Many famous people are remembered by one-line sentences. Edison: the great inventor. Napoleon: the famous general. Plato: the great philosopher. Marco Polo: the great explorer. De Vinci: the great artist.
How is Prophet Ibraheem, alayh as-salaam, remembered?
We remember Ibraheem, alayh as-salaam, by the title of Khaleel-ullah, which means “Friend of Allah”. How great must be the rank of someone with whom Allah is so pleased that He calls him a friend. Such a person must be among the best, the greatest, the noblest, the purest and the most excellent people who ever lived! Maybe if we study the life of such a person, we can find out the way to come closer to Allah ourselves and become better and better people, so that Allah is pleased with us also.
We know about many events from the life of Ibraheem, alayh as-salaam, from the Qur’an. We learn that Ibraheem, alayh as-salaam, belonged to a nation that had fallen into the sin of worshipping false gods and idols. Even his own father was devoted to idols. Allah gave Ibraheem, alayh as-salaam, the mission of calling the people to give up their false gods and to serve Allah, the one true God, alone.
This mission was very difficult because the people were not ready to hear the truth. Instead of realizing their mistake and returning to worshipping Allah alone, they started arguing and quarrelling with Ibraheem, alayh as-salaam. He gave them many proofs showing how foolish it was to worship anything but Allah, but they would not listen.
On one occasion, he drew their attention to how the moon, the stars and the sun all rise and set. He explained to them that these heavenly bodies cannot possibly be gods if they are forced to set each day and night. What kind of a god is it that has to rise and set like a mere machine, a piece of clockwork?
He argued against their idols by smashing up all the smaller idols and leaving the big one standing. When the idol-worshippers discovered this, they were furious and asked who had broken all the idols. He suggested that the big idol had done it, and that they should ask the big idol about it. When they replied that their big idol could neither see nor speak, he asked them why they even worshiped this lifeless thing when it couldn’t help them or harm them at all. This “god” of theirs could not even see what was going on under its own nose! By this, he made it clear to them how foolish it was to pray to these man-made idols.
Even though the arguments Ibraheem, alayh as-salaam, gave to the people against idolatry were very solid arguments, the idol-worshippers were so stubborn that they would not listen to any of it. Even his own father told him that if he did not stop teaching about the oneness of Allah, he would stone him. He told Ibraheem, alayh as-salaam, to leave him and stay away from him. Ibraheem, alayh as-salaam, chose to leave his own father rather than give up teaching the truth.
Allah granted Ibraheem, alayh as-salaam, a great status as one of the greatest Prophets. Allah blessed him and raised many Prophets from his family, starting with his two sons Ismaeel and Ishaaq, his grandson Yaqoob and his great-grandson Yusuf, alayhim as-salaam. Allah’s last and final messenger, Muhammad, sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was also from the family of Ibraheem, alayh as-salaam.
Not only did Ibraheem, alayh as-salaam, boldly call other people to worship Allah, he himself had such a love for Allah that when Allah commanded him to sacrifice his son, Ismaeel, alayh as-salaam, as a test, he got ready to kill his own son. Even though he loved his son a lot, he loved Allah even more. Since it was Allah who had asked him to sacrifice his son, he did not hesitate to do so. Allah saved Ismaeel, alayh as-salaam, from being slaughtered, and was pleased with the father and the son who were both so dutiful and so fearless in obeying Allah.
To get an idea of just how blessed Ibraheem, alayh as-salaam, was, recall the dua that we all read at the end of each prayer. In that dua, we ask Allah to bless our Prophet Muhammad, sall-Allahu alyahi wa sallam, the way Allah has blessed Prophet Ibraheem, alayh as-sallam. This shows just how great the favors of Allah are upon His honored Messenger and Prophet Ibraheem, alayh as-salaato was-salaam.