One day when Maryam was praying alone in her prayer-niche, Allah sent an angel to her in human form. Taken aback she said, “May the Merciful defend me from you! If you fear the Lord, leave me alone and go your way.” “I am the messenger of your Lord,” replied the angel, and have come to announce the gift of a holy son.”
Maryam later gave birth to a son whom Allah had already named Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus, son of Mary). When she returned with the baby, fingers were pointed at her but she simply pointed to the baby who performed his first miracle by saying at once:
When Joseph was told of the King’s wishes, he replied:
“Set me over the store-houses of the land: I will indeed guard them, as one that knows their importance.
The King consented to his request, and Joseph devoted himself faithfully to his task. During the seven years of prosperity, he ordered that the surplus grain be saved. But after these seven years came seven years of hardship, and famine spread everywhere in Egypt and the surrounding countries. Joseph began to distribute what had been saved, giving each person what he needed. He was a very wise man, for God had endowed him with great knowledge. Word of Joseph’s wisdom spread and before long tribes in neighboring lands were also coming to him for food.
Earlier we saw how God blessed Sarah for her patience and faith by giving her a son, Isaac, and a grandson, Jacob, both of whom were prophets. Jacob in turn had twelve sons. Of them all, the one he loved most was Joseph, a handsome boy of high intelligence and a kind nature. One night, as he slept, the young Joseph dreamt that the sun, the moon and eleven planets were prostrating themselves to him. When he woke up, he hurried to tell his father of his dream. On hearing Joseph’s dream, Jacob understood that a great event lay in store for his young son. Jacob warned Joseph not to tell his brothers of his dream, lest they be envious and try to harm him, for Jacob knew that they were jealous of Joseph’s favored position.
The Prophet Zakariyya was a noble man. He was an uncle of Maryam (Mary), and the priest of the shrine in Jerusalem. When Maryam was given to the service of Allah, the Prophet Zakariyya was made Maryam’s guardian. Whenever the Prophet Zakariyya visited Maryam in her niche (mihrab) in the shrine, he would find that she had fresh food. He would be amazed at this and would ask Maryam where this food came from. “This is from Allah,” Maryam would answer. “Allah gives in plenty to whoever He pleases” When the Prophet Zakariya reached old age and was still childless, he prayed to Allah for a son:
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said, “The master Prayer for forgiveness
Allaahumma anta bbee, laa ilaaha illaa anta, khalaatanee wa anaa ‘abduka, wa anaa ‘alaa ‘ahdika wa wa’dika masta-ta’tu, a’oodhu bika min sharri maa sana’tu, aboo’u laka bini’matika alayya, wa aboo’u laka bidhanbee, faghfir lee, fa innahu laa yaghfirudh-dhunooba illaa anta. (O Allah, You are my Lord, there is no god but You. You have created me and I am Your servant, and I am keeping my pledge to You and my promise to You as much as I am able. I take refuge in You from the evil that I have done. I admit to You Your favours on me, and I admit to You my sins, so forgive me, for there is no one who forgives sins other than You.)
Whoever recites this prayer during the night and dies that night will enter Paradise: and whoever recites it in the morning and dies that day will enter Paradise.”
Laa llaaha illallaahu wahdahu laa shareeka lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu wa huwa ‘alaa kulli shal’in qadeer (There is no god but Allah Alone: He has no partner, His is the dominion and His is the praise, and He is Capable of all things)
ten times, will have the same reward as that given for freeing ten slaves; one hundred rewards will be written in his account, one hundred sins will be removed from his account, and this saying will be a shield for him from Satan on that day till night, and nobody will be able to do a better deed except the one who has done more than him.”
For many years, Abraham and Sarah lived as exiles, and during all that time they had no children. Sarah having passed the age of childbirth, suggested to Abraham that he marry her maid and companion, Hagar. Abraham and Hagar married and she bore him a son who was called Ishmael. Many years later, God rewarded Sarah for her patience and faith by giving her a son of her own named Isaac, and tidings of a grandson named, Jacob God revealed that both Isaac and Jacob would become prophets.
But in the meantime, Abraham, Hagar and baby lshmael set off on a journey. For days and nights they travelled, until they finally arrived at a barren valley in the desert of the Arabian peninsula. It was a desolate place with no vegetation and no water. There they stopped, and Abraham gave Hagar their remaining provisions of food and water. Surprised, Hagar asked, “Will you leave us here then?” Abraham made no reply. Once again, Hagar asked him if he would leave them in this place, and again, Abraham made no response. She then realized that Abraham must be following a divine command and she asked him, “Did God command you to leave us here alone?” Abraham replied that such was the case, and Hagar declared, “We have God with us, no harm will come to us.” And, so, Hagar and Ishmael were left alone in this barren valley.
Many hundreds of years after the Flood, the valley of the Euphrates was inhabited by a people who built a great empire. One of the rulers of this empire was a tyrant and his people lived in great fear of him. This nation had ceased to worship God and worshipped idols which were housed in huge temples and were guarded by powerful priests.
Abraham was born in a town situated in the southern part of the valley of the Euphrates. Abraham’s father was one of the elders of his tribe, and commanded respect from everybody. He was a skilled craftsman and often carved the statues of the gods that the people worshipped.