In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Makkah is a Sacred Area
Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam always carried out the commandments of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala without losing a moment. He was always ready to make all kinds of sacrifices in His way. In carrying out the Divine commandments, he did not forget his loved ones. This is what manifests itself in the present ayah We find him praying for the well-being of his family in this world as much as in the other.
The prayer begins with the word Rabb, which lexically signifies ‘One who nurtures’. Thus, it teaches us the proper mode of praying to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. This form of address in itself draws the mercy and grace of Allah. The first thing Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam prayed for was to make Makkah a peaceful place – safe from slaughter and plundering.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala answered the du’a as we read in Surah Aal Imran,
وَمَن دَخَلَهُ كَانَ ءَامِناً
“Whosoever enters it, he attains security.” (3:97)
And in Surah Al-Ankabut,
أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْاْ أَنَّا جَعَلْنَا حَرَماً ءامِناً وَيُتَخَطَّفُ النَّاسُ مِنْ حَوْلِهِمْ
“Have they not seen that We have made (Makkah) a secure sanctuary, while men are being snatched away from all around them?” (29:67)
Makkah became a thriving city. Every year millions of Muslims visit the city for pilgrimage. It also became safe and secure, for no infidel has ever been able to conquer it or dominate over it. The Qur’an itself narrates the story of ‘Ashaab al-Feel’ [the People of the Elephant] who were destroyed for having ventured to invade Makkah.
Even before the advent of Islam, the Arabs in the Age of Ignorance and Shirk deeply respected the Ka’abah and its environs as a matter of their creed. In spite of being vengeful, they would never take their revenge so long as the enemy remained within the precincts of the Haram. The inhabitants of Makkah were respected throughout Arabia, and the trading caravans passing to and fro between Makkah and Syria or Yemen were never interrupted. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has given security even to birds and animals inside the Haram, and forbidden all kinds of hunting within this area. So, even birds and animals distinctly show a feeling of security inside the Haram, and are not scared of men.
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,
لَا يَحِلُّ لِأَحَدٍ أَنْ يَحْمِلَ بِمَكَّةَ السِّلَاح
“No one is allowed to carry weapons in Makkah.”
The Two Saheehs recorded ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu saying that the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,
“Allah has made this city a sanctuary (sacred place) the Day He created the heavens and earth. Therefore, it is a sanctuary until the Day of Resurrection because Allah made it a sanctuary. It was not legal for anyone to fight in it before me, and it was legal for me for a few hours of one day. Therefore, it is a sanctuary until the Day of Resurrection, because Allah made it a sanctuary. None is allowed to uproot its thorny shrubs, or to chase its game, or to pick up something that has fallen, except by a person who announces it publicly, nor should any of its trees be cut.”
The city has been made so secure that even the Dajjal [Anti-Christ] shall not have the power to enter it.
The second thing that Prophet Ibraheem asked for was sustenance. This supplication too was answered. Makkah is still an uncultivable piece of land, but fruits of all kinds from all over the world are available.
Why did Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam ask for peace and sustenance?
One might wonder why a Prophet of Allah would ask for peace and sustenance. If you have lived in a volatile place you will know the value of peace and security. Prophet Ibraheem was leaving his family in an uninhabited land where there was no human being other than his wife and infant. He certainly feared for their well-being while relying on Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. His apprehension was natural.
He asked for sustenance because in order to settle down at any place, you need sustenance to survive. The only provision that his family had was a bunch of dates and water-skin. It was not enough to last a lifetime. If Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala allowed provision to reach that barren land, there was a chance that people might settle down there.
– We learn that there is no harm in supplicating for one’s worldly needs. If we are to spend a certain decided time on earth then we need provision to survive. One should not shy away from asking Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for one’s physical, emotional or financial needs. The Companions radhiAllahu ‘anhum would invoke Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for as small a thing as a shoelace. However, we should keep a balance between our worldly needs and our spiritual needs. We should make du’a for both the worlds.
– Since Prophet Ibraheem’s du’as were accepted, it teaches us that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala answers the prayers of His righteous servants. Therefore, when there is a delay in the acceptance of our prayers, we should first check what did we ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for? Second, we should see if we are honoring our covenant with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. ‘After’ Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam cleared all of his tests, he was chosen as the Imam and the Friend of Allah. In order to become a Friend of Allah and get our du’as answered, we will first have to make ourselves pleasing to Him.
The Prophetic Wisdom
Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam did not pray for the land of Makkah to be made fertile, but suggested in his prayer that the fruits might come to Makkah from somewhere else as an import. He probably intended that his descendants should not get unduly absorbed in agriculture. He wanted the people to remember the real purpose of their creation and remain steadfast in their acts of worship. Otherwise, he could have prayed for Makkah itself to be made fertile, and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala would have granted the prayer.
Notice that in the previous prayer (ayah 124), when Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala informed Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam that he has been chosen as the leader for all mankind, Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam asked if this promise was for his children as well. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala corrected him and said that His promise was not for the wrongdoers. Having learned once, this time when the Friend of Allah made du’a he specified that he was asking for the blessings for the faithful ones only. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala was pleased with his rectitude, and told him that the worldly prosperity would be given to the disbelievers too, but in the next world they will receive nothing more than the punishment due to them.
This ayah indicates that Allah gives the disbelievers respite and then seizes them in a manner compatible to His greatness and ability.
This answers the age long question: If Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is displeased with the unbelievers why do we see them successful? We should know their successes and joys are limited to this world only. Intoxicated by the pleasures of this world, they have forgotten their real purpose of creation. Since they do not choose to find the truth and think that this life is all that there is, they will have no share in the Hereafter.
In Surah Yunus, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“(A brief) enjoyment in this world! And then unto Us will be their return, then We shall make them taste the severest torment because they used to disbelieve.” (10:69-70)
We seek refuge with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala from such an end. Allahumma ameen.
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