I have been listening to Suraht Maryam quite often ever since having baby Sumi, but even before pregnancy or even marriage for that matter, this Surah has been one that I regularly gravitate towards. There are so many lessons that can be gleaned from the surah. It is called Suraht Maryam and she (alayha salaam) is sandwiched between all these male prophets. Sandwiched, and yet, she still stands out so brightly. The surah begins with the plea from Sayyidna Zachareya to have a child and concludes with the remembrance of Prophets Ibrahim, Idris, Ismail, Noah, and Adam (may Allah have peace upon them all).
There are three major parent-child relationships in this surah- Prophet Zachareya with Prophet Yahya, Maryam and Prophet ‘Isa, and Prophet Ibrahim with his father. While I hope to share other reflections from this surah, I wanted to write about one particular aya (verse) today.
what can be translated as, O my father! Do not worship Satan: for Satan is a rebel against the Most Merciful.
Ya abati is the most respected and loving way to address one’s father in Arabic. It’s a loving, “Oh my Father,” not a DAAAD! or Pops, or any other title that we readily assign to our fathers. He lovingly tried to advise his father even after his father threatened to kill him for not worshiping his idols.
However, there is an even more striking comparison in this verse. Prophet Ibrahim tells his father not to worship Satan because he is a direct enemy to the Most Merciful. God could have inspired Prophet Ibrahim to use any one of His names. He could have said that Satan is the enemy of the Lord of the Universe, or the One Deserving of All Praise. Rather, Allah juxtaposes His Mercy with the most arrogant persuader.
Reflecting further, what does this mean then about our actions that are inspired by Shaytan? This means that those actions are lacking in mercy, actually they are completely void of mercy, because of the diametric opposition that was mentioned earlier. It makes us rethink the reason why we are postponing our prayers. Is it really because we want to give our bodies some “mercy” (i.e. rest)?
This aya is also extremely inspiring. When we work so so hard to hold our tongues, or to control our anger, we know that Allah (swt) is watching us and insha’Allah we will be receiving His Mercy because of it.
So, when we think of doing something that Shaytan has a part in because it is easier, we should also consider how much ultimate mercy we could lose because of it.
Ya Rahman, Shower us with Your Mercy, and forgive us for our shortcomings!