By : Dr. A. Majid Katme (MBBCh, DPM) 

On International Women Day(8th March/2011),Muslims would like to introduce and present:
The Virgin Mary as the ROLE MODEL to all the women in the world!
According to the final revelation by God, the Holy  Book,AL QUR'AN ...and according to some sayings/AHADITH of the final Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him),the Virgin Mary(mother of the blessed Jesus,peace be upon him) has got many noble characters and qualities,which are very much needed for  women today!
These are:
Chastity.   Many of our girls and women today are participating in a variety of promiscuous sexual behaviours which have proven harmful to them physically, emotionally and spiritually and to society at large.  Sexually transmitted diseases abound, most devastatingly, AIDS.  From unwanted teenage pregnancies, the vulnerability of teenage single motherhood and illegitimate births to abortion, sexual promiscuity has become a norm.
Pro-life.  In an age of abortion on demand(600 innocent babies are killed every day in Britain), abortion as a solution to future financial hardship, abortion of those innocent, yet to be born souls who do not match the ideal of physical or mental perfection, Mary or Maryam in Aramaic and Arabic, was the bravest example of a  pro-life woman,with her unusual traumatic and unexpected pregnancy!

Modesty/Hijab.  Perhaps as never before, a woman and her body has become a mere business commodity, her nudity exposed for all and sundry to see, a tool of marketing industry exploited to generate sales from cars to pornographic material.
The fashion business, dependent upon the concept of planned obsolescence to maintain continual sales, encourages an almost obsessive preoccupation with what is currently fashionable, irrespective of any moral considerations.
Ever greater displays of female nudity have become the fashion norm with particularly impressionable young girls manipulated into the belief that less is more in the eyes of lustful men.  The message is clear; as a sexual object, flaunt your sexuality and sexual availability through fashion. 
Mary adhered to the highest standards of modesty through her dress and practicing Muslim women follow her example by wearing the dignified and  protective Islamic dress of the hijab which permits only the face, hands and feet to be exposed in public.  A woman’s public dignity not her sexuality, is paramount.
Devotion to God.  Mary was a devout woman, frequently at prayer in the temple worshipping God.  Today, our girls and women are more often to be found in bars and clubs, worshipping and aping the behaviour of false idols, celebrities from the fashion and music industries.
Mary was devout in her belief in God,THE Provider, the Sustainer of life.  From the United Nations to Family Planning Clinics(population control), fear of financial hardship, food shortages and threats of a population explosion serve to confirm a belief that sex is primarily a mere entertainment and not the fulfilment of marriage through procreation.  The contraceptive pharmaceutical, fashion and other industries have much to gain in profits from the propagation of the above unfounded fears.
Obedient.  Mary, and women who obey God’s commands of chastity and modesty, are informed, mercifully protected and saved from the manipulation of the gullible by business and government.  Instead of obedience and devotion to God, there is the slavish devotion to fashion and celebrity lifestyle and their attendant harmful consequences.
Motherhood.  Mary is the symbol of Motherhood, lovingly devoted to her son, Jesus (peace be upon him).  What status has been conferred upon motherhood today?
The description ‘housewife and mother’ is often accorded derision instead of respect and support.  Societal, material expectations and financial pressures upon our women of today, denigrate that most valuable institution of motherhood. Favouring a woman’s contribution to the economic health of society through dead end jobs or demanding careers, entails huge conflict between her maternal desires and the love and care a devoted mother can bestow upon her family and thus prevents her contribution to the health of society at large.  

Femininity/Womanhood.  Mary is the symbol of not only motherhood and all that entails but of femininity.  The most noble yet sadly uncherished qualities of woman; gentleness, compassion and nurturing, have been denigrated in order to compete with men in their aggressive, exploitative and selfish behaviours.  Femininity and motherhood, defined by God through nature and by Christian and Islamic moral codes, have now been usurped by a confusing array of sexual orientations and equally confused accompanying behaviours.
Mary in Islam,has been found  too to have these great qualities:
A caring BREASTFEEDING mother and a symbol of NATURAL BIRTH .
As Muslims, we revere Mary and her qualities of chastity, modesty, femininity and motherhood.  Indeed, the Holy Qur'an, the literal words of God, devotes an entire  chapter(or Surah),chapter 19, named in her honour – Mary(Maryam) .  From this chapter and several verses in the Holy Qur'an do we learn as Muslims of her righteous life and Muslim women are exhorted to cherish and promote chastity, modesty, femininity and motherhood.  Depictions of the Virgin Mary, are to be found in chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 23, 33, 57 and 61, twelve in all.
More,the final prophet Muhammad(pace be upon him) has said before about Mary:
It was mentioned clearly in the Islamic Holy Scriptures that MARY and her son: Jesus (GOD bless them), were  protected from Satan! and that Mary was the CHOSEN  woman in the world!
Muslims, during our five obligatory daily prayers, recite chapters from the Holy Qur'an which call to mind her noble, pure and pious life and she is most deserved of great admiration and respect.
A Muslim is he or she who submits his or her will to the will of God.  Incumbent upon a Muslim therefore is belief in the miraculous conception  of the blessed Jesus, peace be upon him.   
Morever,on this special day, 8th March, we would like to appeal to all Muslim mothers to name their new daughters Maryam  ( Mary), in honour  of this most beloved servant of God and trustworthy role model.

Dr. A. Majid Katme (MBBCh, DPM)
Pro-life pro-family Muslim Campaigner.
Spokesman Islamic Medical Association/UK
Weekly TV Presenter(Health show)
Weekly radio broadcaster
Tel:                  07944 240 622
Address:        31, North Circular Road, Palmers Green,
London N13 5EG. UK.
NB:.  Dr. Katme is available for interview or to give a talk on the Virgin
Mary in Islam to our Christian and Muslim friends alike.