Chapter Two: The Cow (Al Baqara)
Or were you witnesses when the death came to Jacob, when he said to his children :"What will you worship after me?" They said: "We will worship your God, and the God of your fathers, Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac, the One God, and to Him do we submit."
(Chapter 2: Verse 133)
Jacob (peace be upon him) asked his children: "What will you worship after me?" They said: "We will worship your God, and the God of your fathers, Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac, the One God, and to Him do we submit." This verse, and more specifically, the phrase 'the One God' shows us the pure lineage of prophecy. God is One and He will never change; the same God prophet Abraham worshiped until his death, and then prophet Jacob, his sons and so on.
This verse also holds the key to the lineage of our beloved prophet Muhammad. He (peace be upon him) said: "I am the master of the son of Adam", and in another Hadith He said: "I come from the purest lineage, and I say that with humility"
Prophet Muhammad is referring to a lineage pure in their worship of the One God; none deviated from it throughout the generations. And the verse under study helps us understand the prophet's heritage. Let's explore this further: In the sixth chapter of the noble book, God narrates the story of Abraham who had a deep discussion with his father in regards to the issue of creed. God says:
And recall when Abraham said to his father, Azar, ‘How can you take idols as gods? I see that you and your people have clearly gone astray.’ (06:74)
At first glance, this verse seems to be in direct contradiction with prophet Muhammad's claim that he (peace be upon him) descended from a pure monotheistic lineage. If Azar -the father of Abraham- was a disbeliever and an idol worshipper, then how can this be correct? The answer lies within the precise words of Quran. If the Quran had said: ‘when Abraham said to his father' and then stopped -omitting the name Azar- then Abraham's biological father would have been intended by it. But the fact that the Quran specified a name: Azar, tells us that there is more to be learned.
The word 'father' has different indications -not necessarily limited to the biological father-. In the Arabic language, it can be used for an ancestor, an uncle, or a step-father. For example, you knock on the door of your friend’s house, and a child opens the door. You ask her ‘Is your father home?’ The child knows that you mean her dad. You do not specify a name because every child knows her father, and will not make a mistake in understanding who is meant by your question. But if you mean to ask the child about the whereabouts of her step-father or her uncle, you would need to say ‘Is your father Michael here?’ The word 'father' can be used for an uncle or a step father because he holds a similar status, especially if the biological father has died.
Here you may ask: what is the proof that the word father can be used for uncle? How do we know that the verse is referring to an uncle of Abraham named Azar? We answer that the proof can be found in the verse under study -verse 133 of The Cow-. The verse proves that the word ‘father’ may refer to father, a grandfather, or even an uncle. Listen to God's words: 'Or were you witnesses when the death came to Jacob, when he said to his children :"What will you worship after me?" They said: "We will worship your God, and the God of your fathers, Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac' Note that after mentioning the word 'fathers,' Allah specified who is included under this word naming each person individually. The word 'fathers' was used for Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac. Isaac was the biological father, Abraham was the grandfather, and Ishmael was the uncle. All (peace be upon them) were included under the word fathers.
Now, when you read the Quran referring to the father of Abraham, you understand that the person named Azar was not Abraham's biological father, rather he was his uncle. The Quran specified him by name, so you and I understand that the word 'father' was not referring to the biological father of Abraham. Keeping this in mind, we understand the narrations of Prophet Muhammad informing us that he has descended from pure and believing lineage.
The children of Jacob knew Abraham and Isaac, but Ishmael -who was the eldest by 14 years- lived in Mecca far away from them. Yet all of them -and all the prophets and messengers- shared the worship of the One true God.