Youth Under the Shade Series Part 1: Ibrahim Khaleelullah (AS)


Bismillah.

Ibrahim (AS)The first personality we will encounter from our vast history of courageous youth is the shining example of Khaleel-ul-Allah Ibrahim (AS). He was Abul Anbiya, Father of the Prophets, and was described as a “nation standing alone.”

(إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ كَانَ أُمَّةً قَانِتًا لِلّهِ حَنِيفًا وَلَمْ يَكُ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ)

(Verily, Ibrahim was an Ummah (a leader having all the good righteous qualities), or a nation, obedient to Allah, Hanifa (to worship none but Allah), and he was not one of those who were Al-Mushrikun-idolaters) {16:120}

He was among the أولو العزم من الرسل”” – The ‘Top 5’ prophets, and Allah (SWT) granted him utmost honor by choosing him as His close friend.

(وَٱتَّخَذَ ٱللَّهُ إِبرَاهِيمَ خَلِيلاً)

(And Allâh did take Ibrâhim (Abraham) as a Khalil (an intimate friend)!

So let’s look at the life of this great prophet during his youth and emulate his personality through our everyday sayings and actions.

 

Ibrahim (AS) faces his father

The first portrait being studied from his life is the beautiful conversation mentioned in the Quran between Ibrahim ‘alayhissalam and his father.

Ibrahim ‘alayhissalam was born into a family of polytheists, with his father being an idol-maker. However, young Ibrahim always abhorred idols as he was destined to stand against his own family and entire community. Allah had enlightened his heart and mind with spiritual understanding from a very young age.

(وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا إِبْرَاهِيمَ رُشْدَهُ مِن قَبْلُ وَكُنَّا بِه عَالِمِينَ)

(And indeed We bestowed aforetime on Ibrahim his (portion of) guidance, and We were well acquainted with him) {21:51}

When the message of prophethood was revealed to him, Ibrahim ‘alayhissalam actively began calling his people to the truth. Realizing the duty and weighty responsibility on his shoulders, he first confronted his father- the man who loved him and raised him from the very day he entered this world. He addressed his father respectfully and lovingly, saying:

(إِذْ قَالَ لِأَبِيهِ يَا أَبَتِ لِمَ تَعْبُدُ مَا لَا يَسْمَعُ وَلَا يُبْصِرُ وَلَا يُغْنِي عَنكَ شَيْئًا)

 (يَا أَبَتِ إِنِّي قَدْ جَاءَنِي مِنَ الْعِلْمِ مَا لَمْ يَأْتِكَ فَاتَّبِعْنِي أَهْدِكَ صِرَاطًا سَوِيًّا)

 (يَا أَبَتِ لَا تَعْبُدِ الشَّيْطَانَ ۖ إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ كَانَ لِلرَّحْمَـٰنِ عَصِيًّا)

 (يَا أَبَتِ إِنِّي أَخَافُ أَن يَمَسَّكَ عَذَابٌ مِّنَ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ فَتَكُونَ لِلشَّيْطَانِ وَلِيًّا)

When he said to his father:

“O my father! Why do you worship that which hears not, sees not, and cannot avail you in anything?

O my father! Verily, there has come to me of the knowledge that which came not to you. So follow me, I will guide you to a Straight Path.

O my father! Worship not Shaitan. Verily, Shaitan has been a rebel against the Most Gracious (Allah).

O my father! Verily, I fear lest a torment from the Most Gracious (Allah) should overtake you, so that you become a companion of Shaitan (in the Hellfire).” {19: 42-45}

Ibrahim ‘alayhissalam began his speech with the beautiful phrase: “Oh my father!”, thus displaying the respect and humbleness he held for him. He then presented his message clearly, assuring his father that he had certain knowledge which would guide him to the Straight Path. He also explained that he was only advising him out of love and concern for him to be saved from the Hellfire. Ibrahim ‘alayhissalam called his father to the truth using logic, respect, love, and concern. Nevertheless, his father’s blind heart only led him further away. Out of his extreme love for his gods, he threatened to stone his own son to death. He commanded his son to leave his home. Persistence in Kufr and strong determination of Iman tore apart the close relationship of the father and his son.

(قَالَ أَرَاغِبٌ أَنتَ عَنْ آلِهَتِي يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ ۖ لَئِن لَّمْ تَنتَهِ لَأَرْجُمَنَّكَ ۖ وَاهْجُرْنِي مَلِيًّا)

(He (the father) said: “Do you reject my gods, O Ibrahim? If you stop not (this), I will indeed stone you. So get away from me safely (before I punish you).”) {19:46}

No doubt, such harsh comments pierced Ibrahim’s heart deeply. It hurt to see his father dwell in misguidance while he himself knew the path to salvation. But what was Ibrahim’s ‘alayhissalam reaction to such statements? Did he raise his voice out of anger for his father’s ignorance? Did he lose hope and give up his da’wah? No, rather Ibrahim’s response reflects the height of wisdom and respect a son could have for his father at such a young age.

He gave the exemplary response of the people of taqwa to the ignorant:

(قَالَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكَ ۖ سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ لَكَ رَبِّي ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ بِي حَفِيًّا)

(Ibrahim said: Peace be upon you! I will ask Forgiveness of my Lord for you. Verily, He is to me Ever Most Gracious.) {19:47}

His father’s stern threats did not stop him from preaching the truth. Instead, he promised to ask forgiveness for his father. With a sad heart, he dissociated himself from him. Ibrahim’s ‘alayhissalam dissociation from his father contains an important principle for us. As Muslims, we must protect our identity without separating ourselves physically from the society. This calls for a balance between psychological separation and physical participation.

 

Ibrahim ‘alayhissalam challenges his people

Ibrahim (AS) now took his da’wah to the next stage: Da’wah to his society. His unmatched skills of persuasion and speech eloquence became his key weapon while challenging his people. He posed logical and rhetorical questions to them, causing them to contemplate the reality of the universe and its Creator. However, jealousy and hatred for Ibrahim, and blindness from the truth engulfed their hearts and minds.

Another incident portraying his zeal and cleverness is the well known Da’wah presentation he performed for his people. As soon as the townspeople deserted the city for their festive day, Ibrahim got to work. He headed for the temple and, with a big axe, shattered all the idols into pieces. He hung the axe on the biggest idol and waited to see his plan unfold.

parrot-broken-hammer Upon their return to the temple, the people were astonished and furious. Who could have done such a crime?! Some said:

(قَالُوا سَمِعْنَا فَتًى يَذْكُرُهُمْ يُقَالُ لَهُ إِبْرَاهِيمُ)

“We heard a young man talking against them, who is called Ibrahim.” {21:60}

Before moving further, let’s reflect on this ayah for a moment. The people mentioned two important points about Ibrahim (AS) which assist us in visualizing his position in their society.

1. “A young man”: Ibrahim was not more than 16 years old when he caused such a big stir in his society. Throughout history, all major da’wah work and changes in society were done by the youth. It is reported than Ibn Abbas (RA) said: “Allah did not send a prophet except that he was a youth, and knowledge is not given to a scholar except that he is a youth.”

2. “Who is called Ibrahim”: This shows that Ibrahim wasn’t known in the society. He was a young boy planning to make major changes that would cause the society to crumble.

Ibrahim (AS) was brought forth in front of the masses and put to trial- a young boy alone against an entire nation. They questioned him for his actions, but his rhetorical replies left them dumbfounded.

(قَالَ أَفَتَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ مَا لَا يَنفَعُكُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَضُرُّكُمْ)

 (أُفٍّ لَّكُمْ وَلِمَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ ۖ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ) 

Ibrahim said: “Do you then worship besides Allah, things that can neither profit you, nor harm you? Fie upon you, and upon that which you worship besides Allah! Have you then no sense?”

They miserably lost in the battle of dialogue, so they resorted to physical battle. They resolved to throw young Ibrahim (AS) into a burning fire.

(قَالُوا حَرِّقُوهُ وَانصُرُوا آلِهَتَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ فَاعِلِينَ)

They said: “Burn him and help your gods, if you will be doing.”

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 Upon hearing his people’s decision to punish him, Ibrahim put his complete trust in Allah. He was at the threshold  of his youth, yet he prepared to meet his fate and did not turn back.

Put yourself in Ibrahim’s shoes for a moment. You are tied to a catapult with no means to escape. The smoke of the fire is fogging the sky due to its intense heat. All odds are against you and your very own parents are witnessing your plight, yet they side with your enemies. What would be your response in this intense situation-a matter of life and death? What would be mine? Would we step down and be ready to compromise? Would we ask for forgiveness for insulting their religion and offending their gods? Or would we take the firm stand that our forefather, Ibrahim ‘alayhissalam, took at the threshold of his youth?

Ibrahim ‘alayhissalam, sitting in the catapult, with certain death before his eyes, did not flinch. He did not plea for mercy or compromise. Rather, he remained firm as a mountain, brave as a lion; and said: “Sufficient for me is Allah, and He is the best disposer of all affairs.” Yes! He was certain that his Lord-the One who created him, guided him to the truth, fed him when he was hungry, cured him when he was sick- would not abandon him. He had certainty of faith.

(قُلْنَا يَا نَارُ كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيم)

Indeed, Allah heard the prayer of Ibrahim ‘alayhissalam and commanded the fire to be safe and cool for him. He emerged from the burning fire without a single scratch. Not only that, but he would often say later on: “The best moments I spent were when I was in the fire.”

A significant lesson for us from this miracle is that Allah can do whatever He wants for the believer. Allah stopped the sun for Yusha, split the sea for Musa, cured diseases through Isa, and split the moon for Muhammad- salatullahi wa salamuhu alaihim ajma’een. All we need is Tawakkul-trust in Allah azza wajal.

 

Ibrahim Debates with the King

Ibrahim’s miraculous emergence from the fire only declared utter defeat for the disbelieving people. His fame spread throughout the kingdom. Feeling threatened, King Nimrud summoned him to his royal court. Here, a significant event took place, manifesting Ibrahim’s influential qualities of courage, self-confidence, strength and persuasion. Allah (SWT) describes the scene in Surah Al-Baqara:

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِي حَاجَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ فِي رَبِّهِ أَنْ آتَاهُ اللَّـهُ الْمُلْكَ إِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّيَ الَّذِي يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ قَالَ أَنَا أُحْيِي وَأُمِيتُ ۖ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَأْتِي بِالشَّمْسِ مِنَ الْمَشْرِقِ فَأْتِ بِهَا مِنَ الْمَغْرِبِ فَبُهِتَ الَّذِي كَفَرَ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ

(Have you not seen him who disputed with Ibrahim about his Lord (Allah), because Allah had given him a kingdom? When Ibrahim said (to him): My Lord is He Who gives life and causes death.”

He said, “I give life and cause death.”

Ibrahim said, “Verily, Allah brings the sun from the east; then bring it you from the west.” So the disbeliever was utterly defeated.) {2:258}

Sunrise In Space Wallpapers 2

Ibrahim left King Nimrud speechless. With his high level of faith in Allah and clever debating tactics, Ibrahim (AS) brought forth an undefeatable challenge, forcing the king to unwillingly accept his weakness and helplessness. Again, truth prevailed over falsehood.

 

After Ibrahim’s endless debates and attempts to convince his people, his efforts were met with nothing but rejection and stubbornness. He was forced to leave the town he called “home”, to escape the persecution of his people and worship Allah freely. His only supporters were his wife, Sarah, and his nephew, Lut.

Such moral-rich stories need to become leading examples for us, youth today. Our Anbiya’ must be our role models, with their stories being our lessons, their footsteps being our path to piety, and their companionship being our lifelong goal, bidhnillahi ta’ala. Their efforts, endurance, and patience carry hidden treasures for us to discover, as we walk through the hurdles of life, striving for Allah’s pleasure and reward.

 

اللهم إنا نسألك عيش السعداء و موت الشهداء و الحشر مع الأتقياء و مرافقة الأنبياء

Oh Allah! We ask You for the life of happiness, the death of the martyrs,  to be resurrected with the pious, and the companionship of the Prophets. Ameen

Resources:

    1. Stories of the Prophets, By Imam Ibn Kathir (English and Arabic versions)

    2. Tafsir Ibn Kathir

    3. Tafsir of Surah Maryam, By Yahya Ibrahim (Audio Set)

    4. Youth under the Shade, By Safi Khan

~The Sahara Bloggers (By Niqabinja)

 

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