Terrorism, Islam & Our Lady of the Rosary

By Deacon Bob Ellis

Fear and apprehension can cripple our ability to see clearly and act rationally. When it is generated by misunderstanding and falsehood, it is particularly tragic because it frequently breeds distrust among those who need to collaborate with one another in order to overcome a problem. Therefore, before we can speak of Our Lady of the Rosary in the context of Islam, we must first eliminate the perception that Islam is responsible for the terrorism confronting the world today.

At least during the last century Islam seemed asleep and quite inconsequential to the West, according to Hilaire Belloc. Millions of modern people of the civilizations of Europe and America had forgotten all about it. Most had never come in contact with it, and those who knew of it perceived it to be just a foreign religion, an inferior culture and of no consequence to them.

Belloc predicted a future rise of Islam in his book, The Great Heresies, which he penned during the first half of the 20th century. The onslaught of barbaric terrorism at the dawn of the 21st century makes it appear as though he was spot on. A closer look, however, reveals that the terrorism being perpetrated in the world today is not a result of Islam itself undergoing resurgence, but rather of a horrendous corruption of its fundamental moral teachings. Terrorists who claim their abominable behavior is justified by Islam are, in reality, Islamic apostates.

The very foundation of Mohammed’s teaching was the prime Catholic doctrine which expresses the unity and omnipotence of God. The central point of difference between Catholicism and Islam is the Incarnation. Mohammed denies it, teaching that Our Lord was the greatest of all the prophets, but still only a prophet; a man like other men, and he eliminated the Trinity altogether. But his moral teaching, rooted in “who God is” and in “the equality of all men before God” which governs relations between man and God and between all men and their bothers, is strikingly similar to that of the Catholic Church. Belloc furthermore points out that, as it spread from region to region, Islam did not exterminate all those who would not accept it.

Jihad is probably the most misunderstood word in the Islamic lexicon. It is an Arabic word from the root Jee Ha Da which means literally to struggle or strive. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the term “Holy War.” As a matter fact, the term “Holy War” or any of its equivalents does even not exist in Islamic doctrine. Yet these two words—Jihad and Holy War—have given rise to fear and condemnation of Islam on the part of those who do not understand them because they are invoked by terrorist Islamic apostates as justifications for butchering innocent people and non-believers, and because authentic Muslims have not adequately opposed them.

Objection! Jihad is in the Quran. Yes, it is. But what does it mean there? Our common understanding of the adjectives jealous and vengeful would preclude most of us from using them to describe God, but they are used in the Bible to do so. What do they mean there? Surely not what we would normally think.

Jihad has an important status in the doctrine of Islam and is one of the basic duties of every Muslim. It has many forms: Jihad of the heart/soul is one’s inner struggle between good and evil, refraining oneself from the whispers of Satan; Jihad by the tongue is spreading Islam by scholarly lectures, speeches and debates; Jihad by the pen/knowledge involves scholarly research of Islam to aid its spread and defense by publishing articles; Jihad by the hand includes charity, alms to the poor, helping neighbors and sometimes saving lives; and Jihad by the sword, which includes self-defense and fighting against evil and injustice.

Ah ha! There’s the Achilles heel—Jihad by the sword. Not so fast. The principles upon which what we call rules of engagement and the humane treatment of prisoners were codified in the Quran long before the Geneva Conventions were even dreamed, and they are far more restrictive. Many so-called “teachers of Islam” have corrupted and misused Jihad of the Sword to assemble their so-called “holy army” to fight their so-called “holy war.” We would be as sadly mistaken to blame Islam for what a few of its people do as we would be if we blamed Catholicism for the sex abuse perpetrated by some of its clerics.

Islam itself is not the problem. Islamic apostates are.

If I have been successful in sufficiently abating misguided fear and apprehension of authentic Islam, we are now ready to take an objective look at Our Lady of the Rosary in the context of Islam.

Many, including myself, have been intrigued by the fact that Our Lady chose Fatima, a city with a Muslim name, as the place to make the geographic center of her most important message to the world, and in which to work the most profound miracle since the resurrection of her Son. A look at Islam’s high regard for the Virgin Mary along with words she spoke to the shepherd children during her 3rd apparition may help us to understand.

Mary and her son Jesus, the prophet, hold a privileged place in the Qur’an. Mary is the only female whose name is cited. While other females are not named at all, Mary’s name is repeated frequently. The expression “Jesus son of Mary” appears thirteen times; and “Jesus, the Messiah, son of Mary” is found three times. About forty-five times we find Mary’s name or references to it. Her name is the title of its 13th chapter. Her Immaculate Conception and perpetual virginity are consistent with Islamic teaching. So Islam bears no aversion toward Mary.

During her 3rd apparition on July 13, 1917, Our Lady said to the children: “Continue to pray the rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, because only she can help you.” (Emphasis mine.) During her last apparition on October 13, she said: “Continue always to pray the rosary every day.” (Emphasis mine.)

I think it reasonable to say that the “ultimate” objective of praying the rosary for Catholics is communion with God. Muslims pray a rosary as well, and for the same ultimate purpose. Theirs is a string of 99 beads upon which they count, each one representing one of the beautiful names of Allah recognized by Islam. The commonality in the ultimate purpose for which both are praying is one reason for great hope.

In his book “The World’s First Love,” Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen reminds us that nothing ever happens out of heaven except with a finesse of all details and expresses his belief that the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as “Our Lady of Fatima” as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Muslim people, and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her Divine Son too.

An excerpt explains his belief: “Evidence to support these views is found in the historical fact that the Muslims occupied Portugal for centuries. At the time when they were finally driven out, the last Muslim 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 Muslims 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 lived to Fatima. Thus, the very place where our Lady appeared in 1917 bears an historical connection to Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed.”

For those who desire to speak of Christ, there is no easier and more effective point of contact with Muslims than their prayer-life, the rosary and the ninety-nine names.

Another relevant excerpt from Venerable Sheen’s book is instructive: “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 any apologetic endeavor, it is always best to start with that which the people already accept. Because the Muslims have devotion to Mary, our missionaries should be satisfied merely to expand and develop that devotion, with the full realization that our Blessed Lady will carry the Muslims 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.”

Confident in our belief that only Our Lady of the Rosary can help us as we were told through the July apparition, let us pray the rosary every day in her honor for world peace and for an end to the war we know as terrorism today. Let us pray as well for all of our brothers and sisters who now embrace authentic Islam, that they may be inspired to speak out with courage against their apostates, and, most importantly, that they may be led by Our Lady of Fatima to her Son.

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  1. I am deeply touched by your teachings, it is correct time for all the three Abrahamic Religions to come united in the same one God-The Almighty. The Rosary gives me daily enough courage to Defend the Abrahamic Faiths as Messengers of Peace.


    • Abraham Issac Jacob Our Lord Jesus Christ,The Holy Roman Catholic Church

      That is the covenant.Mohammed added nothing to the Church our Lord founded.I do agree that Chapter 41 in the koran and The Gospel of St.Luke
      is common ground.

      The Holy Rosary with Meditations

      The Scourging at the Pillar
      “Jesus Scourged”
      +Luke 23:13-25
      Matthew 27:11-26 / Mark 15:1-15 / John 18:37- 40; 19:1
      We offer You, O Lord Jesus, this decade in honor of Your bloody scourging and we ask of You, through this Mystery and through the intercession of Your Blessed Mother, the grace to mortify our senses perfectly.
      “[Pilate] said to them: ‘You have presented unto me this man, as one that perverteth the people; and behold I, having examined Him before you, find no cause… in those things wherein you accuse Him… I will chastise Him therefore, and release Him’… but Jesus he delivered up to their will.”

      Vehemently accused by the chief priests, Jesus did not return accusations or justify Himself before Pilate. And in a man-made hour of mercy, a man of death is chosen to be freed of his prison, while Christ our Life is delivered to death – He Who so desires to free us from the prison we create by what we choose to do of our own free will. How forcefully do we impose our will in our dealings with others? How easily do we back down before the insistent force of those who have no respect for the least among us?
      Fatima Reflection
      The shepherd children, from very early on, had to overcome human respect and the scourging of words: the incessant attention, the false accusations, even threats of death. They held fast to their appointed task, and to the truth, for in Mary they heard His voice. We must all have the determination of martyrs, in the face of every obstacle, to hold firm to the fullness of our Catholic Faith to the end.
      One Our Father, 10 Hail Mary’s, One Glory Be, Decade Prayer
      Grace of the mystery of Our Lord’s scourging, come down into my soul and make me truly mortified.

  2. Bob,
    Interesting article, but I disagree on some issues. The Koran, the Muslim holybook
    states that it is permissible for Muslim men to beat their wives. The Muslim fathers are free to kill their daughters. This is termed “honor killings.” The Muslims invaded Christian Europe and forcefully converted some Christians, under the threat of death, just like ISIS is currently doing. If the Muslim religion isn’t bad, then why did Catholics die in martyrdom, due to the invading terrorists Muslims? Jesus came to save humanity. Why did Jesus come, if Islam isn’t that bad of a religion? It says in the Christian bible, “Only one way to the father and that is through Jesus Christ.” Islam is a false religion. Past popes would turn over in their graves, if they would see how we are now getting together with Islam. I respectfully disagree with you. It was nice eating with you that day, for lunch, in Champion! See you again. Thank you. P.S. I’m a Blue Army, World Apostolate member, since the 1980’s.
    Apostolate member.

  3. I pray on the Islamic rosary 33 “all glory to God the Father. Then 33 all praise to God the son. 33 great is the holy Spirit of God. I pray glory be on the three dangles and on the divider beads, a pater noster and 3 Aves to start. For the conversions of muslims. Mohamed gave this rosary to his daughter fatima who was martyred at the age of 18 or 21. The town was named after a Muslim girl who converted and married a Catholic boy when the muslims were expelled from portugal.

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