A Muslim, a Friend and a Patriarch
3:66 There, you have disputed concerning what you know; so why do you dispute concerning what you do not know? Allah knows and you do not know.
3:67 Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but a hanif (Arabic word which means “one who turned away from paganism") and a Muslim. And he was not one of the polytheists.
3:68 Surely, the people who are worthiest of Abraham are those who followed him, together with the Prophet (Muhammad) and the believers. Allah is the Guardian of the believers!
3:95 Say: “Allah has spoken the truth. Follow then the religion of Abraham, the upright; he was not one of the polytheists.”
A Friend of Allah’s
Is Allah, in revelation 4:123, acknowledging that He is a friend and a supporter of those who do evil.? That can't be right, or can it (remember the criminals He allowed to board the Ark)!
4:123 It will not be in accordance with your wishes or the wishes of the People of the Book. Whoever does evil shall be requited for it and will not find, apart from Allah, a friend or supporter.
4:124 And whoever does some good deeds, whether male or female, and is a believer – those shall be admitted into Paradise and shall not be wronged a whit.
4:125 And who has a better religion than one who submits himself to Allah, does right and follows the true religion of Abraham the upright one? Allah has taken Abraham for a friend.
4:126 To Allah belongs what is in the heavens and on earth, and Allah encompasses everything!
22:77 O believers, kneel down, prostrate yourselves and worship your Lord and do good, that you may perchance prosper.
22:78 And strive for Allah as you ought to strive. He elected you, and did not impose on you any hardship in religion – the faith of your father Abraham. He called you Muslims before and in this (the Qur’an), that the Messenger may bear witness against you and you may be witnesses against mankind. So, perform the prayer, give the alms and hold fast to Allah. He is your Master; and what a Blessed Master and a Blessed Supporter!
Abraham was the first of a list of famous and unidentified men (fathers in revelation 6:87) whom Allah exalted above all others, and in whom the Prophet Muhammad asked his kin to believe, and in whose company Allah would place him, His Last and Greatest Messenger, exalting him about all those He exalted above all others.
6:85 And Zachariah, John, Jesus and Elias, each was one of the righteous.
6:86 And Isma`il, Elijah, Jonah and Lot; Each We exalted above the whole world.
6:87 [We also exalted some] of their fathers, progeny and brethren. And We chose them and guide them to a straight path.
6:88 That is Allah’s Guidance by which He guides whom He pleases of His servants. Had they associated [other gods with Allah], all that they did would have been nullified.
6:89 Those are the ones to whom We gave the Book, wisdom, authority and Prophethood. So if these (the Meccan unbelievers) disbelieve in them, We have entrusted them to a people who do not disbelieve in them.
6:90 Those are the ones whom Allah has guided; so follow their guidance. Say: “I ask you no reward for it (the Qur’an); it is only a reminder to mankind.”
Allah would ask Abraham to perform what has to be a nearly impossible task, the result of which He will use to demonstrate His Might.
2:260 And when Abraham said: “My Lord, show me how You raise the dead”, He replied: “Have you not embraced the faith?” Abraham said: “Yes, but so that my heart be reassured.” Allah then said: “Take four birds, draw them to you, then [cut them to pieces] and place a part thereof on each mountain. If you then call them, they will come rushing to you. And know that Allah is Mighty, Wise.”
Challenger of Idols
Abraham, having founded possibly the earliest and most influential monotheistic religion of all times made him a natural ally of Allah against the polytheists, also referred to as idol-worshippers and idolaters in the Koran.
With the possible exception of the Prophet, no one in the Koran breaks more idols than Abraham. Abraham, as you will discover, started busting idols when he was still a young man.
21:51 And We gave Abraham his right judgement formerly; for We knew him well.
Abraham's "right judgement" made him weary of idols at a every young age.
21:52 When he said to his father and his people: “What are these statues to which you are devoted?”
21:53 They said: “We found our fathers worshipping them.”
This "right judgement" did not include tact or sensitivity to other people's feelings or beliefs.
21:54 He said: “Indeed, you and your fathers have been in manifest error.”
21:55 They said: “Have you brought us the truth, or are you one of those who jest?”
21:56 He said: “No, your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Who created them both; and I bear witness to that.
Abraham's people appear to have been a somewhat gullible lot.
21:57 “And by Allah, I will show your idols my guile, after you turn your backs.”
When they were not looking, Abraham proceeds to destroy the idols except for one which would appear to be the leader of the statues or statuettes. He has a plan for it.
21:58 Then he reduced them to pieces except for their chief, so that they might turn to him.
21:59 They said: “He who did this to our gods is certainly one of the wrongdoers.”
Their suspicion falls on the young Abraham.
21:60 They said: “We heard a youth called Abraham mentioning them.”
21:61 They said: “Bring him along in full view of the people, so that they may bear witness.”
21:62 They said: “Are you the one who did this to our gods, O Abraham?”
Who? Me! Why don’t you ask the last god standing, maybe he did it (the mixing of the singular and the plural in the following verses is not my doing).
21:63 He said: “No, but their chief did this; so ask them if they can speak.”
21:64 Then, they turned to themselves and said: “Surely, you are the wrongdoers.”
21:65 And so they were utterly confounded and [they said]: “You know that these [idols] do not speak.”
21:66 He (Abraham) said: “Do you, then, worship, besides Allah, what does not profit or harm you a whit?”
21:67 “Fie on you and on what you worship besides Allah. Do you not understand?”
In the Old Testament Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are thrown into a fiery furnace and walked out of the fire without even a hair being singed? In the Koran, Abraham gets more or less the same treatment and he too walks away unscathed. Allah talked to the fire and that did the trick.
21:68 They said: “Burn him and support your gods, if you are going to do anything.”
21:69 We (Allah) said: “O fire, be coolness and peace upon Abraham.”
After defeating the plotters, Allah, in this account of the story of Abraham, delivers the Patriarch and his nephew Lot (the Koran does not mention their filial relationship) into the land of Canaan and Sodom respectively (one must assume, as Allah is short on specifics) where they become god-fearing leaders of men.
21:70 They wanted to plot against him, but We made them the worst losers.
21:71 And We delivered him and Lot unto the land which We have blessed for all mankind.
21:72 And We granted him Isaac, and Jacob, his son’s son, as a bounty and each We made to be righteous.
21:73 And We made them leaders, guiding others at Our Behest; and We revealed to them to do good, perform the prayer and give the alms, and they have worshipped Us.
Like Abraham, Lot is given good judgement.
21:74 And Lot, We gave him good judgement and knowledge, and We delivered him from the city which practiced foul deeds (Sodom). They were indeed an evil and sinful people.
21:75 And We admitted him into Our Mercy; for he was one of the righteous.
In surah 29, The Spider, Abraham again takes on the idols with the same predictable results.
29:16 And (remember) Abraham, when he said to his people: “Worship Allah and fear Him; that is far better for you, if only you knew.
29:17 “Indeed, you only worship, apart from Allah, mere idols, and you invent falsehood. Surely, those you worship, apart from Allah, have no power to provide for you. So, seek provision from Allah, worship Him and give Him thanks. You shall be returned onto him.
29:18 “And if you denounce [the Prophets], other nations before you have denounced too. It is only incumbent on the Messenger to deliver the message plainly.”
29:19 Have they not seen how Allah originates creation, then brings it back into being? That for Allah is an easy matter.
29:20 Say: “Travel in the land and see how Allah originated the creation; then Allah produces the other generation (that is, Resurrection). Allah truly has power over everything.”
29:21 He punishes whom He pleases and has mercy on whom He pleases, and to Him you will be turned over.
29:22 You cannot thwart Him on earth or in heaven, and you have, apart from Allah, no friend or supporter.
To despair of Allah’s Mercy is the second greatest sin in Islam. Associating other gods with Allah is number one.
29:23 Those who disbelieved in Allah’s Signs and His Encounter are those who despaired of My Mercy. To those is reserved a very painful punishment.
29:24 His own people’s only reply was their saying: “Kill him and burn him”, but Allah delivered him from the fire. Surely, in that are signs for a people who believe.
You and your idols will curse each other on Judgement Day!
29:25 He (Abraham) said: “You only took, apart from Allah, idols, as a bond between you in the present life. Then on the Day of Resurrection you will disbelieve in each other and curse each other. Your refuge shall be the Fire and you will have no supporters.”
It was not all in vain; Abraham did make a convert out of Lot.
29:26 Then Lot believed in him (Abraham) and he said: “I will emigrate to my Lord; He is indeed the Almighty, the Wise.”
The next revelation leaves the impression that it is Lot who was granted Isaac and Jacob.
29:27 And We granted him Isaac and Jacob and conferred on his progeny the Prophethood and the Book, and gave him his reward in this life; and in the Hereafter he shall be among the righteous.
A third account of Abraham’s idol-warfare days where he is again thrown into the fire, begins where a story about Noah ends.
37:79 “Peace upon Noah among all the nations.”
37:80 Indeed, this is how We reward the beneficent.
37:81 He was truly one of Our believing servants.
37:82 Then, We drowned the others.
37:83 And of his partisans was Abraham.
37:84 When he came to his Lord with a sound heart.
37:85 He said to his father and his own people: “What are you worshipping?
37:86 “Do you desire, falsely, other gods, apart from Allah?
37:87 “What do you think, then, of the Lord of the Worlds?”
37:88 Then he cast a glance at the stars.
37:89 And said: “I am really sick.”
37:90 Whereupon, they turned away from him in flight.
He then proceeds to try to feed their animal (or perhaps human) representations of their gods and asks them to talk.
37:91 And he turned towards their gods, saying: “Will you not eat?
37:92 “Why do you not speak?”
Maybe a slap or two will get their attention.
37:93 Then, he proceeded to hit them with his right hand.
This assault causes the idol worshippers to come to the defense of their gods. They again throw the patriarch of Arabs and Jews onto (or into) a blazing fire.
37:94 Then, [his people] came towards him in haste.
37:95 He said: “Do you worship what you hew?
37:96 “When Allah created you and what you do?”
37:97 They said: “Build him a pyre”; and so they cast him into the furnace.
37:98 They wished him ill, but we reduced them to the lowest rung.
Abraham has had enough. He walks out of the fire asking God to give him a new people to lead.
37:99 And he said: “I am going to my Lord; he will guide me.
37:100 “Lord, grant me a righteous child.”
37:101 So, We announced to him the good news of a prudent boy.
The prudent boy, which Allah will give to Abraham after the attempted burning of the Patriarch of Arabs and Jews, is undoubtedly Isma'il born to Hagar an Egyptian servant belonging to Sarah, Abraham’s barren wife, who gave her servant to her husband so that he might father a child. In the Koran it is Isma'il, not Isaac that Abraham attempts to sacrifice to his God.
In Allah’s version, Isma'il is a willing volunteer and the attempted sacrifice occurs in Mecca.
37:102 Then, when he attained the age of consorting with him, he said: “My son, I have seen in sleep that I am slaughtering you. See what you think.” He said: “My father, do what you are commanded; you will find me, Allah willing, one of the steadfast.”
37:103 Then, when they both submitted and he flung him down upon his brow;
37:104 And We called out to Him: “O Abraham,
37:105 “You have believed the vision.” Thus We reward the beneficent.
37:106 This, indeed, is the manifest trial.
37:107 And We ransomed him with a large sacrifice.
37:108 And We left him for later generations:
37:109 “Peace be upon Abraham.”
Islam considers Hagar the legitimate wife of Abraham and her son by the patriarch of the Muslims and Jews his first heir. The Koran is clear on the order of birth. As a reward for his willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah, He will grant Abraham another son which will be none other than Isaac.
37:110 Thus, We reward the beneficent.
37:111 He is indeed one of Our believing servants.
37:112 And We announced to him the good news of Isaac as a Prophet, one of the righteous.
The blessing of Allah on Abraham and Isaac, and Isaac’s righteousness will not be enough to ensure that all of Abraham’s progeny remains on the Straight Path.
37:113 And We blessed him and blessed Isaac; and of their progeny some are beneficent and some are wronging themselves manifestly.
With Isma'il, Abraham starts over. The “evil-doers” in the following revelation may refer to the offsprings of Abraham’s second son, Isaac, although Allah may have had someone else in mind since He announced the birth of Isaac in 37:112 as “good news”; His reward to Abraham for the attempted sacrifice of Isma'il.
2:124 And when Abraham was tried by his Lord with certain commandments which he fulfilled, He said: “I am making you a spiritual exemplar to mankind.” Abraham said: “And what about my posterity?” He replied: “My Covenant does not apply to the evil-doers.”
Abraham At Mecca
The attempted sacrifice of Isma'il was probably what purified the “House … for those who circle it” in the following revelation:
2:125 And [remember] when We made the House (the Ka`ba) a place of residence for mankind and a haven [saying]: “Make of Abraham’s maqam [stand] a place for prayer.” We enjoined Abraham and Isma`il [saying]: “Purify My House for those who circle it, for those who retreat there for meditation, and for those who kneel and prostrate themselves (perform the prayers).”
2:126 And when Abraham said: “My Lord, make this a secure city and feed with fruits those of its inhabitants who believe in Allah and the Last Day.” Allah (having accepted Abraham’s prayer) said: “As for those who disbelieve, I shall provide for them for a while (in this life), and then subject them to the scourge of the Fire, and what an abominable fate!”
If the Islamic tradition that Adam set up the original altar at Mecca using the stone he brought with him from Paradise has any connection with reality, then people were already circling the Ka`ba when Abraham and Isma'il showed up.
Where the Tradition falls down a bit, is if we give “raised the foundations” in revelation 2:127 its ordinary, everyday meaning.
2:127 And while Abraham and Isma`il raised the foundations of the House, [they prayed]: “Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Surely you are the All-Hearing, the Omniscient.”
It is while labouring at laying (or rebuilding) the foundations of the Ka`ba that Abraham asked Allah to send the Koran, of whose existence in heaven he was obviously aware.
2:128 “Our Lord, cause us to submit to You, and make of our posterity a nation that submits to You. Show us our sacred rites, and pardon us. You are, indeed, the Pardoner, the Merciful.”
2:129 “Our Lord, send them a Messenger from among themselves (Arabs) who will recite to them Your Revelations, to teach them the Book (the Koran) and the wisdom, and to purify them. You are truly the Mighty, the Wise.”
Abraham is the chosen one, an example of one who does what he is told, and this will be Abraham’s legacy.
2:130 And who would forsake the religion of Abraham except one who makes a fool of himself? We have chosen him in this world and in the Hereafter; he shall be one of the righteous.
2:131 When His Lord told him (Abraham): “Submit”, he said: “I have submitted to the Lord of the Worlds.”
2:132 And Abraham bequeathed that to his sons, and so did Jacob saying: “O my sons, Allah has chosen the religion for you; so do not die except as submitting people.”
Eve, and later Adam, as mentioned in Adam - Paradise Lost were the first to disturb the sands of the future city at the center of the universe. In surah 14, Abraham (Abrâhim), Allah reveals more about Abraham at Mecca. These revelations may have to do with a second visit, for Abraham, in the first revelation in this series asks Allah to “keep me and my sons from worshipping the idols.”
14:35 And [remember] when Abraham said: “Lord, make this town secure, and keep me and my sons away from worshipping the idols.
14:36 “Lord, they have led many people astray; therefore he who follows me, shall belong to me, and he who disobeys me, surely You are All-Forgiving, Merciful.
14:37 “Our Lord, I have settled some of my offspring in a valley which has no tillage, by Your Sacred House, so that, Lord, they may perform the prayer. Make, then, the hearts of some people incline towards them, and provide them with some fruits, that perchance they might give thanks.
14:38 “Our Lord, You know what we conceal and what we reveal, and nothing on earth or in heaven is concealed from Allah.
14:39 “Praise be to Allah, who has given me, in old age, Isma`il and Isaac. Surely my Lord is the Hearer of Prayer.
14:40 “Lord, make and my posterity keep up the prayers; and, our Lord, accept my supplication.
14:41 “Our Lord, forgive me, my parents and the believers, on the Day when the reckoning shall come to pass.”
Abraham and His Father
19:41 And remember in the Book of Abraham. He was a truthful man, a Prophet.
19:42 He said to his father: “Father, why do you worship that which neither sees nor hears, and can do nothing to help you?
19:43 “To me has come knowledge which has not come to you; so follow me and I will guide you to a straight path.
19:44 “Father, do not worship the Devil; for the Devil has been rebelling against the Compassionate.
19:45 “Father, I fear that a punishment from the Compassionate shall afflict you, and so you will become a friend of the Devil.”
19:46 He (the father) said: “Are you forsaking my gods, O Abraham? If you will not desist, I will certainly stone you. So leave me alone for a while.”
19:47 [Abraham] said: “Peace be upon you. I will seek forgiveness for you from my Lord. He has, indeed, been gracious to me.
19:48 “And I will draw away from you and from those you call upon except Allah, and I will pray to my Lord. Perhaps I may not be unfortunate in praying to my Lord.”
19:49 Then, when He drew away from them and what they worshipped besides Allah, We granted him Isaac and Jacob and each we made a Prophet.
19:50 And We gave them freely of Our Mercy and We accorded them an honourable and a true renown.
Jacob is, of course, the son of Isaac, not the son of Abraham.
Allah's Safety Argument
If Islam was founded today, it would be considered a criminal enterprise because the believers, to survive, plundered unbelievers’ caravans.
To convince a judge that their enterprise was a legitimate religion they would have had to successfully argue that they had a legitimate god’s blessing, and therefore were not guilty of stealing from unbelievers because unbelievers did not benefit from their god’s protection.
If unbelievers wanted to be left in peace, all they had to do was acknowledge their god’s supremacy, and not only would they benefit from His protection, but they could help themselves to the unbelievers’ property if they needed it, including wives and daughters.
"A protection racket is an extortion scheme whereby a criminal group or individual coerces a victim (usually a business) to pay money, supposedly for protection services against violence or property damage." Wiki
When charity is just another word for extortion:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
When the Prophet died and Abu Bakr became his successor and some of the Arabs reverted to disbelief, Umar said, "O Abu Bakr! How can you fight these people although Allah's Apostle said, 'I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, 'and whoever said, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah', Allah will save his property and his life from me, unless (he does something for which he receives legal punishment) justly, and his account will be with Allah?'"
Abu Bakr said, "By Allah! I will fight whoever differentiates between prayers and Zakat as Zakat is the right to be taken from property (according to Allah's Orders).
By Allah! If they refused to pay me even a kid they used to pay to Allah's Apostle, I would fight with them for withholding it."
Umar said, "By Allah: It was nothing, but I noticed that Allah opened Abu Bakr's chest towards the decision to fight, therefore I realized that his decision was right."
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "On the Day of Resurrection the Kanz (Treasure or wealth of which, Zakat has not been paid) of anyone of you will appear in the shape of a huge bald headed poisonous male snake and its owner will run away from it, but it will follow him and say, 'I am your Kanz.'"
The Prophet added, "By Allah, that snake will keep on following him until he stretches out his hand and let the snake swallow it."
Allah's Apostle added, "If the owner of camels does not pay their Zakat, then, on the Day of Resurrection those camels will come to him and will strike his face with their hooves."
The message that Allah wants Abraham to convey in this series of verses about the Patriarch, is that unbelievers do not deserve and will not benefit from His Protection. Ignore the somewhat puzzling revelations that begin this series about Abraham (the only sequence where his kin don’t attempt to burn him); the essential message is about who is deserving of being safe (6:81-83).
6:74 And when Abraham said to his father Azar, “Do you take idols for gods? I see you and your people are in manifest error.”
6:75 Thus we show Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, that he might be one of those possessed of certainty.
6:76 And when night fell, he saw a star; so he said: “This is my Lord”, but when it set, he said: “I do not like those that set.”
6:77 Then, when he saw the moon rising, he said: “This is my Lord”, but when it set, he said: “If my Lord does not guide me rightly, I will be one of the erring people.”
6:78 Then, when he saw the sun rising, he said: “This is my Lord; this is larger”, but when it set, he said: “O, my people, I am innocent of what you associate [with God].
6:79 “I turn my face towards Him Who fashioned the heavens and the earth, as an upright man, and I am not one of the polytheist.”
6:80 His people disputed with him. He said: “Do you dispute with me regarding Allah Who has guided me? I do not fear what you associate with Him, unless my Lord wills anything. My Lord embraces everything in His Knowledge; do you not remember [this]?
6:81 “And how should I fear what you associate [with Him], while you do not fear the fact that you have associated with Allah that for which He has sent down upon you no authority? Which of the two parties, then, is more deserving of safety? [Tell me] if you know.”
6:82 Those who believe and do not mix their faith up with injustice – to these belongs the safety, and they are the well-guided.
6:83 That is Our Argument which We imparted to Abraham against His people. We raise up in degrees whomever We please. Your Lord is indeed Wise, All-Knowing.
6:84 And We granted him Isaac and Jacob, and guided each of them; and Noah We guided before that, and of his progeny, [We guided] David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron. Thus We reward the beneficent.
Jacob is the son of Isaac and Rebekah. Could Allah have meant Isma’il, the son of Abraham and Hagar and the father of the Arabs.
In this account of the story of Abraham, the patriarch of Arabs and Jews is not thrown into a fire, nor is his progeny destroyed for, you guessed it, believing in idols. If it’s about Abraham, then idols and false gods are not far from Allah’s thoughts, as is the case here, including a bit about Abraham’s father, an idol worshipper whom his son hopes will not disgrace him on Judgement Day.
Both false gods and their worshippers will be cast into Hell on Judgement day, igniting (pun intended) a lively, accusatory, one-sided exchange, revelations 26:97-102. This account of the life and times of Abraham is the only version where the alleged founder of monotheism, if you exclude Zoroaster, expounds at some length on Judgement Day.
And now for an interruption free Abraham – no further comments, and Allah will not change the subject until we get to Noah … again. Abraham Uninterrupted begins where Allah left off in Moses and Pharaoh Uninterrupted. Moses may have come after Abraham, but he is, in my estimation, higher in status in the eyes of Allah.
26:69 And relate to them the tale of Abraham;
26:70 When he said to his father and his people: “What do you worship?”
26:71 They said: “We worship idols, to which we continue to be devoted.”
26:72 He said: “Do they hear when you call upon them?
26:73 “Or profit or harm you?”
26:74 They said: “No, but we found our fathers doing that.”
26:75 He said: “Have you considered what you have been worshipping,
26:76 “You and your forefathers?
26:77 “They are surely an enemy of mine, except for the Lord of the Worlds;
26:78 “Who created me, and He guides me;
26:79 “And He is the One Who feeds me and gives me to drink;
26:80 “And if I am sick, He is the One Who heals me;
26:81 “And He is the One Who causes me to die, then brings me back to life.
26:82 “And He is the One Whom I hope will forgive me my sins on the Day of Judgement.
26:83 “Lord, grant me sound judgement and make me join the righteous;
26:84 “And give me a truthful tongue among the others;
26:85 “And make me one of the heirs of the Garden of Bliss.
26:86 “And forgive my father; for he was one of the wayward.
26:87 “And do not disgrace me on the day they will be raised from the dead,
26:88 “The day when neither wealth nor children will avail one;
26:89 “Except for him who comes to Allah with a pure heart.
26:90 “And Paradise shall be brought closer to the God-fearing.
26:91 “And Hell shall be exhibited to the perverse.”
26:92 And it will be said to them: “Where are those you used to worship;
26:93 “Apart from Allah? Will they support you or support themselves?”
26:94 Then they will be cast down, together with the perverse ones;
26:95 And the hosts of Iblis, all together.
26:96 They will say, while they disputed there with each other:
26:97 “By Allah, we were indeed in manifest error,
26:98 “When we made you (false gods) equal to the Lord of the Worlds.
26:99 “We were only misled by the criminals;
26:100 “So we have no intercessors;
26:101 “Nor, an intimate friend.
26:102 “If only we could have another chance; then we would be among the believers.”
26:103 Surely in that is a sign; but most of them are not believers.
26:104 Your Lord is surely the All-Mighty, the Merciful.