|LESSONS FROM THE FAMILY OF IBRAHIM
The story of Ibrahim (as), his wife Hagar and son Ismail is a significant story in our tradition.
Ibraham was chosen to lead humanity in its dark period. His legacy as a Prophet and a great leader is a living memory to mankind.
What is it that we can learn from his life in the midst of another dark phase of human history today when our world is under the spell of crude materialism, nationalism, racism and selfism?
The Qur’an refers to some of these virtues for us to emulate. Here I will mention only three ofthem:
1. To have open mind and use one’s critical autonomy
The Qur’an mentions his search for truth when he was observing the appearance and departure of heavenly bodies – the stars, the moon and the big sun – and after using his critical autonomy, came to a rationalistic conclusion that these heavenly bodies were subjected to the all-pervasive power of God (Al-Qur’an 6:78).
The Qur’an mentions another story when he pleaded with God to provide him with ease of mind about His omnipotence so that he could discharge his Prophetic mission with full conviction. God asked him to carry out an experiment with a living; dismantling its body and scattering into four mountains. When the bird got assembled and was brought to life by God’s will, he prostrated to Him in veneration.
Ibraham’s power of logical argument crushed the myth that religion has little to do with rationality. When he encountered an arrogant and non-believing king about the domain of his power, Ibraham used a powerful argument that dumbfounded the king, as the Qur’an mentions ‘But surely Allah causes the sun to rise from the east; now you cause it to rise from the west’. Thereupon the denier of the Truth was confounded. (Al-Qur’an2:258)
2. To have strong character and determination
Ibraham’s unbending personality in pursuing his mission was legendary. He displayed his strength of character in his youth when he was thrown into fire for bringing humiliation to pagan idols. His indomitable courage in the face of being burnt alive is a lesson for righteous people. He only left his land when he realised that his stay in Iraq would be of no further use. His unwavering determination in the midst of all the challenges of life is an inspiration for all those who are passionate to serve human beings for justice and humanity.
3. To have complete reliance or tawakkul on God
Ibraham’s commitment to Allah’s path and his reliance on the Rabb is epic in human history. He was unnerved in all the tests and tribulations that came upon him. He was like a traveller climbing up to the peak of spiritual height, and the higher he was going the more severe his test became, until he reached the peak. The serenity he displayed during his readiness to sacrifice his dearest son has been preserved by God as part of rituals of Hajj for the rest of humanity till the end of the world. His was a sacrifice that knew no bounds.