Faith, sacrifice, commitment and patience.
These are just some of the qualities that characterize Prophet Ibrahim or Abraham as he is called in English, God’s peace be upon him. He is revered in not just Islam, but in Christianity and Judaism as well.
"Salam (peace) be upon Abraham!" God says in the Quran (37:109).
In Islam, Prophet Ibrahim is the friend of God and the father of Prophets (Ismail or Ishmael in English and Ishaq or Isaac in English; he is also the grandfather of Prophet Yaqub or Jacob. Peace be upon them all). He is also one of the ancestors of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.
In terms of beliefs, a Muslim must believe in all of the Prophets, including Abraham and his children and descendants.
When it comes to the five pillars of Islam, the importance of Prophet Ibrahim becomes even more evident.
The second pillar of Islam is Salat, the obligatory five daily prayers. Every Muslim who has reached the age of puberty is accountable for their prayers. During one part of each of these five prayers, Muslims must ask God to send His blessings upon Prophet Ibrahim. Now calculate this: you've got more than a few million Muslims, every day, five times a day, in virtually every time zone on this planet asking God to send His blessings on Prophet Ibrahim in the course of his or her prayer.
As well, the direction in which every Muslim must face when praying is towards a structure Prophet Ibrahim built with his son Ismail: the Kaba, in Mecca, also called Makkah, in Saudi Arabia.
With regards to the Kaba, God says this about it: "The first House (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakka (another name for Makkah); full of blessings and guidance for all kinds of beings: in it are signs manifest, the station of Abraham-whoever enters it attains security; pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to God-those who can afford the journey; but if any deny faith, God stands not in need of any of His creatures" (Quran 3:96-97).
This leads to the second way in which this Prophet, described as the intimate friend of God, (Quran 4:125), is revered: Hajj.
Hajj is the pilgrimage every Muslim must make to Makkah at least once in his or her lifetime. Hajj is also an obligation no Muslim is allowed to reject or ignore. It is in this rite that Prophet Ibrahim's importance becomes even more prominent.
In general, Prophet Ibrahim's centrality to this fifth pillar of Islam is indicated by the Prophet Mohammed's statement, “You must adhere to the traditions and rituals (of Hajj), for these have come down to you from (your forefather) Ibrahim in heritage (Tirmidhi). God’s peace and blessings be upon him.
The Kaba is the central structure around which the Hajj takes place. No Hajj is valid without going around this structure built by Prophets Ibrahim and Ismail in counterclockwise fashion seven times.
Another connection to Prophet Ibrahim in Hajj is that Muslims who perform the Hajj or Umra (which is not compulsory) must run in the middle portion of the distance between Safa and Marwa (two hills close to the Kaba) seven times. This is a commemoration of the sacrifice of the wife of Abraham, Hajar (may God be pleased with her) for her son Prophet Ismail.
Prophet Ibrahim had settled his wife and son in the valley of Makkah by God's order to pioneer a civilization. It was from this civilization that Prophet Mohammed, peace and blessings be upon him, was born.
Finally, Prophet's Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his beloved son Ismail for the sake of God exemplifies not only his sincere devotion to God. The commemoration of this sacrifice is practiced with the sacrifice of an animal during Hajj and during one of the two Islamic holy days: Eid-ul-Adha.
Both father and son willingly submitted to God's command. God substituted a ram in Ismail's place at the last moment. God talks about this incident in the Quran (37:100-107).
The sacrifice that is offered by Muslims all over the world every year at Eid-ul-Adha is in commemoration of the supreme act and spirit of sacrifice offered by Prophet Abraham in lieu of his son Ismail.