Lessons from Surah Maryam

The Qur’an is a book of guidance sent to not just Muslims but to mankind. It is the duty of Muslims not only to understand The Qur’an but, to share the wisdom and virtues within The Qur’an. Each story in The Qur’an has a virtue that can vary from person to person, which just one of the many beauties of The Qur’an. Taking two ayats from Surah Maryam, I look to extract two concepts I have found which are patience and humility.

9. 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!”

This is one of first ayats that that pulls me into Surah Maryam. When Zakariya is asking how his wife can possibly give birth to a child when she has been barren for years and he himself is in old age. The angel responds by saying, “Your Lord says; it is easy for Me”. The angel goes on to say that Allah says “I created you before when you had been nothing”.

This is a two-part statement because first it establishes Allah as the creator and the giver of life which is an essential theme throughout the Qur’an. What is said next is a reminder to us that, once we were nothing and now we find ourselves alive. This should be a statement that not only humbles us but, also makes us think. At one point we were non-existent and then we find ourselves alive and breathing.

The fact is some of us get arrogant in this world and Allah reminds us that we have no control over when or where we are born. Not only that, but we also go through this life wondering when and how we will leave this world. So in actuality what is there to be arrogant about when ultimate knowledge is with Allah?

 21. He said: “So (it will be), your Lord said: ‘That is easy for Me (Allah): And (We wish) to appoint him as a sign to mankind and a mercy from Us (Allah), and it is a matter (already) decreed, (by Allah).’ “

Again we see a servant of Allah, this time Maryam in conversation with The Divine through an angel. The angel brings word to Maryam that she will be gifted with a righteous son. Maryam responds by saying, she has never been unchaste so how could this be? Once again on behalf of Allah the angel reminds the servant, like with Zakariah, “That is easy for me”. This is two times in one surah Allah is telling us that what seems impossible is easy for Him. To not worry when things seem completely hopeless because everything is easy for Allah.

 These two ayats are also both a situation where Maryam and Zakariah showed extreme patience and trust in Allah through their lives. Zakariah was old and still without a son and yet kept making dua for a son and Maryam devoted herself to a chaste life from a very young age and never broke that covenant to Allah. As a reward she was “gifted” with a righteous son.

 This also goes back to ultimate knowledge being with Allah. “And it is a matter already decreed” the angel says. As all matters are decreed before they happen including our births and deaths. This is central in Islamic thought that Allah wills as he wishes and us as the creation must learn to adjust. It can be hard to fathom that even our thoughts and actions may be written before we even think them.

We, just like Maryam and Zakariah will find ourselves in situations that seem like a dead end or even incomprehensible. But, there is always an Islamic answer to our problems in this world. We may not be in conversation with an angel to give us such clear cut answers but, there is a alternative. We must be in constant conversation with The Qur’an, The Sunnah and with ourselves to be able to read Allah’s signs and receive guidance.