Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:127-128)
By: Mohammad Sobhanie
Prophet Ibrahim’s Invocations
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
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﴾
Translation: 2:127: And [mention] when Abraham was raising the foundations of the House and [with him] Ishmael, [saying], “Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing.
2:128 Our Lord, and make us Muslims [in submission] to You and from our descendants a Muslim nation [in submission] to You. And turn to us with Mercy. Surely you are the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful.
Commentary: Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) with Ismael (A.S.), while both were raising the foundations of Ka’bah, called upon their Lord and said: “Our Lord, accept from us” [(رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا)] “Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing” [إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ].
Prophet Ibrahim and Ismael faced many difficulties and breathtaking challenges in establishing the city of Mecca and the building of the Ka’bah. In its beginning, Mecca was a barren land without any inhabitants. Prophet Ibrahim took his wife, Hajer, along with his son, Ismael, from Syria to Mecca and left them alone on that barren land while he returned back to Syria [Ibrahim 14:37].
Consequently, Hajer and Ismael spent many days and nights alone in the harsh climate of Arabian desert, and they finally ran out of food and water. It has been narrated that Ismael was crying out of hunger and thirst. Hajer began desperately running between the two mountains of As-Safa (Arabic: الصّفا ) and Al-Marwah (Arabic: المروة ) in search for water and food. In these moments, while Ismael was crying, water gushed forth miraculously under his feet at the place that is today known as the well of Zamzam.
The Bedouins of Arabia learned about the well water of Zamzam and migrated towards it. With the relocation of tribes around the well of Zamzam, the nucleus of the city of Mecca was formed. Many years later, after Ismael become a young man and a prophet, Prophet Ibrahim and Ismael rebuilt the House of Ka’bah.
Ibrahim and Ismael were so humble before their Lord that they did not mention the building of the Ka’bah in their prayer, in spite of going through these breathtaking challenges and hardships. They just said: “Our Lord, accept from us.” In this, there is a great lesson for us to learn.
In their invocation, Prophet Ibrahim and Ismael called upon their Lord to make them both submissive to Him [(رَبَّنَا وَاجْعَلْنَا مُسْلِمَيْنِ لَكَ)] and also from their offspring a submissive and obedient nation to His command [(وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِنَا أُمَّةً مُّسْلِمَةً لَّكَ)]. In this invocation, Ibrahim and Ismael were seeking to uphold the highest level of servitude to Allah (SWT), in which one severs his bond with everything else and submits completely to his Lord.
A portrayal of the highest level of servitude to Allah (SWT) is underscored in the Whispered Prayer (Munajat) of Shabaniyah. In one section of this Munajat, one reads:
إِلَهِی وَ أَلْحِقْنِی بِنُورِ عِزِّکَ الْأَبْهَجِ فَأَکُونَ لَکَ عَارِفا وَ عَنْ سِوَاکَ مُنْحَرِفا وَ مِنْکَ خَائِفا مُرَاقِبا یَا ذَا الْجَلالِ وَ الْإِکْرَامِ
O my Lord, (please do) connect me to the Light of Your Majestic so that I may know You and be away from others, and that I will be fearful of and careful with You. O Lord of Majesty and Honor!
Prophet Ibrahim and Ismael continued to ask their Lord to show them their Manasik [Arabic: (مَنَاسِكَنَا)]. The word al-manãsik [Arabic(المناسک)] is plural of al-mansak [Arabic(المنسک)] and means act of worship as stated in Chapter Al-Hajj 22:34
وَلِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ جَعَلْنَا مَنسَكًا…….﴿٣٤﴾
22:34 And to every nation We appointed acts of devotion ……
A consensus amongst commentators is that Ibrahim and Ismael asked Allah (SWT) to show them acts of worship for His House. Later, the Angel Jabreel descended from the heavens and showed them the act of worship in the House of Allah (SWT) which we know as “the Mansak Hajj” [Arabic: (مناسک الحج)].
Ibrahim and Ismael in their supplication also prayed for divine mercy and said:
…..وَتُبْ عَلَيْنَا إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ ﴿١٢٨﴾
And turn to us with Mercy. Surely you are the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful.
اللَّهُمَّ أَحْسِنْ عَاقِبَتَنَا فِي الْأُمُورِ كُلِّهَا وَأَجِرْنَا مِنْ خِزْيِ الدُّنْيَا وَعَذَابِ الْآخِرَة
2:127 [وَإِذْ] and remember when [يَرْفَعُ] were raising [إِبْرَاهِيمُ] Ibrahim [الْقَوَاعِدَ] the foundation [مِنَ] of [الْبَيْتِ] the House [وَإِسْمَاعِيلُ] and Ismael [رَبَّنَا] our Lord [تَقَبَّلْ] accept [مِنَّا] from us [إِنَّكَ] verily You [أَنتَ] You [السَّمِيعُ] are All Hearing [الْعَلِيمُ] All-Knower
2:128 [رَبَّنَا] our Lord [وَاجْعَلْنَا] and make us [مُسْلِمَيْنِ] submissive [لَكَ] unto You [وَمِن] and of [ذُرِّيَّتِنَا] our offspring [أُمَّةً] a nation [مُّسْلِمَةً] submissive [لَّكَ] to You [وَأَرِنَا] and show us [مَنَاسِكَنَا] our acts of worships [وَتُبْ عَلَيْنَا] and turn to us with Your mercy [إِنَّكَ] surely [أَنتَ] You [التَّوَّابُ] Oft-returning (to mercy) [الرَّحِيمُ] the Merciful