The nineteenth surah, or chapter, of the Qur’an can provide immense strength and hope to those experiencing hardships, trials of faith, or disappointments. Surah Maryam is filled with wisdom for Muslims seeking to strengthen their relationship with Allah. The following are five takeaways from this inspiring chapter to illuminate your spiritual journey toward connection and understanding.
1. Allah Does Not Abandon Us
“And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. She said, ‘Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten.’ But he called her from below her, ‘Do not grieve; your Lord has provided beneath you a stream. And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates.’” (19:23-25)
Maryam, may Allah be pleased with her, left her family to reside in solitude. She chose a life of prayer, reflection, and complete devotion to Allah. When the angel Gibreel appeared to her and brought news of her pregnancy, Maryam was fearful of what society would think and how she could do this alone.
She gave birth without the aid of a midwife, companion, or relative. When the pain became unbearable she longed for death and Allah’s infinite mercy. At this moment of seeming defeat, Allah led her to a stream and a date palm to quench her thirst and to nourish her body. Maryam was not alone and was rewarded for her strength, courage and dependence on Allah.
2. Allah Sends Us Signs
“He said, ‘Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign to the people and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter [already] decreed.'” (19:21)
When Maryam questioned how she could be with child when she had not been “unchaste,” she feared how society would treat her. She had been devout and obedient her whole life, but now feared a soiled reputation and harsh treatment. Allah promised her a sign that would defend her against the harshness of society while also showcasing Allah’s love of Maryam’s devotion and taqwa, or God-consciousness.
No matter the trials we face in this life, Allah will always show you love and mercy that manifests in unexpected ways.
3. Allah Can Lift You out of Hardship
[An angel] said, “Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me, for I created you before, while you were nothing.'” (19:9)
In old age, Zechariah pondered over his legacy and longed for him and his wife to still experience the blessings of parenthood. He supplicated to Allah for an heir and received this response. Zechariah’s strong faith was rewarded by being lifted out of this hardship. Although, what we long for may or may not come and our plans may be delayed, Allah is the best of planners and grants us what we need, when we need it. If we hold true to prayer and faith, our hardships can be eased in, sometimes, very unexpected ways.
4. Allah is the Most Merciful
“[Therein are] gardens of perpetual residence which the Most Merciful has promised His servants in the unseen. Indeed, His promise has ever been coming. They will not hear therein any ill speech — only [greetings of] peace — and they will have their provision therein, morning and afternoon.” (19:61-62)
Surah Maryam reflects on the beauty which awaits the believer in Jannah. In a surah wrought in the trials and tribulations of the faithful, Allah instructs Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, to remind us of our ultimate destination. Sometimes this world is full of trials and hardships which we cannot comprehend. However, Allah’s mercy is eternal for those that hold strong to their faith.
5. Allah Recognizes Women as Spiritual Beings
“Those were the ones upon whom Allah bestowed favor from among the prophets of the descendants of Adam and of those We carried [in the ship] with Noah, and of the descendants of Abraham and Israel, and of those whom We guided and chose. When the verses of the Most Merciful were recited to them, they fell in prostration and weeping.” (19:58)
Out of all the great prophets and descendants of Adam referenced in this surah, Maryam was chosen for its title. Here, Allah sends us a clear reminder: women are also spiritual beings. Women are judged not solely on appearances, but on piety, God-consciousness and reliance on Allah. When the Angel Gibreel appeared to her with news of a son, she sought refuge in Allah. She processed the message and accepted the decree of her Lord. Then, she submitted solely to Allah’s will, trusting that her faith would be rewarded and that she would not be abandoned.
Maryam is an individual whom was guided and chosen to exemplify the mercy and the message of our Lord. She was a Muslim that all of us can admire and learn from. Women are not lesser, superficial beings but strong, spiritual, God-conscious, and worthy of our recognition, respect and consideration. An important point of reflection in a world which often wishes to reduce women to appearances thus distancing them from their spirit and mind.