What new things can we learn from the Prophet Ibrahim story from the Quran and Bible?

The Quran and Bible contain some common stories about the prophets. Perhaps we could discuss more and learn from each other.

Yes definitely.

For example both the Quran and the Bible contain stories about Abraham and we can learn much from this man of God.

That’s right.

Abraham was called “friend of God” the Quran says “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.”

The Bible also calls Abraham “friend of God”. It says “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness and he was called God’s friend.”

According to the Quran, how was Abraham able to gain such favor from God that he was even regarded by God as his friend?

One reason was that while many people in Abraham’s days worshiped idols, including his own father, Abraham was careful to worship only one God. In the Quran, Abraham said to his father Azar, “Do you take idols for gods? I see that you and your people are in evident error. I have directed my attention towards him who created the heavens and the earth, a monotheist and I am not of the idolaters.” 

We too must be careful not to have other gods in our life. We may not worship physical idols but do we have things that we award higher importance than God, for example money, career, family. These things can easily become the gods in our life that distract us from worshiping the one true God.

I agree. Nothing should be placed in a higher position than God. 

In the Quran, was Abraham called a friend of God because he was sinless?

No, while the prophets lived a good life, none of them was sinless. In the Quran Abraham prayed to God “forgive me my sin on the day of judgment.” Even though Abraham was not perfect yet he was declared righteous because of his faith.

This brings great encouragement to us. No matter how hard we try, we sometimes fall into sin but God is a forgiving God and he will forgive us if we repent. 

From the life of Abraham, we know that it is possible to live a life that is pleasing to God even though we are not perfect human beings.

What did Abraham do that pleased God and how can we learn from his life?

We read earlier that Abraham was called a friend of God because he worshiped God alone and did not have any idols besides God. In addition to that, Abraham had faith in God.

Faith in God is so important isn’t it? God considers us righteousness not simply by our outward religious behavior but also by our faith in him.

The Quran says: righteousness does not consist of turning your faces towards the east and the west but righteous is he who believes in God and the last day and the angels and the scripture and the prophets.

The Taurat also tells us that God considers Abraham righteous when he believed God. At a time when Abraham was still childless and both he and his wife were in their old age, God promised him many descendants. Even though this seemed impossible, Abraham believed God and was considered righteous because of his faith.

Abraham had faith in God and that made him totally committed to following God. The Quran says that Abraham was indeed a model devoutly obedient to Allah and true in faith.

Both the Quran and the torah tell us that God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son

isn’t it? After having waited so long to have descendants, Abraham’s son must have been the most precious thing to him. Yet when God asked him to sacrifice his son, Abraham willingly obeyed.

Yes, the Quran also has the account of Abraham offering his son as a sacrifice

but God was only testing him and he stopped Abraham in the last minute. The Quran says: and we redeemed him (i.e. Abraham’s son) with a great sacrifice.

Abraham was such a good example for us to follow. Are we like Abraham willing to obey God no matter how much it would cost us? While Abraham’s love for God is great, do you think God’s love for humans is even greater?

I would think God’s love for us is even greater and if even God had to sacrifice something for us he would.

I notice the Quran calls the animal a “great” sacrifice. If God is the creator of heaven and earth, why do you think a mere animal is considered great in the sight of God.

I have never noticed that. I don’t think I know the answer.

Christians believe the sacrifice provided by God to Abraham is called great because it points to something great in the Bible. We were told that when Abraham’s son asked his father where the sacrifice was, Abraham replied that God will provide a lamb. But what God provided to Abraham was not a lamb, but a ram. That’s why Abraham named the place “the lord will provide” rather than “the lord has provided”. He believed that God will one day provide a lamb on this same mountain as a sacrifice.

I see. Why is this lamb called “great”?

This lamb is called great because it is a great person who would come to earth centuries later as a sacrificial lamb. God himself had to provide the lamb as our ransom because we cannot save ourselves.

You are right. The Quran says: But proclaim to them this truth that every soul delivers itself to ruin by its own acts. It will find for itself no protector or intercessor except Allah. If it offered every ransom or reparation, none will be accepted.

Both the Quran and Bible teach that animal sacrifices are important. After Abraham will come another prophet to whom God reveals in greater detail the animal sacrifices that God requires.

Oh who is this prophet?

Let’s discuss this the next time.