Prophet Ibrahim (a.s)
Society at the Time of Prophet Ibrahim's (a.s) Birth
Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) was born under the rule of tyrant king. His name was Nimrud and he ordered people to worship him in addition to idols, and celestial bodies like the sun and moon.
During that time there was a great interest among the people in star reading, and astrologers were very respected. One day the astrologers told Nimrud that the signs in the sky say that he will lose his kingdom to a young man from his people, and he became very afraid.
Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) was born during this time of star worship, idol worship and fear of the tyrannical king.
The story of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) and the Star Worshippers
Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) was always trying to them the people use their own logic to understand the ignorance of worshipping anything other than Allah (swt).A very good example of this logical argument that Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) used to help them come to the conclusion that they are wrong can be found in the Quran in Surat al Al-An’am.
One day The planet worshippers were out worshipping the planet Venus which can be seen after sunset during certain times of the year. When he saw them do this he said in front of them:
“This is my Lord.” (Surah Al-’An‘ am verse 76) However, when it went he said: “I do not like those the setting ones” (Surah Al-’An‘ am verse 76)
Then, when the moon appeared, so did the moon worshippers and Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) said in a loud voice:
“This is my Lord!” But when it set, he said: ‘If my Lord does not guide me I shall surely be of the people gone astray’.” (Surah Al-An’am verse 77)
And finally, when the sun appeared and broke the darkness of the night, the sun worshippers came out to worship the sun, and Prophet Ibrahim again said in front of them:
“This is my Lord; this is the greatest! But when it set, he said: ‘O’ my people! Surely I am quit of that you associate (with Allah)’. (Surah Al-An’am verse 78)
This highly intelligent way of showing people their wrong thinking helped the people to learn how to stop and think about what they are doing, and what they are worshipping. They were very impressed with this young man. However, there were still people who did not like anyone changing the worship of the planets and stars, and although they were also impressed, they became angry.
Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) and the Idol Worshippers
Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) spent a long time teaching people that idols cannot help or harm them in any way therefore they should not be worshipped. He tried to teach them about Allah (swt) the Almight, however no one wanted to listen. One day, the idol worshippers were leaving the city to go the jungle where they wanted to participate in an idol worshipping festival (Surah al-Anbiya verses 51 - 70).
When the people arrived, they were shocked to find the broken idols and the piece of wood on the shoulders of the large idol which was the only one that was not broken. They wanted to find out who had broken everything and soon they suspected Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) and they took him in front of the King Nimrud.
When they asked him if it was he who broke idols he replied:
“Nay, this one, who is their chief has done it. Go ahead and ask them, if they (can) speak”. (Surah al-Anbiya verse 63)
This argument was so powerful that they stopped and started thinking within their minds about their actions, and they secretly admitted how foolish they were, to worship idols that cannot hurt anything or even defend themselves.
Unfortunately most of the people were very arrogant and they did not want to admit their foolishness in front of the others, instead they decided to punish Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) by burning him in a large fire (Surah al-Anbiya verses 51 - 70). The evil people collected wood and made a fire so big that Ibrahim (a.s) had to be thrown in a fire using a large catapult, so that the people throwing him in do not get burnt themselves.
The angels were very distressed to see this. They appeared to Ibrahim (a.s) and asked him if he needed help, but he always replied no. He knew Allah (s.w) was aware of his problem and would help him. Surely enough Allah (sw) rescued Ibrahim from being brunt to death by a spectacular miracle.
Allah (sw) told the fire to be a comfortable temperature for Ibrahim (a.s), so that when he was thrown in, he was not hurt in the least.
We said: O fire, be coolness and peace for Abraham (Surah al Anbiya verse 69)