'Hail Mary, Full of Grace': The Work of Exalting Women All Over the EarthBy The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan | Last updated: Mar 25, 2014 - 12:01:04 PM
[Editor’s note: The following article contains a distillation of the five-part lecture series by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan titled “How to Give Birth to a God,” delivered at The Final Call Administration Building in Chicago, Illinois from July-August, 1987. Click here to order this series of messages in its entirety on DVD and CD @ store.finalcall.com or please call 1.866.602.1230, ext. 200.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
Focus your attention on the rise of women all over the Earth speaking up and speaking out against injustice. It seems that this is the day when the oppressed of the Earth will speak out against their oppressors.
If we are oppressed in America, it is nothing but right and just that we speak out against our oppression. But as we speak out against our oppressor, and our brothers and sisters in Africa and The Caribbean, and throughout the world, speak out against their oppressors; and as persons of different and varying races and colors speak up against oppression, we notice that women, all over the world, are speaking out against not “perceived” oppression, but a very real and tangible oppression.
How “advanced” can this world be if the leaders of the world have denigrated the position of woman? And if so-called primitive societies have not elevated the woman, then the nations of the world are depressed, oppressed and suppressed—and the greatest of oppression and suppression is the kind fomented by ignorance.
A parsing of the prayer ‘Hail Mary’
The prayer “Hail Mary” is one of the foremost prayers a Catholic says, besides “The Lord’s Prayer” (“Our Father which art in heaven…”). It is recited in this manner: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.” Let us parse the words of this prayer.
“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.” That is a heavy statement. Do you know what “hail” means? You know how they say, “Hail Caesar,” or “Hail Hitler”? “Hail” is a word of praise, honor, elevation, and lifting up. But you’re not “Hailing Caesar.” You’re not “Hailing Hitler.” You are hailing who? Mary. In other words, “Hail Mary” means “Lift up the woman.” And until you lift women up, you’re not going to get any great nation, nor any great civilization.
What is the significance of “full of grace”? Does this mean that she has a female child, and that child’s name is “Grace”? No. It means she is pregnant—she is “full of grace”; because when a righteous woman’s womb is full with a child that is the Grace of God being born into the world to change the reality of the way we live.
“Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.” If any of you are named Mary, or Maryam, this is just coincidental—but it could be talking about you. In fact, it is talking about all of you, Black women, if you understood.
Study the lives of Righteous Women: A portrait of Mary and Elizabeth
In the Bible, and in Christian theology, Mary is elevated to a very high position. In the book of scripture for Muslims, the Holy Qur’an, Mary is mentioned even over the mother of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), the greatest of all the prophets that ever lived and “the seal of the prophets.” It is also in the Holy Qur’an that a whole Surah (Chapter) is named after her (in Arabic, Maryam).
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a woman that has to be studied. This is why she is given the 19th Surah of the Holy Qur’an, Maryam, because The Number 19 is that Secret Number which unfolds The Secret of God. And in order to understand The Secret of God, you have to understand Mary and The Womb. But there is another woman who also must be studied: Elizabeth, the mother of John The Baptist … . These two women, Elizabeth and Mary, are mentioned in both the Bible and the Holy Qur’an. Their children, John and Jesus, are related to each other; John being six months older than Jesus.
Elizabeth was a woman who grew up in The Temple. Mary was a woman who grew up under The Law of Moses. There is a lot of wisdom in this. What do you see in it, M.G.T. & G.C.C.?
In the case of John’s birth, the father, Zacharias, was instructed. And for Jesus’ birth, the mother, Mary, was instructed. The following are Allah’s (God’s) instructions to Zacharias in the opening verses (1-15) of Surah 19 (Maryam): “In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful. Sufficient, Guide, Blessed, Knowing, Truthful God. A mention of the mercy of thy Lord to His servant Zacharias—When he called upon his Lord, crying in secret. He said: My Lord, my bones are weakened, and my head flares with hoariness, and I have never been unsuccessful in my prayer to Thee, my Lord. And I fear my kinsfolk after me, and my wife is barren, so grant me from Thyself an heir Who should inherit me and inherit of the Children of Jacob, and make him, my Lord, acceptable (to Thee). O Zacharias, We give thee good news of a boy, whose name is John: We have not made before anyone his equal. He said: My Lord, how shall I have a son, and my wife is barren, and I have reached extreme old age? He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord says: It is easy to Me, and indeed I created thee before, when thou wast nothing. He said: My Lord, give me a sign. He said: Thy sign is that thou speak not to people three nights, being in sound health. So he went forth to his people from the sanctuary and proclaimed to them: Glorify (Allah) morning and evening. O John, take hold of the Book with strength. And We granted him wisdom when a child, And kind-heartedness from Us and purity. And he was dutiful, And kindly to his parents, and he was not insolent, disobedient. And peace on him the day he was born and the day he died, and the day he is raised to life!” Now, Zacharias wasn’t going to be pregnant with John—Elizabeth was going to carry him; so Elizabeth had to be a good woman, with a good thought in her mind to produce this kind of child for God.
Also in Surah 19, verses 16-21, Allah (God) communicated to Mary, through an angel, the following when she was a young girl: “And mention Mary in the Book. When she drew aside from her family to an eastern place; So she screened herself from them. Then We sent to her Our spirit and it appeared to her as a well-made man. She said: I flee for refuge from thee to the Beneficent, if thou art one guarding against evil. He said: I am only bearer of a message of thy Lord: That I will give thee a pure boy. She said: How can I have a son and no mortal has yet touched me, nor have I been unchaste? He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord says: It is easy to Me; and that We may make him a sign to men and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter decreed.” By God telling Mary in advance that she was going to have a pure boy, Mary drew aside from her family, and screened herself from them in preparation for what she was going to bring into the world.
Mary had to be one heck of a woman, because she was always found praising Allah (God): “…My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” (Book of Luke, Chapter 1, verses 46-47) From this we can see that the very essence of this woman is that she was God-fearing. So, if you want to produce a righteous giant, study Mary’s life and the lives of other righteous women. Then pattern your life after her life and I guarantee you that we will change the world.
The exaltation, and rejection, of‘Mary’ and ‘womanhood’
Refer back to the “Hail Mary” prayer, wherein Mary is called the “Mother of God.” This is not wrong, it is right, for in the Book of Psalms, Chapter 82, verse 6, David says: “Ye are all gods, children of the Most High God.” Now Mary can “pray for” you or me, if she’s around … and you can pray for me, and I can pray for you, but God never made Mary “an intercessor” for you or me with Him.
Islamic scholars and teachers, from the perspective of the Holy Qur’an, reject the exaltation of Mary to a position of worship and they are right. However, in rejecting that aspect of Christology (which is a field of study within Christian theology concerned with the nature of Jesus the Christ, particularly with how the divine and human are related in his person) Muslims may also reject something of wisdom in it that has been exaggerated and put out of proper context. So they go to the extreme in not only rejecting Mary, the “Mother of God,” but in rejecting womanhood.
Christians should not exalt Mary in a spooky way. But dear Muslims: You must be careful in rejection, lest in rejecting something you don’t see the value in it, and you throw it away completely; and then take an extreme position to the negative, which hurts you. Catholics, Christians and Muslims have taken this aspect of scripture to the extreme in one sense or another—but all are in trouble today. Because while Catholics and Christians abuse and misuse women, the Muslims, by the nonuse of women, abuse and misuse women. And neither of these religious worlds is worth a damn when it comes to the woman!
However, this doesn’t have anything to do with Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), because Prophet Muhammad was for the liberation of women. It is Arab culture that has been superimposed on the teachings of the Holy Qur’an, and now you have women catching hell from the men of an Arab culture.
The doctrine of Mary and Jesus as ‘gods beside Allah (God)’ refuted in Bible, Qur’an
As Muslims, followers of the teachings of the Holy Qur’an, there is a disagreement with the Christians because some of our Christian brothers and sisters have erroneously taken Jesus and his mother Mary as “Gods beside Allah (God),” The Creator of the heavens and the earth.
In the scriptures of the Bible, Jesus consistently talks about One greater than himself; he is very consistent in his devotion to the Father, and in his love of The Father. So if Jesus were the equal to God, The Creator, then Jesus would not have to look to God for aid, comfort, guidance, nurturing, etc. Consider the following scriptural passage from the Book of John which plainly rejects the false conception that Allah (God) has a partner or an associate.
John 5:30-37: “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”
Jesus said, “I can of mine own self do nothing” —well, that is not an independent man. If Jesus can say, “I can’t of myself do anything; that, which the Father directs me to do, that I do; that, which I hear, that I speak,” he is bearing witness that he is not The Originator of the Truth, but he is listening for God to speak to him, and he speaks to the people only what he hears of God. What God bids him to do that is what he does.
The Power of The Messiah
The Holy Qur’an also talks about Jesus, the son of Mary, as The Messiah. What was the power of “The Messiah”? He gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf and he raised the dead to life, by Allah’s (God’s) permission. Let us study the following verses from the Holy Qur’an, Surah 3 Al-Imran (“The Family of Amran”), verses 44-48: “When the angels said: O Mary, surely Allah gives thee good news with a word from Him (of one) whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, worthy of regard in this world and the Hereafter, and of those who are drawn nigh (to Allah), And he will speak to the people when in the cradle and when of old age, and (he will be) one of the good ones. She said: My Lord, how can I have a son and man has not yet touched me? He said: Even so; Allah creates what He pleases. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, Be, and it is. And He will teach him the Book and the Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel: And (make him) a messenger to the Children of Israel (saying) I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, that I determine for you out of dust the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird with Allah’s permission, and I heal the blind and the leprous, and bring the dead to life with Allah’s permission; and I inform you of what you should eat and what you should store in your houses. Surely there is a sign in this for you, if you are believers.”
The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, is not “Allah” (“God”); you should never call him “Allah.” The Messiah—Jesus—is an agent of Allah (God) through which the blind can see, the deaf can hear, the dumb can speak and the dead can be raised to life. What does that mean? We’ve got eyes, but how come you didn’t see what I was talking about before you heard it? You had eyes, but they just couldn’t see. You had ears but, nobody told it to you. You had a tongue that was able to speak, but how could you speak what you had not known? You were on a dead level, meaning horizontal, because you live like the animals, while God intends for you to live as a perfect reflection of Him. We as human beings are spiritually and morally dead, but we can be raised to life—we just need Jesus, the son of Mary, The Messiah. The man Jesus of 2,000 years ago was not The Messiah. He was a prophet. And as a prophet, he talked about One coming after him that would be of a Messianic Nature.