Maryam (Mary ra) the mother of Isa (Jesus RA)

As Muslims we often hear about the story of Maryam (ra) but we rarely truly take inspiration from it. All we know is that she was a virgin and the mother of Isa (ra). Today I want to share with you the lessons I found from reading her story in surah Imran and surah Maryam. From when she was conceived, her mother Hanna bint Faqudha dedicated the child in her womb to be free of worldly duties and dedicated to the service and worship of Allah only. This is in itself so admirable in a world where a lot of parents only care about job status and wealth. However when she had the baby and realised in was a girl she said in sorrow to Allah “My rabb I delivered a girl, Allah knows best what she delivered. Male and female are not alike” 2:36. She was disappointed, because she didn’t know how she was going to fulfil the promise she made to her lord. In those days only men were allowed in the temple to worship.
Nevertheless Allah already had a plan for her, Zakariyya (ra) was to be her guardian and built a small house for her in the temple so she could have her privacy. She was so dedicated to Allah that she would receive food that wasn’t in season. When Zakariyya asked her where she got the food from she replies “it is from Allah. Allah provides for whom he pleases without count”. He was so moved by what she had said that he went to pray to Allah for a child, even though his wife was barren and he was an old man. But Allah granted him his wish and his wife soon had Yahya (ra).
When the angels told her about Isa (ra) they said “ Oh maryam (ra), certainly Allah has chosen you, purified you and preferred you above all the women of the world” 2:42. This ayah really shows us the status and importance of Maryam in Islam and the role of women. Her mother was so worried that as a woman there was no way Maryam would be able to worship Allah to the same level as a man. But Allah wanted Maryam to be born female so that she would be able to carry out one of his most important missions, which was to give birth to Isa (ra). This shows that contrary to what a lot of people think about Islam that women are not regarded highly, even as Muslims when we think about the most pious people we always think about men whether it’s prophets or our current sheikhs and scholars. But Allah gave Maryam and majority of women and amazing gift and way of worshiping Allah that men can never attain, which is to give birth to human life. This highlights that although Allah gave men and women different roles in Islam they are equal, they both have an equal chance of gaining Allah’s favour.
The story of Maryam also shows that women should be encouraged to participate in all forms of extra worship such as memorisation of the Quran and going to masjid. When we know that the best of all women, had a section in the temple created for her where she could worship Allah and Zakariyya (ra) would come and teach her about the scriptures. Allah wanted her to have this knowledge not to necessarily go out and preach, but in order to gain taqwa and also be able to teach Isa (ra) the deen.
I pull lessons out of this story as a reminder to myself and you, as a reminder of the status of women in Islam and so that we can take inspiration from Maryam (ra) and hopefully use to gain closest to Allah.

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