An Introduction to Surat Maryam (Mary)
Name of the Surah
The surah was titled after that name due to the following verse:
And mention, [O Muhammad], in the Book [the story of] Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place toward the east. (Maryam 19:16)
Period of Revelation:
It was revealed before the Migration to Habashah (Abyssinia – Ethiopia). We learn from authentic hadiths that Ja`far ibn Abi Talib recited from the beginning of this surah to the verse forty in the court of Negus when he called the migrants to his court.
Theme of the Surah
The central theme of this surah focuses on God’s oneness, rejecting all concepts and ideas assigning a son or a partner to Him. It also touches on the important issue of resurrection, intertwined as it is with the concept of God’s oneness.
Is it Makki or Madani Surah?
Surat Maryam was revealed in Makkah. The content of this surah is mostly about matters concerning the Hereafter, the end of the evil-doers, the rewards of the good-doers, and part of the account of the lives of Zakariyah (Zechariah), Maryam (Mary), Jesus, Yahya (John), Abraham, Ishmael and Idris (Enoch).
Topics of the Surah
1- The surah explores its theme through several stories, beginning with that of Zachariah and his son, John, and follows this with the story of Mary and the birth of Jesus.
2- The surah mentions a part of Abraham’s story with his father, followed by brief references to other prophets: Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Ishmael, Idris, Adam and Noah. These stories take up nearly two-thirds of the surah, driving home the truth of God’s oneness, resurrection, the non-existence of any children or partners with God.
3- The surah also includes some scenes of the Day of Judgment, some arguments against those who deny resurrection, and a reference to the fate of the unbelievers who deny God’s message, both in this life and in the life to come.
4- The surah portrays a full range of reaction and feeling within the human soul as also within the universe around it.
5- The surah provides good examples of variations in cadence, verse-endings and rhymes according to the subject being discussed and the overall atmosphere.
Sayyed Abu A`la Maududi’s Tafhim Al-Qur’an.
Sayyid Qutb’s Fi Zhilal Al-Qur’an.