Maryam & the Date Palm Tree

We are just exiting the festive season when Christmas has been celebrated by many. Last year, my in-law took the unprecedented step of excluding us from and breakfast, lunch or dinner which may or may not have occurred that particular Christmas, and the first exclusion in my 20+ years of being in that family. Perhaps an iota of hurt remains. But hurt aside, that act of exclusion did lead to me recognising that I needed to not be as involved in the celebrations as I have been in the past. I love the incidentals of the celebrations – the colours, the decorations, the movies, the togetherness.

This year, I re-read the translation of Sura Maryam (19th chapter of the Holy Qur’an). Prompted actually by a conversation with Aunty F on the preceding Jummah afternoon when I stopped by to visit. When I was relating to her the Cherry Tree carol and what I thought was its reference in Al Qur’an. Aunty F corrected me and said it was the date tree. So I re-read Sura Maryam. A suran full of references to several Prophets a.s, stemming with Zakariyya a.s. and the pure Yahya a.s., and Maryam r.a., and Esa a.s., and Ibrahim a.s. exhortation to his father to worship only the One God, and Musa a.s. and his brother Haroon a.s., Ismail a.s., Idrees a.s., and Nuh a.s.

I reproduce below the translation of Ayah 23 to 26 of Surah Maryam

And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. She said, “Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten.”

But he called her from below her, “Do not grieve; your Lord has provided beneath you a stream.

And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates.

So eat and drink and be contented. And if you see from among humanity anyone, say, ‘Indeed, I have vowed to the Most Merciful abstention, so I will not speak today to [any] man.’ “

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