Was Azar the father of Prophet Ibrahim or not?

Q: Who is the father of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham - peace be upon him)? I heard some scholars say that Azar is not the biological father of Prophet Ibrahim but his paternal uncle. Those scholars take as evidence the following Hadith in which the Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “I was born of the best and noblest lineage after lineage, and nothing of the fornication of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic time of ignorance) touched my birth.” They have based on this Hadith their claim that Azar is not the father of Prophet Ibrahim; arguing that since Ibrahim is one of the Messenger’s grandparents, then his father can never be a Kafir (disbeliever). Consequently, they believe that Azar is not the biological father of Prophet Ibrahim. I, along with some other students, also heard another scholar claiming that Azar is the biological father of Prophet Ibrahim, taking as evidence the following Qur’anic Ayah (which means): And (remember) when Ibrâhîm (Abraham) said to his father Azar . I hope you can provide a clear explanation of this matter so we can be assured, for we are students.


A: The correct opinion is that of the latter scholar; that is, Azar being the father of Ibrahim. This is based on the following Ayah in which Allah (Exalted be He) says (what means): And (remember) when Ibrâhîm (Abraham) said to his father Azar: "Do you take idols as âlihah (gods)? This Ayah serves as conclusive and explicit textual-evidence that does not require any Ijtihad (juristic effort to infer expert legal rulings). (Part No. 4; Page No. 217) This same opinion is preferred by Imams Ibn Jarir and Ibn Kathir. As for the quoted Hadith, Al-Suyuty reported in “Al-Jami‘ Al-Saghir” on the authority of `Aly, (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “I was born from a legal marriage, not out of fornication, from (the descendants) of Adam until my parents gave birth to me. Nothing of the fornication of the Jahiliyyah befell me.” Related by Al-Tabarany in “Al-Awsat” and Ibn ‘Ady. About this Hadith, Al-Haythamy said: Its Isnad (chain of narrators) includes Muhammad ibn Ja‘far ibn Muhammad about whom there is some weakness but whose narration was authenticated by Al-Hakim. The rest of the narrators are Thiqah (trustworthy).Thus, the Hadith signifies the purity of the lineage of the Prophet (peace be upon him), without referring to whether his grandparents were disbelievers or Muslims. The disbelief of Azar does not mean that his marriage is considered to be fornication (i.e. Illegal). Hence, even if we suppose that the cited Hadith is Sahih (a Hadith that has been transmitted by people known for their uprightness and exactitude; free from eccentricity and blemish), it does not entail that just because Azar was a Kafir, his marriage is deemed to be illegal.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

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