Prophet Ibrahim (as) – also known as Prophet Abraham – is one of the greatest Prophets and the father of us all. He is described by Allah as being an Ummah. Muslims, jews and christians all trace roots back to him. Prophet Ibrahim (as) is mentioned in our prayers, at least 5 times a day, such an honoured position has he, and he was described as Khalil-ullah – the Friend of Allah (swt).
From Ibrahim’s (as) two sons lie the lineage of the Muslims and the Jews. From Ismail comes the line of the Arabs – the Muslims. From Ishaq comes the line of the Jews.
Alhamdulillah, Prophet Ibrahim (as) was on the truth from an early age. He questioned and challenged the idol worship of his time; he faced the disbelievers of Babylon; he faced Nimrud (Nimrod); with his son, Ismail, he built the Kaaba and it is from the family of Ibrahim that Hajj was established as one of the pillars of Islam, and something practised by millions upon millions of Muslims since the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
It is essential that Muslims know of the story of Prophet Ibrahim (as) as much of Islam refers to him.
The following are some snippets of the Stories of the Prophets as written by the renowned scholar (masha’Allah), Ibn Kathir and translated by Sheikh Muhammad Mustafa Geme’ah (Office of the Grand Imam, Sheikh Al-Azhar). I hope you will find them beneficial, insha’Allah.
IBRAHIM (AS) BREAKS THE IDOLS He explained to them the beauty of Allah’s creation, His power and wisdom. Idol worship is detested by Allah for Allah is the Lord of the universe Who created mankind, guided him and provided him with food and drink and cured him when he was sick and Who will cause him to die and be raised up again. iT was He to Whom Abraham prayed and Who would forgive his sins on the Day of Judgment. However, they would not give up but clung fast to idolatry. Abraham left his father’s house and abandoned his people and what they worshipped. He decide to do something about their state of disbelief, but did not reveal it. He knew that there was going to be a great celebration on the other bank of the river which would be attended by all the people.
Abraham waited until the city was empty, then came out cautiously, directing his steps towards the temple. the streets leading to it were empty and the temple itself was deserted for the priests had also gone to the festival outside the city. Abraham went there carrying a sharp axe. He looked at the stone and wood statues of the gods and at the food laid in front of them as offerings. He approached one of the statues and asked: “The food in front of you is getting cold. Why don’t you eat?” the statue kept silent and rigid.
Abraham asked all the other statues around him: “Will you not eat of the offering before you?” (Ch 37:91)
He was mocking them for he knew they would not eat. He once again asked then: “What is the matter with you that you do not speak?” (Ch 37:92)
He then raised his axe and started smashing the false gods worshipped by the people. He destroyed them all except one on whose neck he hung the axe. After this his anger subsides and he felt at peace. He left the temple. He had fulfilled his vow to show his people a practical proof of their foolishness in worshipping something other than Allah.
THE IDOLATERS QUESTION IBRAHIM (AS)
When the people returned, they were shocked to see their gods smashed to pieces, lying scattered all over the temple. They began to guess who had done that to their idols and Abraham’s name came to their minds.
Allah the Almighty said: they said: “Who has done this to our aliah (gods)? He must indeed be one of the wrongdoers.”
They said: “We heard a young man talking against them who is called Abraham.” They said: “Then bring him before the eyes of the people, that they may testify.”
They said: “Are you the one who has done this to our gods, O Abraham?” Abraham said: “nay, this one, the biggest of them (idols) did it, Ask them, if they can speak!”So they turned to themselves and said: “Verily you are the Zalimun (polytheists, and wrongdoers).”Then they turned to themselves (their first thought and said): “Indeed you (Abraham) know well that these idols speak not?”
Abraham said: “DO you then worship besides Allah, things that can neither profit you nor harm you? If upon you, and upon that which you worship besides Allah! Have you then no sense?” (Ch 21:59-67 Quran)
Furious, they demanded that Abraham be arrested and tried. Abraham did not resist. This was precisely what he had been aiming for, so that he could show them up in public for their foolish beliefs. At the trial they asked him if he was responsible for breaking the idols. Smiling, he told them to ask the biggest idol which was still whole. He told them that he must be the culprit! They replied that he knew well that the idol could not speak or move which gave Abraham the chance to prove the foolishness of worshipping these lifeless objects.
They then realised the senselessness of their beliefs; however, their arrogance would not allow them to admit their foolishness. All they could do was to use their power of authority as tyrants usually do to punish Abraham. They kept him in chains and planned their revenge.
THE IDOLATERS TRY TO BURN IBRAHIM (AS)
Anger was burning in their hearts. They decided to throw Abraham into the biggest fire they could build. All the citizens were ordered to gather wood as a service to their gods. Ignorant, sick women vowed that if they were cured they would donate so much wood to burn Abraham.
For several days they collected fuel.
They dug a deep pit, filled it with firewood and ignited it. They brought a catapult with which to cast Abraham into the fire. Abraham was put on the catapult, his hands and feet were tied. The fire was ready with its flame reaching the sky. The people stood away from the pit because of the great heat. Then the chief priest gave his order to cast Abraham into the fire.