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The Miraculous Birth of Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him) Part 1
After the death of Prophet Musa (S.A.W.), the Bani Israel started to drift away from the Truth he taught them. Allah (S.W.T.) sent them many Prophets to enlighten the path for them just as flocks of sheep are sent shepherds to warn of the dangers of the abyss. But again and again the people swayed from the straight path, and Allah (S.W.T.) the All-Merciful kept sending them prophet after prophet. This was a time when good and evil were constantly at war, and where contradictions abounded in the lives of the Jews. Allah (S.W.T.) was worshiped in Baytul-Maqdis and yet the nearby markets were the havens of lies, deceptions and usury. Evil was part of everyday life. At this time lived two men: a Prophet Zakarya (alayhe assalaam), and a pious scholar, Imran.
Imran's wife of many years was childless despite her strong yearning to conceive. She never lost hope but instead kept asking Allah (S.W.T.) to bless her with a child, a young baby of her own that she can hold and taste of the sweet taste of motherhood. One day she had the strange feeling that she was bearing a child inside her. Overjoyed and never grateful, she invoked Allah (S.W.T.),
"O my Lord! I have vowed to You what is in my womb to be dedicated for Your services, so accept this from me. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-knowing."
AS was customary, she vowed to dedicate her child to the services of Baytul Maqdis, worshipping Allah (S.W.T.), and being in the services of His place of worship. Upon giving birth to a daughter, Imran's wife said,
"O my Lord! I have delivered a female child... And the male is not like the female, and I have named her Maryam, and I seek refuge with You for her and for her offspring from Shaytan, the outcast."
She had wished for a boy, who is usually stronger for the service of Allah's house, but she knew that Allah's (S.W.T.) plan is better than any wish she might have. She kept her vow and called the baby Maryam (R.A.) a suitable name meaning 'the maidservant of Allah.'
Allah (S.W.T.) granted Imran wife her prayer for protection for the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, "Every newborn is touched (or poked) by the Shaytan right after his birth, so the newborn cries from his touch, except Maryam and her son." [related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Under the special protection of Allah (S.W.T.), Maryam grew in good manners and great beauty. When her mother gave her for the service of Allah (S.W.T.), her relative the Prophet Zakarya (alayhe assalam) offered to take charge of her. But every priest wanted to have that honor since she was the daughter of their beloved scholar Imran. And so lots were cast with pens to see who would take her under his protection. Zakarya's pen came out and so he chose for her a mihraab in the masjid--a private place where she could devote herself of the worship of Allah (S.W.T.).
Maryam would spend most of her time in the mihraab worshipping Allah (S.W.T.) day and night, and performing her chores in the masjid when it was her turn.
Prophet Zakarya (alayhe assalam) would visit her periodically, each time finding her supplied with food. He was surprised not only because of the food which seemed to appear out of thin air, but also that this food was usually fruits out of season. Maryam had winter fruits in the summer and vice versa. he once asked her, "O Maryam, where did you get this from?" She replied, "This is from Allah (S.W.T.).
Verily, Allah (S.W.T.) provides sustenance to whom He wills, without limit."
These words struck a chord in him, for he was an old man and he had not begotten any child of his own. But he thought Allah (S.W.T.) is All-Able to grant him a child even in his old age, just as He provided Maryam with fruits out of season. And so he invoked Allah (S.W.T.), and Allah (S.W.T.) granted him Yahya (John) alayhe assalam.