary, based upon the record of history, were the pagan Arabs who worship her idol in the Kaba AND a small heretic sect of Christians in the Mecca area. Obviously then, Muhammad believed that this sect

3.      When Mohammed first cleansed the Kaba of the 360 pagan idols, both Jesus and the mother of Mary were worshiped as deities. The Koran strongly denies that Jesus or the mother of Mary are to be worshiped. What is interesting is that the Koran actually represents Christians as worshipping Mary as the third member of the Trinity in Koran 5:116.


A. Here is what the Koran says:

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1.       ďAnd when Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Didst thou say unto mankind: Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah? he saith: Be glorified! It was not mine to utter that to which I had no right. If I used to say it, then Thou knewest it. Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I know not what is in Thy Mind. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Knower of Things Hidden? (Koran 5:116)

2.       "O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of God aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an apostle of God, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in God and His apostles. Say not "Trinity" : desist: it will be better for you: for God is one God: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is God as a Disposer of affairs." (Koran 4:171)

3.      "They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One God. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them." (Koran 5:73)


B. Here is what Muslim scholars say:

  1. "Allah will say, "O Jesus, son of Mary, did you say to the people, `Make me and my mother idols beside Allah?' Yusuf Ali, in footnote 829 commenting on this verse says, "The worship of Mary, though repudiated by the Protestants, was widely spread in the earlier Churches, both in the East and the West." (The holy Qur'an, text, translation and commentary by Abdullah Yusuf Ali. 1872-1952, First published in 1938, 1973 ed., p. 280, footnote 829, commenting on 5:116)


C. Here is what non-Muslim scholars say about this error in the Koran:

1.      "The passage of the Qur'an which suggests that the Trinity consists of Father, Son, and Virgin Mary is doubtless a criticism of some nominally Christian Arabs who held this view." (Muhammad at Mecca, W. Montgomery Watt, 1953, p 23-29)

2.      "In rude misconception or wilful perversion, Mohammed seems to have understood the Christian doctrine of the trinity to be a trinity of Father, Mary, and Jesus. The Holy Spirit is identified with Gabriel. "God is only one God! Far be it from his glory that he should have a son!" Sura 4, ver. 169; comp. 5, ver. 77. The designation and worship of Mary as "the mother of God" may have occasioned this strange mistake. There was in Arabia in the fourth century a sect of fanatical women called Collyridians, who rendered divine worship to Mary. Epiphanius, Haer. 79." (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian church, Vol 4, Ch 3)

3.      The Qur'an shows that there was little knowledge in Mecca of the New Testament apart from the story of the virginal conception of Jesus (19.16-21). On the other hand several mistaken ideas about Christianity appear to have been current among the Meccans. They supposed that Christians worshipped three gods, taking both Jesus and Mary as gods. (Muhammad's Mecca, W. Montgomery Watt, Chapter 3: Religion In Pre-Islamic Arabia, p26-45)

4.      "The Qur'an here denounces the idea of a Triad of Gods, consisting of God, Jesus and Mary. Christians have never believed in this Triad. It is only too true that many ignorant "Christians" in Muhammad's time worshipped Mary (as some still do), asking her to intercede with her Son for them, and the early Muhammadans may hence have fancied that belief in three separate Gods, of which Mary was one, was what was meant by the doctrine of the Trinity. But such an idea was wrong and of heathen origin." (A Manual of the Leading Muhammadan Objections to Christianity. W. St. Clair Tisdall, 1904, p 147)

5.      These passages leave no doubt that Mohammed denied the doctrine of the Trinity and that he conceived it to be, or affirmed it to be, a species of tritheism consisting of God, Mary and Jesus Christ. [Whether Mohammed had a correct idea of the Trinity and deliberately put forth this travesty of the Christian idea, we will consider later.] The commentaries interpret the Koran as follows: Zamakhshari on 4:169 remarks, "The story received among Christians is that God is one in essence and three persons, (akanim) the person of the Father, the person of the Son and the person of the Holy Spirit. And they verily mean by the person of the Father, the Being, and by the person of the Son, knowledge, and by the person of the Holy Spirit, life. And this supposes that God is the third of three, or, if not, that there are three gods. And that which the Koran here refers to is the clear statement of theirs, that God and Christ and Mary are three gods and that the Christ is a child (walad) of God from Mary." For proof he then quotes Surah 5:116, and adds: "And it is universally known concerning Christians that they hold the deity and humanity of Christ as regards his father and mother." From this it is evident that Zamakhshari had a more correct idea of the doctrine of the Trinity than did Mohammed and that after offering a modal trinity as the creed of Christians he covers up the Koran mistake by asserting, without proof, that the trinity was a triad of Father, Son and Mother. (Vol. I. of the Kishaf, p. 241.) Beidhawi (on 4:169) remarks: "Jesus is called the Spirit of God because He makes the dead to live or quickens hearts." On the following verse he is doubtful; "Either God is the third of three gods or is a triad of Father, Son and Holy Spirit." (Vol. I., p. 319.) He, too, avoids a real explanation of the gross misstatement in the Koran that Mary is one of the persons of the Trinity. The Jilalain (Vol. I., p. 278) prove that Jesus cannot be God, "because He has a spirit and everything possessed of a spirit is compounded (murakkib and God is absolutely without compounding, arrangement (tarkib), i.e., simple." He says the Trinity consists of "Allah and Jesus and His mother." (The Moslem Doctrine Of God, Samuel M. Zwemer, 1905, p 80)

6.      It is interesting to note that the charges against Christians of looking upon the Virgin Mary as the third person of the Trinity is made in the last of all the Suras:- O Jesus, Son of Mary, hast thou said unto mankind 'Take me and my mother as two Gods beside God? ' He shall say: 'Glory be unto Thee! it is not for me to say that which I know to be not the truth.' Sura Al-Ma'idah (v) 116. Whether Muhammad knew better or not is uncertain, but, however that may be, this is his parting accusation. He could have ascertained the true facts of the case, for on Christian monuments found by Dr. B. Glaser in Yemen, the Sirwah inscription opens with the words, 'In the power of the all-Merciful and His Messiah and the Holy Ghost.' (Zwemer, Islam, p. 21.) To say the least, Muhammad here made a serious mistake, which it is difficult to reconcile with the verbal inspiration of the Qur'an. (The Historical Development Of The Qur'an, Edward Sell, 1869-1932, p 172)


D. The Collyridians: A heretic sect in Arabia!

"There was in Arabia in the fourth century a sect of fanatical women called Collyridians (), who rendered divine worship to Mary. Epiphanius, Haer. 79." (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian church, Vol 4, Ch 3)

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1.      "Epiphanius, in his seventy-eighth Heresy, combats the advocates of the opposite view in Arabia toward the end of the fourth century (367), as heretics under the title of Antidikomarianites, opposers of the dignity of Mary, i.e., of her perpetual virginity. But, on the other hand, he condemns, in the seventy-ninth Heresy, the contemporaneous sect of the Collyridians in Arabia, a set of fanatical women, who, as priestesses, rendered divine worship to Mary, and, perhaps in imitation of the worship of Ceres, offered little cakes to her; he claims adoration for God and Christ alone. Jerome wrote, about 383, with indignation and bitterness against Helvidius and Jovinian, who, citing Scripture passages and earlier church teachers, like Tertullian, maintained that Mary bore children to Joseph after the birth of Christ. (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian church, Vol 3, Ch 7)

2.      "Kollyridians or Collyridians were adorers of Mary in the 4th century Arabia, as Epiphanius mentioned in his writing against heretics (see: Haer. 78, 23; 79). He coined the expression Collyridians which has the meaning of "cake-eater-sect". Leontius of Byzance had a different name for them. He called them "Philomarianites", meaning Mary-lovers (PG 87, 1364). The priestesses of this sect used to present Our Lady with cakes or a special kind of bread (kolluris) intended as offerings as was the custom in pre-Christian times. This sect, mainly consisting of women or at least led by woman priests, propagated what amounts to a Goddess cult regarding Our Lady. Epiphanius had this warning on their behalf: "Although Mary is the most beautiful and holy and worthy of praise, we don't owe her adoration" (Haer. 79, 7, PG 42, 752). In a different passage Epiphanius uses even stronger words: "Adoration must cease. For Mary is no goddess nor has she received her body from heaven. (oute gar theos hae Maria oute ap'ouranou exousa to soma)" (Haer. 78, 24). Collyridians are also known and mentioned by John Damascene (PG 94, 728)." (The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, Roman Catholic commentary)

3.      Collyridlans. Under this name Epiphanius (Haer. 79) assails certain women who had brought from Thrace into Arabia the practice of performing on certain days rites in honour of the Blessed Virgin, the chief being the offering of a cake, and the partaking of it by the worshippers. Epiphanius condemns their conduct because (a) women ought not to offer sacrifice, and (b) Mary is to be honoured, God only to be worshipped. The name Collyris (or kindred forms) is to be found in the LXX translation of Lev. vii. 12, viii. 26 ; 2 Sam. vi. rg, xiii. 68 ; and the word passed thence into the Latin versions. [G.s.] (A dictionary of Christian biography and literature to the end of the sixth century a.d., Henry Wace, Collyridians)



1.      There is no way for Muslims today to escape the fact that the Koran indeed contains a major theological blunder. If the Koran was really written by God, as Muhammad claimed, then the worship of Mary would have been condemned, but she would never have been connected with the trinity.

2.      Modern Muslim apologists cannot explain away this problem because we have documented above, many earlier Muslims commentators indeed admitted the Koran viewed Mary as part of the trinity. Suggesting this is not the case, is another example of Muslims both rewriting their own history, as well as ignoring the universal facts of history. But what would you expect from a religion founded upon myths.

3.      Muslims worshipped Mary as one of 360 pagan gods in the Kabah. The heretic sect known as Collyridlans, worshipped Mary as God. Many Christians in the age referred to Mary as, "mother of God" which led Muhammad to conclude she was a god herself.

4.      Mary was never considered part of the trinity and such a teaching represented a small heretic sect in Arabia.

5.      While today, Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches outright worship Mary, pray to her, praise her and call her "Mother of God", such was not the case during the time of Muhammad. Even so, Roman Catholics and Orthodox would violently oppose any idea that Mary, although they worship her, is part of the Trinity in any way. They have never defined trinity as anything but consisting of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

6.      Muhammad wrote the Koran and formed his beliefs based upon his local environment to which he was exposed. The fact that historically, trinity has always been defined as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


Go to Trinity in the Bible website.


 Written by Brother Andrew


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