And who is better in religion than one who submits himself to Allah while being a doer of good and follows the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth? And Allah took Abraham as an intimate friend.
The following is taken from under the commentary of the above verse:
“And who can be better in religion than one who submits his face (himself) to Allah (SWT); and he is a good-doer and follows the religion of Abraham (AS), the upright.”
This ayah describes the characteristics of a true believer of Allah’s (SWT) religion. They are those who submit their whole self to Allah (SWT) i.e. follow His religion of Islamic monotheism with utmost dedication and firm faith, perform good deeds and follow the faith of Abraham (AS) Hanifa i.e. the upright one.
“And Allah (SWT) did take Abraham (AS) as a friend.”
This is the highest degree of closeness to Allah (SWT) that one can reach i.e. attaining the level of becoming His Khalil, the highest degree of love. Allah chose him to be his friend.
Regarding the statement, “And Allah took Ibrahim as an intimate friend”, the authors of the ‘Study Quran’ write:
“Here Abraham is famously identified as the intimate friend of God (khalīl).
Of all the laudatory comments made about Abraham in the Quran, it is his
identification here as God’s intimate friend that gives Abraham his most well known honorific title in Islam, Khalīl Allāh. Although this particular honorific is used primarily for Abraham, some argue that it is a quality belonging to all the prophets, including Muhammad (Ṭs). Khalīl indicates a friendship so close that one loves and hates whatever one’s friend loves and hates and thus chooses allies and enemies in accordance with the allies and enemies of one’s friend (Ṭ). The Quran indicates that this is the ideal relationship that all believers should have with God, since it warns that the enemies of God should also be the enemies of the believers, and that the believers should not take the enemies of God as their friends (see, e.g., 60:1). Abraham demonstrates this himself, according to the statement in 9:114, which says that he used to pray for forgiveness for his father, but when it became clear to him that he was an enemy of God, he repudiated him. Sufi authors and commentators understand khalīl as referring to a fullness of love (maḥabbah) and say that Abraham was called Khalīl Allāh because love of God permeated (takhallala, from the same root as khalīl) every aspect of his being (Aj; Ibn ʿArabī, Fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam, faṣṣ 5).”
Nasr, Hossein (2015). Study Quran. http://www.islamicweblibrary.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/TheStudyQuran.pdf