Question: Was Âzar the father of Hadrat Ibrâhîm (Abraham)?
The fact that all the grandfathers of our master the Prophet were pure Believers is established by âyat-i karîma and hadîth-i sharîfs. To say the opposite is to disbelieve the nass on this matter.
The 28th âyat-i karîma of Tawba Sûra state that disbelievers are foul. Our master the Prophet declares that all his grandfathers were pure. The Shu’arâ’ Sûra says, “Wataqallubaka fissâjidîn,” the purport of which is, “You, that is, your nûr has reached you after having always been transferred from one prostrator to another.” Interpreting this âyat-i karîma, Ahl as-Sunnat savants have inferred that “All his fathers and mothers were Believers.” After the hadîth-i sharîfs declaring all his fathers to be pure Believers are quoted at the beginning of the book Mawâhib-i ladunniyya, the following is written:
“Hadrat Ibn Abbâs said, ‘I transferred you from one prophet’s loins to another’s. That is, your race is the chain of prophets. This means that if a father had two sons, the Messenger of Allah would come from the one possessing the prophethood.’”
It is declared in hadîth-i sharîfs:
(I was born from the best ones of people living in every century.) [Bukhârî]
(Of the descendants of Ismâ’îl, Allahu ta’âlâ liked and selected Kinâna. Of the children of Kinâna, He liked and selected Quraysh. Of the descendants of Quraysh, He selected Hâshim Family. And of them, He filtered and selected me.) [Muslim]
(I came into being from the best people. My lineage is constituted by the best people.) [Tirmidhî]
(Of the distinguished in Arabia, Allahu ta’âlâ chose me. He placed me among the best of the people in every age.) [Tabarânî]
(None of my grandfathers committed adultery. I came from the best fathers and pure mothers. If one of my grandfathers had had two sons, I would be in the best of these.) [Mawâhib]
(From Hadrat Âdam up to my father, I always passed through married mothers and fathers. I am the best of you in terms of ancestry as well.) [Daylamî]
(I am the most honorable of people in terms of lineage as well. I am not saying this in order to boast.) [Daylamî]
[That is, it means, “I am telling the truth. It is my task to tell the truth. If I do not tell you this, I will not have done my duty.”]
These hadîth-i sharîfs and the âyat-i karîma in the Shu’arâ Sûra show that all of the grandfathers of our master the Prophet were pure Believers each. Since disbelievers are foul, it is impossible for Hadrat Ibrâhîm’s father to be a disbeliever.
Hadrat Molla Jâmi writes:
“A nûr (holy light) shone on Âdam’s forehead because he bore a mote of Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm. This mote was passed on to Hadrat Hawwâ and from her to Hadrat Shît, thus passing from pure men to pure women and from pure women to pure men. The nûr, together with the mote, passed from foreheads to foreheads” [Shawâhid].
Let alone a disbeliever, this nûr would not even be passed on to a Believer who committed grave sins, such as adultery. Âzar is not the father of Hadrat Ibrâhîm in this respect, either. [The name of the father of Hadrat Ibrâhîm was Târuh.]
Âzar was his uncle and stepfather
“When Ibrâhîm told his father Âzar …” is declared in the 74th verse of An’âm Sûra. It is written in the tafsîr of Baydawî that Âzar herein is an atf-i bayân for the word father. When a person has two names and these two names are mentioned together, it is understood that the former is not famous but the latter is famous. The latter is used in order to unravel the ambiguity in the former, which is not famous. The latter one is called atf-i bayân.
Hadrat Ibrâhîm calls two persons father. One of them is his own father, and the other is the one who is his step father and uncle. According to the rules of îjâz (conveying many things smoothly and perfectly in few words), balaghât (eloquence), fasâhat (rhetoric), the meaning of this verse is, “When Ibrâhîm told his Âzar father … .” If it were not so, it would be enough in the Qur’ân to declare, “When he told Âzar,” or “When he told his father.” If he were his own father, the word “his father” would be superfluous. Even in English, we do not say, “My father, Ali, is coming.” Instead, we say, “My father is coming.”
In the Qur’ân al-karîm, the word father is used for uncle. Hadrat Ismâîl is the uncle of Hadrat Ya’qûb (Jacob). The Qur’ân al-karîm, however, does not say “Your uncle Ismâîl,” but says “Your father Ismâîl.” His children (Hadrat Ya’qûb’s children) said to him, “Your fathers Ibrâhîm, Ismâîl, and Ishaq…” (Al-Baqara 133). That is, it means, “Your father Ibrâhîm, your father Ismâîl, and your father Ishâq.” Yet Hadrat Ismâîl is not Hadrat Ya’qûb’s father, but his uncle. The tafsîr books inform us that the word father is used for uncle in the Qur’ân al-karîm. It is written in various, dependable Islamic books that our master the Prophet used to call an old villager and his uncle Abû Tâlib and his uncle Hadrat Abbâs, father.
Besides Arabs, it has been a custom in many nations to use the word father for uncle, for stepfather, for father-in-law, and also for any protecting or helping person.
We all know well that in Turkey, too, a person who makes charitable donations to people and who protects them is called “a father man” or “the father of the poor.” We also call old people “Father” (in Turkey) out of respect. Similarly, it is widely known that we address old women “Mother Âisha” or “Mother Fatma.” By saying so, they neither become our fathers nor our mothers. These are simply honorific titles. Again, we use such words as uncle or grandfather for old men and aunt or grandmother for old women, though there is not a family relationship between them and us. These are terms of respect.
Therefore, even though Hadrat Ya’qûb’s own father is Hadrat Ishâq, the Qur’ân al karîm, addressing Hadrat Ya’qûb, says, “Your father Ismâîl.”
[In his book Kitabud-darj-il-munifa, Hadrat Imâm-i Süyûtî proves with documents the fact that Âzar is the uncle of Hadrat Ibrâhîm.]
All prophets were Muslims
Before they were defiled by humankind, all the heavenly religions, teaching the belief in the existence and oneness of Allahu ta’âlâ, were the same with respect to the principles of belief. The principles pertaining to practice were different. All prophets were Muslims. For example, the Qur’ân al-karîm states the following about the prophets whom Jews and Christians regard as their prophets:
(Ibrâhîm was neither a Jew nor a Christian. He was an upright Muslim, who knew Allah.) [Sûrat-u Âl-i ‘Imrân 67]
(Ibrâhîm, Ismâîl, Ishâq, Ya’qûb, and their grandchildren are Muslims. Say to those who say that they are Jews or Christians: “Who knows better, you or Allah?” Who can be more zâlim than the one who conceals what Allah has communicated?) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara 140]
All divine religions that were sent as of Hadrat Âdam and the three major religions (the religions sent to Hadrat Mûsâ and Hadrat ‘Îsâ and the Islamic religion) from Hadrat Mûsâ and to our master the Prophet professed belief in one Allah and taught that Allah’s prophets were human beings. But Jews denied Hadrat ‘Îsâ. Christians, on the other hand, never did rescue themselves from idolatry. Although Hadrat ‘Îsâ said, “I am a human being just like you. I am not Allah’s son. He does not have a son or a daughter,” they still worshiped three different deities under the names of Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Hadrat Hûd was sent to the ’Âd tribe; Hadrat Sâlih, to the Thamûd tribe; and Hadrat Mûsâ, to Banî Israell. Also Hârûn, Dâwud, Sulaimân, Zakariyyâ and Yahyâ ‘alaihimus-salâm were sent to Banî Israel. Yet none of them brought a new religion; they invited Banî Israel to Hadrat Mûsâ’s religion. Though the Zabûr was sent down to Hadrat Dâwud, it did not have commandments or rules. It was full of sermons and advice. Therefore, it did not abrogate or invalidate the Torah, but strengthened it, and this is why the religion of Hadrat Mûsâ continued. But in the course of time Jews made changes in the Torah, so the religion of Hadrat Mûsâ was defiled. When Hadrat ’Îsâ came, his religion abrogated that of Hadrat Mûsâ; that is, the Torah became invalid. So it was no longer permissible to follow even the undefiled rules in the religion of Hadrat Mûsâ. From then on it was necessary to follow Hadrat ‘Îsâ’s religion. However, the majority of Jews did not believe Hadrat ’Îsâ and persisted in following the Torah. Thus Jews remained in distorted Judaism.
Hadrat ‘Îsâ was born in Bait-ul-lahm. Then he went to Egypt and eventually moved to Nazareth and settled there. In Nazareth, he became a prophet when he was 30 years old. For this reason, the people who believed in Hadrat ‘Îsâ were called Nasrânî, and all the Nasrânî people were called Nasâra.
Jews claim, “We follow Hadrat Mûsâ’s religion and read the Torah and the Zabûr.” The Nasârâ claim, “We follow Hadrat ’Îsâ’s religion and read the Injîl.” However, the religion of Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm—that is, Islam—which has been sent to the whole world, invalidated all previous religions. It not only invalidated their defiled parts but also invalidated their undefiled parts. Since the Islamic religion will remain valid till the end of the world, it is not permissible to be in any religion other than this religion because the Qur’ân al-karîm purports:
(The true religion in the sight of Allah is only Islam.) [Sûrat-u Âl-i ‘Imrân 19]
(I have approved of Islam for you as the religion.) [Sûrat-ul-Mâ’ida 3]
(Whoever looks for a religion other than Islam, it will be never accepted from him.) [Sûrat-u Âl-i ‘Imrân 85]
No prophet will succeed our master the Prophet. As a matter of fact, it is declared in the Qur’ân al-karîm:
(Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm is Allah’s Messenger and the last of prophets.) [Sûrat-ul-Ahzâb 40]