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Abraham (‘A), The Friend Of Allah

His full name is Abraham (‘a) son of Tarih son of Nahur son of Sarugh son of Arghu son of Faligh son of Abir (Eber) son of Shalikh son of Kenan son of Arfkhshath son of Sam son of Noah (‘a). The name given to Abraham (‘a)’s father by the latter’s father, Tarih, was Abraham (‘a), but when Tarih came to be the custodian over the treasures of Nemrud’s gods, he was named Azar. Azar, Abraham (‘a)’s father, was an adherent to Nemrud’s creed, namely idol-worship. His name is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an in verse 74 of Surah al-An’am:

“Abraham said to his sire Azar, ‘Do you take idols for gods? Surely I see you and your people in manifest error!’” (Qur’an, 6:74)

But there are those who argue saying that no prophet is born to an unbelieving father, that prophets are begotten to God-fearing parents. Based on such reasoning, there are those who say that Azar was not Abraham (‘a)’s father but uncle, and Allah (SwT) knows best.

Abraham (‘a) was born in Babylon during the reign of Nemrud (or Nimrod) son of Kenan. The time lapse between the flood and the birth of Abraham (‘a) was one thousand two hundred and sixty years, that is, three thousand and thirty-seven years after the creation of Adam (‘a), peace with him. Nemrud is son of Kenan son of Sinharib son of Korsh son of Ham son of Noah (‘a). According to one tradition,”The earth was ruled in its entirety by four persons: two of them were believers and the other two were disbelievers. The believers were Sulayman (Solomon (‘a)) son of Dawud (David (‘a)) and Dhul-Qarnain (Double-Horns). The disbelievers were Nemrud and Bukhtnazzer. Nemrud was the first to crown himself with a crown and to oppress in the land. He even ordered people to worship him. He had in his service soothsayers and star-gazers.

The latter said to him once,”This year, a boy will be born in your domain who will change the creed of the inhabitants of the earth; your own annihilation and the termination of your rule will take place at his hands.” It is said that they had found such a prophecy written down in the books of the prophets. Al-Suddi1 has said,”Nemrud saw once in a vision that a star appeared, eclipsing the light of both the sun and the moon, so much so that none of their lights remained. Nemrud was frightened very much, and he called to him the wizards, the soothsayers, and the fortune-tellers, and he ordered them to interpret his vision.

They said, ‘There will be a newborn in your area this year who will cause your annihilation and that of your family;’ therefore, he ordered every male born in that area in that year to be killed. [See below an image of the house where Prophet Abraham (‘a) lived in Ur, Nasiriyya, Iraq]. He also required men to be separated from their women, placing a trusted guard over each group of ten.

When a woman reached her menstruation period, he would permit them to mingle if he trusted that they would not cohabit, and when she was clean, he would separate her from her man. Azar went back home to find his woman clean, and he cohabited with her while she was clean, thus Abraham (‘a) was conceived.”

Al-Suddi says,”Nemrud ordered the men to camp, and he separated them from their women out of fear of the new-born, and he kept doing so for some time. Then he had to return to the city for some government business, and he did not trust anyone among his people to watch over them except Azar. He called him and said to him, ‘I need a favor of you.

I would like to ask you to do something for me. I have not asked for you except due to my trust in you. I ask you to swear that you will not come near your wife nor cohabit with her.’ Azar said, ‘I am more zealous about my faith than that!’ So he asked him to carry out some mission for him, then he sent him away.

Nemrud entered the city and took care of his business. After that, Azar sought permission to go home to see how his family was doing. When he looked at Abraham (‘a)’s mother, he could not control himself, so he cohabited with her, and Abraham (‘a) was thus conceived.”

Ibn ‘Abbas‎ has said that when Abraham (‘a)’s mother became pregnant, the priests told Nemrud that the boy they were warning him of was already conceived that very night, so Nemrud ordered all newborns to be slaughtered.

When Abraham (‘a)’s mother was about to deliver, she went out fearing someone would come to know about her birth and kill her baby. Having given birth to him, she put him at the bank of a dry river, wrapping him in a piece of cloth and putting him in a thicket of reeds. Then she returned home and told her husband about their son and his whereabouts.

His father went out to the place and dug up a vault near the river, placed him in it, then closed its entrance with a rock for fear of being eaten by wild beasts. His mother used to visit him there from time to time.

Ibn Isaq has said that Azar inquired of Abraham (‘a)’s mother as to what she had done about her pregnancy. She said,”I gave birth to a boy and he died.” He believed her and did not press it any further. As for Abraham (‘a), during each day that passed, his growth was equal to that of a month, and each month was equal to a year, and he did not stay in the vault for more than fifteen days before coming to his father Azar to tell him that he was his son. Azar’s wife told him what she had done in his regard, and Azar was quite happy about it.

When Abraham (‘a) reached his youth while still in the vault, he asked his mother,”Who is my god?” She said,”I am. He asked her,”Then who is your god?” She said,”Your father.” Then he asked her,”Then who is my father’s god?” She said,”Nemrud.” He asked once more, Then who is Nemrud’s god? She said, AHold your tongue, and he did. When she went back home, she said to her husband, ADo you remember the talk about the boy who, as gossip has it, will change the religion of the inhabitants of the earth? It is your son. She told him about their dialogue, so Azar came to see him.

Abraham (‘a) asked him,”Who is my god, father?” He said,”Your mother.” Then he asked him,”Who is my mother’s god?” He said,”I am.” Then he asked him,”Then who is your god?” He answered,”Nemrud.” So he asked him,”Then who is Nemrud’s god?” Thereon he slapped him and told him to be silent.

To this does the Almighty and the Exalted God refer when He says,

“And certainly We gave Abraham his rectitude before, and We knew him fully well” (Qur’an, 21:51).

Then he asked his parents to take him out of the vault, and they did. They set out with him till sunset, so Abraham (‘a) looked at the camels, cattle and horses being brought back home and he asked his father,”What are these?” He said,”They are camels, horses and cattle.”

He asked him,”These have got to have a god who created them.”

Abraham (‘a) then looked and contemplated about the creation of the heavens and the earth and said,”The One Who created me and sustained me, Who provided me with food and water, is surely my God; I have no other god but He.” Then he saw Jupiter, or Zeus, and that night was the last night of the month, so he saw that star before seeing the moon. He said,”This is my god!” Reference to this incident exists in the Holy Qur’an in these verses:

So when the night overshadowed him, he saw a star; said he:”This my God.” But when it set, he said:”I do not love those that set.” Then when he saw the moon rising, he said,”This is my God.” When it, too, set, he said:”If my Lord does not guide me, I will certainly be of the erring people.” Then, when he saw the sun rising, he said:”This is my Lord! This is the greatest.” But when it (too) set, he said,”O my people! Surely I am clear of what you set up (with Allah). Surely I have turned myself, being upright, wholly to Him Who originated the heavens and the earth, and I am not of the polytheists” (Qur’an, 6:76-79).

It is said that Azar used to make idols; so, when he took Abraham (‘a) into his family (to raise him), he used to make idols and give them to Abraham (‘a) to sell them. Abraham (‘a) used to go and call out,”Who wishes to buy something which brings him harm and which does not bring him anything good?!”

Nobody, of course, would buy anything from him; therefore, when the merchandise did not sell, he would go to a river and knock off their heads and say,”Drink! Nobody wants to buy you!” He was ridiculing his people and the inhabitants of his village, deriding their misguidance and ignorance, so much so that the talk about him finding fault with them and ridiculing them became widespread among his people and the inhabitants of his village.

His people, therefore, started arguing with him about his creed, and to them he said, according to the Holy Qur’an,

“Do you dispute with me regarding Allah while He has indeed guided me?” (Qur’an, 6:80).

The argument is portrayed in the verses which follow this one and it ends with this verse,

“And this was Our argument which We gave to Abraham against his people; We exalt in dignity whomsoever We please; surely your Lord is Wise, Knowing” (Qur’an, 6:83).

He finally outwitted them in his argument, then he invited Azar to embrace his creed, saying,

“O father! Why do you worship what neither hears nor sees, nor does it avail you in the least?” (Qur’an, 19:42).

And the story goes on, but Azra refused to respond favorably to his invitation. Then Abraham (‘a) started denouncing their form of worship publicly, making his creed known to them. He said,

Have you then considered what you have been worshipping, you and your ancient sires? Surely these are enemies to me, but not so the Lord of the world” (Qur’an, 26:75-77).

So they asked him whomhe worshipped, and he said,”I worship the Lord of the worlds.” They asked him,”Do you mean Nemrud?” He said,”No; He is the One... ‘Who created me, then He has shown me the way’” (Qur’an, 26:78),

up to the end of the story, thus making his call widespread among the people till the tyrant Nemrud came to know about it.

Nemrud ordered Abraham (‘a) to be brought to him. Nemrud said to him,”O Abraham (‘a)! Have you seen your god Who has sent you, to Whose worship you have been inviting people, Whose might you have been revering, and to which you have been referring, claiming He is greater than everyone else? So Who is He?” Abraham (‘a) said,”My Lord is the One Who brings life to the dead and Who causes the living to die.”

Nemrud said,”I bring life to the dead and I cause the living to die!” Abraham (‘a) asked him,”How do you bring life to the dead and cause the living to die?” He said,”I take two men condemned to be killed according to my command, and I kill one of them, thus causing him to die, then I pardon the other, thus leaving him as though I brought life back to him.”

Abraham (‘a) then said to him,”Allah (SwT) brings the sun from the east; so, cause it to come out from the west!” Nemrud was then baffled, and he could not answer him, being overtaken by his argument. To this does the Almighty and the Exalted One refer when He says,

“Thus he who disbelieved was confounded” (Qur’an, 2:258).

After that, Abraham (‘a) wanted to prove the weakness of the idols which his folks used to worship rather than Allah (SwT), and their inability to do anything, bringing his argument against them home. He was waiting for an opportunity to do so and to devise a stratagem to achieve his objective.

Al-Suddi has said,”They used to have an annual feast when they would come out and assemble. On returning, they would enter their temples and prostrate before their idols prior to going back home. When that feast approached, Abraham (‘a)’s father said to his son, ‘If you decide to come out with us to celebrate our feast, you will certainly like our faith,’ so Abraham (‘a) went out with them.

Having walked for a short distance, he fell and said that he was sick and his leg hurt him, so they left him thus and passed him by. To their last ones he swore, ‘By Allah ! I will certainly do something to your idols after you go away, turning back!’ (21:57). And they heard him say so.”

Mujahid and Qatadah have said,”Abraham (‘a) was not loud when he said so, and nobody heard him except one of their men, and that man was the one who revealed his scheme. Then Abraham (‘a) went back from that highway and headed in the direction of the temple which housed their gods. He found it at a river bank. Facing the river a huge idol stood next to a smaller one at the gate that faced the river. He found that they had left food before their gods with the purpose to have it blessed by their gods on their return, and that they would then eat it. When Abraham (‘a) looked at the idols and at the food before them, he sarcastically said,

‘Why don’t you eat?!’ Since they did not answer him, he said, ‘What is the matter with you that you do not speak?’ Then he turned against them secretly, smiting them with the right hand (Qur’an, 37:92-93).

So he kept smashing them with an axe in his hand, sparing only the largest of the idols on whose neck he hung the axe, then he went out. When people came back from their feast, they went to the place where they had kept their idols, and when they saw them in such a condition, they said,

‘Who has done this to our gods? Most surely he is one of the unjust.’ They said: ‘We heard a youth called Abraham (‘a) speaking [ill] of them’ (Qur’an, 21:59-60),

that is, ‘We think he is the one who did it.’”

The news of the incident reached Nemrud the tyrant and the dignitaries among his people.

“Said they: Then bring him before the eyes of the people, perhaps they may bear witness” (Qur’an, 21:61)

that he was indeed the one who did so. It is the view of Qatadah and al-Suddi that they hated to penalize him without a clear evidence. Al-Dahaak says that probably they wanted them to witness what type of penalty they would inflict on him. Having brought him, they asked him,

“Have you done this to our gods, O Abraham (‘a)?” He said: Surely (someone) has done it; the chief of them is this, so ask them, if they can speak at all!” (Qur’an, 21:62-63).

The Messenger of Allah (S) has said,”Abraham (‘a) never told a lie except on three occasions all of which were for the sake of defending Allah (SwT) Almighty: when he said that he was sick [and his leg hurt him], when he said that it was done by the largest [of the idols], and when he told both the king who tried to harm him and Sarah that the latter was his sister.” Anyway, when Abraham (‘a) said the above, they admitted that they were doing that man injustice by asking him who did it while their gods were there and they should have asked them instead. His people said that they realized his point, and that they were themselves the wrongdoers for worshipping the small idols together with the big one. They lowered their heads in puzzlement, and they knew that they could neither speak nor harm anyone, so they said,

“Certainly you know that they do not speak” (Qur’an, 21:65).

When the argument was clearly in favor of Abraham (‘a), he asked them,

“What?! Do you then worship besides Allah what brings you no benefit at all, nor does it harm you?! Fie on you and on what you worship besides Allah! What?! Do you not then understand?!” (Qur’an, 21:66-67).

When his argument prevailed, and they were dumbfounded, they said,

“Burn him and help your gods, if you are going to do (anything at all)” (Qur’an, 21:68).

When Nemrud and his people unanimously agreed to burn Abraham (‘a), they confined him to a house, and they built a structure like an animal shed. To this, the Almighty refers when He says,

“They said: Build him a furnace, then cast him into the burning fire” (Qur’an, 37:97).

Ibn Ishaq says,”They kept gathering fire timber for one month. Having gathered enough, they lit the fire in every corner of the timber, and the fire was so strong that if a bird happened to pass above it, it would be burnt by its extreme heat. Then they came to Abraham (‘a) and took him to the top of that structure and tied him up.

Then, according to the suggestion of Iblis the accursed, they used a mangonel and put him in it, with his hands thus tied. The heavens, the earth, the mountains, the angels and the creation all of it cried out in one voice and invoked Allah (SwT) saying, ‘Lord! After Abraham (‘a), there will be none to worship You on Your earth, O Lord! So, should he be burnt in the fire?

Permit us, Lord, to help him!’ The Exalted and Almighty said to them, ‘If he asks one of you to help him, lend him help, for I have granted you My permission to do so, but if he does not invoke anyone but Me, then I know about him more than anyone else, and I am his patron; so, I shall deal with him.’ When they wanted to hurl him into the fire, the angel of water came to him and said, ‘If you wish, I can put out the fire for you, for all the treasures of the waters and the rain are in my hands!’

The custodian of the wind, too, came to him and said, ‘If you wish, I can make the fire fly in the air!’ Abraham (‘a) said to both of them, ‘I have no need for either one of you.’ Then he raised his head towards the heavens and said, ‘Lord! You are the One and Only God in the heavens and on earth! There is none on earth who worships You besides me.’”

Al-Mu’tamir quotes Ubayy ibn Ka’b citing al-Arqam saying that having been tied up and was prepared to be hurled into the fire, Abraham (‘a) said,”There is no god but You! Glory to You, Lord of the worlds! Yours is all Praise due, and Yours is all the domain; there is no partner with You!’”

Then they hurled him into the fire using the mangonel from a good distance. Gabriel visited him and said,”O Abraham (‘a)! Do you need any favor at all?” Abraham (‘a) said,”From you, I do not.” So Gabriel said to him,”Then invoke your Lord.” Thereon Abraham (‘a) said,”Suffices me regarding my quest is that He knows my condition; so, Allah (SwT) suffices me, and Great indeed is the One in Whom I have placed my trust.’”

It is said that Abraham (‘a) was saved because of saying,”Allah (SwT) suffices me, and Great indeed is the One in Whom I have placed my trust (hasbiya-Allah (SwT) wa ni’mal wakeel). Allah (SwT), therefore, ordered the fire thus:

“O fire! Be a comfort and peace to Abraham (‘a)” (Qur’an, 21:69).

It is also said that Abraham (‘a) had been placed on the plate of the mangonel, a sort of catapult, which was made for them by a Kurdish man named Hay-Zun who was the first man to make such a war machine, so Allah (SwT) caused the earth to swallow him, and he has been there screaming in shrill ever since, and he will continue to do so till the Day of Judgment. While he was being chained and tied, Abraham (‘a) kept saying,”There is no god but You! Glory to You, Lord of the world! Yours is all Praise due, and Yours is all the domain; there is no partner with You!”

When the Friend of Allah (SwT) was placed on the mangonel, chained and tied, then hurled into the fire, he said,”Allah (SwT) suffices us, and Great indeed is the One in Whom I have placed my trust!” According to al-Bukhari, who relies on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas‎, this statement (i.e. Qur’anic verse) was said for the first time by Abraham (‘a) on being hurled into the fire, then by Prophet Muhammad (S) when it was said to his companions,

“Surely men have gathered against you; therefore, fear them, but this increased their faith, and they said: Allah is sufficient for us and most excellent is the Protector. So they returned with favor from Allah and (His) grace; no harm touched them” (Qur’an, 3:173-174).

Al-Suddi has said,”It was Gabriel who cried it out according to the command of Allah (SwT).” According to Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (‘a) and to Ibn ‘Abbas‎,”Had He (Allah (SwT)) not added (in His order to the fire)’and peace,’ Abraham (‘a) would have died because of its coolness, and each and every fire on earth would have been put out.”

Al-Suddi has also said,”The angels, thereon, took hold of Abraham (‘a)’s arms, and they seated him on the ground. Immediately, a spring gushed forth, and there were bushes of red roses and narcissus. It is said that Abraham (‘a) remained in the fire for seven days. Al-Minhal ibn Amr has said that Abraham (‘a), the friend of Allah (SwT), had said that he never lived more happily than during those days which he spent inside that fire pit.

Ibn Isaq has said,”Allah (SwT) sent the angel of shade in human form, and he sat beside him and kept entertaining him. Gabriel brought him a silk shirt and said, ‘O Abraham (‘a)! Your Lord says to you: Have you not come to know that the fire does not harm those whom I love?’ Then he dressed him. Nemrud looked over the fire from a high tower, and he had no doubt that Abraham (‘a) had perished. But he saw him sitting in a garden, and he saw that he had company, while the fire was around him burning whatever timber they had gathered for it. Nemrud shouted at him, ‘O Abraham (‘a)! Can you get out of it?!’ He answered, ‘Yes.’

He asked him again, ‘Are you afraid that it might harm you if you remain in it?’ He answered, ‘No.’ So Nemrud said, ‘Then stand up and get out of it,’ whereupon Abraham (‘a) walked till he was out of it. Having come out, he was asked by Nemrud, ‘O Abraham (‘a)! Who is that man who looked just like you and whom I saw sitting beside you?’

He said, ‘That was the angel of shade sent to me by my Lord to keep me company and to entertain me.’ Nemrud said, ‘O Abraham (‘a)! I am offering a sacrifice for your God due to what I have witnessed of His might and determination regarding dealing with you when you refused to worship anyone but Him and insisted on believing in His unity. I shall slaughter for Him four thousand cows.’ Abraham (‘a) said to him, ‘Allah (SwT) will not accept any sacrifice from you so long as you keep following your creed till you forsake it and accept my faith.’ He said, ‘O Abraham (‘a)! I cannot leave my kingdom, but I shall slaughter them for Him anyway.’

So he slaughtered them and distributed their meat to the poor and abandoned all his intentions to further hurt Abraham (‘a). Then he said to Abraham (‘a), ‘Great, indeed, is your God, O Abraham (‘a)!’

Ibn Isaq has said,”A group of men belonging to Nemrud’s people responded to Abraham (‘a) after having seen how Allah (SwT) Almighty dealt with him and how He made the fire cool and peaceful to him, despite their fear of Nemrud and their own folks. Lot, his nephew, was one of them, and he was Lot son of Haran son of Tarih. Haran was brother of Abraham (‘a). The Almighty refers to this in the following verse:

“And Lot believed in Him, and he said: I am fleeing to my Lord, surely He is the Mighty, the Wise” (Qur’an, 29:26).

When Allah (SwT) Almighty saved His Friend Abraham (‘a), some people believed in him and followed him despite the opposition of their people and their own open dissociation from their beliefs, as stated above.

They said,”We dissociate ourselves from you and from what you worship besides Allah (SwT)! We disbelieve in you, O objects worshipped besides Allah (SwT), and enmity has become apparent between us and you and so has hatred, O you worshippers, till you believe in Allah (SwT) Alone.” Then Abraham (‘a) went out migrating in the Cause of Allah (SwT) followed by Lot, peace with him. Allah (SwT) Almighty has said,

“And We delivered him as well as Lot (relocating them) to the land which We had blessed for all people. And We gave him Isaac and Jacob, a son’s son, and We made them all good. And We made them Imams who guided (people) by Our command, and We revealed to them the doing of good, and the keeping up of prayer, and the giving of alms, and Us (alone) did they worship” (Qur’an, 21:71-73).

Characteristics Of Abraham (‘A), The Friend Of Allah

His name is Abraham (‘a), and his title is”Friend of Allah (SwT)”. Allah (SwT) Almighty has said,

“And Allah took Abraham (‘a) for a friend” (Qur’an, 4:125).

According to the hadith, Prophet Muhammad (S) was addressed once by some of his companions as”master of mankind”, whereupon he corrected them by telling them that”This is the title of Abraham (‘a).” He is also called custodian of the guests. He never ate his lunch nor his dinner except in the company of a guest, and he may have had to walk for two miles or more till he could find a guest whom he would invite to enjoy his hospitality. This hospitality is the blessed tree about which the Almighty says,

“... lit from a blessed olive-tree” (Qur’an, 24:35).

It is true that he had prayed Allah (SwT) to confine prophethood to his offspring, and his prayer was answered, making it restrictively to both his sons Ishmael and Isaac. Anas ibn Malik is quoted as saying that the Messenger of Allah (S) has said,”I have been sent after eight thousand prophets: four thousand of them were from the Children of Israel.” He is the one granted”a truthful tongue” on the Day of Judgment; so, no other prophet will be held as truthful by his entire nation, nor preferred, nor respected, as he will be. All this is due to his own invocation,

“And ordain for me a goodly mention among posterity” (Qur’an, 26:84).

Abraham (‘a) is the one who was tested with numerous tests and to him others bear witness regarding his trustworthiness. Allah (SwT) Almighty has said,

“And when his Lord tried Abraham (‘a) with certain words, he fulfilled them” (Qur’an, 2:124),

and also,

“And (of) Abraham (‘a) who fulfilled (the commandments)” (Qur’an, 53;37),

that is, he carried out all divine instructions faithfully. He is the”exemplar” according to the verse,

“Surely Abraham (‘a) was an exemplar, obedient to Allah, upright, and he was not one of the polytheists” (Qur’an, 16:120).

The meaning implied in this verse is that he was a role model for others in teaching the avenues of goodness, and his personality combined all the merits of goodness and virtue.

Abraham (‘a) is the first to receive full wisdom even before reaching adulthood; he is the Imam of monotheists. The Almighty provided him with a tongue pronouncing His argument, saying,

“That was Our argument which We gave to Abraham (‘a)” (Qur’an, 6:83).

He is the first to have been called by the Almighty haneef, one who is upright, as this verse indicates

“... he was an upright man, a Muslim” (Qur’an, 3:67).

The Almighty cleared him of the claims of the Jews and Christians (that his creed was the same as theirs), testifying that he was a follower of Islam, a believer in the unity of Allah (SwT), saying,

“Abraham (‘a) was neither a Jew nor a Christian but an upright man, a Muslim, and he was not one of the polytheists” (Qur’an, 3:67).

He was also the first to be circumcised. He is the first to grow gray hair, and when he saw it, he asked the Almighty what it was, whereupon the Almighty answered him by telling him that that was a sign of sedateness. He, therefore, invoked the Almighty to increase him in sedateness and dignity. He is the first to uphold the rituals, the ways of devotion to the Almighty: he invoked the Almighty saying,

“... and show us our ways of devotion” (Qur’an, 2:128),

and the Almighty responded to his plea. He is the first person to offer a sacrifice; and he is the one whom the Almighty instructed how to locate the site of the Ancient House, saying,

“And when We assigned to Abraham (‘a) the place of the House...” (Qur’an, 22:26).

He is the first to be hurled into the fire because of inviting people to believe in Allah (SwT), and the one Who made the fire cool and peaceful unto him. He is the first prophet for whom Allah (SwT) resurrected the dead due to his own request:

“And when Abraham (‘a) said: Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead...” (Qur’an, 2:260).

When Abraham (‘a) was travelling, and he missed Sarah and eagerly desired to see her, the Almighty lifted the veil (of distance) which separated them from one another, so he was able to see her. On the Day of Judgment, he will be outfitted with a white outfit and placed on a throne on the left side of the Almighty’s ‘Arsh, symbol of the divine throne of authority.

The Prophet has said,”People on the Day of Resurrection will be brought back to life without clothes and without shoes, looking like the brutes, and the first to be outfitted will be Abraham (‘a) the Friend of the Most Merciful One.” He migrated for the sake of Allah (SwT); the Almighty says,

“And Lot believed in Him, and he said: I am fleeing to my Lord; surely He is the Mighty, the Wise” (Qur’an, 29:26).

The place where he used to stand to preach became the qibla for all people; the Almighty has said,

“Appoint for yourselves a place of prayer at Abraham (‘a)’s standing-place” (Qur’an, 2:125).

And the Almighty made him an Imam for people, saying,

“Surely I will make you an Imam of men” (Qur’an, 2:124).

The Almighty has also said in his praise,

“Indeed, there is for you a good example in Abraham (‘a)” (Qur’an, 60:4).

The Almighty even ordered Muhammad (S), the best of His prophets, and his nation, to follow Abraham (‘a)’s creed, saying,

“Then We revealed to you: Follow the faith of Abraham (‘a), the upright one, and he was not one of the polytheists” (Qur’an, 16:123),

and also,

“Say: Nay! (We follow) the religion of Abraham (‘a), the haneef, and he was not one of the polytheists” (Qur’an, 2:135).

He gave him the attributes of”forbearing”,”tender-hearted”, and”oft-returning (to Allah (SwT))” as is clear in this verse,

“Most surely Abraham (‘a) was forbearing, tender-hearted, oft-returning (to Allah)” (Qur’an, 11:75).

The first attribute means the dignitary who controls his passion when angry. The second means: the one who, because of his tender-heartedness, sighs depressingly whenever sins are mentioned. The third attribute means the person who inclines with his heart solely to his Lord.

It is narrated that Allah (SwT) Almighty inspired Abraham (‘a),”O Abraham (‘a)! Because you provided your wealth for your guests, your son for sacrifice, your own self to the fire, and your heart to conviction, We have taken you for a friend.”

Abraham (‘A)’s Demise

When Allah (SwT) Almighty decided to take the soul of Abraham (‘a) to Him, he sent him the angel of death in the form of a very old man. Al-Suddi narrates a consecutively reported tradition (mutawatir) which states that Abraham (‘a) used to feed and host people quite often. While he was busy one day feeding some people, a very old man came walking in the street, so Abraham (‘a) sent him a donkey to carry him so that he could be brought to him.

When he came to him, he offered food to him. The old man kept taking each morsel and trying to reach his mouth with it, but instead of stuffing it in his mouth, his hand kept reaching his eye once and once his ear. When he finally managed to make his hand reach his mouth, and he ate the morsel, it would immediately and involuntarily come out of his other end.

Abraham (‘a) had prayed his Lord not to take his soul away except after he himself prayed Him to do so. Having seen the pathetic condition of that old man, he asked him why he was doing so, and the man answered him saying that that was due to old age. Abraham (‘a) asked him how old he was, and the old man told him of his age. Abraham (‘a) found out that he himself was only two years younger than that old man. He, therefore, asked him,”When I reach your age, am I going to act like you?”

The”man” answered him in the affirmative, whereupon Abraham (‘a) prayed the Almighty to take his life before then. So the”old man”, who was not human at all, stood up and took Abraham (‘a)’s soul away; the old man was none other than the angel of death. Abraham (‘a) was two hundred years old. Some say he was one hundred and ninety-five years old. He was buried near Sarah’s grave in the Jabroun farmland (in Hebron, Palestine).

His name is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an a record sixty-nine times. One of the Chapters of the Holy Qur’an is named after him:”Surah Abrahim”, Abraham (‘a) Chapter (Ch. 14).

Abraham (‘A)’s Statements And Invocations

And when his Lord tried Abraham with certain words, he fulfilled them. He said: Surely I will make you an Imam of men. Abraham said: And of my offspring? My covenant does not include the unjust, said He. And when We made the House a pilgrimage for men and a (place of) security, and: Appoint for yourselves a place of prayer on the standing-place of Abraham (Ibrahim). And We enjoined Abraham and Ishmael (Isma’il) saying: Purify My House for those who visit it, and those who abide in it for devotion, and those who bow down and those who prostrate. And Abraham said: Lord! Make it a secure town, and provide its people with fruits, those of them who believe in Allah and the last Day. He said: And whoever disbelieves, I will grant him enjoyment for a short while, then I will drive him to the chastisement of the Fire, and it is an evil destination. And when Abraham and Ishmael raised the foundations of the House (they said): Lord! Accept from us; surely You are the Hearing, the Knowing. Lord! And make us both submissive to You and (raise) from our offspring a nation submitting to You, and show us our ways of devotion and turn to us (mercifully); surely You are the oft-Returning (to mercy), the Most Merciful. Lord! And raise up in them a prophet from among them who shall recite to them Your communications and teach them the Book and the wisdom, and purify them; surely You are the Mighty, the Wise. (Qur’an, 2:124-129)

... Who created me, then He has shown me the way, and He Who gives me to eat and gives me to drink, and when I am sick, He restores health to me, and He Who will cause me to die then give me life, and Who, I hope, will forgive my sins on the Day of Judgment. Lord! Grant me wisdom, and join me with the good. (Qur’an, 26:78-83)

And Abraham said: Lord! Make this city secure, and save me and my sons from worshipping idols. Lord! Surely they have led many men astray; then whoever follows me, he is surely of me, and whoever disobeys me, surely You are Forgiving, Merciful. Lord! Surely I have settled some of my offspring in a valley unproductive of fruit near Your Sacred House, O Lord, so that they may keep up prayer; therefore, make the hearts of some people yearn towards them and provide them with fruits, haply they will be grateful. Lord! Surely You know what we hide and what we reveal, and nothing on earth nor in the heavens is hidden from Allah. Praise be to Allah Who has given me in old age Ishmael and Ishaq; most surely my Lord is the Hearer of prayer. Lord! Make me keep up prayer and from my offspring too, O Lord, and do accept my prayer. Lord! Grant me protection and my parents and the believers on the Day when the reckoning comes to pass! (Qur’an, 14:35-41)

O People of the Book! Why do you dispute about Abraham since the Torah (Old Testament) and the Gospel (New Testament) were not revealed till after him? Do you not then understand? Behold! You are they who disputed about that of which you had knowledge; why, then, do you dispute about that of which you have no knowledge? And Allah knows while you do not. Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian but an upright man, a Muslim, and he was not (one) of the polytheists. Most surely the nearest of people to Abraham are those who followed him and this Prophet (Muhammad) and those who believe (Muslims), and Allah is the guardian of the believers. (Qur’an, 3:65-68).

  • 1. His name is Isma’il ibn Abdur-Rahman, and he was born in Kufa and was popularly known as as-Suddi. He learned the Qur’an from Anas ibn Malik and Ibn Abbas. He is regarded as one of the most reliable commentators of the Holy Qur’an. There are two commentators with the nickname”as-Suddi”. Abdur Rahman is known as as-Suddi al-Kabeer, the Senior, whereas his grandson became known as as-Suddi Junior. His year of birth is unknown, but he is said as having died in 127 A.H./745 A.D.