Zechariah Becomes Mary's Guardian
Hannah had a big problem in reference to her promise to Allah, for females were not accepted into the temple, and she was very worried. He sister's husband, Zechariah, comforted her, saying that Allah knew best what she had delivered and appreciated fully what she had offered in His service. She wrapped the baby in a shawl and handed it over to the temple elders.
As the baby was a girl, the question of her guardianship posed a problem for the elders. This was a child of their late and beloved leader, and everyone was eager to take care of her. Zechariah said to the elders: "I am the husband of her maternal aunt and her nearest relation in the temple; therefore, I will be more mindful of her than all of you.
As it was their custom to draw lots to solve disagreements, they followed this course. Each one was given a reed to throw into the river. They had agreed that whoever's reed remained afloat would be granted guardianship of the girl. All the reeds sank to the bottom except Zechariah's. With this sign, they all surrendered to the will of Allah and made him the guardian.
Mary's High Status
To ensure that no one had access to Mary, Zechariah built a separate room for her in the temple. As she grew up, she spent her time in devotion to Allah. Zechariah visited her daily to see to her needs, and so it continued for many years. One day, he was surprised to find fresh fruit which was out of season in her room. As he was the only person who could enter her room, he asked her how the fruit got there. She replied that these provisions were from Allah, as He gives to whom He wills. Zechariah understood by this that Allah had raised Mary's status above that of other women.
Thereafter, Zechariah spent more time with her, teaching and guiding her. Mary grew to be a devotee of Allah, glorifying Him day and night.
Mary's High Status - Qur'anic
Ali Ibn Abi Talib narrated that the Prophet Muhammad said: 'The best of the world's women is Mary (in her lifetime), and the best of the world's women is Khadijah (in her lifetime).
Abu Musa Al-Ashari also narrated that the Prophet Muhammad said: "Many among men attained perfection, but among women none attained perfection except Mary the daughter of Imran, and Asiya the wife of Pharaoh; and the superiority of Aisha to other women is like the superiority of Tharid (an Arabic dish) to other meals."
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