Wa izib talaaa Ibraaheema Rabbuho bi Kalimaatin fa atammahunna qaala Innee jaa'iluka linnaasi Imaaman qaala wa min zurriyyatee qaala laa yanaalu 'ahdiz zaalimeen
And [mention, O Muhammad], when Abraham was tried by his Lord with commands and he fulfilled them. [Allah] said, "Indeed, I will make you a leader for the people." [Abraham] said, "And of my descendants?" [Allah] said, "My covenant does not include the wrongdoers."
Remember, when his Lord tried Abraham by a number of commands which he fulfilled, God said to him: "I will make you a leader among men." And when Abraham asked: "From my progeny too?" the Lord said: "My pledge does not include transgressors."
Ahmed Raza Khan
And (remember) when Ibrahim’s (Abraham’s) Lord tested him in some matters and he fulfilled them; He said, “I am going to appoint you as a leader for mankind”; invoked Ibrahim, “And of my offspring”; He said, “My covenant does not include the unjust (wrong-doers).”
(You refuse to believe in and follow Muhammad chiefly because Prophethood was not retained with you and so he did not appear amongst you. Now, you surely do admit Abraham’s Prophethood, so) remember that his Lord tested Abraham with commands and ordeals (such as his being thrown into a fire, the destruction of the people of his kinsman Lot, and his being ordered to sacrifice his son Ishmael), and he fulfilled them thoroughly. He said: "Indeed I will make you an imam for all people." He (Abraham) pleaded: "(Will You appoint imams) also from my offspring?" He (his Lord) answered: "(I will appoint from among those who merit it. But) My covenant does not include the wrongdoers."
Amatul Rahman Omar
(Recall) when his Lord put Abraham to test with certain commandments, so he carried them out. (God) said, `Verily, I will make you an Imâm (- a religious leader) for the good of the people.´ (Abraham) said (inquiringly), `And from among my progeny (too, do You promise to raise leaders)?´ (God) said, `(Yes, but) My (this) covenant does not embrace the wrongdoers.´
A. J. Arberry
And when his Lord tested Abraham with certain words, and he fulfilled them. He said, 'Behold, I make you a leader for the people.' Said he, 'And of my seed?' He said 'My covenant shall not reach the evildoers.'
Abdul Majid Daryabadi
And recall what time his Lord Proved Ibrahim with certain words then he performed them. He said: verily I am going to make thee a leader unto mankind. Ibrahim said: and also of my progeny? Allah said: My covenant shall not reach the wrong-doers.
And (remember) when Ibrahim’s (Abraham’s) Lord tested him in some matters and he fulfilled them; He said, "I am going to appoint you as a leader for mankind"; invoked Ibrahim, "And of my offspring"; He said, "My covenant does not include the unjust (wrong-doers)."
Hamid S. Aziz
And remember when his Lord tried Abraham with words, and he fulfiled them, He said, "Verily, I will set you as an Imam (high priest, leader, model, example, guide) for the nations." Said he, "And of my seed also?" Allah said, "My covenant touches not the evildoers."
Hilali & Khan
And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim (Abraham) [i.e., Allah] tried him with (certain) Commands, which he fulfilled. He (Allah) said (to him), "Verily, I am going to make you a leader (Prophet) of mankind." [Ibrahim (Abraham)] said, "And of my offspring (to make leaders)." (Allah) said, "My Covenant (Prophethood, etc.) includes not Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers)."
And when his Lord tested Abraham with certain words, and he fulfilled them. He said, “I am making you a leader of humanity.” He said, “And my descendants?” He said, “My pledge does not include the wrongdoers.”
And when Abraham`s Lord tested (him) with words/expressions, so He completed them, (He) said: "That I am making you to the people a leader/example ." He (Abraham) said: "And from my descendants?" He said: "The unjust/oppressors do not receive/obtain My promise ."
Abul Ala Maududi
Recall to mind that when his Lord put Abraham to test in certain things and he fulfilled all of them, He said, "I am going to make you the leader of mankind." Abraham humbly asked, "Does this promise apply to my descendants also?" He replied, "My promise does not apply to the transgressors."
Maulana Mohammad Ali
And when his Lord tried Abraham with certain commands he fulfilled them. He said: Surely I will make thee a leader of men. (Abraham) said: And of my offspring? My covenant does not include the wrongdoers, said He.
And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim (Abraham) tried him with (certain) commands, which he fulfilled. He (Allah) said (to him), "Verily, I am going to make you an Imam (a leader) for mankind (to follow you)." (Ibrahim) said, "And of my offspring (to make leaders)." (Allah) said, "My covenant (prophethood) includes not Zalimin (polytheists and wrongdoers)."
Mohammed Marmaduke William Pickthall
And (remember) when his Lord tried Abraham with (His) commands, and he fulfilled them, He said: Lo! I have appointed thee a leader for mankind. (Abraham) said: And of my offspring (will there be leaders)? He said: My covenant includeth not wrong-doers.
Ali Quli Qarai
When his Lord tested Abraham with certain words and he fulfilled them, He said, ‘I am making you the Imam of mankind.’ Said he, ‘And from among my descendants?’ He said, ‘My pledge does not extend to the unjust.’
Qaribullah & Darwish
And when Abraham was tested by His Lord with certain words and he fulfilled them, He said: 'I have appointed you as a leader for the nation' (Abraham) asked: 'And of my descendants' 'My covenant' said He, 'the harmdoers shall not receive it'
When his Lord tested Abraham's faith, (by His words) and he satisfied the test, He said, "I am appointing you as the leader of mankind." Abraham asked, "Will this leadership also continue through my descendants?" The Lord replied, "The unjust do not have the right to exercise My authority."
Mohammad Habib Shakir
And when his Lord tried Ibrahim with certain words, he fulfilled them. He said: Surely I will make you an Imam of men. Ibrahim said: And of my offspring? My covenant does not include the unjust, said He.
When his Lord tested Abraham with certain commands and he fulfilled them, He said, "I will make you a leader of men." Abraham asked, "And what of my descendants?" He answered, "My covenant does not extend to the transgressors."
Abdullah Yusuf Ali
And remember that Abraham was tried by his Lord with certain commands, which he fulfilled; He said; "I will make thee an Imam to the Nations." He pleaded; "And also (Imams) from my offspring!" He answered; "But My Promise is not within the reach of evil-doers."
And, mention, when his Lord tested, tried, Abraham (Ibrhm; also read Ibrhm) with certain words, with certain commands and prohibitions with which He charged him; it is said that these included the rituals of the Pilgrimage, the rinsing of the mouth, snuffing up water into the nostrils [to clean them], cleaning of the teeth, trimming facial hair, combing of the hair, trimming the fingernails, shaving armpit and pubic hair, circumcision and washing one's private parts after elimination; and he fulfilled them, he performed them thoroughly; He, God, exalted, said, to him; `I make you a leader, an exemplar in religion, for the people.' Said he, `And of my seed?', my progeny, make leaders [from among them]; He said, `My covenant, of leadership, shall not reach the evildoers', the disbelievers from among them; this indicates that [the covenant] will reach only those who are not evildoers.
Tafseer Ibn Kathir
Ibrahim Al-Khalil was an Imam for the People
Allah is informing us of the honor of Ibrahim Al-Khalil, who He made an Imam for the people, and a model to be imitated, because of the way he conducted himself and adhered to Tawhid. This honor was given to Prophet Ibrahim when he adhered to Allah's decisions and prohibitions. This is why Allah said,
وَإِذِ ابْتَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ رَبُّهُ بِكَلِمَاتٍ
And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim (i.e., Allah) tried him with (certain) commands.
This Ayah means, O Muhammad! Remind the idolators and the People of the Scriptures, who pretend to be followers of the religion of Ibrahim, while in reality they do not follow it, while you, O Muhammad, and your followers are the true followers of his religion; remind them of the commands and prohibitions that Allah tested Ibrahim with.
which he fulfilled.
indicating that Ibrahim implemented all of Allah's orders.
Allah said in another Ayah,
وَإِبْرَهِيمَ الَّذِى وَفَّى
And of Ibrahim (Abraham) who fulfilled (or conveyed) all that (Allah ordered him to do or convey). (53;37)
meaning, he was truthful and he was obedient to Allah's legislation.
Also, Allah said,
إِنَّ إِبْرَهِيمَ كَانَ أُمَّةً قَـنِتًا لِلَّهِ حَنِيفًا وَلَمْ يَكُ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
شَاكِراً لانْعُمِهِ اجْتَبَـهُ وَهَدَاهُ إِلَى صِرَطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
وَءاتَيْنَـهُ فِى الْدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَإِنَّهُ فِى الاٌّخِرَةِ لَمِنَ الصَّـلِحِينَ
ثُمَّ أَوْحَيْنَأ إِلَيْكَ أَنِ اتَّبِعْ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَهِيمَ حَنِيفًا وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
Verily, Ibrahim was an Ummah (or a nation), obedient to Allah, Hanif (i.e. to worship none but Allah), and he was not one of those who were Al-Mushrikin (polytheists), (He was) thankful for His (Allah's) favors. He (Allah) chose him and guided him to a straight path. And We gave him good in this world, and in the Hereafter he shall be of the righteous. Then, We have sent the revelation to you (O Muhammad saying);"Follow the religion of Ibrahim Hanif (Islamic Monotheism ـ to worship none but Allah) and he was not of the Mushrikin. (16;120-123)
قُلْ إِنَّنِى هَدَانِى رَبِّى إِلَى صِرَطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ دِينًا قِيَمًا مِّلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
Say (O Muhammad);"Truly, my Lord has guided me to a straight path, a right religion, the religion of Ibrahim, Hanifan, and Ibrahim (to worship none but Allah, alone) and he was not of Al-Mushrikin." (6;161)
مَا كَانَ إِبْرَهِيمُ يَهُودِيًّا وَلَا نَصْرَانِيًّا وَلَكِن كَانَ حَنِيفًا مُّسْلِمًا وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
إِنَّ أَوْلَى النَّاسِ بِإِبْرَهِيمَ لَلَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُ وَهَـذَا النَّبِىُّ وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَاللَّهُ وَلِىُّ الْمُوْمِنِينَ
Ibrahim was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a true Muslim Hanifan (Islamic Monotheism ـ to worship none but Allah alone) and he was not of Al-Mushrikin.
Verily, among mankind who have the best claim to Ibrahim are those who followed him, and this Prophet (Muhammad) and those who have believed (Muslims). And Allah is the Wali (Protector and Helper) of the believers. (3;67-68)
(with Kalimat (words)) which means,
"Laws, commandments and prohibitions."
`Words' as mentioned here, sometimes refers to what Allah has willed, such as Allah's statement about Maryam,
وَصَدَّقَتْ بِكَلِمَـتِ رَبَّهَا وَكُتُبِهِ وَكَانَتْ مِنَ الْقَـنِتِينَ
And she testified to the truth of the Words of her Lord, and (also believed in) His Scriptures, and she was of the Qanitin (i.e. obedient to Allah). (66;12)
"Words" also refers to Allah's Law, such as Allah's statement,
وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَةُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقاً وَعَدْلاً
And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. (6;115),
meaning, His legislation.
"Words" also means truthful news, or a just commandment or prohibition. For instance, Allah said,
وَإِذِ ابْتَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ رَبُّهُ بِكَلِمَاتٍ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ
And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim tried him with (certain) Words (commands), which he fulfilled,
meaning, he adhered to them.
قَالَ إِنِّي جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامًا
He (Allah) said (to him), "Verily, I am going to make you an Imam (a leader) for mankind (to follow you)."
as a reward for Ibrahim's good deeds, adhering to the commandments and avoiding the prohibitions.
This is why Allah made Ibrahim a role model for the people, and an Imam whose conduct and path are imitated and followed.
What were the Words that Ibrahim was tested with
There is a difference of opinion over the words that Allah tested Ibrahim with. There are several opinions attributed to Ibn Abbas.
For instance, Abdur-Razzaq said that Ibn Abbas said,
"Allah tested him with the rituals (of Hajj)."
Abu Ishaq reported the same.
Abdur-Razzaq also narrated that Ibn Abbas said that,
وَإِذِ ابْتَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ رَبُّهُ بِكَلِمَاتٍ
(And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim (Abraham) (i.e., Allah) tried him with (certain) commands) means,
"Allah tested him with Taharah (purity, ablution);
five on the head and five on the body.
As for the head, they are;
cutting the mustache,
rinsing the mouth,
inhaling and discarding water,
using Siwak and
parting the hair.
As for the body, they are;
trimming the nails,
shaving the pubic hair,
plucking under the arm and
washing with water after answering the call of nature."
Ibn Abi Hatim said,
"A similar statement was also reported from Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib, Mujahid, Ash-Sha`bi, An-Nakhai, Abu Salih, Abu Al-Jald, and so forth."
There is a similar statement that Imam Muslim narrated from Aishah who said that Allah's Messenger said,
عَشْرٌ مِنَ الْفِطْرَةِ
وَاسْتِنْشَاقُ الْمَاءِ وَقَصُّ الاْاَظْفَارِ
وَنَسِيتُ الْعَاشِرَةَ إِلاَّ أَنْ تَكُونَ الْمَضْمَضَة
Ten are among the Fitrah (instinct, natural constitution);
trimming the mustache,
growing the beard,
inhaling and then exhaling water (in ablution),
cutting the nails,
washing between the fingers (in ablution),
plucking the underarm hair,
shaving the pubic hair,
washing with water after answering the call of nature, (and I forgot the tenth, I think it was) rinsing the mouth (in ablution).
The Two Sahihs recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that the Prophet said,
Five are among the acts of Fitrah;
shaving the pubic hair,
trimming the mustache,
cutting the nails and
plucking the underarm hair.
This is the wording with Muslim.
Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn Abbas said,
"The words that Allah tested Ibrahim with, and that he implemented were;
abandoning his (disbelieving) people when Allah commanded him to do so,
disputing with Nimrod (king of Babylon) about Allah,
being patient when he was thrown in the fire (although this was extremely traumatic),
migrating from his homeland when Allah commanded him to do so,
patience with the monetary and material demands of hosting guests by Allah's command,
and Allah's order for him to slaughter his son.
When Allah tested Ibrahim with these words, and he was ready for the major test, Allah said to him,
أَسْلِمْ قَالَ أَسْلَمْتُ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
("Submit (be a Muslim)!" He said, "I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of all that exists." (2;131) although this meant defying and being apart from the people."
The Unjust do not qualify for Allah's Promise
Allah said that Ibrahim said,
قَالَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي
(Ibrahim) said, And of my offspring (to make leaders),
and Allah replied,
قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهْدِي الظَّالِمِينَ
My covenant (Prophethood) includes not Zalimin (polytheists and wrongdoers).
When Allah made Ibrahim an Imam (Leader for the faithful), he asked Allah that Imams thereafter be chosen from his offspring. Allah accepted his supplication, but told him that there will be unjust people among his offspring and they will not benefit from Allah's promise. Thus, they will neither become Imams nor be imitated (for they will not be righteous).
The proof that Ibrahim's supplication to Allah was accepted is that Allah said in Surah Al-Ankabut,
وَجَعَلْنَا فِى ذُرِّيَّتِهِ النُّبُوَّةَ وَالْكِتَـبَ
And We ordained among his offspring Prophethood and the Book. (29;27)
Hence, every Prophet whom Allah sent after Ibrahim were from among his offspring, and every Book that Allah revealed was to them.
As for Allah's statement,
قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهْدِي الظَّالِمِينَ
((Allah) said, "My covenant (Prophethood) includes not Zalimin (polytheists and wrongdoers)."
Allah mentioned that there are unjust people among the offspring of Ibrahim, and they will not benefit from Allah's promise, nor would they be entrusted with anything, even though they are among the children of Allah's Khalil (intimate friend, Prophet Abraham).
There will also be those who do good among the children of Ibrahim, and these it is who will benefit from Ibrahim's supplication.
Ibn Jarir said that this Ayah indicated that the unjust shall not be Imams for the people.
Moreover, the Ayah informed Ibrahim that there will be unjust people among his offspring.
Also, Ibn Khuwayz Mindad Al-Maliki said,
"The unjust person does not qualify to be a Khalifah, a ruler, one who gives religious verdicts, a witness, or even a narrator (of Hadiths).