Lessons from Ibrahim, His Duas and the Power of Prayer
Among the lessons from Prophet Ibrahim is that of conviction at a young age, guidance and steadfastness in belief. Ustadh Michael Wolfender references two passages in the Qur’an of Allah telling Ibrahim’s story, beginning with Surah Al-Anbya (21 The Prophets) from ayah 57 – 65. Ibrahim advised those in his community that when they would be gone, he would take action against their devotion to idolatry. And when the community was away, he broke their idols, except for the biggest one where he left his tool used to break them hanging. Upon discovery of this act, questions arose as to its perpetrator. Youthful in age, Ibrahim spoke against the idols and their worship as the community questioned him in public. His response: the big idols committed the act and why not ask the idols around him? Allah recounts how this consideration prompted awareness of the errors in not worshipping The One Creator: “So they came back to their senses, saying ˹to one another,˺ “You yourselves are truly the wrongdoers!” (21:64)
But as humans do, they changed their minds again, failing to accept the truth that idol worship is wrong. Blinded by their own desires, they literally threw Prophet Ibrahim into a bonfire they built. Ibrahim is known as the Friend of Allah, and friends protect each other. Ibrahim attested the greatest ease in his life was the coolness Allah provided him as he endured the flames of this bonfire, saying for him Allah is enough.
Ustadh Michael recites the dua Ibrahim made asking of Allah from Surah Ash-Shu’ara (26 The Poets): ˹He is˺ the One Who created me, and He ˹alone˺ guides me.˹He is˺ the One Who provides me with food and drink. And He ˹alone˺ heals me when I am sick. And He ˹is the One Who˺ will cause me to die, and then bring me back to life. And He is ˹the One˺ Who, I hope, will forgive my flaws1 on Judgment Day.” “My Lord! Grant me wisdom, and join me with the righteous. Bless me with honourable mention among later generations. Make me one of those awarded the Garden of Bliss. Forgive my father, for he is certainly one of the misguided. And do not disgrace me on the Day all will be resurrected – the Day when neither wealth nor children will be of any benefit. Only those who come before Allah with a pure heart ˹will be saved˺.” ˹On that Day˺ Paradise will be brought near to the God-fearing (26: 78 – 87)
From this, Ustadh Michael reminds it is the successful who will earn paradise by coming before Allah with a pure heart, no jealousy, no slander and no anger. Life’s hardships is Allah purifying our hearts. Prayer helps provide a pure heart, proper behavior and to feel better. Prayer is connecting with Allah. Humans are imperfect, committing sins and often even unknowingly. This begets the power of seeking forgiveness. Be cautious of making excuses, using the cover of doing as the majority may and thus fooling yourself into errant ways without seeking forgiveness.
Focusing on the positive, when family members make it to paradise, just one’s piety and character can raise the entire family’s level in heaven. Such is the Might and Mercy of Our Lord.