Ibrahim, friend of Allah
Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
Khalil (Intimate Friend) of Allah!
Dear reader, today we consider a topic which greatly warms our hearts. Just imagine being called a “friend” [Khalil] of Allah! Can anything be more significant in this world than that? Nothing could possibly bring more hope to the soul than to be called “Allah’s friend [Khalil]”! It is the highest honor, and yet so very humbling, to think that the Creator of the universe, He who keeps galaxies in orbit and the unnumbered stars in their circuit, is One who seeks our friendship! Please read the following: “Who can be better in religion than one who submits his whole self to Allah, does good, and follows the way of Abraham the true in Faith? For Allah did take Abraham for a friend.” Sura 4.125 An-Nisa.
In the Holy Books of the Bible Scriptures, the same sentiments about true faith are expressed. Injeel James 2:23 reveals why Abraham had such a close relationship with Allah: “And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God [Allah], and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend [Khalil] of God [Allah].” It is evident that Abraham’s belief in God (Allah)—his faith in God and His revealed Word– brought about his “doing good” spoken of in the previous sura.
The Honored Qur’an expresses the importance of the revelations given to Moses: “It was We who revealed the law (to Moses): therein was guidance and light…. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) Unbelievers.” Sura 5.44 Al-Maeda.
Please note the honor given to Abraham in the Taurat of the Bible Scriptures, in 2 Chronicles 20:7: “Art not thou our God [Allah], who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham [Ibrahim] thy friend [Khalil] forever?” What a high honor for Ibrahim to be an intimate friend of Allah!
Other Intimate Friends of Allah
Did others also have a close relationship with Allah? Yes, indeed. Musa (Moses) was a man who suffered great trials in life, yet he remained faithful to Allah. Not only was Musa a friend of Allah; he actually was permitted to come close enough to Allah to behold his form! In fact, the sacred record says he was blessed enough to see Allah “face to face.” Taurat Exodus 33:11 tells us: “And the LORD [Allah] spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend [Khalil]….”
Another man who was a Khalil of Allah was Daniel the Prophet. Three times the Holy Scriptures say of Daniel that heaven considered him “greatly beloved”! Taurat Daniel 10:11: “And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee….” See also Daniel 9:23; 10:19.
Anciently, before the flood of Noah’s time, there was a man named Enoch. Taurat Genesis 5:24 tells of him: “And Enoch walked with God [Allah]: and he was not; for God [Allah] took him.” So closely did Enoch draw near to Allah that Allah finally took him to Himself. Enoch never experienced death. Before Allah took him, though, He rewarded Enoch’s faithfulness by giving him a revelation of the last days, and of the return of Isa al-Masih Ibn Maryam to this earth. Some sobering details of that revelation can be read in Injeel Jude 1:14. The ungodly attitude of sinners was thus rebuked; they were warned of the great judgment.
How to Become a Friend of Allah
Can we also become close friends of Allah, as Ibrahim and others were? Yes! If it were impossible, heaven would never have titled any human as “friend” or “greatly beloved.” Therefore, we may strive to also be among the friends (Khalil) of Allah. But how?
We can learn more about how to become Allah’s friend by simply reading in the Holy Books about the lives and actions of those who have gone before who were called the friends of Allah. The Honored Qur’an points to the same source: “And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law [Taurat] that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel [Injeel]: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.” Sura 5.46 Al-Maeda.
In the Holy Scriptures we find that Ibrahim was submitted to Allah in his daily life. This was not just something which Ibrahim did in theory. Submission was a vital part of his life. Whatever Allah spoke, Ibrahim believed, yielding his own thoughts and will. Not only that, but he carried out God’s wishes in the acts of his life. To Ibrahim, belief was only the beginning! Belief evidenced itself by action! Taurat Genesis chapter 12 tells us that when Ibrahim was called by God to leave his country, to pack up and go, he listened to the voice of Allah and obeyed, leaving his country. He carried out the wishes of Allah, whatever they were– even when Allah asked of him something that seemed very foolish to others. Imagine Abraham, beginning to pack his considerable belongings. His friends likely went to him and asked, “Ibrahim, what are you doing”?
Ibrahim probably said, “I am packing up my camp.”
“Where are you going?”
“I don’t know. Allah has called me, and He will show me the way.”
Some of Ibrahim’s friends may well have thought him insane. “Why would you leave your community (ummah), family and friends and your security, Ibrahim? You don’t even have a destination yet!”
Nevertheless, Ibrahim obeyed from the heart. His obedient actions gave evidence of his trust in Allah, and so it must be with us, if we would be among the Kahlil, the intimate friends of Allah. If Allah has spoken, we must be willing not only to listen, but to carry out in action what Allah has spoken.
#1: Voluntary Submission
At least two changes must take place for one to be a Khalil, or intimate friend, of Allah. First, there must be a willingness to become completely submissive to the will of Allah. Anyone who is not willing to become submissive to Allah cannot become an intimate friend. This submission must be completely voluntary, as Allah will never force the will of any human. “Let there be no compulsion in religion.…” Sura 2.256 Al-Baqara. Allah wants your heart-willingness; therefore He wins our submission, rather than compels it, even though He has power to compel. It must and will come from within one’s heart and mind.
This unconditional submission is not only to Allah, but to the Word sent down, which includes the Taurat and Injeel of the Bible Scriptures, the Law (the Ten Commandments), the Prophets, and Isa al-Masih Ibn Maryam (Christ the Messiah, the Word from Allah). “It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong).” Sura 3.3 Aal-E-Imran.
The Taurat gives us another example of one who submitted to the Word from Allah. She was Hagar, the servant woman, the second wife of Ibrahim. Because of the abuse she was receiving from Sarai, Ibrahim’s first wife, conditions became unbearable for her in Ibrahim’s household, and she fled to the desert. The Angel of the Lord met her there and asked her (Taurat Genesis 16:8-9): “And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither [where] wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.” Then the angel of the Lord (Allah) told her to “Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.” She faithfully obeyed the voice of the angel of the Lord; she returned and submitted.
This is precisely the attitude we must have. We must be willing to listen to the voice of Allah and submit faithfully to Him in all things. The question remains, Will we be true? What will happen if the command from Allah comes in a manner we do not expect, or asks what is unexpected? Will we still be among the Muttaqeen? It is the righteous or pious (Mutaqeen) who faithfully follow wherever Allah leads. Remember, Allah has only our best interests in mind. Trusting and obeying Him is for our eternal security.
#2: Learn Allah’s Will
The second change in us if we would be Kahlil of Allah must be that we seek to learn what Allah’s will is! Where does one learn that? The Honored Qur’an says: “Say: ‘We believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in (the Books) [The Bible Scriptures] given to Moses, Jesus, and the Prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them, and to Allah do we bow our will….’” Sura 3.84 Aal-E-Imran. The ancient prophets made clear what the will of Allah is! In the Taurat we indisputably can find what the wishes of Allah are for the family of man.
The people back in the days of Isa al-Masih were much like the people of today. They did not search into what had been revealed to the prophets of old time. Luke 24:25-7 recounts Isa’s reproof of the people of His day for their unbelief: “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
We find Allah’s will revealed so very clearly in the Injeel which came to us from Isa al-Masih (Christ the Messiah). I Thessalonians 4:3 says, “For this is the will of God [Allah], even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.” Sanctification is holiness to Allah; it is holiness of heart and life! It is allowing Allah to write His Law of the Ten Commandments in our hearts.
Notice how clear the directions are that we are given to follow: Taurat Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God [Allah], and keep his commandments: for this is the whole [entire] duty of man.” Isa al-Masih, sent from Allah, said in John 15:14: “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” So we see in the Holy Books that the duty and obligation of complete and willing submission to Allah, of following His commandments, and of obeying the Words sent down through Isa al-Masih is how we become the friends of Allah. May Allah grant unto you His eternal peace!
Friend of Allah
R. M. Harnisch