Following in the Footsteps of Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām
By Shaykhul-Hadīth, Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh
Upon the advent of Shawwāl, the months of hajj commence, during which much mention is made of Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām. The reason for this is that during this time of the year many Commands of Allāh ta‘ālā are such that they are connected directly to the life of Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām.
Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām was from the forefathers of our beloved Prophet s. He was a great Prophet of Allāh ta‘ālā and Allāh ta‘ālā makes mention of him with high words in the Glorious Qur’an:
Surely, Ibrāhīm was an Ummah (a whole community in himself), devoted to Allāh, a man of pure Faith; and he was not among the mushriks (i.e. those who associate partners with Allāh) He was grateful for His bounties. He (Allāh) chose him and led him to the straight path. We bestowed good upon him in this world; and in the Hereafter, he is among the righteous. (16:120-22)
In this verse he is referred to as an Ummah; although alone, he did such actions that even a whole nation together could not manage. Thereafter, Allāh ta‘ālā makes mention of some of his sterling qualities for which he was granted goodness and success in this world as well as the Hereafter. A distinguishing quality of his was that he was totally obedient to Allāh ta‘ālā, worshipping only Him, and he was also grateful for the Favours of Allāh ta‘ālā upon him.
This creed of Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām of being totally obedient to Allāh ta‘ālā and sacrificing everything for Him, was so loved by Allāh ta‘ālā that both the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam and we, his Ummah, have been commanded to follow it:
Then, We revealed to you, ‘Follow the way of Ibrāhīm, the upright, and he was not among the mushriks.’ (16:123)
Say, ‘Allāh has told the truth. So, follow the faith of Ibrāhīm, the upright one. He was not one of those who ascribe partners to Allāh.’ (3:95)
The reason why we have been instructed to follow in the footsteps of Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām is because this is the path leading to success in both worlds. It is a norm in this world that when a person wishes to excel in any field, he will take someone in the same field that has been successful as a role model. This applies whether a person wishes to become a teacher, a politician, a scientist, etc. So, regarding Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām, the Qur’ān has declared that he is a role model for those searching for success in both worlds, and he should be followed. It is for this reason, Allāh ta‘ālā has declared that only a foolish person will not follow the path and creed of Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām. Allāh ta‘ālā says:
Only the one who makes a fool of himself will turn away from the creed of Ibrāhīm. Indeed, We have chosen him in this world. And he is certainly among the righteous in the Hereafter. (2:130)
The question remains as to what this creed of Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām actually is that we are told to follow. Allāh ta‘ālā makes this clear in the next verse:
When his Lord said to him, ‘Submit!’ He said, ‘I submit myself to the Lord of all the worlds.’ (2:131)
This is the basis of his creed and the blueprint of his success. He submitted totally to the Will of Allāh ta‘ālā. In other words, he was a true and complete Muslim. Once a person accepts the Faith by acknowledging the authority of Allāh ta‘ālā and the finality of the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam together with the other articles of Faith, he becomes a mu’min (believer). Now, when he becomes totally obedient to the Commands of Allāh ta‘ālā he becomes a Muslim; a true, perfect and complete Muslim will always give preference to the Commands of Allāh ta‘ālā at all times.
When Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām was still young and he understood the oneness of Allāh ta‘ālā, he found that the entire community was against him – even his father. However, he stayed firm and gave preference to Commands of Allāh ta‘ālā over everyone and everything. This is a Muslim, one who gives preference to Allāh ta‘ālā in all situations and circumstances. Imagine, how difficult it is for a young man to live without the support of his father, with fear of poverty and humiliation. Yet, Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām complied with the Command of Allāh ta‘ālā and left his father. Later, when the tables were turned, and he was in need of a young son to support him, he was ready to be compliant with the Command of Allāh ta‘ālā and sacrifice his son. Such was his submission to the Commands of Allāh ta‘ālā.
The institution of hajj also teaches the same lesson of being compliant with the Commands of Allāh ta‘ālā. To apply ‘itr, wear a hat, trim nails, etc. are all acts which are expected of a Muslim, yet, when a person is on the pilgrimage and in ihrām he is ordered to refrain from this. Has anyone performing hajj ever questioned these commandments or has he happily complied?
Similarly, we are told to circumambulate the Ka‘bah 7 times. Has anyone ever questioned why it is 7 times and not any other number? The reward for salāh performed in Makkah Al-Mukarramah is multiplied manifold yet we are told to read our salāh at Minā during the days of Minā. Salāh has its prescribed times, yet in ‘Arafāt we are told that pending on certain conditions, you must read both Zuhr and ‘Asr salāh at the time of Zuhr. Similarly, in Muzdalifah, we must read Maghrib and ‘Ishā salāh at the time of ‘Ishā. Has anyone ever questioned these Commands of Allāh ta‘ālā or have they willingly, wholeheartedly, without any questions, simply complied?
The udhiyah performed at the end of the hajj as well as that which those at home perform is also an indication towards the same ideology. The sacrifice of an animal shows us that just as we can sacrifice our wealth in performing udhiyah; similarly, in all other spheres of our life too we should be subservient to Allāh ta‘ālā and sacrifice our desires for His.
In conclusion, the life of Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām, the time of hajj and the udhiyah we perform all point to the ideology of Islam which is submitting to Allāh ta‘ālā by sacrificing our desires without questioning. May Allāh ta‘ālā grant us the ability to take heed from these lessons. Āmīn.
Extracted from Riyādul Jannah, Vol. 19 No. 11, 2010
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