Path Towards Enlightenment (816)
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 Quran.
We start from where we left you last Friday and here are ayahs 109 to 111 of Surah Saaffaat:
“Peace be to Abraham!”
“Thus do We reward the virtuous.”
“He is indeed one of Our faithful servants.”
Last week we said how God Almighty has exalted and immortalized the name of Prophet Abraham because of his firm faith and his success in passing the most grueling trials and tribulations, including the divine commandment to sacrifice son Ishmael – a sacrifice that didn’t practically materialize because the All-Merciful Creator, having tested the sincerity of intention of His steadfast servant, substituted it with a ram at the last moment.
It means, the “Zibhin Azeem” or the Great Sacrifice that ransomed Ishmael and saved his life was deferred by the All-Wise God for future, in the full limelight of history, to take place in 61 AH on Moharram 10 in Karbala, where in order to save Islam, the endeavours of the prophets of the past and humanitarian values, Imam Husain (AS) bravely courted martyrdom, along with his few companions, brothers, nephews, and sons, including the youthful Ali Akbar and the infant Ali Asghar.
The ayahs that we recited to you now are divine praise for Abraham and his selfless efforts, followed by God’s tidings to all the virtuous believers of the special rewards reserved for their good deeds. In other words, anyone in any place or era who is firm and steadfast in his/her faith, like Prophet Abraham who was indeed one of the most faithful servants of God and gave practical examples of his faith, will certainly avail of God’s mercy and blessings.
An important point to note is that God has saluted His messengers in the holy Qur’an as rewards for their sincere endeavours, with the choicest blessings being the lot of the Last and Greatest Messenger, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny), for whom divine salutations have been immortalized, along with the commandment to the angels and the faithful to always send salutations for him.
From these ayahs we learn that:
- Sincere endeavours are rewarded by God Almighty to the extent that He Himself salutes His prophets, as is the case of Abraham, Noah and other messengers, especially Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
- Any good deed by anyone brings divine rewards, both in the transient life of the mortal world and in the bliss of paradise in afterlife.
Now we listen to or read ayahs 112 and 113 of Surah Saaffaat:
“And We gave him (Abraham) the good news of [the birth of] Isaac, a prophet, one of the righteous.”
“And We blessed him and Isaac; among their descendants [some] are virtuous, and [some] who manifestly wrong themselves.”
Here in these ayahs, God Almighty after having referred to the virtues of Abraham and his firstborn son, Ishmael, in the preceding ayahs, gives tidings to the great patriarch of monotheism of the birth of another son to him, and this time through his aging wife Sarah. This second son will be named Is-haaq or Isaac, and as a prophet, will be among the righteous and virtuous servants of Allah.
A point to note is that, unlike the great trial and tribulation of sacrifice for Ishmael, who had the privilege of being the direct ancestor of the Last and Greatest Messenger with the universal mission of Islam, there is no such divine test for Isaac, which disproves as lie and distortion the claim of the Jews and the Christians that Abraham was commanded to offer Isaac as sacrifice.
However, the glad tiding of prophethood shows that Isaac, like other prophets, was one of the righteous persons of his time, and the ancestor of a long line of prophets through the progeny of his son, Ya’qoub or Jacob, who was also known as Israel; hence his descendants are called Bani Israel.
Here, it does not mean that God is being partial and confining His blessing in the progeny of Isaac as the Jews wrongly claim on the basis of racist tendencies. The emphasis of the ayah of the holy Qur’an “among their descendants [some] are virtuous, and [some] who manifestly wrong themselves,” removes any such misconceptions. It means the Bani Israel or the Israelites are not at all the chosen race of God, Who has blessed only the prophets and the virtuous believers, while the overwhelming majority of the Israelites are sinners, oppressors, wrongdoers and criminals.
Thus, the Qur’anic term ‘zalim’ means not just an oppressor but a disbeliever and a sinner. This is indicative of the fact that a person with such negative traits is unjust to his/her own self; hence God says that among the Israelites are those who are in manifest error and wrong themselves.
From these ayahs we learn that:
- The prayers of Abraham for his sons and offspring were accepted by God Who granted him Ishmael and Isaac and other prophets in their lineal descent, including the Last and Greatest of them all, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
- God Almighty has indeed blessed the Prophets and their virtuous descendants and followers, but at the same time He has emphasized that the disbelievers and sinners amongst them deprive themselves of these blessings because of their crimes and other oppressive acts.
- This is a refutation of the Jewish claim of the ‘Chosen Race’, since racism is against the principle of Divine Justice.
- We should pray to God for our children and offspring.