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Sura Maryam - 1: Zakariyya and Yahya

(4 lectures; 5.1 hours; with English highlight text) The Mystical interpretation of verses 1-15 of Sura Maryam: the prayer of Prophet Zakariyya and the birth of Prophet Yahya - peace be upon them both.

In these lecture series Dr. Soleimanpanah provides a mystical interpretation or tafsir-e anfosi (تفسیر انفسی) for verses 1-15 of Sura Maryam (SA) from the Holy Quran.

The lectures are delivered in Farsi.

Session Full Lecture Lecture Notes Highlights
MP3 1:23 PDF MP3
MP3 1:28 PDF MP3
MP3 0:44 PDF MP3
4 MP3 1:36 PDF MP3
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Translations of some selected excerpts form the lectures:


Highlights From Session 1

  • Tafseereh Anfosi - A type of tafseer that relates to issues regarding the Nafs
  • Paying close attention to this type of tafseer allows one to reflect internally and assess how these Ayas relate to him/herself directly and on a personal level.
  • Every Aya has a corresponding meaning that relates to our internal existence as well our external one because every single manifestation of God has an external existence as well as an internal one.
  • 'Elm' or Divine Knowledge is a light only God can want to shine within a person's heart, and is something only He can give or take and He alone is the one that Teaches this Elm according to how He deems we should learn it at that point in time. Therefore, what each individual hears, grasps and understands at that point in time is not incorrect, as it was the appointed meaning he/she was meant to extract. It can only seem in conflict with what others might have understood from that same material, but it is still the correct meaning understood by each person on an individual level as it was divinely intended by God Himself.
  • However, when a certain meaning is viewed from a different perspective it may seem as though one needs to still grasp a more developed understanding of the meaning and move to a higher level but at its point of origin where one initially comprehends something, it is God that sparks our initial understanding and comprehension of something.
  • Our True Teacher is always God Himself. It is pointed out in verse 5 of surah Al-Alaq, that He "Taught man that which he knew not", therefore when we know He is our True Teacher then we know He has not bestowed any knowledge upon us that contains errors. However, it is up to us to recognize and fully comprehend the depth and true meaning of the knowledge He is conveying to us, even more so when we find the correct location within ourselves for that certain knowledge. We can then be sure it is not incorrect.
  • Everything created, including us, has come into existence via God. Therefore anything that depends on something else does not actually exist independently on its own. It is the 'something else' that actually exists.
  • 'Eshaareh' is necessary to use against those that use false accusations to injure others and are unbelievers. Maryam (a.s.), turned to 'Eshaareh' because she faced false accusations. Whenever one faces slander and false accusations due to 'Elhaamateh Ghaybi' or Invisible Divine Inspiration , one should turn to 'Eshaareh'.
  • The Reality of Maryam (a.s.)'s experience took place inwardly within her. The joy she experienced as well, existed inwardly within her, signifying her joyful, spiritual state of being and that was what came into being in the form of Maseeh or Christ (a.s.), and this is what was being referred to by the Eshaareh' in her case.
  • The point of the matter mentioned above lies in the fact that whenever any person who claims they are 'Ahlollah' and claims they receive Divine Inspiration inwardly, in the face of unjust force, slander and false accusations must then bring forth and show signs of their internal Maseeh just like Maryam (a.s.). It is not sufficient to simply make empty claims. If one claims they have witnessed and experienced God's existence then they must at least have complete 'Tawwakul' or trust in God. They must at least portray the signs of their Divine connection in the form of morality,honesty and faithfulness.
  • When one claims to be a believer of a higher standard, then he/she must only signify their high state of belief and faith at this point without verbalizing it, words are deniable and anyone can verbally claim their devotion and faith. One must only portray the signs of their inward Maseeh which is their connection to the Divine, and manifest its powers.
  • According to Allameh Tabataba'i one of the pivotal points within this Surah is summed up in Aya 97 which says "So have We made the (Qur'an) easy in thine own tongue , that with it thou mayest give glad tidings to the righteous, and warnings to people given contention." because all the stories contained in this Surah are meant to either give us glad tidings or to warn us and act as examples.
  • From the story of the birth of Maseeh (a.s.) to the birth of Prophet Yahya (a.s.) to all the other stories relaying the lives of the other prophets (a.s.) and their spiritual journies we are meant to receive a certain glad tiding and a certain warning. These verses are in fact not only glad tidings to us about Zakariya (a.s.), Maryam (a.s.), Ibraheem (a.s.) and Ismaeel (a.s.) but also examples of the demise of a person who parts ways with the traditions of his/her religion. These are also examples and lessons portraying the end results of those who do not pay heed to the importance of prayer and other divine principles as laid down by the laws of our religion and have gone astray.
  • True 'Dhikr' or 'the heart's remembrance  of the Names and Attributes of the Supreme Creator' also known as 'invocation' is one in which the "Dhaker" or the invocator is lost within the 'remembrance' of God. This is when one's daily life is completely immersed in actions that are adherent solely to the Straight Path without the person realizing he/she is engaged in doing so. It is when one is dedicated to solely pleasing God without being consciously aware of it on a constant basis.
  • Another key notion related to these verses is the remembrance of all bounties we have been blessed with in our past. This is known as remembering his 'Rahma' or Mercy. He has bestowed endless bounties upon us which we are unaware of. We must not forget that He (SWT) is the one that raised us from a small child to a full grown adult and He (SWT) was the one that bestowed us with our names, and gave us knowledge when we were ignorant. This is in fact a form of connection to God where one reaches to Him for His endless Bounties using his current or past Bounties as a connector to the future ones to be received.
  • Prophet Zakkariya (a.s.) uses this form of remembrance and prayer by beseeching God based on the claim that he has always received help, kindness and mercy based on His Graciousness even when he was not as helpless and old as he is in his current state. Therefore he uses His past Mercy as a method in reaching out for more help and mercy from his Lord in his helplessness.




Copyright 2007, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource. mehrdad. (2007, June 07). Sura Maryam - 1: Zakariyya and Yahya. Retrieved November 29, 2020, from Irfan and Islamic Mysticism Web site: All Rights Reserved.