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Islamic view of Zechariah


Islamic view of Zechariah

For other people of the same name, see Zechariah (disambiguation).

Saint Zechariah
Priest, Prophet, Guardian of Mary, Devotee
Born 1st century BC
Hebron (Joshua 21:11)
Died 1st century BC (or early AD)
Jerusalem (Matthew 23:35)
Honored in Christianity
Canonized Pre-Congregation
Feast September 5 – Eastern Orthodox
September 5 – Lutheran
September 23 – Roman Catholic

Zechariah (Ζαχαρίας in Greek, Zacharias in KJV, Zachary in the Mary the mother of Jesus.

In the Qur'an, Zechariah (Arabic: زَكَرِيَّا‎; Zakariya) plays a similar role as the father of John the Baptist and ranks him as a prophet alongside John and Jesus and his role as one of the men of God is frequently referenced in verses of the Qur'an.

Biblical account

According to the Luke 1:5–7).

The duties at the Luke 1:8–11). The Gospel of Luke states that while Zechariah ministered at the altar of incense, an angel of the Lord appeared and announced to him that his wife would give birth to a son, whom he was to name John, and that this son would be the forerunner of the Lord (Luke 1:18–22).

After returning to his house in "Hebron, in the hill country of Judah",Luke 1:23–45, 56).

Elisabeth gave birth, and on the eighth day, when their son was to be Luke 1:80, Luke 3:2–3, Matthew 3:1).

Other Christian traditions

The Roman Catholic Church commemorates him as a saint, along with Elisabeth, on September 23.[7] He is also venerated as a prophet in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church on September 5. The Eastern Orthodox Church also celebrates the feast day of Zechariah on September 5, together with Elisabeth, who is considered a matriarch. Zechariah and Elisabeth are invoked in several prayers during the Orthodox Mystery of Crowning (Sacrament of Marriage), as the priest blesses the newly married couple, saying "Thou who didst... accept Zechariah and Elizabeth, and didst make their offspring the Forerunner..." and "...bless them, O Lord our God, as Thou didst Zechariah and Elizabeth...". In the Greek Orthodox calendar, Zechariah and Elizabeth are also commemorated on June 24.

Armenians believe that the Gandzasar Monastery in Nagorno Karabakh, Azerbaijan contains relics of Zechariah. However, his relics were also kept in the Great Church of Constantinople, where they were brought by the praefectus urbi Ursus on September 4, 415.[8]

In 2003, a 4th-century inscription on Yad Avshalom, a 1st-century monument in Jerusalem, was deciphered as, "This is the tomb of Zachariah, the martyr, the holy priest, the father of John." This suggests to some scholars that it is the burial place of Zechariah the father of John the Baptist. Professor Gideon Foerster at the Hebrew University states that the inscription tallies with a 6th-century Christian text stating that Zechariah was buried with Simon the Elder and James the brother of Jesus, and believes that both are authentic.[9]

In Islam

Zechariah (Arabic: زكريا; meaning: God has remembered[10]) is also a prophet in Islam, and is mentioned in the Qur'an. Muslims also believe Zechariah to have been the guardian of Mary, mother of Jesus, and they believe Zechariah to have been the father of John the Baptist. Zechariah is also believed by some Muslims to have been a martyr. An old tradition narrates that Zechariah was sawed in half,[11] in a death which resembles that attributed to Isaiah in Lives of the Prophets.

Zechariah was a righteous priest[12] and prophet of God whose office was in the temple of prayer in Jerusalem. He would frequently be in charge of managing the services of the temple[13] and he would always remain steadfast in prayer to God. As he reached his old age, Zechariah began to worry over who would continue the legacy of preaching the message of God after his death and who would carry on the daily services of the temple after him.[12] Zechariah started to pray to God for a son. The praying for the birth of an offspring was not merely out of the desire for a child.[12] He prayed both for himself and for the public – they needed a messenger, a man of God who would work in the service of the Lord after Zechariah. Zechariah had character and virtue and he wanted to transfer this to his spiritual heir as his most precious possession. His dream was to restore the household to the posterity of the patriarch Jacob and to make sure the message of God was renewed for Israel. As the Qur'an recounts:

And (Zechariah) said: "O my LORD, my bones decay, my head is white and hoary, yet in calling You, O LORD, I have never been deprived.
But I fear my relatives after me; and my wife is barren. So grant me a successor of Your own
Who will be heir to me, and heir to the house of Jacob; and make him obedient to You, O LORD"
—Qur'an, sura 19 (Maryam), ayat 4–6[14]

As a gift from God, Zechariah was given a son by the name of John (Yaḥyā), a name specially chosen for this child alone. Muslim tradition narrates that Zechariah was ninety-two years old[15] when he was told of John's birth. In accordance with Zechariah's prayer, God made John renew the message of God, which had been corrupted and lost by the Israelites.[16] As the Qur'an says:

"O Zachariah," (it was said), "We give you good news of a son by the name of John. To none have we attributed that name before."
"How can I have a son, O LORD" he said, "when my wife is barren and I am old a decrepit?"
(The angel) answered: "Thus will it be. Your LORD said: 'This is easy for Me; for when I brought you into being you were nothing.'"
(Zachariah) said: "O LORD, give me a Sign." "Your sign" He answered, "shall be that you shall speak to no man for three days, although you are not dumb."
—Qur'an, sura 19 (Maryam), ayat 7–10[17]

According to the Qur'an, Zechariah was the guardian of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Qur'an states:

Behold! A woman of 'Imran said: "O my LORD! I do dedicate unto You what is in my womb for Your special service, so accept this of me, for You hear all and know all things."
And when she had given birth to the child, she said: "O Template:Lord, I have delivered but a girl." But God knew best what she had delivered: A boy could not be as that girl was. "I have named her Mary, (she said), and I give her into your keeping. Preserve her and her children from Satan, the rejected."
Her LORD accepted her graciously, and she grew up with excellence, and was given into the care of Zachariah. Whenever Zachariah came to see her in the chamber, he found her provided with food, and he asked: "Where has this come from, O Mary?" And she said: "From God, who gives food in abundance to whomsoever He will."
—Qur'an, sura 3 (Al-i-Imran), ayat 35–37[18]

Muslim theology maintains that Zechariah, along with John the Baptist and Jesus, ushered in a new era of prophets – all of whom came from the priestly descent of Amram, the father of the prophet Aaron. The fact that, of all the priests, it was Zechariah who was given the duty of keeping care of Mary shows his status as a pious man. Zechariah is frequently praised in the Qur'an as a prophet of God and righteous man. One such appraisal is in Sura Al-An'am:

And Zachariah and John, and Jesus and Elias: all in the ranks of the righteous.
—Qur'an, sura 6 (Al-An'am), ayat 85[19]

Qur'an translator Abdullah Yusuf Ali offers commentary on this one line[20] – suggesting that these particular prophets make a spiritual connection with one another. He points out that John the Baptist was a direct cousin of Jesus, while Elijah was one who was present at the Transfiguration of Jesus[21] on the Mount, as mentioned in the New Testament. Zechariah, meanwhile, through marriage, was the uncle of Jesus and his son John the Baptist was referred to as Elijah in the New Testament.[22]

References in the Qur'an

  • Appraisals for Zechariah: 21:90
  • Zechariah wished for a child: 21:89
  • Zechariah's wish was granted: 21:90
  • Zechariah was unable to speak for three nights: 19:10–11

See also


public domain: Template:Cite EBD

External links

  • synaxarion
Zechariah (priest)
Preceded by
Renovating the Second Temple
into Herod's Temple begins
New Testament
Succeeded by
Gabriel announces to Mary
that she will give birth to Jesus

Template:Prophets in the Qur'an Template:Qur'anic people Template:New Testament Prophets

Template:Catholic saints

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