In the Quran, Surah Al Imran, it mentions the story of the wife of Imran who gave birth to a girl named Mary. You likely know of her as the mother of Jesus or Isa (AS).
The Wife of Imran — she is not named in the Quran so we’ll be referring to her as that — used to talk to Allah and make constant requests wishing the best for the baby in her belly. In ayat 35 she even made a promise to Allah,
“My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service], so accept this from me. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing.”
She had her expectations set for having a baby boy but ended up delivering a girl. The reasons she hoped for a boy is because he would’ve been capable of achieving more because he is free from some of the physical shortcomings and social stigmas that comes with being a girl. Regardless, wife of Imran loved the child and in ayat 36 she makes another dua to Allah to protect her new born child,
But when she delivered her, she said, “My Lord, I have delivered a female.” And Allah was most knowing of what she delivered, “And the male is not like the female. And I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the mercy of Allah].”
The surah continues telling the reader that Allah was pleased with her and accepted her requests and put her under the care of Zechariah (Zechariah is likely the husband of her maternal aunt, and one of the guardians of the Temple. Not to be confused with the Prophet Zechariah mentioned in the Old Testament). Every time Zechariah would see the Wife of Imran with Mary it was reported “he found with her provision” meaning Allah had blessed them with whatever they needed. When Zechariah asked where this is coming from she said, “It is from Allah . Indeed, Allah provides for whom He wills without account.”
Zechariah seeing this then recited the Rabbi Habli Min Ladunka dua which will be sharing with you today.
A Dua For Good Offspring
After that discussion with the Wife of Imran, Zechariah in ayah 38 of Imran called upon his Lord by saying the following dua in arabic,
رَبِّ هَبْ لِى مِن لَّدُنكَ ذُرِّيَّةً طَيِّبَةً ۖ إِنَّكَ سَمِيعُ ٱلدُّعَآءِ
Transliteration Rabbi habli min ladunka zurriyatan tayyibatan innaka sameeud du’aaa
rabbi habli min ladunka dua meaning
The translation of the rabbi habli min ladunka dua is “My Lord, grant me from Yourself a good offspring. Indeed, You are the Hearer of supplication.”
Below are the slight variations of the translation of this ayah given by other references.
MUFTI TAQI USMANI Thereupon, Zakariyya prayed to his Lord. He said: “O my Lord, grant me from Your own (power) a goodly progeny. Verily, You are the One who listens to the prayer.”
MUHSIN KHAN At that time Zakariya (Zachariya) invoked his Lord, saying: “O my Lord! Grant me from You, a good offspring. You are indeed the All-Hearer of invocation.”
DR. MUSTAFA KHATTAB Then and there Zachariah prayed to his Lord, saying, “My Lord! Grant me—by your grace—righteous offspring. You are certainly the Hearer of ˹all˺ prayers.”
PICKTHALL Then Zachariah prayed unto his Lord and said: My Lord! Bestow upon me of Thy bounty goodly offspring. Lo! Thou art the Hearer of Prayer.
DR. GHALI Thereover Zakariyya (Zechariah) invoked his Lord (and) said, “Lord! Bestow upon me from very close to You a goodly offspring. Surely You are The Ever-Hearer of invocation.”
ABUL ALA MAUDUDI(WITH TAFSIR) Then Zechariah prayed to his Lord: ‘O Lord! Grant me from Yourself out of Your grace the gift of a goodly offspring, for indeed You alone heed all Prayers.’
Up until this point Zechariah had no issue.
It was the sight of this young pious girl who made him yearn for his own child who would be just as devout and virtuous.
He saw the provision which Allah had given them and felt hopeful if he too would ask, Allah would bless him as well. The passage continues through ayat 39-41,
“So the angels called him while he was standing in prayer in the chamber, “Indeed, Allah gives you good tidings of John, confirming a word from Allah and [who will be] honorable, abstaining [from women], and a prophet from among the righteous.” He said, “My Lord, how will I have a boy when I have reached old age and my wife is barren?” The angel said, “Such is Allah ; He does what He wills.” He said, “My Lord, make for me a sign.” He Said, “Your sign is that you will not [be able to] speak to the people for three days except by gesture. And remember your Lord much and exalt [Him with praise] in the evening and the morning.”
In Surah Maryam, ayat 2-11 story of Zechariah is told with a few more details,
“[This is] a mention of the mercy of your Lord to His servant Zechariah. When he called to his Lord a private supplication. He said, “My Lord, indeed my bones have weakened, and my head has filled with white, and never have I been in my supplication to You, my Lord, unhappy. And indeed, I fear the successors after me, and my wife has been barren, so give me from Yourself an heir who will inherit me and inherit from the family of Jacob. And make him, my Lord, pleasing [to You].” [He was told], “O Zechariah, indeed We give you good tidings of a boy whose name will be John. We have not assigned to any before [this] name.” He said, “My Lord, how will I have a boy when my wife has been barren and I have reached extreme old age?” [An angel] said, “Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me, for I created you before, while you were nothing.’ “ [Zechariah] said, “My Lord, make for me a sign.” He said, “Your sign is that you will not speak to the people for three nights, [being] sound.” So he came out to his people from the prayer chamber and signaled to them to exalt [ Allah ] in the morning and afternoon.”
Lessons from this Dua
We can model the behavior of Zechariah who serves as a great role model. He witnessed first hand the blessings Allah bestowed on the Wife of Imran. It’s easy for somone to let their mind wonder and say something along the lines of “why not me”, this begins the descension spiraling down of the human spirit. Nothing good comes from the feeling of jealousy and anger. Zechariah, as a testament to his character and his faith in Allah, did not grow jealous or cast complaints or grievances, rather he was amazed and sincerely asked Allah for similar blessings.
We should all make dua to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, all things come from him and nothing is impossible with his help.
We should make dua with full belief and conviction.
We should be optimistic believing whatever we have asked for will come true, but if it doesn’t the Muslim should accept and work towards being happy with life being as it is, since this is the decree of Allah.
It may be hard to come to reality that you’ll be infertile for the rest of his or her life. We should be patient with the result, try to see the other side of things. Perhaps Allah decrees has wisdom and reason behind it beyond which we can comprehend. And the path he’s currently carved out for us is better than that of bearing and raising a child.