Was Azar the Father of Prophet Abraham?
Surah Al Anaam - Verse 74
And when Ibrahim said to his sire, Azar : Do you take idle for
gods ? Surely I see you and your people in manifest error.
Surah Al Tauba - Verse 114
And Ibrahim asking forgiveness for his sire was only owing to
a promise that he made to him; but when it became clear to him
that he was an enemy of Allah, he declared himself to be clear
of him; most surely Ibrahim was very tenderhearted and forbearing.
In the above verses, the word ' Ab ' has been used for Azar. However, 'Ab'
has different meanings and does not necessarily mean 'Walid' (biological
The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) has said that the essence of his existence had been transmitted and ultimately conveyed to his immediate parents through a PURE, a Holy and Sanctified Progeny.
Now the word ' Ab ' in Arabic language may mean father as well as ancestor
or even uncle as Ishmael ( Ismail ) the uncle of Jacob ( Yaqoub ) has been
addressed as ' Ab ' in the following Quranic verse ...
Nay ! were you witnesses when death visited Yaqoub, when he said
to his sons : What will you serve after me ? They said : Well
will serve your God and the God of your fathers, Ibrahim and Ismail
and Ishaq, one God only, and to Him do we submit. [ 2 : 113 ]
Since Ishmael was not the father of Jacob, and yet Quran uses the word 'Ab'
for him as uncle, then the usage of this word for other than biological father is established...
Besides Prophet Abraham prays for his biological father (Walid) along with the other believers, which clearly indicates that his biological father was not a polytheist. This is evident from the following Quranic verse ...
O our Lord ! grant me protection and my parents (Walidayn) and the
believers on the day when the reckoning shall come to pass. [14:41]
But what is surprising, that knowing for fact Ibrahim's (as) father was 'Tarakh' and not 'Azar'
Ibn Katheer in his work on history writes:
Ibrahim (as) was the son of Tarakh. When Tarakh was 75 years of age, Ibrahim ( as ) was born to him.
Reference: al-Bidaya wan Nahaya, by Ibn Katheer, v 1 p 139
This is also confirmed by Imam Tabari, as he gives the lineage of Ibrahim's (AS)
family in his history collection, but then also in his Commentary of the Quran he states that 'Azar' was NOT the father of Ibrahim (AS).
- History of al-Tabari, v 1 p 119
- Tafsir Tabari, by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, v 7 p 158
Hazrat Ibrahim was born in 2160 B.C. He was the son of Tarih bin Nahur bin Saroj bin RaAo bin Filij bin Abar.
Hazrat Ibrahim had two brothers also, whose names were Nahur and Haran.
Hazrat Loot Alai Salaam was the son of Haran.
Hazrat Ibrahim had two brothers also, whose names were Nahur and Haran.
Hazrat Loot Alai Salaam was the son of Haran.
It is certain through verses and hadiths that all of the grandfathers of our Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) are clean believers. To say the opposite means to deny verses and hadiths.
In the 28th verse of the chapter At-Tawbah, it is stated that the polytheists are unclean. It is stated that all of the grandfathers of our Prophet (PBUH) are clean.
The following is stated in the chapter Ash-Shuara:Wa taqallubaka fissajidin.
That is, and thy movements among those who prostrate themselves. When the scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah interpreted that verse, they said all of his parents were believers. After the hadiths that state all of his grandfathers are clean believers reported, the following is stated at the beginning of the book Mawahib al-Ladunniyyah:
Ibn Abbas says:
"I transferred you from the generation of one prophet to the generation of another prophet. If a father had two sons, the Messenger of Allah descended from the one that had the prophethood."
The following is stated in a hadith: "You descend from the best men of each century." [Bukhari]
"Allah chose Kinana among the sons of Ismael, the Quraysh among the sons of Kinana and sons of Hashim among the Quraysh. And He chose me among them." [Muslim]
"I descend from the best people. My ancestors are the best people." [Tirmidhi]
"Allah chose me among the distinguished people of Arabia. I descend from the best people." [Tabarani]
"None of my grandparents committed fornication. I descend from the best fathers and clean mothers. If one of my grandfathers had two sons, I descended from the better one." [Mawahib]
"All of my ancestors beginning from Hazrat Adam were married couples. I am the best of you in terms of ancestors." [Daylami]
"I am the most honorable person among people. I am not saying it in order to boast." [Daylami]
[That is, I am informing you about the truth; it is my duty to inform you about the truth; if I do not mention it, I will be regarded to have failed to fulfill my duty.]
Those Hadiths and the verse in the chapter ash-Shuara indicate that all of the grandparents of our Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) are clean believers.
Since unbelievers are dirty, it is impossible for the father of Hazrat Ibrahim to become an unbeliever.
Mullah Jami says: "A holy light shone on the forehead of Hazrat Adam because he had a particle of Muhammad (PBUH). That particle was transferred to Hazrat Eve, to Hazrat Seth from her and then to clean women from clean men and to clean men from clean women. That holy light was transferred to foreheads from foreheads together with that particle." [Shawahid]
That Holy light was not transferred to an unbeliever or to a believer who committed fornication. Therefore, Azar was NOT the father of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS).
The name of Hazrat Ibrahim’s father was Taruh.
Azar was his uncle and stepfather.
In the 74th verse of the chapter al-Anam, the following is stated, "Ibrahim said to his father, Azar, ..." It is recorded in the interpretation of Baydawi that here the word father is used as atf al-bayan (an extra word to explain). When someone has two names, and when they are both used, it is understood that one of them is not famous but the second one is famous.
The second one is mentioned in order to clarify the ambiguity in the first one, which is not famous. The second one is called atf al-bayan.
Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) calls two people father. The first one is his own father, and the second one is his stepfather, who is also his uncle. According to the rules of laconic usage, rhetoric and fluency, the meaning of the verse is:
Ibrahim said to his father whose name was Azar. If it had not been so, it would have been enough to say, "He said to Azar” or "He said to his father."
If Azar had been his real father, the word “his father” would have been extra. We never say, “My father, Ali, is coming but we say, “My father is coming.”
In the Quran, the Uncle is called the Father.
Hazrat Ismael is the uncle of Hazrat Jacob (Yaqub). However, in the Quran, “your father Ismael” is used instead of “your uncle Ismael”. His children say to Hazrat Yaqub, " thy fathers―of Abraham Ismael and Isaac..." (al-Baqara, 2/133) that is, "your father Ibrahim, your father Ismael and your father Isaac...". As a matter of fact, Hazrat Ismael is Hazrat Yaqub’s uncle, not father. It is stated in the interpretations that in the Quran, the uncle is called the father.
It is customary to call the uncle, the stepfather, the father-in-law and charitable people as ‘father’ not only among Arabs but also among other nations.
We call people who help others as “father” or “father of the poor” figuratively. We also call old people “father” to show respect to them.
It is known that old people are called “Mother Aisha”, “Mother Fatima” or “Mother Haji”.
When we call them so, it does not mean that they are our fathers or mothers. They are used to show respect.
We also call old men “uncle”, “grandfather”, and old women “aunt”, “grandmother although they are not our relatives.
Accordingly, although the real father of Hazrat Yaqub (pbuh) was Hazrat Isaac, Hazrat Yaqub (pbuh) was addressed “your father Ismael” in the Quran.
In his book, Kitabud-darj-il-munifa, Imam Suyuti proves that Azar is Hazrat Ibrahim’s uncle with evidence and resources.
The Prophet Ibrahim- upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon him and their families, be Allah’s salaat and salaam- was the son of Terah. This is mentioned in Genesis 11:26-27, and Genesis 11:31.
Ibn Kathir confirms in his Stories of the Prophets that this is the correct and widely held belief among the historians and biographers. (1)
He also says that the majority of the genealogists, among whom is the Companion and most knowledgeable exegete of the Qur’an, Ibn Abbas- radi Allahu anh- are agreed that the name of Ibrahim’s father is Tareh, and that the People of the Book, the Jews and the Christians, pronounce it Tarekh. (2)
So if Ibrahim’s father is Terah/ Tareh/Tarekh, then who is Azar, who the Qur’an calls as his “father”?
In Sura Maryam, we are told how he called his “father” to the religion, but:
His father answered, “Abraham, do you reject my gods? I will stone you if you do not stop this. Keep out of my way!”
Abraham said: “Peace be with you: I will beg my Lord to forgive you- He is always gracious to me- but for now I will leave you, and the idols you all pray to, and I will pray to my Lord and trust that my prayer will not be in vain.” (Q 19: 46-49)
Then, as Ibn Kathir says, he asked Allah to forgive his father in his supplications, but when it became clear to him that he is the enemy of Allah, he disassociated himself from him, as the Qur’an says:
Abraham asked forgiveness for his father because he had made a promise to him, but once he realized that his father was an enemy of God, he washed his hands of him. Abraham was tender-hearted and forbearing. (Q 9: 114) (3)
Now, in Surat al-An’aam of the Qur’an, this “father” is called Azar.
Remember 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.” (Q 6: 74)
Likewise in a hadith narrated by the Imams Bukhari, Nasa’i, and al-Bazzar, we are told how:
Ibrahim will meet his father Azar on the Day of Rising, upon whose face is dust. Ibrahim will say to him: “Did I tell you not to disobey me?”
So his father will say to him: “Today I will not disobey you.”
So Ibrahim will say: “Oh Lord. You promised me not to disgrace me on the Day when all people are resurrected, so what disgrace is greater than that of my furthest father?”
So Allah will say: I have made Paradise forbidden for the kaafireen.”
This has led many, including Ibn Kathir, to believe erroneously that Azar is none other than Ibrahim’s father Tarekh, and that he possibly had two names, or one of them is a real name, and the other a nickname. (4)
However, this possibility is denied completely by the Qur’an itself, so that it is absolutely impossible.
As we have seen above, when Ibrahim, alayhi assalam, first became a Prophet, he called Azar to the faith, and Azar rejected it. Ibrahim left him, and continued to pray for his guidance, until it became clear to him that he is an enemy of Allah, after which he disowned him, disassociated himself from him, and washed his hands of him. He no longer asked Allah to forgive him, for the enemies of Allah will not be forgiven.
As the Qur’an itself says:
It is not fitting for the Prophet and the believers to ask forgiveness for the idolators- even if they are related to them- after having been shown that they are the inhabitants of the Blaze. Abraham asked forgiveness for his father because he had made a promise to him, but once he realized that his father was an enemy of God, he washed his hands of him.
(Q 9: 113-114).
The Qur’an is telling the Prophet and his Companions to learn from the example of Ibrahim, and to stop asking forgiveness for their disbelieving relatives. But in Surat Ibrahim, the Qur’an tells us that much later, after Ibrahim’s trials with his people, and his leaving his homeland, and after going to Mecca, and his eldest son Ismail had grown up and helped him build the Kaaba, he prayed to Allah:
Praise be to God, who has granted me Ishmael and Isaac in my old age: my Lord hears all requests! Lord, grant that I and my offspring may keep up the prayer. Our Lord, accept my request. Our Lord, forgive me, my parents, and the believers on the Day of Reckoning.
(Q 14: 39-41)
So here we see the Prophet Ibrahim, alayhi assalam, asking Allah to forgive his parents. This is decades after having abandoned prayers for Azar. This is clear proof that Azar is not the same person as Ibrahim’s actual father Tarekh. It shows that Tarekh and Ibrahim’s mother were believers.
Furthermore, we have here what in Arabic is known as atf: conjunction, or coupling. Ibrahim joined the believers to his parents in the du’a (5), as if he was saying:
“Forgive me, my parents and the rest of the believers.”
So why does Ibrahim call Azar his father in the Qur’an?
That is because in the Arabic language, and in the language of the Qur’an itself, a “father” could be the actual father of a person, or his ancestor, his uncle, or the person who raised or adopted someone.
The Qur’an tells us that when the Prophet Jacob was on his death bed, he said to his sons,
“What will you worship after I am gone?”
They replied, “We shall worship your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac, one single God: we devote ourselves to Him.” (Q 2: 133)
Here, the term “father” is used to describe Ya’qoob’s actual father Is-haaq, his grandfather Ibrahim, and his uncle Isma’il, alayhim assalam.
And so as the Qur’an calls Ismail the “father” of Ya’qoob, likewise it calls Azar the “father” of Ibrahim, when they are their uncles.
Another example is found in the story of our Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu alayhi wa aalhi wa sallam.
As is well known in the biographies and hadith collections, the Prophet, at the age of 12, traveled with his uncle, who had adopted him and raised him, to Syria for trade. There they met the monk Bahira, who recognized that the child is a Prophet.
He said to Abu Talib: What is this boy’s relation to you?
He replied: This is my son.
So Bahira replied: His father should not be alive.
So he said: My nephew.
Here we saw Abu Talib calling his nephew “my son.”
Likewise, the Prophet Muhammad called him his “father”.
“My father and your father are in the fire.”
As is narrated in the hadith collection of Imam Muslim, a man came to the Prophet and said: “Where is my father?”
So the Prophet replied: “In the fire.”
Then after the man walked away, the Prophet wanted to console him, so he said to him:
“My father and your father are in the fire.”
Here, the Prophet was referring to his uncle (Abu Lahab).
And his uncle Abu Talib who raised him.
Imam ul Haramain Syed Ahmed Dhelan Makki (RA) in his book:
“Asnal Matalib” proved the Imaan of Sayaduna Abu Talib.
Allama al-Kawthri mentioned in his editions of the letters (rasa'il) of Abu Hanifa, kept in Dar al-Kutub al-Misriyya, number 24205, that "There exists manuscripts of it in Maktabat al-Fatih in the Astana [in the Ottoman Impire/present day Turkey].
Seerah Ibn Hisham (collected by Ibn ishaq) is over 150 years older than Bukari-Muslim and his rijal are much more stronger (see Shibli Nomani and Abu zahra Shaykh of Al-Azhar's khatam un nabiyeen) inSeerah ibn Hisham it reports a hadith that Hazrat Abu Talib (RA) accepted Islam and read the kalima. This book is the first seerah book.
Shaykh-e-Muhaqqiq, Hazrat Shaykh Abdul Haq Muhaddis Dehalwi in Madaraj un Nabuwah: Read More: Here
How could he not believe when Bahira (the Monk) had told him that his nephew was to be a Prophet, and when Abu Talib composed many lines of poetry praising his nephew’s religion as the best religion!
The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) had said in the hadith narrated by Abu Nu’aym:
“Allah did not cease moving me from the tayyib backs/loins to the taahir wombs…no two branches branched out of a line except that I was in the best of them.”
As the scholars say, only the believing men and women are described as taahir, and this shows that all of his ancestors, fathers and mothers from Adam and Eve, to Ibrahim’s parents and Abdullah and Aminah were believers. (6)
We also saw the Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam, call the wife of Abu Talib, as “my mother,” just as he called Abu Talib his father. When she died and her grave was dug out, he, salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam, went into it, laid down on it, and prayed to Allah Most High:
“O Allah, forgive my mother Fatima bint Asad…by the right of Your Prophet, and the Prophets before me, for You are the Most Merciful of the merciful.” (7)
Thus, Azar, as the Qur’an, the Seera of our Prophet, and the hadiths all show, was Ibrahim’s uncle. It’s possible that Ibrahim was raised by his uncle just as our Prophet Muhammad was raised by his uncle, and as our Prophet Muhammad said, no one was more similar to Ibrahim then he himself.
This is also a possible explanation of Ibrahim’s describing him on the Day of Judgment as “my furthest father”. Some interpreted to mean that he is far away from me, because he is a disbeliever, but it is possible that it means that he is not his actual father, but one step away from that: his uncle.
And had Ibrahim been the flesh-and-blood son of Azar, Azar would not have said to him:
“Abraham, do you reject my gods? I will stone you if you do not stop this. Keep out of my way!”
Would someone stone his own flesh and blood?
Furthermore, when Azar had rejected Ibrahim’s call, Ibrahim prayed to God:
Forgive my father, for he is one of those who have gone astray, and do not disgrace me on the Day when all people are resurrected. (Q 26: 86-86)
Notice that he only asked forgiveness for one person. Had his parents been disbelievers, he would not have asked forgiveness only for his father and not for his mother.
And likewise in the hadith of Bukhari mentioned above, Ibrahim says:
“Oh Lord. You promised me not to disgrace me on the Day when all people are resurrected, so what discgrace is greater than that of my furthest father?”
Had Ibrahim’s actual parents been disbelievers, Ibrahim’s mother would have been mentioned as well. Instead, only one person is mentioned.
This all shows that this one person could not have been his actual father. For Ibrahim prayed for the believers and among them especially his parents in his old age by saying:
Our Lord, forgive me, my parents, and the believers on the Day of Reckoning. (Q 14: 41)
This verse, as we discussed above, is alone absolute proof that his parents where believers, and that the person Ibrahim stopped asking Allah’s forgiveness for was someone else- his uncle.
1) Ibn Kathir, Qisas al-Anbiyaa’, Beirut and Damascus: Dar al-Khayr, 1997, p. 117.
2) Ibid, p. 120.
4) Ibid, p. 120-1.
5) Saleh al-Ja’fari, As-Seera al-Nabawiyya al-Muhammadiyya, Cairo: Dar Jawami’ al-Kalim, 1993, p. 15.
6) Hasan al-Adawi al-Hamzawi, An-Nafahat ash-Shadhliyya fee Sharh al-Burda al-Busiriyya, Beirut: Dar Al-Kotob al-Ilmiyah, 2005, p. 34.
7) Narrated by at-Tabarani, Abu Nu’aym, and al-Haythami among others.
Who Is Father of Hazrat Ibrahim (Alihe Salam)
watch video: Here
(Edited by ADHM)
1st Jan 2012