The prophet Abraham had left his land and went to Egypt and dwelt in the land of Gerar. Sarah, his wife, was a very beautiful woman and Abraham feared for his life because of Sara’s beauty and because the men in that land were not fearful of Allah the Creator. He then decided to say that Sara was his sister.
Abimelech, king of the land of Gerar, sent for Sarah to live in his palace and be his wife: “From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech, king of Gerar, sent and took Sarah.” – Taurat, Genesis 20:1-2.
Prophet Abraham, despite being the prophet of Allah, demonstrated his weakness as a human being on this occasion. By saying that Sarah was his sister, he was doubting Allah’s perfect care. He reasoned that he would not be guilty of falsehood in presenting Sarah as his sister; for she was her father’s daughter, though not her mother’s, this is mentioned both in the Taurat and hadith. But this concealment of the true relationship between them was not right. No deviation from strict integrity can find the approval of Allah.
Allah then gave King Abimelech a dream to reveal the truth about Sarah: “But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” Now Abimelech had not approached her. So he said, “Lord, will you kill an innocent people? Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore, I did not let you touch her. Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.” – Taurat, Genesis 20:3-7.
Allah’s plans are perfect, He is faithful and true. Abimelech told his servants about the dream that very morning, and then called Abraham to bring Sarah back to her husband: “Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.” – Taurat, Genesis 20:9.
“Then Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and male servants and female servants, and gave them to Abraham, and returned Sarah his wife to him. And Abimelech said, “Behold, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you.” To Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. It is a sign of your innocence in the eyes of all who are with you, and before everyone you are vindicated.” Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children. For the Lord had closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.” – Taurat, Genesis 20:14-18.
Allah has once again given proof that He reveals the truth through dreams and that His plans and purposes do not fail, even if a prophet fails. Through this unusual situation, King Abimelech recognized the sovereignty of Allah and His mercy, furthermore, Allah made the king avoid making a serious mistake, as he was ignorant of the truth, and Abraham had the opportunity to explain himself and even intercede to stop the curse predicted for the royal house. Also, Allah protected Sarah and provided for the prophet Abraham.