Channel: Hamza Yusuf
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Spinarak mama Rahim was on the last day to Mohammed and Allah Allah He was a huge marine Salaam Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh. As we approach the season of Hajj, the season of the pilgrimage, let's remind ourselves of some of the great virtues of our master Abraham peace be upon him, a man whose very name means the father of nations. According to the sacred historical narrative of Islam, Abraham peace be upon him or Ibrahim is traveled to the Arabian peninsula with his eldest son Ishmael peace be upon him, or he's married either you Sudan and Both father and son built the walls of the Kaaba in Mecca. The foundation of which was laid by Adam peace be upon him the first human
being. In more ancient times Mecca was known as Becca from the Arabic and Hebrew root word meaning to weep. The Quran says in translation, say God speaks the truth, follow the creed of Abraham, the quintessential monotheist. He was not an idol worshiper. Indeed, the first house ever founded for humanity. For the worship of the one true God was at Becca the blessing, a guide for all people. chapter three verses 95 to 96.
It was in this weeping valley that Ishmael as a very young child cried for water, while his mother, known as Hagar in Hebrew, ran frantically between two hills known as suffer in Mahwah in search of water to give to her son. Eventually, a blessing spring was given to her by God, the water of Zamzam water that flows to this day. The name Hagar in Hebrew is related to the Arabic word hijra, meaning flight or migration. It was Hagar and her son who migrated from Canaan, to the Meccan Valley by order of God himself. In Islamic understanding, the Kaaba in ancient Becca was one of the outlying Mischka notes or tabernacles of the Lord that was visited by some of the ancient Israelites. Psalm
84, in the Tanakh describes the journey of a group of Israelite pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem, who quote, pass through the macabre cop or weeping weeping Valley and made it into a well.
Now we are told in the Quran that after Abraham and Ishmael raised up the foundations of the Kaaba, they supplicate it to God, saying, Oh our Lord, accept this from us. You are indeed the All Hearing the All Knowing, oh our Lord, make us both fully Muslim to you. And from our descendants, a nation that will submit to you as Muslims. Show us our rites and rituals, and turn to us in grace, you are truly the acceptor of repentance, the Most Merciful. chapter two verses 127 and 128. Were for further told in the Quran, that God set humanity. And remember when we assigned to Abraham, the site of the house, saying, Do not associate anything with me and worship and purify my house for those
who circle it stand in prayer, they're in and bow and prostrate themselves and announced the pilgrimage to all mankind, they will come to you on foot on every they will come to you on foot and on every lien mount, and they will come from every distant pathway. So they may obtain the benefits in store for them, and pronounce the name of God on appointed days over the sacrificial animals that he has provided for them. So eat from their meat and feed the desperately poor, then let them and their untidiness and let them fulfill their vows and let them circumambulate the ancient house chapter 22, verses 26 to 29.
So we can see from the Quranic narrative, that the pilgrimage to Mecca, with its rites and rituals, has its origin in none other than Abraham peace be upon him. However, over time, the descendants of Ishmael in that region, the Arabs began to fall away from the pure Abrahamic monotheism or Tauheed. And eventually the Kaaba became surrounded by hundreds of idols that the Arabs would pray to as intercessors between them and Allah, whom they deemed to majestic to call upon directly. According to the Quran, there was one more thing that Abraham and Ishmael prayed for at the Kaaba. They said, Oh, our Lord, raise from among them a messenger, who will recite to them your revelations. Teach
them the Book and wisdom and purify them, indeed, you alone are the Almighty, be all wise, chapter two, verse 129. This prayer of Abraham and Ishmael was answered by God. When He raised the Prophet Muhammad SAW THE lot he said them peace be upon him and Mecca as a universal messenger. In fact, the name Ishmael in Hebrew, where you smile means God will hear our answer. And so his prayer was answered by God. The prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was the prophet of the Abrahamic restoration. He was the greatest mono theist in the history of the world.
Prophet Muhammad recited to humanity, the Quran, God's final revelation. He taught us the meanings of Scripture by his speech and actions. And like his ancestor, Abraham, his theological teachings purified humanity of both explicit and subtle idolatry.
This Muslim narration of Abraham and Ishmael building the Kaaba is not mentioned in the book of Genesis in the Torah. Now, the Quran is judgements of biblical narratives are a bit complicated, and beyond the scope of this brief exposition. In short, the Quran sees itself as both a confirmation of biblical tradition as well as a corrective.
modern historians and textual critics have argued compellingly that the sources of the five books attributed to Moses peace be upon him, were in fact composed hundreds, several hundreds of years after the death of Moses, and then someone around the time of the Second Temple, maybe 500. Before the Common Era, every doctor, probably the scribe Ezra, collated the sources and created what today we call the pentatonic or homage, or the five scrolls Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. This is called the documentary hypothesis, and it remains a popular and widely accepted source criticism of the Pentateuch in the western Academy. Nonetheless, we are told in Genesis 17,
in the Torah, that God promised to hear Abraham's prayer regarding Ishmael. This of course, a play on his name, God will hear God says to Abraham, I have blessed him, meaning Ishmael, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly 12 princes shall he beget, and that will make him a great nation, Genesis 1720.
In traditional rabbinical Judaism, the rabbi's teach that scripture contains four levels of meaning. This is known by the acronym Pardus that is per shot, the plain or obvious meaning REM is an illusion or indication of something in the future or foreshadowing Drush this is when religious principles or ethics are derived from the text and sewed a more subtle or esoteric meaning. And there is an analogue to this attributed to the Muslim scholar and sage Imam Jaffa Sadhak. Who said that the Quran contains four levels of meaning as well. The plain meanings, allusions, subtleties and realities, that is the left earshot law if and hockomock. Now just as Muslim exigence see the
Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him as the fulfillment of the supplication of Abraham and Ishmael mentioned in the Quran. Some Jewish authorities also see the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him as a fulfillment of Genesis 1720 mentioned earlier. God said to Abraham that he blessed Ishmael
Bayrock to toe,
that is to say in Arabic that Ishmael was Mobarak at the level of the potshot, the text clearly states that from Ishmael, they will come a great nation, a goy Gadoury
at the level of Remmers This indicates the blessing and great aroma of the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Sallam peace be upon him, who again was the most successful monotheist in the history of humanity. Judaism could not simply ignore him. In mystical Judaism, Gematria or numerological interpretation of sacred texts is also often considered. Now, as Muslims however, we should take such things with a grain of salt. Perhaps there's something to this, but we should not be overly dogmatic or insistent about such things. As one of my teachers said too much salt on a meal spoils the dish. Nonetheless, some interesting numerological correspondences have been pointed out to me by
some of my Jewish colleagues about Genesis 1720. These things will probably fall under the more subtle interpretive level of sowed.
In Genesis 1720, God said to Abraham that he would multiply Ishmael exceedingly. He bade the Hebrew says he had a bait to toe Bhim oldman owed. The phrase BIM admit AUD, translated as exceedingly, has a numerical value of 92. The phrase as a great nation, that logoi Godbole also has a numerical value of 92. Interestingly, the numerical value of the name Mohamed in Hebrew, spelled memset, mem Dalit is also 92. This subtly this subtlety did not escape the notice of Hebrew exigence. Furthermore, the value of the Hebrew name Abram the original name of Abraham, according to beta sheath or Genesis, meaning exalted father is 243 While Hagar is 208, this total is 451 which is the which is the exact
numerical value of
Ishmael or Ishmael, Abram, plus Hagar equals Ishmael. Finally, we noticed that Jen in Genesis 1720 mentions that Ishmael the son of Hagar, will be get 12 princes. Remarkably, Ishmael is mentioned exactly 12 times in the Quran while Hagar is mentioned exactly 12 times in the Torah.
The famous 11 century Tunisian rabbi in Tel Modus Han on Elbit Ben Hoshi L, wrote the following in his commentary of betta sheath or Genesis 1720. He said, we see from our historical records that this prophecy came true after a delay of 2333 years. The translator then interjected with this commentary of Rohan was circumcised in the year 2047, according to the say that Hado wrote, and the Mohammed in faith originated in the year 4384. Exactly 2333 years later, back to Rabbi hon Anil, who says, quote, This delay was not due to sins of the original Ishmaelites they had been looking forward to the fulfillment of this prophecy for all these years. We lost our independence due to
arsons, however, and quote. Now, one of the greatest challenges of our current Zeitgeist is the rise of anti religious postmodern philosophies. The most infamous of the postmodern philosophy philosophers said quote, it is meaningless to speak in the name of or against reason, truth, or knowledge, reason, truth and knowledge are meaningless. He says, it's true. Unfortunately, we seem to now be living in the age of feelings as Muslims, I think we can say that reason is limited, but it is certainly not meaningless. Muslim theologians maintain that awful and knuckle that is reason and Revelation are not in conflict, but that the proper use of the former former will lead to the
recognition of the latter, because they come from the same source ultimately. And I think my Montes would agree with this. According to the Quran, the prophets of God use logic and reason to appeal to their respective communities. Because logic and reason have efficacy. And our master Abraham peace be upon him is a prime example of this. Allah Subhana. Allah says in the Quran in surah, number six in meaning, thus did we show Abraham the dominion of the heavens and the earth that he might be among those possessing certitude. When the night drew dark upon him, he saw a star He said, had that rugby This is my Lord. But when it said, he said, I love not things that set then when he saw the
moon rising, he said, Hi there, Robbie, this is my Lord. But when it said, he said, if my Lord does not guide me, I shall surely be among the people who are astray. Then when then when he saw the sun rising, he said, Hi that rugby Heather Akbar, this is my Lord, this is greater. But when it said, he said, Oh my people truly I am free of the partners you ascribe truly as a Hanif a quintessential mono theist, I have turned my face toward Him Who created the heavens and the earth.
Now, don't get the wrong idea. There is no question of Abraham even considering the worship of the sun, the moon or the stars, as Muslim exigence have pointed out, this is Abraham's rhetorical argument against the idolatry of his people, the ancient Babylonians, he is drawing out through intellectual deduction or reasoning, the flaws of their beliefs, he a sense, yes, there is order and predictability in nature. The ancient Greeks call this Lagace, there is Lagace in the cosmos, in other words, the universe has ordered, but natural phenomena also changes. It is mutable, it sets for lemma, Athena in the language of the Quran,
and that which changes cannot be the eternal and if something is not the eternal, then it is created, and it cannot be worshipped in its right. To say it another way that which is perfect, cannot change, because it either changes for the worse or it improves. But if it improves, that means it could have been better, therefore not perfect. You mama Tubbercurry even says that there is a hint of sarcasm and Abraham's argument here. This adds to its rhetorical power, as if to say, Come on, you know better than to worship, mutable celestial bodies, worship the immutable supernatural creator. And of course, one of the names of God in the Quran is a salaam, the perfect
and there can there can only be one perfect being because in order for two beings to differ, there must exist a lack of something between them. In other words, if I know something, if I know something that you don't and vice versa, then neither neither one of us is perfect. Neither one of us can be described as SLM. There
deficiencies in our knowledge. If a skeptic were to posit to perfect beings, then we could ask Well, which one has power over the other? One of them, both of them? Neither one of them. Every answer is wrong. And we come to a logical impasse. Elsewhere, the Quran says, Have you not considered the one who debated with Abraham about his Lord? Because Allah had given him sovereignty, and according to a few X digits, this king was Nimrod, the king of Babylon. When Abraham said, My Lord gives life and causes death, the king said, I give life and cause death. And then the exit exit Jesus says that this king he called for two slaves and he killed one on the spot, and he released one on the spot.
Abraham responded truly Allah brings the sun from the east, bring it then from the west. Then he who disbelieved was confounded and Allah does not guide a wrongdoing people chapter two verse 258. In this debate, Abraham points out the limitations of human volition or choice. Nimrod claimed to be God. In fact, many exegete say that he was the first man in history to make such a claim. Perhaps this is why the word Nimrod in modern English slang means an idiot or a fool. If Nimrod is limited in his choices and potential, then he is not perfect. If he's not perfect, then he is ontologically that is essentially inferior to a true deity. Therefore, his molk His sovereignty could not have
originated with him. It was given to him and a TA hula hula milk, as the Quran says.
Abraham demonstrates this quite dramatically by demanding Nimrod to bring the sun from the West, essentially saying you think you have power over life and death? Let's say you have power over the sun. This is easy for Allah because Allah has absolute, unrestricted, unrestricted volition within his nature. Allah is omnipotent. This is one of his qualitative attributes in Allah Allah aqualisa In Kadir Nimrod has no rejoinder in this debate. Finally, we're told that Abraham peace be upon him destroy the idols of his people. He was a younger man at this time living in the city of order in ancient Mesopotamia. Abraham said to them, Do you worship that what you carve? Allah created you and
your actions? Well, hola, hola, Coco mama Tama. The argument here is how can something that you made be worthy of your worship? It only exists because of you you are it's efficient cause thus you are greater, Yet Allah made you this Allah is greater in since Allah is the only real creator because there can only be one Creator, or else we are stuck in the intellectually repugnant paradox of infinite regress, since Allah is the only real creator, and whatever Cena called the efficient cause of all creation, then only he is worthy of worship.
I'll end this with a quick reading of the famous passage in the Quran, which describes the dream of Abraham peace be upon him to sacrifice his son. This will bring us full circle, back to the Hajj in sha Allah.
So, God says starting in chapter 37, verse 99 of the Quran, we'll call it either Hebrew a lot of BC Deen. Abraham said, I will migrate for the sake of my Lord. Soon he will guide me or be Hubballi Mina Sani Hain for Bashar na who behold I'm in Helene. Oh my Lord, bestow upon me righteous offspring. So we gave him glad tidings of a forbearing son. Interestingly, the son is not named here in the Quranic discourse, Imam, a tuber he said it was Isaac. While most commentators said Ishmael this is not so important for us as Muslims. The importance of the story is its Edra its lesson principle or salient point. We shouldn't allow ourselves to get caught up in identity politics and
ignore the bigger picture for Lana Bella Moussa Paula. Yeah, buena you're in need are awful my nanny and the Batoka thunder mother Tara. When the Son had reached the age of serious work, Abraham said, Oh, my dear son, I keep seeing in my dreams that I am sacrificing you. And the verb here is in the imperfect tense, which suggests that Abraham was continuously having this dream. What do you think about that? He asked his son. The Arabic literally says, look, what do you see? In other words, are you having the same dream? Because Ishmael was also a prophet. In Genesis 22, the so called Arcada passage, Isaac does not know what is happening. He asks his father where is the lamb for the burnt
offering? The corn
Ronak account is a bit different. The Quran continues. Allah Yeah, but if Allah took Mara Certegy Duni in sha Allah Amina Savarin. He said the son said, Oh my dear father, do what you are commanded. You will find me if God wills from the patient ones for non Muslim our tele Julio Jabeen. Then when they both submitted their wills, and Abraham laid him down on his forehead, one day now who are ya Ibrahim? And we called out to him Oh Abraham, called sadaqa toto iya in Nevada, New Jersey and mercy Nene, you have been true to your vision. Indeed, this is how we reward the doers of good Imam Razi, one of the great exigence he said that by demonstrating complete obedience to God, Abraham peace be
upon him was true to his vision, fulfilled his vision. This is what God ultimately wanted. A willingness to obey, not the actual sacrifice of Abraham son. In the Hatha Allahu Al Bella Olmo been, indeed, this was an evident test. You see the ancient pagans used to sacrifice their children, as a demonstration of their obedience to their false gods. God tested Abraham, saying, in essence, do you love me enough to be willing to sacrifice your son if I asked you, your love for me, the one and only true God should exceed the love of the pagans for their false gods. Abraham passed the test. Multiple exigence mentioned that Satan appeared to Abraham while going to the place of
sacrifice with his son and tried to convince Abraham to disobey God. So Abraham picked up a handful of pebbles and threw them at Satan. This is commemorated at the Hajj in Mecca by pilgrims who symbolically reenact the event by throwing pebbles at pillars called the Jamaat. Well, if a day now will be the option or the the narrative continues. What tuck the idea he asked in Santa Ana Ibrahim.
And we ransom Tim his son with a great sacrifice. And we left him thus to be remembered among later generations, peace be upon Abraham. The commentary says that an angel brought a ram to be sacrificed in the place of Abraham son. And so the substitution of a ram for Abraham son serves as the basis for the ritual of the slaughtering of an animal that is required as the final right of the Hajj. This is called the or the haga or Cora Bonnie. So to summarize an end, the great virtues of Abraham are many. He was a mono theist, par excellence, the great iconoclast. He was a model of faith and obedience to God. He was a man of supreme intelligence, reason and rational discourse. He was a man
of empathy and concern for the plight of humanity. And finally, his Midler or tradition was restored and universalized by his noble descendant, the holy prophet Mohamed Salah Lottie said them the final messenger of God and prophet of the Abrahamic restoration. May God the Almighty bless all of you, as Salaam Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh