Day 20- Surah Ibrahim: The Blessing of Guidance

When you start remembering the blessings of Allah, you think about stuff such as food, home, shelter, family, etc… While all of the above are valid answers, a believer should value the most important blessing of all: Being guided to the religion of Islam, and to the beautiful message of the Quran. Surah Ibrahim highlights the blessing of guidance:

كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ لِتُخْرِجَ النَّاسَ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ 
Alif Lam Ra, This is a Scripture which We have sent down to you [Prophet] so that, with their Lord’s permission, you may bring people from the depths of darkness into light, to the path of the Almighty, the Praiseworthy One, [14:1]
The same message was iterated by prophet Musa, to take his community out of the darkness to the light of faith in [14:5]; Note that in the Quran, the darkness is always expressed in plural form (darkness’s) because there are multiple ways to be misguided, whereas the light is singular because there is only one straight path
Musa went beyond that to remind his people about the days Allah gave them victory and destroyed their enemy [14:5]. 
Be Thankful for the blessing of guidance

So the Surah invites us to show gratitude to Allah; the more we thank Him, the more He will increase us in blessings:  

وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ
Remember that He promised, “If you are thankful, I will give you more, but if you are thankless, My punishment is terrible indeed.” [14:7]
Thanking Allah takes different ways and forms: sometimes you need to consciously try to “count” all the blessings that accompany one particular gift from Allah (e.g. the gift of eyesight); This is why Allah commands us in [14:34] to count A blessing (in singular form):

وَآتَاكُم مِّن كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ وَإِن تَعُدُّواْ نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ لاَ تُحْصُوهَا إِنَّ الإِنسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفَّارٌ
And given you some of everything you asked Him for, if you tried to count God’s favors you could never calculate them: man is truly unjust and ungrateful. [14:34]

Another Ayah [14:28] refers to particularly the blessing of guidance, and rebukes those who belittle it and reject it, hence ending up in disbelief:
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ بَدَّلُواْ نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ كُفْرًا وَأَحَلُّواْ قَوْمَهُمْ دَارَ الْبَوَارِ
[Prophet], do you not see those who, in exchange for God’s favor, offer only ingratitude and make their people end up in the home of ruin, Hell [14:28]
Consequences of Herd Mentality 

People in misguided are usually on different levels: some are masters and leaders while others are slaves and followers; the Surah describes how their relations will be severed on the Day of Judgment:

وَبَرَزُواْ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا فَقَالَ الضُّعَفَاء لِلَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُواْ إِنَّا كُنَّا لَكُمْ تَبَعًا فَهَلْ أَنتُم مُّغْنُونَ عَنَّا مِنْ عَذَابِ اللَّهِ مِن شَيْءٍ قَالُواْ لَوْ هَدَانَا اللَّهُ لَهَدَيْنَاكُمْ 
When they all appear before Him, the weak will say to the power seekers, ‘We were your followers. Can you protect us from any of God’s punishment?’ They will reply, ‘If God had guided us, we would have guided you. It makes no difference now whether we rage or endure with patience: there is no escape.’ [14:21]
And the ultimate master of all misguidance, the devil himself, will give a speech to his followers, dissociating himself from them, and he will say the truth for the first time to them, but after it’s too late:

وَقَالَ الشَّيْطَانُ لَمَّا قُضِيَ الأَمْرُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَعَدَكُمْ وَعْدَ الْحَقِّ وَوَعَدتُّكُمْ فَأَخْلَفْتُكُمْ وَمَا كَانَ لِيَ عَلَيْكُم مِّن سُلْطَانٍ إِلاَّ أَن دَعَوْتُكُمْ فَاسْتَجَبْتُمْ لِي فَلاَ تَلُومُونِي وَلُومُواْ أَنفُسَكُم 
When everything has been decided, Satan will say, ‘God gave you a true promise. I too made promises but they were false ones: I had no power over you except to call you, and you responded to my call, so do not blame me; blame yourselves. [14:22]
The beautiful Tree of Guidance

The testimony of faith, La Ilaha Illa Allah, was given the analogy of a beautiful tree with firm grounds and branches that are reaching the skies:

أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلاً كَلِمَةً طَيِّبَةً كَشَجَرَةٍ طَيِّبَةٍ أَصْلُهَا ثَابِتٌ وَفَرْعُهَا فِي السَّمَاء
[Prophet], do you not see how God makes comparisons? A good word is like a good tree whose root is firm and whose branches are high in the sky, [14:24]
People love trees, and their lives are always connected to them especially back in the days, when the only way to find life was to search for water and greenery.  
The Legacy of Prophet Ibrahim

The surah was named after prophet Ibrahim, and it narrates a beautiful supplication that he made to the blessed city of Mecca, and to his offspring and the rest of humanity; In his duaa, he asked Allah to provide for his community from the food and the fruits, and to make Mecca a point of attraction for the hearts of the believers; however, the focus of his supplication was centered around guidance, being the most important gift to ask Allah for:

وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّ اجْعَلْ هَذَا الْبَلَدَ آمِنًا وَاجْنُبْنِي وَبَنِيَّ أَن نَّعْبُدَ الأَصْنَامَ
Remember when Abraham said, ‘Lord, make this town safe! Preserve me and my offspring from idolatry, [14:35]
رَبِّ اجْعَلْنِي مُقِيمَ الصَّلاةِ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي رَبَّنَا وَتَقَبَّلْ دُعَاء
Lord, grant that I and my offspring may keep up the prayer. Our Lord, accept my request. [14:40]
Action Item:

Ask Allah for guidance, constantly and continuously, as much as you ask Him for other favors and blessings of income and family and worldly matters. Reflect on how you were guided, and how you can increase in guidance and share it with those around you in the best manner.

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