52. That was Ibrahim’s reply in response to his father’s threat, meaning, “Although you threat to attack me, I leave you in peace, out of respect due to a father.” The statement also reflects the general behavior of the believers, who, when confronted by course men respond in words (28: 55), “When they hear useless talk, they withdraw from it and say, ‘To us our deeds and to you your deeds. Peace unto you. We seek not (the way of the) ignorant’” (Ibn Kathir).
But it is obvious, Qurtubi writes, that these were Ibrahim’s parting words. For, greeting an unbeliever with an Islamic greeting is not desirable. We have a hadith of the Prophet in the Sahihayn. He said, “Do not initiate Salam with the people of the Book. And when you meet one of them in a lane, push them to the constricted sides.” (But perhaps this applies to those fighting against Islam for), some of the Salaf used to initiate the greeting when they passed by the people of the Book. Ibn Mas`ud himself greeted someone who was traveling in a caravan in his company. `Alqamah reminded him, “O Abu `Abdul Rahman, is it not undesirable to initiate Islamic greeting?” He replied, “Yes. But a co-traveler has his own rights.” Abu Umamah would not pass by a Muslim or a Christian but say Salam to him. Awza`i was asked about a Muslim who passes by an unbeliever. Should he greet him? He answered, “If you greet them, then the righteous people greeted them before you. But if you did not, then the righteous people before did not do before you.”
53. (Following his promise, Ibrahim kept seeking his father’s forgiveness until it became clear that the man would not change). And so did the followers of the Prophet until the following Qur’anic statement prevented them. That is, until prevented, they supplicated for their pagan relations. The following verse in question is (9: 114): “Ibrahim’s invocation for his father was only because of a promise that he had made to him. But when it became clear that he was Allah’s enemy, he disassociated himself from him. Surely, Ibrahim was very invocative, clement” (Ibn Kathir).