Lessons in sincerity from the story of Maryam and Zakariyya – Tarawih reflections 14

Lessons in sincerity from the story of Maryam and Zakariyya - Tarawih reflections 14

Surat Ale ‘Imran is the story of the family of Imran, the father of Maryam (peace be upon them). He was a dedicated rabbi in his community, and his wife was very pious, so both were at the top of their community in terms of religion.

The provision of Maryam

Imran’s wife, Hannah, made dua to Allah,

‘O My Lord! I dedicate what is in my womb entirely to Your service.’ [3:35]

The tradition was that anyone who served in the temple had to be a boy, so when she gave birth to Maryam she thought she couldn’t dedicate a girl. But Allah made an exception for her, so that Maryam was the first girl ever to serve in a house of Allah.

Maryam became a dedicated worshipper, who secluded herself in her mihrab. Today the word mihrab refers to the arch in a mosque which emphasises the direction of the qibla, but in that tradition it was a dedicated room for seclusion.

After her father passed away, Zakariyya – the husband of her maternal aunt, who was also a respected prophet – took over looking after her. When he used to visit her, he would find food in her room which he knew he hadn’t provided for her. When he asked her where it came from, she replied,

‘It is from Allah. Surely Allah provides for whomever He wills without limit.’ [3:37]

The wish of Zakariyya

Zakariyya was shocked that someone so young could receive miracles. So he asked Allah for the thing he wanted most, which was to have a child that would carry the message after him. He was very old – in his 80s or 90s – and so was his wife, so he thought it was impossible. But Allah told him that he would have a child. ‘So will it be. Allah does what He wills.’ [3:40]

He gave Zakariyya a child, Yahya. In fact there was only around 6 months to a year between the births of Yahya and Isa (peace be upon them), so they were both miracles and prophets at the same time.

Free yourself from dunya

There are two main points of this part of the story. First, on Maryam’s side – the importance of dedication and seclusion. She didn’t need to go and find food, Allah provided it at her service. It is not an easy exercise, but if you free yourself from attachment to dunya, Allah will open the world for you.

If you serve dunya, dunya will control you. If serve Allah, dunya will serve you.

Allah’s provision has no limit

On Zakariyya’s side is the lesson that provision has no limit. He was a prophet himself, so he knew that prophets were accompanied by miracles, but he still wasn’t expecting Maryam to receive one.

When he realised that Allah can give you anything, he decided just to ask. Probably he had been asking on and off throughout all these years, but when he really dedicated himself to this dua, Allah gave him what he wanted.

The core of the story

The common theme between both of these is dedication, ikhlas.

Ikhlas is the supersonic vehicle that delivers you to what you want. If you have ikhlas, Allah will just transport you to what you need in no time. I once asked a teacher how to become a person of ikhlas, and his response was to ask Allah to give me ikhlas.

Ask Allah to give it to you. Say, Allahumma ij’alni min al mukhliseen.

Based on the reflections of Shaykh Haytham Tamim

Transcribed by Hana Khan

Related posts

Lessons from the life of Maryam AS

Who was Maryam AS?

Attach yourself to Allah

Course on Maryam AS

Why humans can’t be gods


Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.