Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham)
of Abraham and his Family
Some of the People of the Book stated that his name was
Abraham Ibn Tarikh, Ibn Nahur, Ibn Sarough, Ibn Raghu, Ibn Phaligh, Ibn
Aher, Ibn Shalih, Ibn Arfghshand, Ibn Sam, Ibn Noah.
They said that when Tarikh was seventy five years old,
he had Abraham, Nahor (Nohour) and Haran. Haran had a son named Lot.
They also said that Abraham was the middle child and that Haran died in
the lifetime of his father in the land where he was born, the land of
the Chaldeans (Al Kaldanieen), also known as Babylonia. At that time
some people worshipped idols of stone and wood; others worshipped the
planets, stars, sun and moon; still others worshipped their kings and
Abraham was born into that atmosphere, into a typical
family of that ancient time. The head of the family was not even an
ordinary idolater, but was one who totally rejected Allah and who used
to make the idols with his own hands. Some traditions claimed that
Abraham's father died before his birth and he was raised by an uncle
whom Abraham called father. Other traditions said that his father was
alive and was named Azer.
Into that family Abraham was born, destined to stand
against his own family, against the entire system of his community. In
brief, he stood against all kinds of polytheism.
He was endowed with spiritual understanding from an
early age. Allah enlightened his heart and mind gave him wisdom from
childhood. Allah the Almighty stated:
"Indeed We bestowed aforetime
on Abraham his (portion of) guidance, and We were Well Acquainted with
him( as to his Belief in the Oneness of Allah etc). (Ch 21:51)
During his early childhood Abraham realized that his
father made strange statues. One day, he asked him about what it was he
made. His father replied that he made statues of gods. Abraham was
astonished and he spontaneously rejected the idea. Being a child he
played with such statues sitting on their backs as people sit on the
backs of donkeys and mules.
One day his father saw him riding the statue of
Mardukh and he became furious. He ordered his son not to play with it
Abraham 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 Abraham laugh, he was only seven years old
at that time.
Abraham's Hatred for
Years passed and Abraham 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?
Abraham 's people had a big temple full of idols, in
the middle of which was a niche accommodating the biggest gods which
was of different kinds, qualities and shapes. Abraham, 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 imploring their gods for help as if the idols could hear or
understand these requests!
At first, such a sight seemed funny to Abraham, but
later he began to feel angry. Was it not astonishing 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. He wanted nothing more
from his son that that he revere those statues, yet Abraham never
stopped displaying his hatred and disdain of them.
Abraham Discovers Allah
One night Abraham 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 celestial bodies were worshipped by men when they had been
created to worship and obey their Creator, appearing and disappearing
at His command.
Abraham Reasons with
Abraham, addressed his people who worshipped
celestial bodies as Almighty Allah revealed:
"Thus did We show
Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and the earth that he be one of
those who have Faith and certainty. When the night covered him over
with darkness he saw a star. He said: "This is my lord." But when it
set, he said: "I like not that those who set." When he saw the moon
rising up he said: "This is my lord." but when it set he said: "Unless
my Lord guides me, I shall surely be among the erring people." When he
saw the sun rising up he said: "This is my lord, This is greater." But
when it set, he said: "O my people! I am indeed free from all that you
join as partners in worship with Allah. Verily, I have turned my face
towards Him Who has created the heavens and the earth Hanifan (Islamic
Monotheism, i.e. worshipping none but Allah Alone) and I am not of the
Al Mushrikeen (those who worship others besides Allah)."
His people disputed with him. He said: "Do you
dispute with me concerning Allah while HE has guided me and I fear not
those whom you associate with Allah in worship. (Nothing can happen to
me) except when my Lord (Allah) wills something. My Lord comprehends in
His Knowledge all things. Will you not then remember?
"And how should I fear those whom you associate in
worship with Allah (though they can neither benefit nor harm), while
you fear not that you have joined in worship with Allah things for
which HE has not sent down to you any authority. So which of the two
parties has more right to be in security? If you but know."
It is those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah
and worship none but Him Alone) and confuse not their belief with Zulm
(wrong, i.e. by worshipping others besides Allah), for them only there
is security and they are the guided. And that was Our proof which We
gave Abraham against his people. We raise whom We will in degrees.
Certainly your Lord is All Wise, All Knowing. (Ch 6:75-83 Quran).
In that debate, Abraham clarified to his people that
these celestial bodies do not serve as deities and cannot be worshipped
as partners with Allah the Almighty. Indeed these bodies are created
things, fashioned, controlled, managed and made to serve. 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 deity but Allah.
Abraham made clear to them, first that the celestial
bodies are unworthy of worship and second that they are among the signs
of Allah. Almighty Allah commanded:
"And from among His Signs are the
night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate not to the sun
nor to the moon, but prostrate to Allah Who created them if you really
worship Him. (Ch 41:37)
Abraham's reasoning helped to reveal the truth, and
then the conflict between him and his people began for the worshippers
of the stars and planets did not stand mute. they began arguing and
"Do you dispute with me concerning
Allah while HE has guided me, and I fear not those whom you associate
with Allah in worship. (Nothing can happen to me except when my Lord
(Allah) wills something. My Lord comprehends in His Knowledge all
things. Will you not then remember? How should I fear those whom you
associate in worship with Allah (though they can neither benefit or
harm), while you fear not that you have joined in worship with Allah
things for which He has not sent down to you any authority. SO which of
the two parties has more rights to be in security? .....if you but
know! It is those who believe (in the oneness of Allah and worship none
but HiAlone) and confuse not their belief with Zulm (wrong by
worshipping others besides Allah), for them only there is security and
they are the guided." (Ch 6:80-82)
Abraham Reasons with
The curtains are drawn on the first category of the
people, those who were worshipping celestial bodies. the next situation
reveals the second group, those who were practicing idolatry. Allah
gave Abraham (pbuh) the reasoning he needed the first time and every
time he argued with his people. Almighty Allah declared:
was Our Proof which We gave Abraham against his people. We raised whom
We will in degrees. Certainly your Lord is All Wise, All Knowing. (Ch
Abraham did his best to make his people heedful to the
belief in the oneness of Almighty Allah and to the worship of Him
alone. He bade them to firmly renounce the worship of idols. HE said to
his father and his people:
"What are these images, to which you are
devoted?" they said: "We found our fathers worshipping them." He said:
"Indeed you and your fathers have been in manifest error." They said:
"Have you brought us the truth, or are you one of those who play
about?" He said: "Nay, your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the
earth, Who created them and of that I am of the witnesses." (Ch
Abraham reasons wih
All was finished between Abraham and his people and the
struggle began. the most amazed and furious was his father (or his
uncle who had raised him), for as it is well known, he not only
worshipped idols but sculpted and sold them as well. Abraham felt that
it was his duty as a good son to advise his father against this evil so
that he could be saved from Allah's punishment.
Being a wise son he did not make his father feel
foolish, nor did he openly laugh at his conduct. He told him that he
loved him, thereby hoping to generate fatherly love. Then he gently
asked him why he worshipped lifeless idols who could not hear, see or
protect him. before his father could become angry he hastily added:
"O my father! Verily! There has come to me of
knowledge that which came
not unto you. So follow me. I will guide you to a Straight Path. O my
father! Worship not Satan. Verily! Stan has been a rebel against the
Most Beneficent (Allah). O my father! Verily! I fear lest a torment
from the Most Beneficent (Allah) overtake you as that you become a
companion of Satan (in the Hellfire)."
He (the father) said: "Do you reject my gods, O
Abraham? If you stop not this, I will indeed stone you. So get away
from me safely before I punish you." Abraham said: "Peace be on you! I
will ask Forgiveness of my Lord for you. Verily! He is unto me, Ever
Most Gracious. And I shall turn away from you and from those whom you
invoke besides Allah." (Ch 19:43-48)
Abraham debates with
His father's harsh treatment did not stop Abraham from
delivering the message of truth. Angry and sad to see people prostate
before idols, he was determined to stamp out these practices and went
to the town to debate with the people knowing full well that he might
Like a wise doctor searching for the cause of a
sickness so as to prescribe the proper cure, or like a judge who
questioned the accused sharply so that he mighty detect the truth.
Abraham asked them: "Do the idols see you when you prostrate before
them? Do they benefit you in any way." They quickly tried to defend
their beliefs. They argued that they knew the idols were lifeless but
that their forefathers had worshipped them; to them this was proof
enough for their belief.
Abraham explained that their forefathers had been
wrong. This angered them and they retorted: "Are you condemning our
gods and our forefathers? Or are you just joking?"
Abraham showed no fear as he replied: "I am serious. I
come to you with a true religion. I have been sent with guidance from
our Lord Who alone is worthy of worship, Who is the Creator of the
heavens and the earth, and Who regulates all affairs of life, unlike
the dumb idols which are just stone and wood."
To convince them that the idols could not harm him, he
challenged: "I have already condemned them; of they had any power they
would have harmed me by now!"
Abraham reasons with
the Idolaters, Second Time
Almighty Allah recounted:
"Recite to them the story
of Abraham. When he said to his father and his people. "What do you
worship?" They said: "We worship idols, and to them we are ever
devoted." He said: "Do they hear you when you call on them? OR do they
benefit you or do they harm you?" They said: "Nay but we found our
father doing so."
He said: "Do you observe that which you been
worshipping, You and your ancient fathers? Verily! They are enemies to
me, save the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists);
Who has created me and it is HE Who guides me and it is HE Who feeds me
and gives me to drink. And when I am ill, it is He who cures me; and
Who will cause me to die and then will bring me to life again and Who I
hope will forgive me my faults on the Day of Resurrection." (Ch
In another surah The Almighty revealed:
Abraham when he said to his people: "Worship Allah Alone and fear Him
that is better for you if you did but know. You worship besides Allah
only idols and you only invent falsehood. Verily, those whom you
worship beside Allah have no power to give you provision, so seek your
provision from Allah Alone, you will be brought back. And if you deny
then nations before you have denied their Messengers. the duty of the
Messenger is only to convey the Message plainly."
See they not how Allah originates creation, then
will repent it. Verily, that is easy for Allah.
Say: "Travel in the land and see how Allah
originated creation and then Allah will bring forth (resurrect) the
creation of the Hereafter (i.e. resurrection after death) verily, Allah
is Able to do all things."
He punishes whom HE wills and shows mercy to whom
He wills, and to Him you will be returned. And you cannot escape in the
earth or in the heaven. And besides Allah you have neither any Wali
(Protector, or guardian) nor any Helper. And those who disbelieve in
the Ayat (proofs, lessons, signs, evidences, verses, revelations etc)
of Allah and the Meeting with Him, it is they who have no hope of My
Mercy, and it is they who will have a painful torment. (CH 22:16-23
Abraham Breaks the
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
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
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
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
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 Abraham. They kept him in chains and
planned their revenge.
The Idolaters Try to
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.
The angel Gabriel came near Abraham's head and asked
him: "O Abraham do you wish for anything?" Abraham replied: "Nothing
The catapult was shot and Abraham 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:
"O fire! Be you coolness and
safety for Abraham." (Ch 21:69 Quran)
The fire submitted to the will of Allah, becoming cool
and safe for Abraham. 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. Those who love Allah as Abraham do
did not fear.
The Faith of the
"Those (believers) unto whom the
people (hypocrites) said: "Verily! the people (pagans) have gathered
against you (a great army), therefore, fear them." but it only
increased them in Faith, and they said: Allah Alone is Sufficient for
us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs for us."
So they returned with Grace and Bounty from Allah.
No harm touched them; and they followed the good Pleasure of Allah.
Allah is the Owner of Great bounty. It is only Satan that suggests to
you the fear of his Auliya (supporters and friends, polytheists,
disbeliveers in the Oneness of Allah and in His Messenger Muhammad) so
fear them not but fear Me if you are true believers." (Ch
The throng, the chiefs, and the priests sad 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
disbeliveers thought it would never be extinguished. When it did burn
out, they were greatly amazed to find Abraham 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 Abraham and had only charred 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 heathens.
"They wanted to harm
him, but We made them the worst losers. (Ch 21:70)
This miracle shamed the tyrants, but it did not cool
the flame of anger in their hearts. However after his event many of the
people followed Abraham, although some kept their belief a secret for
fear of harm or death at the hands of the rulers.
those who proclaim themselves as gods, King Namrud
Abraham had established a definite reasoning against
idolaters. Nothing was left for him except to reason against the people
who proclaimed themselves gods.
When the king, Namrud, heard of Abraham's safe exit
from the fire he became very angry. He feared that the status of
godhead he had proclaimed for himself was not challenged by an ordinary
human being. He summoned Abraham to the palace and held a dialogue with
him which Allah Almighty recounted:
"Have you not thought about him
who disputed with Abraham about his Lord (Allah) because Allah had
given him the kingdom? When Abraham said to him: "My Lord (Allah) is He
Who gives life and causes death." He said: "I give life and cause
death." Abraham said: "Verily, Allah causes the sun to rise from the
east; then cause it you to rise from the west." So the disbeliever was
utterly defeated. Allah guides not the people who are Zalimeen
(wrongdoers etc). (Ch 2:258 Quran)
Abraham's fame spread throughout the entire kingdom.
People talked about how he had been saved from the blazing fire and how
he had debated with the king and left him speechless. In the meantime,
Abraham 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 Lot and he became a prophet.
When Abraham realized that no one else was going to
believe in his call, he decided to emigrate. He left his people and
traveled with his wife and Lot to a city called Ur, then another called
Haran, and then to Palestine.
Allah the Almighty told us:
" So Lut believed in him
(Abraham's message of Islamic Monotheism). He (Abraham) said: "I will
emigrate for the sake of my Lord. Verily, He is the All Mighty, the All
Wise." (Ch 29:26)
After Palestine, Abraham traveled to Egypt, calling
people to believe in Allah wherever he traveled, judging fairly between
people, and guiding them to truth and righteousness.
Hadith about Abraham,
Sarah and Hajar
Abu Hurairah narrated that Abraham (pbuh) did not tell
a lie except on three occasions, twice for the sake of Allah (Exalted
and Almighty) when he said: "I am sick," (when his people were
holding a festival in honor of their gods, Abraham excused himself by
saying he was sick. (Ch 37:89 Quran) and when he said: "(I have
not done this but) the big idol has done it." The (third was) that
while Abraham and Sarah (his wife) were going (on a journey), they
passed by (the territory of) a tyrant. Someone said to the tyrant:
"This man (Abraham is accompanied by a very charming lady." SO, he sent
for Abraham and asked him about Sarah saying "Who is this lady?"
Abraham said: "She is my sister." Abraham went to Sarah said "O Sarah!
There are no believers on the surface of the earth except you and me.
This man asked me about you and I have told him that you are my sister
do not contradict my statement." the tyrant then called Sarah, and when
she went to him, he tried to take a hold of her with his hand, but his
hand got stiff and he was confounded. He asked Sarah: "Pray to Allah
for me and I shall not harm you." SO Sarah asked Allah to cure him and
he got cured. He tried to take hold of her for the second time, but his
hand got as stiff as or stiffer than before and he was more comfounded.
He again requested Sarah: "Pray to Allah for me, and I will not harm
you." Sarah asked Allah to again, and he became all right. He then
called one of his guards who had brought her and said: "You have not
brought me a human being but have brought me a devil." The tyrant then
gave Hajar as a maid servant to Sarah. Abraham, gesturing with his
hand, asked: "What has happened?" She replied: "Allah has spoiled the
evil plot of the infidel or immoral person and gave me Hajar for
service." Abu Hurairah then addressed his listeners saying: "That Hajar
was your mother, O Bani Ma is Sama (Arab, the descendants of Ishmael,
Hajar and Sarah
Abraham's wife Sarah was sterile. She had been given an
Egyptian woman Hajar, as a servant. Abraham had aged and his hair was
gray and after many years spent in calling people to Allah. Sarah
thought she and Abraham were lonely because she could not have a child.
Therefore, she offered her husband her servant Hajar in marriage. Hajar
gave birth to her first son Ishmael (isma'il) when Abraham was an old
Abraham lived on earth worshipping Allah and calling
people to monotheism, but he was journeying to Allah, knowing that his
days on earth were limited and that they would be followed by death and
finally resurrection. The knowledge of life after death filled Abraham
with peace and love and certitude.
One day he begged Allah to show him how He brought the
dead back to life. Allah commanded Abraham to take four birds, cut them
up and mingle their body parts, divide them into four portions and
place them on top of four different hills, then call back the birds in
Allah's name. Abraham did as he was told. Immediately the mingled parts
of the birds separated to join their original bodies in different
places and the birds flew back to Abraham.
Almighty Allah revealed: Remember when Abraham
"My Lord Show me how You give life to the dead."
Allah said: "Do
you not believe?" Abraham said: "Yes I believe, but to be stronger in
Faith." HE said: "Take four birds, the cause them to incline towards
you (then slaughter them, cut them into pieces) and then put a portion
of them on every hill and call them they will come to you in haste. And
know that Allah is All Mighty and All Wise."(Ch 2:260 Quran)