12 Jul 2010

"We are free of you and of what you worship beside Allah..."

The example of Ibrahim (as) was indeed a shining example and provides an excellent model both in his loyalty to his Lord, to his religion and to the community of the believers, and in his and in his disavowal, even though these included his own father.

The story of Ibrahim's struggle with his own people is like that of all the other Messengers. He called them to something better than what they had, to the worship of Allah alone, to the devotion of worship to Him Alone, to the rejection of every other object of worship other than Allah.

“And mention Ibrahim in the Book, surely he was of good faith, a prophet. When he said to his father: Father why do you worship what can neither see, nor hear, nor do you any good? Father, knowledge has come to me that has not come to you, so follow me, I will lead you on the single path. Father, do not be a servant of Satan, surely he is an enemy of the all Merciful God. Dear father, I fear that the punishment of Allah should descend upon you, that you should become a minion of Satan. He said: Would you, Ibrahim, find our gods wanting? And will you not now desist, or shall I have to pelt you with stones. Go now, for we have come to the parting of the ways. He said: Upon you be peace, I will seek your forgiveness from my Lord, He has indeed been to me ever gracious. I sever my bonds with all of you and with what you worship beside Allah. And I call upon my Lord and hope that in so doing I should not remain thus burdened.' And he withdrew from them and from what they used to worship beside Allah, and We blessed him with Ishaq and Yaqub, each of them We made a Prophet.” (Maryam 19/41)

This was the beginning of the da'wah of Ibrahim (as), which he began by inviting those closest to him. When they did not respond he abandoned them to the falsehood in which they reveled; obstructing, rejecting and denying the glad tidings which he brought, for surely had he remained with them in the midst of their society, and been prevented from leaving their land, then surely they would have succeeded in advancing their call to falsehood before him.

The Qur'an continues to describe the mission of Ibrahim (as), saying that he presented them with every possible kind of evidence. Allah says:

“And tell them the story of Ibrahim when he said to his father and his people: What is this that you are worshiping? They said: We worship idols, and to them wear ever devoted. He asked: Do they hear you when you call, do they help you, can they harm you. They said: No, but we found our fathers doing this. He said: Do you observe what you have been worshiping, you and your fathers and those before them? They are all my enemies, except for the Lord of the Worlds." (ash-Shu'ara 26/70-77)

When they could produce no kind of proof for what they said they resorted to blind tradition, to what their fathers and grandfathers had done. Ibrahim (as) said to them: "I am the enemy of these gods of yours." It is the same thing that Nuh (as) said, challenging his people, for he said:,

“Decide then upon your course of action, you and your gods. Let there be no doubt about it in your minds. Then do your worst and give me no respite.” (Yunus 10/71)

Likewise, Huud (as) said:

“Allah is my witness, as are you, that I deny all that you worship beside Him. So connive against me all of you and give me no respite. Allah is my rock, my Lord and your Lord. There is no creature but that it is in His grip. Indeed my Lord is on the Straight Path.” (Huud 11/54-56)

And again about Ibrahim (as) said:

“You have a shining example in Ibrahim and those with him when they said to their people: We are free of you and of what you worship beside Allah. We renounce you. There has arisen between us and you enmity and hatred enduring until you believe in Allah alone." (al-Mumtahina 60/4)

The most illustrious of our scholars, those of the first generations of the Muslims, have spoken about this doctrine of Ibrahim (as), which they described as saying, there can be no alliance without enmity. Thus, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya said: "Alliance in the absence of enmity is incorrect. Allah has said about our father Ibrahim: "Do you observe what you have been worshiping, you and your fathers and those before them? They are all my enemies, except for the Lord of the Worlds." Ibrahim's alliance and amity towards Allah would be unjustified without the establishment of this enmity. There is no ally other than Allah, and there is no alliance except in renunciation of all objects of worship other than Him. He said, And when Ibrahim (as) said to his father and his folk: "I renounce all that you worship except He that created me. Surely He will guide me. And he made it a word enduring after him, perhaps they would to their Lord return.” (az-Zukhruf 43/26-28) Rather it was the allegiance to Allah and the severance from all that is worshiped beside him which was the word enduring after him passed down through the prophets and their followers, one after the other. It is the 'word', 'there is no god but Allah', the heritage of Ibrahim until the Day of Resurrection." (al-Jawab al-Kaafi, 213; see also Tafsir Ibn Kathir 7/212 and Majmu'at at-Tawhid, 133)

Imam Tabari remarks: "O followers of Prophet Muhammad (saw), you have had a shinning example in the act of Ibrahim (as) and of those who were with him in the matter of exposing the disbelievers, declaring enmity towards them and in abandoning relations with them, except for his words to his father: "I will ask for forgiveness (from Allah for you)." this is not part of the exemplary behavior of the Prophet Ibrahim (as) since it refers to a promise he made his father before it became clear to him that he was an enemy of Allah. After this was clear to him he freed himself completely of him, so free yourselves also from the enemies of Allah. Do not take any of them as protectors, as allies, until they believe in the One God and renounce worship of all else. Show them clearly your enmity and hatred." (Tabari, Tafsir, 28/62)

As a result of Ibrahim's declaration, dark forces gathered to plot his death. Throughout history and across the ages, this is always there action of those who reject the call to Allah, piqued by the simple fact that someone has called others to the worship of Allah alone. Similarly, in the story of the companions of the Trench, Allah (awj) says:

“And they had no complaint against them except that they believed in Allah, the All-Mighty, Worthy of all Praise.” (al-Buruj 81/8)

So the people of Ibrahim (as) prepared a fire for him to be burnt but, encompassed by the protection of Allah, he remained unharmed, since the fire was commanded to temper itself and to give safety to him.

“They said: Let us build a fire for him and cast him to the flames. So they plotted a plot against him, but and We made them the lowest of the low.” (as-Saffat 37/97-98)

"In advancing their own theories and counter-arguments they assumed a position of equality with the Divine Source of Guidance, and neither did the proof that they had been shown prevent them from using force in order to advance their foolishness, their delusion, so Allah entrapped them and raised up His Word and His Religion, as the Qur'an relates: "They said: Burn him and stand by your gods, if you will be doing. We said: "O fire, be coolness and peace, safety for Ibrahim'. And they wanted to harm him, but We made them the worst of losers." (Ibn Kathir, Qasas al-Anbiyya, 1/181; see also details of the story in the same source al-Anbiyya 21/68-70)

So also, the Last of the Prophets Muhammad (saw) was directed to follow the religion of his father Ibrahim (as):

“Then We revealed to you (Muhammad) to follow the religion of Ibrahim Hanifan (Islamic monotheism, to worship none but Allah). Indeed he was not of al-Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers).” (an-Nahl 16/123)

“Say (O Muhammad) Allah has spoken the truth; so follow the religion of Ibrahim Hanifan. Indeed he was not of al-Mushrikun.” (Al-i Imran 3/95)

“They said: Be Jews or Christians, then you will be guided. Say (to them Muhammad): Nay, only the religion of Ibrahim, Hanifan, and he was not of al-Mushrikun.” (al-Baqarah 2/135)

"Verily, among mankind who have the best claim to Ibrahim are those who follow him, and this Prophet (Muhammad) and those who believe. And Allah is the protector of the believers.” (Al-i Imran 3/68)

“Who is more upright in religion than one who submits himself to Allah; and he is a Muhsin (a good-doer). And follows the religion of Ibrahim Hanifan. And Allah has taken Ibrahim as His intimate friend.” (an-Nisa 4/125)

"And strive hard in Allah's Cause, as you ought to strive. He has chosen you, and has not made for you any hardship in religion. This is the religion of your father Ibrahim, he who has named you Muslims before.” (al-Hajj 22/78)

“And who turns away from the religion of Ibrahim except him who be-fools himself?” (al-Baqarah 2/130)

This is what Allah has said to the followers of Muhammad (saw), about the deeds of Ibrahim (as) who acted incomplete sincerity and depended utterly upon Allah Alone. Who worshiped only Allah and denounced all disbelief and those who followed it, who opposed all falsehood and its minions.

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