Aal-Imran · Juz 3 · Qur'an Tafseer

The Chosen Ones Among the People of the Earth

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayaat 33-36

Ayaat 33-34

Now begins a brief mention of the chosen people that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala honored. The reference is for Prophet Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to comfort him as he was being rejected and abused by the people around him. But these ayaat carry a lesson for all of us. When we are sincere in our love for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and our commitment towards His Deen, He will definitely honor and choose us. We ask Allah (SWT) to make us of the mukhliseen that He chooses, ameen.


Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala states that He has chosen these households over the people of the earth. For instance, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala chose Adam ‘alayhi salaam, created him with His Hand and blew life into him. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commanded the angels to prostrate before Adam (AS), taught him the names of everything and allowed him to dwell in Paradise, but then sent him down from it out of His wisdom.

[The Creation of Adam (AS) and Instruction to the Angels to Prostrate]

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala chose Nuh [Noah] ‘alayhi salaam and made him the first Messenger to the people of the earth, when the people worshipped idols and associated others with Allah in worship. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala avenged the way Nuh (AS) was treated, for he kept calling his people day and night, in public and in secret, for a very long time. However, his calling them only made them shun him more, and this is when Nuh (AS) supplicated against them. Therefore, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala caused them to drown, and none among them was saved, except those who followed the religion that Allah sent to Prophet Nuh.

[Prophet Nuh (AS) Complains About His People]

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala also chose the household of Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam, including the master of all mankind, and the Final Prophet, Muhammad, salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala also chose the household of `Imran, the father of Mariam bint `Imran ‘alayhi salaam, the mother of `Eesa, ‘alayhi salaam.

[Prophet Ibraheem (AS) the Leader of Mankind]

Ayaat 35-36 – Mariam’s (AS) Mother’s Du’a and Her Birth

Ibn Katheer writes, the wife of ‘Imran mentioned here is the mother of Mariam ‘alayhi salaam, and her name is Hannah bint Faqudh. Muhammad bin Ishaq mentioned that Hannah could not have children and that one day, she saw a bird feeding its chick. She wished she could have children and supplicated to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to grant her offspring. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala accepted her supplication, and she became pregnant. She vowed to make her child concentrate on worship and serving Bayt Al-Maqdis (the Masjid in Jerusalem), when she became aware that she was pregnant. She said,

رَبِّ إِنِّي نَذَرْتُ لَكَ مَا فِي بَطْنِي مُحَرَّرًا فَتَقَبَّلْ مِنِّي إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

“My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service], so accept this from me. Verily, You are the Hearing, the Knowing.” It means You hear my supplication and You know my intention. When she made this vow, she didn’t know whether she would give birth to a boy or a girl.

When the baby girl was delivered, the mother of Mariam ‘alayhi salaam was shocked and said, “My Lord, I have delivered a female.” Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, of course, knew from the very beginning what the gender of the child would be. Then she said, “And the male is not like the female,” it means in strength and the commitment to worship Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and serve the Masjid in Jerusalem.

She names the baby girl, Mariam, testifying to the fact that it is allowed to name the newly born the day it is born. We also learn that a “mother” can name her child. It is not an exclusive right of a father or the grandparents or the uncles and aunts.

We learn from the Sunnah of the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that he said,

وُلِدَ لِيَ اللَّيْلَةَ وَلَدٌ، سَمَّيْتُهُ بِاسْمِ أَبِي إِبْرَاهِيم

“This night, a son was born for me and I called him by my father’s name, Ibraheem.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim collected this Hadith.]

They also recorded that Anas ibn Malik radhiAllahu ‘anhu brought his newborn brother to the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who chewed a piece of date and put it in the child’s mouth and called him ‘Abdullah. Other newborn infants were also given names on the day they were born.

Qatadah narrated that Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, that Samurah bin Jundub said that the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,

كُلُّ غُلَامٍ رَهِينٌ بِعَقِيقَتِهِ، يُذْبَحُ عَنْهُ يَوْمَ سَابِعِهِ، وَيُسَمَّى وَيُحْلَقُ رَأَسُه

“Every new born boy held in security by his ‘Aqeeqah, until his seventh day, a sacrifice is offered on his behalf, he is given a name, and the hair on his head is shaved.”

This Hadith was collected by Ahmad and the collectors of the Sunan, and was graded Saheeh by At-Tirmidhi. We should mention that another narration for this Hadith contained the wording, “and blood is offered on his behalf,” which is more famous and established than the former narration, and Allah knows best.

Mariam ‘alayhi salaam’s mother did not stop praying for the child after she was born. She said,

وَإِنِّي أُعِيذُهَا بِكَ وَذُرِّيَّتَهَا مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ

“…and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the mercy of Allah].’” It means, that she sought refuge with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala from the evil of Shaytan, for her and her offspring, i.e., ‘Eesa, ‘alayhi salaam and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala accepted her supplication.

‘Abu Huraira radhiAllahu ‘anhu narrated that the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,

مَا مِنْ مَوْلُودٍ يُولَدُ إِلَّا مَسَّهُ الشَّيْطَانُ حِينَ يُولَدُ، فَيَسْتَهِلُّ صَارِخًا مِنْ مَسِّهِ إِيَّاهُ، إِلَّا مَرْيَمَ وَابْنَهَا

“Every newly born baby is touched by Shaytan when it is born, and the baby starts crying because of this touch, except Mariam and her son.” [The Hadith appears in the two Saheehs.]


-We learn that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala honors and chooses people because of their unique characteristics. We have learned about this in the earlier ayaat as well. Allah ta’ala tells us that the “chosen” ones in His Sight are those who are chosen for His Deen – those who study the Deen of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and invite others to it. Who do we think is blessed? The one who has a high-paying job, a high degree, a big bungalow, lot of money. Allah ta’ala’s criterion is entirely different. If you’re studying the Qur’an, then instead of comparing yourself with those who are successful in worldly matters, be grateful to Allah that He “chose” you for His Deen.

[Allah (SWT) Honored Some Prophets (AS) Over Others]

-We hear a popular criticism against Islam that women in Islam are weak and have no rights. Here, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala shares the story of a strong Muslim woman who is old and her husband has passed away. She is carrying their first child, but she is so devoted to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala that instead of being depressed she is making supplications for her yet-to-be-born child. She is alone, yet she doesn’t become possessive about her child rather dedicates the child for the service of Allah’s religion. Her du’a was so sincere that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala accepts it. When our supplications are not answered, instead of complaining to Allah (SWT) or losing our hope in Him, we need to check the “sincerity” of our du’as. As we learned in the previous ayaat, Allah ta’ala “knows” the thoughts we conceal in our hearts. Nothing is hidden from Him.

[The Etiquette of Making Du’a]

-When a child is born parents are thinking about the best clothes, best toys and best schools and best playgroups for the child. Here we have a woman who is an old, widow, this is her first child, and she is thinking about the child’s Hereafter. How many new mothers focus on the child’s eternal life over the temporary life of this world?

-We also learn that you do not stop praying for the child after it is born. Now the child is here, pray for their righteousness and protection. Mariam’s (AS) mother teaches us a beautiful du’a to protect a newborn from the harms of Shaytan. May we put this du’a in practice and teach it to others, ameen.

DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayaat 33-36

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيم                
“Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.” [Al-Baqarah 2: 127]

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