Friday, 13 April 2018

Abraham's Father Azar (Sura 6:74)

بسم الله الرحمـن الرحيم

والعاقبة للمتقين

It is written in the Quraan:

وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ لِأَبِيهِ آزَرَ أَتَتَّخِذُ أَصْنَامًا آلِهَةً ۖ إِنِّي أَرَاكَ وَقَوْمَكَ فِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ۞

And when said Abraham to his father Azar, “Do you take idols as gods? Indeed, I see you and your people in error manifest.”

(Sura 6: 74)
The fact that the Quraan apparently says that the great patriarch Abraham’s father was an idolater is not palpable to many Muslims. Those of the Barelwi sect, for example, claim that Abraham’s father was a true believer and unitarian. They argue that the individual named Azar mentioned in this Ayah was not Abraham’s father but rather his uncle. The word Ab can also refer to an uncle and does not necessarily always mean father. An example of this, from the Quraan itself, is when the sons of Jacob refer to Ishmael as being one from among his Aabaa or “fathers” (Sura 2: 133), while Ishmael was Jacob’s paternal uncle and not his father. Another argument is that in the Torah Abraham’s father is named Terah and not Azar (Genesis 11: 26). However, the Barelwis and others who make this weak argument fail to realize that the Hebrew Bible itself declares Abraham’s father – Terah – as having been an idolater: Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your ancestors, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods.” (Joshua 24: 2) The Talmud too confirms the fact that Abraham’s father was an idolater, who use to make and sell idols. As for the name of Abraham’s father, Allah Most High refers to him as “Azar” but it is certainly possible that this was his nickname and does not negate the fact that his given name was Terah. The orientalist George Sale, in his commentary of the Koran, wrote: “It may be observed that Abraham’s father is also called Zarah in the Talmud, and Athar by Eusebius.”

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