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Disputing with the Jews and Christians About the Religion of Ibrahim Print E-mail

Allah censures the Jews and Christians for their dispute with Muslims over Ibrahim Al-Khalil and the claim each group made that he was one of them. Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "The Christians of Najran and Jewish rabbis gathered before the Messenger of Allah and disputed in front of him. The rabbis said, `Ibrahim was certainly Jewish.' The Christians said, `Certainly, Ibrahim was Christian.' So Allah sent down,

﴿يأَهْلَ الْكِتَـبِ لِمَ تُحَآجُّونَ فِى إِبْرَهِيمَ﴾

(O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Why do you dispute about Ibrahim,) meaning, `How is it that you, Jews, claim that Ibrahim was Jew, although he lived before Allah sent down the Tawrah to Musa How is it that you, Christians, claim that Ibrahim was Christian, although Christianity came after his time'' This is why Allah said,

﴿أَفَلاَ تَعْقِلُونَ﴾

(Have you then no sense)

Allah then said,

﴿هأَنتُمْ هَـؤُلاءِ حَـجَجْتُمْ فِيمَا لَكُم بِهِ عِلمٌ فَلِمَ تُحَآجُّونَ فِيمَا لَيْسَ لَكُمْ بِهِ عِلْمٌ﴾

(Verily, you are those who have disputed about that of which you have knowledge. Why do you then dispute concerning that of which you have no knowledge)

This Ayah criticizes those who argue and dispute without knowledge, just as the Jews and Christians did concerning Ibrahim. Had they disputed about their religions, which they had knowledge of, and about the Law that was legislated for them until Muhammad was sent, it would have been better for them. Rather, they disputed about what they had no knowledge of, so Allah criticized them for this behavior. Allah commanded them to refer what they have no knowledge of to He Who knows the seen and unseen matters and Who knows the true reality of all things. This is why Allah said,

﴿وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ﴾

(It is Allah Who knows, and you know not.)

Allah said,

﴿مَا كَانَ إِبْرَهِيمُ يَهُودِيًّا وَلاَ نَصْرَانِيًّا وَلَكِن كَانَ حَنِيفًا مُّسْلِمًا﴾

(Ibrahim was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a true Muslim Hanifa), shunning Shirk and living in Iman,

﴿وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ﴾

(and he was not of the Mushrikin.)

This Ayah is similar to the Ayah in Surat Al-Baqarah,

﴿وَقَالُواْ كُونُواْ هُودًا أَوْ نَصَـرَى تَهْتَدُواْ﴾

(And they say, "Be Jews or Christians, then you will be guided...'') ﴿2:135﴾.

Allah said next,

﴿إِنَّ أَوْلَى النَّاسِ بِإِبْرَهِيمَ لَلَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُ وَهَـذَا النَّبِىُّ وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَاللَّهُ وَلِىُّ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ﴾

(Verily, among mankind who have the best claim to Ibrahim are those who followed him, and this Prophet and those who have believed. And Allah is the Wali (Protector and Helper) of the believers.)

This Ayah means, "The people who have the most right to be followers of Ibrahim are those who followed his religion and this Prophet, Muhammad , and his Companions from the Muhajirin, Ansar and those who followed their lead.'' Sa`id bin Mansur recorded that Ibn Mas`ud said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«إِنَّ لِكُلِّ نَبِيَ وُلَاةً مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ، وَإِنَّ وَلِيِّي مِنْهُمْ أَبِي وَخَلِيلُ رَبِّي عَزَّ وَجَل»

(Every Prophet had a Wali (supporter, best friend) from among the Prophets. My Wali among them is my father Ibrahim, the Khalil (intimate friend) of my Lord, the Exalted and Most Honored)

The Prophet then recited,

﴿إِنَّ أَوْلَى النَّاسِ بِإِبْرَهِيمَ لَلَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُ﴾

(Verily, among mankind who have the best claim to Ibrahim are those who followed him...)

Allah's statement,

﴿وَاللَّهُ وَلِىُّ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ﴾

(And Allah is the Wali (Protector and Helper) of the believers.) means, Allah is the Protector of all those who believe in His Messengers.

﴿وَدَّت طَّآئِفَةٌ مِّنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَـبِ لَوْ يُضِلُّونَكُمْ وَمَا يُضِلُّونَ إِلاَ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ - يأَهْلَ الْكِتَـبِ لِمَ تَكْفُرُونَ بِأَيَـتِ اللَّهِ وَأَنتُمْ تَشْهَدُونَ - يأَهْلَ الْكِتَـبِ لِمَ تَلْبِسُونَ الْحَقَّ بِالْبَـطِلِ وَتَكْتُمُونَ الْحَقَّ وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ - وَقَالَت طَّآئِفَةٌ مِّنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَـبِ ءَامِنُواْ بِالَّذِي أُنزِلَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَجْهَ النَّهَارِ وَاكْفُرُواْ ءَاخِرَهُ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ - وَلاَ تُؤْمِنُواْ إِلاَّ لِمَن تَبِعَ دِينَكُمْ قُلْ إِنَّ الْهُدَى هُدَى اللَّهِ أَن يُؤْتَى أَحَدٌ مِّثْلَ مَآ أُوتِيتُمْ أَوْ يُحَآجُّوكُمْ عِندَ رَبِّكُمْ قُلْ إِنَّ الْفَضْلَ بِيَدِ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَآءُ وَاللَّهُ وَسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ - يَخْتَصُّ بِرَحْمَتِهِ مَن يَشَآءُ وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ ﴾

(69. A party of the People of the Scripture wish to lead you astray. But they shall not lead astray anyone except themselves, and they perceive not.) (70. "O People of the Scripture! Why do you disbelieve in the Ayat of Allah, while you bear witness.'') (71. "O People of the Scripture! Why do you mix truth with falsehood and conceal the truth while you know'') (72. And a party of the People of the Scripture say: "Believe in the morning in that which is revealed to the believers, and reject it at the end of the day, so that they may turn back.) (73. And believe no one except the one who follows your religion.'' Say (O Prophet): "Verily, right guidance is the guidance of Allah.'' (And they say:) "Do not believe that anyone can receive like that which you have received, otherwise they would engage you in argument before your Lord.'' Say: "All the bounty is in the Hand of Allah; He grants to whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All-Knower.'') (74. He selects for His Mercy whom He wills and Allah is the Owner of great bounty.)

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