Alhamdulillāh… All praise and thanks are due to the Almighty Allāh. I send peace and blessings upon Ḥabībī Muḥammad, his household, his companions and all those who follow his guided path, till the Day of Judgement.
This is part 8 of the ‘Reflections from the Qur’an’ series, which is posted here on GSalam.Net, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, throughout the holy month of Ramaḍān 2014. I pray that Allāh grants us more understanding of His book and religion.
The Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was told in the Qur’an to follow the religion (and the footsteps) of Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm. That wasn’t only for the fact that he never worshiped idols, but for some other additional reasons. The most outstanding of all, he was a man equal to a nation.
A nation an individual country considered together with its social and political structures. Nations vary in size and power. Nations fall and rise. Some nations fell the day they were founded. Others were founded to live till the day of judegement. Thus, one person does not make up a nation. However, Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm, ‘alaihi al-salām, is an exception, and he lived and died as a man equal to a nation.
What does it mean for one man to be equal to a nation?
In Surha al-Nahl, 16:120, Allāh describes Sayyidanā Ibrahīm, ‘alaihi al-salam, as a man who is equal to a nation on his own. The verse reads:
إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ كَانَ أُمَّةً قَانِتًا لِّلَّـهِ حَنِيفًا وَلَمْ يَكُ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
“Surely, Ibrahīm was (equal to) a nation (all by himself), obedient unto Allah, a man of pure faith and was not among the idolaters.”
Other verses which tell us about the man (Sayyidanā Ibrahīm, ‘alaihi al-Salām) reveal a better understanding to what made Sayyidanā Ibrāhīm (one man) equal to a nation.
First: He Sought for God on His Own
Although Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm was brought up in a society where everyone was a polytheist; and everyone was doing what everyone else was doing; idolatry. The young man Ibrāhīm thought differently, but correctly. He thought that something was wrong with the concept of God in his society. How could star-god disappear? How could the moon-god not remain? How couldn’t the sun-god lighten the world forever? How couldn’t the handmade idols defend themselves from the attack of its worshiper? In a search for answers to all these questions, he took trouble and struggled alone in that cause, until God Himself chose him for prophecy.
In other words, Ibrāhīm, ‘alaihi al-salām, didn’t inherit Islam from neither his parents nor from his society or environment. He found Islam when and where it could be least found.
We know that his father was a leader in that society. In fact, his father was in-charge of their temples, and hence, had little chance to have a child with the orientation of Ibrāhīm.
Second: He was Humbly Submissive to Allah
After Ibrāhīm got to know the true God who deserves to be worshiped, his challenges started with the first trial he encountered. It was certain that he was a threat to the future of his people and their religious business. Many will lose their positions and others are going to be low-ranked after they’ve been high-classed. His people, therefore, decided to get rid of him. A suggestion was made to burn him alive. This could also send a strong message to anyone who would want to take the same stance as Ibrāhīm, ‘alaihi al-salām. The plan was executed and Ibrāhīm was thrown into a blazing fire.
It was reported that when he was thrown into the fire, Ibrāhīm, ‘alaihi al-salām, rejected all help offered by all the Angels, including that of Jibrīl ‘alaihi al-salām. Instead, he only waited for the help of Allah.
That was the first trial and he perfectly passed it, and showed his true submissiveness to Allah’s Will.
Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm, ‘alaihi al-salām, encountered many other trials until he passed 80 years of his blessed age. It was only after 80 years that he was blessed with a child. That child was Sayyidunā Ismā‘īl, ‘alaihi al-salām. Every parent knows how it feels to have your first child, let alone having him at the age of 80 years; decades of waiting, anxiety, nightmares and patience.
After the child, Sayyidanā Ismā‘īl grew up in front of his elderly father, the father was commanded to sacrifice the son, Ismā‘īl. He hesitated not to comply to the command of His Lord. Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm, ‘alaihi al-salām, didn’t ask for the reason and objective behind Allah’s command for him to sacrifice his son. Instead, he submitted himself and all he has to the Will of Allah.
It was a test, not a temperamental personality test, but a test that investigates the level and extent of one’s faith in his creator. It was a test that sought to investigate, although Allah knew that already, how willing is Ibrāhīm, to submit his will and desires to the Will and Desires of Allah.
Third: He was a Far-Sighted Person
Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm, ‘alaihi al-salām, was a far-sighted and a visionary person. He never thought only for the instant moment he lived. He always thought for centuries to come. He there took action that will qualify him for rewards for rewards till the Day of Judgement.
After all the trial and challenges he went through, Allah decided to reward him. The reward wasn’t a box of treasure, golden trophy or medal. It was rather a responsibility in nature; leadership and prophecy. Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm, ‘alaihi al-salām, didn’t just accept the reward and appreciated it, for the sake of celebrating his achievement.
The fact that that was Allah chose for him as a reward for his sacrifice and submissiveness, it’s definitely for his own good. And because knew he can’t live forever, and no matter how good a reward is, you can’t take it with you to your grave. Therefore, he asked that the reward of the leadership and prophecy is also passed down to his offspring, who were yet to come. That request was granted for Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm and his offspring.
وَإِذِ ابْتَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ رَبُّهُ بِكَلِمَاتٍ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ ، قَالَ إِنِّي جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامًا، قَالَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي، قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهْدِي الظَّالِمِين
“When his Lord tested Abraham with certain commands and he fulfilled them, He said, “I will make you a leader of men.” Abraham asked, “And what of my descendants?” He answered, “My covenant does not extend to the transgressors.”
Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm, ‘alaihi al-salām, had two sons. His only two sons were Sayyiduna Ismā‘īl and Sayyidunā Isḥāq, both of who were also messengers of Allāh. Most messengers mentioned in the Qur’an who came after Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm were children of Ibrāhīm, either from the descendants of Ismā‘īl or descendants of Ishaq. The prophets of Israel come from the descendants of Sayyidinā Ya’qub, ‘alaihi al-salām, who was the son of Ishāq. Sayyidanā Muhammad, sallā Allāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam, comes from the descendants of Sayyidina Ismā‘īl, ‘alaihi al-salām.
Fourth: He Prayed for His Offspring Very Often
Sayyidanā Ibrāhīm, ‘alaihi al-salām, prayed for his offspring very often. We see this in the series of invocations he made to Allāh. Among others are these two:
رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا، إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ ﴿١٢٧﴾ رَبَّنَا وَاجْعَلْنَا مُسْلِمَيْنِ لَكَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِنَا أُمَّةً مُّسْلِمَةً لَّكَ وَأَرِنَا مَنَاسِكَنَا وَتُبْ عَلَيْنَا، إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ ﴿١٢٨﴾ رَبَّنَا وَابْعَثْ فِيهِمْ رَسُولًا مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِكَ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ، إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
“Our Lord, accept this from us; for You are All Hearing, All Knowing. Our Lord, make us both (Me and Ismā‘īl) submissive to You, and of our descendants a submissive nation to You. Show us our rites and accept us; You are the Receiver of Repentance, the Merciful. Our Lord, send among them a Messenger from them who shall recite to them Your verses and teach them the Book and wisdom, and purify them; You are the Mighty, the Wise’.” [Surah al-Baqarah, 2:127-129]
رَبِّ اجْعَلْنِي مُقِيمَ الصَّلَاةِ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي، رَبَّنَا وَتَقَبَّلْ دُعَاءِ ﴿٤٠﴾ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيَّ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَوْمَ يَقُومُ الْحِسَابُ
“My Lord, make me and my descendants establishers of prayer. Our Lord, accept my prayer. Forgive me, our Lord, and forgive my parents and all the believers on the Day of Reckoning.”[Surah Ibrāhīm, 14:40-41].
A good Muslim should affirm his Islam the way Ibrāhīm, ‘alaihi al-salām, affirmed his. Our Islam shouldn’t vary according to the situation and surrounding we find ourselves in. If we want to be a good Muslims like Sayyidanā Ibrāhīm, ‘alaihi al-salām, we should have the willingness to respond to His commands without hesitation, let alone questioning the reason and logic behind them. Likewise Sayyidanā Ibrāhīm, ‘alaihi al-salām, a good Muslim should ensure he lives forever with his good deeds. If you are building any kind of legacy, make sure it attains you Allāh’s Pleasure, and not necessarily the praises of your fellow human beings. The best way to live forever is have a mission in life, and have righteous children who will carry on your mission, in a way or another. Righteous children are blessing from Allāh. And the blessings of Allāh is best attained through constant du‘ā and righteous deeds and living on righteous source of income.
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Allāh knows best.
Allāhu Ḥāfiẓ 🙂