Tales From The Quran: The Man Who Left His Family Behind.
Wait! Take a moment to reflect on Qur’an 14:37…
This verse gets oversimplified in our minds because we know the conclusion of the story already, but (un)fortunately, the Prophet in the story – at that time – did not know what would end his story, and that is what made his actions praiseworthy and earn him a special name: Khaleelu-llah – the close friend of Allah.
But what action was it?
We are going to retell the story of Ibraahim and imagine we do not know the end and imagine ourselves as the characters in this amazing story.
The Prophet Ibrahim, on a trip with his wife and his baby, Ismaa’il who is still being suckled – arrives in a desert holding no water nor food, then turns his back on his beloved wife and child.
What kind of deadbeat father does that?
Well, his wife wonders too and asks: “In whose care would you leave us here? “With what food do you leave us here? “With what drink do you leave us leave us here” But, Ibraahim falls silent and gives no reply to his wife – who might have been in tears by now.
Think about that moment, leaving your baby and the love of your life behind in a desert with neither food nor water, hearing your wife break down in tears, with a crying baby in her hand, certain, that if you were to leave them in the desert, they would die of starvation.
Could you have gone on and turned your back on them?
Well, Ibraahim did, but what reason could be convincing enough to make a man known by his wife to be caring and responsible ‘dump’ his wife in a desert?
There is only one answer: Ibraahim trusted Allah in whose hands he was ‘dumping’ his family more than that voice that whispered to him that his wife and child would die of starvation.
Ibraahim’s wife, knowing he would never maltreat them, senses that he could not dump them in a desert except for a reason, so she asks:
“Did Allah order you to do this?”
At this point, Ibraahim answers in the affirmative, and his wife replies “Then, He (Allah) would not leave us to ourselves” and without further protest, she allows him take his leave.
Do you trust Allah enough to utter this statement? well, she did, and Allah has said² “My slave would find me the way he thinks of me”.
The trust of Ibraahim and his wife in Allah was rewarded so abundantly, that traces of the reward still linger till date; Allah provided for and protected the wife and the child in the desert through the well of Zamzam which still gushes till date.
The son, Isma’il, the fear of whose starvation would have made us cringe and withdraw our trust in Allah – a Prophet and the father of a blessed nation. He reunited them with the father, Ibraahim both in this world, and he would, even after their death.
So much for their unwavering trust in Allah.
But that was not all! There was something else.
Ibraahim would later say a prayer to Allah, using this brilliant moment of displaying trust in Allah as a stepping stone to getting what he wanted from Allah.
In Quran 14:37 he says, “Our Lord, I have settled some of my descendants in an uncultivated valley near Your sacred House, our Lord, that they may establish prayer. So make hearts among the people incline toward them and provide for them from the fruits that they might be grateful.”
And do we not see all signs of his prayers having been answered today? Do we not find Makkah, a desert without a grain of water, provided for with particularly delicious fruits? Do we not find the people of this desert now enriched as requested by the Prophet Ibraahim? Do we not find them as guardians of the mosque of Allah? Do we not find people racing each year to observe Hajj and prayers in the holy mosque cited in this same desert as Ibraahim requested from Allah?
We remeber all of these, but fail to remeber that moment that got all his prayers accepted, we forget that moment he turned his back on his family to please Allah, we forget that statement uttered by his wife: “Allah would not leave us by ourselves if he ordered us to do this”
We wat our prayers to be answered, our progeny to be upright, but do we display such trust in Allah? Verily, we would find Allah wherever we place Him.
Lan Rey Hasan