Is Ibrahim (alayhi salam) the second greatest human being and Prophet after Mohammed (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam)?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

Is Ibrahim (AS) the second greatest human being and Prophet after Mohammed (SAW)? I’ve heard from certain scholars that this is the case for the following verses and narrations where Allah, and the Prophet (SAW) compliment him, and the important role he played for this Ummah: “Sa`id bin Mansur recorded that Ibn Mas`ud said that the Messenger of Allah said: Every Prophet had a Wali (best friend) from among the Prophets. My Wali among them is my father Ibrahim, the Khalil (intimate friend) of my Lord, the Exalted and Most Honored).

It’s authentic “(Saheeh al-Jami” 2158)” “And who would be averse to the Millah of Ibrahim except one who makes a fool of himself. And We had chosen him in this world, and indeed he, in the Hereafter, will be among the righteous. (Qur’an 2:30)” “Then We revealed to you, (O Muhammad), to follow the Millah of Ibrahim, inclining toward truth; and he was not of those who associate with Allah.” (Qur’an 16:123)” Not only the ordinary people but even the greatest of human beings – Prophet Muhammad (SAW) – has been ordered to follow the Millah of Prophet Ibrahim (AS).

His philosophy is the right way: “And who is better in religion than one who submits himself to Allah while being a doer of good and follows the Millah of Ibrahim, inclining toward truth? And Allah took Ibrahim as an intimate friend.(Qur’an 4:125)” Prophet (SAW) proclaimed him as the greatest himself out of modesty: “Anas b. Malik reported that a person came to Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: O the best of creation; thereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: He is Ibrahim (peace be upon him). Sahih Muslim, Book 030, Number 5841” He’ll be the first one to dressed:

“Narrated Ibn Abbas: The Prophet said, You will be gathered (on the Day of Judgment), bare-footed, naked and not circumcised.” He then recited:–‘As We began the first creation, We, shall repeat it: A Promise We have undertaken: Truly we shall do it.’ (21.104) He added, “The first to be dressed on the Day of Resurrection will be Abraham, and some of my companions will be taken towards the left side (i.e. to the (Hell) Fire), and I will say: ‘My companions! My companions!’ It will be said: ‘They renegade from Islam after you left them.’ Then I will say as the Pious slave of Allah (i.e. Jesus) said. ‘And I was a witness Over them while I dwelt amongst them. When You took me up You were the Watcher over them, And You are a witness to all things. If You punish them. They are Your slaves And if You forgive them, Verily you, only You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” (5.120-121) (Sahih Muslim, Book #55, Hadith #568) He also resembled the Prophet Mohammed (SAW): “It is narrated on the authority of Jabir that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said:

There appeared before me the apostles, and Moses was among men as if he was one of the people of Shanu’a, and I saw Jesus son of Mary (peace be upon him) and I saw nearest in resemblance with him was ‘urwa b. Mas’ud, and I saw Ibrahim (blessings of Allah be upon him) and I see your companions much in resemblance with him, i. e. his personality, and I saw Gabriel (peace be upon him) and I saw Dihya nearest in resemblance to him; but in the narration of Ibn Rumh it is Dihya b. Khalifa.” (Book #001, Hadith #0321) Ibrahim (AS) and Prophet Mohammed (SAW) are the only two Khalils Allah has taken though Prophet Mohammed (SAW) is also Allah’s habib, which is what differentiates both of them. They were both known as khalilayn: “O people! If I were to take a Khalil from the people of the earth, I would have taken Abu Bakr bin Abi Quhafah as my Khalil. However, your companion (meaning himself) is the Khalil of Allah.) Jundub bin `Abdullah Al-Bajali, `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`As and `Abdullah bin Mas`ud narrated that the Prophet said, (Allah has chosen me as His Khalil, just as He has chosen Ibrahim as His Khalil.) Allah’s statement.

” Prophet Mohammed (SAW) refers to him as Khalil. “Some people asked the Prophet: “Who is the most honorable amongst the people?” He replied, “The most honorable among them is the one who is the most Allah-fearing.” They said, “O Allah’s Prophet! We do not ask about this.” He said, “Then the most honorable person is Joseph, Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Khalil. (Sahih Bukhari)” These are just some of the qualities that characterise Prophet Ibrahim (AS) from Allah: “And remember that Abraham was tried by his Lord with certain commands, which he fulfilled: He said: “I will make thee an Imam to the Nations.” He pleaded: “And also (Imams) from my offspring!” He answered: “But My Promise is not within the reach of evil-doers.” (Qu’ran 2:124)” “For Abraham was, without doubt, forbearing (of faults), compassionate, and given to look to Allah. (Qu’ran 11:75-123)”

“Verily, Ibrahim was an Ummah (or a nation), obedient to Allah, Hanif (i.e. to worship none but Allah), and he was not one of those who were Al-Mushrikin (polytheists), (He was) thankful for His (Allah’s) favours. He (Allah) chose him and guided him to a straight path. And We gave him good in this world, and in the Hereafter he shall be of the righteous. Then, We have sent the revelation to you (O Muhammad saying): “Follow the religion of Ibrahim Hanif (Islamic Monotheism ـ to worship none but Allah) and he was not of the Mushrikin. (Qu’ran 16:120-123)”

Do other any classical or contemporary scholars share this view? I understand all Prophets are great, but Prophet Ibrahim (AS) is complimented in the Qur’an like no other, and the Prophet (SAW) has praised him more than any other Prophets. He even named his own son Ibrahim, and we remember both Prophets in Darood-shareef? Ultimately Haj is his Sunnah.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

It is the aqida (belief) of the Ahle Sunnah wa al-Jamāh that Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) is the greatest Prophet from among all the Prophets . Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: 

عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «أَنَا سَيِّدُ وَلَدِ آدَمَ يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ وَلَا فَخْرَ، وَبِيَدِي لِوَاءُ الحَمْدِ وَلَا فَخْرَ، وَمَا مِنْ نَبِيٍّ يَوْمَئِذٍ آدَمَ فَمَنْ سِوَاهُ إِلَّا تَحْتَ لِوَائِي

سنن الترمذي ت شاكر (5/ 308)

I am the master of the children of Adam on the Day of Judgement, and I am not boasting. The Banner of Praise will be in my hand, and I am not boasting. There will not be a Prophet on that day, not Adam nor anyone other than him, except that he will be under my banner”. (Tirmizi Shareef)

There are two texts regarding sequence of virtue among all the other Prophets. In the Quran Allah Ta`ala speaks about preference among the Prophets in general. See the following verse:

{تِلْكَ الرُّسُلُ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ} [البقرة: 253]

“We have given excellence to some of these Rusul (Messengers) over others”. (Quran, al-Baqara, 253) 

However, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) has prohibited us from giving preference in virtue to the Prophets. This is understood from the following hadith.  

لاَ تُفَضِّلُوا بَيْنَ أَنْبِيَاءِ اللَّهِ

صحيح البخاري (4/ 159)

“ Don’t give superiority to any Prophet among other Prophets” (Saheeh al-Bukhari). 

Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani explains the prohibition as follows: 

إنَّما نهى عن ذلك من يقول برأيه، لا من يقوله بدليل، أو من يقوله بحيث يؤدي إلى تنقيص المفضول، أو يؤدي إلى الخصومة والتنازع،

الرسل والرسالات (ص: 224)

“The prohibition of giving superiority to any Prophet over the other is for him who speaks from his intellect and not with any sound proof. Or (the prohibition is for him) whose speech will lead to degrading (one of the Prophets)  or to  an argument”.  

Therefore, many scholars have stated that Ibrahim (alayhi salam) is the greatest Prophet after Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). Consider the following: 

Ibn Katheer  says: 

وَلَا خِلَافَ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَفْضَلُهُمْ، ثُمَّ بعده إبراهيم، ثم موسى ثم عيسى عليهم السلام على المشهور،

تفسير ابن كثير ط العلمية (5/ 81)

“There is no dispute that Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) is the greatest of Prophets after which is Ibrahim then Musa then Isa according to the famous opinion”. 

Imam Suyuti says: 

فخليله إبراهيم يليه في التفضيل، فهو أفضل الخلق بعده، نقل بعضهم الإجماع على ذلك

الموسوعة العقدية – الدرر السنية (3/ 470، بترقيم الشاملة آليا)

“The friend of Allah, Ibrahim (alayhi salam) is the greatest of creation after Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). Some (Scholars) have called ijma (consensus) upon this”. 

This is also the opinion of Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani  due to the following narration:

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، قَالَ: جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ: يَا خَيْرَ الْبَرِيَّةِ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «ذَاكَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ     »

صحيح مسلم (4/ 1839)

A man came to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) and said “O best of creation!”. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: that is Ibrahim (alayhi salaam). (Sahih Muslim) 

 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Hafizurrahman Fatehmahomed 

Student Darul Iftaa
Netherlands 

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.


 

تفسير الرازي = مفاتيح الغيب أو التفسير الكبير (6/ 521)

أَجْمَعْتِ الْأُمَّةُ عَلَى أَنَّ بَعْضَ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ أَفْضَلُ مِنْ بَعْضٍ، وَعَلَى أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَفْضَلُ مِنَ الْكُلِّ،

 

 

البداية والنهاية ط إحياء التراث (1/ 198)

وَلَمَّا كَانَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ أَفْضَلَ الرُّسُلِ وَأُولِي الْعَزْمِ بَعْدَ مُحَمَّدٍ صَلَوَاتُ اللَّهِ وَسَلَامُهُ عَلَيْهِمْ أَجْمَعِينَ أُمِرَ الْمُصَلِّي أَنْ يَقُولَ فِي تَشَهُّدِهِ مَا ثَبَتَ فِي الصَّحِيحَيْنِ مِنْ حَدِيثِ كَعْبِ بْنِ عُجْرَةَ وغيره قال: قلنا يارسول اللَّهِ هَذَا السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكَ قَدْ عَرَفْنَاهُ فَكَيْفَ الصلاة عليك

 

الموسوعة العقدية – الدرر السنية (3/ 470، بترقيم الشاملة آليا)

وقد اختلف العلماء في من يلي النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في الفضيلة منهم، والمشهور واختاره ابن حجر في شرح البخاري أنه إبراهيم خليل الرحمن، لما ورد أن إبراهيم عليه السلام خير البرية، خص منه محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم بإجماع



 

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