Path Towards Enlightenment (814)
Welcome to our weekly program "Path towards Enlightenment" in which we present you a fluent and easy-to-understand explanation of the ayahs of the holy Qur’an. We start from where left you last Friday and here are ayahs 99 to 101 of Surah Saaffaat:
“He (Abraham) said, ‘Indeed I am going toward my Lord, who will guide me.”
“My Lord! Give me [an heir], one of the righteous.”
“So We gave him (Abraham) the good news of a forbearing son (Ishmael).”
Last week we said, as God miraculously transformed the huge fire into a cool and lush garden the moment Prophet Abraham was thrown into the flames, the idolaters and their powerful king, Nimrod became terrified and felt humiliated. There was nothing they could do against the young iconoclast whose ranks God exalted for smashing the idols of the principal temple of Babylon to expose the falsity of the beliefs of the polytheist. Abraham realized that his mission was now accomplished in Babylon and as per the commandment of the Almighty Creator he left his homeland for Harran where after proving to the star-worshippers the falsity of their beliefs in having deviated from monotheism, he migrated to Syria.
As is clear from the ayahs that we recited to you, Abraham had full confidence in God’s mercy and guidance as he and his wife Sarah grew old without having any issue. His constant supplications in the Divine Court for an heir were answered when God decided to give him a virtuous son in this old age, instructing him to take as consort the Egyptian maid Hajar, through whom Ishmael was born. In fact, there are three glad tidings in this ayah: the glad tiding of a son, the glad tiding of reaching the son to the age of adolescence, and the glad tiding of the good quality of being forbearing, especially at the time of the event of ‘sacrifice’ that was a divine trial.
From these ayahs we learn that:
- The Prophets, Imams and Saints are fully devoted to God and whatever Divine Providence decides.
- They possess the most excellent virtues including forbearance.
- Never should we become despondent of Divine Mercy, for God has the power to grant our requests, including the birth of children, even in ripe old age as is evident by the birth of Ishmael to the aged Abraham, who was granted another son, that is, Ishaq, and this time through his equally aged wife, Sarah.
Now listen to or read ayah 102 of Surah Saaffaat.
“When he (Ishmael) was old enough to assist in his endeavour, he (Abraham) said, ‘My son! I see in a dream that I am sacrificing you. See what you think.’ He said, ‘Father! Do whatever you have been commanded. If Allah wishes, you will find me to be patient.”
This ayah means to say that when Ishmael, who along with his mother Hajar was by the command of God shifted to the remote and obscure desert land of Mecca, and came of age, that is became an adolescent, Abraham received Divine Commandment through a dream to sacrifice his son in the path of God. This was indeed a very hard trial. The same dream was repeated two more times, which was an emphasis on the necessity of that action as well as its urgency. It is said that at the first time Abraham saw this dream in the night of ‘Tarwiyah’ (the eighth night of Zil-Hajjah), and on the night of ‘Arafah and the night of Feast of Sacrifice (the ninth and tenth of Zil-Hajjah) the dream was repeated, so there remained no doubt for him that it was the decisive command of Allah.
Abraham, who had repeatedly become successful in the hard trials of Allah, this time again he must obey the command of Allah, that is, sacrifice his virtuous and handsome adolescent son by his own hand. But, before anything else, he ought to make the son prepared for this action. Naturally, this required, in addition to the consent of the father, the consent and acceptance of the boy. Therefore, Abraham said to Ishmael: “I have been given such a command, are you ready to accept this hard work?”
The obedient son answered in the affirmative, saying O Father do whatever our Loving and Merciful Creator has commanded you. Indeed by the Will of God you will be patient in this great trial.
From this ayah we learn that:
- The dreams of Prophets is a divine revelation for them.
- The attachment to the child should not prevent the carrying out of Divine Orders or committing sin and disobedience to God.
- Fulfilling duty requires patience and stability. One should never disobey God's commandment.