Surah Saffat Ayat 112 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 112
And We gave him good tidings of Isaac, a prophet from among the righteous.
And We gave him the good news of Isaac – a prophet,- one of the Righteous.
And We gave him the good news of Isaac, a Prophet and among the righteous ones.
And We gave him the glad tidings of Ishaque (Isaac) a Prophet from the righteous.
And we gave him tidings of the birth of Isaac, a prophet of the righteous.
And We gave him the good tidings of Ishaq, (Isaac) a Prophet, one of the righteous.
We gave Abraham the good news of Isaac- a prophet and a righteous man-
اور ہم نے اس کو اسحاق (علیہ السلام) نبی کی بشارت دی جو صالح لوگوں میں سے ہوگا
Quran 37 Verse 112 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Saffat ayat 112, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(37:112) And We gave him the good news of Isaac, a Prophet and among the righteous ones.
67. Here, the question arises: Who was the son whom the Prophet Abraham had gotten ready to offer as a sacrifice, and who had willingly offered himself to be slaughtered as a sacrifice? The first answer to this question is given by the Bible; and it is this:
And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: . . . Take now thy son thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Gen. 22: 1-2).
In this statement, on the one hand, it is being said that Allah had asked for the offering of the Prophet Isaac, and on the other, that he was Abraham’s only son, whereas the Bible itself, at other places, conclusively states that the Prophet Isaac was not the only son of the Prophet Abraham. Consider the following statements of the Bible:
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife bore him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abraham, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abraham hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abraham’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abraham had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived. (Gen .16: 1-4).
And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael. (16: 11).
And Abraham was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abraham. (16: 16).
And God said unto Abraham: As for Sarai thy wife, I will bless her and give thee a son also of her, and thou shalt call his name Isaac, which Sarai shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. And Abraham took Ishmael his son and every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him. And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. (Gen. 17: 15- 25).
And Abraham was one hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. (Gen. 21: 5).
This brings out the contradictions of the Bible. It is evident that for 14 years the Prophet Ishmael was the only son of the Prophet Abraham. Now if the offering had been asked of the only son, it was not of Isaac but of Ishmael, for he alone was the only son; and if the offering of Isaac had been asked, it would be wrong to say that the offering of the only son had been asked.
Now let us consider the Islamic traditions, and they contain great differences. According to traditions cited by the commentators from the companions and their immediate followers, one group of them is of the opinion that the son was the Prophet Isaac, and this group contains the following names:
Umar, Ali, Abdullah bin Masud, Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib, Abdullah bin Abbas, Abu Hurairah, Qatadah, Ikrimah, Hasan Basri, Said bin Jubair, Mujahid, Shabi, Masruq, Makhul, Zuhri, Ata, Muqatil, Suddi, Kaab Ahbar, Zaid bin Aslam, and others.
The other group says that it was the Prophet Ishmael, and this group contains the names of the following authorities:
Abu Bakr, Ali, Abdullah bin Umar, Abdullah bin Abbas, Abu Hurairah, Muawiyah, Ikrimah, Mujahid, Yusuf bin Mahran, Hasan Basri, Muhammad bin Kaab al-Qurzi, Shabi, Said bin al-Musayyab, Dahhak, Muhammad bin Ali bin Husain (Muhammad alBaqir), Rabi bin Anas, Ahmed bin Hanbal, and others.
When compared, the two lists will be seen to contain several common names. This is due to the reason that from the same person two different views have been reported. For example, from Abdullah bin Abbas, Ikrimiah has related the saying that the son was the Prophet Isaac, but from him again Ata bin Abi Rabah relates: The Jews claim that it was Isaac, but the Jews tell a tie. Likewise. from Hasan Basri, one tradition is to the effect that the Prophet Isaac was the son meant to be made the offering, but Umar bin Ubaid says that Hasan Basri had no doubt regarding that the son whom the Prophet Abraham had been commanded to offer as a sacrifice was the Prophet Ishmael (peace be upon him).
This diversity of tradition has resulted in the diversity of opinion among the scholars of Islam. Some of them e.g. Ibn Jarir and Qadi Iyad, have expressed the firm opinion that the son was the Prophet Isaac. Others, like Ibn Kathir have given the verdict that it was the Prophet Ishmael. There were others who are uncertain and wavering, e.g. Jalaluddin Suyuti. However, a deep inquiry into the question establishes the fact that the son intended to be offered as a sacrifice was the Prophet Ishmael. The following are the arguments:
(1) As stated by the Quran above, at the time of his emigration from the country, the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) had prayed for a righteous son and in answer to it, Allah had given him the good news of a clement boy. The context shows that this prayer was made at a time when he was childless, and the boy whose good news was given was his first-born child. Then, this also becomes obvious from the Quranic story that when the child grew up to boyhood, he was inspired to offer him as an offering. Now, it is established beyond any doubt that the Prophet Abraham’s first-born son was the Prophet Ishmael and not the Prophet Isaac. The Quran itself has stated the order between the two sons, thus: All praise be to Allah who has given me sons like Ishmael and Isaac in my old age. (Surah Ibrahim, Ayat 39).
(2) The words used in the Quran with regard to the Prophet Isaac while giving the good news of his birth are: And they gave him the good news of the birth of a son, possessing knowledge, (alim). (Surah Az-Zariyat, Ayat 28) Do not be afraid: We give you the good news of a son, possessing knowledge. (Surah Al-Hijr, Ayat 53). But the son, the good news of whose birth has been given here; has been called a clement (haleem) son. This shows that the two sons had distinctive qualities, and the offering had been asked of the clement son and not of the son possessing knowledge.
(3) Along with giving the good news of the birth of the Prophet Isaac in the Quran, the good news of the birth of a grandson like Jacob was also given: Then We gave her the good news of Isaac, and after Isaac of Jacob. (Surah Hud, Ayat 71). Now obviously, if about the son along with the news of whose birth the news of a worthy son to be born to him had also been given, the Prophet Abraham was shown a vision that he was sacrificing him, he would never have understood that he was being inspired to offer that very son as an offering. Allama Ibn Jarir contends that the Prophet Abraham might have been shown this vision at a time when Jacob had already been born to the Prophet Isaac. But this is, in fact, a very weak reply to the argument. The Quran says: When the boy became able to work with his father, then he was shown the vision. Anyone who reads these words with an unbiased mind will have the image of an 8 to 10 years lad before him. No one can imagine that these words had been used about a young man having children.
(4) Allah, at the end of the story, says: We gave him the good news of Isaac, a Prophet among the righteous. This clearly shows that it was not the same son, whom he had been inspired to offer as a sacrifice; but before this the good news of some other son had been given; then when he grew up and became able to work with his father, it was commanded to sacrifice him. Afterwards, when the Prophet Abraham came through this test successfully, he was given the good news of the birth of another son, the Prophet Isaac (peace be upon them all). This order of the events conclusively proves that the son whom the Prophet Abraham had been commanded to sacrifice was not Isaac but another son who had been born several years beforc him. Allama Ibn Jarir rejects this express argument, saying that in the beginning only the good news of the birth of the Prophet Isaac had been given. Then, when he became ready to be scarificed for the sake of Allah’s approval and pleasure, it was rewarded in the form of the good news of his Prophethood. But this reply to the argument is weaker still. If it had really been so, Allah would not have said: We gave him the good news of Isaac, a Prophet among the righteous, but: We gave him the good news that this same son of yours would be a Prophet among the righteous.
(5) Authentic traditions confirm that the horns of the ram which was slaughtered as a ransom for the Prophet Ishmael remained preserved in the Kabah till the time of Abdullah bin Zubair. Afterwards when Hajjaj bin Yusuf besieged Ibn Zubair in the Kabah and demolished the Kabbah, the horns were also destroyed. Both, Ibn Abbas and Amir Shabi testify that they had seen the horns in the Kabah. (Ibn Kathir). This is a proof of the fact that the event of the sacrifice had taken place in Makkah and not in Syria, and concerned the Prophet Ishmael. That is why a relic of it had been preserved in the Kabah built by the Prophets Abraham and Ishmael.
(6) The Arab traditions confirmed that this event of the sacrifice had taken place in Mina (near Makkah), and it was not only a tradition but practically also it had been a part of the Hajj rites for centuries. Even until the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) people used to offer the animal sacrifice in Mina at the place where the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) had offered the sacrifice. Afterwards, when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was raised as a Prophet, he also maintained and continued the same tradition. Even till today sacrifices are offered in Mina on the 10th of Dhil-Hajj. This continual practice of 4,500 years or so is an undeniable proof of the fact that the heirs to the tradition of sacrifice made by the Prophet Abraham have been the descendants of the Prophet Ishmael and not of the Prophet Isaac. There has never been any such tradition among the descendants of the Prophet Isaac according to which the whole community might have offered the sacrifice at one and the same time and regarded it as a continuation of the sacrifice made by the Prophet Abraham.
In the face of such arguments it appears strange how the idea of the Prophet Isaac’s being the son offered as the sacrifice spread among the Muslim community itself. If the Jews might have tried to attribute the honor to their ancestor, the Prophet Isaac, by depriving the Prophet Ishmael of it, it would be understandable.
But the question is: How did a large number of the Muslims come to accept this wrong notion? A very satisfactory answer to this question has been given by Allama Ibn Kathir in his commentary. He says: The reality is known to Allah alone but it appears that all the sayings (in which the Prophet Isaac has been mentioned as the son offered as a sacrifice) are related from Kaab Ahbar. This man, when he became a Muslim in the time of Umar, used to relate before him the contents of the ancient Jewish and Christian scriptures, and Umar would hear them. On this basis, the other people also began to listen to him, and started relating every mixture of the truth and falsehood that they heard from him, whereas this Ummah did not stand in need of anything whatever from the store of his knowledge and information.
This thing is further explained by a tradition from Muhammad bin Kaab al-Kurzi. He says that once during his presence the question whether the son offered as a sacrifice was the Prophet Isaac or the Prophet Ishmael arose before Umar bin Abdul Aziz. Among them at that time was a person who had been a Jewish scholar but had become a sincere Muslim afterwards. He said, “O Commander of the Faithful! By God it was Ishmael, and the Jews know it, but claim on account of their jealousy of the Arabs that it was the Prophet Isaac. (Ibn Jarir). When the two things are put side by side, it becomes evident that actually it was the Jewish propaganda that spread among the Muslims who have always been unbiased in scholastic literary matters, a large number of them accepted the statements of the Jews as a historic truth, which they presented as historical traditions with reference to the ancient scriptures, and did not realize that these were based on prejudice instead of knowledge.
68. This sentence throws light on the real object for which this event of the Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice has been related here. From the race of his two sons arose two great nations in the world. First, the children of Israel, from whose house two major religions (Judaism and Christianity) emerged, which dominated and won over large human populations. Second, the children of Ishmael, who were the religious leaders and guides of all the Arabs at the time of the revelation of the Quran, and the tribe of Quraish of Makkah at that time held the most important position among them. Whatever eminence these two branches of the offspring of the Prophet Abraham attained became possible only on account of their connection and relation with the Prophet Abraham and his two illustrious sons; otherwise, God alone knows how many such families have arisen in the world and been assigned to oblivion. Now, Allah relates the most glorious event of the history of this family and makes both its branches realize that whatever honor and eminence they have attained in the world, has been due actually to the great traditions of Godworship and sincerity and obedience, which were set by their ancestors, the Prophets Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac (may peace be upon them all). He tells them: The great blessings which We bestowed on them, were not bestowed arbitrarily and haphazardly. We did not just pick out a person and his two sons blindly and blessed them, but they gave definite proofs of their loyalty and faithfulness to their real Master and then became deserving of His favors. Now, you cannot become entitled to those favors merely on the basis of your pride of descent, for We shall see who among you is righteous and who is wicked and then deal with him accordingly.
The tafsir of Surah As-Saffat verse 112 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Saffat ayat 99 which provides the complete commentary from verse 99 through 113.
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