ibraheem

During his early childhood Ibraheem realised that his father made strange statues. One day, he asked him about what it was that he is making and his father replied that he is making statues of gods. Ibraheem was astonished and he impulsively rejected the idea. Being a child he played with such statues sitting on their backs as people sit on the backs of donkeys and camels. One day his father saw him riding the statue of Mardukh and he became furious and he ordered his son not to play with it again.

Ibraheem asked: "What is this statue, father? It has big ears, bigger than ours."

His father answered: "It is Mardukh, the god of gods, son! These big ears show his deep knowledge."

This made Ibraheem laugh, he was only seven years old at that time.

Years passed and Ibraheem grew. Since his childhood, his heart had been full of hatred for these idols. He could not understand how a sane person could make a statue and then worship what he had made. He noticed that these idols did not eat, drink or talk and they could not even turn themselves right side up if someone turned them upside down. How, then could people believe that such statues could harm or benefit them? Ibraheem's people had a big temple full of idols, in the middle of which was a spot for the biggest gods which was of different kinds, qualities and shapes. Ibraheem, who used to go to the temple with his father when he was a child, greatly despised all that wood and stone. What surprised him was the way his people behaved when they entered the temple; they bowed and started to cry, begging and asking their gods for help as if the idols could hear or understand these requests!

At first, such a sight seemed funny to Ibraheem, but later he began to feel angry. Was it not surprising that all those people could be deceived? What added to the problem was that his father wanted him to be a priest when he was grown up. He wanted nothing more from his son other than him worshipping those statues, yet Ibraheem never stopped displaying his hatred for them.

One night Ibraheem left his house to go to a mountain. He walked alone in the dark until he chose a cave in the mountain where he sat resting his back against its wall. He looked at the sky. He had hardly seen it when he remembered that he was looking at planets and stars which were worshipped by some people on earth. His young heart was filled with tremendous pain. He considered what was beyond the moon, the stars and the planets (i.e. Allah) and was astonished that these planets and stars were worshipped by men when they had been created to worship and obey their Creator, appearing and disappearing at His command.

Ibraheem clarified to his people that these planets and stars are not gods and cannot be worshipped as partners with Allah the Almighty. Indeed these bodies are created things, they appear sometimes and disappear at others, going out of sight from our world. However, Allah the Almighty does not lose sight of anything, and nothing can be hidden from Him. He is without end, everlasting without disappearance. There is no other God but Allah.

Ibraheem 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. Ibraheem 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. Ibraheem 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. Ibraheem asked all the other statues around him:

"Will you not eat of the offering before you?"

He was mocking them for he knew they would not eat. He once again asked them,

"What is the matter with you that you do not speak?"

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.

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 Ibraheem's name came to their minds.

"Who has done this to our gods?" They asked Ibraheem, "Are you the one who has done this to our gods, O Ibraheem?" Ibraheem said "No, this one, the biggest of them done it, Ask them, if they can speak!"

Furious, they demanded that Ibraheem be arrested and tried. Ibraheem 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 Ibraheem the chance to prove the foolishness of worshipping these lifeless objects.

They then realized 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 Ibraheem. They kept him in chains and planned their revenge.

Anger was burning in their hearts. They decided to throw Ibraheem 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 Ibraheem. 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 Ibraheem into the fire. Ibraheem 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 Ibraheem into the fire.

The angel Gabriel came near Ibraheem's head and asked him: "O Ibraheem do you wish for anything?" Ibraheem replied: "Nothing from you."

The catapult was shot and Ibraheem was cast into the fire. But his descent into the blaze was as descent on steps in a cool garden. The flames were still there, but they did not burn for Allah the Almighty had issued His command for the fire to be cool and safe for Ibraheem

The fire submitted to the will of Allah, becoming cool and safe for Ibraheem. It only burned his bonds, and he sat in the midst of the fire as if he were sitting in a garden. He glorified and praised Allah the Almighty, with a heart that contained only his love for Allah. There was not any vacant space therein for fear, awe, or worry. It was filled with love only.

Fear and awe were dead, and the fire was turned into coolness, making the air pleasant.

The throng, the chiefs, and the priests sat watching the fire from a distance. It was burning their faces and nearly suffocating them. It kept burning for such a long time that the disbelievers thought it would never be extinguished. When it did burn out, they were greatly amazed to find Ibraheem coming out of the pit untouched by the fire. Their faces were black from the smoke, but his was bright with the light and grace of Allah. The raging fire had become cool for Ibraheem and had only burned off the ropes which held him. He walked out of the fire as if he were walking out of a garden. Cries of astonishment were heard from the people.

Ibraheem's fame spread throughout the entire kingdom. People talked about how he had been saved from the blazing fire. In the meantime, Ibraheem continued calling people to believe in Allah, exerting a great effort to guide his people to the right path. He tried every means to convince them. However in spite of his love and care for his people, they felt angry and deserted him. Only one woman and one man of his people shared his belief in Allah. The woman's name was Sarah and she became his wife. The man's name was Lut and he became a prophet.

When Ibraheem realised that no one else was going to believe in his call, he decided to leave. He left his people and travelled with his wife and Lut to a city called Ur, then another called Haran, and then to Palestine.