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by Saif Manzoor:

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Themes in Quran Series
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Millat-e-Ibrahim: the way of Prophet Abraham (PBUH)

Saif Manzoor
Updated: Nov 2005

Prophet Abraham is the most influential figure in the three monotheistic religions;
Islam, Christianity and Judaism. He is respected as their spiritual father by the
followers of these three major religions; together who constitute almost half the
human population. No one else holds such an esteemed and unifying position in
the human history. It is indeed the fulfillment of the God's promise to Abraham:

"Verily I am going to make you a leader of humankind". [2:124]

God has used the Arabic term 'Millat-e-Ibrahim' in Quran, to denote Prophet
Abraham's beliefs.  Islam is often called the "deen-e-Ibrahimi", i.e., The religion of
Abraham; since the ideology of Islam is very well summarized in the monotheistic
beliefs of Prophet Abraham. In Quran there is great emphasis on his beliefs and

And who forsaketh the religion of Abraham save him who befooleth himself?
Verily We chose him in the world, and lo! in the Hereafter he is among the
righteous. [2:130]

Meaning of the word Millat

The word Milla is derived from the root M-L-L in Arabic. It means a path or a way. It
is also used for creed, religion, faith, confession or denomination.

(refer to Hans Wehr dictionary of Modern Arabic)

Context in Quran

The word Milla is used in 15 different verses in Quran. Following are the contexts
in which this word is used:

From these contexts it appears that Milla denotes the way of thinking of an
individual or a group; it could be intellectual, a spiritual, faith, religion or all of them.

What is the way of Prophet Abraham?

Prophet Abraham lived in a society dominated by polytheism. People worshipped
celestial objects and idols. There were pantheons dedicated to these gods,
dominated by priests. He used his rational judgement to reject all these gods, as  
either the creation of the one God or mere inventions by their worshippers.

Quran presents two basic concepts, to explain the beliefs of Prophet Abraham:

A detailed description of his thoughts and character is also found in Quran, which
is summarized below:


Millat-e-Ibrahim means the faith of Prophet Abraham in one creator. He believed in
one God, after he rationally rejected all the other gods, worshipped by his people.
Once he believed in one God, he was firm in his faith,. He adhered to the  
principles of uprightness and never associated falsehood with God. These
qualities made him steadfast, strong in his spirit of sacrifice, compassionate and
just. For these qualities, God choose him as a model for human conduct forever.

4:125 “and who can be better in religion than one, who submits his face to God
and is a good doer and follows the way of Abraham the upright and God did take
Abraham as a friend.

Peace be upon Prophet Abraham, the spiritual father of all the believers.

Notes & References

2:120 “never will Jews and Christians be pleased with you till you follow their
2:130 “and who turns away from the Millat of Abraham except him who befools
2:135 “and they say be Jews or Christians then you will be guided. Say no the
Millat of Abraham the Upright…”
3:95 “say God has spoken the truth follow the Millat of Abraham the upright…”
4:125 “and who can be better in deen than one who submits his face to God and is
a good doer and follows the Millat of Abraham the upright and God did take
Abraham as a friend.
6:161 “say truly my God has guided me to a straight path a right deen the Millat of
Abraham the upright and did not associate falsehood with God”
12:37 “and I have abandoned the Millat of people who do not believe in God and
Hereafter “
12:38 “and have followed the Millat of my fathers, Abraham or Ibrahim , Issac or
Ishaq and Jacob or Yaqoob.”
16:123 “ and then we inspired you follow the Millat of Abraham the upright and he
was not of those who associate falsehood with God”
22:78 “…it is the Millat of your father Abraham…”
14:13][18:20] [38:7]
7:88][ 7:89]