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Sayyidatina Maryam (Ďalayhassalam)

By: Hafiz Usman Munawwar


Sayyidatina Maryam (‘alayhassalam) is one of the four greatest women in Islam along with Sayyidatina Asiya (‘alayhassalam), Sayyidatina Khadija (rady Allahu ‘anha), and Sayyidatina Fatima (rady Allahu ‘anha). When our Beloved Prophet Sayyidina Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) mentioned that these are the four greatest women, he mentioned Sayyidatina Maryam (‘alayhassalam) first. Her full name is Sayyidatina Maryam bint ‘Imran (‘alayhassalam) and she was the daughter of Hadrat ‘Imran (‘alayhissalam) and Bibi Hanna (‘alayhassalam). She was a descendant of Nabi Dawud (‘alayhissalam), and her guardian was Nabi Zakariyya (‘alayhissalam). Among her many qualities is that she is ‘adhra’ (virgin), waliyyah (saint), qanitah (devout), sa’imah (one who observes fast), sabirah (patient), shakirah (thankful to Allah), tahirah (pure), siddiqah (sincere, truthful), ma‘sumah (sinless), and kamilah (perfect mother, perfect saint). Sayyidatina Maryam (‘alayhassalam) is also known as Umm ‘Isa because she was the mother of Sayyidina ‘Isa (‘alayhissalam), who is one of the five greatest Prophets in Islam. These five greatest Prophets are Sayyidina Muhammad (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam), Sayyidina Ibrahim (‘alayhissalam), Sayyidina Musa (‘alayhissalam), Sayyidina ‘Isa (‘alayhissalam), and Sayyidina Nuh (‘alayhissalam). Sayyidina ‘Isa (‘alayhissalam) is mostly mentioned as ‘Isa ibn Maryam in the Holy Qur’an. However, he is also mentioned just by his first name, ‘Isa, in other parts of the Qur’an. 

Sayyidatina Maryam (‘alayhassalam) is the only woman who has been mentioned by name in the Holy Qur’an. In fact, there is a Surah named after her and it is called Surah Maryam. This Surah is the nineteenth chapter of the Holy Qur’an. It is recommended that women should recite this Surah, especially when they suffer labour pains so that Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta‘ala) can make their delivery easy for them. Another Surah in the Qur’an that talks about Sayyidatina Maryam (‘alayhassalam) is Surah Aali-‘Imran which is the third chapter of the Holy Qur’an. She is also mentioned in Surah al-Baqarah, an-Nisaa’, al-Ma’idah, at-Tawbah, al-Mu’minun, al-Ahzab, al-Hadid, as-Saff, and at-Tahrim. Furthermore, Sayyidatina Maryam (‘alayhassalam) was present together with Sayyidatina Asiya (‘alayhassalam) at the birth of our Beloved Sayyidina Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam). This gives us only a brief understanding of her great status among women in Islam.

The birth of Sayyidatina Maryam (‘alayhassalam) is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. Bibi Hanna (‘alayhassalam) was expecting a child in her old age and with the birth of a son in mind, she made an oath to Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta‘ala) that the child to be born would be free from all worldly affairs and especially dedicated to Allah’s service. Bibi Hanna (‘alayhassalam) said:

“O my Lord! I vow to You what is in my womb to be dedicated for Your service, so accept this from me. Surely, You, only You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing”. (Qur’an 3:35). 

Then when Sayyidatina Maryam (‘alayhassalam) was born, Bibi Hanna (‘alayhassalam) stated:

“O my Lord! I have given birth to a girl”. (Qur’an 3:36).

As she had expected that her baby would be a male child who would grow up to be a scholar or a religious leader, it was stated:

And Allah knew well whom she had given birth to, and the male is not like the female, “and I have named her Maryam, and I give her and her offspring under Your protection from satan, the rejected one”. (Qur’an 3:36).

Sayyidatina Maryam (‘alayhassalam) was thus accepted to serve Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta‘ala).

Sayyidatina Maryam (‘alayhassalam) grew up under Allah’s special protection. Her sustenance came from Allah, and her upbringing was indeed a pure one. During her childhood, she was assigned into the care of Sayyidina Nabi Zakariyya (‘alayhissalam) and he looked after her while she was in the service of Allah. The Holy Qur’an also testifies to this childhood miracle of Sayyidatina Maryam (‘alayhassalam):

So her Lord accepted her with goodly acceptance and He made her grow in a good manner and put her under the guardianship of Zakariyya. Whenever Zakariyya entered her place of prayer, he found her with sustenance. He said: “O Maryam! From where did this come to you?” She said: “This is from Allah”. Surely, Allah provides sustenance to whom He pleases without measure. (Qur’an 3:37). 

This was not the only miracle in the life of Sayyidatina Maryam (‘alayhassalam). However, it would give way to an even greater miracle later on in her lifetime, the birth of her son, Sayyidina ‘Isa (‘alayhissalam).
Surah Aali-‘Imran and Surah Maryam explain the birth of Sayyidina ‘Isa (‘alayhissalam) in great detail. We also learn from the Holy Qur’an about the miraculous pregnancy of Sayyidatina Maryam (‘alayhassalam). 

And mention Maryam in the Book (the Qur’an), when she withdrew from her family towards a place in the east.
Then she veiled herself from them, then we sent Our angel to her who appeared before her like a man in all respects. (Qur’an 19:16-17).   

After seeing the angel:

She said: “Surely, I seek refuge of the Most Affectionate (Allah) from you if you do fear Allah”. (Qur’an 19:18). 

Then the angel, Hadrat Jibril (‘alayhissalam) responded.

He said: “I am only a Messenger of your Lord (to announce) to you the gift of a pure son”. (Qur’an 19:19). 

Sayyidatina Maryam (‘alayhassalam) then asked:

“How shall I have a son when no man has touched me nor am I unchaste?” (Qur’an 19:20). 

This verse of the Holy Qur’an proves that Sayyidatina Maryam (‘alayhassalam) was a virgin and she was chaste. Thus, she is given the title of the blessed Virgin Mary, peace be upon her. Furthermore, Hadrat Jibril (‘alayhissalam) replied:

So it shall be. Your Lord says: This is easy for Me. And that We may appoint him as a Sign for mankind and a mercy from Us and this is a matter already decreed. (Qur’an 19:21). 

So she conceived him, then she went away with him to a far off place. (Qur’an 19:22)

Then the pangs of child-birth brought her to the trunk of a palm-tree. She said: “Oh, would that I had died before this and had been a thing forgotten”. (Qur’an 19:23).

Then a voice called from underneath her, “Do not grieve!. Certainly your Lord has caused to flow a rivulet below you”.
And shake towards yourself the trunk of the palm tree, fresh and ripe dates will fall upon you”.
(Qur’an 19:24-25). 

These two verses of the Holy Qur’an show us that Sayyidatina Maryam (‘alayhassalam) was provided with water and fresh dates by Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta‘ala). The next verse of the same Surah also explains that she was commanded to eat, drink, cool her eyes, and to vow a fast to the Most Affectionate (Allah) in which she would not speak to anyone on that day. This incident portrayed the very pious and saintly character of Sayyidatina Maryam (‘alayhassalam), mother of Sayyidina ‘Isa (‘alayhissalam).

Sayyidatina Maryam (‘alayhassalam) is truly one of the greatest women in the world and she is an excellent role model to all people, especially women.  She taught us that we should have faith, patience, and trust in Almighty Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta‘ala). We also learn that Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta‘ala) rewards those who dedicate themselves to serve in his path. Insha Allah, we should also dedicate ourselves to the service of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta‘ala) and follow the lessons that Sayyidatina Maryam (‘alayhassalam) has taught us.