The Religion of Ibrahim (AS) – A Quran Perspective

‘And mention in the Book (the story of) Abraham. Indeed, he was a man of truth and a prophet.’ 

Quran 19:41

There are some aspects in the Quran where Allah talks about Ibrahim in a different way to other Prophets.  Although all Prophets were Muslims i.e. they completed submitted to the will of Allah, the Quran uniquely associates Ibrahim with the religion of Islam.  There are verses in the Quran where Ibrahim (AS) has said the word Muslim in regards to his followers.

Islam is built essentially on 5 pillars and they are all associated with the personage of Ibrahim.  Indeed the first pillar of monotheism or belief in the existence of only one Creator, called tawheed in Islam is linked intimately with Ibrahim – being the father of the 3 monotheistic religions.  All the rites of the Hajj ceremony, another pillar is essentially built on and follow the actions of Ibrahim every single year.  The daily prayer – Salah – is the culmination of the prayer of Ibrahim when he asked Allah to make him and his offspring firm on the establishment of the prayer.  When Ibrahim asked Allah to send a messenger and a book to the descendents of his son Ismail, this prayer was answered with the revelation of the Quran in the month of Ramadan, the fourth pillar.  And when Ismail taught his family about Salah, he also taught them about the paying of the poor their due from your income – Zakah – the fifth pillar and this was taught to him by his father Ibrahim.

The connection between Ibrahim (AS) and Prophet Muhammad (SAW)

 ….’[It is] the religion of your father, Ibrahim…..’

Quran 22:78

There is no other Prophet that Allah commands in the Quran for the Prophet (SAW) to follow except Ibrahim (AS).  He didn’t choose the following of Jesus, or Moses or Dawud (AS), but instructed to follow the religion of Ibrahim.  Being in the Ummah (nation) of Muhammad (SAW), the Quran describes the Muslims as following the religion of their father Ibrahim.  The Prophet (SAW) called Ibrahim (AS) his father and as we are his followers we automatically become associated with Ibrahim and he becomes our father too, in terms of faith, although biologically the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is a descendent of his.

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Ibrahim is known as the father of the monotheistic religions and as such had worry for the betterment of all humanity.  So many of his supplications to Allah refer to all people rather than just believers and he travelled from one place to another rather than staying in one area or township for one group of people which shows his concern for humanity in general.  This is linked to the Prophet (SAW) who was sent as a mercy to all the worlds and for the benefit of all.

Ibrahim (AS), after building of the Kaaba was asked by Allah to purify His house for people to worship therein.  The coming of the Prophet (SAW) was the culmination of this when he removed the idols in the kaaba after the conquest of Mecca and purified His house for the worship of Allah alone

Struggles of the young Ibrahim (AS)

There is a special bond between Allah and Ibrahim (AS).  Every time he was tested with certain deeds and missions, he performed and excelled in all the tasks.  The tests of Ibrahim (AS) didn’t start at an old age, but at a very young age.  He was born into the household of not only an idol worshipper, but the carver of idols, his father called Azar.  His father would have naturally encouraged his son towards the same belief.  But Ibrahim, from aged 7 or 8 as some scholars say, queried and questioned this belief of his father.  He thought this cannot be true.  So he searched for the truth himself.  He gazed at the stars and the moon and then the sun, and thought these things that set cannot be Creators, there must be a Lord over all creation.  He found the unity of God at a young age.

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As faith and ignorance cannot exist in the same heart, he went to his people and asked ‘what are these idols that you show so much devotion?’  They didn’t have an answer apart from ‘Our fathers used to do this.’  His response to this was awe inspiring ‘Verily you are, and your fathers, in manifest error.  You are wrong and your fathers were wrong.’  Ibrahim (AS) intended to fix them, so on the Day of festivity when the people went to celebrate outside the city, he went to the temple and destroyed all the idols except one, leaving an axe around its neck.  When the townsfolk returned and saw the destruction, they suspected Ibrahim so brought him to the temple to try him.  When they asked did you do this?’  He said ‘No, why don’t you ask him, the big one with the axe, ask him if he can speak.’  Their only response was:  ‘Ibrahim, you know they can’t speak.’  The young boy then said: ‘So why do you worship these idols besides Allah.’ 

When logic fails, the disbelievers turn to violence and his people, to save face, could only say burn him to save your idols.  They collected firewood and built a huge fire, so big that Ibrahim had to be catapulted into it.  When he is thrown inside, Allah commands the fire to be cool and give peace to Ibrahim.  He walks out after the fire subsides without any harm coming to him.  His faith in Allah was sincere and true.  Allah that helped Ibrahim is the same Lord that will help us today in this age of vice and immorality, but we have to be sincere and true in our faith.

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The rightful claim to Ibrahim (AS)

Ibrahim (AS) is an extremely important figure as a leader in Islam and as a patriarch.  It is through him that many other Prophets came, including Musa, Isa and Muhammad (SAW).  The three monotheistic religions each claim Ibrahim being of them and they being from him.  The Quran states that Ibrahim’s descendents were given the ‘Book and the Wisdom.’  But who has the greater claim?  To establish this, you have to look at what he stood for and who is the closest to this position today. 

First and foremost, he stood for the Oneness of God, disassociating with any other as being worshipped, including man.  This would rule out Christianity due to belief in the Trinity.  Then, you see his life in complete submission to the Lord’s commands, without questioning – he heard and he obeyed.  This contradicts the Jewish traditions of questioning every detail in their Books, so much so that the original intended effect of the command is lost.  But you see both these characteristics in the religion of Islam, with firm belief in the one and only Creator, and also the acting upon the command of Allah without delay.  Based on this, truly Islam has the most rightly claim to Ibrahim (AS)

‘Peace upon Ibrahim.’ 

Quran 37:109