Below is the audio of Khutba al-Eid that I delivered at the Islamic Center in Scottsdale, AZ.

Listen part 1

Listen part 2

Listen part 3

Here is a somewhat summarized written version:

It's said that the worst enemy to religion is apathy.  It's when people show no interest or enthusiasm towards religion.  It's when people think that religion is no longer relevant.  It's when people think that religion does not solve their daily problems.  Now, we know that this Eid is about Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham).  But, is the legacy of Ibrahim still relevant today?  Of course, as Muslims we say that Ibrahim is relevant to us.  In fact, the Qur'an tells us that Ibrahim is most relevant to Muslims:

The worthiest (or the closest) people of Ibrahim are his immediate followers, this Prophet (i.e. Muhammad) and those who believe (3:68).

So, from all the so-called Abrahamic faiths, Muslims are the closest to Abraham.  But the question remains, what can we Muslims learn from Abraham that will help solve our problems today, living in the U.S. in the 21st century?  Here, I will focus on 5 qualities of Abraham that I think are very relevant to us today.

1. Minority Status

Now, there is a lot of talk about minority status.  Some Muslims feel powerless because they are in the minority.  Some Muslims have developed a victim mentality.  They speak like a victim, they act like a victim, and they live like a victim.  But look what Allah said about Ibrahim (AS):

Abraham was a nation (16:120)

No doubt, Ibrahim was a numerical minority.  Yet, he was the moral majority.  Ibrahim never felt like a victim.  Ibrahim had the confidence that a majority usually has.  Ibrahim was equal to a nation of people.  The lesson is that being a minority is not bad.  In fact, if we look at Islamic history, we see that Muslims did best when they were a minority.  The Prophet himself praised the strangers.  That is when Islam or Muslims are such a small minority that they are considered strange or even weird.  In a hadith, the Prophet said that Islam began as a stranger and will come back as a stranger, so glad tiding to strangers.

2. Loving God

The Qur'an says about Abraham:

God took Abraham as a khalil (4:125)

Khalil is usually translated as friend.  However, a more careful look at the word khalil in Arabic reveals a deeper meaning.  Khalil comes from the word takhallala which is when the love intermingles with the heart.  So, Abraham loved God so much that such love penetrated his heart so they became inseparable.  This is the highest degree of love.  Nowadays, other loves are competing in the Muslim's heart.  Muslims need to make the love of Allah superior to all other loves.

3. Debate Mastery

One of the important qualities of Abraham is his debate skills and his possession of strong arguments.  Allah said about him:

Such was the argument We gave to Abraham against his people (6:83)

Look, for example, at the following debate between Abraham and Numrood:

Have you not thought about the man who disputed with Abraham about his Lord, because God gave him the power to rule? When Abraham said, 'It's my Lord who gives life and death,' he said, 'I too give life and death.'  So Abraham said, 'God brings the sun from the East; so bring it from the West.'  The disbeliever was dumbfounded. (2:258)

Muslims can learn a lot from this debate.  If one argument doesn't work, move on to another clearer argument.  Overall, we should possess strong arguments.  Right now, there are some arguments against Islam and Muslims out there.  Muslims should be able to provide a counter-argument for every argument used against us.

4. Gratitude for Allah's bounties

The Qur'an describes Abraham as:

He was thankful for the blessings of God (16:121)

Muslims in the U.S. have a lot to be thankful for.  Just consider this; less than 30% of Americans have a bachelor's degree.  On the other hand, American Muslims on average are well educated and well-to-do.  Muslims should learn from Abraham to be always grateful to Allah.  They also should think of the less fortunate in this country.  It's part of our religion to have mercy on everyone and not just Muslims.  In an authentic narration, the Prophet tells us to show mercy to all the people on earth so that we may deserve the Mercy of the One above the Heavens.

5. Disagree Respectfully

Muslims should not be shy to say that they disagree with others.  Yes, we disagree with the theology of Jews, Christians, and atheists.  We disagree with the conduct of gays and lesbians.  But we disagree respectfully.  Again, look at our example Abraham, and how he disagreed with his own father:

Mention too, in the Qur'an, the story of Abraham.  He was a man of truth, a prophet.  He said to his father, 'Father, why do you worship something that can neither hear nor see nor benefit you in any way?  Father, knowledge that has not reached you has come to me, so follow me and I will guide you to a straight path.  Father, do not worship Satan – Satan has rebelled against the Lord of Mercy.  Father, I fear that a punishment from the Lord of Mercy may afflict you and that you may become Satan's companion.  His father answered, 'Abraham, do you reject my gods?  I will stone you if you do not stop this.  Keep out of my way' (19:41-46).

17 Responses

  1. Shiraz

    MashAllah great article.

    Its amazing what we can learn when we really contemplate on the Quran.

    I really like point 1. We dont need numbers, but we need to make the numbers we have strong. And you see this today, most of the dawah work out there is done by just a handful of people.

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  2. Mezba

    Jazaks for publishing a written summary… I usually have no patience for podcasts! :-P

    The mastery of debate is something everyone should strive for, especially in present situation.

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  3. Sister

    Subahanallah.Jazakallahu khairaan kaseera.May Allah give us ilm to ponder upon the quraan.

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  4. Abdullah

    assalam alaikum wa rahmatullah
    could i suggest using the more common format of MP3 for the audios that is playable on most devices and platforms (linux, macos, etc) ? WMA is mostly limited to windows/windows devices.

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  5. Abu Umar

    Great points mashaAllah.

    Concerning point 5, it is true that Ibrahim (‘alayhiss salaam) was a mountain of good character, patience and humbleness, even when dealing with the worst of the worst. Indeed, when the angels came to him informing him of the impending destruction of the people of Lot (‘alayhis salaam) for their heinous actions, Ibrahim (‘alayhiss salaam) , he pleaded for another chance for them, such was his level of forbearance.

    in Surah Hud (Chapter 11), Allah (swt) mentions this incident:

    74. Then when the fear had gone away from (the mind of) Ibrahim (Abraham), and the glad tidings had reached him, he began to plead with Us (Our messengers) for the people of Lut (Lot).
    75. Verily, Ibrahim (Abraham) was, without doubt, forbearing, used to invoking Allah with humility, and was repentant (to Allah all the time, again and again).

    It is not for nothing that he was one of the two Khaleels (close friends) of Allah (swt), the other of course being the Leader of the Children of Adam, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).

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  6. Daughter of Adam (AS)

    I have been over these verses several times and each time I learn something new! SubhanAllah :)
    Specifically, I really liked the explanation of the word Khalil, and I never quite understood what it meant when it was said “Abraham was a nation”, so jazakAllahu khairan for your article!
    and I wish every khutbah I listened to was transcribed… it’s so much easier for referencing!

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  7. grange

    Please use “Ibrahim”(AS) consistently and not Abraham in certain places of the article. jzk.

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    • Anas Hlayhel

      What’s wrong with Abraham? BTW, there is another valid Qiraa’ah (recitation) in Arabic that is pronounced “Ibraahaam”. While we need to keep the name “Ibrahim” because it’s the most common Qiraa’ah, it’s also important that others realize that our Ibrahim is the same as their Abraham, not a different prophet!

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  8. UmmAdam

    Great article! I was shocked to read that less than 30% of Americans have a Bachelor’s degree!!! Can you provide a source for that? Jazakallahkhair.

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  9. Mantiki

    It is very good that Arabs and Muslims do not see themselves as victims. All of us are equal as brothers and sisters under God and I have great belief in takhallala.

    I like that Abraham was strong, wise and skilled in debate, but he was a man of his time. I dislike the example where Abraham said, ‘‘God brings the sun from the East; so bring it from the West.’ The disbeliever was dumbfounded.’ In my opinion, Muslims certainly need to honour the old stories from the old books, but they also need to accept that many of these may well be instructional myths. These days most 10 year old students know that the Earth revolves around the sun and that God does not create sunrise in the East on a daily basis. Nor can God cause the sun to rise in the west without destroying the Earth in the process as He would need to reverse the Earth’s orbit. Similarly, God’s supposed command to Abraham to sacrifice his firstborn son as a test may have had value in the past, but if true does not reveal the kind of God deserving of our worship. Rather than accept the story and dislike God, I prefer to doubt the story.

    If we are made in God’s image, who among us other than an evil tyrant, would demand such a hideous sacrifice – even if the test is withdrawn at the last instant?

    As Muslims, you need to take the challenge up amongst yourselves to decide what is sensible and reasonable and relevant in today’s world. That involves challenging your cherished beliefs and testing them in the only way possible. Against your hearts and minds. Rise above the lessons meant for a desert tribe at war in a time of relative ignorance. Decide what are relics of an non-scientific age and what are relics of a culture that has past. Choose to grow in spirit in the present and do not tie yourselves to an imperfect past.

    I know many will think me arrogant and perhaps even satanic for this, but I DO believe in a loving God and suggest that it is up to thoughtful Muslims to truly practice jihad by testing not only your faith, but the correctness of your beliefs.

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    • Mantiki

      “thoughtful Muslims to truly practice jihad by testing not only your faith, but the correctness of your beliefs.”

      Not only Muslims – but thoughtful people of ALL faiths.

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