19 - Maryamn (Mary)

5 Tafsir(s) related to verse 19.1

Al-Jalalayn

Kāf hā yā ‘ayn sād: God knows best what He means by these [letters].

Ibn Al Kathir

The Story of Zakariyya and His Supplication for a Son The discussion about the separate letters has already preceded at the beginning of Surat Al-Baqarah.

Concerning Allah's statement,

ذِكْرُ رَحْمَتِ رَبِّكَ

(A reminder of the mercy of your Lord) This means that this is a reminder of Allah's mercy upon His servant Zakariyya. Yahya bin Ya`mar recited it, (ذَكَّرَ رَحْمَةَ رَبكَ عبدَه زكريا) "He has reminded of your Lord's mercy to His servant Zakariyya.'' The word Zakariyya in the Ayah has been recited with elongation and also shortened. Both recitations are well-known. He was a great Prophet from the Prophets of the Children of Israel. In Sahih Al-Bukhari, it is recorded that the Prophet said about Zakariyya that He was a carpenter who used to eat from what he earned with his own hand through carpentry. Concerning Allah's statement,

إِذْ نَادَى رَبَّهُ نِدَآءً خَفِيّاً

(When he called his Lord with a call in secret.) He only made his supplication secretly because it is more beloved to Allah. This is similar to what Qatadah said concerning this Ayah,

إِذْ نَادَى رَبَّهُ نِدَآءً خَفِيّاً

(When he called out his Lord with a call in secret. ) "Verily, Allah knows the pious heart and he hears the hidden voice.''

قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّى وَهَنَ الْعَظْمُ مِنِّى

(He said: "My Lord! Indeed my bones have grown feeble...'') meaning, "I have become weak and feeble in strength.''

وَاشْتَعَلَ الرَّأْسُ شَيْباً

(and gray hair has Ashta`al on my head,) means the gray hair has burned into the black hair. The intent is to inform of weakness and old age, and its external and internal traces. Concerning Allah's statement,

وَلَمْ أَكُنْ بِدُعَآئِكَ رَبِّ شَقِيّاً

(and I have never been unblessed in my invocation to You, O my Lord!) This means, "I have not experienced from You except that You would respond to my supplication and that You would never refuse me in whatever I ask of You.'' Concerning His statement,

وَإِنِّي خِفْتُ الْمَوَالِىَ مِن وَرَآئِى

(And verily, I fear Mawali after me,) Mujahid, Qatadah and As-Suddi, all said, "In saying the word Mawali, he (Zakariyya) meant his succeeding relatives.'' The reason for his fear was that he was afraid that the generation that would succeed him would be a wicked generation. Thus, he asked Allah for a son who would be a Prophet after him, who would guide them with his prophethood and that which was revealed to him. In response to this I would like to point out that he was not afraid of them inheriting his wealth. For a Prophet is too great in status, and too lofty in esteem to become remorseful over his wealth in this fashion. A Prophet would not disdain to leave his wealth to his successive relatives, and thus ask to have a son who would receive his inheritance instead of them. This is one angle of argument. The second argument is that Allah did not mention that he (Zakariyya) was wealthy. On the contrary, he was a carpenter who ate from the earnings of his own hand. This type of person usually does not have a mass of wealth. Amassing wealth is not something normal for Prophets, for verily, they are the most abstentious in matters of this worldly life. The third argument is that it is confirmed in the Two Sahihs, in more than one narration, that the Messenger of Allah said,

«لَا نُورَثُ، مَا تَرَكْنَا فَهُوَ صَدَقَة»

(We (the Prophets) do not leave behind inheritance (of wealth). Whatever we leave behind, then it is charity.) In a narration recorded by At-Tirmidhi with an authentic chain of narrations, he said,

«نَحْنُ مَعْشَرَ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ لَا نُورَث»

(We, Prophets do not leave behind inheritance (of wealth).) Therefore, the meaning in these Hadiths restricts the meaning of Zakariyya's statement,

فَهَبْ لِى مِن لَّدُنْكَ وَلِيّاًيَرِثُنِى

(So give me from yourself an heir. Who shall inherit me,) inheritance of prophethood. For this reason Allah said,

وَيَرِثُ مِنْ ءَالِ يَعْقُوبَ

(and inherit (also) the posterity of Ya`qub.) This is similar to Allah's statement,

وَوَرِثَ سُلَيْمَـنُ دَاوُودَ

(And Sulayman inherited from Dawud.)27:16 This means that he inherited prophethood from him. If this had meant wealth, he would not have been singled with it among his other brothers. There also would have been no important benefit in mentioning it if it was referring to wealth. It is already well-known and established in all of the previous laws and divinely revealed creeds, that the son inherits the wealth of his father. Therefore, if this was not referring to a specific type of inheritance, then Allah would not have mentioned it. All of this is supported and affirmed by what is in the authentic Hadith:

«نَحْنُ مَعَاشِرَ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ لَا نُورَثُ، مَا تَرَكْنَا فَهُوَ صَدَقَة»

(We Prophets do not leave behind any inheritance (of wealth). Whatever we leave behind, then it is charity.) Mujahid said concerning his statement,

يَرِثُنِى وَيَرِثُ مِنْ ءَالِ يَعْقُوبَ

(Who shall inherit me, and inherit (also) the posterity of Ya'qub.) 19:6 "His inheritance was knowledge, and Zakariyya was one of the descendants of Ya`qub." Hushaym said, "Isma'il bin Abi Khalid informed us that Abu Salih commented about the Ayah:

يَرِثُنِى وَيَرِثُ مِنْ ءَالِ يَعْقُوبَ

(who shall inherit me, and inherit (also) the posterity of Ya`qub.) "He would be a Prophet like his forefathers were Prophets.'' Allah's statement,

وَاجْعَلْهُ رَبِّ رَضِيّاً

(and make him, my Lord, one with whom You are well-pleased!) means "Make him pleasing to You (Allah) and your creation. Love him and make him beloved to your creatures, in both his religion and his character.''

Kashf Al-Asrar

Kāf HāÌ YāÌ ʿAyn ṣād

Hearing these letters is a wine that the Real pours into the hearts of His friends. When they drink it, they seek; when they seek, they rejoice; when they rejoice, they fly; when they fly, they arrive; when they arrive, they depart; when they depart, they join; when they join, they acquire. Then their intellects are drowned in His gentleness, and their hearts absorbed by His unveiling.

Listening to the disconnected letters at the beginning of the surahs and verses is a wine poured into the cup of joy and placed in the goblet of intimacy that is given by the majesty of the unity with the attribute of self-sufficiency to His friends. When the friends of the Real drink this wine of intimacy from the cup of holiness in the garden of gentleness, they rejoice. When they rejoice, they seek. They break the cage of being and fly on the wings of passion to the horizon of the Unseen, reaching the Kaabah of union. When they reach it, they reach themselves, their intellects drowned in gentleness, their hearts consumed by unveiling. The breeze of the Beginningless blows from the side of proximity. They lose themselves and find Him.

The Pir of the Tariqah said, “For a long time I was seeking Him and finding myself. Now I seek myself and find Him. O Remembered in the proofs, O Reminder of intimacy! Since You are present, of what use is this seeking? O God, I seek the Found. I say to the Seen, 'What do I have, what should I seek, when will I see, what should I say?' I am entranced by this seeking, I am seized by this speaking. O You who are before each day and separate from everyone! In this celebration a thousand minstrels are not enough for me.”

Kāf HāÌ YāÌ ʿAyn ṣād. This is the Real's laudation of Himself. With these letters He reminds His creatures of His names and attributes and He praises Himself.

Kāf: He is saying, “I am the Great [kabīr], I am the Generous [karīm].” The Great is an allusion to the majesty and greatness of the Unity, the Generous is an allusion to the beauty and generosity of self-sufficiency. The recognizers are in the unveiling of majesty, the lovers in the contemplation of beauty.

When you look at His majesty, you see livers in the midst of blood. When you look at His beauty, you see the comfort of sorrowful hearts. The first is a universe-burning fire, the second a world-brightening light. The first plunders the hearts, the second comforts the spirits. The Pir of the Tariqah said, “His name is my provision, speech the adornment of the tongue, reports the plundering of the heart, face-to-face vision the repose of the spirit. When the foundation of love was laid, it was laid on this basis: at first the spirit's peril, at last everlasting joy. At first wailing, lament, and weeping, at last solace, seclusion, and happiness.”

Wait, O chevalier, until this flood reaches the ocean and the goods reach the buyer. The cloud of kindness will begin to weep, and the rose will start to smile. The call of generosity will come from the exalted presence of the Possessor of Majesty: “My servants, My bondsmen, My travelers, My friends, 'I pay attention to the burdens carried for My sake': I saw the suffering that reached you, I heard those laments of yours.” The Prophet said, “Eyes will be filled with gazing on His face, and He will speak to them as a man speaks with his sitting companion.”

HāÌ: “I am God, the Guide [hādī]: I am God, the road-shower, the heart-opener, the truthadorner. It is I who made the tree of guidance and recognition grow in the garden of your heart, it is I who made the breeze of purity and limpidness blow in the meadow of your breast, it is I who made the sun of felicity shine from the sphere of your desire, it is I who made the long road simple and easy for you, it is I who caressed you in the Beginningless before the rushing and running of deeds, it is I who took care of your work without you, it is I who released your heart from the two realms of being for Me.” We would not have been guided had God not guided us [7:43].

Kharaqānī said, “He clings to you-you do not cling to Him.”

He has set up the pavilion of generosity, spread the carpet of blessings, and given the call: “Respond to God's caller! [46:31]. O beggars, come to Me! I have no need of you; rather, I have secrets to whisper with you.”

That great man said, “I was walking in the desert and saw someone with one leg, hopping because of the overpowering force of his ecstasy. I said, 'Where to?' He said, 'The people's duty to God is to visit the House' [3:97]. I said, 'That fervor will bring suffering.'

“When I reached Mecca, I saw that he had reached it before me. I said, 'How did you arrive before me?' He said, 'Don't you know that you came with the self-exertion of acquisition, and I came by the attractions of the Unseen? How can what comes by acquisition ever reach what comes from the Unseen?'

YāÌ. According to Rabīʿ Anas, the meaning is “O [yā] He who protects and is not protected against [23:88].” O Lord, You protect all, but none protects You! You have proof against all, but none has proof against You. All are under Your security, but You are under no one's security. All are subjugated and You are the subjugator. All are compelled and You are the compeller. All are acted upon and You are the enactor. Exalted is the one You protect, majestic is Your laudation, and there is no god other than You!

ʿAyn: He is saying, “'I am the Exalted [ʿazīz], I am the High [ʿalī].' It is I who am potent against every contender, not resembling any being, standing through My own attributes. I am great beyond all that intelligence shows, I am pure beyond all on which fancy falls.” He is solitary, and thoughts are misguided in describing Him; He is unique, and eyesights are dulled by His Essence. All things have traces bearing witness that He is the exalted, the compeller. He is enduring without disappearance, solitary without companion, knower of all that is in minds and secret cores, turner of the turning wheel, creator of night and day, subjugator, strong, exalted, and compeller.

ṣād: He is saying, “I am the Truthful [ṣādiq], I am the Form-giver [muṣawwir]. I am the Lord who is true in speech, true in decree, true in work. I am the painter of faces, the adorner of beauties.” God says, “And He formed you, so He made your forms beautiful” [40:64]. He brought the one hundred thousand marvels, wonders, and artifacts into the realm of being-from the concealment of nonexistence into the world of existence-but He did not deliver this address to any existent thing or bestow this eminence on any created thing, only this handful of dust: “So He made your forms beautiful.

” This is so you may know that the dust-dwellers are those caressed by gentleness and pulled up by compassion. They are the narcissus of the meadow of munificence, the cypress of the garden of existence, the jewel-box of the pearls of wisdom, the light in the pupil of the world of power, the blossoms of the garden of creativity. They are the peerless creation, and He is the peerless Creator. About Himself He said, “the most beautiful of creators” [23:14], and concerning them He said, “in the most beautiful stature” [95:4].

The Pir of the Tariqah said, “O God, Your beginningless solicitude planted the seed of guidance, You watered it with the messages of the prophets, You cultivated it with help and successgiving, and You brought it to fruit with Your own gaze. O Lord, now it would be fitting if You keep the poisons of severity away from it and You help with endless kind favor what You planted with beginningless solicitude.”

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

For comparison please see the story of Zachariah as given in vv. 34-57 of Al-i-Imran (III) and the E.N.'s thereof.

In order to understand the position held by Hadrat Zachariah, a descendant ' of Prophet Aaron, one should be acquainted with the system of priesthood among the children of Israel.

After the conquest of Palestine, the whole land was divided among the 12 tribes of the descendants of Prophet Jacob as inheritance, and the 13th tribe (the Levites) were entrusted with religious services and duties. Even among the Levites, the house that was separated "to sanctify the most holy things.... to burn incense before the Lord, to minister unto him, and to bless in his name for ever" was the house of Prophet Aaron. The other Levites were not allowed to enter the Temple "Because their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the Lord, in the courts, and in the chambers, and in the purifying of all holy things, and the work of the service of the house of the God.... And to offer all burnt sacrifices unto the Lord in the Sabbaths, in the new moon, and on the set festivals." The descendants of Aaron were divided into 24 families, who came to serve the house of the Lord by turns. One of these families was of Abiah whose chief was Zachariah. Thus it was Zachariah's duty to go into the house on his family's turn and burn incense before the Lord. (For details, see I Chronicles, chapters 23, 24).

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said regarding the interpretation of (Kaf. Ha. Ya. Ain. Sad): '(Kaf. Ha. Ya. 'Ayn. Sad.) this is an expression of praise with which Allah praised Himself. He says: Kaf means He is Sufficient (Kafi), Ha means He is the guiding One (Hadi), 'Ayn means He is Possessor of knowledge ('Alim), and Sad means He is Possessor of Truth (Sadiq); it is also said that Kaf means He is Sufficient unto His servants, Ha means He guides His servants, Ya means His hand is above His creation, and 'Ayn means He knows the affairs of His servants, and Sad means He is true in His promise. It is also said that Kaf is from the Generous (Karim), Ha is from the One who guides (Hadi), Ya is from Clement (Halim), 'Ayn from the One who possesses knowledge ('Alim), and Sad from the Truthful (Sadiq), or from the Veracious (Sudduq). It is also said that (Kaf. Ha. Ya. Ain. Sad) is an oath by means of which Allah swore.