Fulfillment of Prayers of Prophet Ibrahim (AS): Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:151-152) By: Mohammad Sobhanie

Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:151-152)

By: Mohammad Sobhanie

 

Fulfillment of Prayers of Prophet Ibrahim (AS)

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

وَمِنْ حَيْثُ خَرَجْتَ فَوَلِّ وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ ……وَلِأُتِمَّ نِعْمَتِي عَلَيْكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ ﴿١٥٠﴾ كَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا فِيكُمْ رَسُولًا مِّنكُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِنَا وَيُزَكِّيكُمْ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُم مَّا لَمْ تَكُونُوا تَعْلَمُونَ ﴿١٥١﴾ فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِي وَلَا تَكْفُرُونِ ﴿١٥٢

2:150 And from whatever place you leave (and to whatever place you arrive), turn your face towards Masjid al-Haram (at prayer time)….so that I may complete My favor on you and that you may walk on the right course.

2:151 Similarly (As We have bestowed Our favors on you by appointing the Kaaba as your Qiblah), We have sent among you a Messenger of your own, reciting to you Our verses (the Qur’an) and purifying you, and teaching you the Book (the Qur’an) and the wisdom, and teaching you that which you did not know.

2:152 Therefore remember Me (by praying, glorifying). I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for My countless favors on you) and never be ungrateful to Me.

Commentary: Prophet Ibrahim (AS) made two prayers in Mecca: the first prayer happened before rebuilding the house of Kaaba and the second one was right after him and his son Ismail raised the walls of the house of Kaaba.

The 1st Prayer: The house of Kaaba is the first house of worship built on Earth by Prophet Adam (AS); it was later destroyed during the flood of Prophet Noah’s day. Since then, Mecca was a barren land without any inhabitants until Prophet Ibrahim (AS) migrated his wife Hajar and his son Ismail to Mecca and left them there so that they could establish the basic infrastructure for rebuilding the Kaaba. Upon his departure from Mecca to Syria, Prophet Ibrahim (AS) prayed to his Lord and said, [Ibrahim, 14:37]:

رَّبَّنَا إِنِّي أَسْكَنتُ مِن ذُرِّيَّتِي بِوَادٍ غَيْرِ ذِي زَرْعٍ عِندَ بَيْتِكَ الْمُحَرَّمِ رَبَّنَا لِيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ فَاجْعَلْ أَفْئِدَةً مِّنَ النَّاسِ تَهْوِي إِلَيْهِمْ وَارْزُقْهُم مِّنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَشْكُرُونَ

14:37 “Our Lord! I have made some of my offspring settle in a barren valley near Your Sacred House! Our Lord! I did so that they may establish Prayer. So make the hearts of people affectionately inclined to them, and provide them with fruits for their sustenance that they may give thanks.

Surely, the above verse (14:37) indicates that Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) objective of rebuilding the house of Kaaba was for the establishment of Salaat and Prayer towards it (عِندَ بَيْتِكَ الْمُحَرَّمِ رَبَّنَا لِيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ).

The verse 2:150 affirms that with the change in the direction of Qiblah from Jerusalem towards the Kaaba, the prayer of Ibrahim (AS) was fulfilled and consequently, Allah (SWT) bestowed His favor on Muslims so that they may be guided on the straight paths (وَلِأُتِمَّ نِعْمَتِي عَلَيْكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ).

The 2nd Prayer: Many years later, while Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail were raising the walls of the Kaaba, they invoked their Lord to make from their offspring a submissive nation (أُمَّةً مُّسْلِمَةً) and to raise among them a messenger. This messenger would recite to the nation divine signs, teach them the divine Book, the divine wisdom, and purify them. Note that the pronoun “them” refers to the submissive offspring of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and Ismail (AS). Please refer to the commentary of verse 2:128-129 and 2:143 for a further explanation.

The verse 2:151 alludes to the fulfillment of the 2nd prayer of Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail (AS) by saying:

كَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا فِيكُمْ رَسُولًا مِّنكُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِنَا وَيُزَكِّيكُمْ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُم مَّا لَمْ تَكُونُوا تَعْلَمُونَ ﴿١٥١

As Allah (SWT) fulfilled the first prayer of Prophet Ibrahim (AS), similarly [(كَمَا)], He (SWT) fulfilled the second prayer of Prophet Ibrahim by sending among you (أَرْسَلْنَا فِيكُمْ) a messenger from among you (رَسُولًا مِّنكُمْ) who recites to you our verses (يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِنَا) and purifies your lives (وَيُزَكِّيكُمْ) and teaches you the Book and wisdom (وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ) and teaches of what you did not know (وَيُعَلِّمُكُم مَّا لَمْ تَكُونُوا تَعْلَمُونَ). He (SWT) did so to answer the prayers of Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail (AS) [Al-Mizan, Vol. 1, P. 495]. The pronoun “you” esoterically means a submissive nation (أُمَّةً مُّسْلِمَةً) and literally implies all Muslims.

In conclusion, the verse 2:152 asserts “remember Me” [(فَاذْكُرُونِي)] with devotion and obedience as Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail did so. In return, Allah (SWT) says “I remember you” [(أَذْكُرْكُمْ)] with My favor as He remembered Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail. And “be grateful to Me (for My countless favors on you) and never be ungrateful to Me” [(وَاشْكُرُوا لِي وَلَا تَكْفُرُونِ)].

Remembrance of Allah (SW) [(ذکر)]: In the Quran, the remembrance of Allah (SWT) is used as opposed to either forgetting or neglecting His presence. Forgetting means losing remembrance, while neglecting is failing to remember. There is a difference in forgetting to visit a friend versus abandoning and neglecting a friend. The outcome is similar, but the former is by accident and the latter is deliberate. Both instances are used in the Quran.

For instance, the verse 18:23 in chapter Al-Kahf, commands to remember your Lord [(وَاذْكُر رَّبَّكَ)] when you forget Him [(إِذَا نَسِيتَ)]:

… وَاذْكُر رَّبَّكَ إِذَا نَسِيتَ …. ﴿٢٤

Whereas, the verse 18:28 in chapter Al-Kahf, orders that Muslims should not follow [(وَلَا تُطِعْ)] individuals whose heart are negligent of remembering their Lord [(مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَن ذِكْرِنَا)] due to following their carnal desires [(وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ)]:

…. وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَن ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُ فُرُطًا ﴿٢٨

18:28 …and do not obey him whose heart We have made neglectful of Our remembrance so that he follows his own lust, and his affair has become all excess.

The remembrance of Allah (SWT) is generally understood as verbally glorifying and sanctifying Allah’s names and attributes repeatedly. However, whatever good deed we perform for the sake of God or whatever mischief we refrain from for the pleasure of God, is truly a remembrance of God.

The scholars of ethics underscore that gratefulness to Allah (SWT) begins with acknowledging Allah’s countless favors and bounties, followed by uttering our gratitude and appreciation to Him and lastly, using the favor in ways that He would be pleased with.

Appendix:

[(يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِنَا)] means “to recite you our signs”; signs here mean the verses of the Quran. Reciting verses of the Quran is a prerequisite for teaching their meanings and interpretations [(وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ)].

[(الْكِتَابَ)] means “the Book” which refers to the Quran and [(وَالْحِكْمَةَ)] means wisdom. The latter one includes traditions of the Prophet (SAWA)

[(وَيُزَكِّيكُمْ)] means to purify, to remove dirt, filth and blemishes.

وَإِذْ يَرْفَعُ إِبْرَاهِيمُ الْقَوَاعِدَ مِنَ الْبَيْتِ وَإِسْمَاعِيلُ رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ ﴿١٢٧﴾ رَبَّنَا وَاجْعَلْنَا مُسْلِمَيْنِ لَكَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِنَا أُمَّةً مُّسْلِمَةً لَّكَ وَأَرِنَا مَنَاسِكَنَا وَتُبْ عَلَيْنَا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ ﴿١٢٨﴾ رَبَّنَا وَابْعَثْ فِيهِمْ رَسُولًا مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِكَ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ ﴿١٢٩

2:127 And (remember) when Ibrahim and (his son) Ismail were raising the foundations of the House (the Kaaba at Makkah), (saying), “Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily, You are the Hearer, the Knower.”

2:128 “Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us our rites [of worship], and turn to us clemently. Indeed, You are the All-clement, the All-merciful.

2:129 “Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own, who shall recite unto them Your verses and instruct them in the Book (this Qur’an), and purify them. Verily, You are the Mighty, the Wise.”

 

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