Praises be to Allāh, the Lord and sustainer of the Universe, His benediction and peace is beseeched on the noblest of mankind, Muhammad, his household, his companions and the generality of Muslims. To Proceed,
Indeed, Ibrāhīm was a [comprehensive] leader, devoutly obedient to Allah, inclining toward truth, and he was not of those who associate others with Allah. (An-Nahl: 120)
Have you ever pondered on the reasons why Allah cherished some individuals among the Messengers; The Messengers of Strong Determination أولو العزم من الرسل) ) . You might have wondered what they could have done for Allah, for the sake of Allah to merit that noble rank among the chosen ones? Allah says in the Qur’an;
ٱللَّهُ يَصْطَفِى مِنَ ٱلْمَلَٰٓئِكَةِ رُسُلًا وَمِنَ ٱلنَّاسِۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ سَمِيعٌۢ بَصِيرٌ
Allah chooses messengers from among the angels and from among men. God is all hearing, all seeing: (Al-Hajj 22:75)
Yet, he selectively made some of the men superior among others. He said,
فَٱصْبِرْ كَمَا صَبَرَ أُو۟لُوا۟ ٱلْعَزْمِ مِنَ ٱلرُّسُلِ وَلَا تَسْتَعْجِل لَّهُمْۚ
So be patient, [O Muhammad], as were those of determination among the messengers and do not be impatient for them… (Al-Ahqaf 46:35).
The ideal reason behind it is only clear to their Lord, Allah Subhānahu Wa Ta’āla. Meanwhile, He (Allah) made mention of some of their extraordinary attributes and uncommon good actions. As for Prophet Ibrāhīm (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), Allah described him with a lot of noble actions and manners.
To start with, how he brutally battled against the disbelievers of his era, including his own biological father, by his steadfastness and hatred towards the idols they worshipped, even before he knew the right path, and his sincere advice to his father to abstain from worshiping idols and to worship the one God. He said:
يَٰٓأَبَتِ لَا تَعْبُدِ ٱلشَّيْطَٰنَۖ إِنَّ ٱلشَّيْطَٰنَ كَانَ لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ عَصِيًّا
O my father, do not worship Satan. Indeed Satan has ever been, to the Most Merciful, disobedient. (Maryam 19:44)
Also, his level of patience cannot be exaggerated. He was so patient with Allah’s plan when the disbelievers decided to throw him inside the blazing fire for no other reason than refusing to join them in worshipping their idols. Despite his obedience to Allah, Allah gave him no single child while he was so patient until he attained an old age. Little wonder Allah testified to his patience, Allah says;
إِنَّ إِبْرَٰهِيمَ لَأَوَّٰهٌ حَلِيمٌ
Indeed Ibrāhīm was compassionate and patient. (At-Taubah: 114)
Allah, Subhānahu Wa Ta’āla, tried him with a number of tests and commands, and by His grace, he fulfilled them all. Allah says;
وَإِذِ ٱبْتَلَىٰٓ إِبْرَٰهِۦمَ رَبُّهُۥ بِكَلِمَٰتٍ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّۖ
And [mention, O Muhammad], when Ibrahim was tried by his Lord with commands and he fulfilled them… (Al-Baqarah: 124)
From the various commands he was given are:
- Not to associate any partner with Allah in worship and to always purify the house of Allah so that the believers could worship therein. Allah says;
وَإِذْ بَوَّأْنَا لِإِبْرَٰهِيمَ مَكَانَ ٱلْبَيْتِ أَن لَّا تُشْرِكْ بِى شَيْـًٔا وَطَهِّرْ بَيْتِىَ لِلطَّآئِفِينَ وَٱلْقَآئِمِينَ وَٱلرُّكَّعِ ٱلسُّجُودِ
And [mention, O Muhammad], when We designated for Ibrahim the site of the House, [saying], “Do not associate anything with Me (in worship) and purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who stand [in prayer] and those who bow and prostrate. (Al Hajj: 26)
- Allah (Subhānahu wa ta’āla) commanded him to totally submit himself to Him by accepting Islam which he did without an iota of reluctance. Allah says;
إِذۡ قَالَ لَهُۥ رَبُّهُۥٓ أَسۡلِمۡۖ قَالَ أَسۡلَمۡتُ لِرَبِّ ٱلۡعَٰلَمِينَ
When his Lord said to him, “Submit”, he said “I have submitted [in Islam] to the Lord of the worlds.” (Al Baqara: 131)
- Allah (Subhānahu wa Ta’āla) commanded him to practice the characteristics of the Fitra (innate characters) and he fulfilled all. It was narrated in an authentic Hadith by Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allāh (peace be upon him) said;
الْفِطْرَةُ خَمْسٌ الْخِتَانُ، وَالاِسْتِحْدَادُ، وَقَصُّ الشَّارِبِ، وَتَقْلِيمُ الأَظْفَارِ، وَنَتْفُ الآبَاطِ “
Five practices are characteristics of the Fitra: circumcision, shaving the pubic hair, cutting the moustaches short, clipping the nails, and depilating the hair of the armpits.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 5891)
“He Promised to slaughter his son for Allah; an old tale”
However, there’s an old tale of when Prophet Ibrāhīm, peace be upon him, was in need of a child, he promised to Allah to give the child in worship to Allah if he was blessed with one by Allah. This is what we were made to believe; an old childhood tale.
Indeed Prophet Ibrahim(peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) was in need of an offspring and he begged Allah to grant him one, but never did he promise to sacrifice him to Allah.
Allah the exalted says;
رَبِّ هَبْ لِي مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ
“O my Lord! Grant me a righteous (son)!” (As-Saaffat: 100)
Allah answered his request and granted him a son (Ismā’eel) through his maid, Hajarah. Allah says;
فَبَشَّرْنَاهُ بِغُلَامٍ حَلِيمٍ
So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear. (As-Saaffat: 10)
Ismā’eel was indeed very dutiful to his father and he was also made a prophet. When he was due of age, Allah instructed him (Ibrahim) to sacrifice his son thereafter, Allah says;
فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ السَّعْيَ قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَىٰ فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَىٰ قَالَ يَا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاءَ اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ
Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: “O my son! I see in vision that I offered you in sacrifice: Now see what is your view!” (The son) said: “O my father! Do as you have been commanded: you will find me, if Allah so wills, one practicing Patience and Constancy!” (As-Saaffat: 102).
Ismā’eel was patient and willing to allow his father fulfill the command of Allah. Allah further says;
فَلَمَّا أَسْلَمَا وَتَلَّهُ لِلْجَبِينِ
So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice). (As-Saaffat: 103)
Then Allah called out to him and gave him the news that he has fulfilled His commandment, and he has passed the test given to him. Allah says;
وَفَدَيْنَاهُ بِذِبْحٍ عَظِيمٍ
And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice. (As-Saaffat: 107)
Prophet Ibrahim (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) was indeed a prophet and a leader to all mankind. Following his footsteps will lead us right because his path is free of errors. Allāh says;
وَمَن يَرْغَبُ عَن مِّلَّةِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِلَّا مَن سَفِهَ نَفْسَهُ وَلَقَدِ اصْطَفَيْنَاهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَإِنَّهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ لَمِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ
And who turns away from the religion of Ibrahim (Abraham) (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) except him who befools himself? Truly, We chose him in this world and verily, in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous. (Al-Baqarah: 130)
The slaughtering was indeed one of those feats that made him (Ibrāhīm) a quintessential leader ( and role model for all Muslims). Allāh says;
قَدْ كَانَتْ لَكُمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ فِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ
Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibrahim… (Al-Mumtahinah: 4)
May Allah grant us the similitude of patience and steadfastness He granted His noble Prophets Ibrāhīm and Ismā’eel.
سَلَامٌ عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ
“Peace and salutation to Abraham!” (As-Saaffat: 109)
Exalted Is Allah and All praise is due to Him.