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 Zakariyya reached old age and was still childless, he prayed to Allah for a son: “My bones are weak and my head is shining with grey hair Yet, my Lord! I have never been disappointed in praying to You.” Allah heard his beautiful prayers and said, “Zakariyya! We bring you good news of a son whose name will be Yahya.” But Zakariyya wondered: “My Lord! How shall I have a son when my wife is barren, and I am now very old?” But Allah said: “So it shall be. It is easy for Me, for I created you, before which you were nothing.” And so in his old age the Prophet Zakariyya’s prayers were answered and he had a son whose name was Yahya (John). Yahya grew up to be a loving soul. Allah gave him wisdom, grace and purity while yet a child and made him a prophet. Yahya grew up to be a good man, honoring his father and mother. He neither thought too much of himself nor did he disobey Allah. This story reminds us that Allah helps the believers in wonderful ways. He hears the prayers of His servants, even if what they want seems impossible.