Surah Ibrahim (سورة ابراهيم) is the 14th surah of the Quran that Allah revealed to Prophet Muhammad in the city of Mecca. The reason it is called surah Ibrahim is that several verses of it mention Prophet Ibrahim’s prayer for his children and Muslims. The surah mostly talks about the subject of tawḥīd, Qiyamah, and the story of Prophet Ibrahim and his building the Kaaba. This surah also tells the story of Prophet Moses and the Bani Israel, Prophet Noah, and the tribes of ‘Ād and Thamūd. In this article on Islam4u, the following topics will be discussed:
Facts About Surah Ibrahim
|Order of revelation||72|
|No. of verses||52|
|No. of words||833|
|No. of letters||3541|
Benefits of Reciting Surah Ibrahim
- Being rewarded ten times the number of idolaters and non-idolaters: The Noble Prophet has said, “Whoever recites surah Ibrahim and surah Hijr, Allah will reward him ten times the number of idolaters and non-idolaters.1
- Being relieved of the crying and restlessness of a child: Abu Abdullah Ja‘far ibn Muhammad has said, “Whoever writes this surah on a white cloth and attaches it to the clothes of a child, he will be free from crying, fear, and the things that children usually suffer from.2
- Easy weaning of a child: If surah Ibrahim is written on a white cloth and then attached to the clothes of a child, his weaning will be easy.3
- A cure for joint pain: Whoever writes verse 12 of surah Ibrahim with a pure intention and genuine faith in it and keeps it with himself, he will be relieved of joint pain.4
The verse is as follows:
وَمَا لَنَا أَلاَّ نَتَوَكَّلَ عَلَى اللّهِ وَقَدْ هَدَانَا سُبُلَنَا وَلَنَصْبِرَنَّ عَلَى مَا آذَيْتُمُونَا وَعَلَى اللّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُتَوَكِّلُونَ ﴿۱۲﴾
The Gist of Surah Ibrahim
Surah Ibrahim very much emphasizes the issue of tawḥīd or monotheism and states that the goal of prophets was inviting people to worship only one God. In surah Ibrahim, Allah states how His prophets always invited people to tawḥīd. The surah also states how the disbelievers took measures against the prophets’ invitation to monotheism and rejected them. They even threatened them. Surah Ibrahim states how the opponents of prophets will be punished and will taste the punishment of the Fire. In the end and in the last verse of surah Ibrahim, Allah says that God is one and no one should oppose Him.
Famous Verses of Surah Ibrahim
One of the most famous verses of surah Ibrahim is verse seven. Verse seven of surah Ibrahim reads:
وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ ﴿٧﴾
And when your Lord proclaimed, “If you are grateful, I will surely enhance you [in blessing], but if you are ungrateful, My punishment is indeed severe.”5
This is one of the sunan (plural of sunnah) or precedents of Allah the Exalted. If you thank Allah for the blessings He has given you and say Al-ḥamdulillāh, and show that you are grateful to Him in your actions, He will increase your blessings. However, if you are ungrateful and keep complaining, you should know that Allah’s punishment is indeed severe and you will be punished for your ungratefulness.
Verses 24-26 of Surah Ibrahim
Allah draws a parable in verse 24-26 of surah Ibrahim:
أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ ضَرَبَ اللَّـهُ مَثَلًا كَلِمَةً طَيِّبَةً كَشَجَرَةٍ طَيِّبَةٍ أَصْلُهَا ثَابِتٌ وَفَرْعُهَا فِي السَّمَاءِ ﴿٢٤﴾
Have you not regarded how Allah has drawn a parable? A good word is like a good tree: its roots are steady and its branches are in the sky.6
A good word that is pure and free from impurities is like a good and pure tree. In this beautiful parable, Allah says that a good word is firm and steady as its roots are beneath the ground and protect the tree from being uprooted by storms and strong winds. The fact that Allah says a good word is like a tree also means that it is full of life and is not a lifeless object. Its branches are high in the sky and are away from dirt and soil. The next verse reads:
تُؤْتِي أُكُلَهَا كُلَّ حِينٍ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهَا ۗ وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّـهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ ﴿٢٥﴾
It gives its fruit every season by the leave of its Lord. Allah draws these parables for mankind so that they may take admonition.7
This good and pure tree gives fruit not just in one or two seasons, but every season. This makes this tree eternal and very beneficial. On the other hand, Allah draws the parable of a bad word:
وَمَثَلُ كَلِمَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ كَشَجَرَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ اجْتُثَّتْ مِن فَوْقِ الْأَرْضِ مَا لَهَا مِن قَرَارٍ ﴿٢٦
﴾And the parable of a bad word is that of a bad tree: uprooted from the ground, it has no stability.8
Immediately after describing the good tree, Allah draws the parable of a bad word that is like a bad tree. It does not bear any fruit like the good tree and is uprooted from the ground. It is interesting that when Allah wants to describe the good tree, He gives a full and lengthy description of it, but when He talks about the bad tree, He gives one short but emphatic description of it. This is what is usually done when speaking about something you like and something you dislike.
Giving Money to Charity Secretly and Openly
Verse 31 of surah Ibrahim reads:
قُل لِّعِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُنفِقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَ يَوْمٌ لَّا بَيْعٌ فِيهِ وَلَا خِلَالٌ ﴿٣١﴾
Say to my servants who believe, “Perform prayers, spend [from your wealth] which God has given you secretly or openly before a day comes wherein there will not be trade nor friendship [and everyone will taste the fruits of his own deeds].9
Notice that in this verse, like many other similar verses, Allah mentions zakat, meaning charity and giving alms right after the prayer. This shows how important zakat is. Giving money to charity can be done both secretly and openly. It has been said that charity in secret has more reward than in public because it is not possible to show off when it is done in secret. However, giving money to charity in public has the potential for one to show off. Nevertheless, zakat paid openly brings great reward too because it can be an encouragement for others. Therefore, the above verse states that one should pay zakat both secretly and openly.
Prophet Ibrahim’s Supplications in Mecca
Verses 35-41 relate the story of Prophet Ibrahim, his arrival in Mecca, and the supplications he makes for Muslims. Verse 35 reads:
وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّ اجْعَلْ هَـٰذَا الْبَلَدَ آمِنًا وَاجْنُبْنِي وَبَنِيَّ أَن نَّعْبُدَ الْأَصْنَامَ ﴿٣٥﴾
And when Abraham said, “O my Lord make this land safe and prevent me and my children from worshipping idols.”10
Allah granted Ibrahim’s prayer and made his descendants from his son Ismail monotheists. In fact, Prophet Muhammad was Ibrahim’s descendant from Ismail and all of the Prophet’s forefathers were monotheists and did not worship idols. Allah also made Mecca a safe haven for all those who entered it.
Those Who Worship Idols Are not of Me
In verse 36 of surah Ibrahim, Prophet Ibrahim makes it clear that only those who follow him are of his descendants and followers, and those who disobey him are not:
رَبِّ إِنَّهُنَّ أَضْلَلْنَ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ النَّاسِ ۖ فَمَن تَبِعَنِي فَإِنَّهُ مِنِّي ۖ وَمَنْ عَصَانِي فَإِنَّكَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴿٣٦﴾
O my Lord! They lead many among the people astray, therefore, whoever follows me he is of me, and whoever disobeys me you are certainly All-Forgiving, All-Merciful.11
This verse shows Prophet Ibrahim’s kindness and compassion to all human beings. He says those who follow him are of him, and as for those who disobey him, Allah knows how to deal with them based on His forgiveness and mercy. He does not directly say they are not of him, but rather says they are not of him indirectly and says Allah knows best how to deal with them based on His mercy and compassion.
Prophet Ibrahim’s Prayer for His Children
Verse 37 of surah Ibrahim reads:
رَّبَّنَا إِنِّي أَسْكَنتُ مِن ذُرِّيَّتِي بِوَادٍ غَيْرِ ذِي زَرْعٍ عِندَ بَيْتِكَ الْمُحَرَّمِ رَبَّنَا لِيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ فَاجْعَلْ أَفْئِدَةً مِّنَ النَّاسِ تَهْوِي إِلَيْهِمْ وَارْزُقْهُم مِّنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَشْكُرُونَ ﴿٣٧﴾
O our Lord! I have left some of my children in a barren valley near your Holy House that they may perform the prayer. O our Lord! Make the heart of a group of people incline towards them and provide them with fruits that they may give thanks [to You].12
One can clearly understand, based on historical evidence, that Prophet Ibrahim made these supplications while he was in his old age. Ismail and Isaac were both born when he made these supplications. Prophet Ibrahim left Ismail and his mother Hajar in the barren land of Mecca near the Kaaba. He makes two supplications in this verse, both of which were answered by Allah. First, to make a group of people inclined toward them, and second, provide them with fruits. When the spring of Zamzam gushed out beneath the feet of Ismail, different Arab caravans passed by to drink from that spring and eventually settled in that location. Little by little, Mecca grew into a city thanks to Allah’s grace and Ibrahim’s supplication to Him.
Prophet Ibrahim Prays for Himself, His Parents, and Believers
The last supplication that Prophet Ibrahim makes is for himself, his parents, and all believers. Verse 41 of surah Ibrahim reads:
رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيَّ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَوْمَ يَقُومُ الْحِسَابُ ﴿٤١﴾
Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents, and all the faithful, on the day when the reckoning is held.13
This verse proves that Ibrahim’s father was a monotheist and that Azar was his uncle or father-in-law. This is because in Arabic, ab (أب) can have several meanings including uncle, whereas the word wālid (والِد) can only mean one’s real father. Additionally, Prophet Ibrahim made this supplication in his old age and this was after he disavowed his uncle after asking repentance for him from Allah.
Allah’s Proclamation in the Final Verse of Surah Ibrahim
In verses 42-51, Allah mostly talks about what happens to the wrongdoers on the Day of Judgment. For example, Allah in verse 42 says that you should not suppose that Allah is oblivious of the wrongdoers. They will be given respite until the Day of Judgment when the eyes will stare in horror. They will ask Allah to give them another chance to go back and obey the messengers. However, it is too late. Finally, in the last verse of surah Ibrahim, Allah says:
هَـٰذَا بَلَاغٌ لِّلنَّاسِ وَلِيُنذَرُوا بِهِ وَلِيَعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا هُوَ إِلَـٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ وَلِيَذَّكَّرَ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ ﴿٥٢﴾
This is a proclamation for mankind, so that they may be warned thereby and know that He is indeed the One God, and those who possess intellect may take admonition.14
Once again Allah emphasizes the importance of tawḥīd and monotheism. Furthermore, He says that this surah is revealed so that all of mankind may be warned that there is only one God. In addition to being a book of guidance for the masses, it is a book from which those who possess intellect can also take admonition. Therefore, just as this surah begins with introducing the Quran as a book that takes people from darkness into light, surah Ibrahim ends by stating the important role of the Quran in people’s lives and how it guides them to the straight path.
Surah Ibrahim revolves around the issue of tawḥīd, describing Qiyamah, and telling the stories of the prophets Moses, the people of the prophets Noah, Hud, Saleh, and Prophet Ibrahim. One of the most famous verses of surah Ibrahim is verse seven of this surah which states that if you give thanks to Allah for the blessings He has given you, He will give you more blessings. However, if you are ungrateful, you will be punished and Allah will deprive you of His blessings. In short, surah Ibrahim is a very instructive surah that teaches us many things, just like all other surahs of the Quran. By reciting surah Ibrahim and acting upon its teachings, we will be admitted into paradise, God willing.
- Majma’ al-Bayaan, vol. 9, p. 159.
- Tafseer al-Burhān, vol. 7, p. 358.
- Majma‘ al-Bayān, vol. 4, p. 193.
- Benefits of the Verses of the Quran, p. 96.
- Quran 14:7 (Qara’i).
- Quran 14:24 (Qara’i).
- Quran 14:25 (Qara’i).
- Quran 14:26 (Qara’i).
- Quran 14:31 (Foroutan).
- Quran 14:35 (Foroutan).
- Quran 14:36 (Foroutan).
- Quran 14:37 (Foroutan).
- Quran 14:41 (Qara’i).
- Quran 14:52 (Qara’i).