Surah Ibrahim Ayat 37, 40 In Arabic
رَبَّنَا إِنِّي أَسْكَنْتُ مِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِي بِوَادٍ غَيْرِ ذِي زَرْعٍ عِنْدَ بَيْتِكَ الْمُحَرَّمِ رَبَّنَا لِيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ فَاجْعَلْ أَفْئِدَةً مِنَ النَّاسِ تَهْوِي إِلَيْهِمْ وَارْزُقْهُمْ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَشْكُرُونَ ﴿37﴾
رَبِّ اجْعَلْنِي مُقِيمَ الصَّلَاةِ وَمِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِي ۚ رَبَّنَا وَتَقَبَّلْ دُعَاءِ ﴿40﴾
Surah Ibrahim Ayat 37, 40 Transliteration
(37) Rabbanaaa inneee askantu min zurriyyatee biwaadin ghairi zee zar’in ‘inda Baitikal Muharrami Rabbanaa liyuqeemus Salaata faj’al af’idatam minan naasi tahweee ilaihim warzuqhum minas samaraati la’allahum yashkuroon
(40) Rabbij ‘alnee muqeemas Salaati wa min zurriyyatee Rabbanaa wa taqabbal du’aaa’
Surah Ibrahim Ayat 37, 40 Translation
(37) Our Lord! Lo! I have settled some of my posterity in an uncultivable valley near unto Thy holy House, our Lord! that they may establish proper worship; so incline some hearts of men that they may yearn toward them, and provide Thou them with fruits in order that they may be thankful.
(40) My Lord! Make me to establish proper worship, and some of my posterity (also); our Lord! and accept my prayer.
Surah Ibrahim Ayat 37, 40 Explanation
Brimming with wisdom, there is another prayer of Sayyidna Ibrahim (علیہ السلام) which appears in the third verse (37) as follows: رَّبَّنَا إِنِّي أَسْكَنتُ مِن ذُرِّيَّتِي بِوَادٍ غَيْرِ ذِي زَرْعٍ عِندَ بَيْتِكَ الْمُحَرَّمِ رَبَّنَا لِيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ فَاجْعَلْ أَفْئِدَةً مِّنَ النَّاسِ تَهْوِي إِلَيْهِمْ وَارْزُقْهُم مِّنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَشْكُرُونَ : ‘Our Lord, I have settled some of my children in a valley of no vegetation [ nor any other obvious life support system ] close to Your sanctified House, so that, Our Lord, they may establish Salah. So, make hearts of a number of people yearn towards them [ to make them familiar with each other ], and provide them with fruits, so that they may be grateful.’
The event which marks the making of this prayer by Sayyidna Ibrahim (علیہ السلام) goes back to the time when Allah Ta’ ala intended to have the edifice of Baytullah which was destroyed in the Deluge during the time of Sayyidna Nuh علیہ السلام reconstructed. He chose His ‘friend,’ Sayyidna Ibrahim (علیہ السلام) for this mission, arranging for him to migrate from Syria with wife, Sayyidah Hajira and son, Sayyidna Ismail (علیہ السلام) and settle down in that barren place. This he was appointed to do.
It appears in the Sahih of Al-Bukhari that Sayyidna Ismail (علیہ السلام) was an infant at that time. Sayyidna Ibrahim (علیہ السلام) ، as ordered, had him “ Ismail (علیہ السلام) “ and his mother, Sayyidah Hajira stay near the present Baytullah and the well of Zamzam. At that time, this place was an open and barren ground surrounded by hills. There was no water and no habitation in sight. Sayyidna Ibrahim (علیہ السلام) had thoughtfully put some food in a provi-sion-bag and water in a water-bag.
Thereafter, Sayyidna Ibrahim (علیہ السلام) was commanded to return to Syr¬ia. The spot where he received this command was the spot from where he started his journey as commanded. That there was the natural effect of having to leave his wife and infant son in this wilderness on him will become evident from the prayer which he made a little later, but he did not tolerate the idea of making the least delay in carrying out the Divine command, not even for a few moments which he could have used to inform Sayyidah Hajira and say a few words of comfort to her.
As a result, when Sayyidah Hajira saw him going away, she repeatedly called from behind him wondering why would he leave them in that manner and in a place which had no human being around nor was there anything which could help them survive. But, the ‘friend’ of Allah did not look back. Thereupon, Sayyidah Hajira realized that one who is the ‘friend’ of Allah cannot betray them in that manner. Perhaps, this is nothing but a command from Allah Ta` ala. So, she called again and asked: ‘Has Allah Ta` ala commanded you to leave this place?’ Sayyidna Ibrahim (علیہ السلام) turned his face and said: ‘Yes.’ Hearing this, Sayyidah Hajira said: ‘ اِذاً لَا یُضَیِّعُنَا ‘ that is, ‘Now it does not matter. Our Master, who has commanded you to leave this place, will certainly not let us be wasted away.’
Sayyidna Ibrahim (علیہ السلام) kept going ahead until he reached close to a hill from where he could no more see Sayyidah Hajira and Sayyidna Ismail علیہ السلام . That was the time when he turned his attention
towards Baytullah and prayed in the words mentioned in the verse1 (37). Many religious instructions and rulings issue forth from this prayer of
- According to this interpretation, it is only the prayer mentioned in Verse (37) that was made at this time. As for the prayer mentioned in the verse (35) it was made at a later stage, when Makkah was already a populated city. Therefore, there is no contradiction between this state¬ment and the comment made on the verse 35. (Editor)
Sayyidna Ibrahim علیہ السلام . These are being taken up in some details as given below.
The Wisdom of Sayyidna Ibrahim’s Prayer
- We see that Sayyidna Ibrahim (علیہ السلام) has accomplished two things very distinctly. On the one hand, he fulfills his obligation to his status as the Khalil or Friend of Allah. When and where he was commanded to leave for the country of Syria, he took no time in leaving his wife and in¬fant son in a desolate wilderness. When he was saying yes to the Divine command, he did not show the least hesitation. He did what he was asked to do right away. He did not tolerate the idea of postponing or de-laying even to the natural limit whereby he would first go to his blessed wife, say some words of comfort to her and tell her that he is under Divine orders to leave about which she should not worry. This he did not do. What he did was: When and where came the Divine command, he obeyed it and moved ahead right on.
On the other hand, he did not neglect the rights of his family on him and paid the debt of their love in his own way. Once he could see them no more from behind a hill on his way, he prayed before Allah Ta’ ala that they be protected and blessed with peace. Thus, he had asked good life for them because he was confident, and at peace with himself. He knew that a prayer made after having carried out the Divine command first would never be rejected by the merciful Lord. And this is what hap¬pened actually. The helpless infant and his equally helpless mother found shelter. Not only that they settled there all alone and by them-selves, a whole city flowered with people around them and for their sake; and furthermore, the matter did not end at the fulfillment of the needs of their lives lived in peace, but it is for their sake that the doors of all sorts of blessing are still open to the people of Makkah.
This is prophetic steadfastness, and the beauty of balance; when con¬sidering one aspect, they would never ignore the other. The prophets are not like common mystics who are overpowered by the state they are in (maghlub al-hal) مَغلُوب الحال . Prophets educate. It is their education which goes on to make man perfect, universal.
Now, let us go to some significant statements made in this prayer. They are from verse 37 and are being taken up in the order they appear there.
- غَيْرِ ذِي زَرْعٍ (valley of no vegetation): When Sayyidna Ibrahim was commanded by Allah Ta’ ala that he should leave his infant son and his mother in that barren land and go to Syria, he had become certain from the command itself that Allah Ta’ ala would not let them perish, in-stead, they would, at least, be provided with water somehow. That is why he did not say: بِوَادٍ غَيْرِ ذِي مَاء (in a valley with no water). What he said was: غَيْرِ ذِي زَرْعٍ (in a valley of no vegetation). Therefore, he requested that they be blessed with ‘fruits’ – even if they had to be brought in from some-where else. This is the reason why Makkah al-Mukarramah does not have any significant areas of cultivation even to this day. But, fruits from all over the world, the produce and product of things of all sorts reach there in such numbers and variety that it would be difficult to find a similar arrangement in many cities. (Al-Bahr Al-Muhit)
- The next sentence: عِندَ بَيْتِكَ الْمُحَرَّمِ (close to Your sanctified House) proves that the foundation of Baytullah had been laid out before the appearance of Sayyidna Ibrahim (علیہ السلام) as proved by the leading commenta¬tor, Al-Qurtubi on the authority of several narrations under his commen¬tary on Surah Al-Baqarah. According to him, the structure of Baytullah was first raised by Sayyidna Adam (علیہ السلام) at the time when he was sent to the earth and was made to reach at this place from the Mountain of Sa¬randip through a miracle. Angel Jibra’il (علیہ السلام) directed him to the site of Baytullah. Accordingly, Sayyidna Adam (علیہ السلام) raised its structure. He and his children used to do Tawaf round it until came the Deluge during the time of Sayyidna Nuh (علیہ السلام) when the sacred Baytullah was raised up (as trust), but its foundations remained embedded under the earth. Sayyidna Ibrahim (علیہ السلام) was commanded to build the Baytullah anew on the already existing foundations. These were identified and shown to him by Sayyidna Jibra’il (علیہ السلام) . After that, when this Abrahimic structure collapsed during the age of Arab Jahiliyyah, the Quraysh of that period rebuilt it. When its construction work was in progress, Abu Talib along with the Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم participated in it, which was before he was made prophet.
Here, Baytullah has been qualified as: مُحَرَّم (muharram) which means ‘sanctified,’ but could also mean ‘protected.’ The great Baytullah has both attributes. It has always been sanctified and esteemed, and always protected from enemies as well.
- The next statement: لِيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ (so that they may establish Salah) is significant in that it was the first prayer he made soon after mentioning the helplessness of his infant son and his mother. His prayer was that they be made particular and punctual in their obligation of Salah as due because Salah is a cumulative receptacle of everything good and blissful in life, mortal or eternal. This tells us that there can be no greater concern, or love or desire for the betterment of children than that they be made to become particular and punctual with their Salah. Finally, there is something here we should not miss to note. Though, Sayyidna Ibrahim (علیہ السلام) had left behind at that time and at that place only a mother and her child, but the prayer he made was in the plural form. This tells us that Sayyidna Ibrahim had come to know that this place will have a populated city of its own and the line of this child will flourish and go far in time. Therefore, he included all of them in his prayer.
- In the next sentence: أَفْئِدَةً مِّنَ النَّاسِ (hearts of a number of people), the word: أَفْئِدَةً (afidah) is the plural of: فُوَاد) which means heart. Here, the word: ‘afidah’ has been introduced in its indefinite form along with the particle: مِن (min) which is used for reducing, dividing and portioning. Hence, the meaning is: ‘make hearts of a number of people yearn to-wards them). Tafsir authority, Mujahid says: If this reductive particle was not there in this prayer, instead, said there would have been: أَفْئِدَةً النَّاسِ (hearts of the people), then, Muslims, non-Muslims, Jews, Chris¬tians, virtually people of the whole world from the East to West would have converged on Makkah, which would have become a cause of incon¬venience for them. It was in view of this reality that Sayyidna Ibrahim (علیہ السلام) ، in his prayer, used the words: ‘make hearts of a number of people yearn towards them.’
- In the next sentence: وَارْزُقْهُم مِّنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ (and provide them with fruits), the word: الثَّمَرَاتِ (ath-thamarat) is the plural of: ثَمَرَۃ (thamrah) which means fruit. Customarily, they refer to fruits which are eaten. Given that sense of ‘fruit,’ the prayer would mean: ‘provide them with all sorts of fruits to eat.’
However, ثَمَرَۃ thamrah or fruit is also used in the sense of outcome and produce which is more general than things edible. The outcome of everything beneficial can be called its thamrah or fruit. Thus, the fruits of industries would be their products. The fruit of a job or work would be the pay or wages received as a result. In a verse of Surah Al-Qasas, also used there is the expression ثَمَرَاتُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ (fruits [ or produce ] of all things – 28:57). Here, instead of using the word: ” شَجَرَ ” (shajar : tree), what has been used is the word: شَيْءٍ (sha’ii : thing). Perhaps, this may be indicating that for these people Sayyidna Ibrahim (علیہ السلام) has not simply prayed for the provision of fruits to eat. Rather, the prayer he has made is for the end product of everything which includes the products and produce and use-worthy things of all kinds, and again, with earnest pleading and humble plaint alongwith the recounting of praises for Allah Ta’ ala, then, this would be a manner in which it can be strongly hoped that the prayer will be answered.
[From Ma’ariful Quran English by Mufti Taqi Uthmani]
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