One of the greatest parts of Prophet Ibraheem’s story is the building of Ka’abah – the House of Allah.
Ibn Katheer reports from Mujahid that Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam was living in Syria when he received the revelation to Makkah. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala was going to indicate to him the site of the Ka’abah, which he was required to build and keep clean for those who should assemble there for Hajj and offering prayer.
We have already mentioned that Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam was instructed to leave his wife and infant in the barren valley and return. Naturally, as a husband and father he was concerned about his family. He invoked Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to make Makkah a city of peace and to protect his children from idol worship. This du’a appears in Surah Ibraheem ayah 35,
رَبِّ اجْعَلْ هَٰذَا الْبَلَدَ آمِنًا وَاجْنُبْنِي وَبَنِيَّ أَن نَّعْبُدَ الْأَصْنَامَ
“O my Lord! Make this city (Makkah) one of peace and security, and keep me and my sons away from worshiping idols.” (14: 35)
He further prayed,
رَّبَّنَا إِنِّي أَسْكَنتُ مِن ذُرِّيَّتِي بِوَادٍ غَيْرِ ذِي زَرْعٍ عِندَ بَيْتِكَ الْمُحَرَّمِ رَبَّنَا لِيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ فَاجْعَلْ أَفْئِدَةً مِّنَ النَّاسِ تَهْوِي إِلَيْهِمْ وَارْزُقْهُم مِّنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَشْكُرُونَ
“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Ka’abah at Makkah); in order, O our Lord, that they may perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), so fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks.” (14:37)
In these du’as Prophet Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam teaches us that we should understand our humanistic limitations. Nothing happens independently of Divine Will. All one’s actions and inclinations rest in Allah’s Hands. Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam was leaving his family in an uninhabited place. He knew they had limited provision to survive a few days. He knew that in order to call a place your home you need emotional attachment. Therefore, he turned to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and asked Him for peace, provision and hearts that were tender. In such short du’as he describes the basic needs of mankind: Food, shelter and love. Children living in orphanages or refugee camps might have food and shelter but they don’t get love. Many families are poor and live under miserable conditions but their bond of love is strong. Some homes have food and love, yet the violence in the cities does not let them live a peaceful life.
Therefore, when you make du’a do not forget to ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for these three things. When getting married many people are so focused on the new status that they forget to ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for marital bliss and love.
The earlier du’a where Prophet Ibraheem asks Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to protect him and his children from idol worship displays his farsightedness. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala had commanded that due respect should be paid to His ‘House.’ There was likelihood that some people, out of sheer ignorance, might begin worshiping the Ka’abah itself. That is why Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam specially prayed for him and his children to be protected from Shirk [association of partners with Allah].
Prophet Ibraheem’s du’a was accepted and people from other places started coming to settle in this area. Many years later, when Prophet Ibraheem visited his family he was commanded to rebuild the Ka’abah.
The Ka’abah was first built by the father of all mankind, Adam ‘alayhi salaam. Later in the floods of Nuh [Noah] ‘alayhi salaam it was destroyed. Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam was not commanded to build a new House at a new place, but to reconstruct the Ka’abah on its earlier foundations.