Prophet Ibrahim (asws): The Friend of Allah (swt)
The trials which Prophet Ibrahim (asws) successfully underwent raised his status so much so that he was made the ‘Khaleel’ (friend or beloved one) of Allah (swt). It was Prophet Ibrahim’s call – indeed, on the orders of Allah (swt) – that we have been responding to for thousands of years: the call to perform the pilgrimage to the holy house, constructed by the blessed hands of prophet Ibrahim (asws) and his son Isma’il (asws), writes AMAATUL HAKIM.
Every human soul has a connection with his Lord. Some are sensitive enough to perceive it, while others spend all their lives without realizing the bond. Allah (swt) does not move away from His slave, but we distance ourselves from Him by disobeying Him, and fail to fulfill the purpose of our birth.
Tests and trials are a part of our lives: they are the doorway to feel the presence of our Creator. The faster we realize His presence, the more secure we feel from what we dread. To demonstrate this, our Creator sent His messengers, and every one of them did it with perfection and grace. To reflect, and draw lessons from these great men is a binding duty upon us.
More than 4000 years ago, in the town of Ur, in Babil, in present day Iraq, amongst idol-worshippers, appeared a boy. He was never convinced with the prevailing practices. His intelligence stopped him from worshipping that which had no power to even shoo the fly away from it, making the ability to listen and grant wishes, a never happening reality. The tender heart within, urged him to present this reality to the people around. Unfortunately, however, it was never perceived as such.
Venturing to change the perception of masses is no easy task, for beliefs planted during childhood are like roots of a fig tree – several times deeper than the trunk outside. In such a situation, for a young boy in his adolescence, who is trying to convey the truth, losing temper wouldn’t have been blameworthy. However, on the contrary, the gentle, yet coherent, words of Ibrahim (asws) to his father, who failed to recognize the truth, are a lesson for the youth.
Though father and son stood their ground, Ibrahim (asws) used a very respectful tone throughout the conversation, to address his father. This has been accurately recorded by Allah (swt) in the Qur’an in verses 41-45 of Surah 19.
Standing in the court of Nimrod, a twenty-first century youth would have found it stressful to prove himself again and again, but young Ibrahim (asws) took it as an opportunity to testify his faith. Firmness in faith combined with divine help, to enable him to win through every trial he faced.
After having won the debate, young Ibrahim (asws) was not rewarded with treasures, which he actually deserved; instead, he was now prepared for being roasted alive. The blazing fire kindled was so toweringly high that it needed a catapult to throw him into it. Ibrahim (asws) never deterred from the Unicity of God (Tawheed) which he believed in; he never yelled, never shouted. With the strongest of trust in his Lord, he landed in the fire.
Yes, yet another lesson to learn, although being young in age and new to the lesson of Tawheed, Ibrahim (asws) had strong conviction: he believed firmly in what he said.
As we understand from Ibrahim (asws), and rest of the Prophets, Tawheed (Allah’s oneness) is not just a verbal undertaking; it has to sink deep within us. It has to be reflected in every action of a Muslim. With the deep understanding of Tawheed, comes the true reliance. And Allah (swt) is the Protector of the true believers, and what a blessed Protector is He!
Scholars say trials either incur forgiveness for the sins or raise the status. Since prophets were ever innocent of committing any sin, the trials they faced only increased their status. Ibrahim (asws) was tested again; he was now, perhaps, in his eighties. Isma’il, then his only son, was a toddler.
Prophet Ibrahim (asws) was ordered to leave both Hajirah (ra) and her son Isma’il (asws) in the wilderness of the Arabian dessert. Equally strong as her husband, Hajirah (ra) demonstrated her obedience to the Lord, and never complained about her helpless situation to Allah (swt). Imploring the mercy of Allah (swt) for a difficulty is allowed but complaining about the difficulty is not allowed.
A decade or so later, another trial came Prophet Ibrahim’s way. For a man of ninety-plus years, this would be an unbearably bitter result of all his hard work, but absolutely not so with Ibrahim (asws), for he stood up, upright, to fulfill the command of his Lord with no less vigor and obedience than before. He accomplished the task he was ordered to perform, with no hesitation, no request for reconsideration from the One on high.
These trials raised the status of Ibrahim (asws) and made him the ‘Khaleel’ (friend or beloved one) of Allah (swt). His name – along with that of the Last Prophet – is preserved even to this day in all our prayers, unlike any other Prophet.
When we invoke peace on Muhammad (saws) in our prayers, we always mention Ibrahim (asws). It was his call – indeed, on the orders of Allah (swt) – that we have been responding to for thousands of years: the call to perform the pilgrimage to the holy house, constructed by the blessed hands of prophet Ibrahim (asws) and his son Isma’il (asws).
One is to perform the rituals of Hajj with the same devotion as Hajirah, Isma’il and Ibrahim (on them be peace) and have the hope of acceptance from Allah (swt), in the same manner in which it was accepted from the family of Ibrahim (asws).