Friday Prayer

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ بِجَمِیعِ مَحَامِدِه کُلِّهَا عَلَی جَمِیعِ نِعَمِهِ کُلِّهَا… اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ مالِکِ الْمُلْکِ مُجْرِی الْفُلْکِ مُسَخِّرِ الرِّیاحِ فالِقِ الاْصْباحِ دَیّانِ الدّینِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمینَ اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلی حِلْمِهِ بَعْدَ عِلمِهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلی عَفْوِهِ بَعْدَ قُدْرَتِهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلی طُولِ اَناتِهِ فی غَضَبِهِ وَهُوَ قادِرٌ عَلی ما یُریدُ
All praise be to Allah with full gratitude for all His bounties. … All praise be to Allah: the master of the sovereignty, Who allows arks to flow [on seas], Who controls the winds, Who causes the day to break, Who administers the authority, and Who is the Lord of the worlds. All praise be to Allah for His forbearance despite His full knowledge. All praise be to Allah for His amnesty despite His full power. All praise be to Allah for the length of His respite during His wrath, while He is able to do whatever He wills.
و نشهد أن لا اله الا الله وحده لا شریک له، و أَنَّ محمداً عبده و رسوله ارسله بالهدی و دین الحق لیظهره علی الدین کله و لو کره المشرکون
We bear witness that there is no god but Allah. He is one and has no partners. We bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger, whom He sent with guidance and the religion of truth that He may make it prevail over all religions, though the polytheists should be averse.
اوصیکم عبادالله و نفسی بتقوی الله و اتباع امره و نهیه، و اخوفکم من عقابه
I enjoin you, servants of Allah and myself, to have fear of God and comply with His commands and forbiddances, and warn you against His retribution.

Zechariah’s Request from God
As the noble Quran recounts, when Prophet Zechariah saw God’s grace towards Mary, he remembered that he and his wife were childless and the difficulties they faced due to her sterility. In light of this, he prayed to God, humbly imploring Him to bless them with a child.
هُنَالِكَ دَعَا زَكَرِيَّا رَبَّهُ، قَالَ: رَبِّ هَبْ لِي مِنْ لَدُنْكَ ذُرِّيَّةً طَيِّبَةً إِنَّكَ سَمِيعُ الدُّعَاءِ
Thereat Zechariah supplicated his Lord. He said, ‘My Lord! Grant me a good offspring from You! Indeed You hear all supplications.’ (Al ʿImran, 38)
The term “hear all supplications” (samiʿ al-duʿaʾ) not only signifies the act of hearing supplications but also signifies the fulfillment of those requests. Prophet Zechariah’s use of this term suggests that he recognized the impossibility of his prayer being answered through ordinary means, as both he and his wife were advanced in age and she was sterile. Even if he were to marry another woman, they would not be able to conceive due to his old age. Despite not knowing how his prayer could be fulfilled, Zechariah had unwavering faith in God’s power to grant his request.
Another factor that prompted Zechariah to pray for a child was his lack of a reliable heir. He found it difficult to trust his relatives and those close to him, leading him to implore God to bless him with a child who would serve as a trustworthy inheritor.
ذِكْرُ رَحْمَتِ رَبِّكَ عَبْدَهُ زَكَرِيَّا؛ إِذْ نَادَى رَبَّهُ نِدَاءً خَفِيًّا؛ قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي وَهَنَ الْعَظْمُ مِنِّي وَاشْتَعَلَ الرَّأْسُ شَيْبًا وَلَمْ أَكُنْ بِدُعَائِكَ رَبِّ شَقِيًّا؛ وَإِنِّي خِفْتُ الْمَوَالِيَ مِنْ وَرَائِي وَكَانَتِ امْرَأَتِي عَاقِرًا فَهَبْ لِي مِنْ لَدُنْكَ وَلِيًّا؛ يَرِثُنِي وَيَرِثُ مِنْ آلِ يَعْقُوبَ وَاجْعَلْهُ رَبِّ رَضِيًّا
[This is] an account of your Lord’s mercy on His servant, Zechariah, when he called out to his Lord with a secret cry. He said, ‘My Lord! Indeed my bones have become feeble, and my head has turned white with age, yet never have I, my Lord, been disappointed in supplicating You! Indeed I fear my kinsmen, after me, and my wife is barren. So grant me from Yourself an heir who may inherit from me and inherit from the House of Jacob, and make him, my Lord, pleasing [to You]!’ (Maryam, 2-6)
The Secret behind Zechariah’s Clandestine Supplication
According to the verses of the noble Quran, Zechariah’s wife was indeed sterile (“and my wife is barren”), and he himself was advanced in age (“Indeed, my bones have become feeble, and my head has turned white with age”). It was at this point that he made his initial prayer for a child (“Thereat Zechariah supplicated his Lord”). The Quran further states that Zechariah discreetly and clandestinely communicated his desire for a child to God (“when he called out to his Lord with a secret cry”).
Clearly, this indicates that Zechariah kept this prayer hidden from his wife. It is evident that throughout his life, Zechariah never discussed the matter of having a child or revealed his wife’s barrenness to her. In his old age, he made his plea to God unbeknownst to his wife, to protect her from any emotional distress.
This highlights an important aspect of family ethics that can be learned from the practice of Prophet Zechariah. In a marital relationship, spouses should act as garments for one another, covering each other’s flaws and protecting each other’s vulnerabilities. As the Quran states, “They are a garment for you, and you are a garment for them” (Al-Baqara, 187).
Financial Inheritance from Prophets
Some individuals argue that prophets only bequeath knowledge and that any wealth or property they may leave behind is not to be inherited by their children. However, in this verse, Prophet Zechariah prays for a child so that his financial inheritance does not fall into the hands of his untrustworthy relatives. It is clear that if his sole inheritance was knowledge, he would not have been concerned, as divine knowledge is not bestowed upon unreliable individuals. Thus, his intention was to secure a financial inheritance for his child, someone who would inherit his wealth and property. This is why Fatima al-Zahra referenced this verse as evidence in the story of Fadak, asserting her right to inherit from her father.
Zechariah’s Prayer Answered
Prophet Zechariah’s supplication to God was indeed answered. In Surah Al-Anbiya, the Quran states how he was informed about the fulfillment of his request: “So We answered his prayer and bestowed upon him John” (Al-Anbiya, 90). Furthermore, in Surah Maryam, it is described in more detail: “O Zechariah, indeed We give you good tidings of a boy whose name will be John. We have not assigned to any before this name” (Maryam, 7). Additionally, in Surah Al ‘Imran, the Quran provides a more elaborate explanation:
فَنَادَتْهُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَهُوَ قَائِمٌ يُصَلِّي فِي الْمِحْرَابِ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يُبَشِّرُكَ بِيَحْيَى مُصَدِّقًا بِكَلِمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَسَيِّدًا وَحَصُورًا وَنَبِيًّا مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ
Then, as he stood praying in the sanctuary the angels called out to him: ‘Allah gives you the good news of John, as a confirmer of a Word of Allah, eminent and chaste, a prophet, and one of the righteous.’ (Al ʿImra, 39)
The Gospel of Luke begins with an account of the birth of John, shedding more light on how Zechariah’s prayer was answered:
In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. (Luke 1:5-15)

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