Lesson From The Quran

Verses 133-134
أَمْ كُنْتُمْ شُهَدَاءَ إِذْ حَضَرَ يَعْقُوبَ الْمَوْتُ إِذْ قَالَ لِبَنِيهِ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِنْ بَعْدِي قَالُوا نَعْبُدُ إِلَهَكَ وَإِلَهَ آبَائِكَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ إِلَهًا وَاحِدًا وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ () تِلْكَ أُمَّةٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَلَكُمْ مَا كَسَبْتُمْ وَلَا تُسْأَلُونَ عَمَّا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ ()
Or were you present when death approached Yaqub, when he said to his sons: "What will you worship after me"? They said, "We will worship your God and the God of your fathers, Ibrahim, Isma'il and Ishaq, the one God, and to Him we submit ourselves." Those are a people who have passed away. For them what they earned, and for you what you earned. And you shall not be questioned as to what they have been doing.
The previous verses have defined the religion of Sayyidna Ibrahim (AS) and the essence of Islam. Now, these two verses bring before us another aspect of the question. Call it the religion of Sayyidna Ibrahim (AS) or Islam, it is in any case meant for the whole world. Then why have the descendants of Sayyidna Ibrahim and Sayyidna Ya'qub (AS) been specifically mentioned here, and why should have these two great prophets been so particular in giving this counsel to their sons? We shall say that these specifications show that love for one's progeny and solicitude for their well-being is in no way incompatible with the station of prophethood or even with that of "the Friend of Allah." For, Sayyidna Ibrahim (AS), who was, on one occasion, not only willing but happy to be sacrificing his son in obedience to the commandment of Allah, did on a different occasion pray for the well-being of his progeny in this world and the other, and wished, while departing from this world, to offer them what was the greatest blessing in his eyes - namely, Islam. Verses 132 and 133 suggest this very principle. So, even prophets love their children, the only difference being that while ordinary men consider the good things of this world alone to be worthwhile and wish to leave to their children as much of these as they can, in the eyes of the prophets and their genuine followers the only thing that counts is Iman (faith) and good deeds - in one word, Islam - and it is this eternal wealth which they wish and strive to transmit wholly to their descendants.
This practice of the prophets provides a special guidance to parents: just as they are keen to secure the worldly comfort and happiness of their children, they should pay equal, if not greater, attention to the discipline of their external and internal behaviour according to the requirements of the Shari'ah. Is it at all reasonable that one should strain every nerve to protect one's children from the heat of the sun, but leave them exposed to the fire of Hell?
From this example of the prophets we also learn that it is the duty of the parents and the right of the children that one should first of all take care of the spiritual health of one's own children, and worry about others only afterwards. This principle rests on three considerations. Firstly, one's children are, on account of the special relationship with the parents, likely to accept the counsel more easily and thoroughly than others, and may later on be of great help in the efforts which one makes in the service of Islam.
Secondly, the easiest and the most effective way of transmitting the Truth to a whole people is that the head of each family should take upon himself the responsibility of teaching and training the members of his family. Employing a current and popular term, we may say that this localized and decentralized method distributes the responsibility over a large number of individuals, and teaching the families separately amounts finally to teaching the society as a whole. Them Holy Qur'an itself has laid down the principle: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا : "O believers, guard yourselves and your families against a Fire." (66:6) In fact, the Holy Prophet (S) himself who is the Messenger of Allah for the whole of humanity and whose guidance shall remain valid upto the last day of the world, was commanded to convey the Truth first of all to the members of his family. Thus, the Holy Qur'an says: وَأَنْذِرْ عَشِيرَتَكَ الْأَقْرَبِينَ "And warn your clan, your nearest kin." (26:214) and وَأْمُرْ أَهْلَكَ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَاصْطَبِرْ عَلَيْهَا : "And bid your family to offer Salah, and be regular in them yourself." (20:132) And the Holy Prophet (S), always fulfilled these commandments.
Thirdly, one can observe for oneself that if the close relations or the members of his family do not support a man in what he wishes to teach, or do not seem to be acting upon it, his teachings do not succeed so well with others. When the Holy Prophet (S) took upon himself the prophetic function, the usual reply of his listeners was that he should first convince his own clan, the Quraysh, before turning to others. But when his own clan accepted Islam and the process had been completed at the time of the conquest of Makkah, the world saw, as the Holy Qur'an reports يَدْخُلُونَ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ أَفْوَاجًا : "People entering Allah's religion in throngs." (110:2)
The main reason for the ignorance and the indifference towards Islam which is wide-spread among the Muslims today, is that even when the parents themselves are good Muslims in every way, they leave their children to themselves and let the social environment mould them in its own fashion. Their only worry is to see their children doing well in this world, and they never think of what will happen to them in the next. Let us pray that Allah, in His mercy, grant all of us the solicitude for the other world, and help us to make a genuine effort for acquiring the only wealth that can ever be: faith and rectitude!
Injunctions and related considerations
Verse 133 reports that the sons of Sayyidna Ya'qub (Jacob) (AS) promised to worship وَإِلَهَ آبَائِكَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ :"The God of your father, Ibrahim and Isma'il and Ishaq." This phrase indicates that the term "father" includes the grand-father as well. The blessed Companion 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas (AS) has deduced from this verse the rule that in matters of inheritance the grandfather shall be treated like the father.
Verse 134 tells us that the good deeds of one's forefathers shall not suffice one, if one has not been performing good deeds oneself, and that, similarly, one shall not have to suffer for the misdeeds of one's forefathers, if one's own account is clean. It follows upon this principle that children of mushrikin (associators) and Kafirin (infidels), if they die before having come of age, shall not be punished in the other world on account of the disbelief of their parents. The verse also refutes the claim of the Jews that irrespective of what they had been doing they would go to Paradise on account of the good deeds of their forefathers.
Let this be a warning to those Muslims who, being the descendants of the Holy Prophet (S) or of a saint, delude themselves with the hope that their sins would go unpunished in consideration of this privileged position. In fact, the Holy Qur'an is very explicit and very insistent on this point. For example:
وَلَا تَكْسِبُ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ إِلَّا عَلَيْهَا وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَى
"Each man shall reap the fruits of his own deeds, and no one shall bear the burden of another" (6:164).
Addressing his own clan, the Holy Prophet (S) said:
"Beware, O Banu Hashim, let it not be that on the Day of Judgment while others bring their good deeds with them, you on your part, having neglected good deeds, bring with you only the trust in being my relations, and so I have to tell you that on that day, I cannot save you from the wrath of Allah."
Another hadith says: من بطابه عمله لم يسرع به نسبه : "He who has been pulled back by his deeds cannot be pushed forward by his ancestry."

Verses 135-136
وَقَالُوا كُونُوا هُودًا أَوْ نَصَارَى تَهْتَدُوا قُلْ بَلْ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ () قُولُوا آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالْأَسْبَاطِ وَمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَى وَعِيسَى وَمَا أُوتِيَ النَّبِيُّونَ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ ()
And they said, "Become Jews or Christians, and you will find the right path." Say: "Instead, (we shall remain) the followers of Ibrahim, the upright, - and he was not one of the associators." Say (O, Muslims): "We believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us, and in what has been revealed to Ibrahim, Isma'il, Ishaq, Ya'qub and his children, and in what has been given to Musa and 'Isa (Jesus) and what has been given to the prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between any of them. And to Him we submit ourselves."
The earlier verses have defined the religion (Millat) of Sayyidna Ibrahim (AS) and established that its present form is Islam. Now, the Jews and the Christians, in spite of their pretension to be his followers, did not in actual fact follow his religion. Each of these two groups, instead of accepting Islam, used to ask the Muslims to accept its own religion in order to find true guidance. No doubt, each of these two religions was, in its own time and for its own time, a genuine religion, but in its present form each had become distorted, and had also been abrogated by Allah. So, in answer to them, Allah asks the Holy Prophet (S) to declare on his own behalf and on that of his followers that they are and shall remain steadfast in the religion of Sayyidna Ibrahim (AS) who shunned all kinds of association (Shirk), who adored nothing but the One God and obeyed no one but Him, and whose religion, therefore, did not have even a trace of distortion. Then, in the second of these verses Allah asks the Muslims to declare the basic tenets of this religion too, which are as follows:- (1) Muslims believe in Allah and in the guidance which He has sent them through the Holy Prophet (S). (2) They also believe in all the prophets Allah has sent from time to time - some of whom have been mentioned in this verse. (3) Some of the prophets may in some ways be superior to others, but it is essential for a Muslim to believe in all the prophets without making any distinction. (4) Muslims believe that the Shari'ahs of all the prophets mentioned here were instituted by Allah Himself, but they have now been abrogated. So, Muslims follow the Shari'ah of the Holy Prophet (S), for this alone is now valid. (5) Muslims ultimately obey Allah alone, and submit themselves totally to Him.
In the second of these verses the progeny of Sayyidna Ya'qub (Jacob AS) has been described as 'Asbat or "tribes." The reason is that he had twelve sons, and the offspring of each son came to form a tribe. Allah so blessed his seed that in Egypt, Sayyidna Yusuf (Joseph AS) and his brothers made up a group of twelve men, but their lineage flourished, and when the Israelites left Egypt along with Sayyidna Musa (Moses), their number ran into thousands. Another form of this blessing was that the progeny of Sayyidna Ya'qub (AS) included a large number of prophets.