Life Lessons from Prophet Ibrahim (AS)

Salman Rasheed

The writer is a Karachi-based research analyst and political consultant.

Allah (SWT) refers to the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) as haleem since he (AS) was even-tempered in his ability to forgive others. One of the life lessons we can learn from Ibrahim (AS) is how he (AS) dealt with those who opposed him with malice, hatred, wrath, and threats of murder.

Also, this remains one of the greatest lessons in the Holy Quran and is the reason Ibrahim (AS) is the only prophet we mention besides the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in our Salah when we ask Allah (SWT) to bless him (AS), “O Allah, send your grace, honor, and mercy upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent Your grace, honor, and mercy upon Ibrahim, You are indeed Praiseworthy, Most Glorious. O Allah, send Your blessings upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as You sent Your blessings upon Ibrahim, You are indeed Praiseworthy, Most Glorious”.

Ibrahim’s (AS) dedication and submission to Allah (SWT) is one of the supreme lessons we can learn from him, as he (AS) followed every command from Allah (SWT) without hesitation no matter how tough the command.  From abandoning his family in the desert to sacrificing his son with his own hand, Ibraham (AS) trusted and loved Allah (SWT) over all else, and in return, Allah (SWT) honored Ibraham for his piety.

The story of the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) teaches us about challenging the status quo.  His love, faith, and dedication to Allah (SWT) meant that he did not just accept things without thinking.  As we know, Ibrahim (AS) wasn’t willing to worship idols simply because his ancestors, family, and relatives did.  He (AS) challenged his people to think about Allah (SWT) and His (SWT) attributes.  Essentially, the life of Ibrahim (AS) demonstrates the importance of learning and knowledge and seeking the truth.

Another significant lesson that Ibrahim (AS) teaches us is to remain steadfast on the path of truth even when we are the only ones doing so.  Due to his rejection of idol worship, his people including his father vehemently opposed him but Ibrahim (AS) kept his faith in Allah (SWT) even when they tried to burn him alive.

One lesson we learn from Prophet Ibrahim (AS) is don’t ever at any time raise our voice or reply negatively to our parents that gave us life or the guardians that raised us.  Allah directs us in the Quran, “Your Lord has decreed: (i) Do not worship any but Him; (ii) Be good to your parents; and should both or any one of them attain old age with you, do not say to them even “fie” neither chide them, but speak to them with respect,” (Surah Al Isra, Ayat 23). 

Let’s face it, none of us will have a father as wicked as Ibrahim’s (AS) father but he (AS) still made the following dua as mentioned in the Quran (Surah Ibrahim, Ayat 41) to Allah to forgive him and his parents, “O our Lord! cover (us) with Thy Forgiveness – me, my parents, and (all) Believers, on the Day that the Reckoning will be established!”  Therefore, we must open our hearts when Satan wants us to close them and maintain our respect when Satan wants us to lose ours.  Keep our tongues quiet when Satan wants them to run wild and control and manage our anger when Satan is trying to put hatred in our hearts.

Another lesson from Ibrahim’s (AS) life is that division separates us from each other and eventually from Allah (SWT).  When we have hatred in our hearts for another person and refuse to forgive them, we might deny Allah’s (SWT) forgiveness to us.    

One of the most powerful ayaat of the Quran is in Surah An-Noor.  A man insults the wife of our Nabi (SAW) and her father upon hearing this lashes out at this man and swears to Allah (SWT) that he won’t give him any more charity for abusing his daughter.  Subsequently, Allah (SWT) reveals this ayat, “And let not those of virtue among you and wealth swear not to give [aid] to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allah, and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Surah An-Noor, Ayat 22)

Here Allah (SWT) is teaching us to be kind and big-hearted like Ibrahim (AS) and forgive others for their transgressions against us if we desire Allah’s (SWT) forgiveness. 

I have highlighted here just a few lessons from the life of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) but there are many we can learn and adapt in our lives. Likewise, the more we go further into the depth of Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) story, the more we honor Allah (SWT) because of what we learn through the Quran and therefore, should motivate us is to learn about the history and noble life of all the prophets and messengers of Allah (SWT).