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Twickenham URC 13 May 2001

The life of Abraham part 11

Father of nations

(Genesis 21, 1-21: Cast out but not forgotten;

Galatians 4.21-5.1 : Law and freedom)

For this part Deacon Duncan Macpherson from St Mary's University College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, was our invited speaker and he talked about the importance of Abraham in Islam. Duncan provided the following notes for our service sheet.

References to Abraham in the Quran

Abraham the friend of God

16:121. Abraham was indeed a paragon of virtue, obedient to ALLAH, ever inclined to HIM , and he was not of those who set up equals with ALLAH;

Abraham and Ishmael build the first mosque

2:126. And remember the time when WE made the House a resort for mankind and a place of security; We said, `Take ye the station of Abraham as a place of prayer.' And we commanded Abraham and Ishmael, saying, `Purify MY House for those who perform the circuit and for those who remain therein for devotion and those who bow down and fall prostrate in Prayer.' 2:127. And remember when Abraham said, `My Lord, make this a town of peace and provide with fruits such of its dwellers as believe in ALLAH and the Last Day.' ALLAH said `And on him too who believes not, will I bestow benefits for a little while; then will I drive him to the punishment of the Fire, and an evil destination it is. 2:131. And who will turn away from the religion of Abraham but he who makes a fool of himself. Him did we choose in this world, and in the next he will surely be among the righteous.

3: 97. Surely the first House founded for all mankind is that at Mecca, abounding in blessings and a guidance for all peoples.

The faith of Abraham

2:133. The same did Abraham enjoin upon his sons, - and Jacob also - saying, `O my sons, truly ALLAH has chosen this religion for you; so let not death overtake you except when you are in a state of complete submission.' 2:136. And they say, `Be ye Jews or Christians, then you will be rightly guided,' Say `Nay, but follow ye the religion of Abraham who was ever inclined to ALLAH; he was not of those who associated gods with ALLAH.' 2:137. Say ye, `We believe in ALLAH and what has been revealed to us, and what was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac and Jacob and his children and what was given to Moses and Jesus, and what was given to all other Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them; and to HIM we submit ourselves.' 2:261. And remember when Abraham said, `My Lord, show me how THOU givest life to the dead.' God said, `Dost thou not believe ?' Abraham said, `Yes, but I ask this that my heart may be at ease.' God answered, `Take four birds and make them attached to thee. Then put each of them on a hill; then call them; they will come to thee in haste.' And know that ALLAH is Mighty and Wise.

3: 66. O People of the Book ! Why do you dispute concerning Abraham, When the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed till after him ? Will you not understand.

3: 67. Behold ! you are those who disputed about that whereof you had some knowledge. Why then do you now dispute about that whereof you have no knowledge at all ? ALLAH knows and you know not. 3: 68. Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian but he was ever inclined to God and obedient to HIM, and he was not of those who associate gods with ALLAH.

4:126. And who is better in faith than he who submits himself entirely to ALLAH, and he is a doer of good and follows the religion of Abraham ? And ALLAH took Abraham for a special friend.

Abraham rejected Idolatry in Ur

6: 75. And remember the time when Abraham said to his father, Azar, `Dost thou take idols for gods ? Surely, I see thee and thy people in manifest error.'

6: 77. And when the night darkened upon him, he saw a star. He said, `Can this be my Lord ?' But when it set, he said, I like not those that set.' 6: 78. And when he saw the moon rise with spreading light, he said, `Can this be my lord ?' But when it set, he said, `If my Lord guide me not, I shall surely be of the people who go astray.' 6: 79. And when he saw the sun rise with spreading light, he said, `Can this be my Lord ? This is the greatest.' But when it also set, he said, `O my people ! surely I am quit of that which you associate with God;

Abraham greets the messengers

11: 70. And surely, Our Messengers came to Abraham with glad tidings. They said, `We bid you peace.' He answered, `Peace be on you,' and he was not long in bringing a roasted calf. 11: 71. But when he saw their hands not reaching thereto, he considered this strange on their part and conceived fear of them. They said, `Fear not, we have been sent to the people of Lot.'

Isaac's birth foretold

11: 72. And his wife was standing by and she too was frightened, whereupon to assure her we gave her glad tidings of birth of Isaac, and, after Isaac, of Jacob. 11: 73. She said, `Oh, woe is me ! Shall I bear a child when I am an extremely old women and this my husband also is a very old man ? This is indeed a strange thing !'

11: 74. They said, `Dost thou marvel at ALLAH's decree ? The mercy of ALLAH and HIS blessings are upon you, O people of the house. Surely, HE is Praiseworthy, Glorious.' Abhraham pleads for the people of Lot

11: 75. And when fear departed from Abraham and the glad tidings came to him, he began to plead with US for the people of Lot. 11: 76. Indeed, Abraham was clement, tender-hearted, and oft-returning to US. 11: 77. `O Abraham, desist from this. Surely, the decree of thy Lord has gone forth, and surely, there is coming to them a punishment that cannot be averted. 11: 78. And when Our Messengers came to Lot, he was grieved on their account and felt helpless for them and he said, `This is a distressful day.'

11: 83. So when Our decree came to pass, WE turned that town upside down and WE rain upon it stones of clay, layer upon layer, 11: 84. Marked for them in the decree of thy Lord. And such punishment is not far from the wrongdoers of the present age.

The Prayer of Abraham

14: 36. And call to mind when Abraham said, `My Lord, make this a city of peace, and preserve me and my children from worshiping idols, 14: 37. `My Lord, they have indeed led astray many among mankind. So whoever follows me, he is certainly of me; and whoever disobeys me Thou art, surely, Most Forgiving, Merciful, 14: 38. `Our Lord, I have settled some of my progeny in an uncultivable valley near Thy Sacred House. - Our Lord, - that they may observe Prayer. So make men's heart incline towards them and provide them with fruits that they may be thankful. 14: 39. `Our Lord, certainly, Thou knowest what we keep secret and what we make known. And nothing whatever is hidden from ALLAH, whether in the earth or the heaven, 14: 40. `All praise belongs to ALLAH Who has given me, despite my old age, Ishmael and Isaac. Surely, my Lord is the Hearer of Prayer, 14: 41. `My Lord make me constant in observing Prayer, and my children too. Our Lord ! bestow thy grace on me and accept my prayer,

21: 52. And before this WE gave Abraham his guidance and WE knew him well.

21: 53. When he said to his father and his people, `What are these images to which you are so devoted ?' 21: 54. They replied, `We found our fathers worshiping them.'

21: 55. He said, `Then, you, as well as your fathers, have indeed been in manifest error.'

21: 56. They said, `Is it really the truth that thou hast brought us, or art thou jesting ?'

21: 57. He replied, `Nay, your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth Who created them; and I am of those who bear witness to this; 21: 58. `And, by ALLAH, I will certainly plan against your idols after you have gone away and turned your backs.'

21: 59. So he broke them into pieces, all except the chief of them, that they might return to it. 21: 60. They said, `Who has done this to our gods ? Surely, he is a wrongdoer.' 21: 61. Some others said, `We heard a young man speak ill of them; he is called Abraham.' 21: 62. They said, `Then bring him before the eyes of the people, that they may bear witness against him.' 21: 63. Then they said to Abraham, `Is it thou who has done this to our gods, O Abraham ?' 21: 64. He replied, `Well, someone has surely done this. Here is the chief of them. So ask them if they can speak.'

Abraham's offering of Ishmael as a sacrifice

37:103. And when he was old enough to run along with him, he said, `O my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I offer thee in sacrifice. So consider what thou thinkest of it !' He replied, `O my father, do as thou art commanded; thou wilt find me, if ALLAH please, steadfast in my faith.' 37:104. And when they both submitted to the will of God, and Abraham had thrown him down on his forehead, 37:105. WE called to him, `O Abraham, 37:106. `Thou hast, indeed, fulfilled the dream.' Thus, indeed, do WE reward those who do good. 37:107. That, surely, was a manifest trial. 37:108. And WE ransomed him with a mighty sacrifice. 37:109. And WE left for him a good name among the succeeding generations.

The Holy house at Mecca

2:126. And remember the time when WE made the House a resort for mankind and a place of security; We said, `Take ye the station of Abraham as a place of prayer.' And we commanded Abraham and Ishmael, saying, `Purify MY House for those who perform the circuit and for those who remain therein for devotion and those who bow down and fall prostrate in Prayer.' 2:127. And remember when Abraham said, `My Lord, make this a town of peace and provide with fruits such of its dwellers as believe in ALLAH and the Last Day.' ALLAH said `And on him too who believes not, will I bestow benefits for a little while; then will I drive him to the punishment of the Fire, and an evil destination it is. 2:128. And remember the time when Abraham and Ishmael raised the foundations of the house, praying, `Our Lord, accept this from us; for thou art the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing;

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Hymns: Sing of the Lord's goodness; A child was born and Sarah laughed (Alan Gaunt); Hagar struggled, sad and fearful (Alan Gaunt); To him we come .. Outward we go