In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Prophet Ibraheem’s Supplication for Prophet Muhammad
Prophet Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam made du’a for the Arabs that a messenger be sent to them. This proves that the Last Messenger was to be from the lineage of his other son Isma’eel ‘alayhi salaam and an Arab. He prayed:
Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam was the first person to mention the Prophet to the people. Ever since, Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was known to the people, until the last Prophet was sent among the Children of Israel, Eesa [Jesus] the son of Mariam [Mary] salaamun alayhi, who mentioned Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam by name. Jesus addressed the Children of Israel saying,
إِنِّى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكُم مُّصَدِّقاً لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَىَّ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَمُبَشِّراً بِرَسُولٍ يَأْتِى مِن بَعْدِى اسْمُهُ أَحْمَدُ
“I am the Messenger of Allah unto you, confirming what is before me in the Torah, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.” [As-Saf 61:6]
This is why the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said ,
دَعْوَةُ أَبِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَبُشْرَى عِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَم
“(I am)The supplication of my father Ibraheem and the glad tidings brought forth by Jesus the son of Mary.”
Why did Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam ask for a prophet?
Raising a prophet from the Arabs means that the people will be familiar with this person. They would have known his past and present and hence, it would be easier for them to trust and follow him.
Ayaat of Surah Aal Imran and Surah Al-Jumu’ah confirm that this supplication was accepted because Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “He it is Who sent among the unlettered ones a Messenger (Muhammad) from among themselves, reciting to them His Ayaat, purifying them (from the filth of disbelief and polytheism), and teaching them the Book (this Qur’an, Islamic laws and Islamic jurisprudence) and Al-Hikmah (As-Sunnah: legal ways, orders, acts of worship, etc. of Prophet Muhammad). And verily, they had been before in mainfest error,” (62: 2).
Prophet Ibraheem did not only ask that a messenger be sent but he also listed the tasks that this messenger must perform. These tasks were:
- Recites to them Your ayaat [يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِك]
- Teaches them the Book [يُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَاب]
- Teaches them wisdom [الْحِكْمَةَ]
- Purifies them [يُزَكِّيهِم]
Let us understand the terms occurring in this ayah.
The Arabic word yatlu [يَتْلُو] translated as recite is from the word tilawah which means ‘to follow or to obey’. In the terminology of the Qur’an, it denotes the recitation of the Qur’an because the one who reads it is also required to follow it or obey its commands.
The word also suggests that it is obligatory to read the Qur’an exactly as it has been revealed by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and not to add or subtract a word on one’s own or change the pronunciation because in the Arabic language that might change the meaning of the word.
The word Kitab [Book], without any doubts refers to the Qur’an, for this was one of the responsibilities of the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to communicate the revelations to the people.
The word hikmah or wisdom carries various meanings such as understanding of the matters of the Qur’an, jurisprudence [fiqh], comprehension in the religion and Sunnah of the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not only recite the Book but also taught its meanings, and his character was the Qur’an.
Notice that the ayah speaks separately of ‘reciting’ the Book and of ‘teaching’ it.
It teaches us that reciting the Qur’an is not sufficient; we must also understand what it is being said. Even the hufadh [the memorizers of the Qur’an] must not be content with preserving the Arabic text in their hearts. In order to put emotions in their recitation, they must know the meaning. One must know how to properly read the Qur’an as well the meaning of the ayaat.
It also means that reading the translation of the Qur’an does not suffice. One must know how to read the Arabic and recite the Qur’an in the language revealed to take full benefit of its recitation.
This was the practice of the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his Companions radhiAllahu ‘anhum who never got tired of reciting and understanding the Book of Allah. They kept reciting, understanding and teaching it for as long as they lived.
Some of the Companions used to recite the entire the Book in a single day, some in two days, and some in three. Reciting the Qur’an in one week has always been a usual practice among the Muslims. It is for this reason that the Qur’an has been divided into seven stages [Manazil].
Point to Reflect:
How is our relationship with the Qur’an? How often do we recite it? Do we know the proper recitation rules? Do we also understand its meanings and know the background of the ayaat? How often do we complete the recitation of the entire Qur’an? We must complete one reading almost every month if not once a week.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala free us of the time wasters and put blessing in our time, ameen.
To understand a book you need a teacher, otherwise, there are many books available in the library and anyone could become a doctor by just reading them. Had that been the case, one can only imagine what would have become of the patients!
Likewise, knowing a language is not enough. Abu Jahl and the likes were experts of the Arabic language yet they did not comprehend the Message. One needs a regular and learned teacher to study the book, and here we are not talking about any book but the Book of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Therefore, whether a person is an Arab or a non-Arab, every Muslim must study the exegesis of the Qur’an. Interpreting the Qur’an on one’s own is a self-delusion. If there was no need for the teacher, then why did Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala send us a Messenger? This also highlights the importance of studying the ahadeeth and the sayings of the Companions radhiAllahu ‘anhum who directly learned from the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. And this is what teaching hikmah [wisdom] means. To fully grasp the purpose of our lives and to save ourselves from errors we must study the ahadeeth and some of us should also acquire the knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence.
Tazkiya or purification is an essential prophetic function, for knowledge cannot sit in the heart if it is filled with filth. Tazkiya means cleansing one of their external and internal impurities. Therefore, to recite the Qur’an an essential condition is to have ablution. One should also know that the angels do not visit dirty places. If one desires their company then one must take care about their taharah [physical cleansing].
The internal filth includes, Kufr [disbelief], Shirk [association of partners with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala], pride, vanity, malice, jealousy, envy, love of the worldly things, etc.
It is only when one studies the Book with a teacher that one realizes his hidden faults. It is the company of the teachers and the righteous that grooms one and teaches etiquette. Hence, it is no wonder that the great Qur’an exegesists and ahadeeth narrators such as, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas and ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar radhiAllahu ‘anhum grew up to well-versed and strong in religion because they have been attending study circles since they were young boys. When will we stop treating our children as babies and assign them real responsibilities? How do our children spend their time?
The heart must be cleansed of the love for this world, for if our vision is limited to this world then striving for the Hereafter will no longer become our goal. The heart must be cleansed of malice, hate and pride because if it houses rancor and arrogance then the knowledge of the Qur’an will not reside in it. One must cleanse himself of his internal filth because the change always comes from within. If the heart does not change nothing changes. The Qur’an must first affect our heart showing us our faults and ugliness so that when we are cleansed of our evil we can convey the message in a better way – through our words as well as conduct. And to achieve all that one requires the supervision of a teacher that does islah [correction] as and when required. Therefore, we see that while there was not a Book in every era but Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala sent a teacher [a prophet] in every era. The Prophet’s job was to inform people about Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and ‘teach’ and discipline them.
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not just recite the ayaat to the people or explain their meanings, but he also did tarbiyah [upbringing]. His way of correcting people’s mistakes was filled with wisdom; therefore, it was easier for the Companions radhiAllahu ‘anhum to accept what he said. For a study of how the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam corrected people’s mistakes read the book: Prophet’s Way of Correcting People’s Mistake by Muhammad Salih al-Munnajid.
Hence, it is essential that one studies the Qur’an and also has a teacher that trains and disciplines him. One should remember Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala gave us the commands and the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam taught us how to obey them. Our deeds are unacceptable, if they are not for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and on the way of the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
The four tasks outlined by Prophet Ibraheem should be our tasks too. We must learn how to recite the Book correctly (in the language that it was revealed). We should then understand its meaning with a proper, learned teacher who helps us in identifying our mistakes and in correcting them. We should not limit ourselves to the Qur’an only, but we also study the Sunnah and the more skilled among us should also study the Islamic jurisprudence [fiqh].
Once we have learned the Book and Sunnah, we should not retain the knowledge to ourselves but pass it on to others. And this is why teachers are well-respected in Islam. They are heirs of the prophets. They are doing what the prophets ‘alayhi salaam did.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala allow us to pick our paths wisely and be committed to Deen, ameen.
Prophet Ibraheem ends his supplication by saying, “Indeed, You are the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” This displays yaqeen [conviction]! He has made the du’a. He acknowledges that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is Mighty, He is Able to do all things. But he also knows that He is Wise meaning that some of his du’as might not be answered if Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala does not find them proper. Nothing escapes the ability of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. He is Wise in His decisions, His actions and He puts everything in its rightful place due to His perfect knowledge, wisdom and justice.
This du’a was accepted 2500 years later. When do we want our du’as to be accepted? Right after we have supplicated! We cannot wait for even a day, a month or a year and conclude that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala does not listen to us. We have a lot to learn from the Friend of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
DOWNLOAD PDF: Al-Baqarah Ayah 129
رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيم
“Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing.” [Al-Baqarah 2: 127]