Tafseer Maryam Day 3 Ayat 5-6

  • story of Maryam esp from Aal imraan – talks about wonderful parents she had and the intention her mother had made
  • Aali Imran 3:35
  • 3:35
    Sahih International

    [Mention, O Muhammad], when the wife of ‘Imran said, “My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service], so accept this from me. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing.”

    Aali Imran 3:36
    Sahih International

    But when she delivered her, she said, “My Lord, I have delivered a female.” And Allah was most knowing of what she delivered, “And the male is not like the female. And I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the mercy of Allah ].”

    • “My Lord, I have delivered a female.” -: her tone had a bit of disappointment in it
    • “I  made intention for my child to be dedicated to deen, and I gave birth to a daughter?!
    • and there is a disappointment that she is not going to live up to the expectation that she had for the child in her womb
    • but Allah says ‘No, no, Allah knows best what she gave birth to.”
    • in Surah Maryam when it talks about the resolve, commitment, fortitude, character, resilience of Maryam
    • in conclusion in surah Tahreem, Allah says Maryam is not just a role model for women (*break in recording)
    • 66:12
      Sahih International

      And [the example of] Mary, the daughter of ‘Imran, who guarded her chastity, so We blew into [her garment] through Our angel, and she believed in the words of her Lord and His scriptures and was of the devoutly obedient.

Ayat 5

Sahih International

And indeed, I fear the successors after me, and my wife has been barren, so give me from Yourself an heir.

  • what are the motives that have driven Zakariya a.s.?
  • things coming to a peak here
  • in Aali Imran, he received a powerful reminder from Maryam, Zakariya was the mentor of Maryam
  • she provided a powerful reminder to him
  • when he walks in, she’s eating fruits ..
  • Aali Imran 3:36
  • 3:37
    Sahih International

    So her Lord accepted her with good acceptance and caused her to grow in a good manner and put her in the care of Zechariah. Every time Zechariah entered upon her in the prayer chamber, he found with her provision. He said, “O Mary, from where is this [coming] to you?” She said, “It is from Allah . Indeed, Allah provides for whom He wills without account.”

  • that’s why he’s more emphatic in making the dua
  • but at same time, he’s also afraid, apprehensive, not comfortable about his extended family members
  • mawaali from mawla
    – in specific context refers to extended family members (cousins, uncles, second cousins etc)
  • he has to rely upon those who are available around him, and he’s not confident in them
  • waraa’i – expression meaning ‘after my death/after I’m done’
  • “I don’t have confidence in these distant relatives of mine’
  • another recitation – khaffatil mawali
  • khaffa from khafiy – to be light
  • ‘they’re very light’ = “I don’ thave confidence in them, they’re kind of flaky, I don’t trust leaving everything to these people’
  • “But at the same time, my wife is ‘aaqiran’
  • wamra’ati -> ‘my woman’ :- sounds derogative
  • you have to take social context into consideration when translating
  • one huge misunderstanding –
  • English is Sheikh’s native, first tongue and if he learns Arabic very very well, that doesn’t necessarily qualify him for translation. Translation requires training, learning, and that was part of classical scholarship. They would train their students in translation
  • they will make them translate as they spoke simultaneously
  • Sheikh was able to be a part of this training and learning
  • one of key element in translation is social context
  • if you translate literally, it might result in conflicts in cultural understanding
  • “My woman is barren” sounds derogatory
  • my woman is a way of saying ‘my wife’
  • in Quranic language, another way to say ‘my wife’ is zawji
  • in surah Anbiyaa when Allah refers to Zakariya, Allah uses zawjah “…We maintained in good tradition his (zawjah)wife for him…”
  • 21:90
  • 21:90
    Sahih International

    So We responded to him, and We gave to him John, and amended for him his wife. Indeed, they used to hasten to good deeds and supplicate Us in hope and fear, and they were to Us humbly submissive.

  • imra’ah (woman) – relationship has something lacking in it, some point of stress in it, something that hold relationship back just a tad bit
  • e.g. when Allah refers to wife of Nuh and Lut, Allah uses imra’ah because there was something lacking in their relationship -: faith or at least conviction of faith
  • 66:10
    Sahih International

    Allah presents an example of those who disbelieved: the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. They were under two of Our righteous servants but betrayed them, so those prophets did not avail them from Allah at all, and it was said, “Enter the Fire with those who enter.”

  • in surah Tahreem, when Allah speaks about wife of Firawn, He uses imra”ah because faith was lacking. She was a believer and he was not
  • 66:11
    Sahih International

    And Allah presents an example of those who believed: the wife of Pharaoh, when she said, “My Lord, build for me near You a house in Paradise and save me from Pharaoh and his deeds and save me from the wrongdoing people.”

  • So Allah subtly brings it to our attention about this lacking in the relationship
  • here in case of Zakariya, Allah uses imra”ah, the lack was lack of child, it causes stress, it can lead to certain issues
  • but after Allah gives them a child, Allah calls wife of Zakariyya as zawjah
  • when zawj used, there is absolutely nothing holding relationship back
  • when Allah speaks to Adam a.s. He uses zawj
  • when Allah speaks about Prophet saw, in Surah Ahzab, He uses azwaaj (wives)
  • that’s something very subtle in Quranic usage

‘aaqir -:

  • a woman who has not been able to carry a child,
  • doesn’t necessarily means she is barren
  • it just means it never occurred
  • ‘aqeem – word used to mean there is something biologically wrong that a woman can’t physically bear children
  • in Surah Shuura, when Allah speaks about..He uses word ‘aqeem
  • 42:50
  • 42:50
    Sahih International

    Or He makes them [both] males and females, and He renders whom He wills barren. Indeed, He is Knowing and Competent.

  • in surah Zhariyaat  Allah very specifically, when angels bring good news to Ibrahim a.s. a that his wife will bear a child, she said, “I’m ‘aqeem!”
  • 51:29
  • 51:29
    Sahih International

    And his wife approached with a cry [of alarm] and struck her face and said, “[I am] a barren old woman!”

  • so this word is used in the Quran
  • but that is not what Zakariya says about his wife, he uses ‘aaqiran
  • Zakariya and his wife are very very old, but he doesn’t say ‘aqeem’ and that shows the hopefulness of him making dua
  • “it’s not that she’s completely barren, she’s not ‘aqeem’ just ‘aaqir’
  • lesson for us: be very hopeful when making dua, leave the possibility open
  • use of word kaanat -> means consistently “we’ve tried”
  • habl – command form in dua, a request
  • comes from root word hiba, wahaba

hiba, wahaba :-

  • to give a gift that you don’t expect or ask anything in exchange for that gift or expect any return to come from this gift
  • in Quran, when talks about giving children, Allah always uses this word
  • we have to realize that children are a gift from Allah
  • one of the greatest gift of Allah
  • from emotional side of things, there is nothing more emotionally fulfilling than a child
  • you can have the worst day of your life, and when you walk through the door and you look into the innocent eyes of your child, and all the trouble goes away
  • even spiritually children are a huge gift from Allah
  • they’re like investment opportunities
  • when a human being dies, all his action ceases except 3: sadaqah jariah, beneficial knowledge, and a righteous child that continues to pray for his parents
  • we need to learn to cherish those gifts
  • allow them to spiritually grow, reach spiritual potential
  • a lot of times, we need to be emotionally and psychologically sensitive to our children’s needs
  • we have child psychologists and youth directors who can tell you that most of the problem comes from emotional and psychological lacking that comes from home in their relationships with their parents
  • ladun = specially
  • ka = you
  • min ladunka = from specially You – forms an expression -: a very very special favor from You
  • when we have a very close friend you say “Come on, help me out, hook me out.”
  • min ladunka is that type of expression
  • scholars point out that this type of language is indicative of a very close connection
  • you don’t walk up to a stranger saying “Come on man, help me out.”
  • we see methodology of supplication
  • Zakaria not just making dua but capitalizing on the nearness of his relationship with Allah
  • waliy – someone you are close with, you can trust, you can rely upon
  • he didn’t just for a child, he asks for a waliy
  • why he doesn’t ask for zhurriyyatan, waladan?
  • because earlier he said he doesn’t trust his mawaali, so he’s asking for someone he can rely upon, trust
  • why does he need someone he can trust? next ayah
Ayat 6
Sahih International

Who will inherit me and inherit from the family of Jacob. And make him, my Lord, pleasing [to You].”

  • yarithuni from wiraatha

wirth – to inherit

  • yarithunii – he will inherit from me
  • wayarithu min aali yaqoub : -and he will also inherit from the aal of Yaqoub


  • in translation you will see it translated as ‘family’
  • family is included in aal but aal extends beyond family
  • ahl :- household members, immediate family
  • but aal :- broader, it means associates, affiliates, so it includes family, followers, friends, companions, supporters
  • that’s why in prayer and outside, the salutations upon Prophet saw, and Ibrahim, the word aal used, not ahl
  • so we’re not just making dua for the family of Prophet saw and Ibrahim a.s. but also their followers
  • aal is an inclusive word
  • Zakairya was referring to Yaqoub because he is a prophet from Bani Israel

3 possibilities that we can interpret this:

1. inheriting prophethood, because his forefathers are prophets of Allah, but scholars say that’s not a proper interpretation

  • because prophethood is not inherited, it’s based on selection
  • Quranic corroboration: tafseer Quran bil Quran – take al issues in Quran into consideration
  • son of Nuh a.s. wasn’t even a believers, so we have a prime example of prophethood not inherited

2. transfer of knowledge, wisdom and foresight and all these great qualities

  • as a prophet, Zakariyah embodies many great qualities, and same with his forefathers the prophets, and that’s what he meant
  • this is majority opinion of scholars and sahabah
  • do prophets have inheritors in the worldly sense, do they materialistically pass on inheritance?
  • hadith in Bukhari, Prophet saw said, “We are the society of prophets, that we do not pass on inheritance. What we leave behind, it is sadaqah(charity).”
  • in books of seerah and hadith, the material possession that he (saw) left behind, it was a straw mat, water jug that he made wudhu or purify himself from, a sword, shield
  • there is a narration from Aisha r.a where she was asked, “on the day that the Prophet saw pass away, what did you cook, eat?” She replied that if she had enough oil she would have lit the lantern. When evening came, it was dark in house of Prophet saw, they didn’t have enough kerosene to light the lantern
  • based on that, prophets don’t have worldly inheritance
  • there remains one question in that case:
  • he will inherit from me and from people of Yaqoub -: it’s like it’s redundant, if he will inherit from Zakariya all those qualities, why then mention the forefathers too? Why does he reiterate? because Quran is not redundant, so why?
  • one of themes of this surah is consistency of the message
  • one of theme of message is tauheed, oneness of God, prayer, charity, universal values – this all found in message of the prophets
  • in similar manners, Zakariya is saying “this is not just my message, knowledge, but it’s knowledge and message that goes back to Yaqoub and even beyond

3. inheritor in material sense

  • opinion of minority of scholars
  • some sahabah had opinion that this issue of not passing wealth and inheritance is not general to all prophets but that it’s specific to Prophet saw
  • that there is possibility that other prophets leave material inheritance behind
  • Zakariya not simply asking for son for emotional fulfillment only although there is nothing wrong for that
  • he’s asking for a child to preserve the deen
  • “Oh Allah I have this knowledge and wisdom, qualities and You told me to propagate them among the people and I look around me and I don’t think anyone here will carry this message properly, so give me a child who will carry on this message.”
  • “because my motives are not simply personal but because it’s also spiritual, he says waj’alhu rabbi radhiyyan
  • rabbi actually rabbee – due to sense of urgency (“I need this”)
  • Radhiyan comes from root that means to be pleased, satisfied with something
  • this is sifah mushabbabaha or ism sifah :- it;s a very versatile noun, used for both passive and active meaning at same time
  • child who will please You oh Allah, and he doesn’t limit the statement in any way, so a child who will please You oh Allah, his parents, community
  • used also in passive meaning :- that we will be pleased with, You will be pleased with
  • not only that the child pleases others, but others will be pleased with him too
  • sometimes a word can have multiple possibility like in this case, then we should appreciate all possibilities
  • we should take it broadly
  • that is part of beauty and eloquence of Quran
  • it says so much in so little
  • yesterday we learned about how we enter into dua
  • state your weakness, and all that Allah has showered upon us
  • today, in making dua, we learn from Zakariya, what are your motives for making dua
  • motives can be personal, but the very powerful supplication, the beautiful, accepted dua is often the one that doesn’t just have personal motives, but that also has that greater picture
  • where person thinking beyond
  • Zakariya thinking of benefiting the deen, humanity, message can continue being passed on

Link to tafseer series Day 3 on MuslimMatters


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