Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) is that esteemed Nabi of Allah Ta‘ala who was honoured with the title “Khaleelullah” – the special friend of Allah Ta‘ala.
‘Ubaid bin ‘Umair (rahimahullah) reports the following incident:
It was the blessed habit of Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) that he would always try to bring people home as his guests to share his meals with him. On one occasion, Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) went out, looking for someone to bring home as his guest. However, he was unable to find anyone to share his meal with him, and thus returned home.
On arriving at his home, he found that a man had entered, in his absence, and was standing inside. Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) asked him, “O servant of Allah! Why have you entered my home without permission?” The man replied, “I was granted permission to enter by the One who is the true owner of your home (i.e. I was given permission by Allah Ta‘ala).”
Hearing this, Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) asked the man, “Who are you?” He responded, “I am the Angel of Death. My Rabb has sent me to one of his servants to give him the glad tidings that Allah Ta‘ala has chosen him to be His ‘Khaleel’ (special friend).”
Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) asked, “Who is this (special person)? By Allah, if you inform me of his identity, I will ensure that I go to him – even if he lives in the most distant of lands. I will then remain with him until death separates us.”
The Angel of Death then said, “You are that (special) servant.” Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) (was overcome by joy and) asked, “Am I really that (special) person?” When the Angel confirmed that he was, Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) enquired, “Why did Allah Ta‘ala make me His Khaleel?”
The Angel answered, “(The reason is that) you always give others, and you never ask them for anything.”
(Tafseer Ibni Katheer vol. 3, pg. 229)
1. The qualities of generosity, big-heartedness and the willingness to share with others are extremely beloved to Allah Ta‘ala. Likewise, the quality of feeding guests in one’s home is extremely beloved to Allah Ta‘ala as well. Hence, we find that our beloved Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) also possessed these sublime qualities to the highest degree. If we inculcate these qualities in our lives, we will also become the special friends of Allah Ta‘ala and acquire the special love, assistance and blessings of Allah Ta‘ala.
2. While it is permissible for one to ask people for assistance in his hour of need, one should not forget to make du‘aa to Allah Ta‘ala and place his need before Him. In fact, our first response, at the time of need and difficulty, should be to turn to Allah Ta‘ala in du‘aa and place our hopes, confidence and trust in His assistance.
3. When Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) heard that there was a special servant of Allah Ta‘ala whom Allah Ta‘ala had selected as His special friend, he immediately expressed his desire to go to that person so that he could attach himself to him and continue to benefit from him, until the end of his life. In the same way, there are many pious friends of Allah Ta‘ala in our midst. We should attach ourselves to them so that we may benefit from their company and acquire the special relationship with Allah Ta‘ala that they enjoy.
4. Such was the humility of Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) that when he heard that Allah Ta‘ala had selected a certain servant as His special friend, he did not assume that it was him.
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