SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- One of the clear signs in Makkah (as a verse in the Quran tells us) is the Maqam Ibrahim where Prophet Ibrahim stood.
Regarding the meaning and interpretation of “Maqam Ibrahim”, some believe that it is equal to all of Hajj. Others
believe it to be ‘Arafah’, ‘Mash’arul-Haram’ and the three ‘Jamarats’ (pillars) while a third group believe it to
encompass all of the Haram of Makkah. Nevertheless, considering the different reasons and the apparent
meaning of the related verse, it seems that what is meant by the term is the famous standing place of Prophet
Ibrahim which is a point near the Ka’bah where a stone bearing his footprint lies. Pilgrims pray the tawaf prayer
behind this very place after performing the tawaf.
It has been narrated that when Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail were building the Ka’bah, he couldn’t reach
the top so he put a rock under his feet, and as a result of the pressure exerted from his feet on the stone, an
imprint of his foot was left on it. There is also another narration that says that when Prophet Ibrahim visited his
son Ismail, Ismail’s wife asked him to bend down so she could shake off the dust from his head and face and
wash his feet. He put his right foot on a rock for her to do so, leaving a footprint there.
In Makkah and around the Masjidul-Haram, clear signs of the worship of Allah (swt) can be seen. The
continuation and preservation of these signs throughout history against strong enemies who had the thought of
destroying them in mind, is one of Allah's (swt) miracles. Signs of the great Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) have
remained there such as the spring of Zamzam, Safa, Marwa, the Rukn, Hatim, the Hajarul-Aswad and the Hijr of
Ismail, which are all embodiments of history and past eras.
Amongst these clear signs is the Maqam or ‘Standing Place’ of Ibrahim. It is said that in Arabic, ‘maqam’ refers
to where the two feet of a person are situated when standing. Since it is said that it is the place that Prophet
Ibrahim stood when building the Ka’bah or when performing the Hajj rituals, or when inviting the people to the
straight path, it is called the “Maqam Ibrahim” (standing place of Ibrahim).
There is no one opinion regarding its tafsir and interpretation. There are several in which we will point to some
a) Some believe that all of Hajj’s rituals from the beginning to the end are the “Maqam Ibrahim”.
b) Some say that it isn't all of the rituals, but some of them, such as: “Arafah”, “Mash’arul-Haram” and the three “Jamarat” (Pillars).
c) Some say it is all of the haram of Makkah
d) Although all of the above all remind us of the courage and sacrifices of Prophet Ibrahim, nevertheless, considering the reasons we will list and the apparent meaning of the verse that contains the term, it seems that it is only referring to the famous standing place of the prophet, which is the point next to the Kabah. There is a special rock there with the footprint of Prophet Ibrahim on it. Pilgrims pray the tawaf prayer close to the Maqam after performing the tawaf (circumbulance) around the Kabah.
Hadiths have been narrated from reliable sources that corroborate this last opinion, here are a few:
In the book of Kafi, Imam Sadiq (as) has explained the phrase “فیه آیات بینات” like such: “One of them (the clear signs) is Maqam Ibrahim in which Ibrahim stood upon, leaving a footprint in the stone, the other being the Hajarul-Aswad and the third being the Hijr of Ismail.”
Ibrahim Teymi says: “Imam Sadiq (as) leaned against me and said: “O Ibrahim! Do you want to know the rewards of your tawaf? I said: May I be your ransom, yes! He said: “Whosoever visits the house of God and circulates around it seven times and prays two rak’ats at the Maqam Ibrahim, will be rewarded ten thousand blessings and his rank will be raised by ten thousand levels…”.
By focusing on these two hadiths, one can conclude that what is meant by Maqam Ibrahim is the famous standing place of Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) in which pilgrims pray two rak’ats behind after finishing the tawaf of the Ka’bah.
Fakhr Razi has also argued for this same claim (that the term refers to the famous standing place only) through different reasons, namely:
1- It has been narrated that when Jaber finished his tawaf, he went towards the Maqam and recited the verse
“و اتخذوا من مقام ابراهیم مصلی”. This shows that what is meant by the Maqam, is the famous place.
2- The term is used for the famous place amongst the Makkans themselves, because if you ever ask them to show you the Maqam, they will show you the famous place.
3- (As was pointed to before the verse speaks of it being one of the clear signs and) Prophet Ibrahim leaving a footprint in stone is a clear sign for the oneness of Allah (swt) and is a miracle of the prophet. Therefore, if we call this area the Maqam and standing place of Ibrahim, it is better than to call another place by it [because this area contains a miracle and is a sign, making the verse that says it is a sign apply to it, as opposed to other places that don’t contain a clear sign and miracle].
4- Allah (swt) orders us (in the verse) to take the Maqam as a place of prayer. At the same time, no other part of the Haram of Makkah (except for the famous place known as the Maqam) is specifically associated with worship, therefore only this place must be the Maqam.
5- The Maqam of Ibrahim is where he would stand up and it has been proven through hadiths that (according to one narration) this stone is where he stood while washing his feet, while it hasn’t been proven that he stood anywhere else (In other words, the only place hadiths speak of him standing is this place, so it must be the Maqam of Ibrahim).
Therefore, the Maqam of Ibrahim is a stone in which bears the footprint of Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh). There are many hadiths that the original stone in which he would stand on to erect the walls of the Ka’bah is located underground, at the same point and area in which is called the Maqam today and that the standing place of Ibrahim is next to the area in which the tawaf takes place, across from theMultazim side of the Ka’bah.
 Ibn Mandhur, Lisanul-Arab, vol. 12, pg. 498.
 Naser Makarem Shirazi, Tafsir Nemouneh, vol. 3, pg. 15 (with some alteration).
 Abu Abdillah Fakhruddin Muhammad ibn Umar Razi, Mafatihul-Gheib, vol. 4, pg. 44; Naser Makarem Shirazi, Tafsir Nemouneh, vol. 1, pg. 448 (with alteration).
 Kuleini, Kafi, vol. 4, pg. 223.
 Ibn Fahd Hilli, Uddatul-Da’i, pg. 192.
 Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, Biharul-Anwar, vol. 21, pg. 403; Sahih uslim (chapter of Hajj, Hadith 147) quoted by Ibn Kathir Dameshqi; Ismail ibn Amr, Tafsirul-Quranil-Adhim, vol. 1, pg. 293.
 Abu Abdillah Fakhruddin Muhammad ibn Umar Razi, Mafatihul-Gheib, vol. 4, pg. 44.
 Muhammad Husein Tabatabai, Al-Mizan (Farsi translation), vol. 3, pg. 546, translator:Seyyid Muhammad Baqir Musawi Hamedani.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- In the Quran Ibrahim has been known as a "Hanif" individual and the prophet has called the Muslim Ummah to follow his path. From the Islamic perspective there is no fundamental difference between holy religions, therefore following the religion of Ibrahim is actually the following of original Christianity and Judaism. It should be kept in mind that the prophet never opposed the teachings of true Christianity and Judaism; instead Islam shares a lot with these religions, like the issue of Qisas (compensation). But we all know that these religions and there books have been altered and distorted through history and the Christians and Jews contemporary to the prophet possessed these books, and if the Quran and prophet were to officially announce that Islam was following Christianity and Judaism, there were chances that the heads of these religions would take advantage of such an announcement, causing problems for the spread of Islam. But calling people to Prophet Ibrahim's message would not entail such difficulties, because not only was Ibrahim a very respected figure to Christians, Jews and Muslims, but also his religion no longer had anyone claiming to be a high figure in it. This way Islam would not face any problems by calling its followers of Prophet Ibrahim's religion.
Your question can be broken down into two questions:
1- Who are the "Hanifiyyun" and what does the word "Hanif" mean in the Quran?
2- Why was the Prophet called a "Hanif" and not a Christian?
In order to explain the first question we will shed some light on a few points:
1.1 When we refer to Arabic dictionaries we find that the term "Hanif" is used for one who seeks the truth and turns away from false religions. The meaning of "Hanif" covers those who have not been influenced by religious and tribal bias to put aside the truth and still seek it.
Prophet Ibrahim was among the "Hanifiyyun" which sought the truth. In one hadith by Imam Sadiq (as), in interpretation of verse 67 from Surah Ale Imran, he says: "Ibrahim was a sincere person who never went after worshipping the idols." This is why his path is known as a "Hanif" path in the Quran.
1.2 But did the followers of Ibrahim actually come together and establish an organized religion and create a community under the name of the ‘Hanifiyyun’ in which they would practice their religion's teachings the same way the Christians or Jews did? History does not show such a thing at least at the time of the prophet (pbuh), because all the things necessary for an organized religion with such a name were missing at the advent of Islam, things like:
1- A leader that would preside over the community and the followers of the religion.
2- A book or other religious text that could be referred to when encountering a matter of dispute.
3- Temples or places of worship where the believers could carry out there religious ceremonies and worship God.
4- Scholars that people could refer to when they could not solve their religious problems.
Despite the fact that many of his people considered Ibrahim their religious leader at that time, but no book or scripture has been attributed to him, not even an altered and distorted one, unlike the Christians and Jews that had books like the Bible and the Torah. Moreover there is no specific place where they would worship God like the Churches, Synagogues and Mosques other than the Ka'aba. They also didn't have scholars or clergymen that would preach the religion like Priests and Monks. Therefore Ibrahim did not establish a community comprised of the believers, but rather those people who would not worship the idols and would not accept the wrong traditions of their society considered themselves followers of this great prophet of Allah without gathering together. The ahadith refer to these people as the "Hanifs”. Some of the teachings Ibrahim called his people to were practiced before the advent of Islam. For example the ritual of Hajj, showing hospitality towards guests, protecting the property and goods of orphans and taking care of relatives were common among the Arabs before the birth of Islam.
1.3 The Almighty has used many words that derive from the root word of "Hanif" in the Quran and in most verses Allah has commanded the prophet to follow Ibrahim's path; a religion that never underwent distortion and alteration. In some verses it has been stated that Ibrahim's path was a straight and ‘hanif’ one.
In other words in some verses it has been pointed out that Ibrahim was a "Hanif" while in others Allah says that the path he had chosen was a "Hanif" one.
When scrutinizing the verses we find that they do not indicate that there was a specific religion as "Hanifiah", but rather the verses are saying the teachings of Ibrahim should be followed without being altered or changed, and the acts of those who only claim that they follow Ibrahim's teachings but do not practice them in their lives of the Christians, Jews and even sometimes the idol worshippers are not accepted by Islam and the Quran.
At the same time, we all know that the prophets that were sent after Ibrahim like Yaqub, Yusuf, Musa and Isa were descendants and followers of Prophet Ibrahim's path whose teachings were all in line with his, therefore if the books of Musa and Isa were not altered and corrupted they would have been consistent with Ibrahim's teachings. Despite this fact, both Christians and Jews say that they have ‘Abrahamic’ religions!
According to what was explained above one can conclude that there was no organized religion known as "Hanifiah". The Quranic verses that relate to Ibrahim and the ahadith that point out the prophet’s belief in Ibrahim's religion only indicate that the prophet of Islam has always followed the straight path and not strayed from it, like Prophet Ibrahim himself.
2- The question that may come to mind is that if all the holy religions share the same fundamental teachings and that the prophet (pbuh) was supposed to follow the last religion brought to people before him meaning Christianity, then how come the prophet did not publicly announce that he followed those religions? Especially since some of these religions had more followers and were well known. Announcing his faith in Ibrahim and not Jesus or Moses implied that these two prophets of Allah had gone astray and chosen a path other than their ancestor’s!
One may be able to find the answer of such a question by examining what was said above, but in order to explain the answer one more time we will shed light on some points:
2.1 The many religions that were practiced in the Arabian Peninsula had serious differences in beliefs but all shared great respect for Prophet Ibrahim. There is no doubt that all Christians and Jews showed respect for Prophet Ibrahim, but it is very interesting to know that even the idol worshippers revered him. Not only that, but they would also practice some of the rituals that Ibrahim had established at his time like Hajj, and although they had tainted his religion with idolatry and many other wrong beliefs and traditions, they never saw him as their enemy and wouldn’t allow any insulting when it came to him.
2.2 It is easy to forget that even though the prophet publicly told the people that he followed Ibrahim and his teachings, not on one occasion before or after being chosen as a prophet did he oppose the teachings of true Christianity or Judaism, instead Quranic verses indicate that the original teachings of these religions are accepted in Islam.
In other words believing in Ibrahim does not contradict belief in Musa and Isa and from Islam's perspective it is obligatory to follow all of divine prophets, the same way Shias name themselves "the followers of Imam Ali" or the "followers of Imam Sadiq" but actually follow all twelve Imams and obey the commands of all of them.
2.3 Not only did the Prophet claim that he followed Ibrahim before his prophethood but even after being chosen as a prophet, he insisted that he practiced the teachings of this great prophet of Allah. Obviously such a claim does not imply that the prophet didn't consider himself a messenger of Allah and was only a follower of another one. Instead it shows that by following Prophet Ibrahim before his own prophethood, he hadn’t disregarded the prophethood of Musa and Isa and that there were other reasons for him not to say he is of their followers after his prophethood.
2.4 As was explained above, Ibrahim's religion was not practiced by a certain community close to the coming of Islam, and there were no people that considered themselves the preachers or leaders of his religion, however the Christians and Jews had established practicing communities. Christian and Jewish scholars strived to not only cover and hide the alteration they had caused in their religion and preach that religion, but they also made much effort to claim that great people in history like Ibrahim were on their side and practiced their altered religions. For example at the time of the prophet the Jews claimed that Ibrahim was Jewish while Christians would claim that he was Christian. This matter of dispute has been mentioned in the Quran as well. In the Quran Allah reminds the Christians and Jews that Ibrahim lived before the advent of both religions and there was no way he could have been following either one of them, meaning that their disagreements only stemmed from their stubbornness and self-centeredness.
We need to picture what would have happened if the prophet had told the people that he was a follower of Isa. Judging by what they would attribute to Ibrahim as a prophet that lived before both religions, if the prophet of Islam would have said that he followed the Christians or Jews before his prophethood, the Christians and Jews would have always had and excuse to make false claims about his new message and religion.
It seems that problems like this were what didn’t allow the Prophet of Islam to announce his adherence to Great prophets of Allah like Musa and Isa. If the prophet had done such a thing the Christian and Jewish scholars which had actually altered the religion of these prophets could have taken advantage of this and used their many resources to slow him down in fulfilling his mission by inviting him to their religions and in the case of him refusing, to introduce him to the naive people of that time as an apostate who was against their teachings. Finally if they could not stop the prophet from spreading the message of Islam they would still have one more thing to do, and that was to claim that the prophet’s religion was none other than a branch of Christianity or Judaism, not a new religion other than the two.
But by announcing his adherence to prophet Ibrahim, which was in reality an indirect adherence to Musa and Isa, he would not confront these difficulties as well as letting people know that he believed in the previous messengers of Allah.
 Ibn Mandhur, Lisanul-Arab, vol.9 pg. 57.
 "ما کان ابراهیم یهودیا و نصرانیا و لکن حنیفا مسلما و ما کان من المشرکین".
 Kuleini, Muhammad ibn Yaqub, Kafi, vol. 2, pg. 15, hadith 1.
 Sheikh Saduq, Kamaluddin, vol. 1, pg. 199, hadith 43.
 Kuleini, Muhammad Ibn Yaqub, Kafi, vol. 4, pg. 211, hadith 19.
 Baqarah:135; Ale-Imran:95; Nisa:125; An’am:161; Nahl:123.
 Ale-Imran:67; Nahl:120.
 Baqarah:132-133; Yusuf:38.
 Ma’idah:43-47; Shura:13 and other verses.
 Baqarah:136; Ale-Imran:84 “لا نفرق بین احد منهم” and Baqarah:285 “لا نفرق بین احد من رسله”.
 Sheikh Saduq, Kamaluddin, vol. 1, pg. 199, hadith 43.
 Baqarah:140; Ale-Imran:65-67"...یا أهل الکتاب لم تحاجون فی ابراهیم و ما أنزلت التوراة و الإنجیل إلا من بعده أ فلا تعقلون".