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Surat Maryam: A Family’s Source of Spirituality

Surat Maryam: A Family’s Source of Spirituality

Getting married, having a family, raising cute children are all beautiful and natural instincts that Allah has put inside us. In Surat Maryam, this tendency is discussed  while adding the spiritual dimension to the father-son relation.

What is your real intention behind marriage and having children?

Did you plan for your children’s hereafter, as well as you planned and cared for their worldly life?

Beside the natural love of having a family, Surat Maryam teaches us that the main motive behind having children should stem from the desire to raise a future generation which worships God. The keywords repeated frequently in the Surah revolve around the subject of family, parents and inheritance.

Families with Purpose

The Surah begins with a humble recitation from Prophet Zachariah (peace and blessings be upon him), asking Allah to grant him a successor who will continue his legacy of spreading good among the children of Israel:

{I fear [what] my kinsmen [will do] when I am gone, for my wife is barren, so grant me a successor––a gift from You––to be my heir and the heir of the family of Jacob. Lord, make him well pleasing [to You]} (Maryam 19:5-6)

His prayers were answered. Allah has blessed him with a son, Yahya (peace and blessings be upon him), who was raised on great principles:

{[We said], ‘John, hold on to the Scripture firmly.’ While he was still a boy, We granted him wisdom, tenderness from Us, and purity. He was devout, kind to his parents, not domineering or rebellious} (Maryam 19:12-14)

The miraculous birth of Prophet `Isa (peace and blessings be upon him) is later mentioned and the righteousness and chastity of his mother Maryam is also highlighted:

{She said, ‘How can I have a son when no man has touched me? I have not been unchaste} (Maryam 19:20)

The secret behind having righteous obedient children is to live by the same lifestyle yourself. We know that the Prophet Jesus spoke in the cradle and among his early words were:

{He made me dutiful to my mother. He did not make me domineering or graceless} (Maryam 19:32)

Messages to reflect on

Why would Allah choose the name Maryam as the title of this beautiful Surah?

Perhaps, Allah wants us to reflect on the value of the mother, and how she is the main source of spirituality for the whole family. This is a very important message for all believers.

Muslim women: Please understand how Islam values you and your role in bringing stability and spirituality to the home.

Married Muslim men: honor and love your wife, because SHE is the ultimate educator in your home.

Single folks: The number one criterion in choosing your future spouse is her relation with Allah subhanahu wa ta`la!

A Righteous Son and a Disobedient Dad

We move on with the Surah to find another story of a righteous son, Ibrahim (peace and blessings be upon him), who was protected from the misguidance of his father. He was fortunate not to be drawn into worshipping idols like his father. Moreover he tried to advise his father and reason with him by choosing the best of words:

{Father, do not worship Satan– Satan has rebelled against the Lord of Mercy. Father, I fear that a punishment from the Lord of Mercy may afflict you and that you may become Satan’s companion [in Hell]} (Maryam 19:44-45)

This story gives inspiration to all those who might be living with a difficult family. It explains that it is never too late to be strong and firm in your religion’s beliefs even if your parents are not.

It also commands us to be very gentle in the way we preach religion to adults and particularly to our parents. Children who become religious and start treating their family harshly did not truly grasp the legacy of the Prophet Ibrahim.

More Righteous Families

Prophet Musa is mentioned briefly in this Surah, with special emphasis on how Allah gave him Haroun as companionship from his own family.

Isma`il the son of Ibrahim was mentioned next. He was a gift for the devout, patient Prophet Ibrahim. Isma`il had also commanded his family to perform prayers and offer charity.

{Mention too, in the Qur’an, the story of Isma`il. He was true to his promise, a messenger and a prophet. He commanded his household to pray and give alms, and his Lord was well pleased with him} (Maryam 19:54-55)

A beautiful verse in the Surah mentions generations of families including prophets Adam, Noah, Ya`qub and many others.

{When the revelations of the Lord of Mercy were recited to them,  they fell down, prostrating themselves and weeping.} (Maryam 19:58)

Since the Qur’an offers a complete spiritual and educational experience we are encouraged to fall in prostration when we read this verse in addition to thirteen other verses in the Qur’an.

The idea is to acquire the longing from the role models mentioned in the Qur’an, and to follow their example in submitting yourself fully to Allah and prostrate to Him.

However after a chain of honored families of faith, the following generations did not hold on to the message. This was a result of ignoring prayers and following temptations.

{But there came after them generations who neglected prayer and were driven by their own desires. These will come face to face with evil} (Maryam 19:59)

Allah Does not Need A Family

The Surah switches tone towards the end and confirms a very important concept in the Islamic faith; human beings need families, Allah does not. He has no partners, spouse, or child.

{The disbelievers say, ‘The Lord of Mercy has offspring.’ How terrible is this thing you assert: it almost causes the heavens to be torn apart, the earth to split asunder, the mountains to crumble to pieces, that they attribute offspring to the Lord of Mercy} (Maryam19:88-91)

Action Items

Reading this beautiful Surah we notice the frequent use of the term “mercy” and its derivatives and the use of the name of Allah “The Lord of mercy”. This prompts us to reflect on our relationship with our family members and how much mercy we should show them.

It is significant as well to properly adjust our intentions so that worldly affairs such as marriage and having children become means for lofty purposes like raising a righteous family which worships Allah Almighty and shows mercy to other creations.


Taken with permission and with some modifications from Dr. Mohannad Hakeem’s blog.


About Dr. Mohannad Hakeem

Mohannad Hakeem, Ph.D. Research Engineer - Engine Controls Research and Innovation Center Ford Motor Company

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