Think Like Ibrahim | The Essence of Surah Baqarah | Shaykh Akram Nadwi

By Shaykh Akram Nadwi

Both Sir Isaac Newton of Cambridge University and  Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) were great thinkers and great observers. They both observed natural phenomena and came up with amazing but different discoveries. Newton observed an apple falling from a tree and discovered gravity and forces of attraction. Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) observed the sun, the moon and the stars falling (or disappearing) and discovered their Creator and Sustainer and their purpose. This is the difference between Newton and Ibrahim. They were both great thinkers but Ibrahim’s thinking was far greater and deeper. This is precisely how Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) wants us to think –  like Ibrahim.

How do we train ourselves to think like Ibrahim?

Welcome to Surah Al-Baqarah.

Surat al-Baqarah is the longest and most comprehensive surah in the Qur’an. The foundation of the guidance of Surat al-Baqarah is iman/conviction, full trust in the Book and the Messenger to whom it was sent down. When this trust is securely established worship and obedience become natural, comfortable and comforting.

The Messenger has brought to us what is of benefit to us in all aspects of our lives. He has come to enlighten and purify us through the rulings and the manners of wisdom contained in his message. This message is not some strange novelty. Rather, this Messenger and all that he brought from His Lord are the answer to the supplication of our father Ibrahim, and its completed fulfillment.

This surah connects believers to Ibrahim and his family, whose iman was based on hanifiyyah, which means turning away from everything to God. The hanifiyyah of Ibrahim was gained through the most profound, determined enquiry, through reasoning and understanding, realisation and acceptance. When hanifiyyah is attained, true islam (submission) is attained. Without that effort, our islam cannot rise much above the level of a belonging and an identity. The islam of Ibrahim was not an islam of identity.

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God did not promise salvation to his creatures on the basis of a belonging or identity. We learn this through the accounts of those who reject the guidance or who accept it half-heartedly: the unbelievers, the hypocrites, and some of the People of the Book. This surah enables us to aspire to salvation whole-heartedly, and it teaches us how to connect iman and din, conviction and the religious life, so that we are worthy of its guidance and fully responsive to it.

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This two-year course represents a serious commitment to go through it in detail so that we understand the breadth and depth of the message of the Qur’an. The aim of tafsir is to connect inwardly and outwardly with the guidance of our Lord, so that we experience a direct relation with Him, and become fully aware of His grace and His mercy to us. A proper appreciation of His grace and mercy generates a strong resolve in our hearts and minds to worship Him and to live in this world in willing obedience to Him. This is the help and guidance that we ourselves asked our Lord to grant us in al-Fatihah, the surah of the Opening. Surat al-Baqarah is the response to that supplication. It inspires, informs, and urges us to worship God and obey Him according to the teaching and example of His Messenger. The study will be based on Shaykh Dr Mohammad Akram Nadwi’s own research and thinking as well as knowledge synthesized form the Tafsir of Tabari, Zamakshari, Farahi and others.

 

Watch a video explaining the essence of Surah Baqarah

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HjhndJlPRE[/youtube]

Mohammad Akram Nadwi

Cambridge Islamic College is offering a unique detailed Tafsir course of Surat al-Baqarah over two year tafsir.

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24 responses to “Think Like Ibrahim | The Essence of Surah Baqarah | Shaykh Akram Nadwi”

  1. cairn says:

    There is al little difference, Newton worked it all out by himself and it was true.
    Ibrahim just looked into koaran , there its written and fasle.
    The sun doesn’t circle the earth.
    And earth isnt like a carpet flat. :-)

    • Harry N dubs says:

      Hi Cairn

      As someone else has mentioned, you have indeed muddled up your facts. It happens but it’s important to hum me yourself to the correct facts and then base your views on those. Don’t worry, these things happen to all of us.

      The beautiful thing about this article on Islam21c is that we are encouraged and reminded to ponder and think. We have lost this today, and a society of non thinkers. We are told how to think, and what the basis of our thoughts should be on.

      People like Nikola Tesla once provided electricity for free but was made to rot in his New York appartment out of fear that charging people for electricity could be lost out on.

      We need to step out of the box of secular studies and re-ignite our curiosity and desire to help others. Being muslim isn’t about gang unity, rather submission to the oneness of Allaah (the Originator, the Creator, thr One True God).

      Ibrahim (may Allaah peace and blessings be upon him) did not have the Quran revealed to him. In fact this was revealed to prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) around 1430 years ago who was a Prophet sent by His Majesty, Allaah (glory be to Him) after Ibrahim (peace be upon him).

      Cairn, I encourage you to read the Quran open heartedly and ask someone of knowledge about any questions you may have.

      May Allaah guide you, I truely hope you are sincere.

      Peace

    • Harry N dubs says:

      Hi Cairn

      As someone else has mentioned, you have indeed muddled up your facts. It happens but it’s important to *humble yourself to the correct facts and then base your views on those. Don’t worry, these things happen to all of us.

      The beautiful thing about this article on Islam21c is that we are encouraged and reminded to ponder and think. We have lost this today, and a society of non thinkers. We are told how to think, and what the basis of our thoughts should be on.

      People like Nikola Tesla once provided electricity for free but was made to rot in his New York appartment out of fear that charging people for electricity could be lost out on.

      We need to step out of the box of secular studies and re-ignite our curiosity and desire to help others. Being muslim isn’t about gang unity, rather submission to the oneness of Allaah (the Originator, the Creator, thr One True God).

      Ibrahim (may Allaah peace and blessings be upon him) did not have the Quran revealed to him. In fact this was revealed to prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) around 1430 years ago who was a Prophet sent by His Majesty, Allaah (glory be to Him) after Ibrahim (peace be upon him).

      Cairn, I encourage you to read the Quran open heartedly and ask someone of knowledge about any questions you may have.

      May Allaah guide you, I truely hope you are sincere.

      Peace

    • Syed Hamza Abdullah says:

      Dear brother cairn- The Qur’an came 1000s of years AFTER Ibrahim a.s. It was sent to Muhammad s.m. Secondly, Ibrahim a.s. was thinking by himself – he didn’t receive prophethood or any formal divine message then- it was the time he logically came up with the proof of God’s existence, only by looking at the sun and the moon’s behavior- no book to support him.
      Read Surah 41 (Fussilat), verse 53 in the Qur’an, and relate the incidents. Lastly I would like to correct your biggest error which you must have hastily came up with without looking into the Qur’an- the Qur’an never said that the Sun circumambulates the Earth, neither that the Earth was flat. Know your facts. In fact the bible says the two points which you have imposed on the Qur’an. Please don’t say anything about Islam when you know nothing about it.

  2. Nikhat Sattar says:

    Cairn, you should get your facts right before making any comment. The Qura’n was not revealed thousands of years after Ibrahim’s death. He did not look into any book; he merely observed and reflected upon nature and the Being who must have created the world.

  3. Hassan says:

    In defense of Newton, he also recognized God from heavenly objects

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Isaac_Newton

    • Faisal says:

      There is an important difference though. Newton was born into to a religious family and culture where as Ibrahim was born into an ungodly culture and family. It was Ibrahim’s intellectual and moral courage that led him to his beliefs.

  4. AbuAbdirRahman says:

    we can’t compare apples to oranges. Ibrahim was a noble messenger and one of the best men to ever walk this earth. Why compare him to Newton.

    Anyways that is another point. The point of the article is to be like Ibrahim.

    • Faisal says:

      The point of the article is that they are both human beings with minds (not apples and oranges) and that the way they used their minds was different. The article is not about receiving revelation from God, it is about how Ibrahim used his mind even before he was made a messenger.

  5. mohd. iftekhar says:

    assalam alaikum
    nice article. Two thinking human beings observing the natural phenomena is the quality that differentiate man from beasts. One finds the answer for ‘HOW’ and another for WHO. The modern atheist scientists are obsessed with former only that has created a big ethical Vacuum in that society. A true wisdom lies in knowing what? how? who? and why? that answers the very question of purpose of our life and death. this is what Qur’an teaches you what is this universe like? who created it? and why?

  6. irf21 says:

    assalam alaikum, thanks for this article. i think this is most help full article.

  7. zaigham says:

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  8. Joel says:

    Salam aleykom,

    I find the beginning of this article very strange. Ibrahim (as) was given knowledge from Allah (swt), how can that be compared to a scientist and philosopher? Secondly Newton actually argued that nature and science was proof for the Creator. And he was an Arian Christian which means that he disbelieved in the doctrine of the trinity and believed in Allah (swt) alone, and of course Allah(swt) knows best.

    So I dont think this is fair to Newton, as he actually used his science to argue for God.

    / Joel

    • Shiraz says:

      Ibrahim (Abraham/Abram) first applied his mind to the phenomena of the ‘setting’ of planets/stars and came to the conclusion that the planets could not be ‘the Supreme Being’ and that ‘his people’ were not ‘worshiping’ the God that should be worshipped. It was after that, that he started receiving revelations. It was his preaching that antagonized ‘his people’ who wished to kill him. So, God told him to go to another place and convey the message to the people of that land.
      This is my understanding.

  9. Ahmed says:

    Jazakallah khair for informative article. keep sharing please.

  10. Sohaib says:

    Salam, can I submit an Islamic article, so that you can publish it?

  11. Abu Yusuf says:

    JazakAllah Khair for this article. Very interesting read. I have found out that Shaykh Akram Nadwi teaches here in the UK. There are two very good institutes:

    http://www.cambridgeislamiccollege.org/course/advanced-islamic-scholarship/

    and

    http://www.alsalaminstitute.org/advancedlevel/

    May Allah allow us all to take benefit.

  12. Assalam Alikum. awesome! Article . Jazakllah

  13. azher says:

    salam . dear muslimmatter i want to submit article on your site .is that possible

  14. jazakallah khariran katshira. great article. thanks and good job

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