Ibrahim’s interactions with his father: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

In surah Maryam, Allah recounts part of the story of Ibrahim and his calling his father and his people to al-Tawheed while he was still a youth. Commenting on part of this story, Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote the following:

قوله تعالى : قال أراغب أنت عن آلهتي ياإبراهيم لئن لم تنته لأرجمنك واهجرني مليا قال سلام عليك سأستغفر لك ربي إنه كان بي حفيا

Allah’s statement:

قَالَ أَرَ‌اغِبٌ أَنتَ عَنْ آلِهَتِي يَا إِبْرَ‌اهِيمُ ۖ لَئِن لَّمْ تَنتَهِ لَأَرْ‌جُمَنَّكَ ۖ وَاهْجُرْ‌نِي مَلِيًّا * قَالَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكَ ۖ سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ‌ لَكَ رَ‌بِّي ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ بِي حَفِيًّا

[His father] said, “Have you no desire for my gods, O Ibrahim? If you do not desist, I will surely stone you, so avoid me for a prolonged time.” * [Ibrahim] said, “Peace be upon you. I will ask forgiveness for you of my Lord. Indeed, He is ever gracious to me. [19:46-47]

بين الله جل وعلا في هاتين الآيتين الكريمتين : أن إبراهيم لما نصح أباه النصيحة المذكورة مع ما فيها من الرفق واللين ، وإيضاح الحق والتحذير من عبادة ما لا يسمع ولا يبصر ، ومن عذاب الله تعالى وولاية الشيطان – خاطبه هذا الخطاب العنيف ، وسماه باسمه ولم يقل له ” يا بني ” في مقابلة قوله له ” يا أبت ” وأنكر عليه أنه راغب عن عبادة الأوثان ، أي : معرض عنها لا يريدها ; لأنه لا يعبد إلا الله وحده جل وعلا ، وهدده بأنه إن لم ينته عما يقوله له ليرجمنه ) قيل بالحجارة وقيل باللسان شتما ( والأول أظهر ، ثم أمره بهجره مليا أي : زمانا طويلا . ـ

In these two noble ayaat Allah clarified that when Ibrahim advised his father with the aforementioned sincere advice [19:42-45] along with what it contained of gentleness and softness, as well as making the truth clear and warning against the worship of those things which can neither hear nor see, and against the punishment of Allah and the alliance of the shaytaan – then his father addressed him with a forceful address and called him by his name rather than saying “O my dear son” to him in response to Ibrahim’s saying “O my dear father” to him, and he rebuked him for his being averse to the worship of idols – meaning, turning away from them and not desiring them since Ibrahim did not worship anything except Allah alone. And his father threatened him that if he did not desist from what he was saying, then he would certainly assault him – it is said with stoning and it is said with abusive speech, and the first opinion is what is apparent. Then his father ordered him to leave him malee’an – meaning a long period of time.

ثم بين أن إبراهيم قابل أيضا جوابه العنيف بغاية الرفق واللين في قوله : قال سلام عليك سأستغفر لك ربي الآية [ 19 \ 47 ] ، وخطاب إبراهيم لأبيه الجاهل بقوله : سلام عليك قد بين جل وعلا أنه خطاب عباده المؤمنين للجهال إذا خاطبوهم ، كما قال تعالى : وعباد الرحمن الذين يمشون على الأرض هونا وإذا خاطبهم الجاهلون قالوا سلاما [ 25 \ 63 ] ، وقال تعالى : وإذا سمعوا اللغو أعرضوا عنه وقالوا لنا أعمالنا ولكم أعمالكم سلام عليكم لا نبتغي الجاهلين [ 28 \ 55 ] ، ـ

Then Allah also clarified that Ibrahim responded to his father’s forceful answer with the utmost of gentleness and softness in his own statement:

قَالَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكَ ۖ سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ‌ لَكَ رَ‌بِّي ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ بِي حَفِيًّا

[Ibrahim] said, “Peace be upon you. I will ask forgiveness for you of my Lord. Indeed, He is ever gracious to me. [19:47]

And Ibrahim responded to his ignorant father with his own statement of, “peace be upon you” – Allah has clarified that that is the speech of the his believing slaves to the ignorant ones when the address them, just as He said:

وَعِبَادُ الرَّ‌حْمَـٰنِ الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْ‌ضِ هَوْنًا وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ قَالُوا سَلَامًا

And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace [25:63]

And His statement:

وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا اللَّغْوَ أَعْرَ‌ضُوا عَنْهُ وَقَالُوا لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ لَا نَبْتَغِي الْجَاهِلِينَ

And when they hear ill speech, they turn away from it and say, “For us are our deeds, and for you are your deeds. Peace be upon you; we seek not the ignorant.” [28:55]

   وما ذكره تعالى هنا من أن إبراهيم لما أقنع أباه بالحجة القاطعة ، قابله أبوه بالعنف والشدة بين في مواضع أخر أنه هو عادة الكفار المتعصبين لأصنامهم ، كلما أفحموا بالحجة القاطعة لجئوا إلى استعمال القوة ، كقوله تعالى عن إبراهيم لما قال له الكفار عن أصنامهم : [ ص: 428 ] لقد علمت ما هؤلاء ينطقون [ 21 \ 65 ] ، قال : أف لكم ولما تعبدون من دون الله أفلا تعقلون [ 21 \ 67 ] ، فلما أفحمهم بهذه الحجة لجئوا إلى القوة ، كما قال تعالى عنهم : قالوا حرقوه وانصروا آلهتكم إن كنتم فاعلين [ 21 \ 68 ] ، ونظيره قوله تعالى عن قوم إبراهيم : فما كان جواب قومه إلا أن قالوا اقتلوه أو حرقوه فأنجاه الله من النار الآية [ 29 \ 24 ] ، وقوله عن قوم لوط لما أفحمهم بالحجة : فما كان جواب قومه إلا أن قالوا أخرجوا آل لوط من قريتكم الآية [ 27 \ 56 ] ، إلى غير ذلك من الآيات . ـ

And there is also what Allah mentioned here of how when Ibrahim dumbfounded his father with a decisive proof and then his father responded to him with forcefulness and severity. Allah clarified elsewhere that this is the normal behavior of the bigoted disbelievers regarding their idols: whenever they are dumbfounded by a decision proof, they take recourse to the use of force. For example, there is Allah’s statement regarding Ibrahim when the disbelievers said to him concerning their idols:

لَقَدْ عَلِمْتَ مَا هَـٰؤُلَاءِ يَنطِقُونَ

“You have already known that these do not speak!” [21:65]

and Ibrahim replied:

أُفٍّ لَّكُمْ وَلِمَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ ۖ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ

“Uff to you and to what you worship instead of Allah! Then will you not use reason?” [21:67]

So when he dumbfounded them with this proof, they took recourse to force, just as Allah said regarding them:

قَالُوا حَرِّ‌قُوهُ وَانصُرُ‌وا آلِهَتَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ فَاعِلِينَ

They said, “Burn him and support your gods – if you are to act!” [21:68]

And the counterpart to that is Allah’s statement concerning Ibrahim’s people:

فَمَا كَانَ جَوَابَ قَوْمِهِ إِلَّا أَن قَالُوا اقْتُلُوهُ أَوْ حَرِّ‌قُوهُ فَأَنجَاهُ اللَّـهُ مِنَ النَّارِ‌ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ

And the answer of Ibrahim’s people was not but that they said, “Kill him or burn him,” but Allah saved him from the fire. Indeed in that are signs for a people who believe. [29:24]

Also, there is Allah’s statement regarding Loot’s people when he dumbfounded them with his proof:

فَمَا كَانَ جَوَابَ قَوْمِهِ إِلَّا أَن قَالُوا أَخْرِ‌جُوا آلَ لُوطٍ مِّن قَرْ‌يَتِكُمْ ۖ إِنَّهُمْ أُنَاسٌ يَتَطَهَّرُ‌ونَ

But the answer of his people was not except that they said, “Expel the family of Loot from your city. Indeed, they are people who keep themselves pure.” [27:56]

As well as other than these examples from various ayaat.

وقوله : سلام عليك ، يعني : لا ينالك مني أذى ولا مكروه ، بل ستسلم مني فلا أوذيك ، وقوله : سأستغفر لك ربي ، وعد من إبراهيم لأبيه باستغفاره له ، وقد وفى بذلك الوعد ، كما قال تعالى عنه : واغفر لأبي إنه كان من الضالين [ 28/86 ] ، وكما قال تعالى عنه : ربنا اغفر لي ولوالدي وللمؤمنين يوم يقوم الحساب [ 14 \ 41 ] . ـ

And his statement:

سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكَ

Peace be upon you [19:47]

meaning: neither harm nor any disliked thing will no touch you from me, rather you will be safe from me for I will not harm you. And his statement:

سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ‌ لَكَ رَ‌بِّي

I will ask forgiveness for you of my Lord [19:47]

This is a promise from Ibrahim to his father to seek forgiveness for him, and he fulfilled that promise just as Allah said on the part of Ibrahim:

وَاغْفِرْ‌ لِأَبِي إِنَّهُ كَانَ مِنَ الضَّالِّينَ

… and forgive my father. Indeed, he has been of those astray [28:86]

And likewise what He said on the part of Ibrahim:

رَ‌بَّنَا اغْفِرْ‌ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيَّ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَوْمَ يَقُومُ الْحِسَابُ

Our Lord, forgive me and my parents and the believers the Day the account is established [14:41]

ولكن الله لما بين له أنه عدو لله تبرأ منه ، ولم يستغفر له بعد ذلك ، كما قال تعالى : فلما تبين له أنه عدو لله تبرأ منه إن إبراهيم لأواه حليم [ 9 \ 114 ] ، وقد قال تعالى : وما كان استغفار إبراهيم لأبيه إلا عن موعدة وعدها إياه [ 9 \ 114 ] ، والموعدة المذكورة هي قوله هنا : سأستغفر لك ربي الآية [ 19 \ 47 ] ، ولما اقتدى المؤمنون بإبراهيم فاستغفروا لموتاهم المشركين ، واستغفر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم لعمه أبي طالب أنزل الله فيهم : ما كان للنبي والذين آمنوا أن يستغفروا للمشركين ولو كانوا أولي قربى من بعد ما تبين لهم أنهم أصحاب الجحيم [ 9 \ 113 ] ، ثم قال : وما كان استغفار إبراهيم لأبيه الآية [ 9 \ 114 ] ، ـ

However, when Allah clarified that his father was an enemy of Allah, Ibrahim freed himself of him and he did not seek forgiveness for him after that. This is just as Allah said:

فَلَمَّا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ أَنَّهُ عَدُوٌّ لِّلَّـهِ تَبَرَّ‌أَ مِنْهُ ۚ إِنَّ إِبْرَ‌اهِيمَ لَأَوَّاهٌ حَلِيمٌ

But when it became apparent to Ibrahim that his father was an enemy to Allah, he disassociated himself from him. Indeed was Ibrahim compassionate and forbearing. [9:114]

And Allah had already said:

وَمَا كَانَ اسْتِغْفَارُ‌ إِبْرَ‌اهِيمَ لِأَبِيهِ إِلَّا عَن مَّوْعِدَةٍ وَعَدَهَا إِيَّاهُ

And the request of forgiveness of Abraham for his father was only because of a promise he had made to him. [9:114]

And the promise mentioned here is Ibrahim’s statement:

سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ‌ لَكَ رَ‌بِّي ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ بِي حَفِيًّا

 “I will ask forgiveness for you of my Lord. Indeed, He is ever gracious to me”. [19:47]

So when the believers followed the example of Ibrahim and thus sought forgiveness for their dead polytheist relatives, and the Prophet (ﷺ) sought forgiveness for his uncle Abu Taalib, then concerning that Allah revealed:

مَا كَانَ لِلنَّبِيِّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَن يَسْتَغْفِرُ‌وا لِلْمُشْرِ‌كِينَ وَلَوْ كَانُوا أُولِي قُرْ‌بَىٰ مِن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ

It is not for the Prophet and those who have believed to ask forgiveness for the polytheists, even if they were relatives, after it has become clear to them that they are companions of Hell-fire. [9:113]

Then He said:

وَمَا كَانَ اسْتِغْفَارُ‌ إِبْرَ‌اهِيمَ لِأَبِيهِ إِلَّا عَن مَّوْعِدَةٍ وَعَدَهَا إِيَّاهُ فَلَمَّا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ أَنَّهُ عَدُوٌّ لِّلَّـهِ تَبَرَّ‌أَ مِنْهُ ۚ إِنَّ إِبْرَ‌اهِيمَ لَأَوَّاهٌ حَلِيمٌ

And the request of forgiveness of Abraham for his father was only because of a promise he had made to him. But when it became apparent to Abraham that his father was an enemy to Allah, he disassociated himself from him. Indeed was Abraham compassionate and forbearing. [9:114]

 وبين في سورة ” الممتحنة ” أن الاستغفار للمشركين مستثنى من الأسوة بإبراهيم ، والأسوة الاقتداء ، وذلك في قوله تعالى : قد كانت لكم أسوة حسنة في إبراهيم والذين معه إذ قالوا لقومهم إنا برآء منكم ومما تعبدون من دون الله – إلى قوله – إلا قول إبراهيم لأبيه لأستغفرن لك [ 60 \ 4 ] ، أي : فلا أسوة لكم في إبراهيم في ذلك ، ولما ندم المسلمون على استغفارهم للمشركين حين قال فيهم : ما كان للنبي والذين آمنوا أن يستغفروا للمشركين الآية [ 9 \ 113 ] ، بين الله تعالى أنهم معذورون في ذلك ; لأنه لم يبين لهم منع ذلك قبل فعله ، وذلك في قوله : وما كان الله ليضل قوما بعد إذ هداهم حتى يبين لهم ما يتقون [ 9 \ 115 ] . ـ

And Allah clarified in surah al-Mumtahinah that seeking forgiveness for the polytheists is excluded from the excellent example of Ibrahim and his excellent example to be imitated, and that exception occurs in Allah’s statement:

قَدْ كَانَتْ لَكُمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ فِي إِبْرَ‌اهِيمَ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ إِذْ قَالُوا لِقَوْمِهِمْ إِنَّا بُرَ‌آءُ مِنكُمْ وَمِمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ

There has already been for you an excellent pattern in Ibrahim and those with him, when they said to their people, “Indeed, we are disassociated from you and from whatever you worship other than Allah…” [60:4]

until His statement:

 إِلَّا قَوْلَ إِبْرَ‌اهِيمَ لِأَبِيهِ لَأَسْتَغْفِرَ‌نَّ لَكَ

… except for the saying of Ibrahim to his father, “I will surely ask forgiveness for you…” [60:4]

Meaning: So in that particular thing, there is not an excellent example in the person of Ibrahim. And when the Muslims regretted that they had sought forgiveness for the polytheists, then Allah said regarding that:

مَا كَانَ لِلنَّبِيِّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَن يَسْتَغْفِرُ‌وا لِلْمُشْرِ‌كِينَ وَلَوْ كَانُوا أُولِي قُرْ‌بَىٰ مِن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ

It is not for the Prophet and those who have believed to ask forgiveness for the polytheists, even if they were relatives, after it has become clear to them that they are companions of Hell-fire. [9:113]

So Allah explained that they were excused in that respect because the prohibition of that had not been made clear to them prior to their doing so. And that is according to His statement:

وَمَا كَانَ اللَّـهُ لِيُضِلَّ قَوْمًا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَاهُمْ حَتَّىٰ يُبَيِّنَ لَهُم مَّا يَتَّقُونَ

And Allah would not let a people stray after He has guided them until He makes clear to them what they should avoid. [9:115]

[Adhwaa’ al-Bayaan 3/428-429]

See also: The command to treat parents with ihsaan: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: The Du’a of Ibrahim for Mecca and his Descendants: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Those who come to Allah with a Pure Heart: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

See also: Dealing with the human shayaateen and the Jinn shayaateen: Imam al-Shinqitee

See also: The Appropriate Places for Gentleness and for Harshness: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: Two Qur’anic proofs that Ismaa’eel is the sacrificed son: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

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6 thoughts on “Ibrahim’s interactions with his father: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

  1. Pingback: Dealing with the human shayaateen and the jinn shayaateen: Imam al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: The command to treat parents with ihsaan: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: The Du’a of Ibrahim for Mecca and his Descendants: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: The Appropriate Places for Gentleness and for Harshness: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: Those who come to Allah with a pure heart: Tafsir al-Qurtubi | Tulayhah

  6. Pingback: And We gave Ibrahim good in this life: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

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