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Abraham in Islam

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

category: Prophethood


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When they came back from the festival for which they had gone out, they saw the broken idols and they accused Ibraaheem (of breaking them). He said to them:

"Nay, this one, the biggest of them (idols) did it. Ask them, if they can speak!" [al-Anbiyaa’ 21:63 – interpretation of the meaning]

Because they knew that these idols could not speak – for they were inanimate objects – they said to Ibraaheem:

"Indeed you (Ibraaheem (Abraham)) know well that these (idols) speak not!" [al-Anbiyaa’ 21:65 – interpretation of the meaning]

When they admitted that these idols could do nothing, Ibraaheem said to them:

"Do you then worship besides Allaah, things that can neither profit you, nor harm you? Fie upon you, and upon that which you worship besides Allaah! Have you then no sense?" [al-Anbiyaa’ 21:67 – interpretation of the meaning]

When they had exhausted all lines of argument, they resorted to the use of force and said:

"Burn him and help your aalihah (gods), if you will be doing." [al-Anbiyaa’ 21:68 – interpretation of the meaning]

They gathered a lot of wood and started a fire which had great sparks and flames, then they threw Ibraaheem (peace be upon him) into that fire. He said, "Hasbi Allaah wa ni’am al-wakeel (Allaah is sufficient for me and He is the best Disposer of affairs)." So Allaah saved him from it and made it coolness and safety for him, and foiled the plot of his enemies:

"We (Allaah) said: ‘O fire! Be you coolness and safety for Ibraaheem (Abraham)!’ And they wanted to harm him, but We made them the worst losers." [al-Anbiyaa’ 21:69-70 – interpretation of the meaning]

After saving Ibraaheem from the fire, Allaah commanded him to leave Mesopotamia and migrate to the Holy Land in Palestine. He married his cousin (the daughter of his paternal uncle) – Saarah – and set out with her and his brother’s son Loot for Syria, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

"And We rescued him and Loot (Lot) to the land which We have blessed for the ‘Aalameen (mankind and jinn)." [al-Anbiyaa’ 21:71]

Then great hardship befell the land of Syria, so Ibraaheem moved to Egypt with his wife, then he came back to Palestine, bringing his wife and a slave woman of hers called Haajar. Ibraaheem longed to have children, but his wife was barren and had grown old. When she saw how much her husband longed to have a child, she gave her slave woman, Haajar, to him. So he married her and was blessed with his son Ismaa’eel from her:

"’My Lord! Grant me (offspring) from the righteous.’ So We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy." [al-Saaffaat 37:100-101 – interpretation of the meaning]

After Haajar gave birth to Ismaa’eel, Saarah began to feel jealous, so she asked Ibraaheem to send them away from her. Allaah revealed to Ibraaheem that he should take Haajar and the infant Ismaa’eel and take them to Makkah. So he took them and left Haajar and her child Ismaa’eel in an bleak, isolated place in which there was no water, then he left them and went back to Palestine. Haajar said to him, "For whom are you leaving us in this forsaken valley?" But Ibraaheem went and left her, and she said, "Has Allaah commanded you to do this?" He said, "Yes." She said, "Then Allaah will not cause us to be lost."

Ibraaheem submitted to the command of his Lord and patiently bore the separation from his wife and child. Then he turned towards where they were at the Sacred House and prayed for them in the following words (interpretation of the meaning):

"O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Ka‘bah at Makkah) in order, O our Lord, that they may perform As-Salaah (Iqaamat-as-Salaah). So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allaah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks." [Ibraaheem 14:37]

Haajar stayed in Makkah, eating the food and drinking the water that Ibraaheem had left for her and her son. When that ran out, she and her son became thirsty. She looked for water, and climbed the hill of al-Safaa but she did not see anything. Then she climbed the hill of al-Marwah but she did not see anything. She did that seven times, then she turned towards Ismaa’eel and saw water gushing from beneath his feet. She rejoiced and drank some, and gave some to her son to drink. Then a tribe – Jurham – came to Haajar and asked her permission to settle by the water. She gave them permission and they settled beside her. When Ismaa’eel grew up, he married one of their women and learned Arabic from them.

During this period, Ibraaheem used to visit his son from time to time. On one of these visits, Ibraaheem saw in a dream that Allaah was commanding him to sacrifice his son Ismaa’eel. The dreams of the Prophets are true, so Ibraaheem resolved to obey the command of Allaah, even though he was old and Ismaa’eel was his only son. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

"So We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy."

"And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: ‘O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offering you in sacrifice to Allaah). So look what you think!’ He said: ‘O my father! Do that which you are commanded, In sha’ Allaah (if Allaah wills), you shall find me of As-Saabiroon (the patient).’"

T"hen, when they had both submitted themselves (to the Will of Allaah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (or on the side of his forehead for slaughtering); We called out to him: ‘O Ibraaheem! You have fulfilled the dream!’ Verily, thus do We reward the Muhsinoon (good-doers). Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice (i.e. a ram)." [al-Saffaat 37:101-107]

Then Allaah gave him the glad tidings of another son, who was Ishaaq, and then Ibraaheem returned to Palestine:

"And We gave him the glad tidings of Ishaaq (Isaac) a Prophet from the righteous." [al-Saaffaat 37:112 – interpretation of the meaning]

Ishaaq was born to him from his wife Saarah:

"And his wife was standing (there), and she laughed (either, because the messengers did not eat their food or for being glad for the destruction of the people of Loot (Lot)). But We gave her glad tidings of Ishaaq (Isaac), and after Ishaaq, of Ya‘qoob (Jacob)." [Hood 11:71 – interpretation of the meaning]

Then Ibraaheem stayed in Palestine for a while, then he returned to Makkah for an important reason. Allaah had commanded him to build in Makkah the first House to be built for the worship of Allaah. So Ibraaheem undertook this task of construction, and his son Ismaa’eel was lifting up the stones to him. When the walls grew higher, Ibraaheem stood on a rock, and this is the Station of Ibraaheem (Maqaam Ibraaheem) which is to be found in the vicinity of the Ka’bah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

"And (remember) when Ibraaheem (Abraham) and (his son) Ismee‘eel (Ishmael) were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka‘bah at Makkah), (saying), ‘Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.’" [al-Baqarah 2:127]

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