Allah(SWT) mentions Prophet Ibrahim(AS) 73 times and tells a dozen of his different stories and encounters with various people, over and over again. His is a story of wisdom, bravery, love of God and dedication to the progress of humanity.
Ibraaheem (peace be upon him) was the father of the Prophets; no Prophet was sent after him but he was from among his descendents.
The father of Ibraaheem was one of the idol-worshippers. He used to carve them and sell them. His father’s disbelief troubled Ibraaheem, so he advised him. In Surah Ash-Shu`arā’ he began to ask ‘How can you worship that which you made with your own hands? Do they hear you when you call to them? Do they benefit you or harm you?’
There are many idols propped up today, perhaps not as physical statues which people prostrate to, but definitely things which people are devoted to or obsessed with, as was the response of the people of Ibrahim (lahaa ‘aakifeen). This includes:
- Worship of the Self: fittingly captured in the selfie culture
- Power or fame: Like devotion to a celebrity – adulation at concerts similar to monarchs or Pharoahs of the past or sports matches sacrificing sleep, wealth and effort
- Money: endless hours in the office/cab to acquire the same phone, car or lifestyle as someone else
- Football with its khutba ceremony of watching the game, the match day pillars of prayer and intense khushoo (focus) on the game, the comments about the Imam (footie manager), the team which is worshipped and causes great offence when insulted, and the players seen as heroic figures. There’s a uniform for worshippers in the form of crests that symbolise their identity, as well as prayers and chants that are used to express devotion. Many fans even go as far as having their team permanently etched onto their skin as a means of expressing such a deep connection to them.
Yet, who is more worthy of worship. Allahu Akbar – Allah(SWT) is Greater – than all else and is the only One who sustains us. Isn’t it amazing that:
- In one day, blood travels in our body a total of 12,000 miles, that’s further than Luton to New Zealand, past Australia
- The human eye can see 7 million colors.
- More than 28,800 times your eyes are naturally washed, 20 times a minute without you even thinking about it
- You take 20,000 breaths a day
Who else could make this happen and to whom should we show gratitude and devotion?
On their day of Eid, he excused himself and in their absence, he took an axe and broke all the idols except the biggest one, which he left so that they could ask it who had done this:
When they returned, to their horror, they saw the broken idols and they accused Ibraaheem (of breaking them). He said to them: “No, this one, the biggest of them (idols) did it. Ask them, if they can speak!”
They responded “Indeed you [Ibraaheem] know well that these (idols) dont speak!” [al-Anbiyaa’ 21:65] So Ibrahim said “Do you then worship besides Allaah, things that can neither profit you, nor harm you?
On this, they committed to kill him for this act. And Allah(SWT) tested him to see how he would he would respond when he would have to sacrifice his own life for his belief. They decided to throw Abraham into the biggest fire they could build. All the citizens were ordered to gather wood as a service to their gods.For several days they collected fuel and then dug a deep pit, filled it with firewood and ignited it. They brought a catapult with which to cast Abraham into the fire. Abraham was put on the catapult, his hands and feet tied. The fire was ready with its flames reaching the sky. The people stood away from the pit because of the great heat. Then the chief priest gave his order to cast Abraham into the fire.
But Allah(SWT) determines his time and place of death. It’s not to be this fire at all. In fact, in the Tafsir of Imam Tabari, Ibrahim(AS) was cast into the fire for 40 or 50 days and later said ‘ The days spent in the fire were the best days of my life, I wish that my entire life were like those days spent in the fire’. (Tafsir At Tabari)
And later in his life, when he asks Allah(SWT) to show him how life is given to the dead. He is commanded to to take four birds, slaughter them, and then to put parts of their bodies on four mountains. Prophet Ibrahim(AS) stood on one of the mountains and shouted at the top of his voice: “Slaughtered birds, come to me with the permission of Allah!”
Amazingly, the heads of the birds returned to their bodies. Then their wings and their souls came back. The birds’ hearts began beating. Their wings began flapping. Then the birds flew high in the sky. They quickly sat at the feet of our Prophet Ibrahim and he prostrated to Allah, the Almighty Creator.
Ibrahim (AS) was born nearly 4000 years ago in what is modern-day Iraq, near the city of Mosul.
He had two sons whom Allaah chose to be Prophets. They were Ismaa’eel the grandfather of the Arabs, from among whose descendents Allaah sent the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and Ishaaq whom Allaah blessed with a Prophet called Ya’qoob, who was also known as Israa’eel, after whom Bani Israa’eel (the Children of Israel) and their Prophets were called.
Allah(SWT) records his words here when he said:
No doubt about it,
my sacrifice (nusuk) the animals that I sacrifice well
my mahyaya – my life now, the place I live and the time I live in – my lifespan
mamaati – eventual death but also means the time of my death in the place of my death
lillahi rabbil aalameen belonged to Allah the master of all nations
Allah (SWT) shows us some key points about Ibrahim(AS) – he was a person of Prayer – a connection with Allah(SWT), not just a contact at the end of Snapchat or Insta, but a live and emotional connection with Allah(SWT).
Nusuk means sacrifice
Ibrahim was ready to sacrifice his life and be catapulted into the fire but Allah (SWT) decides when he’s gonna die so his time and place of death is not determined by a burning flame.
Macro (big picture) intentions – the annual intention or your Ramadan resolutions. We all know that our intentions should all be for Allah(SWT) when we’re praying. What about our major life goals and drivers?
What am I going to do with my life?
What kind of career am I going to have?
Which course should I study?
What job should I take?
Who should I get married to?
How do I bring up my children?
If my life is for Allah(SWT) and how I live it and if my death is for Allah(SWT) and where and when it happens, then when is it time for me straighten out the rest of my life so everything in my life is for Allah(SWT)?
Living this ayah, means I’m giving to my life my career, my goals, my family, my marriage and my aspirations for Allah.
When we accept that we completely belong to Allah, then Inna lillahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji’oon does not just become a statement of consolation at the passing of someone. Rather, we affirm that we are definitely from Allah(SWT) and we will return to Allah(SWT).
And when we commit to this and the example of true sacrifice shown to us by Prophet Ibrahim(AS), we work to sacrifice our time, our pride, our sports matches, our friends, our wealth for the sake of Allah(SWT), one by one, until we can sacrifice the thing nearest and dearest to us. In the case of Ibrahim(AS) that was his son. Any parent knows you would be willing to die for your child, and thats easier than you experiencing any pain of your own. And no parent ever expects to outlive their child, so what of Ibrahim(AS), someone who has already been thrown out of his own home and his people have rejected him? A true migrant and refugee like all of us.
After saving Ibraaheem from the fire, Allaah commanded him to leave Iraq and migrate to the Holy Land in Palestine and the surrounding areas. He married his cousin (the daughter of his paternal uncle) – Saarah – and set out with her and his nephew Lut for Syria. Then they moved on to Egypt. Ibraaheem longed to have children, but his wife was not able to have children 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 some scholars say that Ibrahim (A.S.) was 86 years old at the time of Ismail’s (A.S.) birth – 86 years of patience and yearning – can you imagine how much he wanted this child?
But soon after the birth of this child he had been so desperate for, Saarah began to feel jealous but rather than poison her family and her husband’s mind, she asked Ibraaheem to send them away from that area. Allaah(SWT) revealed to Ibraaheem that he should take Haajar and the infant Ismaa’eel and take them to Makkah – a barren desert at that time. But not just to take them there but to leave his newborn child and wife behind! So he(AS) 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 some distance away, he turned towards where they were at the Sacred House and prayed for them in the following words: “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. 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]
And he had certainty that Allah(SWT) would take care of them. And he was right. The travellers form the people of Jurhum noticed birds circling an area above zamzam and settled there with the permission of Haajar.
Over the years, Ibraheem(AS) would visit and spend time with his son and took great joy in playing with him.
“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 what do 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).’
Then, 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]
I believe you know when you have good intention and aim to purify your wealth by earning halal – not dealing drugs or committing fraud, but seeking employment or running your own business. When you have good, Allah (SWT) will put Baraka in your wealth and families, so that you can fulfil the intention of serving his deen.
Allah (SWT) will start opening doors for you and start creating opportunities for you that you could never have imagined will open for you.
Example of Saghirs father being buried by the haram.
For Those Who Are Not Able To Perform Hajj This Year!
Ibn Rajab al-Ḥanbalī Raḥimahullāh said: “Whoever is not able to stop at Arafah, then stop at the limits of Allāh He has set.
Whoever is not able to spend the night at Muzdalifah, let him spend the night in obedience to Allāh to come close and attain nearness to Him.
Whoever is not able to slaughter at Minā, then let him slaughter his desires so by it he can reach his objective.
Whoever cannot make to Ka’bah and is far from it then let him serve the Lord of Ka’bah for He is nearer than jugular vein.”
Men use knives to sacrifice their egos and wealth for the sake of Allah SWT. Even to point a weapon at another Muslim is forbidden so to our youth and elders, use your day of Eid to be a means of pleasing Allah(SWT), just as you have fasted for His sake yesterday and undertaken good deeds over these best days of the year. Don’t undo it in a reckless night of Eid just to show off to people around you, who would rather laugh at you than undertaken acts of foolishness themselves.
Ali(RA) would say Eid is for him whose fasts have been accepted by Allah, and whose worship has been appreciated by Allah. Every day in which you do not disobey Allah is a day of Eid.
May Allah(SWT) accept all your good deeds and give us the ability to live a life of sacrifice for His sake. Eid mubaarak!