Tafseer Maryam Day 8 Ayat 17-20

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.

  • fatamaththalahaa basharan sawiyya – this is where we left off previously
  • fa = however
  • when we hear Jibril came to Maryam, the thought process is : the angel of Allah came to her!
  • tamaththala – best translation in common English -> he transformed himself
  • we were talking yesterday about how easy it is for us to visualize transformation with all the technology we have now but it still remains an issue of iman
  • “Angel came down as a man?! Come on, you must be joking.”
  • how great is the iman of the previous Muslims
  • they didn’t have these technology, they are just simple people
  • amanaa bihi – he believed init without a second hesitation
  • “Allah said it, I believe in it”
  • Abu Bakr as Siddeeq – when Prophet saw came back from Israa Miraaj and informed people of Makkah about it, they mocked him, and Abu Jahl went to Abu Bakr and said, “You hear what your buddy is saying now?” (mockingly), and Abu Bakr responded, “If in fact (’cause I don’t really trust you) Muhammad saw has said what you said, I believe in it.”
  • there is reason why Prophet saw mentioned so many virtues of those people because of their faith

lahaa – Jibril did it specifically for Maryam – this has several meanings:-

1. so she wouldn’t be terrified.

  • but why would she be terrified
  • Prophet saw in Bukhari tells us, that he (saw) saw Jibril in his actual form twice in his life. Prophet saw described what he saw :his feet was on the ground, his head was literally in the clouds, has 600 wings, 2 were so huge that when he spread them out it would cover the eastern and western horizon as far as eye could see
  • even Prophet saw was taken aback when he saw Jibril in his actual form
  • what was going to occur was heavy emotionally, spiritually and physically for Maryam so no need to cause her any undue stress

2. as a test for her

  • basharan sawiyyan
  • bashar – human but refers to human being especially when alluding to the vulnerability of the human being
  • sawiyyan – a very handsome well put well proportioned human being, good looking
  • very comforting to see nice looking person
  • he didn’t appear in form of human that is threatening
  • Maryam is a young woman, so now you have this very handsome young man approaching her
  • this was a test for her
  • how did she fare? next ayah

Ayat 18

Sahih International

She said, “Indeed, I seek refuge in the Most Merciful from you, [so leave me], if you should be fearing of Allah .”

  • often times, a’oozhu translated as ‘I seek refuge’
  • slight adjustment here:
  • the meaning of seeking comes from the additional seen and ta in isti’aazhah
  • but here it doesn’t say asta”izhubillah..it’s a’oozhubillah (I take refuge)
  • there is a subtle difference but there is a difference
  • when you tell someone I seek it’s a fancy way of saying I’m asking to take refuge with you
  • when someone requests something from you, there is the possibility of a ‘No’ answer
  • when you want to show desperation and show them you can’t take no for an answer, you don’t seek, you demand but not in a bossy sense, you demand out of desperation, you insist
  • someone who is starving on the verge of death will demand food
  • Oh Allah I take refuge with You. I will not survive if You don’t grant me Your protection. – this is what Maryam is saying here


  • even now Maryam is not using Allah, she’s using Ar Rahman – that in fact if this person means any harm to me, then I’m going to need the mercy of Allah, Allah’s mercy will save me from this situation
  • on the flip side, a situation of a young woman being approached by a handsome young man – I will only pass this test, this temptation by the mercy of Allah
  • this is something every Muslim need to be aware of : there are so many beautiful attribute of Allah
  • Sheikh has intention on proper sarf research on all names and attributes of Allah, highlight all ayaat of Quran where those attributes mentioned
  • because so often we read and gloss through these attributes in the Quran
  • these attributes are there in certain places in Quran for a reason

minka – from you

in kunta taqiyya – if you are cognizant/aware of Allah

  • taqwa – to be god conscious, cognizant of Allah
  • “I take refuge with ar Rahmaan from you if you are a god fearing person” – that is challenging someone, it’s a very powerful way to remind someone to be god fearing
  • “If you’re a good person, you’re not going to do that…”
  • as long as person’s decency is still intact, this will motivate or deter the person
  • he will become more shameful of what he is about to do
  • it’s a powerful way of bringing out the good in a person
  • “If you have any shred of decency, you’re going to back off and not come near me!”
  • remember, she was curtained off, secluded, so she is very apprehensive of this man
  • she turns immediately to Allah
  • Allah states this in this ayah to show that Maryam was a modest respectful human being, such that when that situation presented itself (a young handsome man approaching her) she took refuge with Allah from that person and even told him to back up
  • because later on, some people slandered her
  • but here the chastity of Maryam is established
  • we see level of iman of Maryam, that when any type of situation came to her, she turns to Allah directly first, asks for His help first
  • how very connected she is to Allah


Ayat 19

Sahih International

He said, “I am only the messenger of your Lord to give you [news of] a pure boy.”

  • Jibril responds
  • innamaa – most definitely

ana rasoolu rabbik – I am nothing but a messenger of your Lord

  • typically when we say word rasul we associate it with prophets
  • here angel is saying he is rasul of Rabb
  • angels in Quran has been referred to as rusul
  • Faatir 35:1
  • 35:1
    Sahih International

    [All] praise is [due] to Allah , Creator of the heavens and the earth, [who] made the angels messengers having wings, two or three or four. He increases in creation what He wills. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.

  • but when rasul used for angels, it’s not used as religious term but used in its linguistic lexical meaning :-
  • rasul – messenger who brings you a message from a higher authority (they run errands of Allah)
  • so another term that is appropriate might be couriers rather than messenger
  • mufasiroon points out that Jibril refers to himself as rasul rabbiki, not rasulullah
  • look at what attribute of Allah this is invoking :-
  • rabb – one who protects, maintains, nurtures, cares
  • tarbiyyah comes from same root
  • the news he is going to deliver is going to induce all kinds of thoughts, concerns in Maryam’s mind (am I ready for this)
  • child won’t have a father – she will have concern regarding this, how is he going to be raised without a father?
  • the 1st level of concern – Am I ready for this? I haven’t even thought about all of this, am not even married
  • when child born , her concern – how is he going to be raised without a father
  • so usage of word Rabb -: you don’t have to worry about all these, tarbiyyah of child will be taken care of by Allah
  • story of Yahya a.s. is like introduction to story of Isa a.s. because you find almost same things happening in miraculous birth of Yahya a.s.
  • Yahya a.s. born to very very old parents, Allah took care of his tarbiyyah
  • Now Maryam is a single parent

li ahaba laki – so that I can gift to you

  • why is ‘I” used when Allah is the one who will gift?
  • this is understood even in common speech
  • when you go salesman in store, you ask, “Do you have __”
  • he replies, “We don’t have that anymore.”
  • he’s the representative
  • Jibril means that I have been sent by Allah with this and I am bringing this to you

ghulaaman zakiyyan

  • ghulaam – talked about this before in Ayah 7 – young boy
  • 19:7
    Sahih International

    [He was told], “O Zechariah, indeed We give you good tidings of a boy whose name will be John. We have not assigned to any before [this] name.”

  • zakiyyan – we talked about this too, refers to internal purity, pure hearted
  • zakiyyan is hyperbolic form of the word -> extremely clean pure hearted
  • Your son is going to be an amazing human being!
  • what is purpose of mentioning these attributes here?
  • putting Maryam’s mind at ease like Allah put Zakariya’s a.s. mind at ease about Yahya a.s.
  • He will not be a burden, not like what we see today (plight of single mother- the hardest thing for a single mother to do is to raise a son)
  • she’s being told relax, he’s not going to be a handful, trouble to you
  • in Aali Imran 45-46
  • 3:45
    Sahih International

    [And mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah ].

    Sahih International

    He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous.”

    • one difference in story of Zakariyya a.s. in ayat 7
    • he was also given good news, Allah Himself gave him good news
    • later on, in this ayah, ayah 19, Jibril delivers the good news from Allah
    • this is something that is very subtle but points out something very fundamental
    • discussion among scholars whether any women in history given prophethood or not
    • vast majority is there is no nubuwwah amongst women
    • one of the very implicit or subtle references/evidence they have is that Allah makes distinction here:
    • Allah delivers good news Himself to Zakariya a.s.
    • but to Maryam, Jibril delivered it (even though he is the one bringing wahy to prophets but the distinction is in how the message was delivered)
    • distinction to point out prophethood
    • Maryam didn’t receive prophethood
    • that is subtly pointed out here in this distinction

Ayat 20

Sahih International

She said, “How can I have a boy while no man has touched me and I have not been unchaste?”

  • she’s astonished, not that she didn’t believe this
  • she’s talking to an angel, of course she pursues, she wants answers, more
  • “How can that happen?”

wa lam yamsasni bashar – no man has touched me (not literally)

  • the Quran, when it talks about permissible intimate relations between husband and wife, it doesn’t use very explicit term
  • in classical Arabic there are words for that, but the Quran alludes to it
  • Quran talks about Tahaarah (so don’t get the sheikh wrong)
  • we’ve gotten caught in one of 2 extremes:

1. either we don’t want to talk about tahaarah (because it’s embarrassing)

  • it’s very frustrating because when we talk to people, we find how ignorant people are about the basics of their deen (taharah)
  • other extreme :

2. we need to fix that problem, so we’ll talk about it explicitly regardless of who is in the audience

  • there is a healthy middle ground where we say what needs to be said but at same time, we say it in very respectful terms
  • Prophet saw used to talk about taharaah, he answered questions about intimacy, but he didn’t embarrass people
  • Quran is THE standard
  • no imam/scholar can ever supersede the Quran, whatever their logic, reasoning
  • when Allah talks about intimacy Allah says laamastum, tamassoohunna
  • when Quran talks about going to restroom :- …minal ghaa2iT (it doesn’t use a crude term)
  • it’s in respectful terms, have decency
  • when Maryam says lam yamsasni bashar, it’s used as a Quranic phrase, a verbal idiom, refers to fact:-I’m not married, I have not had intimate relations with a spouse
  • in Quran whenever Allah uses mass referring to intimate relation between spouses
  • al Baqarah 2:237
  • 2:235
    Sahih International

    There is no blame upon you for that to which you [indirectly] allude concerning a proposal to women or for what you conceal within yourselves. Allah knows that you will have them in mind. But do not promise them secretly except for saying a proper saying. And do not determine to undertake a marriage contract until the decreed period reaches its end. And know that Allah knows what is within yourselves, so beware of Him. And know that Allah is Forgiving and Forbearing.

  • An-nisa 4:43
  • because Quran doesn’t even dignify engaging in physical intimacy outside of marriage
  • no wudhu rules after fornication, doesn’t even dignify it, you have bigger problems than wudhu when you’re engaged in fornication

wa lam aku baghiyyan – I have not been sinful

  • comes from baghaawah, baghyu – to transgress limits, cross the lines
  • tughyaan – cross limits/lines
  • baghaawah – when you cross limits and boundaries socially speaking
  • tughyaan – when you cross lines spiritually, in terms of your relationship with Allah, when you do shirk for example
  • bagha specifically refers to indulging in physical relations outside of marriage
  • baghiyyan used to describe Maryam who is female
  • but baghiy is the masculine form of the word, so why is masculine form of word used to describe a woman?

2 explanations:

morphological explanation

  • the term baghiy is used for feminine as well, there is universal form for both masculine and feminine
  • but it still doesn’t answer question of why

balaghah explanation

  • it’s wrong for anyone to engage in this type of behavior, but for a woman, who is an embodiment of modesty, haya, it’s like she has left the realm of femininity, so the language doesn’t consider her a female anymore, she has lost her femininity
  • not that when a man does it, he is absolved
  • in Ayah 9
  • 19:9
    Sahih International

    [An angel] said, “Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me, for I created you before, while you were nothing.’ “

wa lam taku shay”a – you were nothing

  • there could be a noon in taku (takun) but it’s dropped to imply that you didn’t exist like that noon doesn’t exist
  • here, Maryam says aku, not akun
  • not like earlier in surah in ayah 4, Zakariya says lam akun
  • Maryam :- just like this noon doesn’t exist, I haven’t indulged in the slightest bit of this behavior!
  • Maryam said two things:
  1. I have never been married, never been in a physical permissible relation
  2. I never committed fornication
  • when we look in surah Aali Imran, when good news given to Maryam, how many times did Allah says ‘He has chosen you’? twice
  • Aal Imran 3:42
  • 3:42
    Sahih International

    And [mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds.

  • we see her qualifying her modesty, chastity twice
  • that directly correlates back to Allah choosing her twice
  • isTafaaki – to choose someone based on their purity, not just to choose someone



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