This small room, in the south-eastern corner of Masjid al-Aqsa, is said to be where Maryam (upon her be peace) raised her son, the prophet Isa (upon him be peace) [Jesus]. However, it should be noted there isn’t any authentic, reliable source for this.
- When Maryam (upon her be peace) was old enough to be able to reason, she was entrusted to the custodians of Masjid al-Aqsa. Each one of them expressed the desire to be the guardian of this special child. They eventually cast lots, and this noble task was entrusted to Maryam’s maternal uncle, the prophet Zakariyya (upon him be peace).
- Maryam (upon her be peace) was allocated private chambers where she remained engaged in worship. When it was her turn to work at the sacred sanctuary, she carried out her duties diligently. Zakariyya (upon him be peace) would occasionally visit Maryam in her chambers to enquire about her well-being and her needs. Astonishingly, he would find out-of-season fruits in her chambers. The Qur’an mentions:‘Whenever Zakariyya went to visit her in her private chamber, he found that she had supplies. He asked:’O Maryam, where do you get this from?’ She said:’It is from Allah; for Allah provides for whomever Allah will, beyond any accounting.’ [3:37]
- Maryam (upon her be peace) excelled others in worship. The Qur’an says that she was from the ‘Qanitin’ indicating that she would stand in worship for such long hours that her feet would swell.
- While Maryam (upon her be peace) was engaged in her devotion to the Lord, an angel came and visited her: ‘And the Angel said O Maryam, Allah has chosen you, and purified you, and chosen you over the women of all people’s [3:42]. According to some interpreters of the Qur’an, this was the prelude to the miraculous conception and birth of Isa (upon him be peace).
- There is a chapter (surah) of the Qur’an entitled ‘Maryam’ which describes this miraculous conception in detail. The arrival of the angel in the form of a man, her conversations with him, and the realisation of this miraculous conception are captured by the Qur’an inimitable style:‘And remember Maryam in the Book: when she withdrew from her people to a place in the east, and secluded herself from them. We sent her Our spirit, which appeared to her just like a man. She said:’I seek refuge from you with the Compassionate One, if you are conscientious.’ He replied:’I am merely a Messenger from your Lord, sent to give you a sinless child.’ She asked:’How can I have a child, where no man has touched me and I have not been unchaste?’He responded:’It will be so; your Lord says: ”It is easy for Me; and We intend to make him a sign for humankind, and a mercy from Us.”And so the matter is decided’. [Qur’an 19:16-21]
- It should be noted though that the exact place where Maryam (upon her be peace) stayed within Masjid al-Aqsa cannot be verified for certain. The Christians do not hold any significance to this place. And Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) knows best.
References: HUMA’s travel guide to Palestine, The Tafsir of Surah Maryam – Sheikh Abdur Raheem Limbada