Z The Holy Qur'an
The Story of Zachariah

Zachariah was very old when God made him His messenger. His wife, who had borne him no children, had also reached an advanced age, and it was no longer possible for her to have a child.

One day, while parying in the Ka'aba, Zachariah beseeched the Lord: [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] 'Please hear my prayer, My Lord! Grant me an offspring. I am a feeble old man. My hair has become snow-white. My wife is forlorn without a child. Both of us yearn for an heir. I am afraid my kinfolk will harm the cause I have served all my life if I die without an heir.'

When Zachariah finished his supplication, angels descended from above and told him: [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] 'O Zachariah! god has granted your prayer. You will soon be blessed with a son. He will be called John [Yahya]; he will be a prince among men, chaste and virtuous, and he will be a messenger of God.'

Zachariah himself before Allah and thanked Him for granting a son to an old man and his barren wife. He declared, [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] 'God does what He wills and so it shall be.' Zachariah then asked the Lord: [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] 'What should I do now?' 'Do not speak to anyone for three days,' the voice replied. 'Convey whatever you have to only by gestures.'

Zachariah followed the instructions faithfully and waited for the happy event. As ordained by God, a lovely son was born to his wife. Zachariah and his wife doted on John. He brought great happiness to his aged parents. When he was still a child, God blessed him with the Book and asked him to hold it [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] 'with all your strength'. John grew up to be straightforward, humble and gentle-mannered. He was loving, caring and compassionate to all creatures; he was especially kind to animals. The Quran refers to him fondly:

Allah's blessings were upon him from the day John was born to the day he passed away and his blessings will be upon him, the day he is raised again. [19:15]

[Sadaqa allahu alazim]

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