was the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham. Name of his mother was
Rebecca. He was born twenty years after the marriage of his parents. He was
nicknamed as Israel, which is a Hebrew word, a combination of Isra and Ael.
Isra means Servant and Ael is the name of God; thus it means, ‘the Servant of
God’. Or to say, in Arabic it is Abdullah. In the holy Quran he has been termed
as Asbat meaning a tree with many branches.
He was younger of the twin brothers. His elder twin brother was Esau, who had hair on his body and was red in complexion. His nickname was Edom and his progeny gave rise to a large tribe known as ‘Children of Edom’. Jacob was brought up in Canaan under the direct supervision of Isaac.
By profession he was a shepherd; the same was the profession of his fore fathers. Isaac knew that God had selected Jacob to carry on the mission of guiding people, so he enjoyed the love of his father more than his brother Esau. Esau was more expert in hunting and he used to bring meat for his father and served him with roast meat of his hunt.
Once when Isaac wished to have something good to eat, Esau went to hunt for some meat for his father. In the meantime, Jacob cooked the meal at home and served it to his father, who ate that meal heartily and blessed him with his prayers. When Esau returned and learnt that father had his meal, which his younger brother Isaac had cooked, he felt grieved. Satan misled him and he thought that the blessing, which his father had blessed his brother with, was his right. He got angry with his brother and had a row with him. When the situation grew tense, Jacob’s mother sent Jacob to her brother Laban in Haran, to avoid tension. Esau feeling even more grieved upon this went to his uncle; Ishmael, where he married his daughter. Later on when both were settled in their lives, their relation became normal and they loved one another like real brothers.
Jacob’s maternal uncle, Laban had two daughters. He made an agreement with Jacob that if he would shepherd his sheep for ten years he would wed his daughter Leah with him. When Jacob completed the term and Laban wanted to wed his daughter Leah with him, Jacob expressed his desire to wed the younger sister Rachel. But as the tradition was the younger daughter could not be wedded if her elder sister had not been married. So Laban told Jacob to wed Leah and serve seven more years to him, if wanted to marry Rachel.
Jacob agreed and thus one after the other he married both the sisters. Besides Leah and Rachel he had Bilhah and Zilpah as wives. He had four sons from Leah but Rachel had no issues. Then Rachel made him to wed her maidservant, Bilhah, from whom he had two sons. Then he had two sons from Zilpah; the maidservant of Leah. After that Leah too gave birth to two sons and one daughter. And, then in the last Rachel bore two sons; Joseph and Benjamin. Thus Jacob had twelve "sons and one daughter.
When Jacob came back to Palestine from Padan-aram, his uncle Laban bade him farewell with lots of wealth and ﬂocks of cattle. Benjamin was born in Palestine. In his times king Saljam ruled Canaan, Jacob invited him to, worship God and to follow the straight path but he and his people paid no heed to his preaching and they all were killed an earthquake.
Jacob was blessed with twelve sons but he loved Joseph the most because of his beauty and abilities. Joseph’s brethren did not like this, and one day in their jealousy, they planned and threw Joseph in a deserted well in wilderness. And came back and told their father that a wolf had preyed Joseph. Jacob, in spite of knowing that they were not telling the truth, he withstood the grief with forbearance and patience.
He recollected the memories of Joseph and wept for him so much that he lost the sight of his eyes.
On the other side a trade Caravan recovered Joseph from the well and took him to Egypt, where the circumstances helped him to reach the highest position in that country and Pharaoh appointed him the ruler of Egypt.
Later on when Joseph invited his father to Egypt he migrated with his seventy family members. At that time he was one hundred and thirty years of age and lived there for seventeen years. Joseph provided them lands in the most fertile area of Ramees. Before breathing his last he called all his children and advised them to worship God as their fathers Jacob, Isaac, Ishmael and Abraham did.
Were ye witnesses when death appeared before Jacob? Behold, he said to his sons: "What will ye worship after me?" They said: ”We shall worship Thy God and the God of thy fathers, of ‘Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac, the one True God. To Him we bow in Islam."
(S: 2,V: 133)
Jacob lived for one hundred and forty seven years. When he died, Joseph carried his dead body to Canaan and buried him besides the graves of Sarah, Rebecca and Isaac, according to his will.
The stories mentioned in the holy Quran invite us to become familiar with the thinking approach of the prophets of God. When the events and happening concerning Isaac and Jacob are closely studied, this fact is revealed that the prophet had such a mind setting in which gratitude and forbearance were the key components. When they were blessed with favors, they would be grateful and if they were denied a blessing, they would not grieve to the extent of becoming ungrateful person. They always submitted to the will of God and they sought the will of God in the events happening to them. Despite having supernatural forces at their command they did not try to mold the situations in their favor rather they very humbly prayed to God to help them in their perseverance and steadfastness.
Jacob demonstrated forbearance and patience throughout his life. When his sons separated Joseph from him, in spite of having the knowledge of the factual situation, he kept quite considering it the will of God and waited patiently for his son to meet him. He did weep for his son out of his love for him but he never uttered a word having an expression of ingratitude or impatience or disobedience to God.
Whole life of prophets is a practical demonstration of this thinking approach that everything is from God. Prophets of God and the heir to their Knowledge; Auliya has that paradigm of thinking in which detachment is the prime factor. In order to have this thinking approach, they developed this thinking that whenever they had to think of anything, they used to turn their attention towards God and had it ﬁxedly in their mind that they had no direct connection with that thing, they were connected to that thing only and only because of God, as God was the Lord and Master of all that was there in the universe including them. Gradually their mind generated such inclinations that before paying attention to anything, they used to think of God and they habitually had this realization that thing did not have any direct relation with them. If they had anything to do with that it was only because of God only.
In this manner of thinking, every movement of mind is ﬁlled with the true realization of God and God becomes a living addressee of their attention. Ensuing this habit, the mind accommodates the Attributes of God permanently and their mind becomes a representative of the Attributes of God.
Those who practically have an established thinking, that is, they have such a faith in which there exists no dubiety or uncertainty. They say that they believe that everything in this world, whether it is small or big, comforting or upsetting, is from God. It becomes their observation that all that is existing, is happening or have happened and that will ever happen in the future is directly related to with God.
Anything exists and exhibits itself, as it exists in the mind of God. People who are firm in their knowledge have such a pattern of thinking that they associate their every act or action, every deed or need with God Almighty only. It is firmly incorporated in their minds that the blessings, which have been destined for them, would eventually come to them and this certitude establishes in them a state of Detachment.
It’s the law that Detachment cannot be exercised without certitude and faith and certitude and faith do not complete without Observation. And, the person who does not have Detachment in him is more associated with the material world than his Lord God.
Mind of the person, who is devoid of Detachment, is whimsical and remains trapped in uncertainty and baseless fears. Fear of future gnaws him perpetually and he seldom thinks of the blessings, which he enjoyed in the past.
A child born is in such a helpless state that he cannot turn himself, cannot catch anything in his hands nor can walk on his feet. Others perform everything for him. Mother gives him the milk, cleans him, and changes his dress. Thus, moment-by- moment, hour-by-hour, day-by-day, crossing the periods of time, from infancy to childhood and from child hood to youthfulness he enters into the stage of old age. He learns to read and write, earns his livelihood, gets engaged in the business or works for others, then one day he is wed locked, has kids, participates in the parties of the children of his children. When get old, his obedient children serve him. But, when he thinks about the future, he expresses all his qualms and does not take the trouble to consider that from the age of one day till this day of his sixtieth birthday, that is, in twenty one thousand nine hundred days of his life so far, he was provided every facility to survive, ﬂourish and enjoy, then how would he be deprived of the favors of God in the remaining days of his life.
People versed with Detachment have firmly incorporated in their certitude that man, in the given circumstances is not more than a toy in the hands of a child. One is forced to move around as the toy is wound by the circumstances and given situations. God is the Savior, Protector and Ultimate Ruler of the key to wind this toy.
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