View Full Version : A Faith to Pass to Your Children

abo mussaab
04-17-2013, 08:38 PM
At this point we come to witness another awesome scene: Jacob on his deathbed, giving his last words of wisdom and advice to his children, gathered around him:
“Were you present when death approached Jacob? He asked his children, ‘Whom will you worship when I am gone?’ They replied, ‘We will worship your God, the God of your forefathers Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac, the One God. To Him we submit ourselves.’“ (Verse 133)

It is indeed a tremendous and solemn occasion. The most important and only issue that concerned Jacob as he drew his last breath was the religion his children were to follow after his death. He was worried about the fate of his legacy and the future of the religion placed in his trust. His children’s reply must have been most reassuring and gratifying for him. The chain would not be broken, and the legacy of Abraham was sure to live on for many generations to come.

Jacob asks his children: “Whom will you worship when I am gone?” (Verse 133) He thus tells them why he gathered them, and the issue he wanted to be sure of before his death. It is the trust and the heritage of that blessed house. His children reassure Jacob that they would be true to their trust. Thus, the same heritage of Abraham was safe with Jacob’s children, who clearly state that they have submitted themselves to God.

The verse opens with a rhetorical question addressed to the Jews: “Were you present when death approached Jacob?” (Verse 133) It tells them what went on as witnessed by God Himself. They could not question the truth of what had happened or distort it after God has stated what went on.

In the light of these assertions, a clear distinction is established between that bygone generation and the one that was facing Islam in Madinah: “That community has passed away. Theirs is what they had earned and yours is what you have earned. You shall not be questioned about what they did.” (Verse 134)

Every generation has its concerns and characteristics, and the record for which it shall be accountable. A corrupt and heedless generation shall bear no relation to a righteous one. The only durable link between generations of nations is that of faith and belief. From the Islamic point of view, a nation’s characteristics are preserved and perpetuated through faith rather than race or blood, and generations are viewed as either believers or unbelievers, with every one seen in the light of their actions and record.

According to Islam, a nation is defined by its faith and beliefs, regardless of its constituent ethnic and racial groups, or how widely spread in the world they are. Having a common race or territory does not make a nation.

This approach stems from Islam’s universal view of mankind as a single race deriving its unique human qualities from the divine spirit God had breathed into man at the moment of creation, rather than from some acquired physical qualities that are of little concern.


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