September 17, 2021 | Safar 9, 1443
Al-e-Imran (The House of Imran) Sura 3: Verses 36-37
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 Maryam, and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the mercy of Allah]. So her Lord accepted her with good acceptance and caused her to grow in a good manner and put her in the care of Zakariyya. Every time Zakariyya 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."
In the Quran, Maryam's story begins from the time of her conception. Her birth itself was a miracle because her mother is presented to have been barren and passed the age of childbirth. Her mother, whom the Quran identifies as "the wife of Imran," appears to have been disappointed after giving birth to a female child, uttering the words: "My Lord, I have delivered a female." This disappointment may be attributed to the mother's sense of an unfulfilled dream that her child be dedicated to the service of God. Since such roles were reserved only for males at the time, her mother did not expect Maryam to be able, socially or otherwise, to enjoy such a role. But, as the Quran notes, God's response to Maryam's mother's dissatisfaction was for to accept her "with good acceptance" and to "cause her to grow in good manner". And so it was that Maryam became the first woman in history to pray in a temple.
Verse 3:37 is a potentially radical (progressive radical, that is) statement: It is a reminder to Maryam's mother—and, by extension, to all of us—that if she thinks Maryam will not fulfil a certain role because of her gender, then make sure her surroundings are such that they will enable her to do so. In other words, we are the bearers of change in our times and societies. In Maryam's case, the Quran tells us that she was sent to be raised by Zakariyya, a religious teacher, where she completely submitted herself to God's service. In exchange for her devotion, God blesses her with miraculous provisions of foods outside of their season (e.g., summer foods in winters and winter foods in summers). This surprises Zakariyya, although he had always known Maryam was a miracle and someone to be emulated, and, when he asks her where she gets her food from, she tells him they are from God. Zakariyya, aware that they must be the literal fruits of her commitment to God, is thereby inspired to ask God to bless him with a child of his own who could enjoy the privileged status of Maryam.
Jesus, Muhammad and the Goddess, "Who is Maryam and What is Her Story?" - Shehnaz Haqqani, pp. 179, 180
From Issue: 1005 [Read original issue]
Consider these two Hadiths from the Sahih Muslim:
Ma'dan b. Talha reported: I met Thauban, the freed slave of God's Messenger, and asked him to tell me about an act for which, if I do it, God will admit me to Paradise, or I asked about the act which was loved most by God. He gave no reply. I again asked and he gave no reply. I asked him for the third time, and he said: I asked God's Messenger about that and he said: Make frequent prostrations before God, for you will not make one prostration without raising you a degree because of it, and removing a sin from you, because of it.
In the second Hadith, Rabi'a b. Ka'b said: I was with God's Messenger one night and I brought him water and what he required. He said to me: Ask (anything you like). I said: I ask your company in Paradise. He (the Prophet) said: Or anything else besides it. I said: That is all (what I require). He said: Then help me to achieve this for you by devoting yourself often to prostration.
Sajdah (prostration) is truly a humbling experience. We can beg for God's forgiveness and cry by thinking about our misdeeds, as well as seek refuge in God from the Hellfire. We are in one of the most submissive physical positions when in Sajdah. It is one of the best occasions to ask God for forgiveness, guidance, and all that we want. It is one of the best positions in which to talk to God. Seeking God's pleasure and forgiveness need to be given top priority in the days and nights of Ramadan.
"What The Prophet did in Sajdah" - Abdul Malik Mujahid
From Issue: 593 [Read original issue]
When you experienced sadness yesterday, your situation didn't get any better by you being sad. Your son failed in school, and you became depressed, yet did your depression change the fact that he failed? Your father passed away, and you became downhearted, yet did that bring him back to life? You lost your business, and you became saddened. Did this change your situation by transforming losses into profits?
Do not be sad: You became despondent due to a calamity, and by doing so, created additional calamities. You became depressed because of poverty and this only increased the bitterness of your situation. You became gloomy because of what your enemies said to you; by entering into that mental state, you unwittingly helped them in their attack against you. You became sullen because you expected a particular misfortune, and yet it never came to pass.
Do not be sad: Truly a large mansion will not protect you from the effects of depression; and neither will a beautiful wife, abundant wealth, a high position, or brilliant children.
Do not be sad: Sadness causes you to imagine poison when you are really looking at pure water, to see a cactus when you are looking at a rose, to see a barren desert when you are looking at a lush garden, and to feel that you are in an unbearable prison when you are living on a vast and spacious earth.
Do not be sad: You have the true Religion to live by, a house to live in, bread to eat, water to drink, clothes to wear, a wife to find comfort with; why then the melancholy?
"Don't Be Sad" - Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarni
From Issue: 635 [Read original issue]