Interpretation of Sura Hud – Verses 69-71

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SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)- The Angels sent by Allah first meet – Abraham Abraham’s wife given the glad tidings of Isaac and – Jacob Abraham pleads for the people of Lot but asked to leave the people to have their own earning – The Angels appear to Lot – Lot admonishes his people who reject the warning and thus were destroyed.

69. ” And certainly Our messengers(the angels)came to Abraham with glad tidings. They said ‘Peace! ‘ He answered ‘Peace! ‘ and he did not delay to bring a roasted calf. “

Commentary

Now is time to focus on one of the highlights of the life of Abraham, the iconoclastic champion. Of course, only that part of his story, which deals with the story of the people of Lot and punishment of this unruly people is being discussed here. The Qur’an says that Allah’s messengers(angels)came to Abraham, bearing good tidings, though they had come to deliver a message to Abraham(a.s.) before. The verse says:

” And certainly Our messengers(the angels)came to Abraham with glad tidings. …”

There are two hypotheses incompatible with each other, as to what message those angels were carrying:

First; the message relates to tidings regarding the birth of Ismail and Isaac which were great good tidings for him.

Secondly, Abraham, who was tired of the unruliness and corruption of the people of Lot, became happy on hearing of the mission of the angels to destroy them.

When the messengers arrived they gave him the greetings of ‘Peace’ and he answered them likewise. Before long he had brought them a roasted calf. The verse says:

“… They said ‘Peace! ‘ He answered ‘Peace! ‘ and he did not delay to bring a roasted calf. “

The inference drawn from the sentence is that one of the rules of hosting a guest is that a meal should be prepared for him at the earliest possible time, after his arrival, for he can be both tired and hungry, especially when he is a traveler.

70. ” But when he saw their hands extended not towards it, he mistrusted them, and conceived a fear of them. They said: ‘Fear not; we have been sent against the people of Lot’. “

Commentary

Abraham’s(a.s.) fear is different from the kind of fear and weakness found in ordinary men when facing problematic situations, for he was the archetypical iconoclast in history who was never afraid of anything. Nevertheless focusing one’s attention on possible dangers and on being a possible target is another matter.

The verse says:

” But when he saw their hands extended not towards it, he mistrusted them, and conceived a fear of them. They said: ‘Fear not; we have been sent against the people of Lot’. “

At any rate, since Lot(a.s.) and his tribe was one of the groups under Abraham’s command, he had to be briefed before their annihilation.

71. ” And his wife was standing(by)and she laughed when We gave her the glad tidings(of the birth)of Isaac, and after Isaac, of Jacob. “

Commentary

There are several possibilities mentioned as to the reasons for the standing by of Abraham’s wife; when the verse says:

” And his wife was standing(by)and she laughed when We gave her the glad tidings(of the birth)of Isaac, and after Isaac, of Jacob. “

a- for worshipping

b- for serving the guests

c- for witnessing the comings and goings of individuals and the discussions.

Her laughter was either because she understood that their abstinence from eating was not a sign of danger for Abraham, or, as has been pointed out in some commentaries, Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was an elderly woman who had long passed her child bearing days when she suddenly heard this unbelievable news. However, while in this mood, she realized that the Divine Will was that she would have a child.

However, each group of the Divine angels were commissioned to accomplish a particular affair. These group of angels followed two objectives. One of which was the extermination of the corrupt people of Lot, and the other was to give the good tidings of a child to be bestowed upon Abraham(a.s.) and Sarah.

Adopted from the book : “The Light of the Holy Qur’an; Interpretation of Surah Hud” by : “Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and a Group of Muslim Scholars”

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