The Callers to Allâh: Nuh and Ibrahim, `alayhim as salam
by Dr. Sâlih ibn Ghânim al-Sadlân
Excerpted from "The Callers to Allâh", Hudâ, Safar 1420
Nuh (Noah) `alayhis salam
The name of the Prophet Nuh `alayhis salam has been mentioed in the Qur’ân forty-five times. Let us recall some of the âyât and sûrahs that mention his name; then we will follow up with a recollection of selections from the history of his guidance in his call to Allâh. Allâh subhanahu wa ta`ala says (what means):
"And indeed We sent Nuh to his people, and he stayed among them a thousand years less fifty years, and the deluge overtook them while they were wrong-doers." (Al-`Ankabût 29:14)
Allâh subhanahu wa ta`ala also says (what means):
"Verily, We sent Nuh to his people (saying): ‘Warn your people before there comes to them a painful torment.’ He said, ‘O my people! Verily, I am a plain warner to you.’" (Nuh 71:1-2)
And so came to pass a tradition by Allâh subhanahu wa ta`ala, in which the propagation faced trials, ordeals etc. Along with that there were barriers put up by the enemies of Allâh, as a means of standing in the way of the call to monotheism and towards its callers. This is the long history of humankind from the time of the Prophet Nuh `alayhis salam to our present day; full of dedicated powers standing in the path of the da`wah to Allâh, subhanahu wa ta`ala, publicly being insurgent and intimidating, without shame, or discretion. Prophet Nuh (`alayhis salam) had stayed among his people a very long time – that none but a very few believed his call. So the rest were taken away by the flood, as they were wrong-doers.
Nuh `alayhis salam underwent a long struggle, affirming the reality of faith, forbearance, and steadfast struggle. It is, therefore, upon the caller to Allâh subhanahu wa ta`ala to follow the lesson of his example; confronting difficulty in pursuing the struggle in making Allâh’s word supreme, regardless of the difficulty and the necessary effort.
Ibrahîm `alayhis salam
Indeed the Prophet Ibrahîm `alayhis salam was a true Muslim, avoiding any creed except that of Al-Islâm (submitting onseself to Allâh only, and following His commands), and believing that Islâm is the first and final message to the whole of humanity. This was also the belief of those who succeeded him from among his progeny: Isma`îl `alayhis salam, Ishâq `alayhis salam, Ya`qûb `alayhis salam, and al-asbât (the twelve descendants of Jacob who are the twelve tribes of Israel). They passed this creed on to the Prophet Musa `alayhis salam and `Isa `alayhis salam, and the matter finally concluded with the Muslim descendents of Ibrahîm `alayhis salam.
The story of Ibrahîm `alayhis salam in the Noble Qur’ân shows us that the orderly conduct of living, the manner of morals, and principles of behavior and ethics cannot be implemented and firmly upheld except if the `aqîdah (creed) connects the spirt with the body.
Indeed, Ibrahîm `alayhis salam was at the peak of his youth when Allâh subhanahu wa ta`ala gave him maturity and adulthood, as he denounced the worshipping of idols by destroying them. Thus, he observed with his mind and heart, and with consciousness and wisdom to their gods (idols); he ridiculed and mocked them, and finally broke them up into little pieces. Not only that, but he also ridiculed the mentality of the people, and opposed them, saying (what means),
"Fie upon you, and upon that which you worship besides Allâh! Have you then nonsense?" (Al-Anbiyâ’ 21:67)
Thereafter, they were overtaken by pride which leads them to offense, just as it always does the tyrant oppressors and the powerless alike, when they have no proof. So, they resort to outrageous, tyrannical force, and severe punishment, as they said,
"Burn him! (Ibrahîm), and give victory to your gods, if you will do so." (Al-`Anbiyâ’ 21:68)
But, the mercy of Allâh subhanahu wa ta`ala and His help for those who call others to Him, totally voided their sayings and nullified their plan (to throw Ibrahîm into a blazing fire). Allâh subhanahu wa ta`ala says (what means):
"We (Allâh) said: ‘O fire! Be coolness and safety for Ibrahîm’. (Al-Anbiyâ’ 21:69)
So, take a good look at "the father of prophets". He suffered, but was patient; and was gifted, so in return he was thankful; hence the generous end (of this conflict) was befitting to him, and for his "sabrun jamîl" (graceful patience). From his progeny, the best of nations were sent out to the people, guding with the Command of Allâh, and establishing Allâh’s legislature upon guidance and light. So, similar action must be displayed by the people of da`wah; to be patient in the face of rejection, and in suffering for its sake. And by all means must they hold steadfast to the haqq (truth), whatever the price or sacrifice may be.
Allâh subhanahu wa ta`ala says (what means):
“And indeed We bestowed aforetime on Ibrâhim (Abraham) his (portion of) guidance, and We were Well-Acquainted with him (as to his Belief in the Oneness of Allâh, etc.). When he said to his father and his people: "What are these images, to which you are devoted?" They said:"We found our fathers worshipping them." He said: "Indeed you and your fathers have been in manifest error." They said: "Have you brought us the truth, or are you one of those who play about?" He said: "Nay, your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Who created them and of that I am one of the witnesses. "And by Allâh, I shall plot a plan (to destroy) your idols after you have gone away and turned your backs." So he broke them to pieces, (all) except the biggest of them, that they might turn to it. They said: "Who has done this to our âliha (gods)? He must indeed be one of the wrong-doers."
They said: "We heard a young man talking (against) them who is called Ibrâhim (Abraham)." They said: "Then bring him before the eyes of the people, that they may testify." They said: "Are you the one who has done this to our gods, O Ibrâhim (Abraham)?" [Ibrâhim (Abraham)] said: "Nay, this one, the biggest of them (idols) did it. Ask them, if they can speak!"] So they turned to themselves and said: "Verily, you are the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers)." Then they turned to themselves (their first thought and said): "Indeed you [Ibrâhim (Abraham)] know well that these (idols) speak not!" [Ibrâhim (Abraham)] said: "Do you then worship besides Allâh, things that can neither profit you, nor harm you?
"Fie upon you, and upon that which you worship besides Allâh! Have you then no sense?" They said: "Burn him and help your âliha (gods), if you will be doing." We (Allâh) said: "O fire! Be you coolness and safety for Ibrâhim (Abraham)!" And they wanted to harm him, but We made them the worst losers. And We rescued him and Lout (Lot) to the land which We have blessed for the 'Alamîn (mankind and jinns). And We bestowed upon him Ishâque (Isâc), and (a grandson) Ya'qûb (Jacob). Each one We made righteous. And We made them leaders, guiding (mankind) by Our Command, and We inspired in them the doing of good deeds, performing Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and the giving of Zakât and of Us (Alone) they were worshippers.” (Sûrah Al-Anbiyâ 51-73)
And after this declaration it is of no strangeness that we see such great praise by Allâh subhanahu wa ta`alâ by making him (Ibrahîm) the father of the prophets, an example for those who follow the truth, and a leader of the messengers. He is also chosen from among the messengers for friendship (Ibrahîm is sometimes referred to as Khalîlullah, or al-Khalîl, meaning the friend of Allâh) and virtue, and from him does the tree of prophethood branch out. He is symbolic of Imân (faith). He was tested through suffering and was patient, and was given victory, so he was thankful. Hence, he was a loyal and faithful servant of Allâh. So Allâh made him an ummah (solely) (a model; pattern; example for imitation; but the idea that he was an ummah himself, standing alone against his world, should not be lost sight of), and took him as a khalîl (friend). Allâh subhanahu wa ta`âla says (what means):
"Ibrahîm was indeed a model, devoutly obedient to Allâh, and true in faith, and he joined not gods with Allâh."
Allâh also says what means:
"And Allâh did take Ibrahîm as a friend."
So, O callers to Islâm, answer the call of your father Ibrahîm concerning mankind (what means):
"O my Lord, they have indeed led astray many among mankind, but whoever follows me, is verily of me, and whoever disobeys me – still you are indeed Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Ibrahîm 14:36)
Therefore, be patient, forbear, persevere, invite, despair not, and fear Allâh so that you may succeed.