|The Reply of Allah's Friend (Khalil)|
With this, Ibrahim said to his father,
(Peace be on you!) This is as Allah said concerning the description of the believers,
﴿وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الجَـهِلُونَ قَالُواْ سَلاَماً﴾
(and when the foolish address them (with bad words) they say, "Salaman ﴿peace﴾.'') ﴿25:63﴾ Allah also says,
﴿وَإِذَا سَمِعُواْ اللَّغْوَ أَعْرَضُواْ عَنْهُ وَقَالُواْ لَنَآ أَعْمَـلُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَـلُكُمْ سَلَـمٌ عَلَيْكُمْ لاَ نَبْتَغِى الْجَـهِلِينَ ﴾
(And when they hear Al-Laghw (false speech), they withdraw from it and say: "To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you. We seek not (the way of) the ignorant.'') ﴿28:55﴾ The meaning of Ibrahim's statement to his father,
(Peace be on you!) "You will not receive any insult or harm from me.'' This is due to the respect and honor of fatherhood.
﴿سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ لَكَ رَبِّي﴾
(I will ask forgiveness of my Lord for you.) meaning "But, I will ask Allah to guide you and forgive you for your sin.''
﴿إِنَّهُ كَانَ بِى حَفِيّاً﴾
(Verily, He is unto me Hafiyya.) Ibn `Abbas and others said that Hafiyyan means, "Kind.'' Meaning, "since He guided me to worship Him and direct my religious devotion to Him alone.'' As-Suddi said, "Al-Hafi is One Who is concerned with his (Ibrahim's) affair.'' Thus, Ibrahim sought forgiveness for his father for a very long time, even after he migrated to Ash-Sham. He continued to seek forgiveness for him even after building the Sacred Masjid (in Makkah) and after the birth of his two sons, Isma`il and Ishaq. This can be seen in his statement,
﴿رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لِى وَلِوَالِدَىَّ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَوْمَ يَقُومُ الْحِسَابُ ﴾
(Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents, and (all) the believers on the Day when the reckoning will be established.) ﴿14:41﴾ From this tradition, during the beginning stages of Islam, the Muslims used to seek forgiveness for their relatives and their family members who were polytheists. They did this following the way of Ibrahim, the Khalil (Friend) of Allah, until Allah revealed,
﴿قَدْ كَانَتْ لَكُمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ فِى إِبْرَهِيمَ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ إِذْ قَالُواْ لِقَوْمِهِمْ إِنَّا بُرَءآؤاْ مِّنْكُمْ وَمِمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ﴾
(Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibrahim and those with him, when they said to their people: "Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allah.'') ﴿60:4﴾ Until Allah's statement,
﴿إِلاَّ قَوْلَ إِبْرَهِيمَ لاًّبِيهِ لاّسْتَغْفِرَنَّ لَكَ وَمَآ أَمْلِكُ لَكَ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِن شَىْءٍ﴾
(Except the saying of Ibrahim to his father: "Verily, I will ask forgiveness (from Allah) for you, but I have no power to do anything for you before Allah.'') ﴿60:4﴾ meaning, except for this statement, so do not follow it. Then Allah explains that Ibrahim abandoned this statement and retracted it. Allah, the Exalted, says,
﴿مَا كَانَ لِلنَّبِىِّ وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ أَن يَسْتَغْفِرُواْ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ﴾
(It is not (proper) for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allah's forgiveness for the idolators.) ﴿9:113﴾ Until Allah's statement,
﴿وَمَا كَانَ اسْتِغْفَارُ إِبْرَهِيمَ لاًّبِيهِ إِلاَّ عَن مَّوْعِدَةٍ وَعَدَهَآ إِيَّاهُ فَلَمَّا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ أَنَّهُ عَدُوٌّ لِلَّهِ تَبَرَّأَ مِنْهُ إِنَّ إِبْرَهِيمَ لأَوَّاهٌ حَلِيمٌ ﴾
(And Ibrahim's invoking for his father's forgiveness was only because of a promise he had made to him. But when it became clear to him that he is an enemy of Allah, he dissociated himself from him. Verily, Ibrahim was Awwah, forbearing.) ﴿9:114﴾ Concerning Allah's statement,
﴿وَأَعْتَزِلُكُمْ وَمَا تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَأَدْعُو رَبِّى﴾
(And I shall turn away from you and from those whom you invoke besides Allah. And I shall call upon my Lord,) This means, "And I worship my Lord alone, associating no partners with Him.''
﴿عَسَى أَلاَّ أَكُونَ بِدُعَآءِ رَبِّى شَقِيًّا﴾
(I certainly hope that I shall not be unblessed in my invocation to my Lord. ) The word `Asa (I hope) here means that which will necessarily occur and not that which is hoped for from the impossible. For verily, he (Ibrahim) is the leader of the Prophets other than Muhammad .
﴿فَلَمَّا اعْتَزَلَهُمْ وَمَا يَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَهَبْنَا لَهُ إِسْحَـقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَكُلاًّ جَعَلْنَا نَبِيّاً - وَوَهَبْنَا لَهْمْ مِّن رَّحْمَتِنَا وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُمْ لِسَانَ صِدْقٍ عَلِيّاً ﴾
(49. So when he had turned away from them and from those whom they worshipped besides Allah, We gave him Ishaq and Ya`qub, and each one of them We made a Prophet.) (50. And We gave them of Our mercy, and We granted them Sidqin `Aliyyan on the tongues.)
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