Nimrod

Posted on 06/28/2012 by marina

NIMROD نمرود
All Muslim commentators say he was the son of Canaan (Kan’an), and not, as stated in Genesis x. the son of Cush.
He is referred to in the Qur’an in the following passage :—
Surah ii. 260: “Hast thou not thought on him who disputed with Abraham about his Lord, because God had given him the kingdom? When Abraham said,’ My Lord is He who maketh alive and causeth to die:’ He said, ‘It is I who make alive and cause to die!’ Abraham said, ‘Since God bringeth thus sun from the East, do thou, then bring it from the West.’ The infidel was confounded; for God guideth not she evil doers.”
Surah xxi. 68, 69: “They said: ‘Burn him, and come to the succour of your gods; if ye will do anything at all,’ We said, ‘O fire! be thou cold, and to Abraham a safety!’”
The Rabbins make Nimrod to have been the persecutor of Abraham (comp. Targ. Jon on Gen. xv. 7; Tr. Bava Bathra, fol. 91a, Maimon. More Nevochim, iii. 29; Weil, Legenden, p. 74), and the Muslim commentators say, that by Nimrod’s order a large space was inclosed at Kusa, and filled with a vast quantity of wood, which being set on fire, burned so fiercely that none dared to venture near it; then they bound Abraham, and putting him into an engine (which some suppose to have been of the Devil’s invention), shot him into the midst of the fire from which he was preserved by the angel Gabriel, who was sent to his assistance, the fire burning only the cords with which he was bound. They add that the fire, having miraculously lost its heat in respect to Abraham, became an odoriferous air, and that the pile changed to a pleasant meadow, though it raged so furiously otherwise, that, according to some writers, about two thousand of the idolaters were consumed by it.
This story seems to have bad no other foundation than that passage of Moses, where God is said to have brought Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees, misunderstood: which word the Jews, the most trifling interpreters of scripture, and some moderns who have followed them, have translated out of this fire of the Chaldees; taking the word Ur, not for the proper name of a city, as it really is, but for appellative signifying “fire”. However, it is a fable of some antiquity, and credited not only by the Jews, but by several of the eastern Christians; the twenty-fifth of the second Kanun, or January, being set apart in the Syrian calendar for the commemoration of Abraham’s being cast into the fire.
The Jews also mention some other persecutions which Abraham underwent on account of his religion, particularly a ten years’ imprisonment, some saying be was imprisoned by Nimrod, and others by his father Terah. Some tell us that Nimrod, on seeing this miraculous deliverance from his palace, cried out that be would make an offering to the God of Abraham; and that he accordingly sacrificed four thousand kine. But if he ever relented, he soon relapsed into his former infidelity, for he built a tower that be might ascend to heaved to see Abraham’s God, which being overthrown, still persisting in his design, he would be carried to heaven in a chest borne by four monstrous birds; but after wandering for some time through the air, he fell down on a mountain with such force that he made it shake, whereto (as some fancy) a passage in the Qur’an alludes (Surah xiv. 47), which may be translated, “Although their contrivances be such as to make the mountains tremble.” Nimrod, disappointed in his design of waking war with God, turns his arms against Abraham, who being a great prince, raised forces to defend himself; but God, dividing Nimrod’s subjects, and confounding their language, deprived him of the greater part of his people, and plagued those who adhered to him by swarms of gnats, which destroyed almost all of them; and one of those gnats having entered into the nostril, or ear, of Nimrod, penetrated to one of the membranes of his brain, where growing bigger every day, it gave him such intolerable pain that he was obliged to cause his head to be beaten with a mallet, in order to procure some case, which torture he suffered four hundred years; God being willing to punish by one of the smallest of his creatures him who insolently boasted himself to be lord of all. A Syrian calendar places the death of Nimrod, as if the time were well known, on the 8th of Tamuz, or July. (See Sale’s Koran; D’Herbelot’s Bibl. Orient.; al-Baizawi’s Com.)

Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam