I’m sorry, it’s a girl again… (Part 1)

“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 subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), 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 subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), dedicating his whole life to the service of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

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 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) had a misconception; only a son can be dedicated to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) 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 subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) beautifully teaches us; when it comes to the worship of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), 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 subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) 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 subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). 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 subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and hence took action, she decided to dedicate her child to the service of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) 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 subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and this is shown by her words, she turned to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and asked Him to protect her, in turn asking Him subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) 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 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was left in the care of her uncle, Zakariyyah 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) a Prophet of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). 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 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). 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 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), 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 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) 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 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), as the woman who raised a Superstar so great, that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) made him a legend in his time, and he shall return again to live the legacy which started with his righteous mother, Maryam 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). As they say, it’s not over… Till it’s over!

The Author

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.

30 Responses

  1. Gift April 15, 2012 / 11:02 pm

    MashaAllah TabarakAllah!! Another great article full of lessons!! ” Greatness does not come about by accident,…” Who said you can’t be a FEMALE and a SUPERSTAR?!?! Alhamdulilah for Islam and great role models! 

    • Alima Ashfaq April 16, 2012 / 12:47 am

      Jazakillahu khayrun Tohfa, exactly, if Allah subahanhu wa ta ‘ala has ordained that we have amazing role models, then indeed He wants us to do great things, what they are – is up to us. The next article shall assist in what we need to focus on, and why – inshaAllah. Finally, once again – thank you for your kind words. (:

  2. Surayya April 16, 2012 / 12:35 pm

    Masha Allah..!!!Amazing….I am so looking forward to the Part2 Insha Allah…!!!

    • Alima Ashfaq April 16, 2012 / 2:43 pm

      Alhamdulillah. Now Sr. Surayyah, you’ve motivated me to spend more time on it, in sha Allah. BarakAllahu feeki (:

  3. Rahma Timer April 16, 2012 / 1:12 pm

    An amazing read – mashAllah!

    Please keep it up!

    • Alima Ashfaq April 16, 2012 / 2:42 pm

      Jazakillahu khayrun Rahma, if there is anything we can do to improve this, or you may wish for us to expand on – please let us know!

  4. Eman April 17, 2012 / 4:39 pm

    masha Allah…excelleent!!!! asking your permission to post on facebook sister..

    • Alima Ashfaq April 17, 2012 / 5:58 pm

      Jazakillahu khayrun Eman, bismillah, you don’t need to ask to share the khayr, though thank you for the kindness in asking – it’s very nice of you (:

      • Fatima June 5, 2012 / 7:42 pm

         Mash-Allah, very well written indeed ………… JazakumAllahkhairan

  5. RDeen April 17, 2012 / 7:07 pm

    mashaAllah! short and to the point…I’ve always enjoyed the story of our beloved Mother Maryam (may peace be upon her)

    • Alima Ashfaq April 17, 2012 / 8:06 pm

      SubhanAllah, isn’t it an amazing story? And the lessons are immense tabarakAllah, I actually at times think – these lessons are intertwined in some of the best books and movies, yet this amazing superstar is missing!

      Also, JazakAllahu khayr for your comment, we have a Qur’anic Heroine series, hence if you have any other Superstars you would like use to write about – please let us know.

  6. Aisha-ham April 17, 2012 / 7:11 pm

    mashAllah may we all have that vision for our sons and daughters amen

    • Alima Ashfaq April 17, 2012 / 8:08 pm

      Aameen, and the first step to this vision is accepting you are worthy of this vision and then using the good and bad times in life as a means of stepping up, consistently, after every fall. 

  7. Faria April 17, 2012 / 9:23 pm


    One of the best informative, heart-touching, inspiring articles Alhamdulillaah. BarakAllaahu feeki ‘Alima Ashfaq for such a wonderful compilation :)

    One of the greatest things I have learnt is, Superstars never give up. In every situation, they are content and try to make the most of every, every situation they are put in.

    How about others? What is the point that you benefitted the most from?

    • Alima Ashfaq April 17, 2012 / 10:59 pm

      Jazakillahu khayrun Faria, this is Kalamullah, it’s tooo amazing not to be inspired! There are so many books out there which keep us busy, though all these books (I have noticed) all range back from lessons, emotions, action from the Qur’an and Sunnah.

      However, they’ve packaged them so well, that at times we don’t focus on what will give us real satisfaction and that is the Qur’an and it’s stories. This is a point of benefit I derived. (:

  8. Ummkhadeeja1 April 17, 2012 / 9:23 pm

    Amazing well written !! And I named my daughter Hannah the mother of Maryam can’t wait to read the next piece . Well done ws xx

    • Alima Ashfaq April 17, 2012 / 10:51 pm

      MashaAllah, at your daughters name, inshaAllah when she’s old enough you can enlighten her in why you named her Hannah. She can aspire to be such a woman, a leader in her own right, whether it be to her own children or the sisters in the community. I didn’t touch upon this, but Maryam’s parents were called Hannah and ‘Imran, one being a Prophet ‘alayhissalaam and the other a righteous supporter, so the end result was Maryam, and then ‘Eesa bin Maryam – may Allah (subahanhu wa ta ‘ala) be pleased with them all.

      BarakAllahu feeki Umm Khadeeja, inshaAllah the next one will assist you in the next phase of motherhood, which direction you should encourage your daughter to tread. (:

  9. tahera April 18, 2012 / 9:37 pm

    MashaAllah, awesome article Alima :) Keep up the good work, looking forward to part 2 inshaAllah!

    • Alima Ashfaq April 18, 2012 / 10:53 pm

      Jazakillahu khayr Tahera, we will be releasing the next one on Sunday inshaAllah, and I’ve decided to continue the story with our dear Zaynab, so let’s see where her life takes her and how we can relate to her life and lessons, in sha Allah.

  10. Sa'diyah Sultaana April 19, 2012 / 6:07 am

    I have studied about Maryam(as) but never was i able to visualize my life through such a perspective. This article brought tears in my eyes. It is indeed a masterpiece because it makes a woman realize her leadership skills through the light of Islam and how much Allah has raised the status of women subhanAllah….A MUST READ for all the women(mothers, daughters etc). Jazakillah khayr. May Allah put your visions in best words in future as well while writing such great Piece!!

    • Alima Ashfaq April 20, 2012 / 12:27 am

      SubhanAllah, so true, and at times we forget that you can be a leader in any field, you can excel at any field you wish to be in, whether it’s an active community member, a mother, a daughter, at University or even with your relationship with Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. It doesn’t matter, whether your a man or a woman, we all have priorities, however, within these we can all excel, in sha Allah. Islam doesn’t constrain you, it truly enlightens you, it’s whether we will look beyond the stereotypes (aka, look beyond the fat!) and see it for it’s beauty. 

      Also, Aameen and jazakillahu khayrun Sa’diyah!

  11. Sharmin Shanjida April 19, 2012 / 8:16 am

    SubhaanAllah.nice article sister.BarakAllahi feekum.

    one of the most touching parts could find out here is the reflection of Allah (swt)’s love for His servants!!How amazingly He choose the right guardian for a God fearing mother’s child.

    All praises are due to Allah(swt)-Lord of the worlds…

    • Alima Ashfaq April 19, 2012 / 3:49 pm

      SubhanAllah, I really like your reflection Sharmin, it made me stop for a little while and just contemplate. Truly, He is Al-Wadud, the Most Loving.

      Jazakillahu khayrun for sharing your reflection. (:

  12. Mishma April 19, 2012 / 12:25 pm

    SubhanAllaah very nice article sister.
    waiting for part 2
    lesson for me :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.

    subhanAllaah thats so empowering!!!
    jzk khyran sis

    • Alima Ashfaq April 19, 2012 / 3:52 pm

      BarakAllahu feeki Mishma, and a great point you picked from the article, which of course is purely from Allah, AlHakeem and His infinite wisdom. I guess, every time we thought it went wrong, as long as we made an effort, then there is no need to get sad, worried or unhappy – truly, our reaction is a test within itself.
      Look forward to seeing what impacted you in part two, inshaAllah!

  13. Ayisha Iqbal April 21, 2012 / 6:00 am

    Beautiful…simply beautiful…well written…and quiet enough to start the spark….inspiring and heart touching….waiting to read part2

    • Alima Ashfaq April 30, 2012 / 1:44 pm

      Jazakillahu khayrun Ayisha! I’ve completed part 2, inshaAllah we’ll be posting this today, though my week has contributed to making it pertinent to many. 

      Look forward to your presence on our website, inshaAllah. (:

  14. Xeniah S Gh. July 7, 2012 / 10:38 pm

    Some words just instill man with Realization of ALLAH swt’s presence :) This was one writing beyond amazing! SubhanALLAH!

  15. Neelam December 24, 2012 / 4:32 pm

    My siblings consist of me and my 4 younger sisters and to this day people still say to my parents that don’t worry they will have a son one day. It has always upset me to hear that so this article really spoke to me. I love it! Jazakallah khair!

  16. Aamirah June 10, 2013 / 12:59 am

    Subhanallah, amazing read indeed (y) waiting for Part 2 insyaAllah. It gives me a knock somehow, alhamdulillah. True is, each and every of us can be a superstar despite of our gender (in relate to this article) :) Alhamdulillah, Allah knows everything and He loves us more than we know! It’s Taqwa which may differentiate us after all. Men and women might be different in certain criteria but all we need is to live our potential to its optimum. Thank you sis Alima for this article, jazakillah ahsan jazaa :)

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