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The years had taken
their toll on the
Prophet Zakariyah
(pbuh). He was now old
and bent with age, in
his nineties. Despite his
feebleness, he went to
the temple daily to
deliver his sermons.
Zakariyah was not a
rich man, but he was
always ready to help
those in need. His one
disappointment in life
was that he had no
children, for his wife
was barren. This
worried him, for he
feared there was no
one after him to carry
out his work. The
people needed a strong
leader, for it they were
left on their own, they
would move away from
Allah's teachings and
change the Holy Laws
to suit themselves.
During one of his visits
to the temple, he went
to check on Mary, who
was living in a secluded
room of the temple. He
was surprised to find
fresh out of season
fruit in her room.
Besides him, no one had
entry to her room.
When he inquired, she
told him that the fruit
was from Allah. She
found it every morning.
But why was he so
surprised, she asked
him. Did he not know
that Allah provides
without measure for
whom He wills?
This noble girl had
opened this eyes to a
startling idea. Could he
not ask his Lord to
bless him with a child in
his old age? Even if his
wife was past
childbearing age,
nothing was impossible
for his Gracious Lord!
Allah the Almighty
revealed: 'Kaf, Ha, Ya,
Ain, Sad, (These letters
are one of the miracles
of the Quran, and none
but Allah Alone knows
their meanings). This is
a mention of the Mercy
of your Lord to His
slave Zakariyah. When
he called out his Lord
(Allah) - a call in secret,
saying: "My Lord! Indeed
my bones have grown
feeble, and gray hair
has spread on my head,
and I have never been
unblest in my invocation
to You, O my Lord! And
Verily! I fear my
relatives after me,
since my wife is barren.
So give me from
Yourself an heir, - who
shall inherit me, and
inherit also the
posterity of Jacob
(inheritance of the
religious knowledge and
Prophethood, not the
wealth, etc.) And make
him, my Lord, one with
whom You are Well-
Allah said: "O Zakariyah!
Verily, We give you the
glad tidings of a son. His
name will be Yahya
(John). We have given
that name to none
before him."
He said: "My Lord! How
can I have a son, when
my wife is barren, and I
have reached the
extreme old age."
He said: "So (it will be).
Your Lord says, It is
easy for Me. Certainly I
have created you
before, when you had
been nothing."
Zakariyah said: "My
Lord! Appoint for me a
He said: "Your sign is
that you shall not
speak unto mankind for
three nights, though
having no bodily
Then he came out to
his people from Al
Mihrab (a praying place
or a private room, etc.),
he told them by signs
to glorify Allah's Praises
in the morning and in
the afternoon.
It was said to his son:
"O John! Hold fast to
the Scripture (The
Torah)." And We gave
him wisdom while yet a
child, and made him
sympathetic to men as
a mercy or a grant
from Us, and pure from
sins (John) and he was
righteous, and dutiful
towards his parents,
and he was neither an
arrogant nor
disobedient (to Allah or
to his parents). And
Salamun (peace) on him
the day he was born,
the day he dies, and
the day he will be
raised up to life again!
(Ch 19:1-15 Quran)
Almighty Allah also said:
At that time Zakariyah
invoked his Lord, saying:
"O my Lord! Grant me
from You, a good
offspring. You are
indeed the All-Hearer of
Then the angels called
him, while he was
standing in prayer in Al-
Mihrab ( a praying place
or a private room),
saying: "Allah gives you
glad tidings of John
confirming (believing in)
the Word from Allah
("Be!" - and he was! (i.e.
the creation of Isa
(Jesus), son of Mariam
(Mary), noble keeping
away from sexual
relations with women, a
Prophet, from among
the righteous."
He said: "O my Lord! How
can I have a son when I
am very old, and my
wife is barren?"
Allah said: "Thus Allah
does what He wills." He
said: "O my Lord! Make a
sign for me." Allah said:
"Your sign is that you
shall not speak to
mankind for three days
except with signals. And
remember your Lord
much (by praising Him
again and again), and
glorify Him in the
afternoon and in the
morning." (Ch 3:38-41
John (pbuh) was born a
stranger to the world
of children who used to
amuse themselves, as
he was serious all the
time. Most children took
delight in torturing
animals whereas, he
was merciful to them.
He fed the animals from
his food until there was
nothing left for him,
and he just ate fruit or
leaves of trees.
John loved reading since
childhood. When he grew
up, Allah the Exalted
called upon him: "O John!
Hold fast to the
Scripture (The Torah)."
And We gave him
wisdom while yet a
child. (Ch 19:12 Quran).
Allah guided him to read
the Book of
Jurisprudence closely;
thus, he became the
wisest and most
knowledgeable man of
that time. Therefore,
Allah the Almighty
endowed him with the
faculties of passing
judgments on people's
affairs, interpreting the
secrets of religion,
guiding people to the
right path, and warning
them against the wrong
John reached maturity.
His compassion for his
parents, as well as for
all people and all
creatures, increased
greatly. He called people
to repent their sins.
There are quite a
number of traditions
told about John. Ibn
Asaker related that one
time his parents were
looking for him and
found him at the Jordan
River. When they met
him, they wept sorely,
seeing his great
devotion to Allah, Great
and Majestic.
Ibn Wahb said that,
according to Malik,
grass was the food of
John Ibn Zakariyah, and
he wept sorely in fear
of Allah. A chain of
narrators reported that
Idris Al Khawlawi said:
"Shall I not tell you he
who had the best food?
It is John Ibn Zakariyah,
who joined the beasts
at dinner, fearing to
mix with men."
Ibn Mubarak stated
that Wahb Ibn Al-Ward
narrated that
Zakariayah did not see
his son for three days.
He found him weeping
inside a grave which he
had dug and in which he
resided. "My son, I have
been searching for you,
and you are dwelling in
this grave weeping!" "O
father, did you not tell
me that between
Paradise and Hell is only
a span, and it will not
be crossed except by
tears of weepers?" He
said to him: "Weep then,
my son." Then they
wept together.
Other narrations say
that John (pbuh) said:
"The dwellers of
Paradise are sleepless
out of the sweetness
of Allah's bounty; that
is why the faithful must
be sleepless because of
Allah's love in their
hearts. How far
between the two
luxuries, how far
between them?"
They say John wept so
much that tears marked
his cheeks. He found
comfort in the open and
never cared about food.
He ate leaves, herbs,
and sometimes locusts.
He slept anywhere in
the mountains or in
holes in the ground. He
sometimes would find a
lion or a bear as he
entered a cave, but
being deeply absorbed
in praising Allah, he
never heeded them. The
beasts easily recognized
John as the prophet
who cared for all the
creatures, so they
would leave the cave,
bowing their heads.
John sometimes fed
those beasts, out of
mercy, from his food
and was satisfied with
prayers as food for his
soul. He would spend
the night crying and
praising Allah for His
When John called people
to worship Allah, he
made them cry out of
love and submission,
arresting their hearts
with the truthfulness of
his words.
A conflict took place
between John and the
authorities at that
time. A tyrant king,
Herod Antipas, the ruler
of Palestine, was in love
with Salome, his
brother's daughter. He
was planning to marry
his beautiful niece. The
marriage was
encouraged by her
mother and by some of
the learned men of
Zion, either out of fear
or to gain favor with
the ruler.
On hearing the ruler's
plan, John pronounced
that such a marriage
would be incestuous. He
would not approve it
under any circumstance,
as it was against the
Law of the Torah.
John's pronouncement
spread like wildfire.
Salome was angry, for
it was her ambition to
rule the kingdom with
her uncle. She plotted
to achieve her aim.
Dressing attractively,
she sang and danced
before her uncle. Her
arousing Herod's lust.
Embracing her, he
offered to fulfill
whatever she desired.
At once she told hi: "I
would love to have the
head of John, because
he has defiled your
honor and mine
throughout the land. If
you grant me this wish,
I shall be very happy
and will offer myself to
you." Bewitched by ...

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