The Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ is one of the most mentioned Prophets in the Quran. Out of more than 124,000 Prophets and Messengers sent to their people, we can find the names of 25 Prophets in the Quran. Prophet Ibrahim is mentioned in the Quran for 69 times. A complete Surah is also named after him in the Quran.  He is also among the five Prophets given the Divine Books and Laws. These five most important Prophets are Nuh عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ, Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ, Musa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ, Isa عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ, and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

All three major Religions, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, respect him as an Arch Prophet. He is believed to have lived more than 150 years. Some traditions say his age was also 169 or 175. Some even narrate that the Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ lived for 195 years. However, the consensus is that he lived for more than 150 years.

Family Background and Childhood of Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ

Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ is believed to be one of the descendants of Prophet Nuh عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. His sons Ismail and Ishaq were also granted Prophet-Hood. One of his nephews, Lut, was also a Prophet. So, he is very rightly ranked as the forefather of many Prophets.

But the immediate family of Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ was Idolatrous. His father, named as Azar, was a well-known idol maker of his time. He used to carve statues from stones and wood. But the Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ, right from his childhood, did not believe in these Idols. He was deadly against Idolatry and had several discussions with his father.

He often asked his father why these statues could not move, eat, and drink. He also sued to ask whether these Idols can benefit anyone or, otherwise, they can harm us. Every time, his father would scold him. Despite that, Azar used to send his son Ibrahim to the market to sell these statues. While in the market, the young Ibrahim often mocked these Idols. His father and the people of the town got angry with him, but he remained consistent with his belief against the Idolatry. This was a blessing of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, as also mentioned in the 51st Verse of Surah Al-Anbya:

Translation

We had earlier given Abraham true direction, for We knew him well.

Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ as a Grown-up Person

With that background, the young Ibrahim grew up. Despite all his efforts and admonishment by his father, he was never convinced that one should worship the statues made by a man like his father. His father wanted him to be a priest. The people of his town built a huge temple. This temple was full of stone and wood idols. People used to worship these idols and prostrate in front of them.

Ibrahim disliked all this. His hatred against these statues turned into anger with time, and his anger and hatred increased with every passing day. He could not understand why and how people could worship those Idols who could not eat, drink, or even help or harm anyone.

Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ in Search of Truth

The anger and hatred against the Idolatry was increasing day by day in the heart and mind of Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. His curiosity to find the truth led him, one night, to the mountains. He walked up to a hill and sat by the cave wall. He looked at the sky and recalled that some people also worshiped the Sun, Moon, and Stars.

He realized that none of them is worth worship, as each set. He thought these celestial bodies were not rising and setting per their own will. Rather, someone else has created them and made them rise and set. He realized that the Creator of this whole universe is the One Who is worth worshiping.

The curiosity of the Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ in search of the actual Creator of this Universe is narrated in Surah Al-An’am in verses 74 to 79:

Translation

  1. Remember when Abraham said to Azar, his father: “Why do you take idols for God? I certainly find you and your people in error.”
  2. Thus We showed to Abraham the visible and invisible world of the heavens and the earth, that he could be among those who believe.
  3. When the night came with her covering of darkness he saw a star, and (Azar, his father) said: “This is my Lord.” But when the star set, (Abraham) said: “I love not those that wane.”
  4. When (Azar) saw the moon rise all aglow, he said: “This is my Lord.” But even as the moon set, (Abraham) said: “If my Lord had not shown me the way I would surely have gone astray.”
  5. When (Azar) saw the sun rise all resplendent, he said: “My Lord is surely this, and the greatest of them all.” But the sun also set, and (Abraham) said: “O my people, I am through with those you associate (with God).
  6. I have truly turned my face towards Him who created the heavens and the earth: I have chosen one way and am not an idolater.”

Arguments With His People

When Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ turned towards his people with the message of worshiping only One Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, who is the Creator of this entire Universe, the people started arguing with him. The next four verses, 80 to 83 of Surah Al-An’am, explain the arguments between Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ and his people as under:

Translation

  1. His people argued, and he said: “Do you argue with me about God? He has guided me already, and I fear not what you associate with Him, unless my Lord wills, for held within the knowledge of my Lord is everything. Will you not reflect?
  2. And why should I fear those you associate with Him when you fear not associating others with God for which He has sent down no sanction? Tell me, whose way is the way of peace, if you have the knowledge?
  3. They alone have peace who believe and do not intermix belief with denial, and are guided on the right path.”
  4. This is the argument We gave to Abraham against his people. We exalt whosoever We please in rank by degrees. Your Lord is wise and all-knowing.

During these arguments, Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ explained to his people that these celestial bodies as well as the day and the night are worth our worship, as these are not self-created and cannot rise and set at their own. Hence, we should only worship the Creator of this Universe, the Almighty Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. This argument is also narrated in the Quran in Surah Fussilat in the verse number 37:

Translation

The night and day and the sun and moon are (only) some of His signs. So do not bow before the sun and the moon, but bow in homage to God who created them, if you truly worship Him.

Discussion and questioning continued with his father and the people, narrated in verses 52 to 56 of Surah Al-Anbya. He questioned them why they insisted on worshiping these Idols instead of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. They had no firm reason behind this and replied that this was the tradition of their ancestors. At this, the Prophet said that you should, instead, worship the One Who is the Creator of everything in this universe.

Translation

  1. When he said to his father and his people: “What are these idols to which you cling so passionately?
  2. They replied: “We found our fathers worshipping them
  3. He said: “You and your fathers were in clear error.”
  4. They said: “Are you speaking in earnest, or only jesting?”
  5. He said: “In fact it was your Lord, the Lord of the heavens and the earth, who created them; and I bear witness to this.

Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ Arguments with His Father

In continuation of his efforts to bring his father and his people back to the concept of monotheism, he decided to discuss this issue with his father precisely. Being wise, he maintained all the due respect for his father when arguing with him. He politely asked him to stop making statues and follow the right path, which he has found with the grace of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. But despite all this, his father did not agree; rather, he started to treat his son Ibrahim harshly. This is narrated in the following verse:

Translation

  1. my father, to me has come such knowledge as never came to you. So follow me that I may show you the right path.
  2. Why do you worship Satan, O father? Verily Satan was disobedient to Ar-Rahman.
  3. my father, I fear lest a punishment from Ar-Rahman should befall you, and you should become a friend of the Devil.”
  4. He said: “Are you averse to my gods, O Abraham? If you do not desist, I shall have you stoned to death. So go away for a while from me.”
  5. He answered: “Peace be on you. I will seek forgiveness of my Lord for you. He has been gracious to me
  6. I will leave you and those you invoke apart from God, and pray to my Lord. Haply in praying to my Lord I will not be deprived.”

Simultaneously, his arguments with his people also continued. But despite his repeated advice, people did not respond positively. Verses 69 to 82 of Surah As-Shu’ara mention this discussion in detail:

Translation

  1. Relate the news of Abraham to them.
  2. When he asked his father and his people: “What do you worship?”
  3. They replied: “We worship idols and are devoted to them.”
  4. (Abraham) asked: “Do they hear when you call them?
  5. Or do they benefit you, or do you harm?”
  6. They said: “No. But we found our fathers doing so.”
  7. He said: “Have you considered what you have been worshipping,
  8. You and your fathers?
  9. Yet they are my enemies except the Lord of all the worlds
  10. Who created me and showed me the way,
  11. Who gives me food and drink,
  12. And heals me when I am sick,
  13. Who will make me die, then give me life again,
  14. And who, I hope, will condone my faults on the Day of Judgment.

But unfortunately, neither his father nor his people showed any inclination towards his preaching.

Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ Decides to Smash the Statues

When he was convinced that neither his father nor his people were willing to follow the right path, Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ decided to leave his father’s home and his people forever. Meanwhile, he also decided to break all the statues installed in the temple.

Once the decision was made, prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ waited for the right time to accomplish his plans. All the people of his hometown used to attend a particular event away from the city. When all of them went to attend the event, he entered the temple with an axe. When he entered the temple, he looked at the Idols and the food and drinks placed before them and mocked them by asking why you are not eating and drinking, knowing very well that they could not do so. This is beautifully narrated in the 91st and 92nd verses of Surah As-Saffat:

Translation

  1. Then he turned towards their gods and said: “Why do you not eat (of these offerings)?
  2. What is wrong with you that you do not speak?”

After that, he started smashing the Statues, breaking all of them to pieces but leaving one and hanging his axe on its nose. He felt relaxed after destroying the statues and left the temple.

Idolaters Decided to Punish Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ

When people returned from the event, they were shocked to see their Gods broken into pieces. They wondered who could have done this. They ultimately concluded that only Ibrahim could do so. They decided to arrest and punish him. Prophet Ibrahim did not resist and offered to be arrested. He was waiting for this occasion so he may prove them wrong.

The idolaters planned to burn the Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ, alive. They started making a huge fire pit. They collected the firewood and placed it in that fire pit. Then, the wood was set to fire. It created a huge blaze, the heat so high that it could be felt far away from it. Then they managed to throw Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ into this burning fire with the help of a catapult.

Fire Turns Cool and Safe for Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ

While he was near being dropped into the fire, the Angel Gabriel came to the Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ and asked if he wanted something. The Prophet replied, “I do not want anything from you.” While he was dropping into the fire, it turned into a cool and safe place, like a cool garden, with the Command of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, as narrated in the 69th verse of Surah Al-Anbya:

Translation

“Turn cold, O fire,” We said, “and give safety to Abraham.

Resultantly, only the strings with which the Prophet was tied burnt. The flames did not harm the Prophet, and he sat safely inside the fire pit. The worries and the fear washed away and his heart was filled with the love of his Creator, the Almighty Allah. The fire was still burning and the people could feel its heat from quite a distance. They waited for the fire to shut down, but it kept burning for a long time. At last, the fire was extinguished. People were astonished to see the Prophet Ibrahim coming out of the fire pit, safe and happy, without being even touched by the fire. The idolaters couldn’t believe it. The 70th verse of Surah Al-Anbya narrates it as under:

Translation

They wished to entrap him, but We made them greater losers.

The outcome of this event was shameful for the idolaters, but they did not surrender. However, quite a handful of people turned towards the right path and followed the preaching of Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. However, some of them kept it secret due to the fear of being oppressed by the ruling class.

Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ and the King Namrud

While the Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ returned triumphant in the ongoing arguments with the Idolaters, he was ready to face the King Namrud, who pretended to be a God. When Namrud was apprised of what happened with the fire and the Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ, he ordered to bring him into his Palace so he could have a dialogue with him.

So, the Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ reached the Court of King Namrud. The Prophet said to Namrud Allah is He Who gives life and death. Namrud replied I give life and death to people. The Prophet argued that Allah causes the Sun to rise from the East. If you are the Lord, make it happen the other way. Ask the Sun to rise from the West. This argument left Namrud speechless. This dialogue is mentioned in the Surah Al-Baqarah in the 258th verse as under:

Translation

Have you thought of the man who argued with Abraham about his Lord because God had given him a kingdom? When Abraham said: “My Lord is the giver of life and death,” he replied: “I am the giver of life and death.” And Abraham said: “God makes the sun rise from the East; so you make it rise from the West,” and dumbfounded was the infidel. God does not guide those who are unjust.

Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ Leaves his People and Migrates

As a result of his victory over the idolaters and, more importantly, over Namrud, people started liking and loving the Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. But contrary to his expectations, none of them was ready to follow his preaching of the Oneness of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. Only one woman, Sarah, agreed to accept his message. Later, Sarah married the Prophet. His nephew Lut came with him from the men and later became a Prophet himself.

Realizing that no one else would choose the right path, the Prophet decided to migrate to the city of Ur with his wife Sarah and nephew Lut. The migration did not stop there. They kept on migrating from town to town and ultimately reached Egypt.

Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ and the Miracle of Birds

Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ, once asked Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى how He gives life to the dead. Allah asked him to cut his birds into pieces and then spread them on different hills. Then call back the birds in Allah’s name. When Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ did so, the birds came back to their original shape. This historic miracle is narrated in the Quran in the 260th verse of Surah Al-Baqarah:

Translation

Remember, when Abraham said: “O Lord, show me how you raise the dead,” He said: “What! Do you not believe?” “I do,” answered Abraham. “I only ask for my heart’s assurance.” (The Lord) said: “Trap four birds and tame them, then put each of them on a (separate) hill, and call them, and they will come flying to you. Know that God is all-powerful and all-wise.”

Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ Gets a Son in Old Age

Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ and his wife Sarah lived a happy life except for the fact that they did not have a child, as Sarah was sterile. By that time Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ was quite old. Knowing this fact, she asked her husband to marry her female servant, Hajirah. Eventually, Hajira gave birth to a child named Ismail, who also became a Prophet. This is narrated in verses 100 and 101 of Surah As-Saffat.

Translation

  1. (And he prayed:) “O Lord, grant me a righteous son.”
  2. So We gave him the good news of a clement son.

Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ and the Sacrifice

The life of the Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ is full of testing times and sacrifice. When his son Ismail was very young, he had a consistent dream that he was sacrificing his son in the name of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. He shared this dream with his son Ismail. He immediately agreed and offered himself to be sacrificed. When the prophet was about to sacrifice his son, the Angel Gabriel came down and replaced Ismail with a lamb from the heavens. This event is narrated in the Surah As-Saffat in verses 102 to 108:

Translation

  1. When he was old enough to go about with him, he said: “O my son, I dreamt that I was sacrificing you. Consider, what you think?” He replied: “Father, do as you are commanded. If God pleases you will find me firm.”
  2. When they submitted to the will of God, and (Abraham) laid (his son) down prostrate on his temple,
  3. We called out: “O Abraham,
  4. You have fulfilled your dream.” Thus do We reward the good
  5. That was indeed a trying test
  6. So We ransomed him for a great sacrifice,
  7. And left (his hallowed memory) for posterity.

That historical gesture of Prophet Ibrahim is still followed by Muslims all over the world when they slaughter sacrificial animals on the occasion of Eid Al Adha.

Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ Builds the House of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى

When his son Ismail was very young, the Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ on the Command of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى left him with his mother Hajira in a far-flung area, which was uninhabited at that time. As of today, we know this place as Mecca, situated in Saudi Arabia.

The Prophet left his wife and the infant Ismail at this place with a few resources, which were soon exhausted. Hajira walked up the nearby hills of Safa and Marwa in search of someone who could help them. But nothing was there for her and her son. When she came back, her son Ismail was crying for water. Suddenly, by the Will of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, a fountain of water emerged from where the young Ismail was scratching his heels.

Both these events have also become an essential part of the Hajj. The Pilgrims perform Sai between Safa and Marwa in memory of Hajira’s desperate effort. The fountain of water that emerged there is currently known as the Well of Zamzam. Drinking water from Zamzam is also a part of the Hajj.

Later on, when the young Ismail grew up, Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى commanded prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ to construct a house in His name. So, both the Prophet and his son Ismail constructed the first place of worship of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى on this earth, which is known as the House of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى (Baitullah or Ka’aba). The place where all these historical events occurred is currently known as Mecca.

Once the house of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى was built, Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ, on the Command of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى raised up and called the entire mankind to come visit this house of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, the call to perform Hajj. This historic event is narrated in the 125th verse of Surah Al-Baqarah as under.

Translate

Remember, We made the House (of Ka’bah) a place of congregation and safe retreat, and said: “Make the spot where Abraham stood the place of worship;” and enjoined upon Abraham and Ishmael to keep Our House immaculate for those who shall walk around it and stay in it for contemplation and prayer, and for bowing in adoration.

Since then, the pilgrimage to Ka’ba has been practiced, even before the emergence of Islam. However, the current form and rituals of Hajj were taught to Muslims by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. He performed Hajj once in his lifetime. Muslims from all over the world come here to perform Hajj in the month of Dhul Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.

Prophet Ibrahim’s Title

The verse number 125 of Surah An-Nisa narrates that Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى chose the Prophet Ibrahim as his friend (خَلِیْل‌), hence he is also titled as Khali Al Allah (خَلِیْل‌ ٱلله).

Arabic Text – وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ دِينًۭا مِّمَّنْ أَسْلَمَ وَجْهَهُۥ لِلَّهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌۭ وَٱتَّبَعَ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَٰهِيمَ حَنِيفًۭا ۗ وَٱتَّخَذَ ٱللَّهُ إِبْرَٰهِيمَ خَلِيلًۭا

Translation – Whose way is better than that of the man who has submitted to God, and does good, and who follows the creed of Abraham the upright? And God chose Abraham as friend.

The Teachings of Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ

  • Have complete and unshaken trust in Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى
  • Give full respect to the parents
  • Remain good to your parents
  • Never lose confidence and trust on Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى
  • Sacrifice your beloved things in the Name of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى

Importance of Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ

Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ is the most respected Prophet after the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. The most popular Darood is also known as Darood-e-Ibrahimi.

Arabic Text

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ، اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكَ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ

Translation

O Allah, bestow Your favor on Muhammad and on the family of Muhammad as You have bestowed Your favor on Ibrahim and on the family of Ibrahim, You are Praiseworthy, Most Glorious. O Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You have blessed Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim, You are Praiseworthy, Most Glorious.