‘Allah’s best friend Ibrahim’
وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ دِينًا مِّمَّنْ أَسْلَمَ وَجْهَهُ لِلَّهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ وَاتَّبَعَ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۗ وَاتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ خَلِيلًا
Who is better in faith than one who submits himself wholly to God, acts righteously, and follows the religion of Abraham, the upright in faith, whom God chose for a friend?
Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) was born 4,000 years ago in the village of Ur, a faraway land of Iraq. Since his childhood, Abraham was a seeker of truth, he was extremely curious, was gracious of his surroundings, compassionate & empathetic heart and pure in faith. Since his youth, Allah gave him wisdom to discover deeper meaning of his existence and his environment, which lead him to discover the Truth , which was the ultimate Discovery of God. Allah with all His compassion and wisdom called him as his best friend. In those days, people used to worship nature, idols, stones and statues that even as a child, Ibrahim wondered why people would worship the stones carved out of themselves .
Once when the town's people were away, he broke all the idols in the shrine, except the biggest. When asked who has done this, Ibrahim calmly replied, "Ask the biggest idol? People thought he was kidding as the bigger idol had no capacity to speak! "Why do you worship things that cannot talk, respond you back, they cannot move their hand and understand anything you say?” They became furious, and tried to kill him, by burning him alive. But Allah commanded the fire, “O fire, be cool and peaceful for Ibrahim. A miracle took place, and the fire, instead of burning Ibrahim, became a cool refuge for him.
The moral of the story is that faith in Allah is the only thing that can save a believer in this world and the world to come. When Ibrahim grew up, Allah spoke to him and made him a great prophet. He started preaching message of oneness of God first in his own land, then later in Syria, Palestine and Egypt. Prophet Ibrahim tried his level best to call people to oneness of God, but they still had elements of shirk (idol worshipping and making other partner of God) in their society.
After Ismail (Ishmael) was born to his wife, Hajar (or Hagar), Allah ordered Ibrahim to take the mother and baby Ismail (Ishmael) and migrate to the place now known as Makkah. It took them a long time to reach the lonely, barren valley near two mountains called Safa and Marwah. There were no inhabitants living in the valley of Mecca , and Ibrahim, asked by Allah to settle Hajira (Haggar) and Ismail (Ishmael) in the desert.
After the food and water ran out, Little Ismail began to cry for water. Hajar ran from one hill to another, but there was not a drop of water to drink, nor was there any human being to help her. Allah then mercifully performed a miracle; a spring — later known as Zamzam — gushed forth beneath the baby’s feet. Hajar then gave some fresh spring water to the thirsty, and started preserving water by building a small circle of wall around it . Ismail and his mother began to live in the valley and, because of the Zamzam spring, more people gradually settled there, slowly building up a small town, later called Makkah.
The moral of the story is that believers who, despite their hardships, follow the path of Allah, will find that Allah will help them in miraculous ways, just as the child Ismail and his mother Hajar were saved by the miracle of the Zamzam spring. One night, the Prophet Ibrahim had a dream that he was sacrificing his son, Ismail to please God. Ismail was still a child, but he was a spiritual and brave boy and when told about the dream he was ready to obey Allah’s command. He said without hesitation, “Do what you are commanded father! "God willing, you will find me one of the steadfast.” Ibrahim then took his son to a place, now known as Mina — a valley near Makkah. Satan appeared there and tried to dissuade him from sacrificing his son but Ibrahim pelted him away with pebbles. As Ibrahim took up a knife to sacrifice Ismail, Allah sent the Angel Jibril (Gabriel) with a ram to be sacrificed instead. Allah was so pleased with the readiness of the Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his beloved son that he commanded the believers to observe this day as Eid al-Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice.
Ibrahim, Ismael and Hajar were team of believers who obeyed God in complete submission of their heart and trusted God's Will to sacrifice their comfort, wealth, and homeland to start generations of believers in Mecca, later on in the form of Last Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and his companions.