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Section 9: The other Apostles followed Abraham's footsteps

Apostles followed Abraham's footsteps -The other Apostles.

Surah Al-‘An’am, Verse 83

وَتِلْكَ حُجَّتُنَا آتَيْنَاهَا إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَلَى قَوْمِهِ نَرْفَعُ دَرَجَاتٍ مَّن نَّشَاء إِنَّ رَبَّكَ حَكِيمٌ عَلِيمٌ

83. "And such was Our argument which We gave to Abraham against his people. We raise up in degrees whom We please; verily your Lord is All-Wise, All-Knowing."

This verse points to the entire former discussions that have been stated by Abraham upon the subject of Unity and the act of opposition against polytheism. It says:

"And such was Our argument which We gave to Abraham against his people. We raise up in degrees whom We please....."

Then, to complete this meaning, it says:

"... We raise up in degrees whom We please....."

But, in order that there comes forth no mistake and some persons do not think that Allah discriminates unjustly in this raising up in degrees, it says:

"... verily your Lord is All-Wise, All-Knowing."

Therefore, He is aware of the degrees that He gives. They are given due to eligibility and according to the standards of wisdom. No one may enjoy them unless the one is eligible.

A Few Explanations

1. The Arabic term /labasa/, mentioned in the previous verse, No.82, means: 'to cover'. This meaning denotes to the fact that since 'Faith' is something innate in human beings, it is not vanishable, but some mists may cover it.

2. Iniquity is the calamity of Faith, and it has a negative effect.

3. Forsaking injustice is the secret of guidance, while cruelty causes that guidance to be hindered.

4. Protecting the Faith is more important than the Faith itself, because the real security is possible to exist only under the light of Faith and justice.

5. Neither the cruel believers have been guided, nor the faithless advocators of Justice.

6. A monotheist, who stands against the perversions of the society by proofs and reasoning, deserves some elevations.

Now, it is necessary to know that the Divine degrees are given wisely. The verse says:

"... We raise up in degrees whom we please....."

Surah Al-‘An’am, Verse 84

وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ إِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ كُلاًّ هَدَيْنَا وَنُوحًا هَدَيْنَا مِن قَبْلُ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِهِ دَاوُودَ وَسُلَيْمَانَ وَأَيُّوبَ وَيُوسُفَ وَمُوسَى وَهَارُونَ وَكَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ

84. "And We bestowed upon him (Abraham) (issues like) Isac and Jacob, each one We guided; and Noah We guided before; and of his seed David and Solomon, Job and Joseph, Moses and Aron (We appointed prophets), and thus do We reward the doers of good."

From this verse on, a part of favours that Allah had bestowed upon Abraham are referred to. Those favors are righteous off springs, and an eligible and fruitful family which is one of the greatest Divine merits.

At first, it says:

"And We bestowed upon him (Abraham) (issues like) Isac and Jacob...."

Then, in order to show that the honor of these two Prophets does not lie only in the matter that they were the progenies of the Prophet, but they themselves had fixed the light of guidance in their hearts by their own correct thoughts and righteous deeds, it says:

".... each one We guided...."

Next to this meaning, in order that nobody imagines that there had not been any advocator for monotheism during the periods before Abraham, and that this matter has begun from the time of Abraham, the verse continues saying:

".... and Noah We guided before...."

In fact, by pointing to the situation of Noah (as), who is one of Abraham's ancestors, and the situation of a group of the prophets, who are from among his descendents and his off springs, the Qur'an defines the high position of Abraham from the viewpoint of 'heritage and nobility', and 'the fruit' of personality.

Following that, it mentions the names of several prophets who are from the seed of Abraham. At first, it says:

"... and of his seed David and Solomon, Job and Joseph, Moses and Aron (We appointed prophets) ..."

So, at the end of the verse, the statement of the holy verse continues as follows:

"... and thus do We reward the doers of good."

Thus, the Qur'an makes it clear that their rank and position existed as a result of their own good deeds.

Surah Al-‘An’am, Verses 85 - 87

وَزَكَرِيَّا وَيَحْيَى وَعِيسَى وَإِلْيَاسَ كُلٌّ مِّنَ الصَّالِحِينَ

وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَالْيَسَعَ وَيُونُسَ وَلُوطًا وَكُلاًّ فضَّلْنَا عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ

وَمِنْ آبَائِهِمْ وَذُرِّيَّاتِهِمْ وَإِخْوَانِهِمْ وَاجْتَبَيْنَاهُمْ وَهَدَيْنَاهُمْ إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

85. "And Zakariya and John and Jesus and Elias; each one (of them) was of the righteous."

86. "And Ishmael and Elisha and Jonah and Lot, and everyone (of them) did We prefer above all beings."

87. "And from among their fathers and their descendants and their brethren, and We chose them and guided them into the straight way."

Following the previous names of prophets, through the first verse of the verses mentioned above, the Qur'an refers to the names of some other prophets. It says:

"And Zakariya and John and Jesus and Elias; each one (of them) was of the righteous."

The purpose of the verse is that the ranks of these prophets were not given obligatory or ceremonial, but they obtained personality and greatness with Allah because of their own righteous deeds.

In the second verse, there have been mentioned four more names of the divine prophets. It says:

"And Ishmael and Elisha and Jonah and Lot, and every one (of them) did We prefer above all beings."

The third verse contains a general hint to the fathers, children and brothers of the above-mentioned prophets, whose names have not been referred to in details here. It says:

"And from among their fathers and their descendants and their brethren, and We chose them and guided them into the straight way."

Surah Al-‘An’am, Verse 88

ذَلِكَ هُدَى اللّهِ يَهْدِي بِهِ مَن يَشَاء مِنْ عِبَادِهِ وَلَوْ أَشْرَكُواْ لَحَبِطَ عَنْهُم مَّا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ

88. "Such is the guidance of Allah; He guides by it whom He pleases of His servants; and if they were to associate others (with Him), certainly what they were doing would be vain for them."

Three Great Privileges!

After mentioning the names of some groups of divine prophets through previous verses, here, in this verse, a main and general outline of their lives are pointed out. At first, it says:

"Such is the guidance of Allah; He guides by it whom He pleases of His servants....."

Then, in order that nobody thinks that they have chosen this path obligatorily, and also nobody considers that Allah; (S.w.T.) has had a particular, exceptional and undue regard towards them, the holy verse continues saying:

"... and if they were to associate others (with Him), certainly what they were doing would be vain for them."

The last part of the verse means that these prophets are encountered the same divine laws that other people are, and there is no unjust discrimination between them.

Surah Al-‘An’am, Verse 89

أُوْلَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحُكْمَ وَالنُّبُوَّةَ فَإِن يَكْفُرْ بِهَا هَـؤُلاء فَقَدْ وَكَّلْنَا بِهَا قَوْمًا لَّيْسُواْ بِهَا بِكَافِرِينَ

89. "These are they to whom We gave the Book, the authority and the prophet hood; so if these (infidels) disbelieve in it, We have (already) entrusted with it a people who are not disbelievers in it."

In this verse, three magnificent privileges, which have been the base of all privileges of the prophets, are referred to. It says:

"These are they to whom We gave the Book, the authority and the prophet hood....."

The Arabic term /hukm/ originally means: 'prevention, and restrain'. Then, since wisdom prevents faults and offences; also, correct judgment hinders injustice and oppression, and a just government may restrain some other unjust governments, the term is applied in every one of these three senses.

Next to that statement, the verse continues saying that if these people, viz. pagans, the citizens of Mecca, and the like of them, do not believe in these facts, the invitation of the Prophet (S) will not remain without response.

Allah has commissioned a group of people who not only accept it, but also protect it and guard it. They are such a group that never pave the path of infidelity and are surrendered to the Truth.1

The verse announces:

"... so if these (infidels) disbelieve in it, We have (already) entrusted with it a people who are not disbelievers in it."

Surah Al-‘An’am, Verse 90

أُوْلَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ هَدَى اللّهُ فَبِهُدَاهُمُ اقْتَدِهْ قُل لاَّ أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا إِنْ هُوَ إِلاَّ ذِكْرَى لِلْعَالَمِينَ

90. "These are they whom Allah has guided, therefore follow their guidance. Say (to people): 'I ask you no wage for it (the prophecy); it is naught but a Reminder to the worlds"

This holy verse introduces the program of these outstanding prophets: to the Prophet of Islam (S) as an exalted example of guidance. The verse says:

"These are they whom Allah has guided, therefore follow their guidance. ..."

Once more, this verse emphasizes that the principles of the invitation of all divine prophets are the same, although the latter religions are more complete than the former religions.

The Arabic term /hidayh/ conveys a vast meaning which encompasses both unity with other theological principles, and patience and perseverance, and all principles of morals and education.

Then the Messenger of Islam (S) is ordered to tell people that he asks them no wage for his messenger ship. As former messengers did not ask such a thing, the Prophet of Islam (S) follows that usual way of treatment of those prophets, too.

The verse says:

"... Say (to people): ' I ask you no wage for it (the prophecy)....."

Moreover, this Qur'an and this prophecy together with guidance, is a warning and a reminder to all people throughout the world. The verse says:

"... it is naught but a Reminder to the worlds"

Such a common and general blessing is like the light of the sun or like the waves in the atmosphere, or like the fall of rain, that all are common and worldwide. They are found in no bargain, and no one takes any wages for them.

  • 1. In Tafsir Almanar and Tafsir Rouh-ul-Ma'ani, it is narrated from the commentators that the objective meaning of "... a people who are not disbelievers in it" is Iranians

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