The Story Of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) In Islam
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The life of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) is one of the most thoroughly covered stories of a prophet in the Quran. The Quran informs us of Ibrahim’s (AS) firm faith in Allah in the story of Prophet Ibrahim (AS). It shows us how he rejected the falsehood of his people, who were idolaters. Ibrahim (AS) was a steadfast monotheist. He called his people to worship God alone without the association of any partners.
We see in Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) story that he endured many difficulties for being a devoted caller to monotheism. He migrated to a number of lands and disassociated himself from his people and relatives. As he possessed such firm faith, the Quran referred to the only true religion as the path of Abraham, although prophets who had preceded him preached the same religion.
Allah bestowed the title of Khaleel (beloved servant) upon Ibrahim (AS). He had not given this title to any earlier prophet. Allah sent a number of prophets from among Ibrahim’s (AS) descendants, such as Ismail (AS), Ishaq (AS), Yaqub (AS), and Musa (AS).
Ibrahim (AS) is, thus, a prophet who Muslims hold in high esteem. In order to understand why Allah blessed him with such an esteemed status, it is essential to study his life. The Quran and Sunnah provide us with many facts about Ibrahim’s (AS) life. The story of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) provides us with important lessons and valuable inspiration. For this reason, the story of Prophet Ibrahim for kids is also important.
Ibrahim (AS) invites his father to the truth
Ibrahim’s (AS) father Azar was among the disbelievers. He was an idol worshipper. Ibrahim’s first invitation to monotheism was to his father. He approached his father with sound logic and reason. As mentioned in Surah Maryam, Ibrahim (AS) asked his father why he worships something that does not hear or see. Nor can it benefit him at all.
Ibrahim (AS) proclaimed that he had been granted knowledge that his father did not possess. He urged his father to follow him and said that he would guide him to a correct path. However, his stubborn father responded with rejection. His father’s reaction was not surprising considering that Ibrahim (AS) was much younger than him and was challenging long-established traditions.
Ibrahim’s (AS) father was not pleased with the rejection of his false gods by his son. He threatened to stone him if he did not stop and told him to get away before he punished him.
Ibrahim (AS) starts inviting his people to the truth
After trying his best to get his father to abandon idolatry, Ibrahim (AS) shifted his focus onto his people. Polytheism was the norm for his people. Ibrahim (AS) told his people to abandon the falsehood of idolatry and embrace the truth of monotheism.
As we see in Surah Ash-Shu’ara, Ibrahim (AS) asked his people what they worshipped. When they responded by saying that they worshipped idols and were devoted to them, he asked them some logical questions regarding the objects of their worship. He asked if the idols heard the people when they called on them. Ibrahim (AS) also asked if the idols avail or harm the people. The people admitted that their idols were powerless in this regard.
However, Ibrahim’s (AS) people said that they found their fathers worshipping the idols. He responded by asking if they and their fathers had observed what they had been worshipping. Ibrahim (AS) declared that they were foes to him, except for Allah, the Lord of everything in existence, Who created Ibrahim (AS), guides him, feeds him, provides him with drink, and cures his sicknesses. Allah is the one who will take his life and resurrect him. This was Ibrahim’s (AS) sincere invitation to the truth.
Ibrahim (AS) uses logic to prove the falsehood of idolatry
Ibrahim (AS) appealed to his people using logic. He presented his people with examples of the false nature of polytheism. In Surah Al-An’am, we witness Ibrahim’s (AS) intelligent use of reason to prove that idolatry is false. First, when he saw a star at night, he declared that it was his lord. However, upon its setting, he stated that he does not love things that set.
The stars are a magnificent creation of Allah, of which humans are often in awe. People even associate numerous powers with them. Yet, Ibrahim (AS) noted that they set and could not appear at any time besides their set time at night. Thus, he showed that they were in no way worthy of worship.
The next example that Ibrahim (AS) came up with was an even more spectacular creation of Allah. Upon seeing the rising of the moon, he called it his lord. Yet, after it set, he said that unless God guides him, he certainly shall be among those who are astray. Hence, Ibrahim (AS) used the same logic to prove that the moon did not deserve any worship.
Ultimately, Ibrahim (AS) came up with an even more apt example. After sunrise, he exclaimed that the sun was his lord and is superior. However, after it set, Ibrahim (AS) told his people that he was free of the partners that they associated with Allah. He said that he turned his face towards the Creator of the heavens and the earth, away from polytheism, and he was not among those who associated partners with Allah.
Ibrahim (AS), therefore, emphatically proved the illogical nature of polytheism and its falsehood, exposing the powerlessness of idols.
The people reject Ibrahim’s (AS) preaching
Ibrahim (AS) steadfastly invited his people to the straight path. As we see in Surah Al-‘Ankabut, he called on them to worship Allah and keep their duty to Him. He reprimanded them for worshipping idols instead of Allah, saying that they only invented falsehood. Prophet Ibrahim (AS) stated that the idols his people worshipped owned no provision for them. He urged the people to turn to Allah for provision, worship Him, and be grateful to Him because they will return to Him.
Ibrahim (AS) also criticized his people and their forefathers for their false beliefs. He questioned his people’s blind following of what their ancestors used to do. However, the people were not receptive to his message of pure monotheism. His father and people refused to accept the truth that he preached. His people were stubborn and set in their ways, and his life was to be full of pain, difficulty, tests, hostility, and sorrow.
Ibrahim’s (AS) people not only rejected his message, but they also disputed and mocked him. Although he was still young at this time, Ibrahim (AS) stood firmly against his very own family and people in his quest to call people to believe in no deity but Allah alone, without any partners. He encountered rejection and hardship for taking a stand against disbelief, yet he remained steadfast in his honorable mission.
Destroying the idols
It was time to combine words with action in Ibrahim’s (AS) preaching to the idolaters. Therefore, Ibrahim (AS) would deal a heavy blow to the practice of idol worship. The people had departed for a religious festival. They had invited Ibrahim (AS) to join them, but he stayed behind.
When Ibrahim’s (AS) people were out of town, he had the perfect opportunity to land a crushing blow on idolatry. With the temple deserted in the people’s absence, Ibrahim (AS) took full advantage of the favorable situation. He went up to the idols, which had meals kept in front of them. Ibrahim (AS) mocked the idols, asking them if they would not eat and why they were unable to talk.
Ibrahim (AS) proceeded to demolish the flimsy, man-made idols. He struck them with his right hand and shattered them all into pieces. He only spared their chief. When the idolatrous priests returned, the smashing of their idols shocked them. When someone mentioned that Ibrahim (AS) was an opponent of idol-worship, they called him. Ibrahim (AS) proceeded to expose their stupidity intelligently.
Ibrahim (AS) asked the idolaters if they worship what they themselves had carved when Allah created them and what they made. The disbelievers were furious and demanded to know if Ibrahim (AS) had destroyed their gods. He cleverly blamed the chief of the idols and told the people to ask the idols themselves. The disbelievers grew confused and argued that Ibrahim (AS) was well aware of the idols’ inability to speak.
Prophet Ibrahim (AS) called the people out for their senseless devotion to powerless idols. He reprimanded them for worshipping something that could neither benefit nor harm them instead of Allah. His simple yet overwhelmingly logical argument had thoroughly exposed the falsehood of idolatry.
The angry disbelievers unsuccessfully try to kill Ibrahim (AS)
The destruction of their idols and the way in which Prophet Ibrahim (AS) humiliated the ignorant polytheists by exposing the falsehood of their idolatry left them furious. They were determined to give him a terrible punishment. They decided to burn him alive. The people all got together to prepare wood for the fire until a massive fire was burning, bigger than any they had ever witnessed.
Ibrahim (AS), despite his young age, submitted to his fate. His unshakeable faith did not waver. On the contrary, this trial strengthened him. He did not wince when they cast him into the roaring flame. His final words before being plunged into the fire were words of contentment and faith in Allah, who is the foremost disposer of affairs. He demonstrated the firm conviction he had as a believer in the One true God, ready to sacrifice himself if needed.
However, Allah had not decreed that the fire would bring Ibrahim’s (AS) life to an end. Rather, he was destined to carry out a great mission and have sons who would be among the finest of prophets. Allah saved Ibrahim (AS) as a sign for him as well as his people. Allah willed the fire to transform into a source of coolness and peace for his beloved prophet. The disbelievers had sought to avenge their false deities but to no avail. Ultimately, truth triumphed while the polytheists were disgraced losers.
After years of tireless preaching, which was rejected by Ibrahim’s (AS) people, Allah commanded His prophet to disassociate himself from his relatives and people. We do know of at least two of his relatives who did accept his message. They were his nephew, Prophet Lut (AS), and his wife, Sarah. Ibrahim (AS) migrated, along with those who believed, to Greater Syria.
Ibrahim’s (AS) ultimate sacrifice
This is one of the most famous incidents that took place in the life of Ibrahim (AS). Almost ten years after he left his wife Hajar and their beloved son Ismail (AS) in Makkah in Allah’s care, he finally reunited with them. Soon, however, Allah would command him to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Through a dream, Allah commanded Ibrahim (AS) to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismail (AS). It’s difficult to find a greater test of any father’s faith. The decision to sacrifice his beloved son, who he had spent a decade away from and for whose birth he had spent years praying, cannot have been at all easy. Nevertheless, Ibrahim’s (AS) unshakeable faith in Allah gave him the strength to submit to God’s Command.
The sacrifice was also a tremendous test of Ismail’s (AS) faith. It cannot be easy for a little boy to learn that he has to sacrifice his life. There can hardly be any more tremendous sacrifice for a young boy to make than agreeing to have his life taken. Yet, Ismail’s (AS) faith was unwavering, just like his noble father’s.
When Ibrahim (AS) mentioned the dream to his son and asked him what he thought, Ismail (AS) responded with complete submission to what Allah had ordered. He told his father to obey Allah and assured him that he would remain patient.
Thus, Ibrahim (AS) proceeded with the sacrifice. When Ibrahim (AS) was on the verge of sacrificing his son, Allah stopped him and told him that he had fulfilled his duty, which was a test for him. Allah replaced Ismail (AS) with a ram. The Lord rewarded Ibrahim (AS) for passing this immense test. Allah appointed him a leader of all of humanity and blessed him with an offspring of prophets.
Ibrahim’s (AS) ultimate sacrifice is the origin of the annual Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Adha (celebration of sacrifice). It is an occasion on which Muslims all over the world sacrifice animals and share the meat with neighbors, friends, the poor, etc. The incredible sacrifice of Ibrahim (AS) serves as a reminder to believers to submit to Allah under all circumstances and always have faith in him. Indeed, He is the best of planners.
Ibrahim (AS) and Ismail (AS) construct the Kaaba
Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and Ismail (AS) again came together after being apart for several years. At this point, the duo constructed the Kaaba on Allah’s command. They made it as a permanent sanctuary. The Kaaba is a place for the worship of Allah. It was in Makkah that Ibrahim (AS) left Hajar and Ismail (AS) in Allah’s care. Ibrahim (AS) supplicated to Allah to make it a place for the establishment of prayer that would be safe from idolatry.
Many years later, Ibrahim (AS), along with his son Ismail (AS), was to build the House of Allah, the Kaaba. It was to be the center of worship. People would collectively turn towards it when offering prayers. Moreover, it would be the destination of millions of pilgrims who would travel to it to perform Hajj. The Kaaba is the first place of worship that is for all of mankind.
Ibrahim (AS) prayed for a prophet to emerge from the descendants of Ismail (AS). Thousands of years later, Allah answered Ibrahim’s (AS) prayer and raised Muhammad (PBUH), who was the final prophet, among the Arabs. While the Kaaba was the place of worship for all of humanity, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the only prophet Allah sent to the whole of mankind.
In a hadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stated that the place of the Kaaba was made sacred by Allah on the day of the creation of the heavens and the earth. Furthermore, it will remain a sacred place until the Last Day. It was with the construction of the Kaaba, a place of worship of Allah alone for all people, regardless of their race, status, etc., that Ibrahim (AS) fulfilled his purpose. Ibrahim (AS) returned to Palestine, and it was there that he passed away.