Like Prophet Muhammad (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam), Ibrahim (alayhissalam) was born at a time when ignorance was at its peak, at Babylon in Iraq during the reign of a tyrant disbeliever Namrud. Namrud was a ruler who was filled with misguidance…he used to term himself as lord of everything. Allah tells us in the third juz of the Qur’an, how Prophet Ibrahim [‘alayhissalam] debated with this ignorant ruler to explain that Allah is the Lord of everything that exists. Allah says: “Have you not considered the one who argued with Abraham about his Lord [merely] because Allah had given him kingship? When Abraham said, “My Lord is the one who gives life and causes death,” he said, “I give life and cause death….” [Al Baqarah 2:258]
SubhanAllah! Notice how Allah says “..the one who argued with Ibrahim about his Lord [merely] because Allah had given him kingship..” showing us that Allah had blessed Namrud with kingdom and power and this blessing was what had made him arrogantly deny the favors of Allah instead of being humbly grateful for them. He was deceived by this gift to such an extent that it had made him compete with the One who had given him the gift!
SubhanAllah! This should actually make us fearful, as when Allah gives us and gives us without account we usually tend to take His favors for granted, while the attitude that Allah wants from us is that whenever we are blessed with gifts from Him, it should be a reason for us to contemplate over His Generosity and His Mercy and never let it be a case where we ungratefully engage in sins and turn to disbelief and misguidance. Never let it be a case where we feel safe from the punishment of Allah just because He has kept us blessed, thriving and secure. Allah says about some tyrants and arrogant disbelievers: “So when they forgot that by which they had been reminded, We opened to them the doors of every [good] thing until, when they rejoiced in that which they were given, We seized them suddenly, and they were [then] in despair.” (Al An’aam 6:44)
We have to know and understand that Allah always tests people with either one of the two conditions:
First, with hardship to see if they humble themselves and turn to Him by increasing in du’aa to Him but when they don’t do that, He tries them with ease, sends them His blessings so that they might turn to Him in gratefulness and submission. But when they still remain arrogant and oblivious to the signs sent by Him, He punishes them in ways they never imagined! Allah says: “And We sent to no city a prophet [who was denied] except that We seized its people with poverty and hardship that they might humble themselves [to Allah]. Then We exchanged in place of the bad [condition], good, until they increased [and prospered] and said, “Our fathers [also] were touched with hardship and ease.” So We seized them suddenly while they did not perceive.” (Al A’raf 7:95)
Allahu Akbar! So let’s always take account of ourselves.., keep a check on our reactions to the numerous gifts and blessings coming from Allah. Let’s ask ourselves: ‘Have we thanked him for the food we enjoy daily, the security of our homes, our loving families, our five senses that work perfectly…? Hasan Al Basri said: “Verily, Allah lets [a person] enjoy a blessing for as long as He wills. But when He is no longer thanked for it, He turns it into a punishment.”
Let’s not take our blessings for granted. Let’s thank Him and humbly submit to Him so that these blessings do not turn into a means of increased punishment.
Namrud was given a kingdom and he disbelieved but on the other hand we have lessons from Prophet Suleiman (‘alayhissalam) who was given such a kingdom where almost all the creation of Allah was placed under his control. He had men, jinn, animals, birds and the wind submitting to his commands and totally in his power but was his attitude like that of Namrud? No! Allah tells us in the Qur’an, about how he reacted to his Lord’s favors: “He (Suleiman) said: ‘This is from the favor of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever is grateful – his gratitude is only for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever is ungrateful – then indeed, my Lord is Free of need and Generous.’ ” (Al Naml 27:40)
Allah also says: “And We had certainly given to David and Solomon knowledge, and they said, “Alhamdulillah – Praise [is due] to Allah , who has favored us over many of His believing servants.” (Al Naml 27:15)
This is the attitude of the righteous servants of Allah. This amazing behaviour of Allah’s beloved prophets is what we need to emulate in our daily lives! Plus Allah says: لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ
‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]…” (Surah Ibrahim 14:7)
So let’s be grateful for the numerous favors and blessings that keep being showered on us and let’s believe in the promise of Allah that He will increase His blessings on us if we keep thanking Him by submitting to His commands and His decree for us. Let’s be grateful and hope, expect and pray for increase in favors from Him…but let’s make sure we pray for increase in good in Dunya as well as increase in good in the Hereafter. Let’s pray not be of the unfortunate ones who receive the result of their good deeds in dunya and then find nothing but scattered dust in the Hereafter.
Alhamdulillah! We praise You and thank You ya Allah for your infinite blessings! Indeed we can never enumerate your favors on us! Ya Allah! Forgive us for our shortcomings and make us of Your grateful and humble servants! Aameen!
– Compiled after listening to: Lessons from the Life of Ibrahim (AS) – by Shaikh Sajid Umar
Published in Arab News in October 2015