Sayyiduna Zakariyya ‘ who was the maternal uncle of Sayyidatuna Maryam was the Imam (chief) of all the religious scholars of Baytul-Muqaddas of those times. Sayyiduna Zakariyya became her caretaker. He made a separate chamber on the highest level of Bayt-ulMuqaddas, which was isolated from all other sections and kept Sayyidatuna Maryam there. Therefore, Sayyidatuna Maryam began to live there isolated whilst remaining busy in the worship of Allah . Sayyiduna Zakariyya would pay daily visits in the morning and evening to check on her wellbeing and arranging the sustenance.
Within a few days, a saintly miracle (Karamat) took place in the chamber of Sayyidatuna Maryam . When Sayyiduna Zakariyya would visit the chamber, he would find the fruits of winter season in summer season and the fruits of summer in the winter season. Sayyiduna Zakariyya would inquire in amazement, ‘O Maryam, where do you get these fruits from?’ Sayyidatuna Maryam would reply that these fruits are from Allah and He bestows with immeasurable sustenance to whomsoever He wills.
Sayyiduna Zakariyya was blessed with the rank of Prophethood by Allah but he did not have any offspring and he had reached the old age. For years, his heart was eager for offspring and many a times he had supplicated to Allah with humility for a beautiful child but he had still not yet been blessed with any child. When he saw the saintly miracle of Sayyidatuna Maryam that out of season fruits descend there, at that time, this thought mounted his heart that even though he has become very old, the season to yield the fruit of children has passed away, but Allah who blesses out of season fruits to Sayyidatuna Maryam in the chamber, He is capable to bless him with an out of season fruit in the form of a child. Therefore, he supplicated in the chamber of Sayyidatuna Maryam and his supplication was accepted. Allah blessed him with a son in his old age and Allah named this child ‘Yahya’ who was also blessed with the rank of Prophethood. Allah has described this event in the Holy Quran in the following words:
Whenever Zakariyya visited her at her prayer chamber, he would find new sustenance (fruits out of season) with her. He asked, ‘O Maryam! Where did this come to you from?’ She answered, ‘It is from Allah; indeed Allah gives to whom He desires, without measure.’ At that place, Zakariyya supplicated to his Lord. He requested, ‘O my Lord! Give me from Your Court a righteous offspring. Indeed only You are the Acceptor of supplication.’ And whilst he was praying in a standing position at his place of worship, the angels called out to him, ‘Indeed Allah gives you glad tidings of Yahya (John), who will verify a Word from Allah (Prophet ‘Isa); a leader, and always refraining from women, a Nabi from one of Our selected ones.’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)J (Part 3, Surah Aal-e-‘Imran, Ayah 37-39)
This event sheds light on several teachings. It is very useful for the Muslims to extract the moral lessons from it.