Prophet Zachariah’s Prayer
Zechariah was a person in the Hebrew Bible and traditionally considered the author of the Book of Zechariah, the eleventh of the Twelve Minor Prophets. He was a prophet of the Kingdom of Judah, and, like the prophet Ezekiel, was of priestly extraction. See also: The Story Of Zachariah And John The Baptist
My Lord, bestow upon me out of Your grace a good, upright offspring, from which we understand that he asked for a successor from his own family and, therefore, asked for a son, as he had no children yet. One may wonder why Zachariah, upon him be peace, requested a successor from his own family; the answer is that God knows best upon whom to place His Message (6: 124), and God made pure Adam and Noah and the House of Abraham and the House of ‘Imrān, choosing them above all humankind, as descendants of one another (3: 33–34). It is impossible that the Prophet Zachariah, upon him be peace, was not aware of this, so he knew that the successor among his progeny would be one who would descend from Jacob’s house.
The years had taken their toll on the Prophet Zachariah. He was now old and bent with age, in his nineties. Despite his feebleness, he went to the temple daily to deliver his sermons.
Zachariah was not a rich man, but he was always ready to help those in need. His one disappointment in life was that he had no children, for his wife was barren. This worried him, for he feared there was no one after him to carry out his work. The people needed a strong leader, for it they were left on their own, they would move away from God’s teachings and change the Holy Laws to suit themselves.
During one of his visits to the temple, he went to check on Mary, who was living in a secluded room of the temple. He was surprised to find fresh out of season fruit in her room. Besides him, no one had entry to her room. When he inquired, she told him that the fruit was from God. She found it every morning. But why was he so surprised, she asked him. Did he not know that God provides without measure for whom He wills?
This noble girl had opened this eyes to a startling idea. Could he not ask his Lord to bless him with a child in his old age? Even if his wife was past childbearing age, nothing was impossible for his Gracious Lord!
God the Almighty revealed: … This is a mention of the Mercy of your Lord to His slave Zachariah. When he called out his Lord (God) – a call in secret, saying:
“My Lord! Indeed my bones have grown feeble, and gray hair has spread on my head, and I have never been unblest in my invocation to You, O my Lord! And Verily! I fear my relatives after me, since my wife is barren. So give me from Yourself an heir, – who shall inherit me, and inherit also the posterity of Jacob (inheritance of the religious knowledge and Prophethood, not the wealth, etc.) And make him, my Lord, one with whom You are Well-pleased!”
“O Zachariah! Verily, We give you the glad tidings of a son. His name will be John. We have given that name to none before him.”
“My Lord! How can I have a son, when my wife is barren, and I have reached the extreme old age.”
“So (it will be). Your Lord says, It is easy for Me. Certainly I have created you before, when you had been nothing.”
“My Lord! Appoint for me a sign.”
“Your sign is that you shall not speak unto mankind for three nights, though having no bodily defect.”
Then he came out to his people from Al Mihrab (a praying place or a private room, etc.), he told them by signs to glorify God’s Praises in the morning and in the afternoon.
It was said to his son: “O John! Hold fast to the Scripture (The Torah).” And We gave him wisdom while yet a child, and made him sympathetic to men as a mercy or a grant from Us, and pure from sins (John) and he was righteous, and dutiful towards his parents, and he was neither an arrogant nor disobedient (to God or to his parents). And Peace on him the day he was born, the day he dies, and the day he will be raised up to life again!
“O my Lord! Grant unto me from Thee a progeny that is pure; for Thou art He that heareth prayer!”(3:38).