The Islamic Bulletin
The Islamic Bulletin
Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) (A.S.) and Prophet Isma’il (Ishmael)
Nearly four thousand and six years ago, in the Summerian town
of Ur, the capital of the Babylonian Kings, in the valley of river
Euphrates (which at present is Southern Iraq), lived a young man
named Ibrahim (Abraham)(PBUH). The people of Ur had once
worshipped God but as time passed they forgot the true religion
and started praying to idols, statues made of wood or clay and
sometimes even precious stones.
The Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) was the son of Terah Azar, an idol
carver and a staunch idol worshiper. He did all he could do to com-
pel Ibrahim (AS) to worship the idols, but he flatly refused to do so.
Even as a small child Ibrahim (AS) could not understand how his
people, and especially his father, could make these images with their
own hands, call them gods, and then worship them. He had always
refused to join his people when they paid respect to these statues.
Instead he would leave the town and sit alone, thinking about the
heavens and the world around him. He was sure his people were
doing wrong and so alone he searched for the right way.
One clear night as he sat staring at the sky he saw a beautiful shin-
ing star, so beautiful that he cried out: “This is my Lord.”(Qur’an
6:76) He looked at it in awe for some time, until suddenly it
began to fade and then it disappeared. He turned away in dis-
appointment saying: “I love not those that set.”(Qur’an 6:76)
On another night Ibrahim (AS) was again looking at the sky and
he saw the rising moon, so big and bright. He said: “This is my
Lord.”(Qur’an 6:77) But it was not long before the moon set as
well. Then he said, “Unless my Lord guides me, I shall surely
be among those who go astray.”(Qur’an 6:77)
Abraham (PBUH) then saw the beauty and splendor of the sunrise
and decided that the sun must be the biggest and most powerful
thing in the universe. But for the third time he was wrong, for the
sun set at the end of the day.
“When he saw the sun rising (in splendor) he said: “This is my
Lord; this is the greatest (of all).” But when the sun set, he said:
“O my people! I am indeed free from your (guilt) of giving part-
ners to God. For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards
Him Who created the heavens and earth, and never shall I give
partners to The Almighty.” (Qur’an 6:78-79)
It was then that he realized that God is the Most Powerful, the
Creator of the stars, the moon, the sun, the earth and of all living
things. Suddenly he felt himself totally at peace, because he felt
that he had found the Truth.
Speaking highly of him, the Holy Qur’an states: “Ibrahim was
indeed a model, devoutly obedient to The Almighty, and true in
faith, and he was not of those who set up equals to The Almighty.
He showed his gratitude for the favors of The Almighty, Who
chose him and guided him to a straight path. And We gave him
good in this world, and he will be, in the Hereafter, in the ranks
of the Righteous.” (Qur’an 16:120-122)
The Prophet Ibrahim’s Teachings
Gradually the Prophet was commanded to commence preaching.
Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was a man of strong will and determination
and he argued with his people with great vigor regarding the folly
of worshipping the idols.
“And rehearse to them (something of) Abraham’s story. Behold,
he said to his father and his people: “What worship ye?
They said: “We worship idols, and we remain constantly in
attendance on them.”
He said: “Do they listen to you when ye call (on them),
Or do you good or harm?”
They said: “Nay, but we found our fathers doing thus (what we
He said: “Do ye then see whom ye have been worshipping,
“Ye and your fathers before you?
“For they are enemies to me; not so the Lord and Cherisher of
“Who created me, and it is He who guides me;
“Who gives me food and drink,
“And when I am ill, it is He who cures me;
“Who will cause me to die, and then to live (again);
“and who, I hope, will forgive me my faults on the Day of judg-
“O my Lord! Bestow wisdom on me, and join me with the
“Grant me honorable mention on the tongue of truth among
the latest (generations);
“Make me one of the inheritors of the Garden of Bliss;
“Forgive my father, for that he is among those astray;
“And let me not be in disgrace on the Day when (men) will be
“The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail,
“But only he (will prosper) that brings to God a sound heart.
Opposition by the People and Discussion with
The people paid no heed to his teachings and did not refrain from
idol worshipping. The ruler at that time was king Nemrud, who
claimed himself to be a god. He conducted a meeting with Prophet
Ibrahim (PBUH). In the meeting Nemrud asked: “What is this thing
you are calling people for? Why do you persuade the people to
worship an invisible God?” The Prophet replied back boldly: “My
God is the One Who gives and takes away life.” Nemrud answered
arrogantly: “I also have the power to do that. I can kill the people
and also spare them.” Prophet Ibrahim at this point couldn’t resist
asking Nemrud. He asked: “My God makes the sun rise in the East
and set it in the West, can you make it rise in the West and set it
in the East?” At this Nemrud couldn’t say anything.
Breakage of the Idols
Once there was a grand celebration and everybody in town was
attending it except Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH). He had a special plan
in his mind. He proceeded towards the temple and started axing
down the idols. When the people returned they were shocked to
find their idols smashed to pieces except the chief idol. Someone
suggested that it was the work of Ibrahim (PBUH) and he was im-
mediately summoned in.
He was sentenced to be burned alive. A huge furnace was created
for this purpose. The Prophet had full faith in The Almighty and
When he was tossed in the center of the furnace, the flames were
blazing, but the Prophet was unharmed and sometime later Prophet
Ibrahim (PBUH) walked out of the fire safely. All the spectators were
surprised at the miracle.
Still Abraham (PBUH) tried to persuade his own dear father not
to worship powerless, un-seeing, un-hearing statues. Abraham
explained that special knowledge had come to him and implored
his father, “So Follow me: I will guide Thee to a Way that is even
and straight. O my father! Serve not Satan: for Satan is a rebel
against (God) Most Gracious.” (Qur’an 19:43-44)
But Azar would not listen. He threatened his son with stoning
if he would reject the gods of Ur. He ordered Abraham to leave
the city with these words: “Now get away from me for a good
long while!” Abraham said: Peace be on thee: I will pray to my
Lord for thy forgiveness: for He is to me Most Gracious.”(Quran
Imagine how terrible it must have been for him to leave his home,
his family and all that he knew, and set out across the wilderness
into the unknown.
But at the same time, how could he have remained among people
who did not believe in God and who worshiped statues? Abraham
always had a sense that God cared for him and he felt God near
him as he traveled.
At last, after a long hard journey, he arrived at a place by the Med-
iterranean Sea, not far from Egypt. There he married a woman by
the name of Sarah and settled in the land of Palestine.
Many years passed but Abraham (AS) and his wife were not blessed
with any children. In the hope that there would be a child, and in
keeping with tradition, Sarah suggested that Abraham (AS) should
marry Hagar, her Egyptian handmaid.
Birth of the Prophet Isma’il (A.S.) and the
Migration to Mecca
Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) prayed for a son in all sublimity and his
prayer was granted. Hagar gave birth to a baby boy Isma’il (AS).
Soon after, The Almighty commanded the Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH)
to migrate to the Holy Land of Ka’bah in Makkah.
In accordance with the Divine Commandment, the family set out
on a long and troublesome journey. Towards the end of the jour-
ney the family set up their tents in a hilly area without any trees or
water source around.
The Prophet lsma’il (PBUH) was a few months old. He began
crying because of thirst. His mother ran desperately in quest of
water between the two hillocks called Safa and Marwa but found
When she returned back to the thirsty infant she was surprised to
see the spring of Zam Zam emerged beneath the foot of the Prophet
Isma’il (PBUH). She heaved a sigh of relief and quenched the thirst
of her baby with the water.
People came from far and wide to observe the miracle and gradually
this locality named Mecca became the birth place of Islam.
Vision of the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) Regarding
the Sacrifice of the Prophet Isma’il (AS)
Prophet Ibrahim (AS) received a Commandment in his vision to
sacrifice his only son Isma’il (AS). The Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH)
had no hesitation in complying with what he was ordered to do.
The father told the son about the dream. To his great surprise,
Isma’il (PBUH) had no objection and was willing to be sacrificed
as The Almighty had willed. Prophet Isma’il (PBUH) said, “Omy
father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me, If God so
wills, one of the steadfast.” (Qur’an 37:102)
The Ordeal of the Sacrifice of Prophet Isma’il
On the tenth day of Dhul Hijja, the father and his beloved son
walked side by side. A young lad possessed forbearance and the
old man was full of determination and spirit to complete his sub-
mission to The Almighty. Their purpose was to carry out the orders
of their Lord.
They proceeded towards Mina. Finally they reached a special spot.
The father’s heart was beating violently as he laid his son prostrate
on the ground.
Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) was shaking with emotions as he drew the
knife across the son’s neck, a moment of action, that isn’t possible
to describe on paper - they heard a Divine Voice:
“O’ Ibrahim! You have indeed shown the truth of the vision.
Surely do We reward the doers of good.” (Qur’an 37:105)
Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) was commanded not to sacrifice his son,
instead a ram was provided for the sacrifice. The great moment
of suspense came to an end. Both the father and son expressed
a deep sense of happiness and gratitude to The Almighty.
Glad Tidings Regarding the Birth of Prophet
When the Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) displayed his unstinted sub-
mission to the orders of The Almighty, he was informed of the glad
tiding regarding the birth of a baby from Sarah, his first wife. The
Holy Qur’an affirms:
“And We gave him the good news of Ishaq (Isaac)-a prophet, -
one of the Righteous. We blessed him and Ishaq: but of their
progeny are (some) that do right, and (some) that obviously do
wrong, to themselves.” (Qur’an 37:112-113)
The Construction of the Ka’bah
The Ka’bah was constructed by the Prophet Ibrahim and the Prophet
Isma’il (PBUT). The Holy Qur’an states:
“Remember We made the House a place of assembly for men
and a place of safety; and take ye the Station of Abraham as a
place of prayer; and We covenanted with Ibrahim and Isma’il,
that they should sanctify My House for those who compass
it round, or use it as retreat, or bow, or prostrate themselves
(therein in prayer).” (Qur’an 2:125)
So both the father and son laid the foundations of the Ka’bah.
Ishmael brought stones and Ibrahim fixed them. When the walls
became higher, Ibrahim brought that stone which is famous by the
name of Muqamu-Ibrahim and stood on it and began fixing stones
and raised the walls higher.
The Qur’an mentions in these words,
“And remember Abraham
and Isma’il raised the foundations of the House (with this
prayer): “Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us: for Thou
art the All-hearing, The All-knowing. “Our Lord! Make of us
Muslims, bowing to Thy (Will), and of our progeny a people
Muslim, bowing to Thy (Will); and show us our places for the
celebration of (due) rites; and turn unto us (in Mercy); for
Thou art the Oft-Relenting Most Merciful. “Our Lord! Send
amongst them a Messenger of their own, who shall rehearse
Thy Signs to them and instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom,
and purify them: for Thou art the Exalted in Might - The Wise.”
The Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) lived for 175 years. His life was full
of happenings, tests and trials. He had a firm faith in The Almighty.
He gained thousands upon thousands of believers. When he passed
away, he was buried in Heburon, about twenty-one miles south-
west of Jerusalem.
Mecca is Habituated
The Prophet Isma’il (PBUH) and his mother settled down in the
vicinity of the Kab’ah. From the descendants of Ishmael would form
a nation fromwhich would come a great Prophet, who would guide
the people in the way of God. This was Muhammed (SAW), the
Messenger of God. From the descendants of Sarah’s child, Isaac,
would come Moses (AS) and Jesus (AS).