A Father-and-Son Revolution:
Both in the Bible and in the Qur'an!

A Father-and-Son Revolution:
Both in the Bible and in the Qur'an!

Dr. Pasha

(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And which One Does Not?)

Allah gives us children, and we rejoice. And we celebrate.

But there are many couples who are denied this blessing by God. And they mourn and pine.

But there are some very special occasions when Allah gives someone a child and then decides to take that child back.

Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, experienced this multiple times. It was gut wrenching for me every time I read one of those incidents in the books of Hadith and history.

But every time tragedy struck, Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, remained imperturbable.

And he sent word to one of his daughters when she too faced a similar situation: 

Lillahi Maa A'taa,
Wa Lillahi Maa Akhadh!

Or words to similar effect.


"It is entirely Allah's decision: 
to give what he wants to give, 
and to take away what he wishes to take away."

It never failed to impress me that it may be one thing to say these words, but it has to be an entirely different thing to feel them in your bones, and to live them in real life when a situation like this confronts you.

And sometimes, one's child is taken ill. Desperately ill. And the hearts of parents go to pieces seeing their child suffer. And, sometimes, there is no cure and no human resort in sight.

But then as suddenly as ill health struck, the illness vanishes. The child's life is spared. By the Giver of Life.

And if they are Muslims -- and if they are believers in God Almighty in general -- they say: 

It Is From God.

And some Muslims may even say Alhamdulillah! 

For, that may be the most perfect and the most magnificent way of saying "Thank You!" to God Almighty!

It is as if this child's life is a second gift of a child to you from Allah. It is a new life for the child. And a brand new child, as it were, to you, the parents.

I am writing these things. But I don't think I really understand any of it. But I have seen incident after incident of this kind. 

And I have lived through one of them myself. And in a sense I am still living those moments, almost on a daily basis, far as they are on the horizon of Time.

I was but a boy. I fell ill -- seriously and desperately. I was in some sort of a semi-coma for much of the time. But I could hear and half-understand the doctor's comments -- explaining things to my parents.

I could hear the hope and faith as clearly as the anxiety and the anguish that filled the room.

Allah bless my parents. What amazing parents they were. What towers of strength, and what models of compassion and love and service and tenderness. And how they tended to me every minute of every day for all those many days.

I remember every spoon of super-dilute coffee that was scooped into my throat every morning. And every sip of orange juice and drop of clear chicken soup. 

And that was all my food -- for days and days on end. I was on liquid diet. Lying on my back in bed all the time.

And then -- at the end of several extended and very long days -- Allah restored my health. I began to heal and very slowly I began to recover my strength. A most miraculous recovery, some would say.

It was a new life for me. Not a question about that. And I was a new child for my parents. I am sure that is how they looked at it.

But then, there was another boy I used to know. Roughly same age as me. Or maybe a bit older. From a very good home as they say. Great people, his parents. 

He too was taken ill by the same ailment, during the same period of time. And he was in the house right next to ours.

Later on I was to learn that he succumbed to the ailment that was known to be fatal in many instances. 

So, two young boys fall ill with the same condition. One survives. The other dies.

Conclusion is clear as it can be: For lack of a better explanation, Allah decides! Exactly as Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, said: 

"Allah gives and takes at will."

And then this parent-child dynamic gets even more complicated. Case in point: The story of Hazrat Ibrahim, Alaihis Salam, and Hazrat Ismaaeel, Alaihis Salam, together, unleashing a most far-reaching revolution on earth. For all times to come.

And what an amazing story it is! And what an extraordinary revolution that was in all of human life and affairs.

While others will learn, as they have done for all these centuries and millennia, what they will, and what Allah has destined for them, I ended up imbibing my first, and in many ways my last, political lesson from this story.

The lesson of uncompromising human liberty and political freedom! 

The gift from God Almighty of unshakable, and the most inalienable, human right to freedom of belief and conscience.

And, listen to this, the right to elect your own rulers and to choose your own government and to give expression to your political will absolutely untrammeled by any fear of consequences or reprisal.

In a word, I learned about Democracy and Elections and Consent of the Governed. Everything else I learned thereafter was icing on this cake. Mere details and specifics.

And the Sunnah and Ahaadeeth (plural for Hadith) of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, came as a commentary and as a practical illustration, and as an instantiation and elaboration of this fundamental notion of supreme human liberty and freedom.

So, I did not learn my politics from Plato and Aristotle; or from Hobbes and Weber; or from Durkheim and Marx; or from Voltaire and Jefferson; or from Milton and Locke and Mill; or from Paine and Lincoln, but from the lives of Sayyidina Ibrahim, Ismaaeel and Muhammad, Alaihimus Salam

And I learned them when I was still only a child, even though as I grew older, and was privileged to study all these others, and many like and unlike them like Sun Tzu (of the Art of War) and Machiavelli (of Prince), I understood these things better and in greater practical depth and complexity.

And I learned them, as a child, from the Qur'an in the brief but far-reaching exchange between father and son: Ibrahim and Ismaaeel, Alaihimas Salam -- the father a most senior prophet and messenger of God, and the son barely able to run and play, but destined to be a messenger and prophet of God himself.

First, the story, as the Qur'an reports it:

Allah gave Ibrahim, Alaihis Salam, a boy. And that was when Hazrat Ibrahim, Alaihis Salam, was a man of advanced years. It was a most amazing miracle, the birth of this child, Ismaaeel, Alaihimas Salam.

Then, Allah suddenly asks Ibrahim, Alaihis Salam, to do something, which must have been as bone-chilling and incomprehensible in those times as it sounds today: 

God asks Ibrahim, Alaihimas Salam, to return his child to him by slaughtering the child like a sacrificial lamb.

As this transpires, neither father nor son bat an eye. 

They both say: "Of course! Let it be so!"

Please read the following Aayaat (plural for Aayat) in the Qur'an

Yaa Bunaiyya,
Innee Ara Fil Manaami 
Annee Adhbahuka. 

Fanzur Maa Dhaa Taraa. 

Yaa Abatif'al Maa Tu'mar. 
Sa-Tajidunee Inshallahu Minas Saabireen. 


"My son!
I saw a dream in which I found myself slaughtering you."

"Now, what is your view of the matter?"

"What Do You Think?"

The son said:

"Father, do what you are being commanded to do.
God Willing, you will find me strong and patient.
And I will fully cooperate with you in carrying out your Divine Mandate."

I was but a boy when I first read those Aayaat. They totally swept me away then and they do so even now. 

I never forgot them. And I never got over them. To me, human language does not contain an expression more revolutionary and more profound than these words by Ibrahim, Alaihis Salam:

Fanzur Maa Dhaa Taraa.


"Now, what is your view of the matter?"

"What Do You Think?"

These blessed words changed human history. And they certainly changed my life, but a boy as I was when I first read them, and they penetrated my consciousness.

These blessed words ushered in one of the greatest revolutions on earth: revolution of freedom of thought, mind, belief and conscience. And they hold in them the secret to all of human civilization. 

I never stopped thinking about these words all these decades. 

The reward for Hazrat Ibrahim, Alaihis Salam, was that Allah declared him to be the undisputed leader of the human race for all time, especially of those among humans who are of the more decent, civilized and God-fearing bent of mind, as distinct from human trash.

The chief qualification of Hazrat Ibrahim, Alaihis Salam, was that his life was totally dedicated to Allah. It was before this incident. And it remained so after this incident. 

The Qur'an portrays the situation well:

Inna Salaatee wa Nusukee, 
Wa Mahyaaya Wa Mamaatee, 
Lillahi Rabbil Aalameen. 

Laa Shareeka Lahu.


"My prayers and my sacrifice,
And my entire life and my death,
Are all for Allah, 
the Master of the Worlds.

And I do not split up my life and my love and loyalty with anyone.

This is what I was commanded to do,
And I am the first to submit and to comply,
Regardless of whether anyone else does so or not."

So, forgive me for this long note. But this is the event that was immortalized -- no one but Allah is immortal of course -- in human history and life as the Annual Celebration of Hajj.

And that is why whenever the Hajj season rolls around, I want to say to the whole world, and not just to Muslims:

"Welcome to Allah's blessings!
And welcome to the Sunnat of Hazrat Ibrahim, Alaihis Salam!

And welcome to an Indomitable Life of Liberty and Freedom in this world for as long as we live."

For, a life without Liberty is not worth living!

And that is Islam!