And ˹remember˺ when the angels said, “O Mary! Surely Allah has selected you, purified you, and chosen you over all women of the world. O Mary! Be devout to your Lord, prostrate yourself ˹in prayer˺ and bow along with those who bow down.” This is news of the unseen that We reveal to you ˹O Prophet˺. You were not with them when they cast lots to decide who would be Mary’s guardian, nor were you there when they argued ˹about it˺. (3: 42-44)
It is an honor to be addressed by angels. Allah chose to convey this good news to Maryam in such a ceremonious way.
Allah creates all and from that all He chooses whomsoever He wants. Allah said: Your Lord creates and chooses whatever He wills—the choice is not theirs. Glorified and Exalted is Allah above what they associate ˹with Him˺!
Here Allah is revealing one of His chosen servants: Maryam the daughter of Imran. A pious and chaste woman coming from noble parents. Noble people do not descend from no where, they have noble ancestry. Prophet Muhammad came from Ishmael who came from Abraham.
Allah made Maryam physically pure at her outer qualities, but more importantly at her inner qualities. Her faith and creed were pure from the filth of corrupted ideologies. We could enumerate lots of noble men, but among the women only few names pop up: Maryam, Asia and wife of Pharaoh, Khadijah the wife of Prophet Muhammad as well as Ayesha and Fatimah.
From the list above we note that famous names of women in previous nations were less than we know from the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him. Islam never degrades women. Islam came to liberate women from being object of sex or lust for men. Western civilization tries to enslave women and make them object of pleasure for rich whiten corporate men.
Today women become celebrities due to their beauty, attractiveness, and vice. Media is the master that defines who is famous and who is not. The more a woman can satisfy the lusts and desires of men the more media brings her to the spotlight. These verses redefine who is a chosen woman. In today’s consumer capitalism, a women is reduced to a commodity for men and all that men care is the outer beauty often attempted to keep fresh by chemicals and cosmetics.
Note the word “has chosen you” repeated twice. Maryam has elevated in the ranks of the chosen one grade after grade. It is like a specialization or an academic degree when a person takes exams after exams until she gets the final certificate.
how to keep the status
The angels have told Maryam her rank, and now they are telling her how to keep her rank. The rank is not a one-time entitlement that stays forever. One has to continue work to sustain the rank. Angels are telling her:
O Mary! Be devout to your Lord, prostrate yourself ˹in prayer˺ and bow along with those who bow down.”
Only death brings an end to work and worship. Till then five times prayer, fasting Ramadan, Hajj, Zakat, and all acts of worship continues. Maryam was chosen, that does not mean, she now can rest, and all acts of worship are now suspended!
Allah’s favor can be sustained by more devotion and gratefulness. Allah increases His favors when we attribute them to Allah and thank Him for that.
Allah is preparing Maryam to receive Issa without a father. This requires lots of training, orientation, and preparation. The best way to prepare to be mother of Issa is to devout to Allah, continue prostration and prayer. She was told to do three things: Qunut, Sojud and Ruku.
Qunut is the devotion to Allah with fear (khushu). This Khushu is the associated fear and love, which are status of the heart while doing the ibadah. That means both the physical organs and the heart work together in tandem while devoting to Allah. This devotion was not a temporal act that last for few days and diminishes over time.
Sojud is the prostration to Allah. It is the ultimate attempt to show our humiliation before Allah. We place the most noble part of our body (i.e., the head and face) to the lowliest place (the ground). When we do that, Allah opens His door and tells us “Now you ask and I will answer”. The Prophets tells us that we are the closest to Allah when we are in Sojoud, so ask more and more at that time. Allah is asking Maryam to spend more time in Sojoud.
news of the unseen
When Maryam was just born her mother pledged to dedicate her to the House of Lord at Jerusalem, she was puzzled who would be her guardian. She lost her father Imran. So Zachariah stepped forward as did many other noble men. Everyone wanted the honor to be the guardian of Imran’s daughter.
We ended up with a situation when there is just one application and many applicants. Allah set up a test to select the winning applicant. They threw their pen in a running river. The winner’s pen must stand still – or go in reverse. All pen run with the current, Zachariah’s run against the current. He was declared a winner.
How Prophet Muhammad knew these details? He has never studied bible or stayed in touch with scholars of the Scriptures. The only possible solution is that this Quran is not authored by Muhammad. This Quran must have been from Allah.
Quran is the treasure trove for such valuable knowledge of the Unseen. Today, whoever steps forward to give hints on the unseen become rich and famous. Everyone runs to hear a geopolitician, a philosopher, a speculative financial market soothsayer. Have we ever turned to the Quran and attempted to discover from it all hints to future. All the “if-then” statements that ties actions with outcomes.