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BISHOP FULTON SHEEN ON ISLAM
"Muslimism is the only great post-Christian religion of the world. Because it had its
origin in the seventh century under Mohammed, it was possible to unite, within it,
some elements of Christianity and of Judaism, along with particular customs of
Arabia. Muslimism takes the doctrine of the unity of God, His Majesty and His
creative power, and uses it, in part, as a basis for the repudiation of Christ, the Son
of God.


In This Article...
"The Power of Islam"
"Mary, Mother of God"
"The Significance of Fatima"
"A Missionary Strategy"

The Power of Islam
(The following was written in 1952 and reprinted in the October 2001 Mindszenty Report.)
Misunderstanding the notion of the Trinity, Mohammed made Christ a prophet, announcing
Him just as to Christians Isaiah and John the Baptist are prophets announcing Christ. The
Christian European West barely escaped destruction at the hands of the Moslems. At one
point they were stopped near Tours and at another point, later on in time, outside the
gates of Vienna. The Church throughout northern Africa was practically destroyed by
Moslem power, and at the present hour, the Moslems are beginning to rise again. If
Muslimism is a heresy, as Hilaire Belloc believes it to be, it is the only heresy that has
never declined. Others have had a moment of vigor, then gone into doctrinal decay at the
death of the leader, and finally evaporated in a vague social movement. Muslimism, on the
contrary, has only had its first phase. There was never a time in which it declined, either in
numbers, or in the devotion of its followers. The missionary effort of the Church toward this
group has been at least on the surface, a failure, for the Moslems are so far almost
unconvertible. The reason is that for a follower of Mohammed to become a Christian is
much like a Christian becoming a Jew. The Moslems believe that they have the final and
definitive revelation of God to the world and that Christ was only a prophet announcing
Mohammed, the last of Gods real prophets. At the present time, the hatred of the Moslem
countries against the West is becoming a hatred against Christianity itself. Although the
statesmen have not yet taken it into account, there is still grave danger that the temporal
power of Islam may return and, with it, the menace that it may shake off a West which has
ceased to be Christian, and affirm itself as a great anti-Christian world power. Moslem
writers say, "When the locust swarms darken countries, they bear on their wings these
Arabic words: "We are Gods host, each of us has ninety-nine eggs, and if we had a
hundred, we should lay waste the world, with all that is in it." The problem is, how shall we
prevent the hatching of the hundredth egg? It is our firm belief that the fears some
entertain concerning the Moslems are not to be realized, but that Muslimism, instead, will
eventually be concerted to Christianity - and in a way that even some of our missionaries
never suspect. It is our belief that this will happen not through the direct teachings of
Christianity, but through a summoning of the Moslems to a veneration of the Mother of
God. This is the line of argument:

Mary, Mother of God
The Koran, which is the Bible of the Moslems, has many passages concerning the Blessed
Virgin. First of all, the Koran believes in her Immaculate Conception, and also, in her Virgin
Birth. The third chapter of the Koran places the history of Mary's family in a genealogy
which goes back through Abraham, Noah, and Adam. When one compares the Koran's
description of the birth of Mary with the apocryphal Gospel of the birth of Mary, one is
tempted to believe that Mohammed very much depended upon the latter. Both books
describe the old age and the definite sterility of the mother of Mary. When, however, she
conceives, the mother of Mary is made to say in the Koran: "O Lord, I vow and I
consecrate to you what is already within me. Accept it from me." When Mary is born, the
mother says: "And I consecrate her with all of her posterity under thy protection, O Lord,
against Satan!" The Koran passes over Joseph in the life of Mary, but the Moslem tradition
knows his name and has some familiarity with him. In this tradition, Joseph is made to
speak to Mary, who is a virgin. As he inquired how she conceived Jesus without a father,
Mary answered: "Do you not know that God, when He created the wheat had no need of
seed, and that God by His power made the trees grow without the help of rain? All that
God had to do was to say, So be it, and it was done." The Koran has also verses on the
Annunciation, Visitation, and Nativity. Angels are pictured as accompanying the Blessed
Mother and saying: "Oh Mary, God has chosen you and purified you, and elected you
above all the women of the earth." In the nineteenth chapter of the Koran there are 41
verses on Jesus and Mary. There is such a strong defense of the virginity of Mary here
that the Koran, in the fourth book, attributed the condemnation of the Jews to their
monstrous calumny against the Virgin Mary.

The Significance of Fatima
Mary, then, is for the Moslems the true Sayyida, or Lady. The only possible serious rival to
her in their creed would be Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed himself. But after the
death of Fatima, Mohammed wrote: "Thou shalt be the most blessed of all the women in
Paradise, after Mary." In a variant of the text, Fatima is made to say, "I surpass all the
women, except Mary." This brings us to our second point: namely, why the Blessed
Mother, in the 20th century, should have revealed herself in the significant little village of
Fatima, so that to all future generations she would be known as "Our Lady of Fatima."
Since nothing ever happens out of Heaven except with a finesse of all details, I believe that
the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as "Our Lady of Fatima" as a pledge and a sign of
hope to the Moslem people, and as an assurance that they, who show her so much
respect, will one day accept her divine Son too. Evidence to support these views is found
in the historical fact that the Moslems occupied Portugal for centuries. At the time when
they were finally driven out, the last Moslem chief had a beautiful daughter by the name of
Fatima. A Catholic boy fell in love with her, and for him she not only stayed behind when
the Moslems left, but even embraced the Faith. The young husband was so much in love
with her that he changed the name of the town where he live to Fatima. Thus, the very
place where our Lady appeared in 1917 bears a historical connection to Fatima, the
daughter of Mohammed. The final evidence of the relationship of Fatima to the Moslems is
the enthusiastic reception which the Moslems in Africa and India and elsewhere gave to
the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima, as mentioned earlier. Moslems attended the
church services in honor of our Lady, they allowed religious processions and even prayers
before their mosques; and in Mozambique the Moslems who were unconverted, began to
be Christian as soon as the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was erected.

A Missionary Strategy
Missionaries in the future will, more and more, see that their apostolate among the
Moslems will be successful in the measure that they preach Our Lady of Fatima. Mary is
the advent of Christ, bringing Christ to the people before Christ Himself is born. In an
apologetic endeavor, it is always best to start with that which people already accept.
Because the Moslems have a devotion to Mary, our missionaries should be satisfied
merely to expand and to develop that devotion, with the full realization that Our Blessed
Lady will carry the Moslems the rest of the way to her divine Son. She is forever a "traitor,"
in the sense that she will not accept any devotion for herself, but will always bring anyone
who is devoted to her to her divine Son. As those who lose devotion to her lose belief in
the divinity of Christ, so those who intensify devotion to her gradually acquire that belief.
Many of our great missionaries in Africa have already broken down the bitter hatred and
prejudices of the Moslems against the Christians through their acts of charity, their schools
and hospitals. It now remains to use another approach, namely, that of taking the 41st
chapter of the Koran and showing them that it was taken out of the Gospel of Luke, that
Mary could not be, even in their own eyes, the most blessed of all the women of Heaven if
she had not also borne the Savior of the world. If Judith and Esther of the Old Testament
were pre-figures of Mary, then it may very well be that Fatima herself was a post-figure of
Mary! The Moslems should be prepared to acknowledge that, if Fatima must give way in
honor to the Blessed Mother, it is because she is different from all the other mothers of the
world and that without Christ she would be nothing.

(This article courtesy of The Mindzenty Report, published by the Cardinal
Mindzenty Foundation.)
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