The Makkans claimed to be the followers of their forefathers, of them the most exalted was Prophet Ibrahim-AS whom they also claimed to follow. But he was a person whose obedience to Allaah-SWT was exemplary. He had abandoned his devoted wife and beloved child in the wilderness by His-SWT Command, when the city of Makkah did not exist. He had then prayed to Allaah-SWT to make this a city of peace and prevent him and his progeny from idolatry.
Method of Supplication
In Prophet Ibrahim's-AS prayer, improvement in worldly condition has more prominence, and has been sought in a unique way. He did not pray for the habitation of this barren area but spoke as if the city was already existing. This was seen by his Prophetic vision that the stay of his chaste wife and Prophet Ismal-AS, a little boy then, would certainly lead to the foundation of a major city. So he prayed for a city of peace, as the foremost requirement of humanity is peace. The very purpose why a government is formed, is to maintain peace by punishing the culprits. The establishment of peace and harmony is not only imperative for leading a happy life but also for practising Din. In a society' torn with strife, practising faith becomes impossible, "Therefore, for prosperity or religious progress of any city' or country or nation or society, peace is the real guarantor. Without peace, no social or welfare programme can be undertaken. So Prophet Ibrahim-AS asked for one thing, that is, peace. Secondly, he begged for himself and his progeny to be spared from idolatry. This was followed by the request for protection from all forms of Divine disobedience and waywardness and from the very root cause thereof.
It is obvious that because of Prophetic innocence, he did not fear idol-worship for himself .Yet a rule for supplicating is laid down. When Allah-SWT's pious people are included in a prayer, its acceptance is ensured, for it does not befit His-SWT . Magnificence to accept a part of the request and reject the rest. Secondly, according to the Aulia'-RUA anything which detracts from Allah-SWT's obedience is an idol. Maulana Rumi-RUA terms every temporal desire as an idol, which hinders a person from Allah-SWT's obedience. So Prophet Ibrahim-AS prayed for Divine Protection from all kinds of idols. It also proves that a father is not only responsible for the Din of his children but also for the provisions of life.
He explained that he was praying for refuge from idols because a large number of people had been misled by them. He had seen how his nation had indulged in idolatry and become wayward. Besides, polytheism and associating hopes with others than Allaah-SWT by itself deprives from Allah-SWT's Forgiveness. Otherwise, it is not unusual for humans to make mistakes, as they can never become angels. However, if their relationship with Allaah-SWT remains intact, then the mistakes are closely followed by repentance and reformation of conduct. Hence Prophet Ibrahim-AS , in two brief sentences, asked for a comprehensive package of blessings both mundane and eternal, for himself, his posterity and the City of Makkah. Since man is free to choose his course in life, the chances remained that some people would abandon his path. So he implored: "O Allaah-SWT .! All those who follow my teachings will be mine, but those who desert will still remain Your-SWT humble creation, and You-SWT indeed are Forgiving and Clement". Although it is not permissible to pray for forgiveness of the non believers, yet this sentence is a manifestation of Prophetic affection. He did not pray for their forgiveness, but reminded Allaah-SWT of His-SWT unfathomable ocean of Mercy. Of course, the Prophetic way is to show clemency and care towards mankind.
Supplication must be Reiterated
Prophet Ibrahim-AS "repeated his prayer in the same sagacious manner. The very first step of a supplication is obedience to Allaah-SWT . It is certainly not proper to practically disobey Allaah-SWT and present a long list of invocations at the same time, as done today. Rather, practical submission to His-SWT Commands must precede the prayer, just as Prophet Ibrahim-AS left his beloved wife and son in the barren desert as ordered and walked away. According to Hadith, when they were out of his sight, he prayed, "O’ our Rabb-SWT ., the all-Knowing and the Omnipotent! I have in compliance to Your-SWT Command, abandoned my family in the desert near Your-SWT auspicious and Sacred House." This refers to K'abah which did exist then. It was built by Prophet Aadam-AS and its Tawaf had been going on through the ages. It was lifted up during the Deluge. Leaving the foundation intact. The Prophetsof nations subjected to Divine Punishment would move to K'abah and go around the remains of its foundations for the rest of their lives. Many of them passed away and in due course of time were buried around it. Our illustrious Shaikh Allah Yar Khan-RUA used to say that more or less ninety-nine Prophets-AS could be spiritually seen buried there. So Prophet Ibrahim-AS who had left his spouse and child near the K'abah prayed: "I am leaving my offspring near Your-SWT House for Your-SWT worship. So make this deserted land flourish by turning the hearts of some of Your-SWT servants towards it. And bless the dwellers of this land with fruits so that they may show gratitude."
Just appreciate the wisdom in the manner of Prophet Ibrahim-AS invocation. First he executed Allah-SWT's Command and then raised his hands in prayer. He requested for a relationship with Allaah-SWT and an alienation from idols. As he prayed for his descendants to persevere on worship he did not overlook their temporal well being. He-SWT did not ask for the entire mankind to turn to Makkah, lest believing and non believing, good and bad would all rush there. Rather, he used the words "From amongst the people," and left it to Allaah-SWT to incline some hearts towards it. Certainly those chosen by Him-SWT will be better and so good people will gather here, not by force but because their hearts will be attracted to it. They will visit K'abah and the city out of love, making any mischief impossible. And while asking for provisions, he requested fruits not the agriculture and irrigation system. Allaah-SWT is Omnipotent and could have made the mountains of Makkah green and tillable. But Prophet Ibrahim-AS asked for fruits. This is why todate Makkah offers fruits from all over the world all the year round. And it is a commodity that guarantees the flow of abundant supply of other amenities of life. Obviously when Allah-SWT's Blessings will be in abundance and easily available, there will be opportunity to be ungrateful so the inhabitants of the town may show gratitude, he concluded.
"So our Rabb-SWT ! You are well Aware of not only what we utter but also of the states of our hearts. The natural apprehension and sorrow gripping my heart while abandoning my loving and loyal wife and my little son in such a desolate place is in Your-SWT Knowledge. And also what I speak is Known to You-SWT . The remarks of my wife that 'Allaah-SWT will not waste us’ are also in Your Knowledge. Our prayer is only an opening to have the honour to talk to you. Otherwise what we need, what state we are in, is already in Your-SWT Knowledge. I thank You-SWT for blessing me with posterity' at an age when it apparently seemed impossible, and favoured me with noble sons like Isma'l-AS and Ishaq-AS. Undoubtedly, my Provider answers my supplications. It is a part of etiquettes of supplication to first praise Allah-SWT, then to put up the request followed by recount of His-SWT Favours already conferred. This indeed is a way of showing gratitude over what one already enjoys and leads to the acceptance of the prayer.
Prophet Ibrahim-AS now turned to the end result of this life, which means that one should not ask for worldly needs alone but every prayer must be concluded with a request for eternal salvation. And since eternal salvation rests on obedience in worldly life, he added:” O’ my Master! Grant me and my posterity the capacity to persevere in Your-SWT worship, a state possible only through Your-SWT Grace. And please accept my prayer, and forgive me, my parents and all the believers on the Day of Judgment." Mark that as he prayed for eternal salvation he made it conditional with faith, as it is not permissible to pray for salvation of the non believers.