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Quran and Sunnah

10 Special Qualities of Khaleelullah



He was a leader, a father, an international da’ee, and the close friend of Allah ta’ala.


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Ibrahim alayhi salaam is mentioned 25 times in the Qur’an, beginning with ayah 124 in Suratul Baqarah.

Allah azza wa jal tells us:

فَاتَّبِعُوا مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ

“So follow the religion of Ibrahim, inclining towards truth; and he was not of the polytheists.” (3:95)

His leadership came with struggle and hardship. His da’wah was international, with his nephew Lut alayhi salaam in East Jordan, his sons Ishaaq alayhi salaam in Palestine and Isma’il alayhi salaam was in Makkah. He was given success by Allah, but all of this success came AFTER he was tested.

Many times Muslims feel that they cannot learn from the Prophets and righteous people because they are too high for them; but we find that there are practical benefits and lessons in their lives that anyone can implement. Tafseer is the way to extract these practical lessons for our lives today.

Allah azza wa jal conveys to us the amazing example of Ibrahim alayhi salaam in the Qur’an; and here we find 10 of these special qualities he possessed, alayhi salaatu wa salaam.

1- He preferred the deen over the dunya. In surah Ibrahim, he mentions the reason for leaving his family in Makkah is so that they may establish the prayer:

رَّبَّنَا إِنِّي أَسْكَنتُ مِن ذُرِّيَّتِي بِوَادٍ غَيْرِ ذِي زَرْعٍ عِندَ بَيْتِكَ الْمُحَرَّمِ رَبَّنَا لِيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ

“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House in order, O our Lord, that they may perform As-Salat” (14:37)

The commitment to Allah ta’ala was stronger than the commitment to the work.

2- He was practical. At the same time, he did not forget about the dunya and provided for the needs of his family. When he took Hajar and Isma’il to the valley, he left them with what he could afford: a water skin and a bag of dates.

3- He wanted a secure environment for his children. He alayhi salaam made the duaa:

رَبِّ اجْعَلْ هَـٰذَا بَلَدًا آمِنًا وَارْزُقْ أَهْلَهُ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ مَنْ آمَنَ مِنْهُم بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ

“My Lord, make this city (Makkah) a place of security and provide its people with fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day.” (2:126)

He alayhi salaam asked for security BEFORE rizq. Why? Security is important for practicing Islam. For Islam to grow, there has to be peace. Rasul Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam had the option of entering Makkah violently or peacefully, and he entered it peacefully. By doing so, it was at this time that many people entered Islaam afwaajan, groups upon groups.

4- He would practice then preach.

إِذْ قَالَ لَهُ رَبُّهُ أَسْلِمْ ۖ قَالَ أَسْلَمْتُ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

“When his Lord said to him, “Submit!” He said, “I have submitted myself to the Lord of  all that exists.” (2:131)

Ibrahim alayhi salaam exemplifies automatic submission. There is not a break nor a gap in the ayah from when Allah ta’ala tells him to submit and when he submits. There is no “fa” (so) or “thumma” (then), rather he fulfilled the command of Allah right away.

How long does it take us to submit to Allah?

Then in next ayah, he advises his children:

فَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ

“Then die not except in the Faith of Islam.” (2:132)

He advised his children until the very end, even on his death bed. What people say at the time of their death is the most important, and Ibrahim alayhi salaam and Ya’qoob alayhi salaam were concerned about their children carrying this message.

5- He acted with Ihsaan.

وَإِذِ ابْتَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ رَبُّهُ بِكَلِمَاتٍ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ

“And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim tried him with Commands, which he fulfilled.” (2:124)

Ibrahim alayhi salaam passed the tests perfectly; Tamm is to complete in such a way that no flaw remains. As a result of passing this test, as we see in the next ayah, Allah ta’ala made him an imam and leader for the following generations. Allah ta’ala honored him so much so that even our ummah, the ummah of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam is told to follow his creed.

6- He wanted the next generation to be Muslim. Ibrahim alayhi salaam cared about the future of the deen as he told his children:

يَا بَنِيَّ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَىٰ لَكُمُ الدِّينَ فَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ

“O my sons! Allah has chosen this faith for you, so do not die expect while in a state of Islam.” (2:132) We should make duaa that our children and our children’s children carry this message inshaAllah.

7- He included his family in the work for the deen. Isma’il alayhi salaam assisted him in building the ka’bah:

وَإِذْ يَرْفَعُ إِبْرَاهِيمُ الْقَوَاعِدَ مِنَ الْبَيْتِ وَإِسْمَاعِيلُ

“And (remember) when Ibrahim and (his son) Isma’il were raising the foundations of the House.” (2:127)

Many times we are the only ones in our family that attend gatherings of knowledge or work at the masjid. But, even if you face opposition, try and always encourage this work amongst your family members inshaAllah. Alhamdulillah it took me three years to convince my mother and brothers to come to AlMaghrib just for one day, and now alhamdulillah they are regular students at AlMaghrib and classes at our local masjid.

We also learn from Ibrahim alayhi salaam that although he was the Imam and leader, he still continued to do the hard labor and work for the deen. How many leaders nowadays would be in this position?

8- He wanted his children to be leaders. When Allah azza wa jal tells him that He will make him an Imaam for the people, Ibrahim alayhi salaam responds:

قَالَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي

He said, “and of my offspring (to make leaders).” (2:124)

Leadership is not a title, rather it is an opportunity to serve.

9- He was concerned about teaching the next generation. He made duaa to Allah ta’ala:

رَبَّنَا وَابْعَثْ فِيهِمْ رَسُولًا مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِكَ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

“Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own, who shall recite unto them Your Verses and instruct them in the Book and the Wisdom, and purify them. Verily! You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” (2:129)

This ayah teaches us how the deen should be taught and that we need all of these components to be proper students. This duaa was answered with the messengership of Rasul Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

Notice this duaa was made nearly 2500 years before it was answered. On the other hand, we expect our duaas to be answered by the time we put our hands down! Allah ta’ala not only answered their duaa, but He sent the best of creation alayhi salaatu wa sallam. Let’s not be hasty in our duaa; think of Who we are calling upon.

10- He was humble. Ibrahim and his son alayhuma salaam, while building THE House of Allah made the duaa:

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

“Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily! You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” (2: 127)

Taqabal means to accept it and be pleased with us. Here are two of the best of Allah’s creation raising the foundations in the most sacred city  for the greatest House of Allah–and they were concerned about the acceptance of this act. Not only were they making duaa for acceptance, but they were making this duaa while building the Ka’bah!

Here are two Prophets of Allah, both having a status in this dunya and aakhirah that none of us can ever reach, yet they are calling upon Allah azza wa jal to accept their act while performing it. How often do we ask Allah to accept our acts of worship?

These 10 are not his only qualities, can you think of anymore?

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Amatullah is a student of the Qur'an and its language. She completed the 2007 Ta'leem program at Al-Huda Institute in Canada and studied Qur'an, Tajwid (science of recitation) and Arabic in Cairo. Through her writings, she hopes to share the practical guidance taught to us by Allah and His Messenger and how to make spirituality an active part of our lives. She has a Bachelors in Social Work and will be completing the Masters program in 2014 inshaAllah. Her experience includes working with immigrant seniors, refugee settlement and accessibility for people with disabilities.



  1. StarFlower

    June 20, 2009 at 12:44 AM

    Alhamdullilah I am the first one to comment

    • fly

      June 20, 2009 at 3:16 AM

      wow ur so cool….omg….

      want a cookie?

      • StarFlower

        June 20, 2009 at 12:20 PM

        Chocolate please :)

  2. AbdelRahman Murphy

    June 20, 2009 at 3:01 AM

    Great article masha Allah. Can we have more like this please? A nice read with easy-to-read content.

    • Amatullah

      June 21, 2009 at 12:19 AM

      Barak Allahu feek. Alhamdulillah, these are actually based off some notes (I added some things) from a talk on Ibrahim alayhi salaam that I attended a while ago.

      InshaAllah i will keep this in mind for future Saturday tafseer posts. Any specific topics anyone would be interested in? I still need to finish up the Jannah and Naar series inshaAllah. Please let me know if anyone has suggestions :)

  3. Abu Sabaya

    June 20, 2009 at 4:23 AM

    These 10 are not his only qualities, can you think of anymore?

    (This should be # 1, as it is the essence of the millah of Ibrahim mentioned in the first verse you listed, and is the tie that binds all of the other ten qualities listed) – He put Tawhid into action by manifesting its three pillars:

    i) turning to Allah purely
    ii) smashing the idols worshipped by his society (idols can be physical or conceptual)
    iii) openly declaring his disassociation from those who worshipped them:

    {“Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibrâhim and those with him, when they said to their people: “Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allâh, we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you, hostility and hatred for ever, until you believe in Allâh Alone,””} [al-Mumtahanah; 4]

    • ayesha

      June 20, 2009 at 9:18 AM

      barakallahufeeki sister……spendid!!!

      yea …i had the same thoughts while reading ….his greatest quality of ” tawheed ” isn’t mentioned…and also coz of the barakah of His tawheed even his brothers(in Islam) were helped as in Prophet Lut(as). This is mentioned in suarh al anbiyaa-(ayah 71) after mentioning the qissa of Prophet Ibraheem()….

    • Amatullah

      June 21, 2009 at 12:12 AM

      Jazaak Allahu khayran, great addition! The point of the post was to mention 10 qualities in hope that the readers would comment and add more likes yours. Barak Allahu feek.

  4. 'Uthmaan

    June 20, 2009 at 8:19 AM

    It seems that we can learn a great deal as Muslims from the example of Ibraheem.

    This was an excellent article. JazakAllah Khayr.

  5. ayesha

    June 20, 2009 at 9:19 AM

    barakallahufeeki sister……splendid!!!

  6. Umm Maryam

    June 20, 2009 at 11:31 AM

    Mashaallah .Great article.Jazakumallahu khairaa sister.I also like to add Ibrahim alayhisalam was tested through his son Ismail.He succeeded in that test and we still remember it .


    • Amatullah

      June 21, 2009 at 12:17 AM

      wa iyyaki, great addition ukhti. barak Allahu feeki.

  7. Amatullah

    June 21, 2009 at 12:21 AM

    Star Flower: lol, maybe in Jannah inshaAllah :)

    Ayesha: wa feeki barak Allah dear sister.

    ‘Uthmaan: wa iyyak. Indeed we can learn a great deal from Ibrahim alayhi salaam, I absolutely adore his story in the Qur’an.

  8. Salman

    June 21, 2009 at 5:39 AM

    Allah has made for us Eid on the day he passed one of his tests.
    Now we get to celebrate Eid every year on that day.
    Gotta love him for that :)

  9. vindicated

    June 21, 2009 at 9:58 AM

    Jazakallah khair, great post! :)

  10. Amy

    June 26, 2009 at 2:49 AM

    I really appreciate the mention of #3 as it is one I hadn’t heard before. I remember reading that du’aa over and over with priorities in mind but didn’t want to assume your conclusion without proof. Could you elaborate on it some? Perhaps another post on the importance of safety/security in establishing Islam at a social level? JAK!

  11. Idris shereef

    November 23, 2009 at 12:31 PM

    Asalam, a gret article may Allah reward u all and grant us al-janat.

  12. abdul rahman sesay

    July 10, 2022 at 3:32 AM

    I have an observation. You stated that Prophet Ibrahim is mentioned 25 times in the Qur’an. But, according to a research I carried I found the name Ibrahim 69 time in the Qur’an. Please throw light on this.

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