“Where are you going?” Zaynab looked at her, then slowly ushered her younger sister Hafsa to be silent. They could hear their parents talking, father seemed upset. Her father was talking in a loud voice and mother seemed defiant in one corner, silent. They slid inside the living room and sat on the stairs, where they could see them both, but hidden from their view. They knew why things seemed tense. It had happened again, the tests had come through and mother was having another girl, the boy they had envisioned seemed like a distant dream.
“Listen honey, I’m not saying I don’t want daughters. You know I love Hafsa and Zaynab, they mean the world to me. It’s just, who will continue the family business? Who will protect you if something happens to me? I’m not mad at you, I understand. I really do. It’s just… I wanted to dedicate him to the family, at the service of the community, so he could continue the legacy I have left behind. I swear I’m not mad. I understand. I’m content. Alhamdulillah.”
And he stopped, went to his wife, held her hand and gave a reassuring smile, which made her feel safe. The two girls stood there watching, their eyes welled up and a huge tear fell from Zaynab’s eye. Her sister Hafsa grabbed her, pulled her close and hugged her.
“We’ll make something out of ourselves, we’ll make dad happy… Don’t worry Zaynab, you know dad’s just looking out for us and mum…”
Many years ago, a woman made a promise to Allah , she noticed the men in the community could go two ways, either be at the service of their Creator or to themselves, and she wanted the best for her son. She made an oath that the son, in her womb would be an ‘Abid, he would be a slave of Allah , dedicating his whole life to the service of Allah .
Then the unthinkable happened.
“But when she delivered her, she said, “My Lord, I have delivered a female.” And Allah was most knowing of what she delivered.” [1. Surah Ali ‘Imran; 3: 36]
This went against her perceptions, her attitude towards worship and those who committed themselves to this and through this we learn many lessons;
[dropcap2]1[/dropcap2]The mother of Maryam had a misconception; only a son can be dedicated to Allah and excel in the Masjid. We learn everyone has misconceptions and when you overcome them, you can truly appreciate the beauty behind the correct understanding of what you perceived incorrectly.
[dropcap2]2[/dropcap2]Allah beautifully teaches us; when it comes to the worship of Allah , it doesn’t matter about your gender, colour or age; we’re all equal in front of Him, as long as we make the effort.
[dropcap2]3[/dropcap2]We make plans the way we think is best, and at times they don’t work out the way we planned, because Allah has a better plan for us. He knows best and this is part of His plan. He’s not random, rather everything happens for a reason and has a powerful purpose behind it, we need to understand and internalise this, so we are pleased with the end result, even if we may dislike it.
Maryam’s mother from a very early age was planning to dedicate her child to Allah . How amazing is this? How many women have a vision for their child even before they’re born?
There are so many lessons we can take from this. We grow up, going with the flow, aiming for an education, a degree and looking for temporary pleasures; be they holidays, or even the weekend Islamic course in the city. The mother of Maryam was different.
She had a vision, even before she had a child, she knew how she would attain the pleasure of Allah and hence took action, she decided to dedicate her child to the service of Allah and this leads you to think; what vision do you have?
Things had changed then, right? As she didn’t have a baby boy? No more vision of course, ah well, at least she tried!
Hold on! She’s the mother of a superstar after all!
So it seemed, a spanner had hit her vision – truly, she could no longer continue with this vision?! She came to a hurdle, but the million pound question is – did she give up? Did she say “my daughter cannot fulfil my vision!?”
Superstars never give up! She was flexible; she did everything in her power to fulfil her vision. She utilised the resources around her to make it work. You may wonder; what made her so strong and why did she succeed?
[dropcap2]1[/dropcap2]She had a powerful attachment to Allah and this is shown by her words, she turned to Allah and asked Him to protect her, in turn asking Him to keep her daughter firm and the best of believers. She said;
“And I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the mercy of Allah ].” [2. Surah Ali ‘Imran; 3: 36]
[dropcap2]2[/dropcap2]Maryam was left in the care of her uncle, Zakariyyah a Prophet of Allah . Her mother and father carefully chose the right man for the job, they used all the resources around them to ensure their child was in the care of the best teacher and carer, and they succeeded, she was taught by the best of the best.
“So her Lord accepted her with good acceptance and caused her to grow in a good manner and put her in the care of Zechariah.” [3. Surah Ali ‘Imran; 3: 37]
Let’s go back to the topic at hand, the Superstar Maryam . Greatness does not come about by accident, behind her fortune she had an amazing army of people; her mother, uncle and father, who assisted her in who she becoming a heroine for us all, someone to aspire to.
Okay, before we end, let’s summarise what made her so great
[dropcap2]1[/dropcap2]The Mother of Maryam had a vision for her, and she worked with her daughter until she achieved this vision.
[dropcap2]2[/dropcap2]She came from a righteous family. Don’t forget we all go back to Aadam , we have amazing roots, now it’s whether you will go back to your roots, or allow the modern times lead you off track, to your peril.
[dropcap2]3[/dropcap2]Maryam was a good child, she had potential. She knew her mother wanted good for her, so she submitted willingly and made it her vision.
Put aside the role models TV throws at you, we have a Superstar that is known a thousand years later, who can compete with this?!
In part two we’re going to go into detail into Maryam , as the woman who raised a Superstar so great, that Allah made him a legend in his time, and he shall return again to live the legacy which started with his righteous mother, Maryam . As they say, it’s not over… Till it’s over!
Alima Ashfaq is the founder of I am Alima and hopes to transform it into the forefront of assisting women come closer to Allah (swt). She is the author of a number of publications, most notably Du’as of the Superstars.