Tafseer Maryam Day 7 Ayat 16-17

  • today’s passage is about story of Maryam and miraculous birth of Isa a.s.
  • in previous passage, miraculous birth of Yahya a.s. was mentioned
  • there are 2 places in Quran where Allah at length talks about birth of Isa a.s. :- Aali Imran and Maryam
  • interesting observation : in both places, Allah first starts off by talking about Zakariya a.s. and how Yahya as. was given as gift and then birth of Isa a.s. -> birth of Yahya a.s.always mentioned before birth of Isa a.s.
  • reason :
  • there are two types of people addressed/aimed at

1. one who doesn’t even accept/believe in miraculous nature of birth of Isa a.s. but finds it more convenient to slander Maryam

  • Yahood and mushrikoon fall into this category
  • so birth of Yahya a.s. is mentioned first as a primer, to ease them into Isa a.s. miraculous birth without a father
  • kind of starting people off with iman on ‘training wheels’ – Yahya a.s. born to very very old parents with no biological explanation

2. predicament of the Nasaara (christians) – they took Isa’s a.s. birth a bit too far. They inappropriately interpreted it as a sign of Isa a.s. being a deity

  • so this is aimed at them as well ;- that if you find Isa a.s. birth so mind blowing, then what about Yahya’s a.s. birth? It doesn’t have any scientific explanation to it either
  • by means of that they’re being reminded that “you’re making an incorrect read of the situation, so take the example of Yahya a.s. as a reminder.’
  • so there is a coherence and cohesion in story of Isa a.s. and Yahya a.s. and now it segues into mentioning the primary miracles this suerah revolves around – conception and birth of Isa a.s.
  • starts off telling us about the mother of Isa a.s. the vessel through which this miracle is delivered

Ayat 16

Sahih International

And mention, [O Muhammad], in the Book [the story of] Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place toward the east.

  • remember – in Arabic it can also mean to mention it, not just remember in head, but remember with tongue -> zhikr
  • mention amongst people, recall the story of Maryam that has been mentioned in the Quran
  • we will study ayah in 2 portions

1. wazhkur fil kitaabi maryam

  • grammatical observation – there is an abnormal sentence structure
  • normally it would be wazhkur maryama fil kitaabi
  • but this has been switched
  • whenever you have abnormal sentence structure it creates meaning of exclusivity
  • so this means, specificaly recall story of maryam that has been mentioned in Quran
  • so don’t just recall stor of Maryam that you may find out there, but only mention that story which is mentioned i nthe Quran
  • Maryam is a very revered figure by other than Muslims as well, such as the Christians
  • but the things they say about her, a lot of that is incorrect, so Allah commanded Prophet saw that the story of maryam that He wants to be mentioned is that part which is consistent with the Quranic teaching
  • that is why maryam is so frequently talked about in Quran
  • bec Allah has already limited the conversation
  • He only wants us to take the story that is mentioned in the QUran
  • other than that, a lot may have been changed and distorted
  • in life of Prophet saw, Umar Ibn Al Khattab found some pages of Taurah and he was reading it with other sahabah, and when the Prophet saw found this out or in another narration, it was brought to him (saw) and Prophet saw said, “Isn’t the Quran enough for you?”
  • in another narration, the Prophet saw becamevery disturbed and said “Leave this. Do not read this, stick to the Quran and sunnah of the Prophet saw and we don’t firmyl say everything in there is absolutely the truth but I’m also not going to deny and say everything in there is wrong.”
  • same things occuring here in Quran, to specificaly mention the story of Maryam that is in the Quran
  • when it says this, one of the things that is mentioned about Maryam in Quran is in surah Aali Imran
  • that is interesting because when we look here, from 6- 14 ayat, which is supposed to talk about Isa a.s., he wasn’t even mentioned
  • it specifically talks about Maryam
  • that is something we find that is consistent in Quran, we find that in Aali Imran as well
  • when it talks about birth of Isa a.s., which is what the story revolves around, for quite a bit of time it exclusively talks about MAryam and then it talks about Isa a.s.
  • there is a subtle lesson here :- yes Isa a.s., his birth was a miracle and he was a remarkable individual, a man of great qualities but it starts off in detail talking about his mother, so without a doubt, what contributed a lot to him as a great human being, is his mother
  • in Aali Imran, we find something even more profound -: before it starts talking about Maryam, it talks about the parents of Maryam
  • ayat 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.”

1 important theme :- parents are the primary means of the tarbiyyah and taleem of the child

  • the spiritual condition of the child and knowledge, understanding, upbringing, qualities, characteristics, greatly depend on the parents
  • the higher caliber of the parent, there is a greater chance(no guarantee but there is a higher chance) of the child being of high caliber as well
  • secular-wise, scientifically, we understand that, no doubt about it
  • from a study done by center for substance abuse and alcohol by Columbia University that when even one parent of child has an addiction, that increases for the child 50% of the child having an addiction as well
  • Quran tells us that as well : Isa a.s. was amazing because his mother was amazing, that wasn’t a fluke
  • so Allah traces back to parents of Maryam
  • wife of Imran says,
  • 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.”

  • when she gave birth,
  • 3:36
  • 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 ].”

  • difference between men and women :- different weaknesses, strengths, potential
  • mother names her Maryam
  • there are narrations in books of tafaseer that name Maryam in the original language means a woman who is very devout in worship, an ‘aabidah
  • so in beginning the parent is giving a good name to the child
  • giving a good name is not only only hoping that quality will manifest but it’s also a motivational technique that you can encourage the child to be like his name sake
  • then 3:37
  • 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.”

    • parents should arrange for education of their child
    • they handed Maryam to care of Zakariya a.s.
    • this shows the focus and mindset of the parents, that they get a good mentor for their child
  • we see what a wonderful woman Maryam became but it doesn’t change the fact who her parents were, remarkable parents
  • can we imagine dedicating our children to Allah only, not caring what type of worldly education they get, how much money, what status they achieve, just as long as they grow up pleasing Allah
  • remarkable parent -> remarkable child
  • just by having good parents Maryam knows what it is to be a good parent herself
  • that also contributed to Isa a.s. being as amazing as he was
  • Maryam had amazing parents and an amazing teacher, Zakariyya a.s.

izh intabazhat

  • intabazhat – she secluded, separated herself
  • comes from nabazha = literally means to toss something aside
  • nabeezh tamar – type of drink Arabs would make where they would throw dates in a bowl and pour hot water in it and make it into a type of drink
  • intibaazh – to separate yourself from the people/pack
  • makaanan sharqiyyan – in a space from place of worship that was facing east
  • first she separated herself from her family/people – we call that i’tikaaf
  • so we can see from here that i’tikaaf is not unique to us but is implemented in  teachings of other prophets also
  • this was teaching of Zakariya a.s and that goes back to Musa a.s.
  • i’tikaaf just as it’s very noble today, it was also noble in teachings of prophets of the past
  • we see virtue of i’tikaaf, this is not just sunnah of Prophet saw but sunnah of anbiyaa

What is i’tikaaf conceptually?

  • spirutally speaking, i’tikaaf is when you take out time and yuo separate yourself from your day to day dealings, responsibiliities and come into place of worship and you stay for a designated amount of time n the place of worship, you don’t leave it except for need, you don’t conduct business, you try not to leave premises except for necessity (bathroom, food)
  • you don’t go hang out, watch movie, play basketball during i’tikaaf
  • you dedicate that time to solely connect with Allah
  • it facilitates that connection with Allah when you remove everything else
  • we see what a remarkable young woman Maryam is, that she secluded herself, that she takes time out to separate herself

min ahlihaa

  • not just her friends, neighbors, acquaintances but her own family
  • i’tikaaf doesn’t mean that we neglect responsibilities towards family, but it does emphasize aspect of taking a few days out
  • every now and then whether it just be in Ramadan as is sunnah of Prophet saw (last 10 nights)
  • Sheikh said, “What we don’t realize, what happens a lot of times, is when I say I’m going to do i’tikaaf, my family is going to have some problem with it. Reason is because on a day to day basis I do a good job of neglecting my family as it is, maybe due to work..”
  • work is a responsibility to support your family, not so you can buy the new Lexus etc
  • if you work excessively and doing over time, take extra project because you got your eye on the 2011 something something, because you need an upgrade, etc that is not supporting your family
  • so if one is already a workaholic because he likes to  wear a $2000 suits and has to live in 8000 square foot home, so if one is gone at 7 in morning and comes home at 7 in evening, and he goes to Jumaah and khaatib talks about making time and going to masjid on daily basis, and he gets an iman boost, so he goes home at 7 pm, don’t talk to him at that time because he has a headache, and it’s time for Isha and he goes to masjid and his wife is angry
  • and he goes to imam and asks, “My wife is angry with me for going to masjid..”
  • he needs to go back and start from telling the imam that he is a workaholic
  • so if I’m already doing right by my family, whatever dynamic of my family is, then when I say I need 3-4 days off and do i’tikaaf, make this investment for me, you, entire family then you will find your family more willing to cooperate with you
  • it’s still going to be difficult – you will miss your family, children will miss you etc
  • but because you are connecting with Allah so intensely, when you go back to your family, you will be charged up, more iman and a better person and you will take that iman and bring that blessing back into your home- that is the barakah of i’tikaaf
  • i’tikaaf is so difficult but we see Maryam doing it
  • at end of the ayah, it says makaanan sharqiyyan
  • Allah specifies that she was doing i’tikaaf in a place within the place of worship which was east-facing

sharq – literally root of the word means to fill something with light

  • mashriq -> east
  • sun rises in east
  • a lot of discussion on this in books of tafseer, even a narration from Ibn Abbas where he says, “I most definitely and very very well informed out of all the people about why the Christians take the eastern direction as a qiblah” Then he quoted this ayah
  • Sheikh was curious about practice of worship of the Christians and the Jews, he has studied very basic comparative religion in the program he graduated from, it’s not very in depth to the point where one would read their scriptures and texts and how it differs from what we believe in
  • one of sheikh students, sister Hayaa has studied comparative religion formally and so Sheikh contacted her and asked her
  • he was told by his teachers that this is the discipline of the people of knowledge that they are very disciplined, humble and very particular about that, that when scholar talk about subject or topic that they are not well versed in, they will defer it to people who are well versed in it
  • story: one of Sheikh’s teachers, Mufti Taqiyy Uthmani, when he was a young fresh graduate, 30+ years ago, he wrote a small book about Christianity and Islam, it was just recently published, he is well versed in English as well so he was one of traditionally trained scholars in Pakistan who started authoring books in English
  • during those days there was a Christian priest trained thoroughly in that science, he was visiting Pakistan as a missionary
  • he ended up accepting Islam while there
  • once he became Muslim, he was from the UK, the first thing he was curious about was, he wanted printed material about Islam in English, so he started inquiring in Karachi
  • someone directed him to one of the first book stores in Karachi which was owned by one of the Mufti’s cousins
  • he walks in and one of first book he sees is Christianity and Islam,so he purchased the book and starts reading it, make marks in it, “this is not right, that’s not what Christianity teaches etc”
  • then he reads name of author and goes back to book store and asks about the author of the book
  • and he meets with Mufti Taqiyy Uthmani and politely points out the mistakes
  • The Mufti said, that when this man points out those mistakes, he told his cousin to pull out all of his books off the shelves and he rewrote entire book together with the ex-priest
  • knoweldgeable people, students of knowledge should learn from this discipline
  • sometimes we can get too trigger happy and say “I read that online, I heard..”
  • we should always defer it to someone more knowledgeable
  • so this practice of facing the east is a known practice in Christianity and they did this for a variety of reasons
  • Maryam not only secluded herself but faced east
  • book of Matthew has narration where Jesus a.s. said his second coming will be from the east
  • from tradition of Muhammad saw we have authentic hadith where it was said Jesus a.s. will first appear in Damascus
  • Christianity was essentially an offshoot of Judaism and they had seen Jews praying towards east so they inherited that tradition from them
  • in case of Maryam, when we look at her worshipping, we shouldn’t just refer to the Christian practice but we should refer back to the Jewish practice because she was from among the Jews
  • it was common to face east when praying because temple of Solomon was in east and most of them were living west
  • many Jewish homes name the eastern walls of their house the Mizra and this was their direction in prayer
  • so what is in ayah is very consistent with Jewish practice and this was what Ibn Abbas was talking about
  • nowadays this is mostly seen among eastern and Greek orthodox of Christianity
  • makaanan sharqiyyan – in common nakirah form
  • reasons:
  • serving as zdharf -it’s maf’ool fiihi that’s why it’s in nasab form
  • Allah put it in common form which is less important form as a subtle hint and reminder that there is no longer any virtue in this
  • we see that i’tikaaf is a virtuous thing, but it being in common form shows us that her facing towards the east has important historical connection but in terms of implementation, you are not to implement this anymore now
  • we now worship in direction of kaabah


Ayat 17

Sahih International

And she took, in seclusion from them, a screen. Then We sent to her Our Angel, and he represented himself to her as a well-proportioned man.

  • fattakhazhat – so she took
  • min doonihim – aside from them
  • it was already talking about her doing i’tikaaf and on top of that she took aside from them a type of barrier


  • again it’s in common form, it doesn’t specify the barrier
  • she’s not home, not outside hanging out, in place of worship
  • but other people also frequent that place of worship
  • so she set up a type of barrier maybe a curtain to separate her and the other visitors
  • it was not about gender segregation because it was talking more about i’tikaaf
  • today we see in masjid, they set up a separation individually(curtains etc), they can’t be distracted by other activities in masjid, because halaqa or Sunday school might still be going on
  • to be able to remain focused, that’s what Maryam did
  • lesson -: the barrier she set up is to remove distraction
  • so when we take out time to connect with Allah, remove distractions (e.g. cellphone – probably biggest form of distraction we have today)
  • if we don’t, they will end up becoming the barrier between us and Allah
  • and that is becoming far too common right now

faarsalnaa – so We sent

  • here comes the miracle
  • when did it come?
  • she took out time to connect with Allah, she gave Allah time and that is the time when the miracle came
  • she took out distractions and that’s when miracle arrives
  • we all have that opportunity to experience that profound relationship with Allah
  • Allah’s help, miracle will come to us in miraculous fashion when we make Allah our #1 priority

ilayhaa – to her

roohana – Our spirit

  • ruuh – refers to soul, spirit
  • comes from root word which means rest/comfort
  • the human soul called ruuh bec it’s what keeps body at rest
  • when soul leaves body, body becomes stiff
  • there is medical explanation for that but we also know that the ruh keeps body at rest and comfortable
  • one of nicknames of Jibril is Ruuh
  • Ruuhul Ameen
  • why ?
  • primary responsibility of Jibril was to bring divine revelation (that which brings comfort to heart and minds of people)
  • here it refers to Jibril
  • why ruh is connected to Allah (Our Ruh) is to honor and dignify Jibril
  • like in English we say “That’s my boy.”
  • it’s not necessarily his son, but to show that they have a very good connection
  • when you connect someone to yourself it’s to show that relationship
  • if you are conncted to Allah that is a form of honor and distinction
  • not just anyone’s Jibril, but he’s OUR Jibril (Allah saying)

fatamathalalaa basharan sawiyya

  • tamaththala – for someone/thing to change their outward look = transform
  • lahaa – for her
  • for her sake


  • bashar – literally skin of human body
  • bashar used to describe human being when describing the softness, vulnerability of a human being
  • he transformed himself into human being for Maryam’s sake
  • he’s not very threatening looking


  • very well put together, handsome, well proportioned
  • this transformation business may sound like science fiction but it’s well established in the Quran
  • e.g. in story of Ibrahim a.s. when angels stopped by Ibrahim’s a.s. on their way to destroy the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, they’re in form of human beings
  • we know this from anther Quranic story
  • even in some of most authentic hadith of Jibril which its status is like Ummu Sunnah, equivalent to status of Fatihah to the Quran
  • when Jibril came to ask the Prophet saw about Islam, Iman, Ihsan in this hadith, he appears in form of human being
  • we have a lot of disadvantages now, media, etc great form of distractions but they can serve bit of advantage too sometimes
  • we don’t have trouble understanding how something can trasnform in appearance
  • we know Transformers 🙂
  • that’s the maybe one advantage we do have from media

Link to video series on MM


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