QA Sessions and Tafsir of Surah Maryam 16 to 23

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This article is a summary of takeaways from Ustaz Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram’s Tafsir Lecture at Darul Makmur Mosque on 1st December 2019.

This article comprise of two sections: (1) A Q&A session regarding last week’s session [8 Qualities to Instil in your Child] and (2) a tafsir of Surah Maryam, verses 16 to 23.

Q&A Session for verses covered on
24
th November 2019

In the session, we extracted Lessons from the Life of Prophet Yahya AS, based on the Tafsir of Surah Maryam [19:12-15]. In these verses, Allah SWT highlights eight qualities which Prophet Yahya AS was known to portray, thereby introducing us to the qualities of a child that is pleasing to Allah SWT.

On Attaining Salaam

وَسَلَامٌعَلَيْهِيَوْمَوُلِدَوَيَوْمَيَمُوتُوَيَوْمَيُبْعَثُحَيًّا

Peace be upon him the day he was born, and the day of his death, and the day he will be raised back to life! [19:15]

Q: In verse 15 of Surah Maryam, we learnt that Prophet Yahya AS was granted Salaam (meaning peace, comfort and security) on the day he was born, the day of his death and the day he was raised back to life. How do we attain Salaam from Allah SWT?

A: As Muslims, we firmly believe that Salaam comes solely from Allah SWT. Afterall, one of the 99 Names of Allah is As-Salaam, the Source of Peace. Therefore, we must first understand that Salaam can only be obtained through Him. Any peace that we obtain through other than obedience and worship to Allah SWT is not true peace.

Next, remember that Salaam was granted to Prophet Yahya AS since the day he was born as a result of the supplication of his father (Prophet Zakariya AS), asking Allah for a noble child. Likewise, diligently make supplication to Allah asking for children who are pleasing to Allah SWT. This is in the hope that our children too, may receive Salaam throughout their lives on earth.

On this note, it is important to remember that in order to attain Salaam from Allah, we first need to ensure that we do whatever it takes to obey Him.

In a hadith, Prophet Muhammad SAW said:

“Safeguard (the Commandments of) Allah, you will find Him before you.
Remember Him in prosperity and He will remember you in adversity.”

For as long as we take care of Allah’s position in our life, we will find Him SWT in all aspects of our lives. Whatever you seek to do, Allah will guide you through it. Whatever difficulty you encounter, Allah will lighten your load and grant you a way out. Take care of Allah’s religion, and Allah will be there ready to welcome you- just as Prophet Yahya AS came into the world already being in a state of Salaam. Safeguard your relationship with Allah and Allah will take care of all your affairs.

 “Be sure that which you miss, was not to hit you;
and what hits you, was never to miss you.”

Inner peace comes from having confidence in Allah’s plans- knowing that whatever happens to us has already been pre-planned by Allah. When we firmly believe this, all occurrences in life, whether good or bad, will be taken in our stride. Hence, our hearts remain calm and at peace knowing that all things come from Allah alone.

“Remember that the Help of Allah is obtained with patience, and relief emerges after distress, prosperity follows adversity, and hardship is followed by ease”.

As human beings, it is natural to encounter difficulties and trials in life. Take on these tests with patience and determination. Know that when you put all reliance solely on Allah, you will remain in a constant state of Salaam, always aware of Allah’s Presence, Aid and Peace in your life.

On Being Childless and Leaving a Legacy

Q: In the previous session, we learnt that Prophet Zakariya AS was granted a son at old age because of his supplication to Allah. This was in spite of him being childless for many years. What happens if, despite my supplications, I am still not granted any offspring? Are these verses irrelevant to people who are childless? 

A: These verses teach us to (1) be diligent in putting in effort to achieve what you want and (2) be persistent in persevering with supplication to Allah. So, do just that. Know that Allah sees your effort. When you strive in making supplication for Allah, He will answer your prayers with what is best for you- often with something even better than you would have expected from Him.

Nevertheless, if despite of all your supplications, Allah does not grant you specifically what you have asked for, it does not mean that your prayers have not been answered. Being childless does not mean that you are denied of Allah’s blessings. Every servant of Allah is granted blessings of his own as well as responsibilities of his own.

Remember in the previous session, that we talked about the lifespan of a human being. As believers, not only do we hope to bring benefit and earn benefit in life, we also hope that Allah allows us to continue giving benefit to others even after death. One of the reasons for wanting offspring is because we hope that Allah allows our legacy, of goodness to others, to carry on after our deaths through them.

However, even if we are not granted offspring, we need to continue striving so that the goodness that we produce and achieve in this world carries on as our investment in the hereafter. Perhaps, through our interactions with others, we may impact the lives of our siblings, neighbours, students or companions. In fact, every person that we encounter in this world can possibly be a source of supplication for us after our deaths or a continuation of our legacy after our demise.

In a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA, Prophet Muhammad SAW said:

“When a man dies all his good deeds come to an end except three: Ongoing charity (Sadaqah Jariyah), beneficial knowledge and a righteous son who prays for him.”

The responsibility of leaving a legacy for the world is not limited only to parents. Even if you are unable to have one of the three stated in the hadith, the other two good deeds are available to everyone. Strive to be someone from whom people derive goodness in this world. Strive to be someone who brings benefit even after your demise, regardless of whether you have children. And if you do have children, then ensure that your responsibility of leaving a legacy through them is fulfilled.

On the Living Dead 

Q: Ustaz, in the previous session, you mentioned zombies (the living dead). As Muslims, is it permissible to believe in zombies? 

A: I apologise if my usage of the word “zombie” at jest was misunderstood and taken seriously. It was not my intention to ask all of you to believe in zombies, I only used the word as a metaphor. However, even if zombies are fictional, there are still valuable lessons from it.

Firstly, in whatever movies you see zombies in, people fear them. Likewise, we must realise that choosing to live our lives as zombies, people who are alive but not living, is something that we should fear. We should fear becoming people who are living, but with hearts, minds and spirits that are dead.

Secondly, in the movies, we see that people run away from zombies for fear of getting infected and becoming zombies themselves. Similarly, realise that this attitude of being alive but not living is something that you want to avoid at all costs. Choose your teachers and companions wisely and carefully. Ensure that you do not get “infected” with such an unhealthy lifestyle, one in which you live life fuelled by your own desires and not for Allah’s worship.

The Story of Maryam AS

Background

As we have previously seen in Surah Ali-Imran, Sayidatina Maryam AS was born from a righteous family. Sayidatina Maryam’s mother had made a vow (nazar) to Allah to give her child in service to the Allah’s religion. As such, Sayidatina Maryam AS was raised and educated by her uncle, Prophet Zakariya AS.

Verses Explained

وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ مَرْيَمَ إِذِ انتَبَذَتْ مِنْ أَهْلِهَا مَكَانًا شَرْقِيًّا

And mention in the Book Maryam (Mary)
as she retired from her family to an eastern place. [19:16] 

 

فَاتَّخَذَتْ مِن دُونِهِمْ حِجَابًا فَأَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْهَا رُوحَنَا فَتَمَثَّلَ لَهَا بَشَرًا سَوِيًّا

And she took, in seclusion from them, a screen. Then We sent to her Our Ruh, and he represented himself to her as a well-proportioned man. [19:17]
Sayidatina Maryam sole life focus was to worship Allah, in solitude. She AS stayed in the same town as her family. However, she secluded herself by staying stayed in solitude in her Mihrab (a specific place dedicated for worship) in the East of the village.
One day, while Maryam was in seclusion, Allah sent Angel Jibrail AS to meet Maryam in the form of a man. He wasn’t sent in his original form so as to not scare her.

قَالَتْإِنِّيأَعُوذُبِالرَّحْمَٰنِمِنكَإِنكُنتَتَقِيًّا

She said, “Surely I take refuge in The All-Merciful from you,
if you should be fearing of Allah.” [19:18]

Maryam was alone in her Mihrab, hidden from the public. When a man appeared seemingly out of nowhere, she was shocked and afraid, fearing his likely ill-intent towards her. She sought Allah’s protection and reminded the man to have Taqwa– to be conscious of and fear Allah.

قَالَإِنَّمَاأَنَارَسُولُرَبِّكِلِأَهَبَلَكِغُلَامًازَكِيًّا

He responded, “I am only a messenger from your Lord, ˹sent˺ to bless you with a pure son.” [19:19]

قَالَتْأَنَّىٰيَكُونُلِيغُلَامٌوَلَمْيَمْسَسْنِيبَشَرٌوَلَمْأَكُبَغِيًّا

She said, “How can I have a boy while no man has touched me and I have not been unchaste?” [19:20]

قَالَكَذَٰلِكِقَالَرَبُّكِهُوَعَلَيَّهَيِّنٌۖوَلِنَجْعَلَهُآيَةًلِّلنَّاسِوَرَحْمَةًمِّنَّاۚوَكَانَأَمْرًامَّقْضِيًّا

He said, “Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign to the people and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter [already] decreed.’ ” [19:21]

Angel Jibrail AS informs her that he is a messenger who came with the news of a son. Like Prophet Zakariya AS, who responded to Jibrail’s news with surprise and confusion, Sayidatina Maryam too was shocked to hear of this.

فَحَمَلَتْهُفَانتَبَذَتْبِهِمَكَانًاقَصِيًّا

And she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a distant place. [19:22]

فَأَجَاءَهَاالْمَخَاضُإِلَىٰجِذْعِالنَّخْلَةِقَالَتْيَالَيْتَنِيمِتُّقَبْلَهَٰذَاوَكُنتُنَسْيًامَّنسِيًّا

And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a date-palm.
She said: ” Alas! I wish I had died before this, and was a thing long forgotten!” [19:23]

Sayidatina Maryam AS retreated while being pregnant, to a distant place in order to escape the criticism and mockery of her people. She feared the potential shame she would bring to herself and her family. In her pains of labour, she wished to be dead and unknown. Despite her righteousness and high standing in the eyes of Allah, when given the heaviest test, she too felt burdened and hurt. A believer is not one who does not suffer and does not feel pain. It is only natural for humans to feel distressed, discouraged and embarrassed. The wishes she expressed did not make her someone with a weak faith. They were expressed in a moment of pain- regardless, her heart still stood firm in faith.

Key Takeaways

1. It is only human to be afraid. Being fearful is not a sign of weakness of faith or character. However, when encountering a fearful situation, it is essential that you remember Allah first and foremost. Follow the example of Sayidatina Maryam AS, who, in the face of uncertainty and uneasiness, invoked the name of Allah, seeking protection from Him alone.​​​​​​​2. It is not wrong to feel and express regret, sorrow or distress. Having these thoughts do not make us sinful unless we act upon these thoughts and put them into action. The line is drawn when it comes to blaming Allah and rejecting His Qadr (predestination). Sayidatina Maryam AS had thought of wanting to be dead, and yet she carried on living. As long as we do not hold onto the words in our minds and let them grow, they are not a problem. When these thoughts emerge, return to Allah immediately. Learn from the example of Sayidatina Maryam who boldly took on the trial that Allah SWT had selected for her, knowing that it comes from Allah.

3. Finally, remember that there is no escape from trials in this world except through Allah.

لَايُكَلِّفُاللَّهُنَفْسًاإِلَّاوُسْعَهَاۚلَهَامَاكَسَبَتْوَعَلَيْهَامَااكْتَسَبَتْۗرَبَّنَالَاتُؤَاخِذْنَاإِننَّسِينَاأَوْأَخْطَأْنَاۚرَبَّنَاوَلَاتَحْمِلْعَلَيْنَاإِصْرًاكَمَاحَمَلْتَهُعَلَىالَّذِينَمِنقَبْلِنَاۚرَبَّنَاوَلَاتُحَمِّلْنَامَالَاطَاقَةَلَنَابِهِۖوَاعْفُعَنَّاوَاغْفِرْلَنَاوَارْحَمْنَاۚأَنتَمَوْلَانَافَانصُرْنَاعَلَىالْقَوْمِالْكَافِرِينَ

Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned.

Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear.

And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.”

[Surah al-Baqarah, 2:286]

Every servant of Allah will be tested with challenges throughout his life on Earth. No test is bigger than you can handle, for as long as you have Allah’s aid. As such, prepare yourselves to take on these tests. Do not ask Allah not to test you. Rather, ask Allah to grant you the wisdom and strength to cope with the tests that you encounter in life.

May Allah grant us the grace of Sayidatina Maryam AS in safeguarding our relationship with Him in good times and in difficulty, so that we may live a life of Salaam in Allah’s Mercy and Protection always. Ameen.

——————–

Summary by: Arina Adom

Arina Adom is a lover of learning who takes on the world with an open mind. Resourceful and adaptable, always ready to take on new challenges. Comfortable working with diverse groups of people, yet able to work independently. Thrives under pressure. Currently seeking a meaningful career that enables me to impact lives directly and bring about positive changes in the lives of others in the community.

Arina graduated with a degree in Science ( Hons ), Life Science from NUS and is currently a Research Assistant at Evolutionary Biology Lab ( NUS ). She is currently taking a diploma in Quran and Sunnah Studies from Al Zuhri.

Arina Adom – Linkedin Profile


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