Almighty Allah has said:
وَ لَقَدْ جَآءَتْ رُسُلُنَاۤ اِبْرٰهِیْمَ بِالْبُشْرٰى قَالُوْا سَلٰمًاؕ-قَالَ سَلٰمٌ فَمَا لَبِثَ اَنْ جَآءَ بِعِجْلٍ حَنِیْذٍ(۶۹) فَلَمَّا رَاٰۤ اَیْدِیَهُمْ لَا تَصِلُ اِلَیْهِ نَكِرَهُمْ وَ اَوْجَسَ مِنْهُمْ خِیْفَةًؕ-قَالُوْا لَا تَخَفْ اِنَّاۤ اُرْسِلْنَاۤ اِلٰى قَوْمِ لُوْطٍؕ(۷۰) وَ امْرَاَتُهٗ قَآىٕمَةٌ فَضَحِكَتْ فَبَشَّرْنٰهَا بِاِسْحٰقَۙ-وَ مِنْ وَّرَآءِ اِسْحٰقَ یَعْقُوْبَ(۷۱)قَالَتْ یٰوَیْلَتٰۤى ءَاَلِدُ وَ اَنَا عَجُوْزٌ وَّ هٰذَا بَعْلِیْ شَیْخًاؕ-اِنَّ هٰذَا لَشَیْءٌ عَجِیْبٌ(۷۲) قَالُوْۤا اَتَعْجَبِیْنَ مِنْ اَمْرِ اللّٰهِ رَحْمَتُ اللّٰهِ وَ بَرَكٰتُهٗ عَلَیْكُمْ اَهْلَ الْبَیْتِؕ-اِنَّهٗ حَمِیْدٌ مَّجِیْدٌ(۷۳) فَلَمَّا ذَهَبَ عَنْ اِبْرٰهِیْمَ الرَّوْعُ وَ جَآءَتْهُ الْبُشْرٰى یُجَادِلُنَا فِیْ قَوْمِ لُوْطٍؕ(۷۴) اِنَّ اِبْرٰهِیْمَ لَحَلِیْمٌ اَوَّاهٌ مُّنِیْبٌ(۷۵) یٰۤاِبْرٰهِیْمُ اَعْرِضْ عَنْ هٰذَاۚ-اِنَّهٗ قَدْ جَآءَ اَمْرُ رَبِّكَۚ-وَ اِنَّهُمْ اٰتِیْهِمْ عَذَابٌ غَیْرُ مَرْدُوْدٍ(۷۶)
And indeed Our angels came to Ibraheem with glad tidings, they said, ‘Salam,’ he responded, ‘Salaam,’ and without any delay brought a roasted calf. And when he saw their hands not reaching towards the food, he perceived them as strangers and inwardly began fearing them; they said, ‘Do not be afraid, we are sent to the people of Lut.’ And his wife was standing by and she started laughing, so We gave her glad tidings regarding Ishaq, and after Ishaq, Ya’qoob. She said, ‘O woe! What! Will I bear a child whereas I am an old woman, and this is my husband; an old man? Indeed this is something astonishing.’ The angels said, ‘Are you astonished at the work of Allah? Allah’s Mercy and His Blessings be upon you, O people of this house (of Ibraheem)! Indeed only He is All Praiseworthy, Most Honourable.’ And when Ibraheem’s fear subsided and Our glad tidings reached him, he began to dispute with regard to the people of Lut. Indeed Ibraheem is most forbearing, tender-hearted, and repentant. ‘O Ibraheem! Refrain from this thought; indeed your Lord’s command has arrived, and indeed a punishment is destined upon them, that which will not be averted.’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 12, Surah Hood, Ayah 69 to 76)
Here is a summary of the above-mentioned eight Ayahs of Surah Hood. In the shape of beautiful boys, angels once came to Sayyiduna Ibraheem عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام and said Salam. He عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام replied to the Salam and, considering them to be guests, he عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام brought a roasted calf to be served to them. But the guests did not reach out their hands towards the food at all. Upon this, he عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام felt uneasy and fearful that they might cause any harm. Noticing his fear, the angels respectfully said, ‘Don’t be afraid. We are not eating food for the reason that we are angels and have been sent in order to bring retribution [punishment] to the people of Lut.’ During this conversation, Sayyidatuna Sarah رَضِىَ اللّٰەُ عَنْهَا who was the wife of Sayyiduna Ibraheem عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام was also standing behind the curtain. Having listened to the glad tidings of a son or something else, she laughed. The angels gave Sayyidatuna Sarah رَضِىَ اللّٰەُ عَنْهَا the glad tidings of the birth of her son, Sayyiduna Ishaq عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام and then that of his son Sayyiduna Ya’qoob عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام. Hearing the glad tidings, Sayyidatuna Sarah رَضِىَ اللّٰەُ عَنْهَا said in astonishment, ‘Will a son be born to me despite the fact that I am old and my husband is also very elderly.’ At that time, Sayyiduna Ibraheem عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام was 120 years of age and Sayyidatuna Sarah رَضِىَ اللّٰەُ عَنْهَا was 90 years of age. (Jalalayn ma’ Saawi, vol. 3, pp. 923) The angels replied that she was not supposed to be astonished at the Divine Will because she belonged to the family who had observed miracles and usually impossible actions and her house had been the place where Divine mercy and blessings descended.
Anyway, after conversing with the angels, the fear of Sayyiduna Ibraheem عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام subsided and he exchanged words in the form of questions and answers with the angels about the people of Sayyiduna Lut عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام. Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ has described it in these words “He began to dispute with regard to the people of Lut”. He عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام wanted that punishment be revoked and some more time and chance be given to the people of the town for repenting of disbelief and embracing Islamic faith. Due to this mercy and sympathy shown by Sayyiduna Ibraheem عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام, Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ praised him, i.e. he was so forbearing, Allah-fearing and would cry and ‘مُّنِیْبٌ’ i.e. repent very much in the Divine court. In other words, it was said that the one who feared Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ and repented to Him due to Divine retribution on others, so how greatly he would fear and repent to Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ regarding his own matter.
After Sayyiduna Ibraheem عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام had a long conversation about the people of Sayyiduna Lut, the angels respectfully said, ‘O Ibraheem! Give up the request of having Divine retribution [i.e. punishment] revoked because the Lord of all the worlds has given final decision to bring retribution to these people. Therefore, this retribution cannot be revoked in any way.’ Afterwards, the retribution was brought to the people of Sayyiduna Lut.
Lesson from these Ayahs
٭ To say Salam at the time of meeting is a Sunnah of blessed Prophets عَلَيْهِمُ السَّلَام as well as that of angels.
٭ The blessed wives of the Holy Prophet Muhammad Mustafa صَلَّى اللّٰەُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم were included in his family as Sayyidatuna Sarah رَضِىَ اللّٰەُ عَنْهَا was declared in the above Ayah to be included in the family of Sayyiduna Ibraheem عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام.
٭ Sayyiduna Ibraheem عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام and his blessed wife were given the glad tidings of a son and a grandson, which revealed the news of Ghayb in the future. Of course, the angels giving the glad tidings also had the knowledge of this Ghayb.
٭ Tolerance, forbearance, Divine fear, shedding tears, repenting in the Divine court are the attributes liked very much by Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ.
٭ Mercy and sympathy should be shown to disbelievers by attempting to inspire them to gain the wealth of Islamic faith so that they get protected from never-ending retribution.
٭ In the Divine court, blessed Prophets عَلَيْهِمُ السَّلَام have a very high rank. It is they who can insist on their request in the great court of the Almighty.
٭ Regarding anything written on the sacred pages of angels, Mu’allaq Taqdeer [مُعَلَّق تَقْدِیْر] on something may be changed by means of prayers or pious deeds. Apparently Mubram and Qat’ee Taqdeer [قَطْعِی تَقْدِیْر] may also be changed by means of the prayers of blessed Prophets عَلَيْهِمُ السَّلَام and special Muslim saints. However, real Qat’ee Mubram Taqdeer never changes. If blessed Prophets عَلَيْهِمُ السَّلَام begin to pray about it, even they are forbidden from praying.