Imamah in the Qur’an p5: Ibrahim’s [a] prayer

September 18, 2010

In part 4 I showed that the medium Ummah was not the whole Muslims Ummah, but a select few that will bear witness on mankind on the Day of Judgement.  I quoted the following verses about this group of people and noted two  things – that this group was chosen, that it was named by Ibrahim [a] ‘Muslim’.  These are the two verses in question:

[22:77] O you who believe! bow down and prostrate yourselves and serve your Lord, and do good that you may succeed.[22:78] And strive hard in (the way of) Allah, (such) a striving a is due to Him; He has chosen you and has not laid upon you an hardship in religion; the faith of your father Ibrahim; He named you Muslims before and in this, that the Messenger may be a bearer of witness to you, and you may be bearers of witness to the people; therefore keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate and hold fast by Allah; He is your Guardian; how excellent the Guardian and how excellent the Helper!

To learn more about who these people were, we should turn our attention to the following verses from Surah Baqarah which mention Ibrahim’s prayer for this group of people in more detail:

[2:128] Our Lord! and make us both submissive to Thee and from our offspring a group submitting to Thee, and show us our ways of devotion and turn to us, surely Thou art the Oft-returning, the Merciful.

[2:129] Our Lord! and raise up in them a Messenger from among them who shall recite to them Thy communications and teach them the Book and the wisdom, and purify them; surely Thou art the Mighty, the Wise.

For the purposes of brevity I will keep it simple.  Ibrahim [a] has just finished building the Ka’aba; he has carried out a great deed, and is in the presence of one of the most Holy structures on Earth.  So, when he prays for submission (Islam), is he praying for the elementary grade of Islam that we all profess, or something special?  Clearly, he is praying for the highest degrees of submission, as he already possessed the elementary grade of submission anyway.  This is further proved by his words ‘submissive TO THEE’; he doesn’t just say ‘make us submissive’, but supplicates ‘make us submissive to thee’, emphasising that the submission asked for is not the ordinary one of everyday muslims (i.e. professing shahadatayn) but complete submission.

The important point is this: Ibrahim [a] then repeats this supplication for a group from his offspring.  The two verses at the top of this page show that his dua was answered – that these Muslims he prayed for exist.  The verses from surah Baqarah show that the submission of these Muslims was not elementary grade submission, but a lofty grade of submission, that Ibrahim [a] supplicated for himself and for Isma’eel [a].  It follows, then, that this group of Muslims – the medium nation according to the verses in part 4 – is a select group of people, and not the whole Muslim Ummah.

More can be said about these verses, but for the purposes of discussion the above suffices.  For a more detailed exposition I refer the reader to AlMizan.

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Imamah in the Qur’an p3: Role of Witnesses

September 7, 2008

Asalamu alaykum,

In part 2 it was established that the Earth cannot be devoid of a witness.  These witnesses will bear witness against us on the Day of Judgement, and then the Prophet [sawa] will bear witness on them:

[16:89] And on the day when We will raise up in every people a witness against them from among themselves, and bring you as a witness against these.

This is part of Allah completing his proof on the people in Qiyamah.  There will be absolutely no doubt concerning what they did.  Not only will their book of deeds be shown, and their limbs testify against them, and those that they oppressed complain against them, but the witnesses will also come forth and bear witness on what they did.

If these witnesses will be bearing witness on the people, it follows that they know what the people did.  If the witnesses do not know what the people did, then how will they bear witness?  Therefore the witnesses see our deeds, by Allahs will.  Let us read what the Qur’an says about this:

وَقُلِ ٱعْمَلُوا۟ فَسَيَرَى ٱللَّهُ عَمَلَكُمْ وَرَسُولُهُۥ وَٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۖ وَسَتُرَدُّونَ إِلَىٰ عَٰلِمِ ٱلْغَيْبِ وَٱلشَّهَٰدَةِ فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

[9:105] And say: Work; so Allah will see your work and (so will) His Messenger and the believers; and you shall be brought back to the Knower of the unseen and the seen, then He will inform you of what you did.
 
In order to encourage the believers to do good deeds, Allah swt tells them that He will see what they do, and so will the Messenger and the ‘believers’.  Then they will be brought on the Day of Judgement and shown the unseen and seen of what they did, ie the reality.
 
The first point that we should bear in mind is that Allah, His Prophet and the ‘believers’ will see  the people’s deeds in this life.  We know this because the verse continues and says ‘…and you shall be brought back’
 
Now that we know that it will be in this life, we need to establish what is meant by the Prophet and believers seeing the people’s deeds.  Pondering on the verse, you will conclude that it is the reality of the deeds that the Prophet and the believers will see.  This is because Allah is telling the people to ‘work’, and work is made up of the physical act + the intention.  If it were merely the physical act then a hypocrites deeds would equal that of the believers.  So this work which is made up of an interior and exterior dimension will be seen by Allah, His Prophet and the ‘believers’.
 
This exterior and interior dimension of the deeds is hinted at in the second part of the verse where Allah swt says ‘…brought back to the Knower of the unseen and the seen, then He will inform you of what you did’. The knowledge of the unseen is referring to the intention and interior of the deed, and the knowledge of the seen is referring to the exterior physical form of the deed.  Allah tells the people that He will give them this knowledge of the seen and unseen of their deeds on the Day of Judgement.  Therefore the context of the verse is further proof that it is not merely the exterior of the deed that is seen by the Prophet and ‘believers’, it is also the unseen hidden dimension of it.
 
From the above it’s obvious that the word ‘believers’ does not refer to every Mu’min, but to a select group from amongst them.  If we take this verse with those that were mentioned in part 2, we see that they go together perfectly.  As Imam Ali [as] says, ”Parts of the Qur’an interpret other parts”.
 
Finally let us look at what has been transmitted from the Ahlul Bayt [as] regarding these verses.
 
Ya’qub Ibn Shu’ayb narrated: I asked Abu Abdillah [as] on the words of Allah swt ‘Work for Allah will see your work and the Prophet and the Believers’.  He said: ”They are the Imams”.
AlKafi
 
Sama’ah narrated from Abu Abdillah [as]:  ”What is wrong with you!  Why do you disappoint the Messenger of Allah?” A Man asked: ”How do we disappoint him?”.  The Imam said: ”Do you not know that your deeds are presented before Him?  When he finds sins in them it disappoints him.  Do not disappoint the Messenger of Allah.  Do things that will make him happy”
AlKafi
 
Ibn Aban AlZayat said: Once I asked ARidha [as] to pray for me and my family. The Imam said: ”Am I not praying for them?  I swear that by Allah your deeds are presented before me every day and night.”  He (AlZayat) has said that the statement of the Imam seemed to me extremely great.  The Imam said to me: ”Do you not read the words of Allah: Work for Allah will see your work and so will His Messenger and the Believers.”  The Imam said:  ”I swear by Allah that he (the believers) is Ali ibn Abi Talib [as]”.
AlKafi
 
May Allah swt give us the tawfiq to please Him, His Messenger and His Awliya’ always.