The Quran

Commentaries for 2.131

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.131 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(When his Lord said unto him) when he came out of the pit of fire: (Surrender) say specifically: there is no god save Allah! (He said: I have surrendered to the Lord of the Worlds) I submit to the Lord of all the worlds, and declare that Allah is the only One God, without partner. It is also said that when Abraham invited his people to accept that Allah is One without partners, his Lord said unto him: make your Religion and works sincere to Allah; and he answered: I make my Religion and works sincere to the Lord of the worlds. And it is also said that when Abraham was thrown in the Fire, his Lord said unto him: make your religion and works sincere to Allah; he replied: I comply and make my Religion and works sincere to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.
2.131 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
When his Lord said to him, “Submit,” he said, “I submit to the Lord of the Worlds.”
When the Bosom Friend began to travel, the command came from the Exalted Presence, “O Abraham, anyone who wants Me must belong to Me totally. As long as a sliver of mortal desires and soulish resistance remains with you, you will not pass from the suffering of striving to the ease of the pull. 'The ransomed slave stays a slave so long as a dirham is owed.'”
If you want Me, you must want what I desire.
You must leave aside yourself totally.
The Bosom Friend said, “O Lord, Abraham no longer has any self-governance, any free choice. Now I have come on the feet of poverty, in the state of brokenness, to see what You command. I submit. I have overthrown myself and entrusted my work to You. I have come back to You entirely.”
The command came, “O Abraham, that is a very great claim. Every claim must have a meaning, and everything rightfully due a reality. Now watch out for the testing!”
He was tested by other than himself, by part of himself, and by his whole self. The test by others was that he had plentiful possessions. They say he had 70,000 sheep in seven thousand herds. Each herd had a dog with a gold collar around its neck. He was commanded to detach his heart from all of it and to toss it away in the path of God. The Bosom Friend tossed it all away and left nothing for himself.
In the traditions it has come that the angels said, “Lord God, ever since this call was given out in the World of the Dominion, 'And God took Abraham as a bosom friend' [4:125], our spirits have been in a whirlpool and our gall-bladders have been melting because of this special favor. How is the Bosom Friend worthy of this generosity?”
The call came, “Gabriel, open up your peacock-feathers and go from the top of the Lote Tree to the summit of that mountain and test the Bosom Friend.” With the divine determination and facilitation Gabriel came down in the form of a child of Adam. He stood beside that mountain and shouted, “O Holy One!” The Bosom Friend fainted from the pleasure of hearing that.
When he came to, he said, “O servant of God! Say that name again, and this herd belongs to you.” Gabriel again shouted out, “O Holy One!” The Bosom Friend was rolling in the dust like a half-slaughtered chicken. He was saying, “Say it again, and another herd belongs to you!”
You spoke of Him to me, O Saʿd, and you increased my madness. So increase that speaking, O Saʿd!
In this manner he was asking for loans, and each time he gave to him a herd with the dog and the gold collar, until he gave it all and lost it all. When he had lost all of it, the knots became tighter, passion and destitution joined together. The Bosom Friend said, “O servant of God! Recite the name of the Friend one more time, and my spirit is yours!”
Wealth, gold, things-gamble them away for nothing. When the work reaches your spirit, gamble it away!
Gabriel became happy. He spread his peacock feathers and said, “He was right to take you as a bosom friend. If there is any shortcoming, it is in our eyes. You have passion to perfection.”
When Gabriel appeared to him, he said to him, “O Bosom Friend, I have no use and no need for these sheep.”
The Bosom Friend said, “Even if you have no use for them, there is no option in chivalry to take them back.”
Gabriel said, “Then let us scatter them in the deserts and the wildernesses so that they may pasture as they desire. The world's folk will benefit from that until the resurrection.” The mountain sheep that are now scattered throughout the world all come from that lineage. Until the resurrection anyone who hunts and eats one is a guest of the Bosom Friend and consumes the food at the table of the beautiful doing of that majestic angel's presence.
As for Abraham's being tested by a part of himself, it is that he was shown the sacrifice of his child in a dream and instructed to do that. The whole of that story will be told in its own place, God willing.
As for his being tested by his whole self, it is that the rebellious Nimrod was persuaded to light up a fire and build a mangonel in which to throw him. The divine address came to the fire: “O fire, be coolness and safety” [21:69].
In that state, Abraham began to weep. The angels thought that Abraham was weeping because he had been thrown into the fire. Gabriel came and said, “O Abraham, why do you weep?”
He said, “Because I am being burnt and beaten, but the Real has called out to the fire! O Gabriel, if I were to be burnt a thousand times and the call was for me, I would love that more.
O Gabriel, this weeping is not for the loss of the spirit and the burning of myself, it is for the loss of the gentle subtleties of the Real's call.”
It is said that Gabriel came to him and said, “Have you any need?” He answered, “Of you, no.” Gabriel said, “No doubt you have need of God. Ask from Him.”
He said, “I am surprised at you. Is He asleep such that I should wake Him up? Is He uninformed such that I should let Him know? Sufficient asking from Him is His knowledge of my state.”
The angel of oceans and storms came and said, “O Bosom Friend, do I have permission? Hold firm and I will bring this fire to nothing with one glance and I will destroy the estranged.”
The Bosom Friend said, “All are His servants and creatures. If He wants to destroy them, He Himself can do it.”
In heaven an uproar fell into the ranks of the angels: “Lord God, on the face of the earth it is Abraham who recognizes You and attests to Your oneness. But You know better. Will You burn him?”
The command came from the threshold of unneediness, “Be still and at ease. You have no news of the secrets of this work. He is seeking a secluded place of friendship. For a moment he wants to busy himself with Me in that secluded place without the intrusion of others.”
That is why, when the Bosom Friend was asked later, “What was your sweetest and most congenial day?”
He said, “The day when I was in Nimrod's fire. My present moment was empty and my heart limpid. I was near to the Real and far removed from the creatures.”
How blessed was the time of Your covenant, without which my heart would have no place for ardor!
When Abraham was brought forth pure from the crucible of testing and said, “I submit truthfully,” the Lord of the Worlds wrote out the inscription of bosom friendship for him and commanded the world's folk to be his followers. He said, “So follow the creed of Abraham, an unswerving man, and he was not of the associaters” [3:95].
2.131 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
And mention: When his Lord said to him, ‘Submit’, obey God and devote your religion purely to Him, he said, ‘I have submitted to the Lord of the Worlds’.
2.131 Kashani - Kashani
When his Lord said to him, 'Submit', that is to say, declare God's Oneness and submit your essence to God: in other words, He assigned him a place among the people of the first row from pre-eternity, a muslim, a monotheist, obedient to the Lord of the Worlds, annihilated in Him; [he said, 'I have submitted to the Lord of the Worlds'.]
2.130-132 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Only the Fools deviate from Ibrahim's Religion
Allah refuted the disbelievers' innovations of associating others with Allah in defiance of the religion of Ibrahim, the leader of the upright. Ibrahim always singled out Allah in worship, with sincerity, and he did not call upon others besides Allah. He did not commit Shirk, even for an instant. He disowned every other deity that was being worshipped instead of Allah and defied all his people in this regard. Prophet Ibrahim said,
فَلَماَّ رَأَى الشَّمْسَ بَازِغَةً قَالَ هَـذَا رَبِّى هَـذَآ أَكْبَرُ فَلَمَّآ أَفَلَتْ قَالَ يقَوْمِ إِنِّى بَرِىءٌ مِّمَّا تُشْرِكُونَ - إِنِّى وَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِىَ لِلَّذِى فَطَرَ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضَ حَنِيفاً وَمَآ أَنَاْ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
(O my people! I am indeed free from all that you join as partners (in worship with Allah). Verily, I have turned my face towards Him Who has created the heavens and the earth Hanifa (Islamic Monotheism), and I am not of Al-Mushrikin.) (6:78-79). Also, Allah said,
وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَهِيمُ لاًّبِيهِ وَقَوْمِهِ إِنَّنِى بَرَآءٌ مِّمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ - إِلاَّ الَّذِى فَطَرَنِى فَإِنَّهُ سَيَهْدِينِ
(And (remember) when Ibrahim said to his father and his people: "Verily, I am innocent of what you worship. "Except Him (i.e. I worship none but Allah alone) Who did create me; and verily, He will guide me'') (43:26-27),
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 (of Allah) for his father's forgiveness was only because of a promise he (Ibrahim) had made to him (his father). But when it became clear to him (Ibrahim) that he (his father) was an enemy of Allah, he dissociated himself from him. Verily, Ibrahim was Awwah (one who invokes Allah with humility, glorifies Him and remembers Him much) and was forbearing) (9:114), and,
إِنَّ إِبْرَهِيمَ كَانَ أُمَّةً قَـنِتًا لِلَّهِ حَنِيفًا وَلَمْ يَكُ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ - شَاكِراً لانْعُمِهِ اجْتَبَـهُ وَهَدَاهُ إِلَى صِرَطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ - وَءاتَيْنَـهُ فِى الْدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَإِنَّهُ فِى الاٌّخِرَةِ لَمِنَ الصَّـلِحِينَ
(Verily, Ibrahim was an Ummah (a leader having all the good qualities, or a nation), obedient to Allah, Hanif (i.e. to worship none but Allah), and he was not one of those who were Al-Mushrikin. (He was) thankful for His (Allah's) favors. He (Allah) chose him (as an intimate friend) and guided him to a straight path. And We gave him good in this world, and in the Hereafter he shall be of the righteous.) (16:120-122).
This is why Allah said here,
وَمَن يَرْغَبُ عَن مِّلَّةِ إِبْرَهِيمَ
(And who turns away from the religion of Ibrahim), meaning, abandons his path, way and method
إِلاَّ مَن سَفِهَ نَفْسَهُ
(except him who fools himself) meaning, who commits injustice against himself by deviating from the truth, to wickedness. Such a person will be defying the path of he who was chosen in this life to be a true Imam, from the time he was young, until Allah chose him to be His Khalil, and who shall be among the successful in the Last Life. Is there anything more insane than deviating from this path and following the path of misguidance and deviation instead Is there more injustice than this Allah said,
إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ
(Verily, joining others in worship with Allah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed) (31:13).
Abu Al-`Aliyah and Qatadah said, "This Ayah (2:130) was revealed about the Jews who invented a practice that did not come from Allah and that defied the religion of Ibrahim.'' Allah's statement,
مَا كَانَ إِبْرَهِيمُ يَهُودِيًّا وَلاَ نَصْرَانِيًّا وَلَكِن كَانَ حَنِيفًا مُّسْلِمًا وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ - إِنَّ أَوْلَى النَّاسِ بِإِبْرَهِيمَ لَلَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُ وَهَـذَا النَّبِىُّ وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَاللَّهُ وَلِىُّ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
(Ibrahim was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a true Muslim Hanifa (to worship none but Allah alone) and he was not of Al-Mushrikin. Verily, among mankind who have the best claim to Ibrahim are those who followed him, and this Prophet (Muhammad ) and those who have believed (Muslims). And Allah is the Wali (Protector and Helper) of the believers.) (3:67-68), testifies to this fact.
Allah said next,
إِذْ قَالَ لَهُ رَبُّهُ أَسْلِمْ قَالَ أَسْلَمْتُ لِرَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ
(When his Lord said to him, "Submit (i. e. be a Muslim)!'' He said, "I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of the `Alamin (mankind, Jinn and all that exists).'')
This Ayah indicates that Allah commanded Ibrahim to be sincere with Him and to abide and submit to Him; Ibrahim perfectly adhered to Allah's command. Allah's statement,
وَوَصَّى بِهَآ إِبْرَهِيمُ بَنِيهِ وَيَعْقُوبُ
(And this (submission to Allah, Islam) was enjoined by Ibrahim upon his sons and by Ya`qub) means, Ibrahim commanded his offspring to follow this religion, that is, Islam, for Allah. Or, the Ayah might be referring to Ibrahim's words,
أَسْلَمْتُ لِرَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ
(I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of the `Alamin (mankind, Jinn and all that exists)).
This means that these Prophets loved these words so much that they preserved them until the time of death and advised their children to adhere to them after them. Similarly, Allah said,
وَجَعَلَهَا كَلِمَةً بَـقِيَةً فِى عَقِبِهِ
(And he (Ibrahim) made it i.e. La ilaha illallah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah alone) a Word lasting among his offspring, (true Monotheism)) (43:28).
It might be that Ibrahim advised his children, including Jacob, Isaac's son, who were present. It appears, and Allah knows best, that Isaac was endowed with Jacob, during the lifetime of Ibrahim and Sarah, for the good news includes both of them in Allah's statement,
فَبَشَّرْنَـهَا بِإِسْحَـقَ وَمِن وَرَآءِ إِسْحَـقَ يَعْقُوبَ
(But We gave her (Sarah) glad tidings of Ishaq (Isaac), and after Ishaq, of Ya`qub (Jacob)) (11:71).
Also, if Jacob was not alive then, there would be no use here in mentioning him specifically among Isaac's children. Also, Allah said in Surat Al-`Ankabut,
وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ إِسْحَـقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَجَعَلْنَا فِى ذُرِّيَّتِهِ النُّبُوَّةَ وَالْكِتَـبَ
(And We bestowed on him (Ibrahim), Ishaq and Ya`qub, and We ordained among his offspring prophethood and the Book.) (29:27), and,
وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ إِسْحَـقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ نَافِلَةً
(And We bestowed upon him Ishaq, and (a grandson) Ya`qub) (21:72), thus, indicating that this occurred during Ibrahim's lifetime. Also, Jacob built Bayt Al-Maqdis, as earlier books testified. The Two Sahihs recorded that Abu Dharr said, "I said, `O Messenger of Allah! Which Masjid was built first' He said, (Al-Masjid Al-Haram (Al-Ka`bah).) I said, `Then' He said, (Bayt Al- Maqdis.) I said, `How many years later' He said, (Forty years. )'' Further, the advice that Jacob gave to his children, which we will soon mention, testifies that Jacob was among those who received the advice mentioned in Ayat above (2:130-132).
Adhering to Tawhid until Death
Allah said,
يَـبَنِىَّ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَى لَكُمُ الدِّينَ فَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إَلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ
((Saying), "O my sons! Allah has chosen for you the (true) religion, then die not except as Muslims.'') meaning, perform righteous deeds during your lifetime and remain on this path, so that Allah will endow you with the favor of dying upon it. Usually, one dies upon the path that he lived on and is resurrected according to what he died on. Allah, the Most Generous, helps those who seek to do good deeds to remain on the righteous path.
This by no means contradicts the authentic Hadith that says,
«إِنَّ الرَّجُلَ لَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ حَتّـى مَا يَكُونُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهَا إِلَّا بَاعٌ أَوْ ذِرَاعٌ فَيَسْبِقُ عَلَيْهِ الْكِتَابُ فَيَعمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ النَّار فَيَدْخُلُهَا. وَإِنَّ الرَّجُلَ لَيَعْمَلُ بعَمَلِ أَهلِ النَّارِ حَتَّى مَا يَكُونُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهَا إِلَّا بَاعٌ أَو ذِرَاعٌ فَيَسْبِقُ عَلَيْهِ الْكِتَابُ فَيَعْمَلُ بعَمَلِ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ فَيَدْخُلُهَا»
(Man might perform the works of the people of Paradise until only a span of outstretched arms or a cubit separates him from it, then the Book (destiny) takes precedence, and he performs the works of the people of the Fire and thus enters it. Also, man might perform the works of the people of the Fire until only a span of outstretched arms or a cubit separates him from the Fire, but the Book takes precedence and he performs the works of the people of Paradise and thus enters it.) Allah said, (92:5-10),
فَأَمَّا مَنْ أَعْطَى وَاتَّقَى - وَصَدَّقَ بِالْحُسْنَى - فَسَنُيَسِّرُهُ لِلْيُسْرَى - وَأَمَّا مَن بَخِلَ وَاسْتَغْنَى - وَكَذَّبَ بِالْحُسْنَى - فَسَنُيَسِّرُهُ لِلْعُسْرَى
(As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allah and fears Him. And believes in Al-Husna. We will make smooth for him the path of ease (goodness). But he who is a greedy miser and thinks himself self-sufficient. And belies Al-Husna (none has the right to be worshipped except Allah). We will make smooth for him the path for evil),
2.130-133 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The word used in the text is "aslim," that is, "become a Muslim," or "adopt the attitude of Islam" (surrender to the will of Allah). Thus a Muslim is one who surrenders himself completely to Allah and obeys Him; who acknowledges Allah alone as His Lord, Master, Sovereign, Ruler, Lawgiver and God of worship; and who adopts the way of life prescribed by Him. Islam is the religious system based on this creed and attitude. This was the religion of all the Prophets who came to different countries and different nations.
Special mention of Jacob has been made because the Israelites were his direct descendants.
The Arabic word "din" has a much wider scope than the English ward "religion".It covers life in its entirety, and no aspect of individual or community life is outside its realm.
Though Jacob's death has been described in detail in the Bible, no mention has been made of this last will of his. It, however, has been given in detail in the Talmud and its substance is more or less the same as that contained in the Qur'an: "At the time when Jacob quitted this world, he summoned his sans and said to them, 'Serve the Lord your God, and He will deliver ye from all trouble. even as He delivered your fathers..... Teach your children to love God, and observe His commandments, for God will guard those who do justly and walk in righteousness through all his ways.....' And the sons of Jacob responded, 'All that you have commanded us, our father!, we will do. May God he with us.' And Jacob answered: 'The Lord will be with ye if ye shall depart not from His ways to the right hand or the left'." The same thing about the Prophet Jacob's will has been cited by Rodwell front Midr. Rabbah, "Have ye any doubts in your hearts concerning the Holy One, Messed be He." They said, "Hear O Israel, our Father. As there is no doubt in thy heart, so neither is there in ours. For the Lord is our God, and He is One."
2.131 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
When his Lord said to him “Submit” he said “I have submitted to the Lord of the worlds.” Islām is sincerity ikhlāṣ and submission istislām. Its true meaning is to withdraw entirely from the states of mortal humanity bashariyya with respect to the struggles over free choice ikhtiyār and the oppositional tendencies of the lower self muʿāraḌāt al-nafs. [Abraham] said “I have submitted to the Lord of the worlds: I have accepted the command amr hearing and obeying and I have embraced the decree ḥukm as much as I am able.” He did not hold back any of his wealth body or progeny. When he was commanded to sacrifice his son he intended to do it. When [God] said to him “Release him from his bond” he did what he was commanded to do. There was no free choice in either of the states for him and no contriving tadbīr. It is said that his saying “I have submitted” aslamtu was surely not by way of any claim for himself because the true meaning of islām is rather to absolve oneself of strength and power. So when he said “I have submitted” it was as if he said “Raise me up in what you have charged me with and [help me] carry out that to which you have commanded me.” He turned the affair over to Him without proclaiming any meaning or warrant from himself. It is said that He bid him to take on the demands of the divine power of deliberation muṬālabāt al-qudra. For what dwells in one who takes up his abode in friendship is most certainly what dwells in the other fa-inna man ḥalla fī l-khullati maḥallahu yaḥullu bihi lā maḥālata mā ḥalla bihi. Here one might ask a question: How could Abraham عليه السلام have said “I have submitted” when it was said to our Prophet ﷺ “Know” but he did not say “I have come to knowḍ” [in the manner that Abraham said “I have submitted”]. re are several aspects to the answer one of which is that the Prophet ﷺ said “I am the most knowledgeable of you about God” but since a law did not come after him it used to be said about him that he said “I have come to know” ʿalimtu.
It is said that God سبحانه spoke about the Messenger عليه السلام in His saying “The Messenger believes” [2:285] because belief is knowledge of God سبحانه وتعالى. The words of the Real and the information He gave about [Muḥammad] is more perfect than his عليه السلام giving information from himself [as Abraham did]. Another aspect [relates to] Abraham speaking; he said “I have submitted” and he was subjected to the trial whereas our Prophet ﷺ was wary of anything that could take the form of a claim and so he was protected and spared. Another aspect is that Abraham عليه السلام was commanded to follow a course of action that indicated submission to Him whereas our Prophet ﷺ was commanded to know. The shares of submission islām are limited while the subtleties of knowledge are not.