23. The Ethos Of Prophet Zachariah

Introduction

Prophet Zachariah was the son of Ezan whose lineage goes back to Prophet David. He was born 5077 years after the fall of Adam. Among the family of Israel, Zachariah was the chief of the servants of Baytol-Moqaddas and the eminent leader of Jews. In the meantime, Imran had two daughters by the name of Mary and her elder sister Eisha. Zachariah married Eisha and became a guardian of Mary. Zachariah was seventy five but with no child. His wife too had reached an age no one expected her to bear a child. During the time Zachariah frequented Baytul-Moqqadas to visit and to take care of Mary who had abode in one of its chambers, he found winter fruits in summer and summer fruits in winter set before her. When asking:

"...Whence comes this to you? She said: it is from Allah. Surely Allah gives to whom He pleases without measure." (3:37)

أَنَّىٰ لَكِ هَٰذَا ۖ قَالَتْ هُوَ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ

Zachariah said to himself: God who can do such a favor to Mary can certainly give me a child. Hence, he started praying:

"My Lord! Grant me from Thee good offspring" (3:38).

رَبِّ هَبْ لِي مِنْ لَدُنْكَ ذُرِّيَّةً طَيِّبَةً

At this time an angel called to him saying:

"Allah gives you the good news of Yahya verifying a word from Allah." (3:39).

أَنَّ اللَّهَ يُبَشِّرُكَ بِيَحْيَىٰ مُصَدِّقًا بِكَلِمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ

Zachriah surprisingly said:

"O my Lord! When shall I have a son, and my wife is barren, and I myself have reached indeed the extreme degree of old age? He said: So shall it be; your Lord says: it is easy to me, and indeed I created you before when you were nothing." (19:8-9)

رَبِّ أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لِي غُلَامٌ وَكَانَتِ امْرَأَتِي عَاقِرًا وَقَدْ بَلَغْتُ مِنَ الْكِبَرِ عِتِيًّا. قَالَ كَذَٰلِكَ قَالَ رَبُّكَ هُوَ عَلَيَّ هَيِّنٌ وَقَدْ خَلَقْتُكَ مِنْ قَبْلُ وَلَمْ تَكُ شَيْئًا

Zachariah said:

"My Lord! Appoint a sign for me. Said he: Your sign in that you should not speak to men for three days except by signs." (3:41)

رَبِّ اجْعَلْ لِي آيَةً ۖ قَالَ آيَتُكَ أَلَّا تُكَلِّمَ النَّاسَ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ إِلَّا رَمْزًا

Zachariah made a prostration of thanks and Eshia became pregnant after five years and gave birth to John (Yahya) while she was six month pregnant. She is said to have lived for some time after John was killed.

Calling Upon His Lord In A Low Voice

"And mention of the mercy of your lord to his servant Zakaria. When he called upon his Lord in a low voice. He said: my Lord! Surely my bones are weakened and my head flares with hoariness, and, my Lord! I have never been unsuccessful in my prayer to Thee: And surely I fear my cousins after me, and my wife is barren, therefore grant me from Thyself an heir, who should inherit me and inherit from the children of Yaqoub, and make him, my Lord one in whom Thou art well pleased." (19:1-6)

ذِكْرُ رَحْمَتِ رَبِّكَ عَبْدَهُ زَكَرِيَّا. إِذْ نَادَىٰ رَبَّهُ نِدَاءً خَفِيًّا. قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي وَهَنَ الْعَظْمُ مِنِّي وَاشْتَعَلَ الرَّأْسُ شَيْبًا وَلَمْ أَكُنْ بِدُعَائِكَ رَبِّ شَقِيًّا. وَإِنِّي خِفْتُ الْمَوَالِيَ مِنْ وَرَائِي وَكَانَتِ امْرَأَتِي عَاقِرًا فَهَبْ لِي مِنْ لَدُنْكَ وَلِيًّا. يَرِثُنِي وَيَرِثُ مِنْ آلِ يَعْقُوبَ ۖ وَاجْعَلْهُ رَبِّ رَضِيًّا.

The Moral Virtues Of Zachariah, His Son And Wife

"And Zakaria, when he cried to his Lord: O my Lord! Leave me not alone; and Thou art the Best of inheritors. So we responded to him and gave him Yahya and made his wife fit for him; surely they used to hasten, one with another, in deeds of goodness and to call upon Us, hoping and fearing; and they were humble before Us." (21:89-90)

وَزَكَرِيَّا إِذْ نَادَىٰ رَبَّهُ رَبِّ لَا تَذَرْنِي فَرْدًا وَأَنْتَ خَيْرُ الْوَارِثِينَ. فَاسْتَجَبْنَا لَهُ وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ يَحْيَىٰ وَأَصْلَحْنَا لَهُ زَوْجَهُ ۚ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَيَدْعُونَنَا رَغَبًا وَرَهَبًا ۖ وَكَانُوا لَنَا خَاشِعِينَ

Keeping Vigil In Prayer And Hidden Invocations

Some of the predecessors have reported that Zacharia spent part of night in prayer and he invoked God so hiddenly that no one would notice. He used to say: O my Lord! O my Lord and God too would say: Here I am, here I am.

وَقالَ بَعضُ السَّلَفِ: قامَ فَنادى رَبَّهُ مُناداةً أسَرَّها عَمَّن كانَ حاضِرًا عِندَهُ مَخافَتَهُ فَقالَ: يا رَبِّ يا رَبِّ يا رَبِّ، فَقالَ اللَّهُ لَبَّيكَ، لَبَّيكَ لَبَّيكَ، (الخ(.

His Occupation

Zacharia was a carpenter by occupation and earned his living with hand labor in the same way that Prophet David earned his living with hand labor.

إِنَّ زَكرِيّا عَليهِ السَّلامُ كانَ نَجّارًا يَعمَلُ بِيَدِه وَيَأكُلُ مِن كَسِبها كَما أنَّ داوودَ عَليهِ السَّلامُ يَأكُلُ مِن كَسبِ يَدِه.