Exposition of the Holy Quran – 19 Surah Maryam (G A Parwez)

Surah 19: Maryam

(1) Allah Who is generous, ever-guiding, ever-living, all-knowing,
all-seeing has said:
(2) This is a narration of the bounties which your Rabb had bestowed on His devotee Zachariah.
(3) It so happened that Zachariah addressed his Rabb in a low submissive tone (3:37),
(4) And said, I am growing weak on account of old age and my head glistens with grey hair. Until now it has never happened that I have asked you for something my Rabb, and it has not been granted. (Therefore I earnestly hope that my prayer will be granted this time as well.)
(5-6) (As I am old and) My wife is barren (and there is no chance of my getting any offspring). There is no one amongst my kinsfolk who is capable of carrying on the House of Jacob. So, O my Rabb, out of Your grace, grant me an heir who will be capable, worthy and deserving in all respects; so that I may entrust this heritage to his care.
(7) (We heard his prayer and said) “O Zachariah! We give you the good news of a son. When he is born, he should be named Yahya (John). This boy will be outstanding; and there has been none like him before (19:65).
(8) Zachariah (was extremely happy on receiving the good news, but for reassurance(1) he sought clarification and) said, “O my Rabb! How can I have a child when my wife is barren and I have become utterly infirm through old age?” (Will that child be born to my own family or will I adopt someone else’s son, as in the case of
Mary who is being brought up by
Me – 3:39).
(9) (His Rabb answered) “The child will be born as your own son; just as children are born (to other people). Reviving the potential of having children naturally, even in old age, is quite easy according to My laws. I brought you into existence, although previously there was no trace of you.”
(10) Zachariah said, “O my Rabb! Let me know if there is any particular directive in this regard.” Allah instructed him that he would fast continuously for three (days and) nights (3:40), and he would not converse with people (19:26).
(11) Thereafter, he came out of the mehrab(2) and signalled to his people (who had gathered in the temple awaiting his instructions) not to wait, but to continue performing their normal duties, day and night.
(12) (So, according to the glad tidings) John was born and, when he was still a boy, We graced him with wisdom so that he could capably decide on matters.
(13) And We also gifted him with a compassionate heart. (When he grew up) We told him to hold fast to the divine laws. He was always conscious of these laws and lived a pure and promising life (and accordingly his human potentialities continued to develop).
(14) And his heart was magnanimous towards his (old) parents. He was never overbearing or rebellious.
(15) (Such were the qualities of this child that) His birth was free from defects (despite being born to aged parents). And the day of his death will be as peaceful as the day he will be raised again to life.
(16) (O Rasool!) Now relate from this book (Qur’an) the story of Mary, (starting

from the time) when after abandoning her cloistered life she moved towards the east (to her village.)
(17) (The cloistered life and the unpleasant events occurring there had such an adverse effect on her mind that) There also she lived in seclusion, apart from others. In order to remove these effects, We introduced positive thoughts in her mind and pleasant aspects of life appeared to her (in a dream) as a person.
(18) (Mary was frightened at this sight and exclaimed) “I seek the protection of Ar-Rahman from you.”
(19) He answered, “(There is no cause for alarm because) I have only brought a message from your Rabb (3:44). He is going to bestow you with a healthy son.”
(20) She said, “How can I have a son when no man has ever touched me?” (When I was in the temple, I lived a virtuous life; and since I came out, I have not got married as this is against the laws of the cloister – 3:46; 19:28.)
(21) He said, “Whatever I have told you will happen according to Allah’s law of creation (3:46). This is easy for Him (to remove all the hindrances which are in your mind and which perturb you – 19:9). Allah has also said that this child will not be like other children. He will be from our side an embodiment of rahma for the people, and a testimonial for truth and falsehood. (Whoever brings eiman on his nabuwwa will be on the right path, while the one who rejects it, will be wrong.) And this is already decreed by Us (3:47).
(22) (And gradually all impediments were removed and the fear of religious taboos vanished from Mary’s mind. At the same time, in spite of warnings and intimidation from the priests, one person agreed to marry Mary.) In time Mary conceived the child and consequently they (both of them) considered it appropriate to move to a far off place (so that the child would be born in a place where no one knew them; and where they would be safe from the wrath and accusations of the priests).
(23) And when the time of delivery came, the throes of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a date palm. She exclaimed, “O how I wish I had died before all this and had become quite forgotten!”
(24) (While she was in anguish she heard a voice saying) “O Mary! Grieve not. There is a rivulet running below.
(25) Shake the branch of the date palm towards you and fresh ripe dates will drop near you.
(26) Eat and drink and then let your eyes rejoice (at the sight of your baby). (As for your concern about accusations or queries, you should keep a fast and) if anyone asks, you should inform only by gesturing, that you have vowed to fast in the name of Ar-Rahman and will therefore not speak to any person for the day.”
(27) (This is how Jesus was born. The parents took the child to a far off place. He grew up there and was bestowed with nabuwwa.) His mother then brought him back to her own people on a mount. (Firstly, her act of leaving the temple and living a married life was against the discipline of the clergy. Moreover, Mary returned with Jesus, who started to criticize the conduct, character and self-made laws of the clerical order.) So the people said, “O Mary! You have come here with something very strange.”
(28) They said, “O sister of Aaron! Neither was your father a wicked man, nor had your mother revolted against clerical discipline.”
(29) In reply to their questions she (would not say anything herself but) would direct them towards Jesus (to get their answers from him). (The elderly priests who were extremely proud of their priesthood arrogantly asked) “Should we talk to one who till recently was a little boy in the cradle?”
(30) In reply Jesus said, “I am a servant of Allah. He has given me the book and bestowed nabuwwa (prophethood) upon me and made me a nabi.
(31) He has blessed me in every walk of life and has enjoined upon me to establish, as long as I live, the correct system of sala and zaka.
(32) (My mother’s conduct was according to the true Shariah of Allah, therefore) I shall always be dutiful and respectful to my mother; and He has not made me a cruel and callous person.
(33) (You regard my birth as objectionable. However, according to Allah, whose message I have brought) My birth is for peace; my life will be for peace. Peace will be upon me till the day I die; and I will be in peace in the life after death.”
(34) This is the true story of Jesus about whom people disagree so deeply. (One group, namely the Jews, degrade him and regard his birth as objectionable. On the other hand, the Christians aggrandize him as the son of God.)
(35) It is not necessary for Allah to take for himself a son. He is far above such a requirement. Such is the might of His powers, that whenever He decrees a matter, He only has to say “Be”, and it becomes (according to His plan).
(36) (As regards the Christian belief that Jesus was God himself, there cannot be a better argument than Jesus’ own proclamation that) “Verily Allah is my Sustainer and yours as well. All of us should obey Him, for this is most certainly the straight and balanced path (3:50).”
(37) (However, later on,) Some of the factions (amongst his followers) started dissenting amongst themselves. Regretfully for all those who deny the truth, when the day of judgment comes, it will be a difficult time for them.
(38) (By calling a rasool God, or son of God) They are perpetrating zulm and are committing an error. But they will not be able to do this on the day (of judgment). On that day, how clearly will their ears hear and their eyes see (50:22)!
(39) Therefore, O Rasool! You should warn them of the coming of the day of regrets, when all matters shall be settled. So far, they are heedless because they do not believe this.
(40) (They are not aware that in actual fact) We alone shall remain master over the earth and everything on it. Everything revolves around Our Law of Mukafat; nothing remains beyond it. (Even power and authority are bestowed and taken away according to this law – 21:105.)
(41) (O Rasool!) Now in this book (Qur’an) is narrated the story of Abraham, who was indeed a nabi and an embodiment of truth.
(42) He said to his father, “O father! Why do you worship something which can neither hear nor see, and can be of no use to you whatsoever?”
(43) He said, “O my father! Indeed a ray of knowledge has come to me, that which never came to you. Therefore you should follow me. I shall lead you to the path which will take you directly to the destination.
(44) “O my father! Why do you obey the satanic forces which are rebellious to Ar-Rahman?
(45) “O my father! I fear lest chastisement from Ar-Rahman befall you; and you also become a comrade of Satan.”
(46) Abraham’s father answered, “O Abraham! Have you become averse to my gods? If you do not desist from your views I shall reprove you. So if you want my grace, stay away from me (till you mend your ways).”
(47) Abraham said, “May Allah guide you to the correct path. I will continue to pray that He protects you from kufr. He has always been very gracious in bestowing His endless blessings upon me (9:114).
(48) I withdraw from you all and from whoever you invoke other than Allah. I will only invoke my Rabb. I am sure that by invoking Him I will not be deprived of life’s bounties. (Thus I do not attach any importance to your threats that I will be deprived of the wealth and status which I am likely to inherit otherwise – 60:4.)
(49) So he departed from them and from everything they were worshipping (and settled in Syria). There We bestowed on him (a son) Isaac and (thereafter a grandson) Jacob. We honoured both of them with nabuwwa.
(50) And We bestowed upon them manifold bounties and granted them the power to convey the truth
(51) (Likewise) O Rasool! Narrated in this book is the story of Moses, who was a very sincere person; and he was Our rasool and nabi.
(52) We called him from the right side of the Mount (of Sinai) and drew him close to Us.
(53) And also out of Our grace, we made his brother Aaron a nabi.
(54) Similarly, narrated in this book is the story of Ishmael (who besides being from the line of the Bani-Israel, was also the progenitor of the other branch of Abraham’s descendants). He was always true to his promise; and was indeed a nabi sent by Us.
(55) He always enjoined upon his people the enforcement of sala and zaka. He was in complete harmony with the laws of his sustainer.
(56) Also mentioned in this book is the story of Idrees (Enoch). He too was a very truthful person and a nabi.
(57) And We had exalted him to a high position (4:158).
(58) All of them fall in the category of anbiya, upon whom Allah had bestowed His bounties. They were from the progeny of Adam and from those whom We bore on the ark with Noah; and the offspring of Abraham and Israel (Jacob). We had bestowed guidance on all of them; and they were specially chosen. Such was the state of their mind that whenever they encountered the divine laws, they would bow down before them in firm conviction and adoration (25:73).
(59) (However) Their successors were unworthy people who neglected the system of sala and (instead of following the divine laws) pursued their own gains and desires. They will find themselves facing utter destruction;
(60) except those who leave the wrong path. They shall then live a blissful life in this world as well as in the life hereafter. And they will be fully recompensed without any shortfall.
(61) (In the initial stages) The blissful life in this world remains obscure (2:3); and as far as life in the hereafter is concerned, it cannot be perceived now. However, the promise that Ar-Rahman (Beneficent Allah) has made will surely be fulfilled.
(62) Such a society will be devoid of everything indecent and there will be no purposeless noise or clamouring.
(63) This is the janna which is inherited by Our devotees who are conscious of Our laws, and who are thereby saving themselves from the destructive aspects of life.
(64) (The malaika descend upon such people and bring them glad tidings (41:31) and tell them) “We descend according to the command of your Rabb. Everything that is before us; all that is behind us; and everything that is between these two is entirely preserved (in the divine record) and there is no possibility whatsoever of any omission or forgetfulness.”
(65) (O Rasool!) The Law of Mukafat is from your Rabb Who is the sustainer of everything in the universe. So you should obey Him and remain steadfast in this obedience. Is anyone besides him worthy of this stature?
(66) A person (who negates the Law of Mukafat) says, “What? Once I am dead, shall I be raised to life again? How is it possible?”
(67) But does he not remember that We had previously created him when he was nothing. (God, Who can create a human being out of nothingness, can bring him back to life after death.)
(68) O Rasool! Tell them that besides punishment in the life after death, in this very world, too, they will see how firm the grip of Allah’s Law of Mukafat is. We have decreed that We will round them up along with their rebellious leaders (in the battlefield) and then assemble them on their knees in jahannam (45:28).
(69) Thereafter, from every group We shall segregate the ones who have been determined in their disdainful rebellion against the system ordained by Ar-Rahman.
(70) For certainly We know best who amongst them are most deserving of the agony of jahannam.
(71) (O Rasool! You can tell them) “None of you will escape the ignominious punishment in it (19:86, 21:99.).” This decree has been ordained by your Rabb according to His Law of Mukafat.
(72) We will, however, save the muttaqeen (who shall be so far away that they will not even hear it (21:101). And those who rebel against Allah’s laws will live a life of degradation (in this life as well as in the hereafter).
(73) Whenever Our clear laws are presented to them, those who are bent upon denying the truth say to the momineen, “Tell us, which of the two groups amongst us enjoys a better position and who has more grandeur and prestige?”
(74) (In the early stages of the establishment of the Qur’anic social order, the position of the momineen was somewhat weaker than their opponents, but they should know that) Before them, we have destroyed many generations which had surpassed them in material assets and outward opulence.
(75) Tell them that (at the moment, they have more wealth and power, but according to the laws of Ar-Rahman, those who choose the wrong path are not apprehended immediately) sometimes they are spared so that they see with their own eyes the destruction of which they were forewarned. In the beginning, this is a light punishment (so that they can revert from their erroneous path; but even after that if they do not desist and make amends), but then comes the ultimate doom. So (according to this divine law) these people will soon understand whose position is worse and who is really weak.
(76) For people who adopt the right way of life, the divine law of guidance opens up further avenues (for their success and nourishment). Keep in mind the absolute reality that the only ever-enduring and inexhaustible means of nurture are those through which human abilities are developed according to the divine Law of Rabubiyya. This is the best reward for whatever is spent in establishing and strengthening this system; and this ultimately yields superior returns. Therefore, one must keep in view the ultimate gain and not the immediate short-term benefits.
(77) He who denies the truth (when he receives immediate and temporary gains) will always be under the impression that he will continue to have sources of wealth and increased progeny.
(78) (Just ask him) Has he perchance attained access to the realm of the unseen; or has he concluded a covenant with Ar-Rahman?
(79) Whatever he says or thinks is incorrect. We are recording everything he says and are lengthening his period of respite.
(80) (When this respite is over, he will see with his own eyes that all the wealth and progeny, about which he was so boastful, has been taken away from him and only) We will inherit all that he talks about; and he will appear before Us all alone. (Everything that belongs to him will remain behind and only what he himself is will go to the next life – 6:95, 19:95.)
(81) And they have acknowledged other authorities besides Allah so that these would be a source of strength for them.
(82) Tell them that they are living under a fallacy. When the time comes, these deities will disown their obedience and will turn against them.
(83) In actual fact their own selfish ambitions and their rebellious leaders have overpowered their rational faculties and are continuously instigating them to rise against the order of truth and justice.
(84) The delay (in inflicting doom on them) occurs because We are counting their days (according to Our law of respite); so do not be in haste.
(85) (The day is fast approaching when) We shall assemble the muttaqeen before us with respect and dignity, in order to bestow Our bounties and honour upon them.
(86) Likewise, We shall drive the guilty ones towards jahannam, just as thirsty cattle are driven to water.
(87) (On that day) No one will have intercession from anyone else; except only those who have conformed with the laws of Ar-Rahman.
(88) Amongst them are also the people who say that Ar-Rahman has a son (Jesus, son of Mary) who will atone for their sins.
(89) (Tell them that) Undeniably, by this assertion, you have concocted something very serious.
(90) (This is such a terrible thing that) It will split apart the skies, tear asunder the earth, and mountains will crumble in utter ruin (42:5).
(91) (Just think what they are actually saying.) They say that Ar-Rahman has a son.
(92) That He should take a son for Himself is certainly not worthy of the Almighty.
(93) (He does not need a son. His sovereignty is such that) There is nothing in the universe that does not bow before Ar-Rahman in complete obedience.
(94) His sovereignty is all-encompassing. His law of Mukafat has taken into account every one of them. (Nothing escapes His authority.)
(95) (As has been narrated in verse 19:80) On the day of judgment, everyone will appear before Him alone. (Individuality of self necessitates that no one will be able to seek any intercession by anyone else; everyone will be responsible for his own actions – 6:95.)
(96) (O Rasool!) For all those who profess eiman on the truth of Allah’s laws and accordingly do righteous deeds (although now the entire world opposes them), that day is not far when in the hearts of people, Ar-Rahman will instill love and affection towards them. (Then people will follow them in large numbers – 110:2.)
(97) This will happen by implementing (the injunctions of) the Qur’an which We have made easy to understand in your own language, so that you can convey to the momineen the glad tidings of the pleasant results of their righteous deeds. And convey warnings to those who are obstinate and given to futile contentions.
(98) (And tell them that) According to Our law of Mukafat, We have destroyed many generations before their time. Can you see any trace of them now or hear any whisper about them? (Thus if you also do not accept the Qur’anic system and persist in your erroneous behavior, then your outcome will be similar to theirs.)


(1) This is just like Abraham, who despite his firm conviction, had raised such a question for his own satisfaction.

(2) A place where animals were sacrificed in a Jewish temple; niche in the wall of a temple or shrine.

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