In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
أَلَمۡ تَرَ إِلَى ٱلَّذِى حَآجَّ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمَ فِى رَبِّهِۦۤ أَنۡ ءَاتَٮٰهُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡمُلۡكَ إِذۡ قَالَ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمُ رَبِّىَ ٱلَّذِى يُحۡىِۦ وَيُمِيتُ قَالَ أَنَا۟ أُحۡىِۦ وَأُمِيتُۖ قَالَ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمُ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَأۡتِى بِٱلشَّمۡسِ مِنَ ٱلۡمَشۡرِقِ فَأۡتِ بِہَا مِنَ ٱلۡمَغۡرِبِ فَبُهِتَ ٱلَّذِى كَفَرَۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَہۡدِى ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
Have you not seen (contemplated with your heart) him who disputed with Ibrahim (Abraham) about his Lord (Allah), because Allah had given him the kingdom? When Ibrahim (Abraham) said (to him): “My Lord (Allah) is He Who gives life and causes death.” He said, “I give life and cause death.” Ibrahim (Abraham) said, “Verily! Allah causes the sun to rise from the east; then cause it you to rise from the west.” So the disbeliever was utterly defeated. And Allah guides not the people, who are Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc.). [Surah Al-Baqarah. Aayah 258]
[أَلَمۡ تَرَ إِلَى ٱلَّذِى حَآجَّ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمَ فِى رَبِّهِۦۤ – Have you seen (contemplated with your heart) him who disputed with Ibrahim (Abraham) about his Lord (Allah)]- Meaning, he argued with Ibraaheem, and this person – based on what a group of the scholars stated- was Namrood. Ibn Abbaas [may Allaah be pleased with him and his father] said, “The Kings who ruled the eastern and western rejions of the earth were two believers and two disbelievers: the two believers were Prophet Sulaymaan and Dhul Qarnayn, and the two disbelievers were Namrood and Bukhtanasar”. Ibn Qutaybah said, “Namrood argued with Prophet Ibraaheem because he was given a kingdom, so he became self-amazed and amazed with his kingdom. (1)
[أَلَمۡ تَرَ إِلَى ٱلَّذِى حَآجَّ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمَ فِى رَبِّهِۦۤ – Have you seen (contemplated with your heart and eyes) him who disputed with Ibrahim (Abraham) about his Lord (Allah)]- Meaning, his insolence, ignorant attitude and obstinacy, and arguing regarding that which there is no doubt?! Nothing led him to this behaviour except because that “Allah had given him the kingdom”, so he transgressed and rebelled, and considered himself as one in control of those under his authority, which led him to argue with Prophet Ibraaheem about Allaah’s Lordship and claimed that he can do the same thing as Allaah does. Prophet Ibraheem said to him, “My Lord is He Who gives life and death” – Meaning, Allaah alone is in absolute control of everything; then Ibraaheem mentioned two specific affairs – life and death, because they the greatest things in Allaah’s absolute control. That is because granting life is the beginning of the worldly life and death is the beginning of that which is to occur in the afterlife. So, the one who sought to ague against Ibraaheem said, “I give life and cause death”, but never said, “I am The One Who gives life and death”, because he could not claim that he was not in need of anyone to interfere in the affair; rather he only claimed that he could do what Allaah does by killing someone and sparing someone’s life. Prophet Ibraaheem saw the fallacy in his argument and his utterence of speech that is not even worthy of being a Shubhah (i.e. an ambiguity portrayed as wholesome truth) let alone a proof, so he said to him, “Verily! Allah causes the sun to rise from the east”- Meaning, Ibraaheem mentioned something that can be clearly seen and affirmed by everyone including this disbeliever; “Then cause it you to rise from the west”- Meaning, this compelled him to bring proof if he was truthful in his claim. So, when Ibraaheem uttered this to him about which he neither had the ability to present an ambiguity to make Ibraaheem’s proof look confusing nor could he find something to disparage it, he was utterly defeated – lost for an answer, his proof cut off and his ambiguous statement toppled. (2) He Who brings life and death (Allaah) has absolute control over the existence and creates everything is in it, including absolute control of its planets and their movements. The sun rises everyday from the east, so if you were god, as you claim, who gives life and cause death, then make the sun rise from the west. (3) This is the situation of an obstinate falsifier who wants to confront truth and overcome it, because he will be defeated and subdued. This is why Allaah said: [وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَہۡدِى ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ – And Allah guides not the people, who are Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc.)]; rather He abandons them to their disbelief and misguidance. (4)
Allaah [The Most High] said:
قَدۡ مَڪَرَ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِهِمۡ فَأَتَى ٱللَّهُ بُنۡيَـٰنَهُم مِّنَ ٱلۡقَوَاعِدِ فَخَرَّ عَلَيۡہِمُ ٱلسَّقۡفُ مِن فَوۡقِهِمۡ وَأَتَٮٰهُمُ ٱلۡعَذَابُ مِنۡ حَيۡثُ لَا يَشۡعُرُونَ
ثُمَّ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ يُخۡزِيهِمۡ وَيَقُولُ أَيۡنَ شُرَڪَآءِىَ ٱلَّذِينَ كُنتُمۡ تُشَـٰٓقُّونَ فِيہِمۡۚ قَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ ٱلۡعِلۡمَ إِنَّ ٱلۡخِزۡىَ ٱلۡيَوۡمَ وَٱلسُّوٓءَ عَلَى ٱلۡڪَـٰفِرِينَ
Those before them indeed plotted, but Allah struck at the foundation of their building, and then the roof fell down upon them, from above them, and the torment overtook them from directions they did not perceive. Then, on the Day of Resurrection, He will disgrace them and will say: “Where are My (so called) ‘partners’ concerning whom you used to disagree and dispute (with the believers, by defying and disobeying Allah)?” Those who have been given the knowledge (about the Torment of Allah for the disbelievers) will say: “Verily! Disgrace this Day and misery are upon the disbelievers. [Surah An-Nahl. Aayaat 26-27]
[قَدۡ مَڪَرَ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِهِمۡ – Those before them indeed plotted]: The upright Qur’aan commentators say that this refers to Namrood who built a tall tower in order to climb – as he claimed – the heavens and fight its inhabitants. [فَأَتَى ٱللَّهُ بُنۡيَـٰنَهُم مِّنَ ٱلۡقَوَاعِدِ فَخَرَّ عَلَيۡہِمُ ٱلسَّقۡفُ مِن فَوۡقِهِمۡ – but Allah struck at the foundation of their building, and then the roof fell down upon them, from above them]: The upright Qur’aan commentators say that Allaah sent a wind which flung the top of the tower to the sea and the rest was destroyed.
[وَأَتَٮٰهُمُ ٱلۡعَذَابُ مِنۡ حَيۡثُ لَا يَشۡعُرُونَ – and the torment overtook them from directions they did not perceive]: Meaning, from where they thought they were safe. [ثُمَّ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ يُخۡزِيهِمۡ – Then, on the Day of Resurrection, He will disgrace]: Meaning, disgraced with punishment. (5)
[قَدۡ مَڪَرَ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِهِمۡ – Those before them indeed plotted]: Meaning plotted against their Messengers, employed various types of tricks in order to reject that which the messengers brought and established gigantic safeguards [by way of arguments, views etc] on their plots. [فَأَتَى ٱللَّهُ بُنۡيَـٰنَهُم مِّنَ ٱلۡقَوَاعِدِ – but Allah struck at the foundation of their building]– Meaning, an affair came to them from its basis and foundation [فَخَرَّ عَلَيۡہِمُ ٱلسَّقۡفُ مِن فَوۡقِهِمۡ – and then the roof fell down upon them, from above them] -Meaning, so what they built became a punishment for them. [وَأَتَٮٰهُمُ ٱلۡعَذَابُ مِنۡ حَيۡثُ لَا يَشۡعُرُونَ – and the torment overtook them from directions they did not perceive]: Meaning, that is because they thought that such a building will benefit and protect them from punishment, but their punishment occurred from that which they built and established.
This is one the best of parables regarding how Allaah nullifies the plots of his enemies, for indeed they pondered and reflected on that which the Messengers brought when they belied them, made up principles and rules for it based on falsehood, referred back to them to reject that which the Messengers came with, employed tricks to bring discomfort to the Messengers and inflict harm on them and those who followed them, but their plot became a source of evil against them, so their plan became their destruction, because their plot was evil as Allaah said: [ وَلَا يَحِيقُ الْمَكْرُ السَّيِّئُ إِلَّا بِأَهْلِهِ – But the evil plot encompasses only him who makes it]. [Soorah Faatir: Ayah: 43]
This is in this worldly life and the punishment in the afterlife would be more disgraceful, and due to this Allaah said: [ثُمَّ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ يُخۡزِيهِمۡ – Then, on the Day of Resurrection, He will disgrace them]. (6)
[وَقَدۡ مَكَرُواْ مَڪۡرَهُمۡ – Indeed, they planned their plot, and their plot was with Allaah]: There are four statements of the scholars regarding the above: That it was Namrood when he debated with Ibraaheem about his Lord. That it was about Bakhtanasar. That it is about the nations of the past and their plotting which necessitates Shirk. That it is about those who plotted against the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] when they desired to kill him.
And regarding the statement: [وَعِندَ ٱللَّهِ مَڪۡرُهُمۡ – and their plot was with Allah]– meaning: Their plot is recorded so that Allaah will recompense them. [وَإِن كَانَ مَڪۡرُهُمۡ لِتَزُولَ مِنۡهُ ٱلۡجِبَالُ – though their plot was a great (one, still) it would never be able to remove the mountains]. Az-Zujaaj said, “Even if they plot reached the severity where it could move a mountain, they will still not be able to bring the affair of Islaam to an end”. (7) Even if their plot were to reach a stage where it could move a mountain, Allaah will still aid the religion He has ordained. (8)
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: Allaah brought the servant out of his mother’s womb whilst he knew nothing, not able to do anything and owned nothing; neither able to give nor take; neither able to harm nor benefit. This state of neediness until he reached a more perfect state is something witnessed and tangible for everyone [to see], and i is well known that this is the very essence of the human being and he remains upon that state. He does not move from this state and enters into a state of Lordship – a state in which he becomes absolutely self-sufficient and not need of anyone and anything; rather he does not cease being a slave, a needy one to his Rabb [Allaah the Creator, All-Provider and the Only One Who Controls and Sustains Everything] and His Faatir [Allaah, The Originator and Creator of Everything].
However, after the human being was granted blessings, shown mercy, granted the means to reach a more perfect state, and Allaah -out of His Perfect Kindness and Generosity- granted him apparent blessings [i.e. to recognise the Messengers who were sent with Islamic Monotheism, granted him the lawful pleasures of this world, including health, good looks, etc.] and the hidden blessings [i.e. granted him the innate disposition to recognise his Lord when the Messenger calls him to Eemaan, and granted him knowledge, wisdom, guidance for doing righteous deeds, and also the pleasures and delights of the Hereafter in Paradise, etc.], granted him hearing, sight and a heart, and taught him [i.e. gave him the means to knowledge], granted him ability, subjugated things to him, granted him [the desire and enthusiasm to pursue what is beneficial, and take action], enabled him to receive the service of those of his kind [i.e. gave him authority over other humans], subjugated to him horses and camels, gave him the ability to capture the animals in the sea, drop birds from the sky, subjugate wild animals, dig wells [irrigate water etc], plant trees, dig the earth, learn how to build, acquire the things that are of benefit to him, guard against and protect himself from that which is harmful to him; then the Miskeen [i.e. this absolutely poor, dependent human being] thinks that he has a share of authority and claims – for himself – a kingship [or authority] similar to that of Allaah [Glorified be Allaah and free is Allaah from all imperfections, partners, coequals, similarities etc], and begins to see himself in a manner other than what he was at first, forgets his [prior] state of non-existence, poverty and neediness, until he becomes as if he was not that poor and needy thing. (9)
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Zaadul Maseer Fee Ilmit Tafseer- By Imaam Ibnul Jawzi]
[Ref 2: An Excerpt from Tafseer As-Sadi. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 3: Tafseer Ibn Katheer]
[Ref 4: An Excerpt from Tafseer As-Sadi. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 5: An Excerpt from ‘Zaadul Maseer Fee Ilmit Tafseer’ By Imaam Ibnul Jawzi (rahimahullaah). Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 6: An Excerpt from Tafseer as-Sadi. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 7: An Excerpt from Zaadul Maseer Fee Ilmit Tafseer. By Imaam Ibnul Jawzi]
[Ref 8: An Excerpt from Fat-hul Qadeer. 3/160]
[Ref 9: An Excerpt from Tareequl Hijratayn. Pages 9-10. Slightly paraphrased]