- One of the biggest lessons of the story of Maryam, and one of the wisdoms of why it has such a prominent place within the Qur’an, (the story of Maryam is one that reoccurs in the Qur’an in very, very powerful times from Surah Ali-Imran, to Surah Maryam, to Surah Tahrim) is a very, very powerful valuable lesson. The story of Maryam is something very miraculous, especially the ayat in Ali-Imran. In Ali Imran, it talks about the remarkable parents Maryam had, and it talks about the intention her mother had made. That I have devoted, I have dedicated, I have made the commitment, that whatever I am carrying, it will be free of any expectations, any need, any requirements from me. So please accept this from me, Oh Allah. When the ayat go on, she says, “I have given birth to a daughter, a female.” And then subhanAllah, Allah says, “Allah knows best what she gave birth to. Because the mother was saying it in the tone of “I gave birth to a daughter. I made the intention for my child to be dedicated to the deen, to make these amazing accomplishments and commitments to the deen of Allah, and I gave birth to a daughter, and there’s a little bit of disappointment there.
- Allah knows best what she gave birth to. Allah says, it’s not to say they are exactly the same, but Allah Knows best what she gave birth to.
- So there’ s a little bit of hesitation that maybe the child is not going to live up to the expectations that I had, but Allah says, no, Allah knows best what she gave birth to.
- When we read ahead it talks about the resolve, the commitment, the dedication, the fortitude, the modesty, just the character, the resilence of Maryam. And finally in conclusion, in Surah Tahrim, Allah says Maryam is not just a role model for women.
19- 5 And indeed, I fear the successors after me, and my wife has been barren, so give me from Yourself an heir
- In Ayah 5, he (Zakariyya) states what are the motives, what are some of the things that have driven him. Seems like things have come to a peak here. Find in Ali Imran that the reason he is really emphatic in this particular point in time is he receives a very powerful reminder from Maryam, because Zakariyya was the mentor, the teacher of Maryam. And she provides a very powerful reminder to him when he walks in and she’s in the mihrab, and she’s eating fruits, and he says, “How did you get this, because it’s not in season, it’s not available?” And she says, “this is from Allah, and Allah can give to whomever He Wants, however He wants, whatever He Wants, without any type of restriction or constraints.
- Right then and there, Zakariyya says subhanAllah and makes dua to his Lord and Master. “Oh my Lord, give to me, a very very beautiful, attractive, pious righteous offspring. I have no doubt about the fact that You are Listening to supplications at all times. Constantly Listening to the supplications at all times regardless of who is making them.
- So that’s one connection of why Zakariyya just kind of, it came out from him, and He more emphatically made dua than he had ever done before.
- But at the same time Surah Maryam gives us another perspective. That most definitely, I fear, I’m afraid, I’ve grown to fear,
- Word that refers to extended family
- Zakariyya has to rely on extended family because doesn’t have children to spread the message. And he is saying that he doesn’t have a lot of confidence in them.
- After I’m gone, don’t have a lot of confidence that these distant relatives will really stick to the message
- I don’t have a lot of confidence, they are kind of flaky. Don’t really trust them
– But at the same time,
– Imratihi – if were to translate that word, literally my woman. Sounds derogatory, have to take social context into account when translating.
- One huge misnomer is that English is my native tongue, and if I study Arabic and if I study Arabic very well, I can translate. But that does not necessarily qualify me for translation. Translation requires training. Was a part of classical scholarship. Alhamdullilah part of Shaykh Abdul Nasir’s training.
- One of the key elements in translating is social context. Because if just know two languages really well and just translating across, would just translate “my woman”.
- Someone who doesn’t understand the Qur’an and the tone, would read “my woman is barren” and it sounds derogatory. It isn’t appropriate. These types of considerations are very important and we’re not nearly sensitive to them.
- So it literally means “my woman” but it means my wife.
- Another word is zawaji – my spouse.
- One of the interesting things we find here, in the story of Zakariyya he refers to his wife as “woman”. In Surah Anbiya, when Allah refers to Zakariyya, He says, “So then We answered his prayers, and We Gave him as a gift the son named Yahya, and We made him very well, We corrected, We maintained in good condition his wife for him.”
- So Allah uses different words in both verses.
- So when we study Qur’anic eloquence and see this comparison, we see something very interesting. The word imraha is done in a context where yes, they are husband and wife, but nevertheless, the relationship has something that is lacking. There is something lacking in the relationship. There is some point of stress in the relationship. There’s something holding the relationship back. Can be something large or something small. The wife of Lut and the wife of Nuh, both are referred to imraha because what is lacking is the conviction of faith.
- Same word used to refer to the wife of Firawn. Because again what was lacking in that relationship was faith. She was a believer, and he obviously was not. So when something is lacking, Allah is very subtly bringing that to our attention that there was some stress here.
- Here imraha used to indicate a little bit of stress. And that little thing was the lack of child. It causes distress. But after Allah has given them a child, then Allah uses the word zawj to indicate there is absolutely nothing holding this relationship back at this point. And that’s why when Allah speaks to Adam alayhis salaam He says “You and your wife (zawj) go live in Paradise)
- Allah uses the same word azwaj to refer to the wives of the Prophet.
- But here, Zakariyya and his wife are longing for a child, and this is causing stress so imraha used.
- A word that means a woman not being able to carry a child. Not that there is a physical problem, just haven’t been able to bear children. It never occurred. She never had children.
- Scholars point this out, that both Zakariyya and his wife are very, very old. And this also shows the yaqeen and hopefulness that Zakariyya has when making dua. That he doesn’t use a word that says she is completely incapable of bearing children, he just says that it’s just been the situation that she hasn’t had children so far. But the possibility still exists.
- We’re learning a lot of lessons about how to make dua from Zakariyya alayhis salaam. Here he is reminding us you always should be very very hopeful when making dua, never count it out, it’s always a possibility. It can always happen.
- So he even uses a word that keeps that possibility open.
- Word that means have tried consistently, have made dua, but it just hasn’t happened consistently. But up to this point though. And then he goes on with his dua and says:
- Hab – command form. In the form of a supplication is a request. Root word hibatun: What this word means is to give a gift that you don’t expect, or ask anything in exchange for that gift. Nor do you expect any kind of return to come from that gift. You’re just giving a gift out of generosity.
- And subhanAllah when the Qur’an talks about children, and giving children, whenever Allah speaks about Giving children, he uses this word of giving that gift. That in exchange for that gift nothing is asked. And that specific connotation, that association is made.
- We have to realize that children are a gift from Allah. Allah literally uses that word. He Gifts children to whomever He Wills.
- Not just a gift, but one of the greatest gifts of Allah. From the emotional side of things, nothing more emotionally fulfilling than a child. Could have had the worst day of your life and when you walk in the door and look in the innocent eyes of your child, and it’s ok.
- Even spiritually, children are a huge gift from Allah. Huge investment opportunity. Because the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him tells us, when a person dies, all his action cease except for three. These three the meter keeps running, he keeps benefiting, he keeps gaining. Perpetual charity, knowledge that continues to benefit, or benefit is derived from it, and a pious, righteous child that continues to pray, make dua for the parent. That will benefit the parent, even long after the parent is gone. Children are a huge gift from Allah. We need to learn to value that gift. We need to learn to cherish that gift.
- Not only in the spiritual sense, we need to allow them to spiritually grow, and we allow them to reach their spiritual potential. No doubt, that’s normally where these lectures lead to, but I’m also talking about the emotional, psychological side of things. That we all physically care for our children, and we need to be spiritually aware of our children, but a lot of times and this is a huge issue today, we need to be emotionally and psychologically aware of our children’s needs. We need to be very careful with our children.
- Abdul Rahman Murphy can tell you, 90% of problems with troubled youth come from some kind of emotional, psychological lacking they felt from what they experienced in the home and from their parents as a child. So we have to be very careful.
- Min ladunka: especially from You. A very, very special favour from You. Going to use some vernacular to get the point across. Like when you say with a friend “hook me up.” Min ladunka that kind of an expression. Oh Allah, gift me a child, but as a special favour from You. Really, really look out for me.
- The scholars point out that this type of language is indicative of there being a very very close connection. So we can see again, that supplication, that methodology of supplication here, Zakariyya is not just making the dua, he is emphasizing the nearness of the relationship and literally capitalizing on the nearness of the relationship and saying “Oh Allah, please. Please. Special favour. Give me the best.
- Doesn’t just ask for a child, asks for a wali. Wali is somebody that you are close with, that you trust, that you can rely upon, that you can lean on, that you can depend on. Why is he asking for a waliyyun? Remember what he said in the earlier part of the ayah. I’m not very confident of those around me, so I need someone that is going to be very very close to, and that I can rely upon and trust.
Who will inherit me and inherit from the family of Jacob. And make him, my Lord, pleasing [to You].
- Means to inherit. So he will inherit from me, and he will also inherit from the al of Yaqub. Lets deal with this one word at a time.
- Al – often see the translation of family. Slight adjustment here. Family is included in Al, but extends beyond family. Ahlun, means household. Members of a household. Immediate family. This word means associated, affiliated with. So that obviously includes family, but is also followers, friends, companions, supporters. That’s why in the prayer and outside the prayer, the salawat on the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him, the word al is used. We’re not only making dua for the family of the Prophet, we’re also making dua for the companions and the followers. So we are actually included in that supplication. It includes them. It’s a very inclusive word.
- So he is saying this child, this wali that I will be able to depend upon and rely will inherit from me and will inherit from all those who are affiliated and associated with Yaqub alayhis salaam. And basically referring to Yaqub alayhis salaam because Zakariyya is a Prophet from Banu Israel. From Banu Ishaq. So he basically goes to the forefather and says Yaqub and all the Prophets that came after Yaqub. Yaqub and all the followers that came after Yaqub. Yaqub and all the pious, righteous scholars that came after Yaqub. All of those people, he will inherit from all of them.
What kind of inheritance are we talking about?
a) Inheriting Prophethood. Because the father is a Prophet, and the forefather is a Prophethood. Scholars say that is not a proper interpretation because Prophethood is not something that is inherited. Prophethood is based on selection. Not inheritance. The son of a Prophet does not necessarily become a Prophethood. Have a prime example in Surah Hud, the son of Nuh alayhis salaam was not even a believer. So not talking about inheriting Prophethood because Prophethood does not transfer in that method.
b) Second possibility is that it is talking about knowledge and wisdom and foresight and all those great qualities. That as a Prophet, Zakariyya embodies many great qualities, and the forefathers going to Yaqub and before that have these unbelievable qualities, and so that is what he is talking about, that he will inherit these qualities. Going all the way to the Al of Yaqub. This is the opinion of the majority of the scholars and many of the sahaba. And part of the reason for that, is we have another issue on the other table.
Q: do Prophets have inheritors in the worldly sense?
- We know from the Prophet that he said “We are the society, brotherhood, fraternity of Prophets. No one inherits from us. What we leave behind is charity. The things that the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him left behind were things of the nature of, a straw mat, a water jug that he would make wudu from, take a bath from, a sword and a shield, things like that. These are things that he left behind on the day he passed away.
- Aisha radiAllahu anha was asked what did you cook on the day that the Prophet died? What did you eat? And she said eat? Cook? If I had enough oil, kerosene to light the stove, would have first lit the lantern. When evening time came on the night, it was dark in the house of the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him because we did not possess enough oil to light the lantern. We sat in the dark.
- So those are the material possessions of the Prophet when he passed away. So based on that, Prophets don’t leave inheritors, this talking about inheritors of knowledge and wisdom, good qualities, akhlaq.
- One of hte themes of Surah Maryam is the consistency of the message. Tawhid, oneness of God, prayer, charity, being good to parents, serving humanity, these universal values, these were found through all the messages of the Prophet.
c) Finally, third possibility (held by minority of scholars). This issue of not passing on wealth this was not general to all Prophets, but specific to Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. NOt something substantial to base this on, which is why it is held by a minority of scholars. Allah knows best.
- Nevertheless we see something very beautiful here, Zakariyya is not simply for a son because of the psychological fulfillment, asking for a child to preserve the deen. I have this knowledge and these qualities and I look around and I don’t see someone to carry this message on. So give me a child to carry this message on. So because my motives are not merely psychological but spiritual and for the betterment of humanity, and make him “Rabbi – abbreviated because of urgency
Radiiyya comes from the root word which means to be pleased or satisfied with something. Interesting thing about the word is that it is a versatile derivative. Active and passive at the same time. Make it a child who is pleased (who will please You o Allah, who will please his parents, who will please the people, will have good akhlaq) and someone who you will be pleased with. Will try to please his parents and someone parents will be pleased with. Works in both directions.
- Appreciate all the possibilities of the word at the same time.
Yesterday: how to make dua, state your weakness and the blessings showered upon you, and why you are so desperate. Today the lesson from Zakariyya on how to supplicate is what are your motives for making dua. Motives can be personal, but the beautiful, powerful supplication is the one that doesn’t just have the personal motives but has the bigger picture in mind. Thinking about the wider context.