New Age Islam
Sun Jul 12 2020, 05:19 AM

Islam and Spiritualism ( 21 Sept 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Prophet Abraham: The Father of Prophets-2

By Kamil Mufti

16 September 2015

Steadfast to his belief in the face of his people, soon Abraham, still a young man, found himself on trial, standing all alone in front of a king, most probably King Nimrod.

Even his father was not on his side. But God was, as He always had been.

After God had saved Abraham from the fire, his case was presented to the king, who out of his pompousness, vied with God himself due to his kingdom. He debated with the young man:

{Have you not considered him who had an argument with Abraham about his Lord, because God had given him the kingdom?} (2: 258)

Abraham’s logic was undeniable:

{‘My Lord is He Who gives life and causes death.’  He answered: ‘I give life and cause death.’} (2: 258)

The king brought forth two men sentenced to death. He freed one and condemned the other, a reply which was out of the context and utterly stupid, what made Abraham put forth another, one which would surely silence him: 

{Abraham said: ‘Lo! God causes the sun to rise in the east, so you cause it to come up from the west.’ Thus was the disbeliever absolutely defeated. And God guides not wrongdoing folk.} (2: 258)

For the Sake of God

After years of ceaseless calling, faced with the rejection of his people, God commanded Abraham to disassociate from his family and people:

{Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides God, we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you, hostility and hatred forever, until you believe in God Alone.} (60: 4)

At least two persons in his family did, however, accept his exhortation; Lot, his nephew, and Sarah, his wife. Thus, Abraham migrated along with the other believers:

{So Lot believed in him (Abraham). He (Abraham) said: ‘I will emigrate for the sake of my Lord. Verily, He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.’} (29: 26)

They migrated together to a blessed land, the land of Canaan, or Greater Syria: 

{And We rescued him and Lot to the land which We have blessed for the worlds.} (21: 71)

It was here, in this blessed land that God chose to bless Abraham with progeny:

{…We (God) bestowed upon him Isaac and (a grandson) Jacob.  Each one We made righteous.} (21: 72)

{And that was Our Proof which We gave Abraham against his people. We raise whom We will in degrees.  Certainly your Lord is All Wise, All Knowing.

And We bestowed upon him Isaac and Jacob, each of them We guided, and before him, We guided Noah, and among his progeny David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses, and Aaron. Thus do We reward the good doers.

And Zachariah, and John and Jesus and Elias, each one of them was of the righteous. And Ishmael and Elisha, and Jonah and Lot, and each one of them We preferred above the worlds (of men and jinn). And also some of their fathers and their progeny and their brethren, We chose them, and We guided them to a Straight Path.

This is the Guidance of God with which He guides whomsoever He will of His slaves. But if they had joined in worship others with God, all that they used to do would have been of no benefit to them. They are those whom We gave the Book, the Understanding, and Prophethood…} (6: 83-87)

His descendents were Prophets, chosen for the guidance of his nation: 

{And We made them leaders, guiding (humankind) by Our Command, and We inspired in them the doing of good deeds, performing prayers, and the giving of Zakat and of Us (Alone) they were worshippers.} (21: 73)

In Egypt

In Canaan, Abraham stayed for several years going from city to city preaching and inviting people to God until a famine forced him and Sarah to migrate to Egypt. In Egypt was a despotic Pharaoh who had the passionate desire to take possession of married women.

The Pharaoh took Sarah into his harem and honored Abraham for it, but when his house was stricken with severe plagues, he came to know that she was the wife of Abraham and chastised him for not telling him so, thus banishing him from Egypt.

Abraham had known that Sarah would catch his attention, so he told her that if the Pharaoh asked her, that she should say that she is the sister of Abraham. When they entered his kingdom, as expected, the Pharaoh asked about his relationship with Sarah, and Abraham replied that she was his sister. Although the answer did alleviate some of his passion, Pharaoh still took her captive. But the protection of the Almighty saved her from his evil plot. When Pharaoh summoned Sarah to act on his demented passions, Sarah turned to God in prayer.

The moment Pharaoh reached for Sarah, his upper body stiffened. He cried to Sarah in distress, promising to release her if she would pray for his cure! She prayed for his release. But only after a failed third attempt did he finally desist.  Realizing their special nature, he let her go and returned her to her supposed brother. Sarah returned while Abraham was praying, accompanied by gifts from the Pharaoh, along with Hagar as a handmaiden.

After they had returned to Palestine, Sarah and Abraham continued to be childless, despite divine promises that he would be granted a child. As the gifting of a handmaid by a barren woman to her husband in order to produce offspring seems to be a common practice of that day, Sarah suggested to Abraham to take Hagar as his wife. While in Palestine, Hagar bore him a son, Ishmael.

A Major Test in Makkah

When Ishmael was still nursing, God yet again chose to test the faith of his beloved Abraham and commanded him to take Hagar and Ishmael to a barren valley of Bakka, 700 miles southeast of Hebron. In later times it would be called Makkah.

A great test indeed; he and his family had longed for such a time for offspring, and when their eyes were filled with the joy of an heir, the commandment was enacted to take him to a distant land, one known for its barrenness and hardship.

So Abraham, after having sojourned with Hagar and Ishmael, left them there with a skin of water and leather bag full of dates. As Abraham began walking away leaving them behind, Hagar became anxious as to what was happening. Abraham did not look back. Hagar-as mentioned in hadith by Al-Bukhari- chased him:

“O Abraham, where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we can enjoy, nor is there anything here?”

Abraham hurried his pace with Hagar asking:

“Has God asked you to do so?”


Abraham suddenly stopped, turned back and answered.

Feeling a degree of comfort in this answer, Hagar asked: “O Abraham, to whom are you leaving us?”

“I am leaving you to God’s care,” Abraham replied.

Submitted to her Lord with relief, Hagar said:

“I am satisfied to be with God!”

While she traced her way back to little Ishmael, without looking back, Abraham proceeded until he reached a narrow pass in the mountain where they would not be able to see him. He stopped there and invoked God in prayer:

{Our Lord! I have settled some of my offspring in a valley barren from any cultivation, by your Sacred House, our Lord, so they may establish the prayer. So make the hearts of people yearn towards them, and provide them with all types of fruits that they may be grateful.} (14: 37)

Soon, the water and dates were gone and Hagar’s desperation increased. Unable to quench her thirst or to breastfeed her little baby, Hagar began searching for water.  Leaving Ishmael under a tree, she began climbing the rocky incline of a nearby hill.

“Maybe there is a caravan passing by,” she thought to herself. She ran between the two hills of Safa and Marwa seven times looking for signs of water or help, later personified by all Muslims in Hajj. Fatigued and distraught, she heard a voice, but could not locate its source.

Then, looking down in the valley, she saw an angel (who is identified as Gabriel in Islamic sources) standing next to Ishmael. The angel dug into the ground with his heel next to the baby, and water came gushing out.

It was a miracle!

This well, called Zamzam, is flowing to this day in the city of Makkah in the Arabian Peninsula.


URL of Part 1:


Compose your comments here

Total Comments (3)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the articles and comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of

Total Comments (3)

  1. Thank you Satbir Singh ji for the Eid greetings.

    What is clear from the Quran is that the son was the first born and this event was before the birth of Isaac (pbuh). Since Abraham (pbuh) had only two sons and the first born was Ismail (pbuh), there is little doubt as to who the son who was offered for sacrifice was.

    (37:100) "O my Lord! Grant me a righteous (son)!"
    (101) So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear.
    (102) Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: "O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!" (The son) said: "O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me, if Allah so wills one practising Patience and Constancy!"
    (103) So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice),
    (104) We called out to him "O Abraham!
    (105) "Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!" - thus indeed do We reward those who do right.
    (106) For this was obviously a trial-
    (107) And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice:
    (108) And We left (this blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times:
    (109) "Peace and salutation to Abraham!"
    (110) Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.
    (111) For he was one of our believing Servants.
    (112) And We gave him the good news of Isaac - a prophet,- one of the Righteous.
    (113) We blessed him and Isaac: but of their progeny are (some) that do right, and (some) that obviously do wrong, to their own souls.

    What may  be noted is that Abraham saw in a vision offering his son in sacrifice (but not actually sacrificing him). The vision was thus fulfilled when he laid him down for sacrifice. Did Abraham actually run the knife over his son's throat? No, he did not go beyond laying his son prostrate for sacrifice which  fulfilled the vision and the trial ended with Allah calling out "Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!".

    This was a test of submission to God for both Abraham and his son, but there was no command of God to Abraham to sacrifice his son in the first place.

    By Naseer Ahmed 24/09/2015 03:00:28
  2. Gory story. Not that gory stories are unique to Islam. The story of Ekalavya haunted me for a long time when I heard it as a kid. Thank God it is just a story and nobody is going around cutting people's thumbs on Gurupurnima day. 

    Did a simple word not come to anybody's mind? "Why". Why the hell would God want Abraham to kill his son. It would prove what? And how is it any better that the Ram is killed in his stead. How do senseless killings imply great spirituality? 

    I fail to understand religion. It is the most absurd and irrational invention of man. 
    By secularlogic 24/09/2015 02:15:21
  3. One of the main trials of Prophet Abraham's life was to face the command of God to sacrifice his dearest possession, his son. The son is not named in the Quran, but most modern Muslims believe it to be Ishmael. Upon hearing this command, he prepared to submit to God's will. During this preparation, Satan (Shaitan) tempted Abraham and his family by trying to dissuade them from carrying out God's commandment, and Abraham drove Satan away by throwing pebbles at him. In commemoration of their rejection of Satan, stones are thrown at symbolic pillars signifying Satan during the Hajj rites.

    When Abraham was 99, God decided to test his faith in public. Abraham had a recurring dream, in which God commanded him to offer up for sacrifice – his son, whom God had granted him after many years of deep prayer. Abraham knew that the dreams of the prophets were divinely inspired, and one of the ways in which God communicated with his prophets. When the intent of the dreams became clear to him, Abraham decided to fulfill God's command and offer his son for sacrifice.

    Although Abraham was ready to sacrifice his dearest for God's sake, he could not just bring his son to the place of sacrifice without his consent. His son had to be consulted as to whether he was willing to give up his life in fulfillment of God's command. This consultation would be a major test of his son's maturity in faith; love and commitment for God; willingness to obey his father; and readiness to sacrifice his own life for the sake of God.

    Abraham presented the matter to his son and asked for his opinion about the dreams of slaughtering him. His child did not show any hesitation or reservation even for a moment. He said, "Father, do what you have been commanded. You will find me, Insha'Allah (God willing), to be very patient." His mature response, his deep insight into the nature of his father’s dreams, his commitment to God, and ultimately his willingness to sacrifice his own life for the sake of God were all unprecedented.

    When Abraham attempted to cut his throat, he was astonished to see that his son was unharmed and instead, he found a dead ram which was slaughtered. Abraham had passed the test by his willingness to carry out God's command.  This event is celebrated as Eid-ul-Adha by the Muslims.  I wish them all Happy Eid-ul-Adha.
    By Satbir Singh Bedi 23/09/2015 19:57:14