Rasulullah (S.A.W.) has said: "The most excellent of the women of all worlds whom Allah chose over all women are: Asiya the wife of Pharaoh, Maryam bint Imran, Khadija bint Khuwaylid, and Fatimah bint Muhammad"
Throughout my life, well not that I’ve lived for hundreds of years, but as a daughter of someone who is constantly wanting to learn and absorb knowledge I were constantly told about the story of one of the most beautiful chapters in the Quran. Chapter 19, the Chapter called Maryam. I had never really taken the initiative of truly sitting and understanding the beauty of this miraculous chapter, until the other night, and I would really recommend that you read this astounding Surah yourself, because it’s just so beautiful. Let’s take a look at what I’ve came across.
The birth of Maryam (A.S)
The story of Maryam (A.S.) begins when her mother, a devout and aged women was expecting her in her womb. She would sincerely pray to Allah, asking him to use her baby only for the service of her Creator. As stated in the Quran she said: “O my Lord! I do dedicate into Thee what is in my womb for Thy special service: So accept this of me: For Thou hearest and knowest all things.” (Al Imran: 35).
She was surprised to give birth to a female as she wished for a baby boy who would grow up serving in the path of Allah, although Allah had better plans as He had already ordained for Maryam (A.S.) to come into this world and represent true religion to her people, who had gone astray, worshipping idols.
Immediately after Maryam (A.S.) was born, her mother turned to Allah (SWT) and asked him to protect her and her offspring against Shaytaan, as Allah says in the Quran”: Right graciously did her Lord accept her: He made her grow in purity and beauty (Al Imran: 37)
Zakariyya (A.S.) assigned to educate Maryam
Imran, the father of Maryam, had passed on and Allah (SWT) then assigned Prophet Zakariyya (A.S.) to educate Maryam (A.S.). As she grew up she was given a secluded room, whereby she could could devout herself to prayer.
” And Zakariyya became her guardian. Every time Zakariyya visited her in the sanctuary, he found food with her. He asked: "Maryam, how did you come by this?" She said: "It is from Allah. Allah provides for whoever He wills without any reckoning." (Al Imran: 37)
Whilst reading, I’ve come across numerous times where it is mentioned he would find her with winter fruit during the summer and summer fruit during the winter, thus witnessing just one of the few miracles bestowed upon her by Allah (SWT).
Maryam’s (A.S.) retreat into the distance and Meeting Angel Jibra’eel (A.S.)
Allah (S.W.T.) also commanded Muhammed (S.A.W.) to make mention of her and her hardships in the Quran “: And make mention of Maryam in the Scripture, when she had withdrawn from her people to a chamber looking East. Then We sent Our Spirit to her, and it took on for her the form of a handsome, well-built man. (Maryam: 16-17)
The verse above, tells us the story of how Maryam (A.S.) as a young chaste women went to a distant place, as Allah says “So she conceived him and withdrew with him to a distant place" (Maryam: 22).
She did not know who he was and said: “I seek refuge from you with the All-Merciful, [leave me] if you have fear [and respect] of Allah'" (Surah Maryam: 18).
In the above verse, she placed emphasis on chastity and fear of Allah (S.W.T).
Jibra’eel (A.S.) then said:” "I am only your Lord's messenger [an angel] so that He can give you a pure boy" (Surah Maryam: 19)
Maryam (A.S.) then asked him how it was that she could have a child when no man had ever touched her nor was she an unchaste women? (Maryam: 20)
Angel Jibra’eel said:"It will be so." Allah creates whatever He wills. When He decides on something, He just says to it, "Be!" and it is. (Al 'Imran: 47)
The above verse clearly shows us how Great Allah is and that whatever Allah ordains will happen, thus Maryam (A.S.) became pregnant and remained a virgin.
Prophet Issa‘s (A.S.) birth
This is my favourite part of the story of Maryam (A.S.). We all know that when a woman is pregnant and has to give birth, it is a very difficult experience and she needs support from all those close to her. What really amazes me was that Maryam (A.S.) was all alone, with no medical assistance or help to aid her at this crucial time, but there was Allah (S.W.T.) and through revelation, Allah told her not to grieve or be sad. Allah (S.W.T.) is so great that during her labour pains, he told Maryam (A.S.) to shake the date tree.
Now this is so amazing because, in today’s time doctors advise women to do exercises including pulling things towards you to ease labour and quicken the process of giving birth.
I’ve also come across, when Allah advised Maryam (A.S.) to eat the fresh ripe dates. What is amazing about this is that, dates help muscle tissues and nerve cells develop and that dates benefit women who are almost ready to give birth. Allah also created a little stream and advised her to drink from it, and studies have shown that water eases labor pain and regulates muscle tension. All of this is proof of Allah’s infinite knowledge and wisdom. Allah (S.W.T.) says in Surah (Yunus: 9) “Those who believe, and work righteousness their Lord will guide them because of their Faith: beneath them will flow rivers in Gardens of Bliss.”
Allah (S.W.T) then commanded her to take a vow of silence, thus enabling baby Issa (A.S.) the miracle of speaking even though he was just a little baby.
Maryam (A.S.) then returned to her people, who could not understand this miracle and they accused her of being indecent.
They (the people) said “:“O sister of Haroon! Your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother a woman unchaste!” [Maryam: 28]
She pointed to the baby, and He said:"I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Book and made me a Prophet. He has made me blessed wherever I am, directed me to perform prayer and give alms [zakat] as long as I live, and to show devotion to my mother. He has not made me insolent or arrogant. Peace be upon me the day I was born and the day I die, and the day I am raised up again alive." That is 'Isa, son of Maryam, the Word of Truth about which they are in doubt.” (Maryam: 30 -34)
Allah (S.W.T..) confirms her truthfulness in the Quran
“Issa son of Maryam was but a messenger; all [other] messengers had passed away before him; and his mother was one who never deviated from the truth; and they both ate food [like other mortals]. Note how we explain the revelations for them, and note how they still deviate! “[Al Maeda: 75]
In Surah Al Maeda above, Allah (S.W.T.) confirms the truthfulness of Maryam (A.S.) thus putting an end to those who slandered her with accusations.
The people were amazed by this miracle and this proved to them that Allah (S.W.T.) had made Maryam (A.S.) and Issa (A.S.) superior to other people.
How She was preferred by Allah, over all other women of the World
Maryam (A.S.) had an impeccable character. Her personality was such a positive one, like a beacon of light, that of a women who was sincere and pious.
The Angels would often visit her, as Allah tells us in the Quran “: And lo! The angels said: “O Maryam! Indeed, Allah has chosen you and made you pure, and raised you above all the women of the world. (Al Imran: 42)
What more of a greater honor could any women ask for, than to be given preference over all other women of the world.
I think that Maryam’s (A.S.) story displays 2 important lessons to us. The first is that, we should put our full trust in Allah as He is our Creator and we must keep in mind that He can provide for us from means that we may not have not even imagined yet.
Also, that Allah’s words in the Quran regarding Maryam (A.S.) show us what aspects and actions He really appreciates from Women, and how true beauty is not displayed from a females outward perspective, or from being a super model but rather from her virtuousness and devotion to Allah.
As Harun Yahya says about Maryam “: The believers' faith continues to deepen as they follow Maryam's example and try to emulate her character.”
We all have an obsession with physical outer appearances, and because of this, we forget what makes a women truly beloved to Allah (S.W.T.).
May we all at least try to embody the traits that Allah (S.W.T.) has outlined for us in the Quran.