The Qur’an mentions only 25 prophets by name, including Zakariyah(A S), the father of Yahya (John the Baptist). Muslims, believe that many prophets were sent to mankind to spread the message of Allaah, including many not mentioned in the Qur’an.
General Description of Zakariyah (A S)
The years had taken their toll on the Prophet Zakariyah (A S) . He was now old and bent with age, in his nineties. Despite his feebleness, he went to the Mosque daily to deliver his sermons.
Zakariyah (A S) was not a rich man, but he was always ready to help those in need. His one disappointment in life was that he had no children, for his wife was barren. This worried him, for he feared there was no one after him to carry out his work. The people needed a strong leader, for if they were left on their own, they would move away from Allaah’s teachings and change the Holy Laws to suit themselves.
Zakariyah Talks to Maryam (‘Alayha Salaam)
Almighty Allaah chose Prophet Zakariyah (A S) as a prophet to the Children of Israel to guide them to believe in Allaah and worship Him alone. That was after false beliefs had spread amongst them and after they had neglected Allaah’s religion which He revealed to Prophet Moosa (A S) (Moses).
This took place years before the birth of Prophet ‘Eesaa(A S) (Jesus) the son of Maryam (‘Alayha Salaam). At that time, there was a pious man, called ‘Imraan, from the Children of Israel who was famous for his knowledge, piety, and virtue.
‘Imraan had a kind and pious wife. When she felt that she had become pregnant, she vowed that she would dedicate the baby that was in her womb for the service of Almighty Allaah and the service of the sacred mosque in Jerusalem and be totally devoted for this throughout his life. When she delivered her baby, she said, “My Lord! I have delivered a female child, and the male is not like the female. I have named her Maryam (‘Alayha Salaam) (Mary), and I seek refuge with You to guard her and for her offspring from Satan, the outcast.” After that, and when Maryam (‘Alayha Salaam) became a little older, her mother took her to Jerusalem to fulfill her vow.
It was necessary that one of the rabbis from among the pious clergymen who dwelt in the Mosque should care for Maryam (‘Alayha Salaam), in order to bring her up, properly cultivate her and attend to her needs.
The rabbis competed with one another each trying to take Maryam (‘Alayha Salaam) the daughter of the glorious scholar (‘Imraan), under his care. The most ambitious among them was Prophet Zakariyah(A S), who was the husband of her elder sister and the worthiest to take care of and cultivate her.
They agreed to draw lots so as to choose the one who would be the girl’s guardian. As the lot came up in his name, Prophet Zakariyah (A S), was very happy. He designated a special place for her in the mosque that no one but her was allowed to enter and raised her well and took care of her. She used to worship Almighty Allaah and glorify Him day and night so much so that she set an example of piety, goodness, and true deep faith. Moreover, Allaah honored her with special super natural events that indicated how much He privileged her and how high her rank was.
During one of his visits to the Mosque, he went to check on Maryam (‘Alayha Salaam), who was living in a secluded room of the Mosque. He was surprised to find fresh out-of-season fruit in her room. Besides him, no one had entry to her room. When he inquired, she told him that the fruit was from Allaah. She found it every morning. But why was he so surprised, she asked him. Did he not know that Allaah provides without measure for whom He wills?
This noble girl had opened his eyes to a startling idea. Could he not ask his Lord to bless him with a child in his old age? Even if his wife was past child-bearing age, nothing was impossible for his Gracious Lord!
Zakariyah Asks for a Son – Qur’anic
Allaah the Almighty revealed: ‘Kaf, Ha, Ya, Ain, Sad, These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur’an, and none but Allaah (Alone) knows their meanings. (This is) a mention of the Mercy of your Lord to His slave Zechariah. When he called out his Lord (Allaah) – a call in secret, saying: ‘My Lord! Indeed my bones have grown feeble, and grey hair has spread on my head, and I have never been unblest in my in vocation to You, 0 my Lord! And Verily! I fear my relatives after me, since my wife is barren. So give me from Yourself an heir, – who shall inherit me, and inherit (also) the posterity of Jacob (inheritance of the religious knowledge and Prophethood, not the wealth, etc.) And make him, my Lord, one with whom You are Well-pleased!”
(Allaah said): “0 Zakariah! Verily, We give you the glad tidings of a son. His name will be Yahya. We have given that name to none before (him).”
He said: ‘My Lord! How can I have a son, when my wife is barren, and I have reached the extreme old age.”
He said: “So (it will be). Your Lord says, It is easy for Me. Certainly I have created you before, when you had been nothing.”
(Zakariah) said: ‘My Lord! Appoint for me a sign.”
He said: ‘Your sign is that you shall not speak unto mankind for three nights, though having no bodily defect.”
Then he came out to his people from Al-Mihrab (a praying place or a private room, etc.), he told them by signs to glorify Allaah ‘s Praises in the morning and in the afternoon.
(It was said to his son): “0 Yahya! Hold fast to the Scripture (The Torah).” And We gave him wisdom while yet a child, and (made him) sympathetic to men as a mercy (or a grant) from Us, and pure from sins (i.e. Yahya(John)) and he was righteous, and dutiful towards his parents, and he was neither an arrogant nor disobedient (to Allaah or to his parents). And Salamun (peace) on him the day he was born, the day he dies, and the day he will be raised up to life (again)! Surah 19: 1-12