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Abraham was a great Prophet. As a tribute to his greatness, he was called Abul Anbiya (Father of the Prophets). Born in ancient Iraq, he traveled to different countries, such as Palestine, Egypt, and Syria. Lastly, he settled his wife, Hajira, and their son, Ishmael in the desert of Arabia, in a place near present-day Makkah. The Qur’an narrates the story of the life of the Prophet Abraham in different chapters. The above story is referred to in chapter fourteen. When the Prophet Abraham settled there, he said a prayer to God Almighty, which is recorded in the chapter Ibrahim (Abraham) of the Qur’an: O Lord! I have settled some of my offspring in an uncultivable valley near Your Sacred House, Lord, so that they may establish prayer. So, make people’s hearts incline towards them and provide them with fruits, so that they may be grateful. (14:37)

One aspect of this story was purely religious. This aspect is quite well-known. But there is also another aspect to it that may be termed secular. The latter aspect of this story has also a great lesson to teach. And this is no doubt a universal lesson. It was the invocation of natural law, that is, God created the present world with great potential, and then He gave man the capacity to turn this potential into reality.

Four thousand years ago, when this event occurred, most of this area was a desert. This was the same area that is now in the broader sense called the Middle East. It is now a land where there is greenery, agriculture, and horticulture, and where there are beautiful cities and modern infrastructure. Four thousand years ago all these things were hidden in nature. Now they have become a reality. The story of the Prophet Abraham was primarily a religious story, but it showed that our world is so full of potential that even a desert can be turned into a green belt. This is a lesson that is universal in its application.

God created man with a great mind. But the creation was based on what is called in education the ‘Discovery Method’. Everything was hidden in nature but it was required of a man that he employs his mind to discover all those things. The history of civilization is an ongoing demonstration of this principle.

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