Shrine of Yahya b. Zakariyya located at the Umayyad Mosque Syria

Shrine of Prophet Yahya Ibn Zachariah (John Son of Zachariah) Peace be Upon Him, located at the Umayyad Mosque, Damascus Syria

Prophet John the Baptist (Peace Be Upon Him), was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure who baptized Prophet Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him) and led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River. Prophet John was a historical figure who followed the example of previous Hebrew prophets, living austerely, challenging sinful rulers, calling for repentance, and promising God's justice. Prophet John is regarded as a prophet in Christianity and Islam. Prophet John's baptism was a purification rite for repentant sinners, performed in "living water" (in this case a running river). Prophet Jesus have been a follower of Prophet John. Herod Antipas saw Prophet John as a threat and had him executed.

John the Baptist: A prophet of Islam
Amongst the 25 Prophets mentioned by God in the Quran, one name is Prophet John (peace be upon him). In Arabic, his name is Yahya. He is also a Prophet who figures prominently in Christianity, where he is known as John the Baptist. His story in the Christian tradition is described in Bible Luke 1:5-22.

In Islam, belief in all of Allah's Prophets is a fundamental article of faith. A person who denies belief in any of the Prophets, be it Jesus (peace be upon him) Moses (peace be upon him), or any of the others leaves the fold of Islam.

His miraculous birth
Prophet Jesus was not the only Prophet who was born miraculously. By miraculous, we mean outside of the normal process of human reproduction Allah God Almighty has ordained which requires a man and a woman to conceive a child. In the case of Jesus, this meant being born of a mother but no father.

But Prophet Adam (peace be upon him)'s birth was even more miraculous in this sense since he was created with no mother or father. Similarly, Hawwa or Eve (may Allah be pleased with her) was created from a man, her husband, and no parents.

The birth of Prophet John is miraculous because he is the offspring of a barren mother and an elderly father. His father, it should be noted, was also a Prophet named Zachariah.

"'Zachariah, We bring you the good news of the birth of a son whose name shall be John, one whose namesake We never created before.' He said: ‘My Lord! How can I have a boy when my wife is barren and I have reached an extremely old age?' He answered: ‘So shall it be.' Your Lord says: ‘It is easy for Me', and then added: ‘For beyond doubt, I created you earlier when you were nothing' (Quran 19:7-9).

"Zachariah exclaimed: ‘My Lord! How shall I have a son when old age has overtaken me and my wife is barren?' He said: ‘Thus shall it be; Allah does what He wills'"(Quran 3:40).

With the birth of John, Allah granted Zachariah his desire for an heir.

"And We bestowed favor upon Zachariah, when he cried to his Lord: ‘Lord! Leave me not solitary [without any issue]. You are the best Inheritor.' So We accepted his prayer and bestowed upon him John, and We made his wife fit (to bear a child). Verily they hastened in doing good works and called upon Us with longing and fear, and humbled themselves to Us" (Quran 21:89-90).

The beautiful qualities of John
Allah did not just miraculously grant Zachariah a son. He made this child a blessing for his parents and beautiful in character. Prophet John is described in the Quran as chaste and righteous.

"Then Zachariah 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. As he stood praying in the sanctuary, the angels called out to him: ‘Allah gives you good tidings of John, who shall confirm a command of Allah, shall be outstanding among men, utterly chaste, and a Prophet from among the righteous" (Quran 3:38-39).

"'O John! Hold fast the Book with all your strength. We had bestowed wisdom upon him while he was still a child; and We also endowed him with tenderness and purity; and he was exceedingly pious and cherishing to his parents. Never was he insolent or rebellious. Peace be upon him, the day he was born, and the day he will die, and the day he will be raised up alive. (Quran 19: 12-15).

Part of a line of honored Prophets
Finally, as mentioned above, Prophet John is one of the Prophets Muslims must believe in. He is one of the 25 mentioned in the Holy Quran.

"And We bestowed upon Abraham (offspring) Isaac and Jacob and each of them did We guide to the right way as We had earlier guided Noah to the right way; and (of his descendants We guided) David and Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron. Thus do We reward those who do good. (And of his descendants We guided) Zachariah, John, Jesus and Elias: each one of them was of the righteous." (Quran 6:84-85).

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