The prophet Ibrahim

 The prophet Ibrahim 

Every great story begins with a great person and certainly one of 
the greatest of people was Prophet Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him).
He was presented the title Khalil-ullah, which means ‘the friend of Allah’. Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was the forefather of many great prophets and is held in high regard by all the main uncovered religions. These great prophets contain Suliman, Musa, Dawud, Yahya, Isa and Muhammad, Peace be upon them all. They are all from the breed of Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him).

Early life
Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) lived in a time, long before the time of Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). As a boy he used to watch his father make idols. These Idols were sold in the markets as gods for people to worship. Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) could not believe that anyone could consider these idols, made of stone and wood, to be their gods! How could people pray to these idols and ask from them? How could they grant these idols breed such as food? How could these idols bring good fortune and look over them? Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was confounded .
Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) watched the idols as a fly came and sat on it. The idol was incapable to even stir the fly from its body so how could it have the power to do anything! Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) knew in his heart that the people of his community were deeply deluded but he didn’t know any better himself.
Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) often thought about his people and their worship. He thought about the world around him and how it came into being. He thought about how and why he was created. He thought about why he was here, living on this amazing planet. He would spend some time thinking about these things and admiring the world around him.
One day he was admiring the charm of the stars in the night sky. He thought to himself, I will worship these stars as my god they are so beautiful and bright. Then the moon came out and again he admired the charm of the moon. The moon was shining brighter that the stars so he thought to himself, why don’t I make the moon my god instead of the stars. In the morning the sun came out and the moon and stars could no longer be seen. He thought to himself, why don’t I make the sun my god and worship the sun instead? It is beautiful and much brighter than the moon and stars.
After much reflection he resolved that he would not worship the stars, the moon or the sun but instead would worship the maker of all these things. He resolved there was one creator, his god, who created him and everything around him. Through this Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) became directed to the right path.
 So also did We show Ibrahim the power and the laws of the heavens and the earth, that he might (with understanding) have certitude. When the night covered him over, He saw a star: He said: “This is my Lord.” But when it set, He said: “I love not those that set.” When he saw the moon rising in splendour, he said: “This is my Lord.” But when the moon set, He said: “Unless my Lord guide me, I shall surely be among those who go astray.”

When he saw the sun rising in splendour, he said: “This is my Lord; this is the greatest (of all).” But when the sun set, he said: “O my people! I am indeed free from your (guilt) of giving partners to Allah. “For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah.”” [Surah Al An’am 6:75-79
Smashing of the Idols
One day the people of his community were out celebrating. Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) went to the place where the idols were kept and broke them up, apart from the big one. He kept the ax hanging  around the neck of the big idol and then went away. When the people went back they were stunned , “What occurred to our Idols!” they remarked. They discussed it for a while and thought that Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) would know because Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was known to speaking out against their idols.
They resolved to call Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and question him about the breakage done to the idols. Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was brought before the community and they asked him who broke our idols. Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) answered , “The big idol must have done this, he has the ax around the neck, why don’t you ask it?
The people grew furious; they knew that Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was being silly. The big idol doesn’t have the power to stir so how can it smash the other idols? The big idol doesn’t have the power to talk so how can it tell us about the broken idols? Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) explained to them that if these idols are disabled and can’t do anything, then why do you pray to them? Why do you ask assistance from them when they can’t even assist themselves! Deep down they knew that Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was correct and that they indeed were wrong by praying to these stone idols.
However, the people became very furious and resolved to penalize Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). They would penalize him by lighting a great fire and throwing him into it. They thought this was a befitting penalty for someone who disdained their religion and smash their gods. They gathered firewood from all over the province and started to prepare the bonfire. They wanted to make such a terrible and hot fire, like no one had seen before. They collected together all the material then lit it and made a huge fire. It became so hot that the birds overhead could not fly over it because of the intensive heat. The people themselves could not become near the fire to throw Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) into it.
The Idol worshippers resolved that they would build a catapult to throw Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) into the middle of the fire, where he would burn in the intensive heat. Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) stayed quiet and was confident that Allah would protect him. They loaded Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām 
(peace be upon him) into the catapult and threw him into the fire.
Ibrahim said: “Peace be on thee: I will pray to my Lord for thy forgiveness: for He is to me Most Gracious. “And I will turn away from you (all) and from those whom ye invoke besides Allah: I will call on my Lord: perhaps, by my prayer to my Lord, I shall be not unblest.”” [Surah Maryam 19:42-48]]
 Allah ordered the fire to remain cool for Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām 
(peace be upon him) and not to harm him with its flames and heat.
This was a test for Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and he stayed steadfast to his trust in Allah. Allah persist to direct Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) throughout the rest of his life.

His Marriage to Sarah
After this incident, Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) moved away and got married to a lady by the name of Sarah. They lived gladly for a long time. However, there was some heartache in Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and Sarah’s life. They had been gladly married for so long and Allah had not given them any children. They prayed to Allah so much asking for a child.
Sarah knew that her husband, Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), was longing for a child. She also knew that she was getting old and may not be able to supplied him with a child. She suggested to Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) that he should marry Hajar, their thrall girl, and maybe Allah would bless them with a child through her.
Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) admitted the advice of his beloved wife Sarah and married Hajar. It wasn’t long before Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and Hajar were blessed with a baby boy whom they called Ismael.
Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was delighted with happiness at the birth of his first son. They all celebrated and thanked Allah for such a great and beautiful blessing.
However, as they celebrated they did not know that things would change dramatically very soon. They would change so much that Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) would require to make a tough option about the future of his family. What was this resolution and how would it affect this innocent baby in the arms of his loving mother, Hajar.
However, after a short while, Sarah became ardent of Hajar and Ismael. She told Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) to take the child and mother to a land far away from them. Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) resolved to take them to a place in Hijaz, which was a dry, mountainous and arid land. Here Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) left Hajar and Ismael under the shade of a lofty tree, near the hills of Safa and Marwa. This place had very little vegetation and had no water. Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) left some food with Hajar and a pouch of water.

The Spring Of ZamZam
After some time both the food and water ran short and Ismael started to cry. Hajar was panicking; she ran between the hills of Safah and Marwah looking for food or water but could not find anything. She ran between the two hillocks seven times. After the frantic search, she went back and found a spring had appeared where Ismael was kicking the sand with his feet. This spring, called ZamZam, was generating clean water and Hajar and Ismael drank from it. The ZamZam spring is still with us today generating the same sweet and pure water.
After a short time, people started to stir to this valley. By the permission of Hajar, a few tribes settled and it gradually became a small town. This town was near a busy trade route and many merchants started to pass through bringing in riches . This town grew to become the city of Makkah, which is still a busy city in Arabia today.
When Ismael was still a small boy, Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) had a dream or vision. In this dream he was ordered by Allah to victimize his son. When a prophet has a dream it is always true. In fact, a prophet’s dream is actually a shape of inspiration . This dream happened several times and Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) resolved that he would take his beloved son, Ismael and would sacrifice him to Allah. as the Qu’ran recites , Ismael agreed that Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) should carry out the command of Allah.
The Qu’ran states: Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: “O my son! I have seen in a vision that I offer you in sacrifice: what is your view!” (The son) said: “O my father! Do as you are commanded: you will find me, if Allah so wills, one practicing patience and constancy!”
Both Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and Ismael traveled to the place of victimization . However, on the way, the shaytan appeared three times and attempted to persuade Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) not to carry out the order of Allah. The shaytan tried to deceive Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) by reminding him how much he loved his son. Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was a prophet and he knew that the love of Allah comes before the love of his son. Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) also knew that this was the order of Allah so he must carry it out. Each time the Shaytan came to him, Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) threw stones at him and persisted with this journey.
Traditions tell us that Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) could not stand to look at his son so he blindfolded himself and carried out the victimization . When Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) removed the blindfold, a sheep or ram was in place of his son and Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) knew that the victimization had been accepted. On this occasion, Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) had com firmed himself and passed this great attempt from Allah (Alhamdulilla).

Later on, Allah blessed Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) with another son, whom they called Ishaq. This time he was born from Sarah, Prophet Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)’s first wife. Historic sources tell us Ishaq was born 13 years after the birth of his brother Ismael. There was much joy in the household of Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) after the birth of another pretty baby boy.
From the descendants of Ishaq, there were many great tribes and the Jews are traced through Ishaq to Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). From Ishaq’s descendants there were many great prophets containing Yusuf, Yaqoob, Isa, Musa, Dawood and Yahya. Similarly, through Ismael, there were many great tribes, the most notorious being the Quraish. Prophet Muhammad is a descendant of Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) through Ismael. Therefore, the Jews and the Arabs are actually cousins or brethren of each other.
Ismael was esteemed and loved by the people of Hijaz. The major tribe that settled was the tribe of Jurhum. They married one of their daughters to Ismael and Ismael settled down. On one occasion, Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) went to visit his son but Ismael was not at home. Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) asked Ismael’s wife about their household. She grumbled of poverty to Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). When Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was ready to leave, he requested her to grant Ismael the message that the doorstep of his house was crooked and to change it. When Ismael got the message he divorced his wife and later married another woman from Jurhum.
Another time Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) came to meet Ismael and again Ismael was not at home. He asked Ismael’s wife about them and about their life together. She said Alhamdulilla, everything was well and thanked Allah for whatever little they had been blessed with. On leaving Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) left a message that the doorstep of his house was fine. Through this wife, all the descendants of Ismael are traced.
On a third occasion, Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) went and visited his son, Ismael. He found him in the valley of Makkah. After a glad reunion they both, by the order of Allah, built the Ka’bah. This was the first house built for the worship of the one and only true god of all mankind. He then requested the tribes to make pilgrimage to this house of Allah.
A long time ago, Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) began this pilgrimage and he ordered the people to do this pilgrimage. From then until now, many millions of Muslims still visit the Ka’bahand perform the Hajj. The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and all Muslims must carry out the Hajj, at least once in their lifetime.
The people after Ismael became deluded and gradually started to worship stone idols. What was worse was that they started to fill this holy sanctuary in Makkah with Idols. What Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) had advised and fought against was happening even in this holiest of holy places. The people still believed in Allah but also had faith in these idols. Allah took away the blessing of Zamzam from the people and left them in a state of misguidance.
The society had become lost from the truth. The misguidance persisted for hundreds of years until prophet Muhammad was sent as a messenger to the people. By this time, the society had become engrossed in many shapes of evil and had entirely lost from all that was good. The prophet came and cleansed this holy place from all the evil and shapes of shirk.
However, just before the prophet’s time, one noble person from the tribe of Quraysh was going to retrieve some of these blessing. This person was Abdul Muttalib, the Prophet’s grandfather.

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