Due to their pure devotion to Allah, the family of Imran, [linked back to Prophet Dawud (David) peace be upon him], was granted a special status on earth. His daughter, Maryam (Mary) peace be upon her had been mentioned 31 times in the Noble Quran , and has even an entire surah (chapter) named after her, as well as her parents, the best of people of their time.
Not only that , but in the sight of Allah, Maryam’s status was so high ranked , her son had never been mentioned in the Noble Quran without the mention of his mother’s name right after his. Historically and socially , this was a very uncommon event as children are attributed to the father or main male figure in their family. Through this, Allah pointed towards the miraculous birth of Isa ibn Maryam ( Jesus son of Mary ) peace be upon him but also to his mother’s importance.
Surat Al-Imran in particular ,reveals important aspects of the story of Maryam peace be upon her, specifically her upbringing , her elevated rank and relates the taintless conception and birth of her beloved son, soon to be one of the greatest prophets of Islam.
(They refuse belief in you and some of the Prophets because you did not appear among them, but God favors whomever He wishes with Messengership, and) God made pure Adam and Noah and the House of Abraham and the House of Imraan, choosing them above all humankind,
As descendants of one another (and they were following the same way. Therefore, do not, in respect of believing in them as Prophets, make any distinction between the Prophets and do not think or speak ill of God’s preference). God is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.
( Holy Quran , Al-‘Imran 33-34 )
Imran was a very virtuous man whose devotion , morality and righteousness exceeded those of the rest of the pious Children of Israel. Only due to the piety of this family , Allah saved their generation from grief and misfortune.
Hannah bint Fakood, Imran’s wife , was unable to give birth to children.
It is said that one day while she was watching a songbird feeding its own baby birds, she started to desire children for herself. Sadly, due to her old age, this was quite impossible to acomplish.
Hannah, as a true worshipper of Allah, turned to Him and asked for offspring . Her prayer had been answered right-away.
Right after sensing her pregnancy and feeling the movements of a baby in her womb, she made a vow to lead her child on a path of sincerity, piety and devotion to the Creator . This promise was made out of gratefulness and her own loyalty to Allah Himself.
(Remember) when the woman (from the House) of Imran entreated: “My Lord, I have dedicated that which is in my womb to Your exclusive service. Accept it, then, from me. Surely You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing. ”
( Holy Quran , Al-‘Imran 35 )
Back in those days, Beit Al Maqdis was one of the most important places of worship in Jerusalem . Regarding its charge, maintenance and preservation , male worshippers were favoured due to the social traditions of the society along with the care and protection that should be granted to a woman. Such a position, since it required a potential female worshipper to live inside or in the imediate proximity of the Temple, could have easily put her in danger.
Due to all these factors, Imran’s wife hoped to give birth to a son.
When she was delivered of it, she said: “My Lord, I have given birth to a female. ” God knew best of what she was delivered, (so she did not need to be sorry, because) the male child (she expected) could not be the same as (the) female child (whom We bestowed on her and would honor with a great favor). I have named her Mary, and commend her and her offspring to You for protection from Satan eternally rejected from God’s Mercy. “
( Holy Quran , Al-‘Imran 36)
Regardless of Hannah’s disappointment and fear that ultimately she wouldn’t be able to keep her promise, Allah had the perfect plan. Maryam peace be upon her was going to become the first female caretaker of the Temple , an amazing role model for the muslims , and the mother of one of the most important figures in Islam – our beloved Prophet Isa (Jesus) peace be upon him.
Even The best of Mankind , Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said that Maryam ( peace be upon her ) is one of the best women that were ever created and she is among the 4 that were granted Jannah ( heaven ).
Allah has purified Maryam ( peace be upon her ) over all of the women of the world.
What makes Maryam (peace be upon her ) so special is the fact that Allah has not associated her with Isa ( peace be upon him ) in all the ayat (verses) of the Holy Quran . Maryam’s ( peace be upon her) greatness is not tied to Isa ( peace be upon him ) .She is not just a woman who was great just because she happened to be the mother of a prophet ,she is recognized as a woman who perfected her faith and modesty.
In another narration our Prophet ( peace and blessings be upon him ) says :
“There is no newborn except the Shaytan pokes him in his side, thereby coming out crying, except Maryam and her son.”
This is the proof that Hannah’s prayer to have her progeny saved from the devil was answered.
(In response to her mother’s sincerity and purity of intention in dedicating the child,) her Lord accepted her with gracious favor and enabled to her a good growth (upbringing), and entrusted her to the care of Zachariah. Whenever Zachariah went in to her in the Sanctuary, he found her provided with food. “Mary,” he asked, “how does this come to you?” “From God,” she answered. Truly God provides to whomever He wills without reckoning
( Holy Quran , Al-‘Imran 37)
Hannah’s vow and wish to dedicate her one and only child to the service of the Temple was accepted by Allah. Hannah desired to see her daughter among the pious , so that she would be surrounded by good examples she could learn from.
Since Maryam ( peace be upon her ) was still a child, she needed someone to protect and feed her. Zakariya (Zachariah) ( peace be upon him ) volunteered.
Allah chose Zakariya ( peace be upon him ) to be Maryam’s ( peace be upon her ) caretaker since he was the best among the people and had the most knowledge of that time.
When he saw the miracles Allah bestowed upon Maryam ( peace be upon her ) and how easily her prayers were answered Zakariya ( peace be upon him ) asked Allah for a child in order to further carry on the message of Allah.
At that point, Zachariah turned to his Lord in prayer and said: “My Lord, bestow upon me out of Your grace a good, upright offspring. Truly, You are the All-Hearer of prayer.
It was when, after some time, he stood praying in the Sanctuary that the angels called to him: “God gives you the glad tidings of John, to confirm a Word from God, and as one lordly, perfectly chaste, a Prophet, among the righteous. ”
“Lord,” said he (Zachariah), “How shall I have a son when old age has overtaken me, and my wife is barren?” “Just so,” he (the angel) said, (quoting God): “God does whatever He wills.”
( Holy Quran , Al-‘Imran 38-40)
“Lord,” he (Zachariah) entreated, “appoint a sign for me. ” “Your sign,” He said, “is that you will not be able to speak to people for three days except by gesture. And (meanwhile) remember and mention your Lord much, and glorify Him in the afternoon and the early hours of morning. ”
(Holy Quran , Al-‘Imran 41)
Immediately, his wish was answered.
In another verse Allah mentions that Zakariya ( peace be upon him ) refrained from engaging in worldly matters, but continued to utter the praise of Allah.
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