Prophet Ibrahim or Abraham is one of the prophets who received special attention in Islam. The Quran speaks of his firm faith in the Allah (God), who first called on Abraham to renounce his people and his false gods, and then prove his faith through many trials.
In Islam, Abraham is a true monotheist, urging the rest to worship the same God. For the sake of his faith, Prophet Abraham bears great burden and even leaves his family and his people, going to other lands. By fulfilling the precepts of the Lord, Abraham confirms the strength of his convictions.
“The Way of Abraham” – this is the way the Quran calls the only true religion, giving due strength to the faith of the Prophet Abraham. Although the prophets before him, for example, Noah, called for the same. Because of the power of faith, the Lord calls him “Khaleel” – a beloved slave. Not a single prophet before him was honored with such a high name. The superiority of Prophet Abraham served to the fact that the Lord brought down the prophets from his generation. And they all pointed the way to people.
The Prophet Abraham occupies a very high position in Islam, and in Christianity, and in Judaism. For the Jews, he is the embodiment of power, since he fulfilled all the commandments and was the first to recognize the One God. He is the father of the chosen people, the father of the prophets, the cause of the revelation of heavenly revelations. In Christianity, Abraham is the father of all believers (Romans 4:11), and his faith in the Lord and sacrifice became an example for subsequent saints (Epistle to Hebrews 11).
Since the prophet Abraham occupies a special place, it is worth exploring his life, paying attention to those aspects because of which the Lord honored him with such a high name.
Although the Quran and Sunnah do not go into the details of Abraham’s life, they nevertheless contain certain facts that deserve attention. In the case, as with the rest of the Quranic and Biblical characters, the facts contained in the Qur’an clarify the description of certain moments of the biography that were not quite correctly interpreted by previous religions.
Name of Prophet Abraham
In the Qur’an, the Lord calls him “Ibrahim” or “Ibraham”, which comes from the same root “brhm”. According to the Bible, at the beginning his name sounded like Abram, but God ordered him to be changed to Abraham. This moment is not marked in the Quran. Modern Christian-Jewish scholars question the history of the name change and the meaning embedded in it. Assyriologists believe that the Hebrew letter “Heh” in the Minoan dialect is written in exchange for the long “a”, and therefore, the difference between Abraham and Abram is exclusively dialectal. The same goes for Sarai and Sarah names – their meaning is identical.
Homeland of Prophet Abraham
Abraham was born about 2,166 years before Jesus near the Mesopotamian city of Ur (322 km southeast of modern Baghdad).
His father Azar (in the Bible Farrah and Tereh (Terah)) was an idolater, his lineage went back to Shem, son of Noah. Some scholars associate his name with the idol he worshipped. Most likely, Azar belonged to the Akkadians – the Semitic people from the Arabian Peninsula, settled in Mesopotamia around the third millennium BC.
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In early childhood, before the onset of confrontation with his people, Prophet Abraham with his father and some family members moved to the city of Harran. Although Christian-Jewish sources claim that this happened much later, after the expulsion from his native city. The Bible talks about the death of one of the brothers Abraham, Aran, in the city of Ur (Genesis 11:28). He was more mature than Abraham, since his elder brother Nahor married the daughter of Aran (Genesis 11:29). The Bible does not mention the relocation to Harran. The first order to move Abraham was already being in Haran;
And the Lord said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land which I will shew thee: …. And Abram went as the Lord told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he went out of Haran (Genesis 12: 1-5).
So, we see that the order to move was not at all from Ur to Canaan. Otherwise, how would it be possible that Prophet Abraham and his family lived in Haran then left his father and went to Canaan?
The Quran mentions the resettlement of Abraham, but after a tiff with his father and fellow tribesmen because of their disbelief. If at that moment Prophet Abraham was in Ur, his father, who subjected him to torture, would hardly have gone with him. Ur was a great city (as indicated by archaeological evidence), which suffered a rise and a fall over the life of Abraham. Therefore, it is likely that external conditions pushed Abraham to relocate. Most likely, he chose Harran due to the fact that its inhabitants professed the same religion as in Ur.
Religion of Mesopotamia
Archaeological excavations paint a rather picturesque picture of the spiritual life of Mesopotamia at the time of the prophet Abraham. Its inhabitants believed in the pantheon, where each of the deities had their own sphere of influence. The great temple of the Akkadian god of the moon was the center of the city of Ur. The moon was also considered the main deity. The inhabitants of Ur believed that God dwells in this temple, where the wooden idol was supreme, and the rest of the idols served him.
Knowledge of God
When exactly did Prophet Abraham know the true God? On this, Christian and Jewish scholars have several versions: in three years, ten years, forty-eight years. The Quran does not give the exact date of the revelation of the first revelation, however, the moment when the tribesmen expelled him for renouncing idols is described in the Quran. And here the Lord calls Abraham a young man. In addition, Abraham himself confesses that he possesses knowledge not available to his father when he called on him to worship the One God (19:43). The Qur’an absolutely states that Abraham is one of the prophets to whom revelation was revealed:
“Verily, it is written in the first Scriptures – the Scriptures of Ibrahim (Abraham) and Musa (Moses)” Quran 87: 18-19)