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.

Miracle in Zechariah’s Prayer being Answered
The news of Zechariah’s prayer being answered was truly incredible. In disbelief, he exclaimed to God:
قَالَ: رَبِّ أَنَّى يَكُونُ لِي غُلَامٌ؟ وَكَانَتِ امْرَأَتِي عَاقِرًا وَقَدْ بَلَغْتُ مِنَ الْكِبَرِ عِتِيًّا
He said, “My Lord, how will I have a boy when my wife has been barren and I have reached extreme old age?” (Maryam, 8)
The response conveyed to him by an angel alludes to God’s boundless power. In Surah Al ʿImran, God declares, “Such is Allah; He does whatever He wills” (Al ʿImran, 40). Additional insights are provided in Surah Maryam:
قَالَ: كَذَلِكَ قَالَ رَبُّكَ هُوَ عَلَيَّ هَيِّنٌ وَقَدْ خَلَقْتُكَ مِنْ قَبْلُ وَلَمْ تَكُ شَيْئًا
[An angel] said, “Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me, for I created you before, while you were nothing.'” (Maryam, 9)
In these two Quranic chapters, the manner in which the miracle transpired is not specified. Nevertheless, Surah al-Anbiyaʾ provides an account of the miracle involving Zechariah’s previously barren wife giving birth to a child:
فَاسْتَجَبْنَا لَهُ وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ يَحْيَى وَأَصْلَحْنَا لَهُ زَوْجَهُ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَيَدْعُونَنَا رَغَبًا وَرَهَبًا وَكَانُوا لَنَا خَاشِعِينَ
So We responded to him, and We gave to him John, and amended for him his wife. Indeed, they used to hasten to good deeds and supplicate Us in hope and fear, and they were to Us humbly submissive. (Al-Anbiyaʾ, 90)
The Quran affirms that upon witnessing the miraculous event, Prophet Zechariah harbored concerns about potential skepticism and accusations from people regarding him and his wife. Consequently, he beseeched God for a sign that would manifest God’s unique favor upon him. The appointed sign was a temporary inability for Zechariah to speak for three days, notwithstanding his capacity to articulate words during prayers and supplications to God:
قَالَ: رَبِّ اجْعَلْ لِي آيَةً. قَالَ: آيَتُكَ أَلَّا تُكَلِّمَ النَّاسَ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ إِلَّا رَمْزًا، وَاذْكُرْ رَبَّكَ كَثِيرًا وَسَبِّحْ بِالْعَشِيِّ وَالْإِبْكَارِ
He said, “My Lord, make for me a sign.” He Said, “Your sign is that you will not [be able to] speak to the people for three days except by gesture. And remember your Lord much and exalt [Him with praise] in the evening and the morning.” (Al ʿImran, 41)
In the Gospel of Luke, the incapacity to speak is portrayed as a divine punishment for Zechariah:
Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak. When his time of service was completed, he returned home. After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” (Luke 1:18-25)
Silence: Punishment or Sign of Truth?
The Quran presents Zechariah’s silence as a symbol of the purity and truthfulness of both him and his wife, while in the Gospel of Luke, it is depicted as a form of punishment. To better assess the passage from the Gospel, two key points must be considered:
Firstly, Zechariah’s supposed wrongdoing is attributed to his disbelief in the words of the divine angel. If this disbelief is merely an expression of astonishment at the news of having a child, as in saying “how is this possible?”—which would not constitute a punishable offense—then Zechariah’s actions should not be considered a wrongdoing. Alternatively, if disbelief refers to a denial of God’s power, there is no evidence that Zechariah denied such power.
Secondly, in the Gospel of Luke, it is mentioned that Zechariah remained in seclusion for five months and expressed that God had bestowed a special favor upon him, preventing any embarrassment among people. This implies that Zechariah perceived his inability to speak as a means to avoid embarrassment. Such a perspective aligns more with the idea that the silence was a manifestation of God’s favor upon him rather than a form of punishment.

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