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The Description of the Prophet in the Tawrah

Imam Ahmad recorded `Ata' bin Yasar saying that he met `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`As and said to him, "Tell me about the description of the Messenger of Allah in the Torah.'' He said, "Yes, by Allah, he is described by the Torah with the same characteristics that he is described with in the Qur'an with: `O Prophet! We have sent you as a witness, a bringer of good news, a warner, and as safe refuge for the unlettered people. You are My servant and Messenger. I have called you the Mutawakkil (who depends and relies on Allah for each and everything). You are not harsh, nor hard, nor obnoxious in the bazaars. He does not reward the evil deed with an evil deed. Rather, he forgives and pardons. Allah will not bring his life to an end, until he straightens the wicked religion by his hands so that the people proclaim: There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. By his hands, Allah will open blind eyes, deaf ears and sealed hearts.''' This was recorded by Al-Bukhari only.

﴿ وَلَن تَرۡضَىٰ عَنكَ ٱلۡيَہُودُ وَلَا ٱلنَّصَـٰرَىٰ حَتَّىٰ تَتَّبِعَ مِلَّتَہُمۡ‌ۗ قُلۡ إِنَّ هُدَى ٱللَّهِ هُوَ ٱلۡهُدَىٰ‌ۗ وَلَٮِٕنِ ٱتَّبَعۡتَ أَهۡوَآءَهُم بَعۡدَ ٱلَّذِى جَآءَكَ مِنَ ٱلۡعِلۡمِ‌ۙ مَا لَكَ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ مِن وَلِىٍّ۬ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ يَتۡلُونَهُ ۥ حَقَّ تِلَاوَتِهِۦۤ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِهِۦ‌ۗ وَمَن يَكۡفُرۡ بِهِۦ فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرُونَ

(120. Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muhammad) till you follow their religion. Say: "Verily, the guidance of Allah (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) that is the (only) guidance. And if you (O Muhammad) were to follow their (Jews and Christians) desires after what you have received of Knowledge (i.e. the Qur'an), then you would have against Allah neither any Wali (protector or guardian) nor any helper.) (121. Those to whom we gave the Book recite it as it should be recited (Yatlunahu Haqqa Tilawatihi) they are the ones who believe therein. And whoso disbelieve in it, those are they who are the losers.) Ibn Jarir said, "Allah said,

﴿ وَلَن تَرۡضَىٰ عَنكَ ٱلۡيَہُودُ وَلَا ٱلنَّصَـٰرَىٰ حَتَّىٰ تَتَّبِعَ مِلَّتَہُمۡ‌ۗ

(Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muhammad) till you follow their religion.) meaning, `The Jews and the Christians will never be happy with you, O Muhammad! Therefore, do not seek what pleases or appeases them, and stick to what pleases Allah by calling them to the truth that Allah sent you with.' Allah's statement,

﴿ قُلۡ إِنَّ هُدَى ٱللَّهِ هُوَ ٱلۡهُدَىٰ‌ۗ

(Say: "Verily, the guidance of Allah (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) that is the (only) guidance'') means, `Say, O Muhammad, the guidance of Allah that He sent me with is the true guidance, meaning the straight, perfect and comprehensive religion.''' Qatadah said that Allah's statement,

﴿ قُلۡ إِنَّ هُدَى ٱللَّهِ هُوَ ٱلۡهُدَىٰ‌ۗ

(Say: "Verily, the guidance of Allah (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) that is the (only) guidance) is, "A true argument that Allah taught Muhammad and his Companions and which they used against the people of misguidance.'' Qatadah said, "We were told that the Messenger of Allah used to say,

« لَا تَزَالُ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْ أُمَّتِي يُقَاتِلُونَ عَلَى الْحَقِّ ظَاهِرِينَ، لَا يَضُرُّهُمْ مَنْ خَالَفَهُمْ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ أَمْرُ الله »

(There will always be a group of my Ummah fighting upon the truth, having the upper hand, not harmed by their opponents, until the decree of Allah (the Last Hour) comes.)

This Hadith was collected in the Sahih and narrated from `Abdullah bin `Amr.

﴿ وَلَٮِٕنِ ٱتَّبَعۡتَ أَهۡوَآءَهُم بَعۡدَ ٱلَّذِى جَآءَكَ مِنَ ٱلۡعِلۡمِ‌ۙ مَا لَكَ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ مِن وَلِىٍّ۬ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ

(And if you (O Muhammad) were to follow their (Jews and Christians) desires after what you have received of Knowledge (i.e. the Qur'an), then you would have against Allah neither any Wali (protector or guardian) nor any helper.)

This Ayah carries a stern warning for the Muslim Ummah against imitating the ways and methods of the Jews and Christians, after they have acquired knowledge of the Qur'an and Sunnah, may Allah grant us refuge from this behavior. Although the speech in this Ayah was directed at the Messenger, the ruling of which applies to his entire Ummah.

The Meaning of Correct Tilawah

Allah said,

﴿ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ يَتۡلُونَهُ ۥ حَقَّ تِلَاوَتِهِۦۤ

(Those to whom We gave the Book. Yatlunahu Haqqan Tilawatih.)

`Abdur-Razzaq said from Ma`mar, from Qatadah, "They are the Jews and Christians.'' This is the opinion of `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam, and it was also chosen by Ibn Jarir. Sa`id reported from Qatadah, "They are the Companions of the Messenger of Allah .'' Abu Al-`Aliyah said that Ibn Mas`ud said, "By He in Whose Hand is my soul! The right Tilawah is allowing what it makes lawful, prohibiting what it makes unlawful, reciting it as it was revealed by Allah, not changing the words from their places, and not interpreting it with other than its actual interpretation.'' As-Suddi reported from Abu Malik from Ibn `Abbas who said about this Ayah (2:121): "They make lawful what it allows and they prohibit what it makes unlawful, and they do not alter its wordings.'' `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, "They are those who when they recite an Ayah that mentions mercy, they ask Allah for it, and when they recite an Ayah that mentions torment, they seek refuge with Allah from it.'' This meaning was attributed to the Prophet , for when he used to recite an Ayah of mercy, he invoked Allah for mercy, and when he recited an Ayah of torment, he sought refuge from it with Allah.

Allah's statement,

﴿ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِهِۦ‌ۗ

(they are the ones who believe therein)

explains the Ayah,

﴿ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ يَتۡلُونَهُ ۥ حَقَّ تِلَاوَتِهِۦۤ

(Those to whom We gave the Book. Yatlunahu Haqqa Tilawatihi).

These Ayat mean, "Those among the People of the Book who perfectly adhered to the Books that were revealed to the previous Prophets, will believe in what I have sent you with, O Muhammad!'' Allah said in another Ayah,

﴿ وَلَوۡ أَنَّہُمۡ أَقَامُواْ ٱلتَّوۡرَٮٰةَ وَٱلۡإِنجِيلَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡہِم مِّن رَّبِّہِمۡ لَأَڪَلُواْ مِن فَوۡقِهِمۡ وَمِن تَحۡتِ أَرۡجُلِهِم‌ۚ

(And if only they had acted according to the Tawrah, the Injil, and what has (now) been sent down to them from their Lord (the Qur'an), they would surely, have gotten provision from above them and from underneath their feet.) (5:66). The Ayah,

﴿ قُلۡ يَـٰٓأَهۡلَ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ لَسۡتُمۡ عَلَىٰ شَىۡءٍ حَتَّىٰ تُقِيمُواْ ٱلتَّوۡرَٮٰةَ وَٱلۡإِنجِيلَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡكُم مِّن رَّبِّكُمۡ‌ۗ

(Say (O Muhammad) "O People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! You have nothing (as regards guidance) till you act according to the Tawrah, the Injil, and what has (now) been sent down to you from your Lord (the Qur'an).'') means, "If you adhere to the Torah and the Gospel in the correct manner, believe in them as you should, and believe in the news they carry about Muhammad's prophethood, his description and the command to follow, aid and support him, then this will direct you to adhere to truth and righteousness in this life and the Hereafter.'' In another Ayah, Allah said,

﴿ ٱلَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ ٱلرَّسُولَ ٱلنَّبِىَّ ٱلۡأُمِّىَّ ٱلَّذِى يَجِدُونَهُ ۥ مَكۡتُوبًا عِندَهُمۡ فِى ٱلتَّوۡرَٮٰةِ وَٱلۡإِنجِيلِ

(Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write (i.e. Muhammad) whom they find written with them in the Tawrah and the Injil.) (7:157) and,

﴿ قُلۡ ءَامِنُواْ بِهِۦۤ أَوۡ لَا تُؤۡمِنُوٓاْ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ ٱلۡعِلۡمَ مِن قَبۡلِهِۦۤ إِذَا يُتۡلَىٰ عَلَيۡہِمۡ يَخِرُّونَ لِلۡأَذۡقَانِ سُجَّدً۬ا وَيَقُولُونَ سُبۡحَـٰنَ رَبِّنَآ إِن كَانَ وَعۡدُ رَبِّنَا لَمَفۡعُولاً۬

(Say (O Muhammad to them): "Believe in it (the Qur'an) or do not believe (in it). Verily, those who were given knowledge before it, when it is recited to them, fall down on their faces in humble prostration. And they say: "Glory be to our Lord! Truly, the promise of our Lord must be fulfilled.'') (17:107-108).

These Ayat indicate that what Allah promised for Muhammad will certainly occur. Allah also said,

﴿ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ مِن قَبۡلِهِۦ هُم بِهِۦ يُؤۡمِنُونَ وَإِذَا يُتۡلَىٰ عَلَيۡہِمۡ قَالُوٓاْ ءَامَنَّا بِهِۦۤ إِنَّهُ ٱلۡحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّنَآ إِنَّا كُنَّا مِن قَبۡلِهِۦ مُسۡلِمِينَ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ يُؤۡتَوۡنَ أَجۡرَهُم مَّرَّتَيۡنِ بِمَا صَبَرُواْ وَيَدۡرَءُونَ بِٱلۡحَسَنَةِ ٱلسَّيِّئَةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقۡنَـٰهُمۡ يُنفِقُونَ

(Those to whom We gave the Scripture (i. e. the Tawrah and the Injil) before it, they believe in it (the Qur'an). And when it is recited to them, they say: "We believe in it. Verily, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed even before it we have been from those who submit themselves to Allah in Islam as Muslims. These will be given their reward twice over, because they are patient, and repel evil with good, and spend (in charity) out of what We have provided them.) (28:52-54) and,

﴿ وَقُل لِّلَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ وَٱلۡأُمِّيِّـۧنَ ءَأَسۡلَمۡتُمۡ‌ۚ فَإِنۡ أَسۡلَمُواْ فَقَدِ ٱهۡتَدَواْ‌ۖ وَّإِن تَوَلَّوۡاْ فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيۡكَ ٱلۡبَلَـٰغُ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ بَصِيرُۢ بِٱلۡعِبَادِ

(And say to those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and to those who are illiterates (Arab pagans): "Do you (also) submit yourselves (to Allah in Islam)'' If they do, they are rightly guided; but if they turn away, your duty is only to convey the Message; and Allah is the Seer of (His) servants) (3:20).

Allah said,

﴿ وَمَن يَكۡفُرۡ بِهِۦ فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرُونَ

(And whoever disbelieves in it (the Qur'an), those are they who are the losers), just as He said in another Ayah,

﴿ وَمَن يَكۡفُرۡ بِهِۦ مِنَ ٱلۡأَحۡزَابِ فَٱلنَّارُ مَوۡعِدُهُ ۥ‌ۚ

(But those of the sects (Jews, Christians and all the other non-Muslim nations) that reject it (the Qur'an), the Fire will be their promised meeting place) (11:17).

As recorded in the Sahih, the Prophet said,

« وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَا يَسْمَعُ بِي أَحَدٌ مِنْ هذِهِ الْأُمَّةِ يَهُودِيٌّ وَلَا نَصْرَانِيٌّ ثُمَّ لَا يُؤْمِنُ بِي إِلَّا دَخَلَ النَّار »

(By He in Whose Hand is my soul! There is no member of this Ummah (mankind and Jinns), Jew or a Christian, who hears of me, yet does not believe in me, but will enter the Fire.)

﴿ يَـٰبَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ ٱذۡكُرُواْ نِعۡمَتِىَ ٱلَّتِىٓ أَنۡعَمۡتُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ وَأَنِّى فَضَّلۡتُكُمۡ عَلَى ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ وَٱتَّقُواْ يَوۡمً۬ا لَّا تَجۡزِى نَفۡسٌ عَن نَّفۡسٍ۬ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَلَا يُقۡبَلُ مِنۡہَا عَدۡلٌ۬ وَلَا تَنفَعُهَا شَفَـٰعَةٌ۬ وَلَا هُمۡ يُنصَرُونَ

(122. O Children of Israel! Remember My favor which I bestowed upon you and that I preferred you over the nations).) (123. And fear the Day (of Judgement) when no person shall avail another, nor shall compensation be accepted from him, nor shall intercession be of use to him, nor shall they be helped.)

We mentioned a similar Ayah at the beginning of this Surah, and it is mentioned here to emphisize the importance of following the Ummi Prophet and Messenger, who is described for the People of the Scriptures in their Books by his characteristics, name, the good news about him and the description of his Ummah. Allah warned them against concealing this information, which is among the favors that Allah granted them. Allah also commanded them to remember their daily life and their religious affairs and how He blessed them. They should not envy their cousins, the Arabs, for what Allah has given them, the Final Messenger of Allah being an Arab. Envy should not incite them to oppose or deny the Prophet or refrain from following him, may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him until the Day of Judgment.

﴿ وَإِذِ ٱبۡتَلَىٰٓ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمَ رَبُّهُ ۥ بِكَلِمَـٰتٍ۬ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ‌ۖ قَالَ إِنِّى جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامً۬ا‌ۖ قَالَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِى‌ۖ قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهۡدِى ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

(124. And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim (Abraham) tried him with (certain) commands, which he fulfilled. He (Allah) said (to him), "Verily, I am going to make you an Imam (a leader) for mankind (to follow you).'' (Ibrahim) said, "And of my offspring (to make leaders).'' (Allah) said, "My covenant (prophethood) includes not Zalimin (polytheists and wrongdoers).'')

Ibrahim Al-Khalil was an Imam for the People

Allah is informing us of the honor of Ibrahim Al-Khalil, who He made an Imam for the people, and a model to be imitated, because of the way he conducted himself and adhered to Tawhid. This honor was given to Prophet Ibrahim when he adhered to Allah's decisions and prohibitions. This is why Allah said,

﴿ وَإِذِ ٱبۡتَلَىٰٓ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمَ رَبُّهُ ۥ بِكَلِمَـٰتٍ۬

(And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim (i.e., Allah) tried him with (certain) commands).

This Ayah means, O Muhammad! Remind the idolaters and the People of the Scriptures, who pretend to be followers of the religion of Ibrahim, while in reality they do not follow it, while you, O Muhammad, and your followers are the true followers of his religion; remind them of the commands and prohibitions that Allah tested Ibrahim with.

﴿ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ‌ۖ

(which he fulfilled.) indicating that Ibrahim implemented all of Allah's orders. Allah said in another Ayah,

﴿ وَإِبۡرَٲهِيمَ ٱلَّذِى وَفَّىٰٓ

(And of Ibrahim (Abraham) who fulfilled (or conveyed) all that (Allah ordered him to do or convey)) (53:37)

meaning, he was truthful and he was obedient to Allah's legislation. Also, Allah said,

﴿ إِنَّ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ كَانَ أُمَّةً۬ قَانِتً۬ا لِّلَّهِ حَنِيفً۬ا وَلَمۡ يَكُ مِنَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ شَاڪِرً۬ا لِّأَنۡعُمِهِ‌ۚ ٱجۡتَبَٮٰهُ وَهَدَٮٰهُ إِلَىٰ صِرَٲطٍ۬ مُّسۡتَقِيمٍ۬ وَءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُ فِى ٱلدُّنۡيَا حَسَنَةً۬‌ۖ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ لَمِنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ ثُمَّ أَوۡحَيۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ أَنِ ٱتَّبِعۡ مِلَّةَ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ حَنِيفً۬ا‌ۖ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِڪِينَ

(Verily, Ibrahim was an Ummah (or a nation), obedient to Allah, Hanif (i.e. to worship none but Allah), and he was not one of those who were Al-Mushrikin (polytheists), (He was) thankful for His (Allah's) favors. He (Allah) chose him and guided him to a straight path. And We gave him good in this world, and in the Hereafter he shall be of the righteous. Then, We have sent the revelation to you (O Muhammad saying): "Follow the religion of Ibrahim Hanif (Islamic Monotheism ـ to worship none but Allah) and he was not of the Mushrikin.) (16:120-123)

﴿ قُلۡ إِنَّنِى هَدَٮٰنِى رَبِّىٓ إِلَىٰ صِرَٲطٍ۬ مُّسۡتَقِيمٍ۬ دِينً۬ا قِيَمً۬ا مِّلَّةَ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ حَنِيفً۬ا‌ۚ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ

(Say (O Muhammad): "Truly, my Lord has guided me to a straight path, a right religion, the religion of Ibrahim, Hanifan, and Ibrahim (to worship none but Allah, alone) and he was not of Al-Mushrikin.'') (6:161) and,

﴿ مَا كَانَ إِبۡرَٲهِيمُ يَہُودِيًّ۬ا وَلَا نَصۡرَانِيًّ۬ا وَلَـٰكِن كَانَ حَنِيفً۬ا مُّسۡلِمً۬ا وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ إِنَّ أَوۡلَى ٱلنَّاسِ بِإِبۡرَٲهِيمَ لَلَّذِينَ ٱتَّبَعُوهُ وَهَـٰذَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ وَلِىُّ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ

(Ibrahim was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a true Muslim Hanifan (Islamic Monotheism ـ to worship none but Allah alone) and he was not of Al-Mushrikin. Verily, among mankind who have the best claim to Ibrahim are those who followed him, and this Prophet (Muhammad) and those who have believed (Muslims). And Allah is the Wali (Protector and Helper) of the believers) (3:67-68).

Allah said,

﴿ بِكَلِمَـٰتِ

(with Kalimat (words)) which means, "Laws, commandments and prohibitions.'' `Words' as mentioned here, sometimes refers to what Allah has willed, such as Allah's statement about Maryam,

﴿ وَصَدَّقَتۡ بِكَلِمَـٰتِ رَبِّہَا وَكُتُبِهِۦ وَكَانَتۡ مِنَ ٱلۡقَـٰنِتِينَ

(And she testified to the truth of the Words of her Lord, and (also believed in) His Scriptures, and she was of the Qanitin (i.e. obedient to Allah)) (66:12).

"Words'' also refers to Allah's Law, such as Allah's statement,

﴿ وَتَمَّتۡ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدۡقً۬ا وَعَدۡلاً۬‌ۚ

(And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice) (6:115) meaning, His legislation. "Words'' also means truthful news, or a just commandment or prohibition. For instance, Allah said,

﴿ وَإِذِ ٱبۡتَلَىٰٓ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمَ رَبُّهُ ۥ بِكَلِمَـٰتٍ۬ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ‌ۖ

(And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim tried him with (certain) Words (commands), which he fulfilled) meaning, he adhered to them, Allah said,

﴿ إِنِّى جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامً۬ا‌ۖ

("Verily, I am going to make you an Imam (a leader) for mankind (to follow you).'') as a reward for Ibrahim's good deeds, adhering to the commandments and avoiding the prohibitions. This is why Allah made Ibrahim a role model for the people, and an Imam whose conduct and path are imitated and followed.

What were the Words that Ibrahim was tested with

There is a difference of opinion over the words that Allah tested Ibrahim with. There are several opinions attributed to Ibn `Abbas. For instance, `Abdur-Razzaq said that Ibn `Abbas said, "Allah tested him with the rituals (of Hajj).'' Abu Ishaq reported the same. `Abdur-Razzaq also narrated that Ibn `Abbas said that,

﴿ وَإِذِ ٱبۡتَلَىٰٓ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمَ رَبُّهُ ۥ بِكَلِمَـٰتٍ۬

(And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim (Abraham) (i.e., Allah) tried him with (certain) commands) means, "Allah tested him with Taharah (purity, ablution): five on the head and five on the body. As for the head, they are cutting the mustache, rinsing the mouth, inhaling and discarding water, using Siwak and parting the hair. As for the body, they are trimming the nails, shaving the pubic hair, circumcision and plucking under the arm and washing with water after answering the call of nature.'' Ibn Abi Hatim said, "A similar statement was also reported from Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib, Mujahid, Ash-Sha`bi, An-Nakha`i, Abu Salih, Abu Al-Jald, and so forth.''

There is a similar statement that Imam Muslim narrated from `A'ishah who said that Allah's Messenger said,

« عَشْرٌ مِنَ الْفِطْرَةِ: قَصُّ الشَّارِبِ وَإِعْفَاءُ اللِّحْيَةِ وَالسِّوَاكُ وَاسْتِنْشَاقُ الْمَاءِ وَقَصُّ الْأَظْفَارِ وَغَسْلُ الْبَرَاجِمِ وَنَتْفُ الْإِبْطِ وَحَلْقُ الْعَانَةِ وَانْتِقَاصُ الْمَاءِ وَنَسِيتُ الْعَاشِرَةَ إِلَّا أَنْ تَكُونَ الْمَضْمَضَة »

(Ten are among the Fitrah (instinct, natural constitution): trimming the mustache, growing the beard, using Siwak, inhaling and then exhaling water (in ablution), cutting the nails, washing between the fingers (in ablution), plucking the underarm hair, shaving the pubic hair, washing with water after answering the call of nature, (and I forgot the tenth, I think it was) rinsing the mouth (in ablution).)

The Two Sahihs recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that the Prophet said,

« الْفِطْرَةُ خَمْسٌ: الْخِتَانُ وَالْاسْتِحْدَادُ وَقَصُّ الشَّارِبِ وَتَقْلِيمُ الْأَظْفَارِ وَنَتْفُ الْإِبْط »

(Five are among the acts of Fitrah: circumcision, shaving the pubic hair, trimming the mustache, cutting the nails and plucking the underarm hair.) This is the wording with Muslim.

Muhammad bin Ishaq reportd that Ibn `Abbas said, "The words that Allah tested Ibrahim with, and that he implemented were: abandoning his (disbelieving) people when Allah commanded him to do so, disputing with Nimrod (king of Babylon) about Allah, being patient when he was thrown in the fire (although this was extremely traumatic) migrating from his homeland when Allah commanded him to do so, patience with the monetary and material demands of hosting guests by Allah's command, and Allah's order for him to slaughter his son. When Allah tested Ibrahim with these words, and he was ready for the major test, Allah said to him,

﴿ أَسۡلِمۡ‌ۖ قَالَ أَسۡلَمۡتُ لِرَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

("Submit (be a Muslim)!'' He said, "I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of all that exists. '') (2:131) although this meant defying and being apart from the people.''

The Unjust do not qualify for Allah's Promise

Allah said that Ibrahim said,

﴿ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِى‌ۖ

(And of my offspring (to make leaders)) and Allah replied,

﴿ لَا يَنَالُ عَهۡدِى ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

(My covenant (prophethood) includes not Zalimin (polytheists and wrongdoers)).

When Allah made Ibrahim an Imam (Leader for the faithful), he asked Allah that Imams thereafter be chosen from his offspring. Allah accepted his supplication, but told him that there will be unjust people among his offspring and they will not benefit from Allah's promise. Thus, they will neither become Imams nor be imitated (for they will not be righteous). The proof that Ibrahim's supplication to Allah was accepted is that Allah said in Surat Al-`Ankabut (29:27),

﴿ وَجَعَلۡنَا فِى ذُرِّيَّتِهِ ٱلنُّبُوَّةَ وَٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ

(And We ordained among his offspring prophethood and the Book).

Hence, every Prophet whom Allah sent after Ibrahim were from among his offspring, and every Book that Allah revealed was to them. As for Allah's statement,

﴿ قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهۡدِى ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

((Allah) said, "My covenant (prophethood) includes not Zalimin (polytheists and wrongdoers). '')

Allah mentioned that there are unjust people among the offspring of Ibrahim, and they will not benefit from Allah's promise, nor would they be entrusted with anything, even though they are among the children of Allah's Khalil (intimate friend, Prophet Abraham). There will also be those who do good among the children of Ibrahim, and these it is who will benefit from Ibrahim's supplication. Ibn Jarir said that this Ayah indicated that the unjust shall not be Imams for the people. Moreover, the Ayah informed Ibrahim that there will be unjust people among his offspring. Also, Ibn Khuwayz Mindad Al-Maliki said, "The unjust person does not qualify to be a Khalifah, a ruler, one who gives religious verdicts, a witness, or even a narrator (of Hadiths).''

﴿ وَإِذۡ جَعَلۡنَا ٱلۡبَيۡتَ مَثَابَةً۬ لِّلنَّاسِ وَأَمۡنً۬ا وَٱتَّخِذُواْ مِن مَّقَامِ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمَ مُصَلًّ۬ى‌ۖ

(125. And (remember) when We made the House (the Ka`bah at Makkah) a place of resort for mankind and a place of safety. And take you (people) the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim (or the stone on which Ibrahim as a place)

The Virtue of Allah's House

Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas commented on Allah's statement,

﴿ وَإِذۡ جَعَلۡنَا ٱلۡبَيۡتَ مَثَابَةً۬ لِّلنَّاسِ

(And (remember) when We made the House (the Ka`bah at Makkah) a place of resort for mankind) "They do not remain in the House, they only visit it and return to their homes, and then visit it again.'' Also, Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi narrated from Ar-Rabi` bin Anas from Abu Al-`Aliyah who said that,

﴿ وَإِذۡ جَعَلۡنَا ٱلۡبَيۡتَ مَثَابَةً۬ لِّلنَّاسِ وَأَمۡنً۬ا

(And (remember) when We made the House (the Ka`bah at Makkah) a place of resort for mankind and a place of safety) means, "Safe from enemies and armed conflict. During the time of Jahiliyyah, the people were often victims of raids and kidnapping, while the people in the area surrounding it (Al-Masjid Al-Haram) were safe and not subject to kidnapping.'' Also, Mujahid, `Ata', As-Suddi, Qatadah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas were reported to have said that the Ayah (2:125) means, "Whoever enters it shall be safe.''

This Ayah indicates that Allah honored the Sacred House, which Allah made as a safe refuge and safe haven. Therefore, the souls are eager, but never bored, to conduct short visits to the House, even every year. This is because Allah accepted the supplication of His Khalil, Ibrahim, when he asked Allah to make the hearts of people eager to visit the House. Ibrahim said (14:40),

﴿ رَبَّنَا وَتَقَبَّلۡ دُعَآءِ

(Our Lord! And accept my invocation).

Allah described the House as a safe resort and refuge, for those who visit it are safe, even if they had committed acts of evil. This honor comes from the honor of the person who built it first, Khalil Ar-Rahman, just as Allah said,
﴿ وَإِذۡ بَوَّأۡنَا لِإِبۡرَٲهِيمَ مَكَانَ ٱلۡبَيۡتِ أَن لَّا تُشۡرِكۡ بِى شَيۡـًٔ۬ا

(And (remember) when We showed Ibrahim the site of the (Sacred) House (the Ka`bah at Makkah) (saying): "Associate not anything (in worship) with Me...'') (22:26) and,

﴿ إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيۡتٍ۬ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِى بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكً۬ا وَهُدً۬ى لِّلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ فِيهِ ءَايَـٰتُۢ بَيِّنَـٰتٌ۬ مَّقَامُ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ‌ۖ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ ۥ كَانَ ءَامِنً۬ا‌ۗ

(Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for Al-`Alamin (mankind and Jinn). In it are manifest signs (for example), the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim; whosoever enters it, he attains security) (3:96-97).

The last honorable Ayah emphasized the honor of Ibrahim's Maqam, and the instruction to pray next to it,

﴿ وَٱتَّخِذُواْ مِن مَّقَامِ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمَ مُصَلًّ۬ى‌ۖ

(And take you (people) the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim as a place of prayer). The Maqam of Ibrahim

Sufyan Ath-Thawri reported that Sa`id bin Jubayr commented on the Ayah,

﴿ وَٱتَّخِذُواْ مِن مَّقَامِ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمَ مُصَلًّ۬ى‌ۖ

(And take you (people) the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim as a place of prayer) "The stone (Maqam) is the standing place of Ibrahim, Allah's Prophet, and a mercy from Allah. Ibrahim stood on the stone, while Isma`il was handing him the stones (constructing the Ka`bah).''As-Suddi said, "The Maqam of Ibrahim is a stone which Isma`il's wife put under Ibrahim's feet when washing his head." Al-Qurtubi mentioned this, but he considered it unauthentic, although others gave it preference, Ar-Razi reported it in his Tafsir from Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Qatadah, and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas.

Ibn Abi Hatim reported that Jabir, describing the Hajj (pilgrimage) of the Prophet said, "When the Prophet performed Tawaf, `Umar asked him, `Is this the Maqam of our father' He said, `Yes.' `Umar said, `Should we take it a place of prayer' So Allah revealed,

﴿ وَٱتَّخِذُواْ مِن مَّقَامِ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمَ مُصَلًّ۬ى‌ۖ

(And take you (people) the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim (Abraham) as a place of prayer.'')

Al-Bukhari said, "Chapter: Allah's statement,

﴿ وَٱتَّخِذُواْ مِن مَّقَامِ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمَ مُصَلًّ۬ى‌ۖ

(And take you (people) the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim (Abraham) as a place of prayer) meaning, they return to it repeatedly.'' He then narrated that Anas bin Malik said that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, "I agreed with my Lord, or my Lord agreed with me, regarding three matters. I said, `O Messenger of Allah! I wish you take the Maqam of Ibrahim a place for prayer.' The Ayah,

﴿ وَٱتَّخِذُواْ مِن مَّقَامِ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمَ مُصَلًّ۬ى‌ۖ

(And take you (people) the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim (Abraham)) was revealed. I also said, `O Messenger of Allah! The righteous and the wicked enter your house. I wish you would command the Mothers of the believers (the Prophet's wives) to wear Hijab. Allah sent down the Ayah that required the Hijab. And when I knew that the Prophet was angry with some of his wives, I came to them and said, `Either you stop what you are doing, or Allah will endow His Messenger with better women than you are.' I advised one of his wives and she said to me, `O `Umar! Does the Messenger of Allah not know how to advise his wives, so that you have to do the job instead of him' Allah then revealed,

﴿ عَسَىٰ رَبُّهُ ۥۤ إِن طَلَّقَكُنَّ أَن يُبۡدِلَهُ ۥۤ أَزۡوَٲجًا خَيۡرً۬ا مِّنكُنَّ مُسۡلِمَـٰتٍ۬

(It may be if he divorced you (all) that his Lord will give him instead of you, wives better than you, ـ Muslims (who submit to Allah)).'' (66:5)

Also, Ibn Jarir narrated that Jabir said, "After the Messenger of Allah kissed the Black Stone, he went around the house three times in a fast pace and four times in a slow pace. He then went to Maqam of Ibrahim, with it between him and the House, and prayed two Rak`ahs.'' This is part of the long Hadith that Muslim recorded in Sahih. Al-Bukhari recorded that `Amr bin Dinar said that he heard Ibn `Umar say, "The Messenger of Allah performed Tawaf around the House seven times and then prayed two Rak`ahs behind the Maqam.''

All these texts indicate that the Maqam is the stone that Ibrahim was standing on while building the House. As the House's walls became higher, Isma`il brought his father a stone, so that he could stand on it, while Isma`il handed him the stones. Ibrahim would place the stones on the wall, and whenever he finished one side, he would move to the next side, to complete the building all around. Ibrahim kept repeating this until he finished building the House, as we will describe when we explain the story of Ibrahim and Isma`il and how they built the House, as narrated from Ibn `Abbas and collected by Al-Bukhari. Ibrahim's footprints were still visible in the stone, and the Arabs knew this fact during the time of Jahiliyyah. This is why Abu Talib said in his poem known as `Al-Lamiyyah', "And Ibrahim's footprint with his bare feet on the stone is still visible.''

The Muslims also saw Ibrahim's footprints on the stone, as Anas bin Malik said, "I saw the Maqam with the print of Ibrahim's toes and feet still visible in it, but the footprints dissipated because of the people rubbing the stone with their hands.''

Earlier, the Maqam was placed close to the Ka`bah's wall. In the present time, the Maqam is placed next to Al-Hijr on the right side of those entering through the door.

When Ibrahim finished building the House, he placed the stone next to the wall of Al-Ka`bah. Or, when the House was finished being built, Ibrahim just left the stone where it was last standing, and he was commanded to pray next to the stone when he finished the Tawaf (circumambulating). It is understandable that the Maqam of Ibrahim would stand where the building of the House ended. The Leader of the faithful `Umar bin Al-Khattab, one of the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs whom we were commanded to emulate, moved the stone away from the Ka`bah's wall during his reign. `Umar is one of the two men, whom the Messenger of Allah described when he said,

« اقْتَدُوا بِاللَّذَيْنِ مِنْ بَعْدِي أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَر »

(Imitate the two men who will come after me: Abu Bakr and `Umar.)

`Umar was also the person whom the Qur'an agreed with regarding praying next to Maqam of Ibrahim. This is why none among the Companions rejected it when he moved it.

`Abdur-Razzaq reported from Ibn Jurayj from `Ata', "`Umar bin Al-Khattab moved the Maqam back.'' Also, `Abdur-Razzaq narrated that Mujahid said that `Umar was the first person who moved the Maqam back to where it is now standing.'' Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr, Ahmad bin `Ali bin Al-Husayn Al-Bayhaqi recorded `A'ishah saying, "During the time of the Messenger of Allah and Abu Bakr, the Maqam was right next to the House. `Umar moved the Maqam during his reign.'' This Hadith has an authentic chain of narration.

﴿ وَإِذۡ جَعَلۡنَا ٱلۡبَيۡتَ مَثَابَةً۬ لِّلنَّاسِ وَأَمۡنً۬ا وَٱتَّخِذُواْ مِن مَّقَامِ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمَ مُصَلًّ۬ى‌ۖ وَعَهِدۡنَآ إِلَىٰٓ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمَ وَإِسۡمَـٰعِيلَ أَن طَهِّرَا بَيۡتِىَ لِلطَّآٮِٕفِينَ وَٱلۡعَـٰكِفِينَ وَٱلرُّڪَّعِ ٱلسُّجُودِ وَإِذۡ قَالَ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمُ رَبِّ ٱجۡعَلۡ هَـٰذَا بَلَدًا ءَامِنً۬ا وَٱرۡزُقۡ أَهۡلَهُ ۥ مِنَ ٱلثَّمَرَٲتِ مَنۡ ءَامَنَ مِنۡہُم بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ‌ۖ قَالَ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَأُمَتِّعُهُ ۥ قَلِيلاً۬ ثُمَّ أَضۡطَرُّهُ ۥۤ إِلَىٰ عَذَابِ ٱلنَّارِ‌ۖ وَبِئۡسَ ٱلۡمَصِيرُ وَإِذۡ يَرۡفَعُ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمُ ٱلۡقَوَاعِدَ مِنَ ٱلۡبَيۡتِ وَإِسۡمَـٰعِيلُ رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلۡ مِنَّآ‌ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ رَبَّنَا وَٱجۡعَلۡنَا مُسۡلِمَيۡنِ لَكَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِنَآ أُمَّةً۬ مُّسۡلِمَةً۬ لَّكَ وَأَرِنَا مَنَاسِكَنَا وَتُبۡ عَلَيۡنَآ‌ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلتَّوَّابُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ

(125. And We commanded Ibrahim (Abraham) and Isma`il (Ishmael) that they should purify My House (the Ka`bah at Makkah) for those who are circumambulating it, or staying (I`tikaf), or bowing or prostrating themselves (there, in prayer).) (126. And (remember) when Ibrahim said, "My Lord, make this city (Makkah) a place of security and provide its people with fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day.'' He (Allah) answered: "As for him who disbelieves, I shall leave him in contentment for a while, then I shall compel him to the torment of the Fire, and worst indeed is that destination!'') (127. And (remember) when Ibrahim and (his son) Isma`il were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka`bah at Makkah), (saying), "Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily, You are the Hearer, the Knower.'') (128. "Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us our Manasik, and accept our repentance. Truly, You are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.)