General Description of Zakariyah (A.S.)
The years had taken their toll on the Prophet Zakariyah (A.S.). He was now old and bent with age, in his nineties. Despite his feebleness, he went to the temple daily to deliver his sermons.
Zakaryiah (A.S.) was not a rich man, but he was always ready to help those in need. His one disappointment in life was that he (A.S.) had no children, for his wife was barren. This worried him, for he (A.S.) feared there was no one after him to carry out his work. The people needed a strong leader, for if they were left on their own, they would move away from Allah’s teachings and change the Holy Laws to suit themselves.
Zakariyah (A.S.) Talks to (Marium) Mary
During one of his visits to the temple, he went to check on Marium who was living in a secluded room of the temple. He was surprised to find fresh out-of-season fruit in her room. Besides him, no one had entry to her room. When he inquired, she told him that the fruit was from Allah. She found it every morning. But why was he (A.S.) so surprised, she asked him. Did he (A.S.) not know that Allah provides without measure for whom He wills?
This noble girl had opened his eyes to a startling idea. Could he not ask his Lord to bless him with a child in his old age? Even if his wife was past child-bearing age, nothing was impossible for his Gracious Lord!
Zakariyah (A.S.) Asks for a Son – Quranic
Allah the Almighty revealed: ‘Kaf, Ha, Ya, Aein, Swad, These letters are one of the miracles of the Quran, and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings. (This is) a mention of the Mercy of your Lord to His slave Zakariyah. When he called out his Lord (Allah) – a call in secret, saying: ‘My Lord! Indeed my bones have grown feeble, and grey hair has spread on my head, and I have never been unblest in my prayer to You, 0 my Lord! And Verily! I fear my relatives after me, since my wife is barren. So give me from Yourself an heir, who shall inherit me, and inherit (also) the posterity of Jacob (inheritance of the religious knowledge and Prophethood, not the wealth, etc.) And make him, my Lord, one with whom You are Well-pleased!”
(Allah said): “0 Zakariyah! Verily, We give you the glad tidings of a son. His name will be John (Yahya). We have given that name to none before (him).”
He said: ‘My Lord! How can I have a son, when my wife is barren, and I have reached the extreme old age?”
He said: “So (it will be). Your Lord says, It is easy for Me. Certainly I have created you before, when you had been nothing.”
(Zakariyah) said: ‘My Lord! Appoint for me a sign.”
He said: ‘Your sign is that you shall not speak unto mankind for three nights, though having no bodily defect.”
Then he came out to his people from Al-Mihrab (a praying place or a private room, etc.), he told them by signs to glorify Allah’s praises in the morning and in the afternoon. (It was said to his son): “0 John! Hold fast to the Scripture (The Torah).” And We gave him wisdom while yet a child, and (made him) sympathetic to men as a mercy (or a grant) from Us, and pure from sins (i.e. John) and he was righteous, and dutiful towards his parents, and he was neither an arrogant nor disobedient (to Allah or to his parents). And Salamun (peace) on him the day he was born, the day he dies, and the day he will be raised up to life (again)! Surah 19: 1-15