An “Amazing Connection” in the Story of Zakariyyah: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah Aali ‘Imran, Allah tells us the story of Zakariyyah, including his du’a to have a son, his amazement at the promise of the fulfillment of this du’a despite his old age and his wife being barren, and his request to have a sign confirming this amazing promise. Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di wrote in his commentary of ayah 3:41:

ـ{ رب اجعل لي آية } أي: علامة على وجود الولد قال { آيتك ألا تكلم الناس ثلاثة أيام إلا رمزًا } أي: ينحبس لسانك عن كلامهم من غير آفة ولا سوء، فلا تقدر إلا على الإشارة والرمز

رَبِّ اجْعَل لِّي آيَةً

[Zakariyyah said] “Lord, make a sign for me”

meaning: a sign of the presence of a son. He replied

آيَتُكَ أَلَّا تُكَلِّمَ النَّاسَ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ إِلَّا رَمْزًا

“your sign is that you will not speak to the people for three days, except by gestures”

meaning: your tongue will be restrained from speaking to them but not due to any disease or malady. So you will not be able to communicate except by way of pointing and gesturing.

وهذا آية عظيمة أن لا تقدر على الكلام، وفيه مناسبة عجيبة، وهي أنه كما يمنع نفوذ الأسباب مع وجودها، فإنه يوجدها بدون أسبابها ليدل ذلك أن الأسباب كلها مندرجة في قضائه وقدره

So this amazing sign was that he was not able to speak, and in this there is an amazing connection: which is that just as the effects of the causative factors were barred from taking place even though the necessary factors were all in place [i.e. in the case of his being prevented from speech], conversely a desired effect was enacted even in the absence of its causative factors [i.e. in the case of the miraculous birth of Yahya to Zakariyyah and his wife]. This was done in order to demonstrate that the causative factors are entirely subject to Allah’s pre-ordainment and divine decree.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 135]

See also: The story of ‘Eesaa, his mother, Zakariyyah and Yahya – Imam al-Sa’di

See also: Connections and Links between Surahs: al-Zarkashi

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