A Female Child: The Story of Maryam

Shaykh Ahmad El Azhary explores the Lessons from the Live of the Prophets in the Quran. He unlocks their aim, which is to direct us towards Allah Almighty and the Day of Judgement. This is the seventh article in the series.

Maryam (upon her be peace) upon her birth proved to be a girl. In those times, they did not accept girls into the service of God due to women’s monthly circumstances. The mother of Maryam (upon them be peace) voiced three things:

فَلَمَّا وَضَعَتۡهَا قَالَتۡ رَبِّ إِنِّی وَضَعۡتُهَاۤ أُنثَىٰ وَٱللَّهُ أَعۡلَمُ بِمَا وَضَعَتۡ وَلَیۡسَ ٱلذَّكَرُ كَٱلۡأُنثَىٰۖ وَإِنِّی سَمَّیۡتُهَا مَرۡیَمَ وَإِنِّیۤ أُعِیذُهَا بِكَ وَذُرِّیَّتَهَا مِنَ ٱلشَّیۡطَـٰنِ ٱلرَّجِیمِ

“So when she had given birth to her, she said, ‘My Lord, I have but given birth to her a female!’—While Allah knew better the vast worth of what she had given birth to—‘And the male is not like the female; And I have named her Mary and seek protection in You for her and her offspring from the execrable Devil.’” [Keller, The Quran Beheld 3:36]

The Quran here does not compare a female to a male. It compares a male to a female. About this verse, the scholars of Quranic exegesis say that the woman has more potential than the man. The female has a lot of potential that a man does not have.

Compare your feelings, emotions, and care for insight into this matter. 

وَإِنِّی سَمَّیۡتُهَا مَرۡیَمَ 

“And I have named her Mary” [Keller, The Quran Beheld 3:36]

“Maryam” means the beautiful – the one whose cheeks are full. 

وَإِنِّیۤ أُعِیذُهَا بِكَ وَذُرِّیَّتَهَا مِنَ ٱلشَّیۡطَـٰنِ ٱلرَّجِیمِ

“And seek protection in You for her and her offspring from the execrable Devil.’” [Keller, The Quran Beheld 3:36]

Do we make dua that Allah protects our children? There is so much evil out there. The evil eye is everywhere. Hold your child tight and do ruqya on him/her. You do not need to send them to a Shaykh.

The Quran responds in the following ayah:

فَتَقَبَّلَهَا رَبُّهَا بِقَبُولٍ حَسَن وَأَنۢبَتَهَا نَبَاتًا حَسَنا وَكَفَّلَهَا زَكَرِیَّاۖ كُلَّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَیۡهَا زَكَرِیَّا ٱلۡمِحۡرَابَ وَجَدَ عِندَهَا رِزۡقاۖ قَالَ یَـٰمَرۡیَمُ أَنَّىٰ لَكِ هَـٰذَاۖ قَالَتۡ هُوَ مِنۡ عِندِ ٱللَّهِۖ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ یَرۡزُقُ مَن یَشَاۤءُ بِغَیۡرِ حِسَابٍ

“So her Lord forthwith accepted her with gracious favor, and raised her up fair; And gave her to the charge of Zachariah. Whenever Zachariah entered upon her in the upper sanctum he found wonderous provision with her; He said, ‘O Mary, from whence do you have this?’ She said, ‘It is from Allah: Verily Allah unfailingly provides for whomever He wills without reckoning.” [Keller, The Quran Beheld 3:37]

Allah accepted her regardless. That was not an issue at all. As for her beauty:

وَأَنۢبَتَهَا نَبَاتًا حَسَنا

“And raised her up fair” [Keller, The Quran Beheld 3:37]


وَكَفَّلَهَا زَكَرِیَّاۖ

“And gave her to the charge of Zachariah.” [Keller, The Quran Beheld 3:37]

The verb كَفَّلَ means to put in the sponsorship or the care of someone. It shows the divine factor. 

The Temple 

ذَ ٰلِكَ مِنۡ أَنۢبَاۤءِ ٱلۡغَیۡبِ نُوحِیهِ إِلَیۡكَۚ وَمَا كُنتَ لَدَیۡهِمۡ إِذۡ یُلۡقُونَ أَقۡلَـٰمَهُمۡ أَیُّهُمۡ یَكۡفُلُ مَرۡیَمَ وَمَا كُنتَ لَدَیۡهِمۡ إِذۡ یَخۡتَصِمُونَ

“All that is of the tidings of the unseen We inspire to you: You were not with them when they cast their trimmed reed-pens as to which of them would take charge of Mary, nor with them when they vied.” [Keller, The Quran Beheld 3:44]

At a certain stage, they took Maryam (upon her be peace) to the temple. She was dedicated to the service of God. 

This was unprecedented. The rabbis, teachers, and students had a long meeting. They decided to build a room for her out of respect for the memory of her father. He was at a certain point, the chief rabbi in the temple. 

They built for her a room in the courtyard of the temple not in their place of service. Maryam (upon her be peace) was given all the housework.

Who was going to look after her? They had their pens which they used to write the Torah with. This is the most sacred tool because they decided to throw their pens in a rivulet. The one whose pen arrives at the end of the river first was to be the person who will look after her. 

They did this three times and every time the reed of Zakariyya (upon him be peace) was first. 

The story of Maryam teaches us many lessons. The accounts above highlight to us the importance of taking care of and having concern for one’s child. Have a vision for them. Ask Allah to protect and accept them. Dedicate them to Allah.