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The Story of Ibrahim and His People

`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him:

﴿ وَإِنَّ مِن شِيعَتِهِۦ لَإِبۡرَٲهِيمَ

(And verily, among those who followed his ways was Ibrahim.) means, he was one of the followers of his religion. Mujahid said, "He was following his path and his way.''

﴿ إِذۡ جَآءَ رَبَّهُ ۥ بِقَلۡبٍ۬ سَلِيمٍ

(When he came to his Lord with a Salim heart.) Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "This means that he bore witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah.'' Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Awf said, "I said to Muhammad bin Sirin, `What is the Salim heart' He said, `One which knows that Allah is true and that the Hour will undoubtedly come to pass, and that Allah will resurrect those who are in the graves.''' Al-Hasan said, "One that is free from Shirk.'' `Urwah said, "One that is not cursed.''

﴿ إِذۡ قَالَ لِأَبِيهِ وَقَوۡمِهِۦ مَاذَا تَعۡبُدُونَ

(When he said to his father and to his people: "What is it that which you worship'') He denounced his people for their worship of idols and false gods, Allah said:

﴿ أَٮِٕفۡكًا ءَالِهَةً۬ دُونَ ٱللَّهِ تُرِيدُونَ فَمَا ظَنُّكُم بِرَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(Is it a falsehood -- gods other than Allah -- that you desire Then what think you about the Lord of the all that exists) Qatadah said, "This means, `what do you think He will do with you when you meet Him, given that you worshipped others alongside Him''

﴿ فَنَظَرَ نَظۡرَةً۬ فِى ٱلنُّجُومِ فَقَالَ إِنِّى سَقِيمٌ۬ فَتَوَلَّوۡاْ عَنۡهُ مُدۡبِرِينَ فَرَاغَ إِلَىٰٓ ءَالِهَتِہِمۡ فَقَالَ أَلَا تَأۡكُلُونَ مَا لَكُمۡ لَا تَنطِقُونَ فَرَاغَ عَلَيۡہِمۡ ضَرۡبَۢا بِٱلۡيَمِينِ فَأَقۡبَلُوٓاْ إِلَيۡهِ يَزِفُّونَ قَالَ أَتَعۡبُدُونَ مَا تَنۡحِتُونَ وَٱللَّهُ خَلَقَكُمۡ وَمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ قَالُواْ ٱبۡنُواْ لَهُ ۥ بُنۡيَـٰنً۬ا فَأَلۡقُوهُ فِى ٱلۡجَحِيمِ فَأَرَادُواْ بِهِۦ كَيۡدً۬ا فَجَعَلۡنَـٰهُمُ ٱلۡأَسۡفَلِينَ

(88. Then he cast a glance at the stars,) (89. And he said: "Verily, I am sick.'') (90. So they turned away from him and departed.) (91. Then he turned to their gods and said: "Will you not eat'') (92. "What is the matter with you that you speak not'') (93. Then he turned upon them, striking (them) with (his) right hand.) (94. Then they came hastily towards him.) (95. He said: "Worship you that which you (yourselves) carve'') (96. "While Allah has created you and what you make!'') (97. They said: "Build for him a building and throw him into the blazing fire!'') (98. So, they plotted a plot against him, but We made them the lowest.) Ibrahim, (peace be upon him) , said this to his people so that he could stay behind in the city when they went out for their festival. The time was approaching for them to go out to celebrate a festival of theirs, and he wanted to be alone with their gods so that he could break them, so he told them something that was true, for he was indeed sick of the implications of what they believed in.

﴿ فَتَوَلَّوۡاْ عَنۡهُ مُدۡبِرِينَ

(So they turned away from him and departed.) Qatadah said, "The Arabs say of one who thinks deeply that he is looking at the stars.'' What Qatadah meant is that he looked at the heavens thinking of a way to distract his people. So he said,

﴿ إِنِّى سَقِيمٌ۬

(Verily, I am sick.) meaning, weak. Ibn Jarir narrated here a Hadith from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) stating that the Messenger of Allah said:

« لَمْ يَكْذِبْ إِبْرَاهِيمُ عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ غَيْرَ ثَلَاثَ كَذَبَاتٍ: ثِنْتَيْنِ فِي ذَاتِ اللهِ تَعَالَى، قَوْلُهُ:
﴿ إِنِّى سَقِيمٌ۬
وَقَوْلُهُ:
﴿ بَلۡ فَعَلَهُ ۥ ڪَبِيرُهُمۡ هَـٰذَا
وَقَوْلُهُ فِي سَارَّةَ: هِيَ أُخْتِي »

(Ibrahim (peace and blessings be upon him) did not lie except in three cases. Two were for the sake of Allah: (one is) when he said, (Verily, I am sick); and (the second) when he said, (Nay, this one, the biggest (his wife) of them (idols) did it.) and (the third) when he said concerning (his wife) Sarah, "She is my sister.'') This Hadith is recorded in the books of the Sahih and Sunan with various chain of narrations. But this is not the kind of real lie for which a person is to be condemned -- Allah forbid! One calls it a lie for lack of a better word, because it is abstruse speech used for a legitimate religious purpose, and it was said that what was meant by the words,

﴿ إِنِّى سَقِيمٌ۬

(Verily, I am sick) was, `I am sick at heart of your worshipping idols instead of Allah.' Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, "The people of Ibrahim went out to their festival and they wanted to make him go out too. So he lay down on his back and said,

﴿ إِنِّى سَقِيمٌ۬

(Verily, I am sick.) and he started looking at the sky. When they had gone out, he turned to their gods and broke them.'' This was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim. Allah said:

﴿ فَتَوَلَّوۡاْ عَنۡهُ مُدۡبِرِينَ

(So they turned away from him and departed.) meaning, he went to them after they had left, quickly and secretly.

﴿ فَقَالَ أَلَا تَأۡكُلُونَ

(and said: "Will you not eat'') They had placed food before them as a sacrifice, so that the food might be blessed. When Ibrahim, (peace be upon him) , looked at the food that was before them, he said:

﴿ فَرَاغَ إِلَىٰٓ ءَالِهَتِہِمۡ فَقَالَ أَلَا تَأۡكُلُونَ مَا لَكُمۡ لَا تَنطِقُونَ

(Will you not eat What is the matter with you that you speak not)

﴿ فَرَاغَ عَلَيۡہِمۡ ضَرۡبَۢا بِٱلۡيَمِينِ

(Then he turned upon them, striking (them) with (his) right hand.) Al-Farra' said, "This means, he started to hit them with his right hand.'' Qatadah and Al-Jawhari said, "He turned to them, hitting them with his right hand.'' He struck them with his right hand because the right hand is stronger and more powerful. Then he left them broken to pieces, (all) except the biggest of them, that they might turn to it, as we have already seen in the Tafsir of Surat Al-Anbiya'.

﴿ فَأَقۡبَلُوٓاْ إِلَيۡهِ يَزِفُّونَ

(Then they came hastily towards him.) Mujahid and others said, "This means, they came rushing. The story is told in brief here; in Surat Al-Anbiya', it is told in more detail. When they returned, they did not know at first who had done this, until they investigated and found out that Ibrahim, (peace be upon him) , was the one who had done it. When they came to rebuke him, he started rebuking and criticizing them and said:

﴿ أَتَعۡبُدُونَ مَا تَنۡحِتُونَ

(Worship you that which you carve) meaning, `do you worship instead of Allah idols which you yourselves carve and fashion with your own hands'

﴿ وَٱللَّهُ خَلَقَكُمۡ وَمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ

(While Allah has created you and what you make!) This may mean, `Allah has created you and what you do;' or it may mean, `Allah has created you and what you make.' Both views are synonymous. The former is more apparent because of the report recorded by Al-Bukhari in the Book Af`al Al-`Ibad from Hudhayfah, attributed to the Prophet :

« إِنَّ اللهَ تَعَالَى يَصْنَعُ كُلَّ صَانِعٍ وَصَنْعَتَه »

(Allah has created every doer of deeds and what he does.) Thereupon he recited:

﴿ وَٱللَّهُ خَلَقَكُمۡ وَمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ

(While Allah has created you and what you make!) When the proof had been established against them, they resolved to seize him by force and they said:

﴿ ٱبۡنُواْ لَهُ ۥ بُنۡيَـٰنً۬ا فَأَلۡقُوهُ فِى ٱلۡجَحِيمِ

(Build for him a building (i.e., furnace) and throw him into the blazing fire!) There happened what we have already discussed in our Tafsir of Surat Al-Anbiya', (21:68-70) and Allah saved him from the fire and caused him to prevail over them, making his proof supreme and supporting it. Allah says:

﴿ فَأَرَادُواْ بِهِۦ كَيۡدً۬ا فَجَعَلۡنَـٰهُمُ ٱلۡأَسۡفَلِينَ

(So, they plotted a plot against him, but We made them the lowest.)

﴿ وَقَالَ إِنِّى ذَاهِبٌ إِلَىٰ رَبِّى سَيَہۡدِينِ رَبِّ هَبۡ لِى مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ فَبَشَّرۡنَـٰهُ بِغُلَـٰمٍ حَلِيمٍ۬ فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ ٱلسَّعۡىَ قَالَ يَـٰبُنَىَّ إِنِّىٓ أَرَىٰ فِى ٱلۡمَنَامِ أَنِّىٓ أَذۡبَحُكَ فَٱنظُرۡ مَاذَا تَرَىٰ‌ۚ قَالَ يَـٰٓأَبَتِ ٱفۡعَلۡ مَا تُؤۡمَرُ‌ۖ سَتَجِدُنِىٓ إِن شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ فَلَمَّآ أَسۡلَمَا وَتَلَّهُ ۥ لِلۡجَبِينِ وَنَـٰدَيۡنَـٰهُ أَن يَـٰٓإِبۡرَٲهِيمُ قَدۡ صَدَّقۡتَ ٱلرُّءۡيَآ‌ۚ إِنَّا كَذَٲلِكَ نَجۡزِى ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ إِنَّ هَـٰذَا لَهُوَ ٱلۡبَلَـٰٓؤُاْ ٱلۡمُبِينُ وَفَدَيۡنَـٰهُ بِذِبۡحٍ عَظِيمٍ۬ وَتَرَكۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرِينَ سَلَـٰمٌ عَلَىٰٓ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ كَذَٲلِكَ نَجۡزِى ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ إِنَّهُ ۥ مِنۡ عِبَادِنَا ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ وَبَشَّرۡنَـٰهُ بِإِسۡحَـٰقَ نَبِيًّ۬ا مِّنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ وَبَـٰرَكۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ وَعَلَىٰٓ إِسۡحَـٰقَ‌ۚ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِهِمَا مُحۡسِنٌ۬ وَظَالِمٌ۬ لِّنَفۡسِهِۦ مُبِينٌ۬

(99. And he said: "Verily, I am going to my Lord. He will guide me!'' (100. "My Lord! Grant me (offspring) from the righteous.'') (101. So, We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy.) (102. And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: "O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you. So look what you think!'' He said: "O my father! Do that which you are commanded, if Allah wills, you shall find me of the patient.'') (103. Then, when they had both submitted themselves, and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead;) (104. We called out to him: "O Ibrahim!'') (105. "You have fulfilled the dream!'' Verily, thus do We reward the doers of good.) (106. Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial.) (107. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice;) (108. And We left for him among the later generations.) (109. "Salam (peace!) be upon Ibrahim!'') (110. Thus indeed do We reward the doers of good.) (111. Verily, he was one of Our believing servants.) (112. And We gave him the glad tidings of Ishaq -- a Prophet from the righteous.) (113. We blessed him and Ishaq. And of their progeny are (some) that do right, and some that plainly wrong themselves.)

Ibrahim's Emigration, the Test of the Sacrifice of Isma`il, and how Allah blessed Him

Allah tells us that after He helped His close friend Ibrahim, (peace be upon him) , against his people, and after Ibrahim gave up hoping that they would ever believe despite all the mighty signs that they had witnessed, he emigrated away from them, and said:

﴿ وَقَالَ إِنِّى ذَاهِبٌ إِلَىٰ رَبِّى سَيَہۡدِينِ رَبِّ هَبۡ لِى مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ

(Verily, I am going to my Lord. He will guide me! My Lord! Grant me (offspring) from the righteous.) meaning, obedient children, in compensation for his people and relatives whom he had left. Allah said:

﴿ فَبَشَّرۡنَـٰهُ بِغُلَـٰمٍ حَلِيمٍ۬

(So We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy.) This child was Isma`il, (peace be upon him) , for he was the first child of whom glad tidings were given to Ibrahim, (peace be upon him) , and he was older than Ishaq. The Muslims and the People of the Book agree, and indeed it is stated in their Book, that Isma`il, (peace be upon him) , was born when Ibrahim, (peace be upon him) , was eighty-six years old, and Ishaq was born when Ibrahim was ninety-nine years old. According to their Book, Allah commanded Ibrahim to sacrifice his only son, and in another text it says his firstborn son. But here they falsely inserted the name of Ishaq. This is not right because it goes against what their own Scripture says. They inserted the name of Ishaq because he is their ancestor, while Isma`il is the ancestor of the Arabs. They were jealous of them, so they added this idea and changed the meaning of the phrase "only son'' to mean `the only son who is with you,' because Isma`il had been taken with his mother to Makkah. But this is a case of falsification and distortion, because the words "only son'' cannot be said except in the case of one who has no other son. Furthermore, the firstborn son has a special status that is not shared by subsequent children, so the command to sacrifice him is a more exquisite test.

﴿ فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ ٱلسَّعۡىَ

(And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him,) means, when he grew up and started to go with his father and walk with him, for Ibrahim used to go every so often to check on his son and his mother in the land of Faran (i.e., Makkah), to see how they were doing. It was said that he used to ride on Al-Buraq, traveling there swiftly, and Allah knows best. It was reported from Ibn `Abbas, (peace be upon him) , Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ata' Al-Khurasani, Zayd bin Aslam and others that

﴿ فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ ٱلسَّعۡىَ

(And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him,) means, when he became a young man and was able to work as his father did.

﴿ فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ ٱلسَّعۡىَ قَالَ يَـٰبُنَىَّ إِنِّىٓ أَرَىٰ فِى ٱلۡمَنَامِ أَنِّىٓ أَذۡبَحُكَ فَٱنظُرۡ مَاذَا تَرَىٰ‌ۚ

(And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: "O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you. So look what you think!'') `Ubayd bin `Umayr said, "The dreams of the Prophets are revelation,'' then he recited this Ayah:

﴿ قَالَ يَـٰبُنَىَّ إِنِّىٓ أَرَىٰ فِى ٱلۡمَنَامِ أَنِّىٓ أَذۡبَحُكَ فَٱنظُرۡ مَاذَا تَرَىٰ‌ۚ

(he said: "O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you. So look what you think!''). He told his son that in order to make it easier for him, and also to test his patience and resolve, at a young age, in obeying Allah and obeying his father.

﴿ قَالَ يَـٰٓأَبَتِ ٱفۡعَلۡ مَا تُؤۡمَرُ‌ۖ

(He said: "O my father! Do that which you are commanded...'') meaning, `obey the command of Allah and sacrifice me.'

﴿ سَتَجِدُنِىٓ إِن شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ

(if Allah wills, you shall find me of the patient.) meaning, `I will be patient and will seek the reward for that with Allah.' He, may peace and blessings be upon him, believed in what had been promised. Allah said:

﴿ وَٱذۡكُرۡ فِى ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ إِسۡمَـٰعِيلَ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ كَانَ صَادِقَ ٱلۡوَعۡدِ وَكَانَ رَسُولاً۬ نَّبِيًّ۬ا وَكَانَ يَأۡمُرُ أَهۡلَهُ ۥ بِٱلصَّلَوٰةِ وَٱلزَّكَوٰةِ وَكَانَ عِندَ رَبِّهِۦ مَرۡضِيًّ۬ا

(And mention in the Book Isma`il. Verily, he was true to what he promised, and he was a Messenger, (and) a Prophet. And he used to enjoin on his family the Salah and the Zakah, and his Lord was pleased with him.) (19:54-55).

﴿ فَلَمَّآ أَسۡلَمَا وَتَلَّهُ ۥ لِلۡجَبِينِ

(Then, when they had both submitted themselves, and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead;) means, when both of them had pronounced the Shahadah and remembered Allah -- Ibrahim because he was about to offer a sacrifice and Isma`il because he was about to die. Or it was said that "submitted themselves'' means that they submitted and followed the command of Allah; Ibrahim obeyed the command of Allah and Isma`il obeyed Allah and his father. This was the view of Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Ibn Ishaq, and others. The meaning of the phrase "and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead'' is: he placed him facedown so that he could slaughter him from behind, and not have to see his face at the time of slaughter, so that it would be easier for him. Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Ad-Dahhak and Qatadah said:

﴿ وَتَلَّهُ ۥ لِلۡجَبِينِ

(and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead;) means, "He turned him upside down on his face.'' Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "When the rituals were enjoined upon Ibrahim, (peace be upon him) , the Shaytan appeared to him at the Mas`a and raced with him, but Ibrahim got there first. Then Jibril, upon him be peace, took him to Jamrat Al-`Aqabah and the Shaytan appeared to him, so he stoned him with seven pebbles until he disappeared. Then he appeared him at Al-Jamrah Al-Wusta and he stoned him with seven pebbles. Then he laid him prostrate on his face. Isma`il, (peace be upon him) , was wearing a white shirt, and he said, `O my father, I do not have any garment in which I can be shrouded apart from this; take it off me so that you can shroud me in it.' He started to take it off, then he was called from behind:

﴿ أَن يَـٰٓإِبۡرَٲهِيمُ قَدۡ صَدَّقۡتَ ٱلرُّءۡيَآ‌ۚ

(O Ibrahim! You have fulfilled the dream!) Ibrahim turned, and saw a fine, horned, white ram.'' Ibn `Abbas said, "We used to look for similar types of rams.'' Hisham mentioned this Hadith at length in Al-Manasik.

﴿ وَنَـٰدَيۡنَـٰهُ أَن يَـٰٓإِبۡرَٲهِيمُ قَدۡ صَدَّقۡتَ ٱلرُّءۡيَآ‌ۚ

(We called out to him: "O Ibrahim! You have fulfilled the dream!'') means, `the purpose of your dream has been fulfilled by your laying down your son to sacrifice him.' As-Suddi and others said that he passed the knife over Isma`il's neck, but it did not cut him at all, because a sheet of copper was placed between them. Ibrahim was called at that point, and it was said:

﴿ قَدۡ صَدَّقۡتَ ٱلرُّءۡيَآ‌ۚ

(You have fulfilled the dream!) Allah says;

﴿ إِنَّا كَذَٲلِكَ نَجۡزِى ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ

(Verily, thus do We reward the doers of good.) means, `this is how We deal with those who obey Us in things that are difficult for them; We make for them a way out.' As Allah says:

﴿ فَإِذَا بَلَغۡنَ أَجَلَهُنَّ فَأَمۡسِكُوهُنَّ بِمَعۡرُوفٍ أَوۡ فَارِقُوهُنَّ بِمَعۡرُوفٍ۬ وَأَشۡہِدُواْ ذَوَىۡ عَدۡلٍ۬ مِّنكُمۡ وَأَقِيمُواْ ٱلشَّهَـٰدَةَ لِلَّهِ‌ۚ ذَٲلِڪُمۡ يُوعَظُ بِهِۦ مَن كَانَ يُؤۡمِنُ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ‌ۚ وَمَن يَتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ يَجۡعَل لَّهُ ۥ مَخۡرَجً۬ا وَيَرۡزُقۡهُ مِنۡ حَيۡثُ لَا يَحۡتَسِبُ‌ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلۡ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسۡبُهُ ۥۤ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بَـٰلِغُ أَمۡرِهِۦ‌ۚ قَدۡ جَعَلَ ٱللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدۡرً۬ا

(And whosoever has Taqwa of Allah, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things.) (65:2-3). On the basis of this Ayah and this story, some of the scholars of Usul have stated that it is valid for a ruling to be abrogated before anyone is able to act upon it -- unlike some of the Mu`tazilah. The evidence for this is obvious, because Allah commanded Ibrahim, (peace be upon him) , to sacrifice his son, then He abrogated that and pointed out the ransom. The purpose of His command had been primarily to reward His close Friend for his patience and resolve in sacrificing his son. Allah says:

﴿ إِنَّ هَـٰذَا لَهُوَ ٱلۡبَلَـٰٓؤُاْ ٱلۡمُبِينُ

(Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial.) meaning, it was clearly a test when he was commanded to sacrifice his son, so, he hastened to do it, in submission to the command of Allah and in obedience to Him. Allah said:

﴿ وَإِبۡرَٲهِيمَ ٱلَّذِى وَفَّىٰٓ

(And of Ibrahim who fulfilled all that.) (53:37), and

﴿ وَفَدَيۡنَـٰهُ بِذِبۡحٍ عَظِيمٍ۬

(And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice). It was reported that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "A ram which had grazed in Paradise for forty years.'' Imam Ahmad recorded that Safiyyah bint Shaybah said, "A woman from Bani Sulaym, who was the midwife of most of the people in our household, told me that the Messenger of Allah sent for `Uthman bin Talhah, may Allah be pleased with him.'' On one occasion she said, "I asked `Uthman, `Why did the Prophet call you' He said, `The Messenger of Allah said to me,

« إِنِّي كُنْتُ رَأَيْتُ قَرْنَيِ الْكَبْشِ حِينَ دَخَلْتُ الْبَيْتَ فَنَسِيتُ أَنْ آمُرَكَ أَنْ تُخَمِّرَهُمَا فَخَمِّرْهُمَا، فَإِنَّهُ لَا يَنْبَغِي أَنْ يَكُونَ فِي الْبَيْتِ شَيْءٌ يَشْغَلُ الْمُصَلِّي »

(I saw the horns of the ram when I entered the House (i.e., the Ka`bah), and I forgot to tell you to cover them up; cover them up, for there should not be anything in the House which could distract the worshipper.)''' Sufyan said, "The horns of the ram remained hanging in the House until it was burned, and they were burned too.'' This offers independent evidence that the one who was to be sacrificed was Isma`il, (peace be upon him) . The Quraysh had inherited the horns of the ram that Ibrahim sacrificed, and they had been passed down from generation to generation, until the Messenger of Allah was sent. And Allah knows best.

Reports which state that the One Who was to be sacrificed was Isma`il, and that this is Correct without a Doubt

Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Amir Ash-Sha`bi, Yusuf bin Mihran, Mujahid, `Ata' and others reported from Ibn `Abbas that it was Isma`il, (peace be upon him) . Ibn Jarir narrated that Ibn `Abbas said, "The one who was ransomed was Isma`il, (peace be upon him) . The Jews claimed that it was Ishaq, but the Jews lied.'' It was reported that Ibn `Umar said, "The sacrifice was Isma`il.'' Ibn Abi Najih said, narrating from Mujahid, "It was Isma`il, (peace be upon him) .'' This was also the view of Yusuf bin Mihran. Ash-Sha`bi said, "It was Isma`il, (peace be upon him) , and I saw the horns of the ram in the Ka`bah.'' Muhammad bin Ishaq reported from Al-Hasan bin Dinar and `Amr bin `Ubayd from Al-Hasan Al-Basri that he did not doubt that the one of the two sons Ibrahim was commanded to sacrifice was Isma`il, (peace be upon him) . Ibn Ishaq said, "I heard Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi say, `The one whom Allah commanded Ibrahim to sacrifice of his two sons was Isma`il.' We find this in the Book of Allah, because when Allah finishes the story of the one of the two sons of Ibrahim who was to be sacrificed, He then says:

﴿ وَبَشَّرۡنَـٰهُ بِإِسۡحَـٰقَ نَبِيًّ۬ا مِّنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ

(And We gave him the glad tidings of Ishaq -- a Prophet from the righteous), and

﴿ فَبَشَّرۡنَـٰهَا بِإِسۡحَـٰقَ وَمِن وَرَآءِ إِسۡحَـٰقَ يَعۡقُوبَ

(So, We gave her glad tidings of Ishaq and after Ishaq, of Ya`qub) (11:71). He mentions the son and the son of the son, but He would not have commanded him to sacrifice Ishaq when He had promised that this son would in turn have a son. The one whom He commanded him to sacrifice can only have been Isma`il.'' Ibn Ishaq said, "I heard him say that often.'' Ibn Ishaq reported from Buraydah bin Sufyan bin Farwah Al-Aslami that Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi told them that he mentioned that to `Umar bin `Abd Al-`Aziz (may Allah be pleased with him) when he was Khalifah, while he was with him in Syria. `Umar said to him, "This is something about which I have never given any thought, but I see that it is as you say.'' Then he sent for a man who was with him in Syria, a Jew who had become a Muslim and was committed to Islam, and he thought that he had been one of their scholars. `Umar bin `Abd Al-`Aziz (may Allah be pleased with him) asked him about that. Muhammad bin Ka`b said, "I was with `Umar bin `Abd Al-`Aziz. `Umar said to him, `Which of the two sons of Ibrahim was he commanded to sacrifice' He said, `Isma`il. By Allah, O Commander of the faithful, the Jews know this, but they were jealous of you Arabs because it was your father about whom Allah issued this command and the virtue that Allah mentioned was because of his patience in obeying the command. So they denied that and claimed that it was Ishaq, because he is their father.''' `Abdullah bin Al-Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, may Allah have mercy on him, said, "I asked my father about which son was to be sacrificed -- was it Isma`il or Ishaq'' He said, "Isma`il.'' This was mentioned in Kitab Az-Zuhd. Ibn Abi Hatim said, "I heard my father say, `The correct view is that the one who was to be sacrificed was Isma`il, (peace be upon him) .''' He said, "And it was narrated that `Ali, Ibn `Umar, Abu Hurayrah, Abu At-Tufayl, Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan, Mujahid, Ash-Sha`bi, Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi, Abu Ja`far Muhammad bin `Ali and Abu Salih, may Allah be pleased with them all, said that the one who was to be sacrificed was Isma`il.'' Al-Baghawi said in his Tafsir, "This was the view of `Abdullah bin `Umar, Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib, As-Suddi, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Mujahid, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi and Al-Kalbi.'' This was also reported from Ibn `Abbas and from Abu `Amr bin Al-`Ala'.

﴿ وَبَشَّرۡنَـٰهُ بِإِسۡحَـٰقَ نَبِيًّ۬ا مِّنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ

(And We gave him the glad tidings of Ishaq -- a Prophet from the righteous.) having given the glad tidings of the one who was to be sacrificed, who was Isma`il, Allah immediately follows that with mention of the glad tidings of his brother Ishaq. This is also mentioned in Surah Hud (11:71) and in Surat Al-Hijr (15:53-55).

﴿ نَبِيًّ۬ا

(a Prophet) means, from him there will come a righteous Prophet.

﴿ وَبَـٰرَكۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ وَعَلَىٰٓ إِسۡحَـٰقَ‌ۚ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِهِمَا مُحۡسِنٌ۬ وَظَالِمٌ۬ لِّنَفۡسِهِۦ مُبِينٌ۬

(We blessed him and Ishaq. And of their progeny are (some) that do right, and some that plainly wrong themselves.) This is like the Ayah:

﴿ قِيلَ يَـٰنُوحُ ٱهۡبِطۡ بِسَلَـٰمٍ۬ مِّنَّا وَبَرَكَـٰتٍ عَلَيۡكَ وَعَلَىٰٓ أُمَمٍ۬ مِّمَّن مَّعَكَ‌ۚ وَأُمَمٌ۬ سَنُمَتِّعُهُمۡ ثُمَّ يَمَسُّهُم مِّنَّا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ۬

(It was said: "O Nuh! Come down (from the ship) with peace from Us and blessings on you and on the people who are with you, but people to whom We shall grant their pleasures (for a time), but in the end a painful torment will reach them from Us.'') (11:48)

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ مَنَنَّا عَلَىٰ مُوسَىٰ وَهَـٰرُونَ وَنَجَّيۡنَـٰهُمَا وَقَوۡمَهُمَا مِنَ ٱلۡڪَرۡبِ ٱلۡعَظِيمِ وَنَصَرۡنَـٰهُمۡ فَكَانُواْ هُمُ ٱلۡغَـٰلِبِينَ وَءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُمَا ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَبِينَ وَهَدَيۡنَـٰهُمَا ٱلصِّرَٲطَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ وَتَرَكۡنَا عَلَيۡهِمَا فِى ٱلۡأَخِرِينَ سَلَـٰمٌ عَلَىٰ مُوسَىٰ وَهَـٰرُونَ إِنَّا ڪَذَٲلِكَ نَجۡزِى ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ إِنَّہُمَا مِنۡ عِبَادِنَا ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ

(114. And, indeed We gave Our grace to Musa and Harun.) (115. And We saved them and their people from the great distress,) (116. And helped them, so that they became the victors;) (117. And We gave them the clear Scripture;) (118. And guided them to the right path.) (119. And We left for them among the later generations.) (120. "Salam (peace!) be upon Musa and Harun!'') (121. Verily, thus do We reward the doers of good.) (122. Verily, they were two of Our believing servants.)

Musa and Harun

Allah tells us how He blessed Musa and Harun with prophethood and how He saved them, along with those who believed, from the oppression of Fir`awn and his people, who had persecuted them by killing their sons and sparing their women, and by forcing them to do the most menial tasks, then ultimately He caused them to prevail over them and to seize their lands and their wealth and all that they had spent their entire lives amassing. Then Allah revealed to Musa the Clear and Mighty Book, which is the Tawrah, as Allah says:

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ ءَاتَيۡنَا مُوسَىٰ وَهَـٰرُونَ ٱلۡفُرۡقَانَ وَضِيَآءً۬

(And indeed We granted to Musa and Harun the criterion (of right and wrong), and a shining light) (21:48). And Allah says here:

﴿ وَءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُمَا ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَبِينَ وَهَدَيۡنَـٰهُمَا ٱلصِّرَٲطَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ

(And We gave them the clear Scripture; and guided them to the right path.) meaning, with regard to words and deeds.

﴿ وَتَرَكۡنَا عَلَيۡهِمَا فِى ٱلۡأَخِرِينَ

(And We left for them among the later generations.) means, that after they died they would be mentioned in good terms and spoken of highly. Then Allah explain this further:

﴿ سَلَـٰمٌ عَلَىٰ مُوسَىٰ وَهَـٰرُونَ إِنَّا ڪَذَٲلِكَ نَجۡزِى ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ إِنَّہُمَا مِنۡ عِبَادِنَا ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ

(Salam (peace!) be upon Musa and Harun! Verily, thus do We reward the doers of good. Verily, they were two of Our believing servants.)

﴿ وَإِنَّ إِلۡيَاسَ لَمِنَ ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ إِذۡ قَالَ لِقَوۡمِهِۦۤ أَلَا تَتَّقُونَ أَتَدۡعُونَ بَعۡلاً۬ وَتَذَرُونَ أَحۡسَنَ ٱلۡخَـٰلِقِينَ ٱللَّهَ رَبَّكُمۡ وَرَبَّ ءَابَآٮِٕكُمُ ٱلۡأَوَّلِينَ فَكَذَّبُوهُ فَإِنَّہُمۡ لَمُحۡضَرُونَ إِلَّا عِبَادَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡمُخۡلَصِينَ
﴿ وَتَرَكۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرِينَ سَلَـٰمٌ عَلَىٰٓ إِلۡ يَاسِينَ إِنَّا كَذَٲلِكَ نَجۡزِى ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ إِنَّهُ ۥ مِنۡ عِبَادِنَا ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ

(123. And verily, Ilyas was one of the Messengers.) (124. When he said to his people: "Will you not have Taqwa'') (125. "Will you call upon `Ba`l and forsake the Best of creators,) (126. Allah, your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers'') (127. But they denied him, so they will certainly be brought forth,) (128. Save the chosen servants of Allah.) (129. And We left for him among the later generations.) (130. "Salam (peace!) be upon Ilyasin!'') (131. Verily, thus do We reward the doers of good.) (132. Verily, he was one of Our believing servants.) Ilyas Qatadah and Muhammad bin Ishaq said, "Ilyas is another name for Idris.'' Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "Ilyas is Idris.'' This was also the view of Ad-Dahhak. Wahb bin Munabbih said, "He is Ilyas bin Yasin bin Finhas bin Al-`Izar bin Harun bin `Imran. Allah sent him to the Children of Israel after Hizqil (Ezekiel), may peace be upon them both. They had started to worship an idol called Ba`l, and he called them to Allah, may He be exalted, and forbade them to worship anyone besides Him. Their king believed in him, then he apostatized, and they persisted in their misguided ways, and not one person among them believed in him. So he prayed to Allah against them, and Allah withheld the rain from them for three years. Then they asked him to relieve them from that, and promised that they would believe in him if rain came to them. So he prayed to Allah for them, and the rains came, but they persisted in their evil ways of disbelief. So he asked Allah to take him to Him. Al-Yasa` bin Akhtub had grown up under his care, may peace be upon them both. So Ilyas was commanded to go to such and such a place, and whatever mount came to him, he was to ride on it and not to give it away. A horse of fire was brought to him, so he rode it, and Allah clothed him with light and covered him with feathers, and he used to fly with the angels as a human angel, heavenly yet also earthly. This is what was narrated by Wahb bin Munabbih from the People of the Book; Allah knows best how true it is.

﴿ إِذۡ قَالَ لِقَوۡمِهِۦۤ أَلَا تَتَّقُونَ

(When he said to his people: "Will you not have Taqwa'') means, `do you not fear Allah when you worship others instead of Him'

﴿ أَتَدۡعُونَ بَعۡلاً۬ وَتَذَرُونَ أَحۡسَنَ ٱلۡخَـٰلِقِينَ

(Will you call upon Ba`l and forsake the Best of creators,) Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Qatadah and As-Suddi said that the word Ba`l means lord. `Ikrimah and Qatadah said, "This is the language of the people of Yemen.'' According to another report from Qatadah, it is the language of Azd Shanu'ah. `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam narrated from his father that it is the name of an idol which was worshipped by the people of a city called Ba`labak (Baalbek) which is to the west of Damascus. Ad-Dahhak said, "It is an idol which they used to worship.''

﴿ أَتَدۡعُونَ بَعۡلاً۬

(Will you call upon Ba`l) means, `will you worship an idol,'

﴿ أَتَدۡعُونَ بَعۡلاً۬ وَتَذَرُونَ أَحۡسَنَ ٱلۡخَـٰلِقِينَ ٱللَّهَ رَبَّكُمۡ وَرَبَّ ءَابَآٮِٕكُمُ ٱلۡأَوَّلِينَ

(and forsake the Best of creators, Allah, your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers) means, `He is the One Who is deserving of your worship alone, with no partners or associates.'

﴿ فَكَذَّبُوهُ فَإِنَّہُمۡ لَمُحۡضَرُونَ

(But they denied him, so they will certainly be brought forth,) means, for the punishment on the Day of Reckoning.

﴿ إِلَّا عِبَادَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡمُخۡلَصِينَ

(Save the chosen servants of Allah.) means, those who believe in Him alone.

﴿

(And We left for him among the later generations.) means, he is praised and spoken of highly.

﴿ سَلَـٰمٌ عَلَىٰٓ إِلۡ يَاسِينَ

(Salam (peace!) be upon Ilyasin!) Similarly, one might say for Isma`il, Isma`in. This is the language (dialect) of Bani Asad; they say Mikal, Mika'il, and Mika'in. They say Ibrahim and Ibraham; Isra'il, Isra'in; Tur Sina', Tur Sinin. All of that is fine.

﴿ إِنَّا كَذَٲلِكَ نَجۡزِى ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ إِنَّهُ ۥ مِنۡ عِبَادِنَا ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ

(Verily, thus do We reward the doers of good. Verily, he was one of Our believing servants.) We have already discussed the meaning of this above. And Allah knows best.

﴿ وَإِنَّ لُوطً۬ا لَّمِنَ ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ إِذۡ نَجَّيۡنَـٰهُ وَأَهۡلَهُ ۥۤ أَجۡمَعِينَ إِلَّا عَجُوزً۬ا فِى ٱلۡغَـٰبِرِينَ ثُمَّ دَمَّرۡنَا ٱلۡأَخَرِينَ وَإِنَّكُمۡ لَتَمُرُّونَ عَلَيۡہِم مُّصۡبِحِينَ وَبِٱلَّيۡلِ‌ۗ أَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُونَ

(133. And verily, Lut was one of the Messengers.) (134. When We saved him and his family, all,) (135. Except an old woman (his wife) who was among those who remained behind.) (136. Then We destroyed the rest.) (137. Verily, you pass by them in the morning.) (138. And at night; will you not then reflect)