Name of the Prophet: Ibrahim (as) / Abraham (pbuh)
Book: Suhuf-e-Ibraheem / Scrolls of Abraham
Religious Philosophy: Worship the one & only God
Place: Ur, the present Al-Muqayyar (or Mughair), Iraq
Timeline: 4000 years ago approximately
Judaism, Christianity and Islam hold Abraham (pbuh) in great reverence. We believe the inter-relationship between these three major religious forces will determine the future of mankind.
God said to Abraham:
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:2-3)
For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever. (Genesis: 13:15)
Abraham was a native of Ur, the present Al-Muqayyar (or Mughair), and is about two hundred miles south east of Baghdad in Iraq. Abraham (pbuh) was brought up in the house of his Father Azar who owned a shop where idols were sold to public as their gods.
So we see how Idol-worship came forth and the unity of God taught by Noah (pbuh) vanished.
One day his uncle left him (pbuh) at the shop to attend to customers. An old man came to the shop who wanted to buy an Idol. He was about to buy when Abraham asked the man:
Abraham: How old are you?
The man: Seventy years.
Abraham (pbuh): This idol was made only yesterday. Won’t you feel ashamed while bowing down before a day-old idol?
These words of Abraham had great effect on the old man and he did not buy the idol. Such was the dislike of Abraham (pbuh) to the idols during his youth. He would voice out his displeasure many times. In the beginning he discussed this issue very politely but later on had bitter discussions. His uncle mostly ignored such religious discussions but at the end warned Abraham (pbuh) of severe consequences.
Abraham (pbuh) lived a pious life and was always engaged in doing of good. He walked on the path of righteousness but most of the people of his time were led astray: They were groping in the darkness whilst engaging themselves in the worship of idols. They worshiped the stars, and created images of their other deities. Many related civilizations such as the Nabateans left behind reminders at places such as Petra in Jordan.
God appointed Abraham (pbuh) a Prophet to stamp out the worship of idols in his time
People at the time of Abraham had started worshiping the idols (few self-drawn deities), and also the sun and the moon and the other heavenly bodies as gods.
Abraham (pbuh) in search of his Lord
Qur’an-e-Kareem says in Ch.6:V77-79:
And when the night darkened upon him, he saw a star. He said, ‘This is my Lord.” But when it set, he said, “I like not those that set.”
And when he saw the moon rise with spreading light, he said, “This is my Lord.” But when it set, he said, “If my Lord guide me not, I shall surely be of the people who go astray.”
And when he saw the sun rise with spreading light, he said, “This is my Lord, This is the greatest.” But when it also set, he said, ‘O my people! Surely I am clear of that which you associate with God.”
About the religion of Abraham, the Holy Book Quran says [42:14]
‘…Establish obedience to God in the earth, and be not divided therein. Hard upon the idolaters is that to which thou callest them. Allah chooses for Himself whom He pleases, and guides to Himself him who turns to Him.’
[3:68] Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was ever inclined to God and obedient to Him, and he was not of those who associate gods with God.
[3:66] O People of the Book! why do you dispute concerning Abraham, when the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed till after him? Will you not then understand?
…. Abraham said, “Do you take idols for god? Surely I see you and your people in manifest error.” (Ch.6:V.75)
He spoke in public and private about the futility of worshiping the idols, and the sun and the moon and the other heavenly bodies as gods. [FYI: Till this day there’s a group in the Asian community which worships the Sun, the moon, and self-made deities, etc… amazing!]
Under the guidance of God, Abraham (pbuh) continued his mission diligently against the idol worshipers. He says: (as recorded in the Holy Qur’an):
I have turned my face toward Him Who created the heavens and the earth, being ever inclined to Allah, and I am not of those who associate gods with (the one) God.’ Ch.6:V.80
And he [Abraham] said, ‘Verily you have taken for yourselves idols beside Allah, out of love for each other in the present life. Then on the Day of Resurrection you will deny each other, and curse each other. And your abode will be the Fire; and you will have no helpers.’ [29:26]
Let me present to you an interesting scene of Idol Worshipers with Abraham from Qur’an [21:53-71]:
…he [Abraham] said to his father and his people, ‘What are these images [idols] to which you are so devoted?’
They replied, ‘We found our fathers worshiping them.’
He said, ‘Indeed, you yourselves as well as your fathers have been in manifest error.’
They said, ‘Is it really the truth that thou hast brought us, or art thou one of those who jest (joke)?’
He replied, ‘Nay, your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, He Who made them; and I am one of those who bear witness to that.
‘And, by Allah, I will certainly plan against your idols after you have gone away and turned your backs.’
[So he broke them into pieces, all except the chief of them that they might return to ‘it’ for inquiry.]
They said, ‘Who has done this to our gods? Surely, he must be a wrongdoer.’
They (others) said, ‘We heard a young man speak ill of them; he is called Abraham.’
They said, ‘Then bring him before the eyes of the people, that they may bear witness.’
Then they said to Abraham, ‘Is it thou who hast done this to our gods, O Abraham?’
He replied, ‘Well, somebody has surely done this. Here is the chief of them (pointing to the unbroken one). So ask it and them if they can speak.’
Then they turned towards one another and said, ‘You yourselves are surely in the wrong.’
And their heads were made to hang low for shame and they said, ‘Certainly thou knowest well that these do not speak.’
He said, ‘Do you then worship, instead of Allah, that which cannot profit you at all, nor harm you?
Fie on you and on that which you worship instead of Allah! Can you not then understand?’
His statements infuriated his opponents. The chiefs, instead of accepting the truth, were enraged and said:
Burn him and (call) help (from) your god if at all you mean to do anything.”
Allah commanded, “O fire, be thou a means of coolness and safety for Abraham!”
And the Lord says, “And they had intended an evil plan against him, but we made them the worst losers.”
This way Abraham (pbuh) tried to expose the false beliefs of his people. He spoke ironically to taunt them of their folly.
Abraham (pbuh) been cast into the fire is credited not only by the Jews, but also by the eastern Christians 25th of the second Canun, or January being set apart in the Syrian Calendar for the commemoration of the event. (Hyde, De Rel. Vet Pers., p. 73)
And, I wonder if the Jews & Christians haven’t read the story of Abraham (pbuh) / Ibrahim (as) where his willingness to sacrifice his son, as an act of obedience to God is narrated… which was actually only a test of obedience and which Abraham (pbuh) had passed successfully. His son was not scarified – God intervened to provide him with a ram to sacrifice instead. This very day is celebrated by all Muslims worldwide as “Eid al-Adha” or “Festival of Sacrifice” or “Greater Eid” or “Bakrid”.
In pursuance of Divine plan and design, all the great Prophets or their followers, at one time or another, have to emigrate from their homes. In like manner Abraham (pbuh) migrated from Ur (Mesopotamia) to Harran and from there to Canaan. (His nephew prophet Lot (as) migrated too).
Abraham (pbuh) did not have any child. His family was earnestly supplicating to God for righteous progeny. The Bible mentions the childless state of Abraham (pbuh) as follows:
And Abraham said, ‘Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, none born in my house is mine heir.’
And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, ‘That shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.’
And he brought him forth abroad, and said, ‘Look now towards heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them,’ and he said unto him, ‘So shall thy seed be.’ ” (Genesis 15:3-5)
And God said to Abraham:
Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.”
And We bestowed on him Isaac and Jacob, and We placed the gift of prophet-hood and the Book among his descendants, and We gave him his reward in this life, and in the Hereafter he will surely be among the righteous. [Qur’an Ch. 29: V.28]
The angel spoke with Hagar (2nd wife) and said, says the Bible:
And the Angel of Lord said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction.” (Genesis 16:10,11)
Sarah the elder wife of Abraham was promised by God of a child. (In fact multiple promises were given to them for their progeny.) In Genesis 17:16-20 we have:
And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her”.
Abraham (pbuh) followed the law of Noah (pbuh) up to fifty years. Later on, God tried him with certain tough commandments in which he succeeded, God then promised him: “… I will make thee a leader of men… (Quran 2:125)
Time demanded a new law so God chose Abraham (pbuh) for it.
Under the command of God, Abraham (pbuh) and his son Ishmael rebuilt the Kaa’ba [the house of the lord] on the old foundations (2:128). God enjoined on him saying:
… Associate not anything with Me and keep My house clean for those who perform the circuits, and those who stand up and those who bow and prostrate themselves in prayer.” (22:27)
God instituted pilgrimage (Hajj) for mankind through Abraham. He ordered him saying,
And proclaim unto mankind the pilgrimage. They will come to thee on foot, and on every lean camel, coming by every distant track.” (22:28)
Thus the pilgrimage as an institution began with the Patriarch Abraham (pbuh) and has continued without a break to this day, How True! The gathering in Mecca every year of many hundreds of thousands of Muslims from every distant land bears an irrefutable testimony to the fulfillment of this prophecy (Masha’Allah).
You should already know this: Moslems celebrate Eid-ul-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) the festival, which marks the completion of Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca): Hajj is one of the largest annual human gatherings on the planet. It is also the Festival of Sacrifice that commemorates obedience and devotion of the Prophet Abraham upon the commandment of Allah.
Most Hajj rituals are related to the Prophet Abraham, his wife Hagar and his son the Prophet Ishmael, and thus reflect the unity of humanity.
Just by focusing on the Prophet Abraham, the Hajj symbolizes the unity and common origin of all the Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
When the Holy Quran talked about Kaaba, it did not label it as a blessing for the Muslims alone, but, called it a great blessing and a boon for the whole of mankind, thus symbolizing our Universal Brotherhood & Sisterhood. The Quran announced more than 1400 years ago:
Surely, the first House founded for mankind is that at Becca, abounding in blessings and a guidance for all peoples. (Al Quran 3:97)
Shariah / Law of Abraham:
“Verily, he, indeed, will prosper who purifies himself. And remembers the name of his Lord and offers Prayers. But you prefer the life of this world, whereas the Hereafter is better and more lasting. This, indeed, is what is taught in the former Scriptures–. The Scriptures of Abraham and Moses.” (87:15-20)
The laws introduced through Abraham (pbuh) were contained in the scriptures, and were intended for a limited period. Abraham (pbuh) taught simple form of unity of God to his people. Laws of Abraham (pbuh) remained in force till the time of Moses (pbuh) when other laws were introduced.
Following the death of Abraham, the people again started idol-worshiping to the extent that idols were placed in the Ka’aba as well, the first house of the Lord! Over a period of time, the pagan beliefs became more and more obscure. Worship now took the form of chanting, whistling and dancing around the temple or God. An onlooker would have been puzzled as to what these people were doing! Deities such as Dushara would require animal sacrifices such as camels. Al-Lat was the companion of Dushara.
Note: This form of worship still exists… huh! See Heresy in Hinduism: Hinduism Today
An explanation to the ignorant: Many consider “Shariah” as a ‘scary Muslim Law’… Well, it’s not.
1. Shariah consists of those Commandments which are Divinely Revealed to a (any) Prophet.
2. Based upon the Divine Commandments (Shariah) every Prophet (zero exception) preached for peace.
3. Shariah singularly stands to OFFER NOTHING BUT PEACE. THEREFORE, any interpretation of Shariah (no matter who does it) that calls for “Anything Opposite to Peace” cannot be the TRUE interpretation of Shariah.
Abraham’s Prayer for a Great Prophet among His Progeny in The Holy Qur’an,
And, our Lord, raise up among them a messenger from among themselves, who may recite to them Thy signs and teach them the book and wisdom and may purify them; surely, Thou art the Mighty, the Wise.” (Ch.2:V.130)
In this verse Abraham (pbuh) prayed for a great Prophet with eternal missions. We’ll go into the details later.
Join me to praise the lord and His Messenger: God is the Greatest. Long-live Ibraheem (as) / Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him)
A controversial yet interesting point on Abraham:
[3:68] Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was only ever inclined to God and obedient to Him, and he was not of those who associate gods with God.
[3:66] O People of the Book! Why do you dispute concerning Abraham, when the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed till after him? Will you not then understand?
Though worshiping of idols was in practice and abolished in the times of Abraham (as), it kept coming back, and almost every prophet had to abolish idol-worship in his time. Even today (just have a glance around) we see Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and many other religions worshiping idols. Led astray again, aren’t they? Wait and see how the generations progress and you’ll understand my point.