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

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 إِلَى رَبِّى سَيَهْدِينِ - رَبِّ هَبْ لِى مِنَ الصَّـلِحِينِ ﴾

(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:

﴿فَبَشَّرْنَـهُ بِغُلَـمٍ حَلِيمٍ ﴾

(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 السَّعْىَ﴾

(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 السَّعْىَ﴾

(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 السَّعْىَ قَالَ يبُنَىَّ إِنِّى أَرَى فِى الْمَنَامِ أَنِّى أَذْبَحُكَ فَانظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَى﴾

(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 يبُنَىَّ إِنِّى أَرَى فِى الْمَنَامِ أَنِّى أَذْبَحُكَ فَانظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَى﴾

(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 يأَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤمَرُ﴾

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

﴿سَتَجِدُنِى إِن شَآءَ اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّـبِرِينَ﴾

(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:

﴿وَاذْكُرْ فِى الْكِتَـبِ إِسْمَـعِيلَ إِنَّهُ كَانَ صَـدِقَ الْوَعْدِ وَكَانَ رَسُولاً نَّبِيّاً - وَكَانَ يَأْمُرُ أَهْلَهُ بِالصَّـلَوةِ وَالزَّكَـوةِ وَكَانَ عِندَ رَبِّهِ مَرْضِيّاً ﴾

(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).

﴿فَلَمَّا أَسْلَمَا وَتَلَّهُ لِلْجَبِينِ ﴾

(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. lThe 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 لِلْجَبِينِ﴾

(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 يإِبْرَهِيمُقَدْ صَدَّقْتَ الرُّؤْيَآ﴾

(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.

﴿وَنَـدَيْنَـهُ أَن يإِبْرَهِيمُ قَدْ صَدَّقْتَ الرُّؤْيَآ﴾

(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:

﴿قَدْ صَدَّقْتَ الرُّؤْيَآ﴾

(You have fulfilled the dream!) Allah says;

﴿إِنَّا كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِى الْمُحْسِنِينَ ﴾

(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 بَلَغْنَ أَجَلَهُنَّ فَأَمْسِكُوهُنَّ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ فَارِقُوهُنَّ بِمَعْرُوفٍ وَأَشْهِدُواْ ذَوَى عَدْلٍ مِّنكُمْ وَأَقِيمُواْ الشَّهَـدَةَ لِلَّهِ ذَلِكُمْ يُوعَظُ بِهِ مَن كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاٌّخِرِ وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجاً - وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لاَ يَحْتَسِبُ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَـلِغُ أَمْرِهِ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدْراً ﴾

(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 هَـذَا لَهُوَ الْبَلاَءُ الْمُبِينُ ﴾

(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:

﴿وَإِبْرَهِيمَ الَّذِى وَفَّى ﴾

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

﴿وَفَدَيْنَـهُ بِذِبْحٍ عَظِيمٍ ﴾

(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.

 

 
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