Do you know what’s remarkable about the mother of Maryam (Mary)?
This woman dreamed that her son would be a devout benefactor to future generations. She had a strong intuition that she was expecting a boy, so she made a vow to God that she would devote her son’s life to serving the Almighty. She envisioned him learning from righteous people so that he might share his understanding of God with others.
What occurs in the narrative afterwards is wonderful, though!
God grants her a daughter. Any of us at this point would be upset with God for not responding to our prayers in the way we anticipated. We’d possibly give up on raising that child for God’s sake and ask ourselves
– Why would God wreck a dream that was ultimately for his sake?
That, however, is not what this woman did. The gender of her child did not deter her from pursuing her dream. Maryam (peace be upon her) was nevertheless entrusted with the responsibility of learning and studying about God. Because it had nothing to do with her gender, and it wasn’t about God answering her prayers in the manner that she wanted him to. It was much bigger than that.
At this point in the story, Prophet Zachariah (peace be upon him) is entrusted with the duty of looking after Maryam (peace be upon her). Maybe Maryam (peace be upon her) would not have had the opportunity to be under the guidance of this noble Prophet of God if she were a man. Indeed, the Almighty heard the prayer of Maryam’s mother and answered it in the way He knew was best. And she had faith in that.
A few years later, Maryam (peace be upon her) has developed into an even more devout woman who is now imparting a very crucial lesson to Prophet Zachariah (peace be upon him) that “God grants whom he wills in ways beyond comprehension.” (3:37) This inspires Zachariah (peace be upon her) to pray to God for a son, despite his old age and his wife’s inability to bear children. God fulfils his plea and grants him a son, to which he responds with bafflement wondering how God could achieve that. But Maryam (peace be upon her) instilled in him the belief that nothing is beyond God’s reach. She was living evidence of that.
Maryam (peace be upon her) then underwent the unbelievable, bearing the tremendous honour of bringing Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) to life without a father. And it was through him that God revealed the Gospel to the world, empowering him in transforming society for the better by instilling faith and kindness in people’s hearts.
For a moment, let’s think back on how this story started. One remarkable lady with a vision laid the groundwork for this incredible legacy. And despite the fact that her vision wasn’t carried out exactly how she had envisioned it, she trusted God’s plan and glorified Him. She was devoted and committed to achieving her goals, and she also had faith that her religion would not fail her. Her hope of having a righteous son transformed into giving birth to the most honourable woman in history, who would give birth to a righteous son without a father, who would subsequently become a Prophet and have an eternal influence on the world.
Can you imagine the honor? Can you imagine the beauty and the wisdom of the plan of Allah? Can we put our trust in Allah that when we don’t receive what we want, there’s a greater wisdom and a greater plan that extends beyond our understanding and imagination?
The inspiration of this story comes from the verses 35 and 36 of Surah Al-Imran:
اِذۡ قَالَتِ امۡرَاَتُ عِمۡرٰنَ رَبِّ اِنِّىۡ نَذَرۡتُ لَـكَ مَا فِىۡ بَطۡنِىۡ مُحَرَّرًا فَتَقَبَّلۡ مِنِّىۡ ۚ اِنَّكَ اَنۡتَ السَّمِيۡعُ الۡعَلِيۡمُ
‘Remember’ when the wife of ‘Imrân said, “My Lord! I dedicate what is in my womb entirely to Your service, so accept it from me. You ‘alone’ are truly the All-Hearing, All-Knowing.”
فَلَمَّا وَضَعَتۡهَا قَالَتۡ رَبِّ اِنِّىۡ وَضَعۡتُهَاۤ اُنۡثٰىؕ وَاللّٰهُ اَعۡلَمُ بِمَا وَضَعَتۡؕ وَ لَيۡسَ الذَّكَرُ كَالۡاُنۡثٰىۚ وَاِنِّىۡ سَمَّيۡتُهَا مَرۡيَمَ وَاِنِّىۡۤ اُعِيۡذُهَا بِكَ وَذُرِّيَّتَهَا مِنَ الشَّيۡطٰنِ الرَّجِيۡمِ
When she delivered, she said, “My Lord! I have given birth to a girl,”—and Allah fully knew what she had delivered—“and the male is not like the female. I have named her Mary, and I seek Your protection for her and her offspring from Satan, the accursed.
Lessons to learn from this story:
1) We have to remain persistent in our prayers. They may not be answered immediately or in the way we want them to. Allah has a much greater and more fulfilling plan for us
2) Trust the Planner of all plans. He knows what He’s doing and He wants the best for us.
Oh Allah, grant us, by your grace, righteous offspring. Bless us and our offspring with a pleasant upbringing the way you had blessed Maryam (peace be upon her). Entrust us and our offspring the way you had entrusted Maryam (peace be upon her) to the best people and the best company.