The interpretation of the Ayah: 'My Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead'

Q 1: The Tafsir of Ibn Kathir comments on Ayah 260 of Surah Al-Baqarah (the meanings of which are translated as): And (remember) when Ibrâhîm (Abraham) said, "My Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead... That Al-Bukhari recorded a Hadith Sahih (authentic Hadith) in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: We are more liable to be in doubt than Ibrahim (Abraham, peace be upon him). Would you please explain what is meant by this Hadith? In the explanation of this Hadith, it is said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) denied that Ibrahim had doubts. How can this be although the Ayah means that Ibrahim was experiencing a phase of doubt before attaining perfect Iman (faith)?

A: This Hadith denies that Ibrahim had doubts as mentioned by the great scholar Ibn Kathir as well as other analysts of the Hadiths. This Hadith means that if Ibrahim was in doubt, we would be more apt to be in doubt; however, we were not in doubt. Therefore, Ibrahim was more apt not to be in doubt. This is supported by Ibrahim's reply (Part No. 3; Page No. 153) when Allah (Glorified be He) asked him: "Do you not believe?" He [Ibrâhîm (Abraham)] said: "Yes (I believe), but to be stronger in Faith." Allah (Exalted be He) confirmed the saying of Ibrahim that he is a Mu'min (believer). However, he asked so to satisfy his heart and strengthen his Iman. Scholars have used this Ayah as evidence to support the opinion that Iman increases and decreases by performing more acts of obedience. The Iman that is based on tangible evidence and observation is stronger than that which is based on logical and aural evidence. It is therefore evident from the Ayah and the Hadith that Ibrahim (peace be upon him) had no doubts.