Yahya - Son of Zakaria

Who Attained Messengership In Childhood

Faquz had two daughters both endowed with high morals and a pleasing nature. One was Hannah and the other Isha. Both were married to the two noblest men of the town. Hannah had the honor of being the wife of Imran and Isha became the life partner of Zakaria.

Later on Zakaria was chosen by God as His Messenger and Imran was such a respectable and trustworthy person in Bani Israel that he was elected the trustee of Baitul Maqdas. A long time passed in the married life of Zakaria and Isha. Many springs came and went but no flower in the form of a child grew in their garden. Both became quite aged and all hopes of having an heir faded away according to normal expectations.

Zakaria was always remaining gloomy. As a messenger of God what made him worry so much was that the people of his community were readily falling victims to a disgraceful demoralization, which was being spread speedily by the mischievous Jews. Almost everyone was indulging only in useless and undesirable activities. On the other hand, he saw that age had weakened him and there was none to

continue reform work after his death, which was fast approaching. But how long could he burn himself in this fire of restlessness and anxiety? Finally he got tired and left everything to the Will of Almighty God Whom he was worshipping every moment and with every breath.

One day, when Zakaria entered the room of Maryam, who lived in Baitul Maqdas, he saw several heavenly fruits before her. Astonishingly he asked, “From where have these fruits come? Who brought them here?” Maryam replied with ease, “They are from my God.”

This happening jerked Prophet Zakaria as if he woke up from his sleep. He thought over the event deeply and told himself: Of course it is Only One God Who sends to Maryam in winter those fruits, which grow in summer and vice versa. Is it not possible that such Almighty God may grant his wife a child in her old age? So he raised his hands towards the heavens and prayed to Allah hopefully, saying, “My Lord! I am afraid that after my departure from the scene evil fellows will step forward to demoralize people. I know that my wife and I both are aged. But it is not impossible for Your Might to grant me an heir.”

In the words of the Quran:

A 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 Yaqub, and make him, my Lord, one in whom Thou art well pleased.

O Zakaria! Surely We give you good news of a boy whose name shall be Yahya: We have not made before anyone his equal.

He 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? [1]

Prophet Zakaria was yet in the prayer niche praying to Allah when angels addressed him, “O Zakaria! God gives you good news that He will grant you a son whose name will be Yahya because prior to this none has been named thus.”

Zakaria became joyful on hearing this Divine Voice. However, with a view to get peace of mind, as to how could he get a child in that advanced age, he asked his Lord, “My Lord! How will it be so when I have become very old and weak?”

Came the voice once again conveying: He has decided to grant you both a son in these days and in these circumstances. It is very easy for God to do so. The God Who can bring you to life from nothing has the Might to grant you and your wife a son in old age.

Prophet Zakaria, for satisfying his heart, again prayed, “My Creator! Kindly give me some sign.” God sent revelation that the sign was that his tongue will remain tied for three days and that he will not be able to converse with anyone except through signals.

[1] Surah Maryam 19:2-8

When the said signal was manifested and a period of six months passed, Almighty God granted Zakaria a son, Yahya and also adorned the child with prophethood in his childhood.

The Quran has mentioned it in the following way:

He said: So shall it be, your Lord says: It is easy to Me, and indeed I created you before, when you were nothing.

He said: My Lord! Give me a sign. He said: Your sign is that you will not be able to speak to the people three nights while in sound health.[1]

Prophet Yahya, even in his childhood, was very handsome, intelligent and attractive, and also endowed with foresight and wisdom to an extraordinary extent.

In his young age he kept himself away from worldly affairs busying himself only with the worship of God and leading a life of purity and righteousness. He toiled so much that he became very thin and physically weak.

As a result of the piety of his soul and due to an inter revolution Yahya used to keep himself away from women and also from other children of his age and remained aloof from the material world. Then God granted him messengership in his childhood. So he began to call people to God worship addressing the audiences forcefully. He prohibited people from disobeying God’s commands. Looking at his knowledge, capability, justice, honesty and truthfulness the Bani Israel used to make him their arbitrator for settling disputes.

[1] Surah Maryam 19:9-10

Yahya was a righteous and a good-natured young man. His race was also noble and kind and he never indulged in injustice.[1]

While deciding disputes he used to be harsh towards the unjust and oppressors who did not obey divine commandments. This made his enemies revengeful and finally he was martyred.

The Quran describes Yahya (a.s) in the following words:

O Yahya! Take hold of the Book with strength, and We granted him wisdom while yet a child

And tenderness from Us and purity, and he was one who guarded (against evil),

And dutiful to his parents, and he was not insolent, disobedient.[2]

King Herdolis married a woman named Herodia who had a daughter from her previous husband. The daughter was extremely beautiful and so attractive that she maddened anyone. A grand ceremony was held on the birthday of King Herdolis. This girl staged a captivating and charming dance performance therein which made all in the audience, including the King, spellbound. The King was so much fascinated by her that he asked the girl what she desired so that he could fulfill her desire. It became a talk of the town that the King has fallen in love with his own daughter. People began to hate the king. Prophet Yahya, in order to prevent the king from such evil scolded him harshly and publicly announced that it was an open violation of the Law

[1] See Holy Quran, Surah Maryam, 19:1-14 [2] Surah Maryam 19:12-14

of Moses and that it was absolutely illegal and a criminal offence on the part of the King to cohabit with that girl.

Feeling that the guardian of the Divine Law was interfering with the pleasures and joys of the mother-daughter duo, they began to conspire against Yahya (a.s).

One day when the King expressed his eagerness to go to bed with his daughter, she replied that it was impossible as long as Yahya was alive. The King who was maddened by the charm of that girl broke all bounds in the upsurge of his passions and lust and ordered the execution of Yahya and issued a command to bring Yahya’s head in a tray before him. Prophet Yahya was only thirty years old at that time. His maternal cousin, Isa (a.s) was living then but had not yet begun his mission.

Finally when Prophet Yahya was decapitated and when the first drop of his holy blood fell on the ground a forceful fountain of blood sprang up from that spot which frightened Bani Israel. Talks of their shamelessness and lewdness spread all around until the King of Babylon in southern Iraq invaded Palestine and destroyed it thoroughly. When a large number of Jews were slaughtered the boiling of Yahya’s innocent blood cooled down and it stopped gushing.

And peace on him on the day he was born, and on the day he dies, and on the day he is raised to life.[1]

[1] Surah Maryam 19:15