The Quran Asks 26-69

And read out to them the news of Ibrahim when he said to his father and his people, “What do you worship?” (Al Quran, Surah Ash Shuara, Chapter 26: Verses 69-70)

Following on from The Quran Asks 26-11, the Quran explains the events of another Prophet hence the above verses shall be understood in context with the preceeding and the following verses:

26-69: And read out to them the news of Ibrahim
26-70: when he said to his father and his people, “What do you worship?”
26-71: They said, “We worship idols and we will remain sticking to them.”
26-72: He said, “Do they listen to you when you pray to (them)
26-73: or benefit you or harm you?”
26-74: They said, “No, we found our fathers doing like that.”
26-75: He said, “Then do you see, that which you worship,
26-76: you and your fathers before you?
26-77: For they are enemies to me except the Fosterer of the worlds,
26-78: Who created me, then He it is Who guides me
26-79: and Who feeds me and gives me to drink
26-80: and when I am sick, then He it is Who cures me
26-81: and Who will cause me to die, then give me life (again)
26-82: and (from) Whom I hope, that He will protectively forgive me my mistakes on the day of judgment.
26-83: My Fosterer! grant me wisdom and join me with the righteous
26-84: and assign for me a true mention among later (generations),
26-85: and place me among the inheritors of the garden of bliss,
26-86: and protectively forgive my father, he is certainly among those who are astray,
26-87: and do not disgrace me on the day they are raised (again),
26-88: the day on which neither wealth nor sons will benefit,
26-89: except him who comes to Allah with a pure heart.”
26-90: And the garden will be brought near for those who guard (against evil).
26-91: And the hell will be made manifest to the erring ones.
26-92: And it will be said to them, “Where are those whom you used to worship
26-93: besides Allah? Can they help you or help themselves?”
26-94: Then they will be thrown headlong into it, they and the misleaders
26-95: and the army of Iblis (devil), all together.
26-96: They will say while they quarrel therein,
26-97: “By Allah, we were certainly in clear error
26-98: when we considered you equal to the Fosterer of the worlds,
26-99: and no one has misled us except the criminals,
26-100: so we have no mediators
26-101: and no intimate friend.
26-102: So if we are given (another chance to) return (to the world), then we will certainly be of those who believe.”
26-103: There is certainly a sign in that, but the majority of them does not believe.
26-104: And your Fosterer, He is certainly the Mighty, the Merciful. (R 5)

Details on Ibrahim (PBH) from the Quran which further enlighten us:

1. Leaves home in the name of Allah:
Ibrahim (PBH) as the messenger of Allah appears to have first preached his father against idol worship. He argued with him that he (i.e. his father) was worshipping idols which neither hear nor see nor are capable of helping him in anyway. He told him that worshipping idols and thereby serving the devil who was disobedient to Allah, was a punishable act. In reply to this his father threatened him that he would stone him if he did not stop his mission against idol worship and finally ordered him to go away from him. Even then Ibrahim (PBH) consoled him that he would pray to his Fosterer for forgiving him and withdrew from that which they worshipped besides Allah (Chapter 6: Verse 74, Chapter 19: Verses 41-48). The lesson we learn from this is that guidance to the right path does not depend on relationship, even the father of Ibrahim (PBH) was an idol worshipper, a polytheist. It is Allah Who guides whom He wills towards the right path (Chapter 2: Verse 213).

2. He reflects on the creation in search of the Creator:
Ibrahim (PBH) wanted to know, Who his Sustainer, Cherisher, Fosterer was, therefore Allah (SWT) diverted his attention towards the heavenly bodies and made him reflect on the creation and then come to some conclusion. In this process, he first saw a planet (probably venus which appears at the very start of night and is next in brightness only to the moon), but when the planet disappeared he remarked, ‘I do not love those who set’. He next reflected on the moon then on the sun, the biggest heavenly body seen with the naked eye but these two heavenly bodies also disappeared. These heavenly bodies too must have been objects of worship therefore he remarked, “O my people! I am free from that which you associate as partners (with Allah). I turn my attention towards Him Who initiated the creation of the skies and the earth, being upright, and I am not of the polytheists, (Chapter 6: Verses 75-82). Here there is a hint that Allah’s (SWT) existence and powers could be recognized through his creation.

3. He breaks Idols:
To teach a lesson to idol worshippers and to make them realize how helpless the idols were, he broke all the idols except the biggest one, in their absence. When they returned, and asked as to who had done this to their idols, he said that the biggest of them had done it and requested them to ask the idols themselves. They accepted that idols could not speak. He thus tried to convince them that besides Allah they were worshipping things which could not even protect themselves, leave alone their benefiting or harming others. Inspite of getting convinced they were adamant and tried to burn him in the fire but Allah (SWT) saved him. (Chapter 21: Verses 51-70). Following wrong practices and traditions of fore fathers sometimes makes people blind to reason and logic and leads them to hell.

4. He argues with the king:
Ibrahim (PBH) defeated the king of his time in argument which was another daring act. The king, considering himself to be the ultimate authority had said that he could let a person live or cause him to die. Ibrahim (PBH) in reply challenged that Allah (SWT) causes the sun to rise in the east let him cause it to rise in the west. (Chapter 2: Verse 258). This shows that one should dare to argue in the cause of Allah (SWT), basing his argument on reason and logic, even with people in power, if they are wrong.

5. He performs an experiment:
Belief in anything becomes strong if one is satisfied. Ibrahim (PBH) therefore asked Allah (SWT) to show him how He would raise the dead to life. Allah (SWT) too satisfied him by ordering him to perform an experiment: ‘Take four birds, tame them to come to you when you call them, then place on every mountain a portion from them and call them, they will come to you…’ (Chapter 2: Verse 260). As birds are tamed, every particle in the whole creation is tamed to obey the orders of Allah (SWT). On the day of resurrection at the command of Allah (SWT), all the particles of which a person was composed in the life of this world, would assemble to resurrect the same person. This was probably what Allah (SWT) wanted to impress on the mind of Ibrahim (PBH).

6.He leaves wife and child at Kaaba:
For the establishment of worship (salat) he left his wife Hajira and child Ismael (PBH) in the premises of Kaaba where there was no food, in the absence of any cultivation. He just depended on Allah (SWT) for providing them with fruits, for which he prayed to Him (Chapter 14: Verse 37). Another sacrifice of leaving his wife and small child alone just for the service of Allah (SWT).

7. Construction of Kaaba:
Ibrahim and Ismael (PBT) were ordered to clean the Kaaba for worshippers of Allah (SWT). This indicates that Ibrahim and Ismael (PBT) first had to remove some unclean or unwanted things from the premises of the Kaaba and then raise the foundations of the building. The place where Ibrahim (PBH) stood was appointed as a place for offering salat. While raising the walls of Kaaba Ibrahim and Ismael (PBT) were praying to Allah (SWT) for accepting this service of theirs inspite of the fact that they were ordered by Allah (SWT) to construct the building of Kaaba. This shows that while obeying the orders of Allah (SWT) we too should pray to Him for acceptance of our good deeds, because if our effort is not accepted as good by Allah (SWT) then it is fruitless and a waste. Ibrahim (PBH) also prayed to Allah (SWT) for raising a messenger from the local people i.e. the progeny of Ismael (PBH), his prayer was accepted and Muhammed (PBH) was raised as His last messenger with the final message i.e. the Quran (Chapter 2: Verses 125-129).

8. Sacrifice of Ismael:
When Ibrahhim (PBH) was instructed in his dream by Allah (SWT) to sacrifice his son Ismael (PBH) both obeyed the order. But when Ismael was laid down for sacrifice Allah (SWT) saved him from being slaughtered and in his place a sheep was sacrificed. This occasion is remembered every year when we celebrate Eid-Al-Adha (Chapter 37: Verses 102-109). If Ismael (PBH) had been sacrificed, it was possible that sacrificing a son instead of a sheep would have become incumbent on all Muslims. We celebrate Eid-Al-Adha because instead of a son a sheep is sacrificed and its really an occasion to be celebrated. What a trial it must have been for Ibrahim and Ismael (PBT), but both were declared successful. We should really be grateful to Allah for saving us from such a severe test.

9. Birth of Ishaq (PBH):
Ibrahim (PBH) was given the good news of the birth of Ishaq (PBH) as a son along with the birth of Yaqoob (PBH) as a grandson (Chapter 11: Verses 71-72). This clearly indicated that the son whose sacrifice was ordered was Ismael (PBH) and not Ishaq (PBH), because Ishaq (PBH) was to live get married and give birth to Yaqoob (PBH) his son. How could Ishaq (PBH) do all this if he had been sacrificed because Ibrahim (PBH) did not know before the sacrifice that his son would be saved, he was prepared to sacrifice his son in all good faith. If the son to be sacrificed was Ishaq (PBH) and not Ismael (PBH) then Ibrahim (PBH) would have got confused that on one hand Ishaq (PBH) was to give birth to Yaqoob (PBH) and on the other hand Allah (SWT) is asking him to sacrifice him in childhood itself. This clearly proves that Ismael (PBH) was involved in the sacrifice and this event took place around Kaaba. Sacrifice of animals and stoning the devils during the Hajj add further support to this fact.

10. Allah (SWT) acknowledgment of Ibrahim’s (PBH) acts:
Ibrahim (PBH) is honoured by being called upright and a friend of Allah (SWT) (Chapter 4: Verse 125). Allah (SWT) Himself certifies that he was not a polytheist (Chapter 16: Verse 120), he had a defectless heart (Chapter 37: Verse 84), he was a man of strength and insight, chosen for reminding people of the life after death (Chapter 38: Verses 45-47) he was good to such an extent that he was a model for the righteous to copy (Chapter 60: Verse 4).

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