10. He Zakariyya said: "My Lord! Appoint for me a sign.'' He said: "Your sign is that you shall not speak unto mankind for three nights, though having no bodily defect.'' 11. Then he came out to his people from the Mihrab and he indicated to them by signs to glorify ﴿Allah﴾ in the morning and in the afternoon.
Allah, the Exalted, informed about Zakariyya that he said,
(He (Zakariyya) said: "My Lord! Appoint for me a sign.'') "Give me a sign and a proof of the existence of that which You have promised me, so that my soul will be at rest and my heart will be at ease with Your promise.'' Similarly Ibrahim said,
(My Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead. He (Allah) said: "Do you not believe'' He said: "Yes (I believe), but to put my heart at ease.'')﴿2:260﴾ Then Allah says,
(He said: "Your sign is...'') meaning, "Your sign will be...''
(that you shall not speak unto mankind for three nights, though having no bodily defect.) Meaning, `your tongue will be prevented from speaking for three nights while you are healthy and fit, without any sickness or illness.' Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Wahb, As-Suddi, Qatadah and others said, "His tongue was arrested without any sickness or illness.'' `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said, "He used to recite and glorify Allah, but he was not able to speak to his people except by gestures. '' Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said,
(three nights, though having no bodily defect.) "The nights were consecutive.'' However, the first statement that is reported from him and the majority is more correct. This Ayah is similar to what Allah, the Exalted, said in Surah Al `Imran,
(He said: "O my Lord! Make a sign for me.'' (Allah) said "Your sign is that you shall not speak to mankind for three days except with signals. And remember your Lord much, and glorify (Him) in the afternoon and in the morning.)﴿3:41﴾ This is a proof that he did not speak to his people for these three nights and their days as well.
(except with signals.) Meaning, with bodily gestures, this is why Allah says in this noble Ayah,
(Then he came out to his people from the Mihrab) referring to the place where he was given the good news of the child.
(he indicated to them by signs) Meaning he made a gesture to them that was subtle and swift.
(to glorify ﴿Allah﴾ in the morning and in the afternoon.) That they should be agreeable to what he was commanded to do during these three days, to increase in his deeds and gratitude to Allah for what He had given him. Mujahid said,
(he indicated to them by signs) "He made a gesture.'' Wahb and Qatadah said the same.