Interpretation of Sura Maryam (Mary) 15:16

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Interpretation of Sura Maryam (Mary) 15:16

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

وَسَلَامٌ عَلَيْهِ يَوْمَ وُلِدَ وَيَوْمَ يَمُوتُ وَيَوْمَ يُبْعَثُ حَيًّا ﴿١٥﴾‏ وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ مَرْيَمَ إِذِ انتَبَذَتْ مِنْ أَهْلِهَا مَكَانًا شَرْقِيًّا ﴿١٦﴾‏

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Most Merciful

And peace be upon him the day he was born, and the day he dies, and the Day he is raised alive. (15) And mention in the Scripture Mary, when she withdrew from her people to an eastern location. (16)

وَسَلَامٌ عَلَيْهِ يَوْمَ وُلِدَ وَيَوْمَ يَمُوتُ وَيَوْمَ يُبْعَثُ حَيًّا   ‎﴿١٥﴾‏

And peace be upon him the day he was born, and the day he dies, and the Day he is raised alive. (15)

“Salam”[1] (Peace) is one of the Names of God. “Salam” means health and peace in contrast to harm or anything that is harmful to human nature.

What is the difference between “Salam” (Peace) and “Aman”[2] (Security)?

The Quran says, “Enter it in peace and security[3] (Al-Hijr:46).

When there is “Salam” (Peace) somewhere, there is nothing that bothers you, and “Aman” (Security) means nothing will endanger this “Salam” (Peace) in the future.

In this verse, God said “Salam” to Prophet John (Yahya (A)) in three days (as God told his father Prophet Zachariah (A) that he could not speak to the people for three days). These three days are as follows: entering the “worldly life”, entering “Barzakh World”, and entering “The Resurrection”. These are three great days for mankind. God says “Salam” (Peace) to Prophet Yahya (A) in all three stages.

With this explanation, a verse of the Quran might be clear. Satan asked God: “My Lord, reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected[4] (Al-Hijr:36). God replied: “You are of those reprieved Until the Day of the appointed (known) time[5] (Al-Hijr:37-38).

When is this Day (appointed time)?

Some commentators have said, this appointed time is the time of emergence of Imam Mahdi (AJ). Satan said, “Give me respite until the Day of Judgment, but God has given him respite until the Day of death, so after that, Satan’s hand would be shortened from mankind (Meaning Satan would not be able to mislead people in Barzakh World – Barzakh is a world after death until the Day of Resurrection).

Why was Prophet Yahya (John (A)) martyred even though God gave him “Salam” (Peace)? We have two types of “Salam” (Peace).

One type of “Salam” (Peace) is from the Name of Ar-Rahim[6]. Like a verse of the Holy Quran which says: “Peace, a saying from the Most Merciful Lord” (Yasin:58). “Salam” from the Name of Ar-Rahim means that the faith and the soul are safe and healthy, but his body may be harmed. One example is Prophet Noah (A), who was beaten so much that he fainted. “Peace be upon Noah among all the worlds[7] (As-Saffat:79).

The other “Salam” is from the Name of Ar-Rahman[8] like Prophet Abraham (A), who granted both types of “Salam” from God. The following verses are examples of Ar-Rahim and Ar-Rahman “Salam” respectively. “Peace be upon Abraham[9] (As-Saffat:109). “We said, O fire, be cool and peace upon Abraham[10] (Al-Anbia:69). Therefore, the body of Prophet Abraham (A) did not burn, and his faith was safe and healthy.

وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ مَرْيَمَ إِذِ انتَبَذَتْ مِنْ أَهْلِهَا مَكَانًا شَرْقِيًّا ‎﴿١٦﴾‏

And mention in the Scripture (Book) Mary, when she withdrew from her people to an eastern location. (16)

At the beginning of the verse, God says: “Mention (Commemorate) Mary”. Each divine person (man or woman) has a degree of the book. This is a key for Mu’minin which God orders them to remember divine persons that have some benefits for their souls.

Why does God say that Lady Maryam (Mary (A)) withdrew from people to the eastern place? What does the eastern location mean in the verse?

Regarding Prophet Moses (A), we have a verse in the Holy Quran that says: “You were not on the Western Side when We decreed the command to Moses, nor were you among the witnesses[11] (Al-Qasas:44). For sure, there must be a reason for mentioning the “western side” in this verse.

There is a difference between Prophet Moses (A) and Prophet Jesus (A) while they are the same in monotheism as Quran stated:

Say, “We believe in God; and in what was revealed to us; and in what was revealed to Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the Patriarchs; and in what was given to Moses and Jesus; and in what was given to the prophets—from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him, we surrender[12] (Al-Baqara:136).

But there is a difference in their spiritual journey and behavior. In Surah “Ta Ha”, in the story of Prophet Moses, there are no angels while God speaks to Prophet Moses. Prophet Jesus’ (A) conduct was spiritual, and Prophet Moses’ (A) conduct was material aspect. The miracles of Prophet Moses (A) were all violence and killing and the miracles of Prophet Jesus (A) were all life and healing.

Prophet Muhammad (S) said: “My brother Moses was blind in his right eye and my brother Jesus was blind in his left eye and I can see with two eyes“.

People whose divine journey to God is eastern type, they cut off from the material world. They overcome the physics of this world, like Prophet Jesus (A) who was walking on water and eating heavenly food. The more a person is cut off from the world, the more his spirituality flourishes, the more he pays attention to God, and the easier his worldly affairs become for him. Lady Mary took the eastern place and went towards the immaterial world. She has been given food from heaven. The journey toward the east is ascending towards an immaterial world. She became close and connected to the Holy Spirit, therefore Prophet Jesus (A) has been granted to her. On the other hand, the divine western journey is towards the material world like Prophet Muses (A). Prophet Muhammad’s journey was neither eastern nor western. Now we understand the meaning of the blindness of Prophet Moses (A) and Prophet Jesus (A) in the above narration from Prophet Muhammad (S).

Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a Monotheist, a Muslim. And he was not of the Polytheists. (67) The people most deserving of Abraham are those who followed him, and this prophet, and those who believe. God is the Guardian of the believers[13] (68)

In the first verse God says, Abraham was neither western (Jewish) nor eastern (Christian), but He was “Hanif” and “Muslim”. It also says Prophet Muhammad was closest to Prophet Abraham (A).

All praise is to God to the extent that He deserves it.


[1] -سلام

[2] -امان

[3] – ادْخُلُوهَا بِسَلَامٍ آمِنِينَ

[4] -قَالَ رَبِّ فَأَنظِرْنِي إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ

[5] -قَالَ فَإِنَّكَ مِنَ الْمُنظَرِينَ ‎﴿٣٧﴾‏ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْوَقْتِ الْمَعْلُومِ ‎﴿٣٨﴾

[6] -الرحیم

[7] -سَلَامٌ عَلَىٰ نُوحٍ فِي الْعَالَمِينَ

[8] -الرحمن

[9] -سَلَامٌ عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ

[10] -قُلْنَا يَا نَارُ كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ

[11] -وَمَا كُنتَ بِجَانِبِ الْغَرْبِيِّ إِذْ قَضَيْنَا إِلَىٰ مُوسَى الْأَمْرَ وَمَا كُنتَ مِنَ الشَّاهِدِينَ

[12] -قُولُوا آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالْأَسْبَاطِ وَمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَمَا أُوتِيَ النَّبِيُّونَ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ

[13] -مَا كَانَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ يَهُودِيًّا وَلَا نَصْرَانِيًّا وَلَٰكِن كَانَ حَنِيفًا مُّسْلِمًا وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ ‎﴿٦٧﴾‏ إِنَّ أَوْلَى النَّاسِ بِإِبْرَاهِيمَ لَلَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُ وَهَٰذَا النَّبِيُّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ۗ وَاللَّهُ وَلِيُّ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ‎﴿٦٨﴾‏

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