The Miracle of Supplication
The Bible and Quran share many events, characters, and figures, one of which is Priest Zechariah. And same as most other cases, here the Christian and Muslim narratives are very similar to one another. What we need to keep in mind is that every story in the scriptures is meant to deliver an important message. And it's our job to work out these messages and put them into effect.
According to the Quran and the New Testament [Luke, 1:67-79] Priest Zechariah was a great divine prophet who preceded Jesus. He was also the father of John, the Baptist.
The Bible says that Zechariah was a priest at the temple. As part of his priestly duties in the temple, he was chosen to enter the Holy Place to burn incense before the Lord. While he was ministering in the temple to the Lord, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him that he and his barren wife, Elizabeth, had been chosen by God to have a son who would be the forerunner of the Messiah.
Zechariah Takes Charge of Mary
Mary's mother dedicated her to stay and work at the temple [Quran, 3:35-36]. The priests of the temple cast lots to see which of them would take charge of Mary's care [Quran, 3:44]. Here God mentions that He made Zechariah win the lot and put him in charge of Mary:
Thereupon her [Mary's] Lord accepted her with a gracious acceptance, and made her grow up in a worthy fashion, and He charged Zechariah with her care... [Quran, 3:37]
Upright in the Sight of God
Luke, 1:6 reads:
Both of them [Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth] were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.
The Quran also mentions that God indeed answers the calls of His faithful servants and does not leave them alone with their difficulties and supplications. It reminds us that faith bears incredible fruit.
And [remember] Zechariah, when he cried out to his Lord, ‘My Lord! Do not leave me without an heir, and You are the best of inheritors.’ So We answered his prayer, and gave him John, and cured for him his wife [of infertility]. Indeed, they were active in [performing] good works, and they would supplicate Us with eagerness and awe and were humble before Us. [Quran, 21:89-90]
It Is Simple for Me!
Recounting the story of Zechariah, both scriptures have focused on the miraculous birth of his son, John the Baptizer. Quran tells this story mainly to zoom in the fulfillment of God's will, as well as the importance of our belief and hope in His mercy at all events.
Our Lord is not far away from us. He is near [Quran, 2:186]; He sees us and hears us. And we shouldn't lose our hope in His mercy under any circumstances. It takes a lot to believe from the bottom of our heart that nothing is too difficult for God. And so did Zechariah:
[This is] an account of your Lord’s mercy on His servant, Zechariah, when he called out to his Lord with a secret cry. He said, ‘My Lord! Indeed my bones have become feeble, and my head has turned white with age, yet never have I, my Lord, been disappointed in supplicating You! Indeed I fear my kinsmen, after me, and my wife is barren. So grant me from Yourself an heir who may inherit from me and inherit from the House of Jacob, and make him, my Lord, pleasing [to You]!’
Now, think to yourself. If you are an old guy with a barren wife who cannot have a child, will you still keep asking God to grant you a child? Yes, people will say that you are old fashioned, that you are out of your mind. But indeed no one despairs of God's mercy except the faithless. [Quran, 12:87].
Finally, having passed his test, God answered Zechariah's calls as he stood praying in the sanctuary:
‘O Zechariah! Indeed We give you the good news of a son, whose name is ‘‘John.’’ Never before have We made anyone his namesake.’ He said, ‘My Lord! How shall I have a son, when my wife is barren, and I am already advanced in age?’ He said, ‘So shall it be. Your Lord has said, ‘‘It is simple for Me.’’ Certainly I created you before when you were nothing.’ He said, ‘My Lord! Appoint a sign for me.’ He said, ‘Your sign is that you will not speak to the people for three complete nights.’ So he emerged before his people from the Temple, and signalled to them that they should glorify [God] morning and evening. [Quran, 19:2-11]