When Isma’eel ‘alayhi salaam grew up, he married a woman from Jurhum, then left her and married another woman – the daughter of Mudad bin ‘Amr al-Jurhumi.
Do you know why Prophet Isma’eel divorced his first wife?
One day, Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam came to visit his son but did not find him. He met the wife and asked her about Isma’eel. She replied that the husband had gone out in search of food. Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam then asked her about their living condition. She replied that they lived a life of misery, hardship and destitute. Prophet Ibraheem got up and left saying, “When your husband returns give him my salutations and tell him to change the curtain (threshold) of the gate.” Why did he advise so? Because the woman was meeting the stranger for the first time and she started revealing the house secrets. She had nothing good to say and was full of complaints.
The message that Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam left for his son was to divorce the complaining woman. This is a moment of reflection for us. How do we meet people? What do we talk about? What impressions do we leave on people? May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala allow us to reflect on our conversations and grant us gratitude, aameen.
Prophet Ibraheem returned again many years later and meets the new wife. When he puts the same question before her that how they have been doing. She is full of gratitude for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and appreciation for her husband. She says that they have been doing well. Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam gets up to leave and says, “When your husband returns tell him to retain the curtain.”
Islam sees marriage as a source of love and harmony. If two people cannot get along and are filled with hatred and complaints then it is best that they part their ways.
The Re-Construction of Ka’abah
In the Tafseer of Surah Al-Baqarah, we have already mentioned the incident of the re-construction of Ka’abah. It should be remembered that Prophet Ibraheem was not the first one to build the Ka’abah. The House of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala was first build by the angels, later by Prophet Adam and so on. In the floods of Nuh [Noah] ‘alayhi salaam the Ka’abah collapsed and only its foundations remained. It was on these foundations that Prophet Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam re-built the Ka’abah.
In absence of any sophisticated machinery of today where a building can be raised in a week or two, these two servants of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala would cut stones from Jabal Ka’abah and bring to the site of construction. Jabal Ka’abah is a huge, black mountain at close proximity to Ka’abah. Imagine the hardship that they underwent, yet, their humility is unmatchable. As they were raising the foundations of the House of Allah, they made supplications for the acceptance of their deed. Despite being prophets and being chosen for the task, they did not assume that their deed had been accepted. They said, “O our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily! You are the All-Hearing and the All-Knowing.” [Al-Baqarah 2: 127]
Calling People for Pilgrimage
After building the Ka’abah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala instructed His Intimate Friend
Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam to call people for pilgrimage. Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam wondered how his call would reach the people. He had no microphone and there weren’t many people around him. Obeying the command of the Creator, he climbed Jabal Abu Qubais and called the people. Jabal Abu Qubais is the first ever mountain to be placed on the earth and it’s located in Makkah. Today, the palaces of the Royal Family are built here. There was a stone from the mountain that used to send salutations on the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam even before Prophethood came to him.
The Prophecy comes True
When the Creator told Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam that his task was to act on the commands of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and not worry about how it will happen, He really meant it. In Surah Al-Hajj it appears, “And, when We designated for Ibraheem [Abraham] the site of the House [saying], ‘Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who stand (in prayer) and those who bow and prostrate. And proclaim to the people the Hajj; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camell they will come from every distant pass,” (22: 26 – 27).
Whoever answered the call of Prophet Ibraheem will be invited to visit the House of Ka’abah. The lucky few! May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala make us of them, ameen.
The Khaleel’s Visionary Du’as
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala chose Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam as His Close Friend – Khaleel Ar-Rahman – for he certainly was different from others. This is a title that no one else can claim to have. Imagine the virtue of being called the Close Friend of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. SubhanAllah!
After building the Ka’abah, Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam prayed in the following words:
“My Lord, make this city (Makkah) secure and keep me and my sons away from worshiping idols.” [Ibraheem 14: 36]
The first thing that he asks for is peace. You cannot do anything unless you are in a peaceful state of mind and a secure place. If you are worried about your own safety, how will you call people to Allah? If people do not live peacefully how will families survive? This is a du’a that many of us miss out. We all are in need of peace – peace of mind, heart and physical security. We need peace within our homes, at our workplaces, and among strangers.
The second thing that he asks for is protection from Shirk, for Prophet Ibraheem did not bear hardships for any other reason than worshiping Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala alone. He was exiled from his birthplace because he called people to worship One God. He left his family in the barren valley of Makkah so that he could go on a greater mission and call people to Tawheed [Oneness of Allah]. We need to study the various kinds of Shirk (major and minor) and protect ourselves and our families from it because it is the only sin that will not be forgiven unless one repents.
Look at the du’as of Prophet Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam that he never leaves out his children and the many generations to come. How selfish are we in our du’as and what kind of du’as do we make? For many of us, our du’as are only for the pleasures of this world. How many times have we made du’as to upgrade our level of worship? Many of us make du’as only for our children. What about the grandchildren, great grandchildren and the children of our siblings and cousins and the entire Ummah?
Continuing his supplication, he said:
“Our Lord, I have settled some of my descendants in an uncultivated valley near Your sacred House, our Lord that they may establish prayer. So make hearts among the people incline toward them and provide for them from the fruits that they might be grateful.” [Ibraheem 14: 37]
The third thing that he asks for is kindness of other people. No matter in which neighborhood you move, if the people near you are not loving and kind, you cannot enjoy living there. This is something that every single person must ask for, no matter how nice they might be. Remember, the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was known as the most well-mannered, the most trustworthy and the most honored one by the Arab idolaters, yet when he called them to a different path they revolted against him.
We are human beings with emotional needs. We need people who will love us, understand us and be kind to us. We cannot survive in isolation. It is particularly important for those engaged in da’wah work. How can you call people to the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala if you are a person of bad conduct? Work on your character. Develop compassion for others.
The fourth thing that he asks for is provision. That which is often the first in our du’as was put last because the Khaleelullah knew that if Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has created him, He will not neglect him. This is the emaan [faith] and tawwakul [trust] that we need to instill in ourselves. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala allow us to do so, ameen.
He was standing in the midst of a desert that produced nothing and yet the Khaleel was asking Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for all kinds of food. This was his vision; he knew that if his family was to settle here they needed both emotional provision and food. Had it been us, we might have complained: How will I get food here? Today, all kinds of produce can be found in Makkah – a du’a that Prophet Ibraheem made several thousand years ago.
Then he says:
“Praise to Allah, who has granted to me in old age Isma’eel [Ishmael] and Ishaq [Isaac]. Indeed, my Lord is the Hearer of supplication.” [Ibraheem 14: 39]
As we mentioned earlier, this was a du’a that was answered 100 years later and yet he says: My Lord is the Hearer of supplication. How ungrateful we are when our du’as are not answered within minutes of saying them! We expect miracles without going through the hardships that the Friends of Allah endured.
He ended his du’a by supplicating for his children and parents – a du’a that we make in every prayer:
“My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and [many] from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication. Our Lord, forgive me and my parents and the believers the Day the account is established.” [Ibraheem 14: 41 – 42]
Many parents admit their children to Islamic schools or courses at the Masajid and assume they have fulfilled their responsibility. If the parents are not on Deen, do not expect the children to be magically transformed. It is the parents’ responsibility to raise their children not school’s or Masjid’s. Tarbiyah [upbringing] begins from home then Islamic school or mosque.
Prophet Ibraheem settled his children near the House of Allah. He knew that since he had to travel and could not be with his family they needed a strong connection with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Today, when we were are buying a house we ensure there is no Masjid nearby – people say they are disturbed by the call to prayer [a’oothubillah]. Many people visit the mosque only on Fridays or ‘Eid and then find their hearts empty of emaan. How can the emaan grow when we are not remembering Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala as often as we should?
Prophet Ibraheem’s Supplication for Prophet Muhammad
As we read in Surah Al-Baqarah, Prophet Ibraheem also supplicated to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for the teacher. His du’a implied that: I have erected the building, now send them a teacher who will teach them Your Book, wisdom and their rites. Who was this teacher? Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
And this is why Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to say: “(I am) The supplication of my father Ibraheem and the glad tidings brought forth by Jesus the son of Mary.”
A du’a that was answered 2500 years after the death of Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam yet he did not shy away from making it.
The concern that Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam had for his children’s faith and for the generations to come is unmatched. It is the fruits of Prophet Ibraheem’s du’as that the people living in Makkah are enjoying till today and people yearn to go there. It is peaceful. It has got plenty of provision. And it is the place where Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is remembered in abundance.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala allow us to be inspired by the stories of the anbiya [prophets] and teach us the adaab [etiquette] of supplicating, ameen.