Zakaryyah (AS) was a prophet of Allah during the era surrounding Isa (Jesus) (AS). He lived in Jerusalem and was a righteous man who consistently prayed to Allah. Zakariyyah (AS) is mentioned in several times in the Quran, including Surah Ale Imran, where it is stated that Allah chose him as a messenger and a prophet.
The story of Zakariyya (AS) begins when the wife of Imran becomes pregnant. During her pregnancy she said, “Oh my Lord, Whatever’s in my womb, I devout him to you. So accept it from me, Oh my Lord”. When she gave birth, she gave birth to a baby girl, so said said, “Oh my Lord, I have given birth to a daughter. And the boy is not like a girl, but I have named her Maryam”. She named her new child Maryam or Mary.
During these days, the pre-christianity days, there were synagogues and monasteries, but not as we understand them today. The placed were strictly places of warship to Allah and were filled with what we now know as priests, but these priests, again, were not like the ones today and were simply people who were devout caretakers and teachers.
So, Zakariyya (AS) was one of those priests in the temples. Due to men having to have interaction with people, only the men could be priests at these temples, not women.
Maryam grew up a righteous upbringing, and Zakariyya (AS) fostered her care. Initially, Maryam grew up with her mother and father, but as she became a teenager she had to go and stay in the temple. This is because of what was mentioned above, her mother vowed this child to be in service of Allah.
Though for a girl to stay in the temple, they needed someone to foster and take care of her. So, all the priest, the noble and the religious men gathered together. Each one began to debate, as each one wanted to take care of Maryam. They were all amazed by her righteousness, manners and characteristic that they all wanted to foster her.
They decided to decide by casting lots. They would throw sticks into a flowing river, and whoever’s stick came back would have another try. They would do this until there was only one left.
By the will of Allah, Zakariyyah’s (AS) stick continued to come back. So, by the will of Allah, Zakariyyah (AS) became her foster carer. Zakariyyah (AS), gave Maryam a little room within the temple, and due to Zakariyya (AS) being her foster carer, he checked on Maryam. Though, everytime he checked in Maryam, he would see her with fruits, but not just any fruits, fruits out of season or fruits that didn’t even grow in Jerusalem.
He would ask her, “Oh Maryam, where would you get this?”, and she would respond, “It is from Allah”.
Zakariyyah (AS) was eighty to ninety years old at this time, and he began to think to himself, “If Allah can give fruits out of season, what could he do for me”. He turned to Allah and made Dua for a child. Now remember he was old and his wife was barren.
On day, Jibril (AS) came to Zakariyya (AS) when he was at the temple and says to him, “Oh Zakariyya, we give you good news of a son.”. So Zakariyya (AS) turns around and asks a questions, that he knows the answer to, but is in so much shock that he asked, “But how can I have a son while I have grown so old in age. And my wife, she is barren”. Jibril (AS) replies, and tells him, Oh but it is very easy, your Lord says it is upon me very easy. And remember your Lord says to you, I created you in the beginning when you were nothing, so how is that going to be hard an Allah to create a new son for you, while you are old and your wife is barren and past menopause.
Then Allah says, “And we shall name him Yahya”. Allah then says, “We have never given anyone this name before him.”.
Zakariyya (AS) then asked Allah, “Oh Allah, how will I know when my wife is pregnant, oh my lord give me a sign.”. Allah says, “You will not be able to speak with people for three days, only in signal, sign language”.
When the day came that Zakariyya (AS) was unable to speak, he still signaled to his people of praise Allah and make Dhikr day and night.
Yahya or John the Baptist (AS) grew up as a highly intelligent and pious person. He was given prophethood like his father. He was filled with kindness and compassion. Yahya (AS) was also born about eight months before Isa (AS).
As the years past the Yahya (AS) and Isa (AS) grew up, the three of them became the main leaders of the community and would preach together. This included Zakariyya (AS), Yahya (AS), and Isa (AS).
Though, there was a tyrant ruler from bani Israil at the time. This leader fell in love with his niece. His niece was an evil women; and when the king fell in love with her, she became eager to become the queen. Though, how would she marry him when its haram in the religion. So, she sent for a fatwa to Yahya (AS) and asked if it is permissible for her to get married to her uncle, which is the king. Of course, Yahya (AS) say, no, it is haram.
One night, she was with her uncle and began to seduce him. Though when he came near her she said, no, it is haram, because Yahya said its haram. So, she said, I will not let you go near me until you bring me the head of Yahya as a dowry.
So that king became hyped up with desire and pride, and he sent his troops out to Yahya (AS) to kill him. They killed Yahya (AS) and chopped off his head. He Brough the head of Yahya (AS) to the niece as a dowry.
Oh course, Zakariyya (AS) objected to this, but the soldiers of the king were sent behind him and they killed Zakariyya (AS).
Zakariyya (AS) was a man of faith, patience, and submission to Allah.