Peace be with you,
It is said that the first messenger of God sent after Adam, approximately 10 generations later, was Noah. Now by the time we get to his era, we see corruption amongst humanity has grown. Disobedience and idolatry was widespread. So God inspired Noah with knowledge and foresight of destiny about to fall. But people made fun if him and his righteous speech, they would not give up their ways or leave false notions. So God inspired Noah to build an Ark to save himself and the believers with him from the impending flood.
I wonder how many people today are able to hear nature screaming at us to listen and learn what it’s saying. Apart from the fact that we don’t have any more prophets to stand up and warn us, the signs of more and more impending disasters, can’t be ignored so easily. The Qur’an warns us about what happens when we behave badly: the beauty of the earth is spoilt.
Corruption appears on land and sea because of (the evil) which men’s hands (themselves) have earned, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return. (The Qur’an, 30:41)
After Noah, mankind repopulated the earth. It is said that God sent Prophets and messengers to every land and people. One of the prophets given the most attention to in the Quran is the prophet Abraham. It tells us of his life and unwavering belief in God, his disagreement with the religious tradition of his father and rejection of his people’s idolatry.
In the Qur’an, Abraham is seen as a strict monotheist who calls his people to the worship of God alone. For this belief, he bears great hardships and is ordered to be killed by Nimrod, the King of Mesopotamia, which we call Iraq today. After a miraculous escape, walking unscathed out of the fire into which he had been thrown, Abraham finally sets off with his family and followers, through migration to various lands.
We read about Abraham as the model Monotheist in the Bible as well as the Qur’an. And, though it’s not commonly known, the last prophet Muhammad was in fact a descendent of Abraham, from the family branch of Ishmael, and it was the Prophet Muhammad, who returned the religion of his forefather Abraham back to the Arabs after they had corrupted his monotheistic message and legacy, and descended into the darkness of idolatry. The Prophet then went on to spread the faith of submission to the One God, Islam, to all corners of the earth. Here are some of the verses where the Qur’an enjoins the religion of Abraham on the Last Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon them.
Abraham was indeed a model, devoutly obedient to God, (and) true in Faith, and he was not of those who associated anything else (with God). He was grateful for the favours of God, who chose him, and guided him to a Straight Way. And We gave him Good in this world, and he will be, in the Hereafter, in the ranks of the Righteous. So We have taught thee the inspired (Message), “Follow the ways of Abraham the True in Faith, and he associated no other god or deity with Allah.” (The Qur’an, 16:120-123)
There should be no confusion with the name of Allah as the universal name of the One True God. It can be traced to the earliest records of human engravings and scrolls. In the early Semitic writings we see the various forms of the name. In Aramaic, another branch of the Semetic tongue along with Hebrew and Arabic, the name of God is Alaha. This was actually the language spoken by Jesus during his mission in the Holy Land, and you will find in Arabic Bibles, that the name Allah, is clearly mentioned as God’s name.
It’s likely that Abraham also spoke more than one language, such as Assyrian and Aramaic.
Now, the House of God in Makkah, called the Ka’bah, to which all Muslims face in their daily prayers, was actually not built by Prophet Muhammad, but built by Prophet Abraham with the help of his first son Ishmael. Makkah was the place that Abraham had left his wife, Hajar and their son after being cast out by Sarah after the birth of Isaac. And though the Bible does not refer much to this side of Abraham’s life, there were many journeys he made back to rejoin his family, and this is how the pilgrimage to Makkah began. In the Qur’an it says that Abraham was ordered to call all mankind to this Holy place, to God’s house, even though at the time it was a deserted barren valley in the midst of harsh rocky mountains, and there was no town or inhabitants to even hear this call.
And (remember) when We prepared for Abraham the place of the (holy) House, saying: Ascribe thou nothing as partner beside to Me, and purify My House for those who go around (it) and those who stand and those who bow and make prostration. (26) And proclaim to mankind the pilgrimage. They will come unto you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every deep ravine, (27) (The Qur’an, 22:26-27)
Now you can see how that call was miraculously answered, for thousands of years, millions upon millions of people have travelled and gathered in Makkah to make pilgrimage, following the call of Prophet Abraham.
It’s a shame that there have arisen so many differences between the decedents and followers of Abraham, and that his legacy has been fought over and broken into rival religions and factions. Yet no one should doubt, he was God’s closest Friend, in Arabic, Al Khalil. And Muslims all over the world from the time of the last Prophet say a prayer of peace for him at the end of every ritual act of worship. Which goes like this:
Oh God, send your peace upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you sent your peace upon Abraham and the family of Abraham, throughout the universe, verily You are the Praiseworthy, the Majestic.
So let’s end here with a short except of a song I wrote about the Prophet Abraham – peace be upon him.
Abraham (peace be upon him)
As part of a 4 Part exclusive BBC Radio series Yusuf shares his reflections during Ramadan 2020.
Part Three – Broadcasted on BBC Radio 15 / 05 / 20