Did Abraham have Doubt about God’s Reviving the Dead?
The second point regarded as a fault or lapse on the part of Abraham is that he appealed to God to show him how He revives the dead. Concerning this, the Qur’an says:
Behold! Abraham said: ‘My Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead.’ He said: ‘Do you not believe?’ He said: ‘Yes indeed, but to set my heart at rest.’ (al-Baqara, 2.260)
In a hadith, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, says that there are seventy thousand veils separating God from man. This implies that man’s journey towards God is endless and people have different degrees of knowledge and understanding and varying capacities for spiritual and intellectual satisfaction. Since God Almighty is infinite, unbounded with all His Attributes and Names, each man can obtain only some knowledge of Him and attain some degree of satisfaction according to his capacity. The Prophet Abraham, upon him be peace, had one of the greatest capacities and therefore needed to increase in knowledge of God every day in order to get full spiritual satisfaction. The Prophets were, like every other human being, in constant spiritual and intellectual growth and, regarding each of their previous stages of growth as inadequate in knowledge of God and satisfaction, they incessantly pursued a further degree of conviction. For this reason, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, asked God’s forgiveness about a hundred times a day and frequently entreated Him, saying:
Glory be to You, we have not been able to know You as Your knowledge requires, O Known One!
Glory be to You, we have not been able to worship You as Your worship requires, O Worshipped One!
Once, Muhyi al-Din ibn al-‘Arabi encountered Mawlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi and asked him:
– Who is greater? The Prophet Muhammad, who says, ‘Glory be to You, we have not been able to know You as Your knowledge requires, O Known One !’, or Bayazid al-Bistami, who says [in an instance of entranced ecstasy], ‘Glory be to me, how exalted I am!’?
The reply which Mawlana gave is also a reply to those who dare to find fault with Prophet Abraham, upon him be peace:
– Both of these utterances show to what extent our Prophet is greater than Bayazid. For the heart or soul of our Prophet was like an ocean so deep and vast that it was impossible to be satisfied. But the soul of Bayazid was, in comparison with our Prophet’s, like an ewer, easy to fill and quick to overflow.14
In order to remove any possible doubt concerning Abraham’s conviction, God’s Messenger once said: If Abraham’s were a doubt, we are more liable to doubt than him.15
14. Mulla Jami’ Nafahat al-Uns, 521.
15. Bukhari, “Anbiya’,” 11.
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.