With the Christmas season coming up, many people are getting involved in lots of discussions about how the belief about Jesus (peace be upon him) is different in Christianity and Islam. That is indeed a very important discussion and one that needs to happen. However, through that sometimes we miss out on what lessons the life of Jesus peace be upon him can teach us.

This series will look at Jesus (peace be upon him) and the various people in his life. More importantly, Jesus (peace be upon him) was sent to a believing society that was losing its way. We are a believing society that is losing its way as well.

So it’s quite interesting that even the grandparents of Jesus (peace be upon him) are mentioned in the Quran, albeit briefly. We know that his maternal grandfather was called Imran, but not much else is known about him. We also know that his maternal grandmother (name not known) prayed fervently for the birth of a child that she could devote to the service of Allah. In Surah Ale Imran Allah says:

God chose Adam, Noah, Abraham’s family, and the family of Imran, over all other people, in one line of descent– God hears and knows all. Imran’s wife said, ‘Lord, I have dedicated what is growing in my womb entirely to You; so accept this from me. You are the One who hears and knows all,’ but when she gave birth, she said, ‘My Lord! I have given birth to a girl’– God knew best what she had given birth to: the male is not like the female–‘ I name her Mary and I commend her and her offspring to Your protection from the rejected Satan.’ [Quran 3:33-36]

So what lessons can we learn?

  1. You can be among great people for doing things that no one knows about. We do not really know much about Imran. However, Allah mentions his family among the chosen ones and places his name next to Adam, Noah, and Abraham (peace be upon them)— all magnificent prophets in their own right. Allah named the third surah in the Quran Ale Imran— the Family of Imran.
  2. Do good without seeking approval and even if people are not appreciative. Going on from the last point— we do not really know much about the actions of Imran. We know he was the father figure in a successful family that is mentioned throughout the Quran, but not much else is known. However, we kow he was a pious man. And God-consciousness can make us great, even if people do not appreciate.
  3. Make the effort, even if you do not see the end result. Scholars say that Imran died even before Maryam was born, so he did not actually see his daughter grow up to be a great woman. However he still did his part in setting up a household that was pious, and he encouraged religiosity in his house. He never saw his daughter become the greatest woman ever, or his two grandsons John and Jesus become prophets or when his son-in-law Zechariah took care of his daughter. However, he paved the way for that and Allah rewards him for it.
  4. He allowed his wife to make decisions. The wife of Imran decided that her child would be dedicated to the service of Allah, and there was no hint of any opposition from him. It is quite clear that they were both partners in righteousness that helped one another achieve good deeds— just like how an Islamic marriage should be.
  5. Make dua before a child is born. Maryam’s mother is making dua for her child even before she is born. That is something that we need to pick up today.
  6. Be careful— society does affect us. Maryam’s mother was from a society that really did not value women. She initially fell into the same trap when she thought giving birth to a baby girl would ruin her plans of letting her child take the path of Allah, and that is something we are affected by even today. And yet Allah shatters those stereotypes.
  7. Reform in society starts with women— invest in them. Allah wanted to reform Bani Israeel, and He chose a woman. He chose Mary instead of a man. Allah is showing us through this that if we truly want to be successful as an ummah we really need to start investing in our girls and helping them achieve success in both this world and the next.
  8. What Allah gives is always better. The mother of Mary hoped for a son, but she got a daughter. Her daughter ended up being the greatest woman in history. What Allah gives us is better for us even if we do not understand.
  9. Accept what Allah gives and do your best with it. As soon as realization hit the mother of Mary, she immediately made dua for her daughter again after birth. She accepted what Allah had given her, and she immediately went about preparing her daughter for the task. Whatever we get in life, we need to learn to make the best of it. Just like Mary turned out more suitable than any other man, we don’t know what it is that will turn out the best for us.
  10. The dua of a mother is powerful. Mary’s mother made dua seeking refuge from Satan for Mary and her offspring. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that the only two human beings who were not touched by Satan were Mary and Jesus. Subhan Allah, what power the dua of a mother carries! Let us earn our mother’s love so that we may earn her duas.

by Raiiq Ridwan

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