Sura Al-Baqarah (Tafseer-ul-Maariful Quran), Part-134



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Verse 131 defines the basic principle of the religion of Sayyidna Ibrahim عليه السلام. Allah asked him to submit himself, and he willingly and gladly agreed to submit himself to "the Lord of the worlds." Let us add that the word of command employed in this verse is Aslim, which

*37. Let us note that the relevant phrase in the Arabic text of this verse can be translated into English in three ways: (a) Such a man is stupid in himself (b) he has besotted himself, and allowed himself to become stupid (c) he is ignorant of his own self.*

comes from the same root as the word Islam. It is difficult to find an exact English equivalent, for the word signifies "to obey, to submit oneself, to surrender one's will." Anyhow, we should notice that in reply to the divine command, he did not say, as one would have expected, اسلمت لك I submit myself to you," but, more elaborately: اسلمت لرب العالمين "I submit myself to the Lord of the worlds." This particular form of reply expresses the attitude of respect and awe proper to the occasion, and includes the praise of Allah which the moment of receiving the honour of divine address demanded. It also carries a recognition of the fact that in submitting himself to the Lord of the worlds he was only performing the essential duty of a servant towards the Master of All, and doing it for his own benefit. The reply makes it clear that the basic principle of the religion of Sayyidna Ibrahim عليه السلام and its very essence is contained in one word, Islam, which signifies total obedience and willing submission of oneself to Allah. It was to show to the world his perfect adherence to this principle that he was made to pass through all the trials before attaining his exalted station. Islam, or submission to Allah, is what the world has been created for it is the end all the prophets and all the divine books have been sent to serve.

We also learn from this verse that the religion common to all the prophets (SM) and the point on which all of them come together is Islam. Beginning with Sayyidnii Adam upto the Last Prophet (SM), every messenger of Allah and every prophet has called men to Islam alone, and enjoined upon his followers to keep to this Straight Path. The Holy Qur'an is quite explicit on this subject: إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللَّهِ الْإِسْلَامُ "Certainly, in the eyes of Allah the only religion is Islam" 3:19) and وَمَن يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الْإِسْلَامِ دِينًا فَلَن يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ 'Whosod esires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted of him." (3:85) In order to put the question in the proper perspective as also to avoid the risk of misunderstanding let us add a few remarks. All the religions which different prophets brought to the world had a divine sanction behind them, were essentially instituted by Allah Himself, and each of them was, in its own time, "accepted" in the sight of Allah. Consequently, each of these religions whether one calls it Judaism or Christianity or something else must in its essence be Islam, in the general sense of the word namely, total submission to Allah.

But the religion of Sayyidna Ibrahim عليه السلام is distinguished from others by a peculiar characteristic that is, he gave to his religion the name of Islam, and to his followers the name of Muslims. We have already seen in Verse 128 how he prayed for himself, his son and his progeny: ربنا واجعلنا مسلمين لك ومن ذريتنا "And, our Lord, keep us both obedient (Muslimayn) to you, and make of our progeny a people (Ummah) obedient (Muslimah) to you." And now in Verse 132 we find him advising his descendants not to die without being sure that they have been Muslims. After him this distinction of being specifically called Muslims and "the Islamic Ummah" passed on, according to his own instruction, to the Ummah of the Holy Prophet (SM). Addressing the Muslims, the Holy Qur'an says: ملة ابيكم ابراهيم هو سمكم المسلمين من قبل وفي هذا "Be steadfast in the religion of your father, brah him. He named you Muslims before this as well as in this (the Holy Qur'an)." (22:78) When the Holy Qur'an was revealed, the Jews and the Christians, and even the idol-worshippers of Arabia used to make the claim, each group on its own part, that they were the followers of the Abrahamic religion, but the Holy Qur'an and its followers have made it quite evident that in this last phase of human history the religion of the Holy Prophet (SM) and this alone, is the religion of Sayyidna Ibrahim عليه السلام the religion of quintessential "Nature" (Al-fitrah).

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