The Story of Ibraheem – (alaihi as-salaam)
From Islamic Newsletter ‘As-Sunnah’ Issue no: 10 Compiled by Sister Shawana A. Aziz
The story of Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) is greatly associated with Hajj because the origin of Hajj is old as the Kaa’ba, which was built by Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) and his son, Isma’eel (alaihi as-salaam). [Soorah al-Hajj (22): 26-27] Every act of Hajj reminds us of the noble family of Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) since every act of Hajj refers back to the righteous actions and struggle of either Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam), his wife Hajrah or his son Isma’eel (alaihi as-salaam). The history of this family teaches spiritual lessons of complete devotion to Allah and sincerity to Him. It holds enlightening message for everybody, a father, a mother, a son and a wife.
The childhood of Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam):
Prophet Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) was born in a family of idolaters but from early childhood, he (alaihi as-salaam) was endowed with spiritual understanding. Allah enlightened his heart and mind and gave him wisdom: “And indeed We bestowed afore time on Ibraheem his (portion of) guidance, and We were well-acquainted with him (as to his belief in the Oneness of Allah, etc.).” [Soorah al-Ambiya (21): 51]
One day, Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) looked at the sky and: “Thus did We showed Ibraheem the kingdom of the Heavens and the Earth so that he be one of those who have certainty. When the night covered him over with darkness, he saw a star. He said: “This is my lord.” But when it set, he said: “I like not those that set.” When he saw the moon rising up, he said: “This is my lord.” But when it set, he said: “’Unless my lord guides me, I shall surely be among the erring people.” When he saw the sun rising up, he said: “This is my lord, this is greater.” But when it set, he said: “O my people! I am indeed free from all that you join as partners in worship with Allah. Verily, I have turned my face towards Him Who has created the Heavens and the Earth. Hanifa (Islamic Monotheism, i.e. worshiping none but Allah Alone) and I am not of the Mushrikeen.” [Soorah al-An’aam (6): 75-79]
Thus, Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) rejected the worship of all celestial bodies, which people venerated and worshiped and therefore: “His people disputed with him. He said: “Do you dispute with me concerning Allah while He has guided me, and I fear not those whom you associate with Allah in worship. (Nothing can happen to me) except when my Lord (Allah) Wills something. My Lord comprehends in His Knowledge all things. Will you not then remember. And how should I fear those whom you associate in worship with Allah (though they can neither benefit nor harm), while you fear not that you have joined worship with Allah things for which He has not send down to you any authority. (So) which of the two parties has more right to be in security? If you but know.” [Soorah al-An’aam (6): 80]
It was in his childhood that Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) argued with his father, Azar, who was not only an ordinary idolater, but he totally rejected the existence of Allah. He used to make idols with his own hands. Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) realized the fallacy of the idol; he (alaihi as-salaam) noticed that these idols did not eat, drink, or talk, and that they could not even turn themselves right-side if someone turned them upside-down. How could then people believe that such statues could harm or benefit them? “And (remember) when Ibraheem said to his father, Azar: “Do you take idols as aliha (gods)? Verily, I see you and your people in manifest error.” [Soorah al-An’aam (6): 74]
“He (the father) said: “Do you reject my gods, O Ibraheem? If you stop not, I will indeed stone you. So get away from me safely before I punish you.” Ibraheem said: ‘Peace be on you! I will ask forgiveness of my Lord for you. Verily, He is unto me, Ever Most Gracious. And I shall turn away from you and from those whom you invoke besides Allah. And I shall call on my Lord, and I hope that I shall not be rejected in my invocation to my Lord.” [Soorah Maryam (19): 41]
He also argued with a skeptic, who claimed to be god (according to what the commentators said, he was Namrud, the King of Babylon): “When Ibraheem said (to the disbeliever, who disputed with him): “My Lord (Allah) is He, who gives life and causes death.” He (the disbeliever) said: “I give life and cause death.” Ibraheem said: “Verily, Allah causes the sun to rise from the East, then you cause it to rise from the West.” So, the disbeliever was utterly defeated. And Allah guides not the people, who are Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc.).” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 258]
In the above discussion, we see an excellent example of moral behavior of a religious son towards his deviated father. This calls us to undertake the obligation of Dawah and Islaah of one’s family, as Allah says:
“O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuels are men and stones.” [Soorah Tahreem (66): 6]
The spiritual lessons found in the short conversation between Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) and his father can be stated in four proportions:
1. A pious son is dutiful to his father and wishes him well in everything; material and spiritual.
2. If the father refuses the guidance of Allah, the son does his utmost to bring his father nearer to Allah.
3. Having received the guidance, the son does not renounce it, even if he had to forfeit his father’s love and renounce his home.
4. Even if the father repels him and turns him out, he replies in politeness, full of love and forgiveness, but he is firm on behalf of Truth.
The story of Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) also explain the correct conduct and behavior of a Da’ee (caller to Islam), which we will enumerate in the following discussion, with examples from the life of Ibraheem (alaihis-salaam):
1. A Da’ee should be polite and humble and he must avoid all forms of harshness and force. Allah says: “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in the way that is best. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided.” [Soorah an-Nahl (16): 125]
In this wonderful passage are laid down principles of religious preaching, which are good for all times. Invitation to Islam should be in a humble and courteous manner, with wisdom and discretion, meeting people on their own ground and convincing them with illustrations from their own knowledge and experience, which may be very narrow, or very wide. Our preaching must not be dogmatic, self-regarding or offensive but gentle, considerate and such as would attract their attention. Such is evident from the actions of Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam).
In his debate with those who worshiped the celestial bodies, Prophet Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) first clarified to his people the reality of celestial bodies. They do not serve as deities, these bodies are created, fashionable, controlled, managed and made to serve. They are not worthy to be worshiped as partners with Allah. Then secondly he described unto them that they are among the signs of Allah: “And from His signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate to Allah, Who created them, if you (really) worship Him.” [Soorah (41): 37]
The next incident, when he argued with the idolaters, he used reasoning: “And that was Our Proof which We gave Ibraheem against his people. We raise whom We will in degrees. Certainly, your Lord is all-Wise, All-Knowing.” [Soorah (6): 83] Being a wise son, he did not make his father feel foolish; nor did he openly laugh at his conduct. He told him that he loved him, thereby hoping to generate fatherly love.
Then he gently asked him: “O my father! Why do you worship that which hears not, sees not and cannot avail you in anything?” [Soorah Maryam (19): 41] and before his father could become angry, he hastily said: “O my father! Verily, there has come to me of knowledge that which came not unto you. So follow me, I will guide you to the Straight Path. O my father! Worship not Shaytaan. Verily, Shaytaan has been a rebel against the Most Beneficent (Allah). O my father! I fear lest a torment from the Most Beneficent overtake you, so that you become a companion of Shaytaan (in the Hell fire).” [Soorah Maryam (19): 42]
In the same way, he again used reasoning with the idol-worshipers and said: “What do you worship?” They said: “We worship idols, and to them we are ever devoted.” He said: “Do they hear you, when you call (on them)? Or do they benefit you or do they harm (you)?” They said: “Nay, but we found our fathers doing so.” He said: “Do you observe that which you have been worshiping?” [Soorah ash-Shoorah (26): 70-75]
However, they (the idolaters) did not give up but clung fast to idolatry, then he (alaihi as-salaam) said: “And by Allah, I shall plot a plan (to destroy) your idols after you have gone away and turned your backs.” [Soorah al-Ambiya (21): 57] Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) knew that there was going to be a celebration on the other side of the river, which would be attended by all people. They invited Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) to join them in the celebrations but: “Then he cast a glance at the stars (to deceive them), and he said: “Verily, I am sick (with plague). So they turned away from him, and departed (for fear of disease).” [Soorah as-Saffat (37): 88] He did this trick to remain in their temple and to destroy the idols. Ibraheem waited until the city was empty: “Then he turned to their aliha (gods) and said: “Will you not eat (of the offering before you). What is the matter with you that you don’t speak? Then he turned upon them, striking (them) with (his) right hand.” [Soorah as-Saffat (37): 90-93] “So, he broke them (the idols) to pieces, (all) except the biggest of them, that they might turn to it.” [Soorah al-Ambiya (21): 58]
He enacted this scene, to make the people ashamed of worshiping powerless and senseless stocks and stones. He broke all the idols except the biggest, so as to show that a fight had taken place between the idols, and the biggest idol had smashed the others. So, when they came back: “They said: “Who has done this to our aliha (gods)? He must indeed be one of the wrongdoers. They said: “We heard a young man talking (against) them who is called Ibraheem.” They said: “Then bring him before the eyes of the people, that they may testify.” They said: “Are you the one who has done this to our gods. O Ibraheem?” (Ibraheem (alaihis-salaam)) said: “Nay, this one, the biggest of them (idols) did it. Ask them, if they can speak.” So, they turned to themselves and said: “Verily, you are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers). Then they turned to themselves (their first thought and said): “Indeed you (Ibraheem) know well that these (idols) speak not!” (Ibraheem (alaihis-salaam)) said: “Do you then worship besides Allah things that can neither profit you, nor harm you?” Fie upon you, and upon that which you worship besides Allah! Have you then no sense?” They said: “Burn him and help your aliha (gods), if you will be doing.” We (Allah) said: “O Fire! Be you coolness and safety for Ibraheem.” And they wanted to harm him but We made them the worst losers.” [Soorah al-Ambiya (21): 59-70]
In Soorah Maryam, the challenge was how a righteous Muslim deals with his father when his duty to his father conflicts with his duty to Allah? And here the challenge was how a righteous man deals with evil and overcomes it? And how his firmness on his belief draws Allah’s Mercy and troubles become his comfort and joy?
The spiritual lesson of this passage can be summarized as that a righteous man makes no compromise with evil. If the followers of evil mock him, he pays them in their own coin, but stands firm by his principles. Even if they harm him or try to kill him, he declares his faith in Allah.
2. Another rule of Dawah is that the invitation to Islam should not imply compulsion, since compulsion is incompatible with the religion for two reasons:
(a) Religion depends upon one’s faith and will, and these would be meaningless if induced by force.
(b) Truth is clearly distinguished from error. Allah says: “Let there be no compulsion in the religion. Verily the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whosoever disbelieves in Taghoot and believes in Allah then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is all-Hearer and All-Knower.” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 256]
The Migration of Ibraheem (alaihis-salaam):
Prophet Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) did his best to make his people heedful of the Oneness of Allah, and to worship Him alone. He bade them to firmly renounce the worship of idols. He tried every means possible to convince them. However, their arrogance would not allow them to admit their foolishness. Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) realized the senselessness of their beliefs, when: “He (the father) said: “Do you reject my gods, O Ibraheem? If you stop not, I will indeed stone you. So get away from me safely before I punish you.’ Ibraheem said: “Peace be on you! I will ask forgiveness of my Lord for you. Verily, He is unto me, Ever Most Gracious. And I shall turn away from you and from those whom you invoke besides Allah. And I shall call on my Lord, and I hope that I shall not be rejected in my invocation to my Lord.” [Soorah Maryam (19): 41-49] “And he said (after his rescue from the fire): “Verily, I am going to my Lord. He will guide me!” [Soorah as-Saffat (37): 99]
And he (alaihi as-salaam) left his father’s house and abandoned his people and what they worshiped!! He (alaihi as-salaam) migrated with his wife, Sarah, to a city called Ur, then to another called Haran, Palestine and then to Egypt calling people to believe in Allah.
The Three Lies:
Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu)said narrated that Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) did not lie except on three occasions, twice for the sake of Allah when he said: “I am sick.” (when his people were holding a festival in honor of their gods, Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) excused himself by saying he was sick) and when he said: “(I have not done this but) the big idol has done it.” The (third was) that while Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) and Sarah were going (on a journey), they passed by (the territory of) a tyrant. Some said to the tyrant: “This man (i.e. Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) is accompanied by a very charming lady.” So, he sent for Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) and asked him about Sarah saying: “Who is this lady?” Ibraheem said: “She is my sister.” Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) went to Sarah and said: “O Sarah! There are no believers on the face of the Earth except you and me. This man asked me about you and I have told him that you are my sister, do not contradict my statement.”
The tyrant then called Sarah, and when she went to him, he tried to take hold of her with his hand, but (his hand got stiff and) he was confounded. He asked Sarah: “Pray to Allah for me, and I shall not harm you.” So Sarah asked Allah to cure him and he got cured. He tried to take hold of her for the second time, but (his hand got stiff or stiffer than before and) he was more confounded. He again requested Sarah: “Pray to Allah for me, and I shall not harm you.” Sarah asked Allah and he became all right. He then called one of his guards (who had brought her) and said: “You have not brought me a human being but you have brought me a devil.” The tyrant then gave Hajrah (an Egyptian woman), as a maidservant to Sarah. Sarah came back (to Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) while he was praying. Ibraheem gestured with his hand and asked: “What happened?” She replied: “Allah has spoiled the evil plot of the infidel and gave me Hajrah for service.” Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu)then addressed his listeners saying: “That (Hajrah) was your mother, O Bani Ma-is-Sama (i.e. the Arabs, the descendants of Isma’eel, Hajrah’s son).” [Saheeh al-Bukharee]
Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) then left Egypt with his wife, Sarah, lots of gifts, money and also Hajrah, the Egyptian women.
The Birth of Isma’eel (alaihi as-salaam)
Sarah, the (first) wife of Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) was sterile. Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) invoked Allah for a child saying: “My Lord! Grant me (offspring) from the righteous.” [Soorah as-Saffat (37): 100]
It happened that Sarah offered her husband to Hajrah in marriage. “So, We gave him the glad tiding of a Haleem (fore bearing boy).” [Soorah as-Saffat (37): 101] Hajrah gave birth to his first son, Isma’eel (alaihi as-salaam), when Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) was at the age of eighty-six. The name, ‘Isma’eel’ itself comes from the root word ‘Samia’ meaning ‘to hear’, because Allah heard and answered the invocation of Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam).
The Migration of Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) with Hajrah and Isma’eel (alaihi as- salam):
Allah commanded Prophet Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) to leave his second wife, Hajrah and their newly born son, Isma’eel, alone in an un-inhabited, barren valley. So, Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) asked his wife, Hajrah to prepare for a long journey. They (alaihi as-salaam) walked through cultivated land, deserts and mountains, until they reached the desert of the Arabian peninsula and came to a valley having no fruit, no trees, no food and no water; the valley had no sign of life.
Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu) narrated: “…Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) brought her (Hajrah) and her son, Isma’eel while she was suckling him, to a place near the Kaa’ba under a tree on the spot of Zam-Zam, at the highest place in the mosque. During those days there was nobody in Makkah, nor was there any water. So he made them sit over there and placed near them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and set out homeward. Isma’eel’s mother followed him saying: “O Ibraheem! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything?” She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her. Then she asked him: “Has Allah ordered you to do so?” He said: “Yes.” She said: “Then He will not neglect us.” and she returned (to her child) while Ibraheem proceeded on his way.
On reaching the Thaniya (mountain) where they could not see him, Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) faced the Kaa’ba, and raising both hands, invoked Allah saying: “O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House (Kaa’ba at Mekkah) in order, O our Lord, that they may offer prayer perfectly. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits, so that they may give thanks.” [Soorah Ibraheem (14): 37] [Saheeh al-Bukharee vol: 4, no: 583]
The Spring of Zam-Zam and the course of Safa wal-Marwa
Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu) further continued the story saying: “Isma’eel’s mother went on suckling Isma’eel and drinking from the water (she had). When the water in the water-skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at him (i.e. Isma’eel) tossing in agony. She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she found nobody. Then she descended from Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble, till she crossed the valley and reached the Marwa mountain where she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between Safa and Marwa) seven times.
The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “This is the source of the tradition of the walking of people between them (i.e. Safa and Marwa). When she reached the Marwa (for the last time), she heard a voice and she asked herself to be quiet and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said: “O (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?” And behold! She saw an Angel at the place of Zam-Zam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing), till water flowed from that place. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it.”
The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) added: “May Allah bestow Mercy on Isma’eel’s mother! Had she let the Zam-Zam (flow without trying to control it) (or had she not scooped from that water) (to fill her water-skin), Zam-Zam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the Earth.” The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) further added: “Then she drank (water) and suckled her child. The Angel said to her: “Don’t be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah never neglects His people.” The House (i.e. Kaa’ba) at that time was on a high place resembling a hillock… She lived in that way till some people from the tribe of Jurhum or a family from Jurhum passed by her and her child, as they (i.e. the Jurhum people) were coming through the way of Kada’. They landed in the lower part of Makkah where they saw a bird that had the habit of flying around water and not leaving it. They said: “This bird must be flying around water, though we know that there is no water in this valley.” They sent one or two messengers who discovered the source of water, and returned to inform them of the water. So, they all came (towards the water).”
He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) further related: “Isma’eel’s mother was sitting near the water. They asked her: “Do you allow us to stay with you?” She replied: “’Yes, but you will have no right to possess the water.” They agreed to that.” The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) further said: “Isma’eel’s mother was pleased with the whole situation as she loved the company of people. So, they settled there, and later on they sent for their families who came and settled with them so that some families became permanent residents there. The child (i.e. Isma’eel) grew up and learnt Arabic from them and (his virtues) caused them to love and admire him as he grew up….” [Saheeh al-Bukharee]
The Order to Sacrifice Isma’eel:
“And when he (Isma’eel) was old enough to walk with him (Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam), he said: “O my son! I have seen in a dream (a Prophet’s dream is a revelation from Allah and His Command) that I am slaughtering you (i.e. offering you in sacrifice to Allah), so what do you think?” He said: “O my father! Do that which you are Commanded, Insha’Allah (if Allah wills), you shall find me of as-Saabireen (the patient ones). Then, when they had both submitted themselves (to the Will of Allah), he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (or on the side of his forehead for slaughtering); and We called out to him: “O Ibraheem! You have fulfilled the dream (vision)! Verily, Thus, do We reward the Muhsinun (good-doers). Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice (a ram). And We left for him (a goodly remembrance) among generations (to come) in later times. Salaam (peace) be upon Ibraheem. Thus indeed We reward the Muhsineen.” [Soorah as-Saffat (37): 102-105]
The sacrifice was a trial for both Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) and Isma’eel (alaihi as-salaam) and they both readily agreed to submit their will to Allah. Today, Muslims lack this spirit and fortitude to sacrifice in the Way of Allah and submit to His Will. And this is why they are depressed and underestimated by the Kuffar. If today, Muslims arouse and generate the courage and determination to put forwards one’s own self in the Path of Allah and sacrifice their wealth and possession for the sake of Allah, then Allah does not renounce His true worshipers.” And this is what sacrifice teaches us because “It is not their flesh or blood which reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Allah.” [Soorah al-Hajj (22): 37]
The Building of Kaa’ba
“And (remember) when We showed Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) the site of the House (saying): ‘Associate not anything with Me, and sanctify My House…” [Soorah al-Hajj (22): 26] Allah tells us that He (Bawwana) showed Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) the site of the House, i.e. guided him to it, entrusted it to him and granted him permission to build the Kaa’ba.
“…for those who circumambulate it, and those who stand up (for prayer), and those who bow and make prostration (in prayer).”[Soorah al-Hajj (22): 26] Meaning make it purely for those who worship Allah alone, without any partners. In this verse, Allah mentioned the Tawaaf (circumambulation) and Salaat together because they are not prescribed together anywhere, except the Kaa’ba; Tawaaf is only performed around the Kaa’ba and the Salaat facing it.
The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “… Then Ibraheem stayed away from them (Hajrah and Isma’eel) for a period as long as Allah wished, and called on them afterwards. He saw Isma’eel under a tree near Zam-zam, sharpening his arrows. When he saw Ibraheem, he rose up to welcome him (and they greeted each other as a father does with his son or a son does with his father). Ibraheem said: ‘O Isma’eel! Allah has given me an order.’ Isma’eel said: ‘Do what your Lord has ordered you to do.’ Ibraheem asked: ‘Will you help me?’ Isma’eel said: ‘I will help you.’ Ibraheem said: ‘Allah has ordered me to build a house here,’ pointing to a hillock higher than the land surrounding it.” The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) added: “Then they raised the foundations of the House (i.e. the Kaa’ba). Isma’eel brought the stones and Ibraheem was building, and when the walls became high, Isma’eel brought this stone and put it for Ibraheem who stood over it and carried on building (this is the stone which we now know as Maqaam-e-Ibraheem), while Isma’eel was handing him the stones, and both of them were saying, ‘O our Lord! Accept (this service) from us, Verily, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 127] [Saheeh al-Bukharee vol: 4, no: 583]
He (alaihi as-salaam) completed the building of Kaa’ba on the Command of Allah. In his (alaihi as-salaam) time, the building of Kaa’ba was rectangular in shape and reached the height of four and a half meters. It contained two doors at the ground level but had no roof. Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) placed Hajar al-Aswad (the Black Stone) at one of the corners of Kaa’ba to mark the starting point of Tawaaf (circumambulation).
The building of Kaa’ba remained the same up till when the Quraysh rebuild the Kaa’ba. Narrated Aa’ishah (radhi allahu anha), once Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said to me: “Don’t you see that when your folk built the Kaa’ba, they did not build it on all the foundations built by Abraham?” I said: “O Allah’s Apostle! Why don’t we rebuild it on the foundations of Abraham?” He said. “But for the fact that your folk have recently given up infidelity (I would have done so).” [Saheeh al-Bukharee, vol: 4, no: 587]
After Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) built the Kaa’ba, Allah ordered him to:“ And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage).” [Soorah al-Hajj (22): 26] Meaning announce the pilgrimage to mankind and call them to perform pilgrimage to this House, which We have commanded you to built.
It is reported in at-Tabaree (18: 605, 607) from Ibn Abbas and others that Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) said: ‘O Lord, how can I convey this to people when my voice will not reach them?’ It was said: ‘Call them and We will convey it.’ So Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) stood up and said: ‘O Mankind! Your Lord has established a House so come on pilgrimage to it.’ The mountains lowered themselves so that his voice would reach all regions of the Earth, and those who were still in their mother’s wombs and their father’s loins would hear the call. The response came from everyone in the cities, deserts and countryside, and those whom Allah decreed will make the pilgrimage until the Day of Judgment, as Allah said: “They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every Fajj (route) Amiq (distant).” [Soorah al-Hajj (22): 26]
Supplications of Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam)
After the construction of Kaa’ba, Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) invoked Allah to bless the city of Makkah and those who live therein and provide them with provisions: “My Lord! Make this city (Makkah) a place of security and provide its people with fruits….” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 126] And thus Allah responded to the call of Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam): “And (remember) when He made the House (the Kaa’ba at Makkah) a place of resort for mankind and a place of safety.” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 125] and: “Have We not established for them a secure sanctuary (Makkah), to which are brought fruits of all kinds, a provision from Ourselves, but most of them know not.” [Soorah al-Qasas (28): 57] Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu)said:
“On the day of the conquest of Makkah, Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Allah has made this town a sanctuary. Its thorny bushes should not be cut, its game should not be chased, and its fallen things should not be picked up except by one who would announce it publicly.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee, vol: 2, no: 657]
Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) also invoked Allah to: “Send amongst them (the people of Makkah) a Messenger of their own, who shall recite unto them Your verses and instruct them in the Book (Qur’aan) and al-Hikmah (full knowledge of the Islamic laws, and jurisprudence or wisdom, or Prophethood, etc.) and sanctify them. Verily, You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 129] and indeed Allah answered his invocation and sent Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam), who was born in Makkah and from where Islam spread throughout the world.
The Glad tidings of Ishaque and Yaqu’ob
One day Ibraheem was sitting outside his tent, three Angels in human shape descended to the earth; Jibreel (alaihi as-salaam), Israfeel (alaihi as-salaam), and Mika’eel (alaihi as-salaam). Ibraheem arose and welcomed them: “They said: “Salaam (greetings or peace).” He answered Salam and he hastened to entertain them with a roasted calf. But when he saw their hands went not toward it (the meal), he felt some mistrust of them, and conceived feat of them. They said: “Fear not, we have been sent against the people of Lut. And his wife was standing (there), she laughed. But We gave her glad tidings of Ishaque and Yaqu’ob. She said (in astonishment): “Woe unto me! Shall I bear a child while I am an old woman, and here is my husband, an old man? Verily! This is a strange thing!” They said: “Do you wonder at the Decree of Allah? The Mercy of Allah and His Blessings be on you, O family (of Ibraheem). Surely, He (Allah) is All-Praiseworthy, All-Glorious.” [Soorah al-Hud (11): 69-73]. “And We bestowed on him (Ibraheem), Ishaque and Yaqu’ob…” [Soorah (29): 27]
Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam), an Imaam (leader) to the people
After Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) qualified in all the trials of Allah, He, the Exalted, decided to make him (alaihi as-salaam) an Imaam meaning a Prophet and leader and an example for the people to come: “and (remember) when the Lord of Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) tried him with (certain) Commands, which he fulfilled. He Allah said (to him): “Verily, I am going to make you a leader (Prophet) of mankind.” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 124] “and We granted him reward in this world and verily, in the Hereafter he is indeed among the righteous.” [Soorah al-Ankabut (29): 27]
Allah granted Prophethood and Divine Books to his progeny: “And We bestowed upon him Ishaque and Yaqu’ob, each of them we guided, and before him, We guided Nuh and amongst his progeny Dawood, Sulaiman, Ayyub, Yusuf, Moosa and Haroon. Thus, do We reward the good-doers. And Zakariyyah and Yahya and Eesa and Ilyas each one of them was of the righteous. And Isma’eel and al-Yas’a and Yunus and Lut and each one of them We preferred above the Alamin. And also some of their fathers and their progeny and their brethren, We chose them and We guided them to a Straight Path. This is the Guidance of Allah with which He guides whomsoever He wills of His slaves. But if they had joined in worship others with Allah, all they used to do would have been of no benefit to them.” [Soorah al-An’aam (6): 84-88] Thus, every Book (Scripture) was given to the Prophets from the progeny of Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam). From Ishaque (alaihi as-salaam), the second son of Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) came the Prophets of Isra’eel and their progeny finished on Eesa (alaihi as-salaam). From Isma’eel (alaihi as-salaam), the first son of Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) came only one Prophet, the superior among them and the seal of them, which is Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam).
Thus, Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) acquires great respect and honor in the hearts of Muslims. He is the most superior of the Prophets after Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam). Therefore, when we send prayers and blessings on our Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam), we are also ordered to mention his name: “O Allah! Send prayers on Muhammad, and on the family of Muhammad as you sent prayers on Ibraheem and on the family of Ibraheem. You are indeed worthy of Praise, full of Glory. O Allah! Send blessings on Muhammad and on the family of Muhammad, as you sent blessings on Ibraheem and on the family of Ibraheem. You are indeed worthy of Praise, full of Glory.” [(Saheeh) Saheeh al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslim]