وَّ بَرًّۢا بِوَالِدَتِیۡ ۫ وَ لَمۡ یَجۡعَلۡنِیۡ جَبَّارًا شَقِیًّا ﴿۳۳﴾
وَبَرَّۢا بِوَٰلِدَتِي وَلَمۡ يَجۡعَلۡنِي جَبَّارٗا شَقِيّٗا
a. 19:15. (close)
1766. The talk which Jesus gave to the elders of the Jews and which is contained in these verses (31-34) could not possibly be the talk of a child. All these affirmations from the lips of a child sound like so many lies; and who would call these lies a miracle? Jesus was neither a Prophet at that time, nor did he say Prayer or give Zakat or was given a Book. Moreover, in 3:47 this miracle is mentioned as Jesus having spoken to the people in the cradle and when of middle age. But talk by a man in middle age is no miracle; and by joining the word 'cradle' with the words 'of middle age,' the Qur’an implies that the talk of Jesus in 'the cradle' and when he was 'of middle age' was no miracle in the sense in which it is popularly understood, but that it was a miracle in the sense that he spoke words of exceptional wisdom and intelligence in childhood as well as in middle age. The joining of these two sets of words also implied a prophecy that Jesus would not die young but would live up to a ripe old age. The prophecy did constitute a real miracle. But if the word Mahd is taken in the sense of 'period of preparation' which is also one of the meanings of this word, then verse (3:47) would mean that Jesus would speak to people words full of extraordinary wisdom and spiritual knowledge much beyond his years and experience, both in the period of preparation which is youth and in his middle age. (close)
a. 19:15, 33. (close)
The present and the preceding two verses refer to a period when Jesus had already become invested with prophethood. It is an insult to human intelligence and common sense and to belie facts of history and also to betray one’s utter lack of knowledge of the Quranic style and Arabic idiom to say that the words of vv. 31-33 were spoken by Jesus while he was yet a child and therefore constituted a great miracle. A mere babe who sucked the breast of his mother could not say that he was a most obedient and faithful servant of God or that God had given him a Book or that he said Prayers and gave alms or that he was dutiful to his mother and was not haughty. All this talk seems to be a tissue of lies. Jesus could not and did not do any of these things while yet a baby but rather when he had attained to prophethood. It may be argued that the miracle consisted in the fact that Jesus could talk while yet a baby in the cradle but this purpose could equally have been served by his speaking only a few words. If only he had rebuked the elders of the Jews for calumniating his mother in a single sentence they would surely have been taken aback and completely confounded and the purpose of the miracle would have been fully served. But where was the necessity of putting a long discourse in Jesus’ mouth which was not true? The truth is that the miracle did not lie in the supposed infantile talk of Jesus but in the imagination of the commentators themselves.
In this and the preceding two verses Jesus has been described as saying that (1) he is a servant of God; (2) God has given him the Book; (3) He has made him a Prophet; (4) He has made him blessed; (5) He has enjoined upon him Prayer and alms-giving; (6) He has made him dutiful to his mother and that (7) He has not made him haughty and unblessed. All these words put in Jesus’ mouth by the Quran have been amply supported and corroborated by the Bible:
(1) As regards Jesus’ being a humble servant of God, subject to human weaknesses and frailties and to the demands and calls of nature and not being God or Son of God, the Bible says:
And when he had fasted forty days and nights, he afterwards hungered (Matt. 4:2).
But of that day or that hour knoweth no one, –but the father (Mark 13:32).
And Jesus said unto him, why callest thou me good? None is good save one, that is God (Mark 10:18).
(2) About the fact that Jesus was given a Book which he followed and taught, the Bible says:
Think not that I come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled (Matt. 5:17, 18).
(3) The Bible also supports the Quranic statement that Jesus was only a Prophet of God and not God or the Son of God. It says:
And He that sent me is with me (John 8:29).
Neither came I of myself, but He sent me (John 8:42).
He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, (Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 4:15-22).
And the multitudes said, This is the Prophet, Jesus, of Nazareth of Galilee (Matt. 21:11).
(4) About Jesus’ being blessed the Bible depicts Elizabeth, the mother of John, as saying to Mary, the mother of Jesus:
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb (Luke 1:42).
And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice and said unto him, blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked (Luke 11:27).
(5) The fifth thing that the Quran tells us about Jesus is that God had enjoined upon him Prayer and alms-giving. About this the Bible says as follows:
And he withdrew himself into the wilderness and prayed (Luke 5:16).
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground (Luke 22:44).
Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s (Matt. 22:21).
(6) Last of all, Jesus has been described as being humble and blessed with success. In regard to this the Bible says:
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls (Matt. 11:29).
Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass (Matt. 21:5).
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33). (close)
وَ السَّلٰمُ عَلَیَّ یَوۡمَ وُلِدۡتُّ وَ یَوۡمَ اَمُوۡتُ وَ یَوۡمَ اُبۡعَثُ حَیًّا ﴿۳۴﴾
وَٱلسَّلَٰمُ عَلَيَّ يَوۡمَ وُلِدتُّ وَيَوۡمَ أَمُوتُ وَيَوۡمَ أُبۡعَثُ حَيّٗا
b. 19:16. (close)
a. 19:16. (close)
The words, and peace there will be on me the day I shall die, show that Jesus did not die on the cross, for death on the cross, according to the Bible, is an accursed death (Deut. 21:23; Gal. 3:13). It cannot be said about a person who died an accursed death that he died a blessed and peaceful death. But the mere fact of a person being put on the cross or meeting a violent end does not conflict with the idea of peace and blessedness to which this verse refers. It is an accepted fact of history that the Prophet Yahya was murdered while in jail but the words "peace was on him the day he died" have also been used about him in v. 16 above. So these words have been used about Jesus and Yahya to show that both these Prophets succeeded in their missions, and a person who succeeds in his mission and whose work is carried on after his death and who is remembered with love and respect cannot be said to have suffered death or to have been deprived of "peace". Jesus has left behind him a large community of followers and Yahya’s name is remembered with love and respect. Thus both Jesus and Yahya died a blessed death and enjoy everlasting peace.
The words, peace was on me the day I was born may also be understood as containing a hint that the birth of Jesus was out of the ordinary. These words have also been used about Yahya in verse 16 above because his birth, too, took place in extraordinary circumstances. He was born when his father had reached an extremely old age and his mother was barren.
The expression, the day I shall be raised up to life again, may also imply: "The day when I shall be raised again in the form of another Prophet who will testify to my truth." The implied reference may be to the Holy Prophet who bore witness to the truth of Jesus. (close)
ذٰلِکَ عِیۡسَی ابۡنُ مَرۡیَمَ ۚ قَوۡلَ الۡحَقِّ الَّذِیۡ فِیۡہِ یَمۡتَرُوۡنَ ﴿۳۵﴾
ذَٰلِكَ عِيسَى ٱبۡنُ مَرۡيَمَۖ قَوۡلَ ٱلۡحَقِّ ٱلَّذِي فِيهِ يَمۡتَرُونَ
1767. The expression "Ibn-e-Maryam" is Jesus’s distinctive name. Whereas, on the one hand, it seems to imply his fatherless birth, on the other it confers on him a name which is incapable of being confused with that of anybody else. The Gospels have used for Jesus the epithet "Ibn-e-Adam" (son of man) also but this latter epithet has been used in the Bible for other persons as well. "Son of Mary" is at once a distinctive and descriptive name of Jesus. (close)
1768. Perhaps there is no other individual in religious history concerning whom so many and so far-reaching differences exist as about Jesus, son of Mary. The Jews, the Christians and the Muslims all hold widely different views about Jesus’s birth, the manner of his death and about some prominent incidents in his life. (close)
Perhaps there is no individual of any prominence in religious history about whom so many and so far-reaching differences exist as about Jesus, the son of Mary. The Jews, the Christians and the Muslims all hold widely different views about Jesus’ birth, the manner of his death, and about the account of his life. The Jews believe that he was born out of legal wedlock and therefore his birth was illegitimate. He was a false Prophet and therefore deservedly met an accursed death on the cross. The Christians hold that Jesus’ mother became conceived of the Holy Ghost, therefore he was the son of God. He persuaded himself to be put on the cross and by his death he atoned for the sins of all humanity. He remained dead for three days and then rose up to heaven. He is a part of the Holy Trinity and yet is God Himself. Orthodox Muslims believe that he was miraculously born without the instrumentality of a father as the result of a special Divine decree. He was an Israelite Prophet. The Jews tried to crucify him but instead succeeded only in crucifying another person who by God’s special decree was made to look like Jesus and Jesus bodily went up to heaven where he is sitting by the right hand of God and will someday descend from heaven to win for Muslims the kingdom of the whole world. The so-called modernists among Muslims think that he was the son of Joseph the carpenter, and died a natural death, and so there was nothing miraculous or unusual about his birth, death or his life. He was only an Israelite Prophet. The orthodox Ahmadis, however, believe that his birth took place without the agency of a father as the result of a special Divine decree, and that this unusual form of birth constituted a rebuke and a warning to the Israelites that on account of their persistent rejection of truth and God’s Messengers, and their immoral practices the whole Israelite nation had been rendered quite unfit to give birth to a Prophet of God and therefore prophethood, in accordance with God’s covenant with Abraham, was transferred from the House of Israel to that of Ishmael (see Introduction to this Surah). They further believe that Jesus was hung on the cross by the Jews but did not die there and was taken down from it alive and for three days remained in a tomb hewn out of a rock and then travelled to Kashmir to preach his Message to the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. He lived up to the ripe old age of 120 years, died a natural death and lies buried in Khanyar street in Srinagar, Kashmir. In fact, the existence of so many and so serious differences about Jesus implies a rebuke to Christians that there is nothing certain about their god.
The expression "son of Mary" (ابن مریم) is Jesus’ distinctive name. Whereas on the one hand it seems to point to his fatherless birth, on the other it confers on him a name which is incapable of being confused with that of anybody else. The Gospels have also used for Jesus the epithet ابن آدم (son of man) but this epithet has been used in the Bible for other persons also. So ابن مریم (son of Mary) is at once a distinctive and descriptive name of Jesus. (close)
مَا کَانَ لِلّٰہِ اَنۡ یَّتَّخِذَ مِنۡ وَّلَدٍ ۙ سُبۡحٰنَہٗ ؕ اِذَا قَضٰۤی اَمۡرًا فَاِنَّمَا یَقُوۡلُ لَہٗ کُنۡ فَیَکُوۡنُ ﴿ؕ۳۶﴾
مَا كَانَ لِلَّهِ أَن يَتَّخِذَ مِن وَلَدٖۖ سُبۡحَٰنَهُۥٓۚ إِذَا قَضَىٰٓ أَمۡرٗا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُۥ كُن فَيَكُونُ
a. 10:69; 17:112; 18:5; 19:89; 21:27; 25:3; 39:5. (close)
1769. Christians believe that Jesus was God’s son. They base this belief on the assumption that the Bible calls him "son of God." But in the Bible other persons have also been called or addressed as "sons of God." Jesus enjoys no special distinction in this respect and he is, therefore, no more a son of God than those persons who have also been addressed as such (Luke, 20:36; Jer., 31:9; Matt., 6:9; John, 8:41 & Ephes., 4:6). (close)
1770. In the Arabic language the word Kun, besides being addressed to a thing, is also used to express a greatly felt desire. In an expedition the Holy Prophet’s very brave and loyal Companion, Abu Khaithamah happened to be absent. The Holy Prophet keenly felt his absence. When in the midst of the battle he saw from a great distance a rider coming to him at full speed, he exclaimed Kun Aba Khaithamah, i.e. would that it were Abu Khaithamah; and lo! it was really Abu Khaithamah (Halbiyyah). So the word Kun would signify that when God desires or intends a thing to come into being, it comes into being; or when God expresses such a desire it takes a concrete form. The word lends no support to the view that soul and matter are primeval or coeternal with God. (close)
a. 10:69; 17:112; 18:5; 19:89; 21:27; 25:3; 39:5. (close)
2180. Important Words:
ماکان للّٰه (It does not befit the Majesty of Allah). They say ماکان له i.e. (1) it does not befit him; behove him; it is inconsistent with his dignity; it is not proper for him; (2) it is beyond his power to do so. In the present verse ماکان للّٰه means, it is inconsistent with the Majesty of Allah or it does not befit His Holiness (Aqrab, Lane & Mufradat). See also 2:35.
The words ان یتخذ من ولد express two senses (a) that He should have a son; and (b) that He should adopt someone as His son. When it is inconsistent with God’s Majesty to adopt someone as His son, it is all the more repugnant to His Holiness and Glory to have a real son. These words repudiate the Christian belief, namely (i) that God has adopted Jesus as His son or (ii) that Jesus is God’s son.
Christians believe that Jesus was God’s son. The onus for proving such a manifestly absurd belief lies on them. They base this belief on the assumption that the Bible calls him the son of God. But in the Bible other persons have also been called or addressed as sons of God. Jesus enjoys no special prerogative in this respect and is therefore no more a son of God than those persons who have also been addressed as such.
The Bible says:
(a) "Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God" (Luke 20:36);
(b) "For I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn" (Jer. 31:9);
(c) "Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name" (Matt. 6:9);
(d) "For if you forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you" (Matt. 6:14);
(e) "That your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses" (Mark 11:25);
(f) "Your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things" (Luke 12:30);
(g) "We have one Father, even God" (John 8:41);
(h) "One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Ephes. 4:6);
(i) "Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn" (Exod. 4:22).
The Bible rather supports the Quranic statement, viz.it does not befit the Majesty of Allah to take unto Himself a son.He is the One Lord, God, Who has, or needs, no son.
(a) "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord" (Deut. 6:4);
(b) "I am the Lord, that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images" (Isa. 42:8);
(c) "Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord" (Mark 12:29);
(d) "To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty" (Jude 1:25);
(e) "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory forever and ever" (I Timothy 1:17).
The verse under comment gives three reasons why God does not stand in need of a son:(1) if God were supposed to have a son, He must be subject to carnal desires and must have a wife to satisfy them; (2) He must be subject to decay and death because the procreation of species which the attribution of a son to God implies, is the characteristic of mortals; and (3) He must require a helper to assist Him in His work or to continue his work after His death. But God as represented by Islam is completely free from all these defects and therefore needs no son. In fact, the Christian dogma of sonship of Jesus is an insoluble riddle and beyond human comprehension. If Jesus is God’s son, then God will have to be admitted as incapable of carrying on the affairs of the universe alone and unaided, and therefore will have to be accepted as imperfect and defective. But because God is Perfect and All-Powerful, therefore He needs no son and no helper. Again, according to the Christian dogma each of the three deities, God, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, being perfect can and should carry on the work of the universe unaided and yet these three combine to do the thing which each one is able to accomplish by himself. This is absurd.
Those who are ignorant of Arabic language pretend to find in the word کن (be) a ground for their belief in the eternity and indestructibility of matter and soul. They argue in this way. This word shows that there had already existed something to which the order کن (be) was given. But in the Arabic language this word, besides being addressed to a thing, is also used to express a greatly felt desire. In an expedition the Holy Prophet’s very brave and loyal companion, Abu Khaithamah happened to be absent. The Prophet keenly felt his absence. When in the midst of the battle he saw from a great distance a rider coming to him at full speed he exclaimed کن ابا خیثمة i.e. would that it were Abu Khaithamah; and lo! it was really Abu Khaithamah (Halbiyyah). So an Arab would use the word کن when he would passionately desire a thing to happen.
According to this sense of کن the expression کن فیکون would mean that when God desires or intends that a thing should be, it comes into being or that when God expresses a desire it takes a concrete form. The words lend no support to the view that soul and matter are primeval or eternal. See also 2:117-118. (close)
وَ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ رَبِّیۡ وَ رَبُّکُمۡ فَاعۡبُدُوۡہُ ؕ ہٰذَا صِرَاطٌ مُّسۡتَقِیۡمٌ ﴿۳۷﴾
وَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ رَبِّي وَرَبُّكُمۡ فَٱعۡبُدُوهُۚ هَٰذَا صِرَٰطٞ مُّسۡتَقِيمٞ
b. 3:52; 5:73; 43:65. (close)
a. 3:52; 5:73; 43:65. (close)
فَاخۡتَلَفَ الۡاَحۡزَابُ مِنۡۢ بَیۡنِہِمۡ ۚ فَوَیۡلٌ لِّلَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا مِنۡ مَّشۡہَدِ یَوۡمٍ عَظِیۡمٍ ﴿۳۸﴾
فَٱخۡتَلَفَ ٱلۡأَحۡزَابُ مِنۢ بَيۡنِهِمۡۖ فَوَيۡلٞ لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِن مَّشۡهَدِ يَوۡمٍ عَظِيمٍ
a. 14:3; 38:28; 51:61. (close)
b. 14:3; 38:28; 51:61. (close)
2181. Important Words:
الاحزاب (parties) is the plural of حزب which means, a party or group of men; a party of men who agree in their ideas and actions (Lane).
The verse means to say that in spite of the fact that the followers of Jesus followed one Book, held the same basic beliefs and their religious practices were almost the same, they differed among themselves. Some of them said that Mary was an ordinary woman who gave birth to the son of God, others believed that she was God’s wife and was therefore "Divine". Yet some others among them believed that Jesus was only a man and a Prophet of God. He had, like other Prophets, manifested in himself some Divine attributes, and there were others who said that he was God Incarnate. Some others believed in three separate Divine persons i.e. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, each of them being perfect God; others said that they are only three manifestations of the One God i.e. in one capacity God is Father, in another capacity He is Son and in the third capacity He is the Holy Ghost.
So the followers of Jesus, in spite of believing in the same Book and possessing the same basic doctrines and principles of religion, became split up into many sects. (close)
اَسۡمِعۡ بِہِمۡ وَ اَبۡصِرۡ ۙ یَوۡمَ یَاۡتُوۡنَنَا لٰکِنِ الظّٰلِمُوۡنَ الۡیَوۡمَ فِیۡ ضَلٰلٍ مُّبِیۡنٍ ﴿۳۹﴾
أَسۡمِعۡ بِهِمۡ وَأَبۡصِرۡ يَوۡمَ يَأۡتُونَنَا لَٰكِنِ ٱلظَّـٰلِمُونَ ٱلۡيَوۡمَ فِي ضَلَٰلٖ مُّبِينٖ
1771. The verse means to say that the disbelievers’ faculties of seeing and hearing will become much keener and sharper on the Day of Judgment, because the veil will then be lifted from their eyes and ears and they will realize that they were in the wrong; but that realization being too late will prove to be of no avail to them. (close)
The verse means to say that the faculties of seeing and hearing of disbelievers will become much more keener and sharper on the Day of Judgement, because the veil will be lifted from their eyes and ears and they will realize that they were in the wrong; but that realization being too late will prove to be of no use to them. (close)
وَ اَنۡذِرۡہُمۡ یَوۡمَ الۡحَسۡرَۃِ اِذۡ قُضِیَ الۡاَمۡرُ ۘ وَ ہُمۡ فِیۡ غَفۡلَۃٍ وَّ ہُمۡ لَا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ ﴿۴۰﴾
وَأَنذِرۡهُمۡ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡحَسۡرَةِ إِذۡ قُضِيَ ٱلۡأَمۡرُ وَهُمۡ فِي غَفۡلَةٖ وَهُمۡ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ
b. 2:168; 6:32; 39:57. (close)
a. 2:168; 6:32; 39:57. (close)
The words اذ قضی الامر means, (1) when the decree of God will be announced; (2) when decision will be made according to truth and justice.
The expression وھم لا یؤمنون in addition to the meaning given in the text may also signify that though on the Day of Decision the realization will dawn on disbelievers that they were in the wrong, yet having become accustomed to untruth and disbelief, they will not become reconciled to it and their hearts will continue to suffer from the rust, and they will continue to wander in the wilderness, of disbelief and consequently will suffer Divine punishment. (close)
اِنَّا نَحۡنُ نَرِثُ الۡاَرۡضَ وَ مَنۡ عَلَیۡہَا وَ اِلَیۡنَا یُرۡجَعُوۡنَ ﴿٪۴۱﴾
إِنَّا نَحۡنُ نَرِثُ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ وَمَنۡ عَلَيۡهَا وَإِلَيۡنَا يُرۡجَعُونَ
c. 15:24; 28:59. (close)
1772. The verse embodies two prophecies: (a) The Christian people will first come to rule over almost the whole of the earth, and will be dominating it by their large numbers; and (b) as a result of their disbelief they will then be deprived of their dominion which will ultimately be given to the followers of Islam. (close)
a. 15:24; 28:59. (close)
As the Surah deals with the false Christian beliefs and the rise, progress and prosperity of Christian nations, and with the ultimate destruction of their material might and power the word الارض (the earth) here signifies the vast parts of the world over which they will hold sway; and the expression من علیھا (who are thereon) points to the large numbers of Christian people who at that time will be inhabiting the earth and dominating it.
The verse embodies two prophecies: (a) the Christians will first come to rule over almost the whole earth, and will be dominating it by their large numbers, and (b) then as a result of their disbelief they will be deprived of their world dominion which will ultimately be given to the followers of Islam. It points to the present great material power and grandeur of Christian nations and their subsequent destruction and to the ultimate spread and triumph of Islam. The words, And to Us will they all be returned, signify that Western Christian nations will ultimately accept Islam. (close)
وَ اذۡکُرۡ فِی الۡکِتٰبِ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ ۬ؕ اِنَّہٗ کَانَ صِدِّیۡقًا نَّبِیًّا ﴿۴۲﴾
وَٱذۡكُرۡ فِي ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ إِبۡرَٰهِيمَۚ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ صِدِّيقٗا نَّبِيًّا
d. 38:46; 53:38. (close)
1773. "The Book" means the Qur’an. The Holy Prophet is here directed to relate the story of Abraham as it is given in the Qur’an and not as it is related in the Bible. Whereas the Qur’an depicts Abraham as a truthful man, the Bible accuses him of telling lies (Gen. 20:13). The Qur’an has laid great stress on the truthfulness of Abraham, perhaps because sometime in future, lies were to be attributed to him by some Commentators of the Qur’an. (close)
b. 38:46; 53:38. (close)
ابراھیم (Abraham) means the father of nations. Originally Abraham’s name was ابرام (Abram) which may have been derived from ابرم. They say ابرمه i.e. he twisted it (the rope) well. He made it firm, strong, solid (Lane). Abraham might have been so called because he was endowed to an unusual degree with conversational ability of a high mark. He was an irresistible debater. His talk was very effective and his arguments strong. A reference to this quality of Abraham is to be found in 2:259 and 6:76-81. Or Abram may have come to be called Abraham after God had made His covenant with him and had promised to multiply him exceedingly. God said: "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for father of many nations have I made thee" (Gen. 17:4-5). In the Quran also Abraham has been called امة which means, "a nation", "a people", "a race" (16:121).
Abraham was a native of Ur of the Chaldees in Iraq. His people worshipped the sun and the stars. Their chief god was Merodach or (Madruk). It was also called Bel, i.e. Lord (Enc. Bib.).
Abraham was a great iconoclast. He preached the Unity and Oneness of God and strongly denounced and condemned idol-worship. By his iconoclastic activities he incurred the enmity of his father and so with his wife and his nephew Lot, he had to leave his native place for Canaan the land which God had promised to give to his seed (Gen 12:7). When Canaan suffered from a severe famine Abraham left it for Egypt where he married Hagar, the mother of Ishmael. For a detailed account of Abraham see 6:75.
الکتاب (the Book) in this verse means the Quran. The Holy Prophet is here directed to relate the story of Abraham as it is given in the Quran and not as it is related in the Bible. While the Quran depicts Abraham as a truthful man the Bible accuses him of telling lies (Gen. 20:13).
صدیق (a truthful man) is the intensified form of صادق which is active participle from صدقwhich means, he spoke the truth (Lane). صادق means one who speaks the truth. صدیق being the intensive form of صادق has four meanings; (a) one who very generally and often speaks the truth; (b) one who never tells a lie; (c) one who is so habituated to speaking truth that it becomes impossible for him to tell a lie; and (d) one who is truthful in his talk and substantiates the truth of his talk and beliefs by his actions and deeds. The speaking of truth becomes, as it were, a part of his being, a second nature with him (Lane). This is the highest stage of صدیقیت (the quality or condition of being truthful).
The word صدیق possesses a double connotation. While on the one hand it means one who is highly truthful, on the other it denotes a spiritual rank next only to the rank of prophethood. In fact, every quality possesses two connotations and two uses. It is used as an attribute and it also expresses a rank. In the present verse صدیق has been used to express only the attribute and quality of truthfulness and not the rank of صدیق which is included in the rank of نبی (a Prophet) which has also been mentioned in regard to Abraham in this verse. The verse means that Abraham was a Prophet of God and one of his most prominent and distinctive qualities was that he was truthful par excellence.
The Quran has laid great stress on the truthfulness of Abraham perhaps because in some future time lies were to be attributed to him by some commentators of the Quran.
It seems appropriate and pertinent to write here a few words about the order and arrangement of the verses of the present Surah because some Christian writers have found fault with the chronological order of the incidents mentioned in it. In fact the central theme of this Surah is to disprove and demolish the Christian dogma of godhead of Jesus Christ. The Surah opens with a brief mention of Zachariah, the father of Yahya who was a forerunner of Jesus. Zachariah’s mention is followed by a concise description of the birth of Yahya. Then a somewhat detailed description is given of the birth of Jesus who was the harbinger of the Holy Prophet and light is shed on the falsity of Christian beliefs and doctrines about him and his mother. This description of Jesus is followed by a narration of some important incidents in the life of Abraham. This seems to be a historical anachronism but in reality it is not. The Quran is not a book of history. It sometimes deliberately departs from the chronological order of events. The account of Abraham given in the present and the following verses is a case in point. The account of Jesus is followed by that of Abraham in order to drive home the point that when Abraham, the great progenitor of Moses who was the Founder of the Mosaic Dispensation of which Christianity is only an offshoot, was a firm believer in the Unity of God, how could Jesus depart from the Faith of his forefather, and claim to be God or son of God? Secondly, God had made a promise with Abraham that He would multiply him exceedingly through his two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. God’s promise with Abraham was fulfilled first through Isaac, and then when Isaac’s progeny disobeyed and defied Divine commandments and consistently rejected Divine Prophets and went so far as to kill John and crucify Jesus, God’s covenant with Abraham became transferred to Ishmael and was finally and fully fulfilled through the latter’s progeny. This is the real reason why the account of Jesus is followed by that of Abraham. After this a brief mention is made of Moses who was a descendant of Jacob and in whom God’s covenant with Abraham through Isaac found its highest fulfilment. After dealing with God’s covenant with Abraham through Isaac, the Surah proceeds to make a mention of the Divine promise with Abraham through Ishmael. This is why after Moses, mention has been made of Ishmael and this is the significance of the order which the Quran has kept in view while giving an account of the life of some Prophets and making only a brief mention of others and this is the right and natural order which should have been observed while dealing with the subject under discussion. The taunt of some Christian critics of Islam that the seeming historical anachronism was due to the Holy Prophet’s lack of the knowledge of history is absurd because elsewhere (chapter Hud) the Quran has given the accounts of some Prophets of very remote past in their proper chronological order which fact has been admitted by fair-minded Christian writers themselves. (close)