PROPHET ABRAHAM
and PROPHET LOT

 

Prophet Abraham (pbuh) Calls His Tribe

How should believers behave with those who deny or reject the truth? The Qur'an tells believers to spread God's message in a well-considered style and method. There is more than one way of calling people to the truth. Naturally, the method changes according to the audience members' positions, conditions, ideas, and beliefs. For example, God refers to Prophet Noah (pbuh), who explained His existence both publicly and privately by using indirect methods to turn them toward His religion. (Qur'an, 71:9)

Another one of Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) most noteworthy methods was to incite his tribe's consciences and to employ methods that would encourage them to think. He asked them questions, thereby exposing the irrational and confused nature of their beliefs. He showed them that their idols were nothing more than unconscious pieces of wood and stone, and used a clever plan to convince their hearts and minds of this. As he caused his tribe's traditional pagan worldview to collapse by spreading God's truth, he also explained God's existence and oneness. In the Qur'an, God describes Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) method in the following words:

When night covered him [Abraham], he saw a star and said: "This is my Lord!" Then when it set, he said: "I do not love that which sets." Then when he saw the Moon come up, he said: "This is my Lord!" Then when it set, he said: "If my Lord does not guide me, I will be one of the misguided people." Then when he saw the Sun come up, he said: "This is my Lord! This is greater!" Then when it set, he said: "My tribe, I am free of what you associate with God! I have turned my face to Him Who brought the heavens and Earth into being, a pure natural believer. I am not one of the idolaters." (Qur'an, 6:76-79)

Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) comments regarding the Moon, the Sun, and stars in these verses above are probably not his own thoughts, but rather a means of communicating God's message to his tribe. (God knows best.) Prophet Abraham (pbuh) knew that the Moon and stars would disappear when the Sun rose, and that the Sun would sink again after it had risen. Since his pagan tribe were not reasoning and judging in the light of true faith, however, he may have chosen to employ the gradual explanation outlined above.


Obey God and obey the Messenger and beware! If you turn your backs, know that Our Messenger is only responsible for clear transmission. (Qur'an, 5:92)

As we mentioned earlier, the pagan societies in the Middle East at that time worshipped celestial bodies, such as the Sun and the Moon, in addition to idols made by themselves and their ancestors. Therefore, Prophet Abraham (pbuh) may have wished to use the question-and-answer method to explain why these supposedly divine objects were not actually divine. And so he first portrayed the stars as divine in order to draw his tribe's attention to them, and then proved, as God inspired him, why these could not actually be deities. Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) expression "I do not love what sets" (Qur'an, 6:76) is also an important message aimed at his tribe, for he indirectly explained that a divine entity was immortal and indestructible. (God knows best.) In fact, these are some of our Lord's names: al-Baqi (He Who continues, the immortal one) and al-Qa'im (He Who persists).

After this, Prophet Abraham (pbuh) may have employed the same method with regard to the Moon, another so-called deity, to show his tribe that it was not divine. He may have used the same logic for the Sun, particularly by emphasizing that it was the greatest. His explanation that it was not divine dealt a major blow to their pagan worldview, because beyond the Sun there was no greater physical being visible to the tribe.

With the words "I am not one of the idolaters" (Qur'an, 6:79), Prophet Abraham (pbuh) explained that God created all of these things, that He was the true God, and that he ascribed no partners to Him. Given the above, we can see that Prophet Abraham (pbuh) knew a great deal about his tribe's pagan belief system. He put forward all of these examples to spread God's message and to expose their defective logic and misguided beliefs. In fact, it seems that his tribe sought to debate with him:

His tribe argued with him. He said: "Are you arguing with me about God, when He has guided me? I have no fear of any partner you ascribe to Him, unless my Lord should will such a thing to happen. My Lord encompasses all things in His knowledge, so will you not pay heed?" (Qur'an, 6:80)

In calling his tribe to the truth, Prophet Abraham (pbuh) acted upon what He inspired in him. This is clearly evident from the methods he employed and the examples he gave. In the verse "This is the argument We gave to Abraham against his tribe. We raise in rank anyone We will. Your Lord is All-Wise, All-Knowing" (Qur'an, 6:83), God reveals that He gave Prophet Abraham (pbuh) various proofs to use against his tribe.

" I found both her (Queen of Saba) and her people prostrating to the Sun instead of god. Satan has made their actions seem good to them and debarred them…"
(Qur'an, 27:24)

This manner of communication sets an example for all Muslims. In other words, believers must demolish the other side's false and groundless beliefs and then present indisputable proof of God's existence and oneness. Following this, they must call on the other side to believe in God and serve only Him. If the other side cannot abandon its misguided belief system, it will be difficult for them to believe in God and become true Muslims. True faith can come about only when people abandon all of their idols and superstitious ideologies and philosophies.

Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) love of God, joyous faith, and scrupulous adherence to His commands can be clearly seen in how he conducted himself with others. The way in which he communicated with his father and tribe shows in the finest possible way that he was chosen by God, Who made him superior to all others. In the Qur'an, God reveals:

Recite to them the story of Abraham, when he asked his father and his tribe: "What do you worship?" They said: "We worship idols and will continue to cling to them." He asked: "Do they hear you when you call? Do they help you or harm you?" They said: "No, but this is what we found our fathers doing." He asked: "Have you really thought about what you worship, you and your fathers who came before?" (Qur'an, 26:69-76)

As can be seen in the above verses, Prophet Abraham (pbuh) used various methods and analogies to explain to his tribe how futile and irrational it was to worship idols. Their only response was that they would continue to follow their ancestors' path. This response is frequently encountered in societies that are far from religion and is often used to justify superstition, although it has no foundation in the face of divine religion. In the continuation of these verses, Prophet Abraham (pbuh) calls his tribe to faith and introduces them to our Lord:

"They are all my enemies-except for the Lord of all the worlds: He Who created me and guides me; He Who gives me food and drink; and when I am ill, He heals me; He Who will cause my death and then give me life; He Who I sincerely hope will forgive my mistakes on the Day of Reckoning." (Qur'an, 26:77-82)


This statue depicts Hammurabi (app. 1955-13 BCE) paying respect to Shamash, the Sumerian sun god.

As the Qur'an states, Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) tribe frequently stated their determination to persist in their paganism. He responded by praising our Lord with His finest names. Only God creates or destroys everything in the universe, animate or inanimate. Only He gives all blessings on Earth for the service of humanity and provides an infinite number of beauties. The way a human being is born, grows, eats, drinks, walks, moves, speaks, and laughs-in short, everything in life-happens by God's will. As Prophet Abraham (pbuh) reveals, our Lord God heals sick people, by restoring them to health. Unless God wills, no medicine or doctor can restore anyone to health.

God creates humanity and, in the same way, will take each person's soul at the moment of his or her death. Even before a person is born, God has already established the length of his or her life, what will happen to them, and all that they will say and do. In other words, people do not control their destiny, for God has written it even before the person is born.

God created this world as a testing arena and then sent messengers to lead others to the true path by means of revelation. On the Day of Judgment, every human being will have to account for what he or she did while in this world. Believers who spend their lives doing good in the hope of earning His good pleasure and mercy will meet with countless blessings. God, Who is most merciful, forgiving, and loving toward His servants, has promised to cover the evil deeds of His servants on the Day of Judgment, to forgive their mistakes, and to reward them with the countless blessings of Paradise.

Remember that human beings have no power to bring others to the true path, for their only responsibility is to relay His message. In fact, this is a religious obligation for all believers. Whether or not an unbeliever turns to faith depends totally on God's guidance, for no one can believe unless God so wills. Indeed, despite the strength that Prophet Abraham (pbuh) acquired from his faith in God, his pagan tribe, who had no fear of God and ignored their consciences, persisted in their denial. In fact, they went so far as to threaten Prophet Abraham (pbuh) with death by fire. Thus, all believers must devoutly and determinedly call those around them to the true path and not despair if they are ignored and persecuted.


The unseen of the heavens and the Earth belongs to God and the whole affair will be returned to Him. So worship Him and put your trust in Him… (Qur'an, 11:123)

In one verse, our Lord states that "... It is the truth from your Lord; so let whoever wishes believe and whoever wishes disbelieve" (Qur'an, 18:29). In another verse God reveals to our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) that "Perhaps you will destroy yourself with grief because they will not become believers" (Qur'an, 26:3). In Surah Yusuf, God reveals that "But most people, for all your eagerness, are not believers. You do not ask them for any wage for it. It is only a reminder to all beings" (Qur'an, 12:103-04).

One reason why Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) tribe persisted in their denial was their concern for their own interests. Their pagan belief system provided them with various worldly advantages, and any change to the established order would conflict with those interests, just as our Prophet's mission (may God bless him and grant him peace) upset the Makkan leaders, who enjoyed enormous commercial profits thanks to Arabia's paganism. This is actually a law that God has decreed for His prophets. As the Qur'an states, the prophets have always been opposed by their tribe. They have been threatened with death and subjected to slander, and sometimes have even been accused of sorcery, madness, and ascribing their own words to God. In sum, those who accused the prophets had no hesitation about resorting to such falsehoods as asserting that the prophets were on the wrong path while they were on the right path.

However, these people are laboring under a cloud of irrationality, for while trying to protect their own interests, they are actually condemning themselves to eternal suffering. God has revealed the fate of those who rebel against His prophets, those role models of pleasing moral values, godliness, and deep faith:

... They have brought down anger from God upon themselves, and they have been plunged into destitution. That was because they rejected God's signs and killed the prophets without any right to do so. That was because they disobeyed and went beyond the limits [that God has established for humanity]. (Qur'an, 3:112)

Prophet Abraham (pbuh) Entraps the Idols

According to the Qur'an, God gives those who fear and hold Him in awe the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. This great kindness and superior blessing is restricted to the believers. The methods Prophet Abraham (pbuh) used to call his tribe to belief, as well as his decisions and styles of presentation, are all important examples of this great blessing.

One example is the trap he laid for his tribe's idols. Given that he was all alone and operating in a dangerous environment, he took certain precautions to prevent bodily harm and to make sure that God's message would be heard. For example, he told the unbelievers around him that he was ill so that they would go away:

And [Abraham] asked his father and his tribe: "What are you worshipping? Is it falsehood-deities besides God-that you desire? So what are your thoughts about the Lord of all the worlds?" He looked at the stars and said: "I am sick." So they turned their backs on him. (Qur'an, 37:85-90)

After sending the unbelievers away, he went up to the idols and smashed them:

He turned surreptitiously to their deities and asked: "Don't you eat? What is the matter with you that you don't speak?" He turned on them, striking out with his right hand. (Qur'an, 37:91-93)

He broke them in pieces, except for the largest one, so that they would have it to consult! (Qur'an, 21:58)

Leaving the largest idol untouched shows great wisdom. When his tribe saw what had happened and that only the largest idol remained, they immediately began looking for the person who had done this. Since they were aware of Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) opposition to their idols and paganism, they quickly realized that he was responsible and so sought him out to take their revenge:

They exclaimed: "Who has done this to our deities? He is definitely one of the wrongdoers!" They said: "We heard a young man mentioning them. They call him Abraham." They ordered: "Bring him before the people's eyes so they can be witnesses!" They asked: "Did you do this to our deities, Abraham?" (Qur'an, 21:59-62)

That question revealed why Prophet Abraham (pbuh) did not destroy the largest idol:

He said: "No, this one, the largest of them, did it. Ask them, if they are able to speak!" (Qur'an, 21:63)

Hearing this response, the unbelievers inevitably began thinking and understanding that their idols would never have the power of speech. And so his plan succeeded, for it caused them to question their pagan belief system. The Qur'an states:

They consulted among themselves and said: "It is you yourselves who are wrongdoers." (Qur'an, 21:64)


As for those who believe and those who are Jews and the Sabaeans and the Christians, Magians and idolaters, God will distinguish between them on the Day
of Resurrection…
(Qur'an, 22:17)

However, their regret did not last long. Despite having understood the truth, they again decided to oppose Prophet Abraham (pbuh) in order to maintain their traditional pagan belief system, which was in line with their own transitory worldly interests:

But then they relapsed back into their disbelief: "You know full well these idols cannot talk." He said: "Do you then worship, instead of God, that which cannot help or harm you in any way? Shame on you and what you worship besides God! Will you not use your intellect?" They said: "Burn him and support your deities, if you are resolved to do something." (Qur'an, 21:65-68)

Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) approach reveals a finely calculated plan and wisdom. Sending the people away by telling them that he was ill, he then smashed all but the largest idol in the hope that they would respond as he expected. This trap shows that he acted under God's inspiration and had superior intelligence and foresight. Under divine inspiration, he devised a brilliant trap and, by God's will, achieved a most pleasing success. After smashing the idols, he tested his tribe's belief system by saying that the largest idol had destroyed the others.

One aim of this plan was to make his tribe realize just how irrational their belief system actually was. If they failed to comprehend the irrational and illogical nature of their deeds, he knew that they would just make new idols and persist in their paganism. The important thing, therefore, was to make them understand that such superstitious worship was contrary to faith in God and His revelation.

It is totally irrational to think that statues can eat, drink, move, or do any harm or good to any person. When those who believe in such fallacies encounter a problem or a difficulty, they seek their idols' help and refrain from displeasing them. They do so due to their fear of their idols and their belief that lifeless idols created the universe and all living things, direct everything within the universe, and bestow health and plenty, as well as daily bread, power, and understanding, upon humanity. God describes their great mistake in the following terms:

. who are not capable of helping them and cannot even help themselves? If you call them [unbelievers] to guidance, they will not follow you. It makes no difference if you call them or stay silent. (Qur'an, 7:192-93)

Do they have legs with which they can walk? Do they have hands with which they can grasp? Do they have eyes with which they can see? Do they have ears with which they can hear? Say: "Call on your deities, try all of your wiles against me, and grant me no reprieve." (Qur'an, 7:195)

Unfortunately, such a lack of understanding is not limited to Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) time alone. Paganism still thrives today under a wide variety of different names. The pagan beliefs of Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) time, for instance, bear a close resemblance to Darwinian claims.

 

Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) Religion

Similarities between Paganism and Darwinism

he pagan tribes of Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) time worshipped idols that they and their ancestors had made, and believed that their idols could influence the workings of the universe. According to this superstitious belief, idols could make and implement decisions and could punish or reward human beings. In other words, these pagans believed that inanimate matter could create and control human beings. God reveals this terrible mistake and great sin in the Qur'an. For example:

God does not forgive anything being associated with Him, but He forgives whoever He wills for anything other than that. Anyone who associates something with God has committed a terrible crime. (Qur'an, 4:48)

Those who defend Darwin's theory of evolution follow a very similar superstitious concept, for they believe that certain elements (e.g., carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, calcium, magnesium, and iron) as well as muddy water containing various minerals, somehow acquired a superior power and free will over the course of time and by chance. The Darwinists claim that life emerged from the mud over time and by coincidence. Supposedly, this trio of muddy water, time, and chance decided to form all of the beautiful things in nature, animals, and, most importantly, conscious human beings.

The origins of this superstition lie in the fallacious belief that inanimate substances are actually entities that possess intelligence and willpower, and that can make and act upon decisions. In other words, they regard matter itself as something divine. Based upon this false concept, Darwinists maintain that everything in the universe developed on its own as the result of chance, and that every entity is regarded, together with chance, as divine. However, those who look at all of the animate and inanimate things that surround them, beginning with their own bodies, will see that the universe is the work of an infinitely powerful Creator Who possesses infinite intelligence and knowledge. Every detail, from our own planet to the flawless harmony within our own bodies, from the equilibrium between the galaxies, as well as the stars and all other celestial bodies, to our world with all of its countless blessings, proves the existence of an infinitely compassionate and loving Creator: God, Lord of the worlds.


But they have adopted deities apart from Him which do not create anything but are themselves created. They have no power to harm or help themselves. They have no power over death or life or ressurrection.
(Qur'an, 25:3)

Our Lord has revealed this manifest truth, which everyone can discover for themselves, to humanity through such messengers as Prophet Abraham (pbuh). Yet for some reason, many people throughout history have rejected this truth and have insisted on denying His existence. In His final revelation, the Qur'an, God describes the position of such people:

They have sworn by God with their most earnest oaths that if a sign comes to them, they will believe in it. Say: "The signs are under God's control alone." What will make you realize that even if a sign did come, they would still not believe? We will overturn their hearts and sight, just as when they did not believe in it at first, and We will abandon them to wander blindly in their excessive insolence. Even if We sent down angels to them, the dead spoke to them, and We gathered together everything in front of them right before their eyes, they would still not believe unless God willed. The truth is that most of them are ignorant. (Qur'an, 6:109-11)

As we have seen, claiming that unconscious atoms, minerals, and blind chance produced flawless and perfect designs is nothing more than bowing down before wooden totems and begging them for health and abundance. The only difference between the two is the names given to them and the concepts used to describe them.

According to the pagans among whom Prophet Abraham (pbuh) lived, certain idols allegedly regulated the universe, shaped living things, and directed their behavior. Similarly, Darwinists believe that all living things and the universe's flawless design emerged under the effect of inanimate matter (e.g., atoms, molecules, natural forces, and the chemical and physical properties of objects). Just as pagans ascribe such powers to their idols, Darwinists use such concepts as the self-organization of matter and nature's creation of species to ascribe imaginary creative power to lifeless matter and then deify it.

This can be clearly seen in popular publications that support the theory of evolution. Such publications make frequent reference to various Darwinist idols, the greatest idol of which is Mother Nature. Those who defend this misguided belief think that every development and change in the universe (e.g., the countless beauties in living things, the life and death of all living beings, and natural disasters) comes about by the direction and will of Mother Nature. They reveal their misguided beliefs in such expressions as a gift from nature to humanity when speaking of one of nature's beauties, or the wrath of Mother Nature when referring to a disaster. However, they can never explain from where Mother Nature receives her power, nor what she really is. Of course, this is a very ugly and irrational claim to make. Such people ascribe partners to God and attempt to base their perverted beliefs on an allegedly scientific foundation. Professor Philip Johnson, a contemporary critic of Darwinism, describes the theory of evolution and modern materialist philosophy in general as a kind of idolatry:

. denial is always a temptation, and outright atheism is only the most superficial form of denial. Another time-honored strategy [of denial] is to ... [substitute] something we can control. This is called idolatry. Primitive tribes make idols of wood or clay. Sophisticated modern intellectuals make idols of their theories, still employing the word God . but in such a way that it adds nothing to chance and the laws of nature. All who pursue this strategy are substituting the created thing for the Creator, and this is the essence of idolatry.3

Darwinists believe that all living and non-living things created themselves by means of various chemical and physical properties of atoms, molecules, natural forces and objects, and with the help of chance. However, even in the most ideal Darwinian-inspired environment, it would still be impossible for anything to emerge. If evolutionists placed all of the atoms, enzymes, hormones, proteins, and whatever other elements they wish into the vat in the picture, mixed them by whichever methods they choose, and then nourished them for as long as they wished, no living thing, or even a cell of a living thing, will ever be produced.

Indeed, substituting the created and helpless entities for our Lord, Who created the whole universe from nothing (surely God is beyond all that which they falsely ascribe to Him), has always been one of paganism's main themes. Prophet Abraham (pbuh) struggled against this very worldview, as the Qur'an reveals:

Remember when he [Abraham] asked his father: "Father, why do you worship what can neither hear nor see and is of no use to you at all?" (Qur'an, 19:42)

. when he asked his father and his tribe: "What are these statues you are clinging to?" They said: "We found our fathers worshipping them." He said: "You and your fathers are clearly misguided." (Qur'an, 21:52-54)

Clearly, it is a great mistake to suggest that matter is conscious and, as a result, ascribe consciousness to material things. Atoms, molecules, muddy water, and coincidence have no consciousness or power to make any decisions or to think. Atoms are unconscious, inanimate objects. Everything in the universe can acquire life only because of the existence of a superior consciousness and will. These attributes are unique to God, Lord of the worlds, for He created the whole universe and thereby displays His infinite knowledge. The flawlessness of His creation, His superior intelligence, and His extraordinary wisdom can be seen everywhere in the universe. God has created everything, living and non-living, out of nothing and has endowed each one with features that astonish us.

Prophet Abraham (pbuh) showed his tribe that the Moon, the Sun, and the stars had no creative power, and then called on them to abandon their paganism and believe in God. The path that he followed contains several signposts for us. First of all, he demonstrated, with the inspiration of God and in the wisest and most effective way, why the pagans' beliefs were superstitious and groundless.

This approach is an important guide for all believers. Some present-day circles say that it is unnecessary to expose the fallacious nature of such atheist philosophies as Darwinism and materialism, or the errors of those who expound them. In their view, describing God's superior creation is sufficient. But this point of view is mistaken. One of the most important ways of changing peoples' viewpoints consists of answering, one by one, of all their questions. For that reason, while explaining the proofs of God's existence and the facts about His creation, believers must also explain why the theory of evolution is incorrect. This will help the people understand that their own ideas have no real foundation, and, if God wills, they will abandon these long-held deceptions and see that God's existence is a manifest truth.

Explaining why Darwinism is invalid eliminates all of the supports employed in its defense. In this way, all errors and impossibilities are exposed. Thanks to his superior understanding and foresight, which stemmed from his joyous faith in God, Prophet Abraham (pbuh) was able to reveal, with proofs and in the wisest possible way, why human-made idols and celestial bodies are not divine. People who spread the message of God's existence and the truth of His creation can use the same method, for God made Prophet Abraham (pbuh) a role model for others of how to live with proper moral values and strong faith.


God is he Who created you, then provides for you, then will cause you to die and then bring you back to life. Can any of your partner-deities do any of that?.. (Qur'an, 30:40)

Another similarity between Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) tribe and Darwinists is their response to the message. The pagans realized that their statues had no power to do anything and admitted as much, as the Qur'an reveals: "They consulted among themselves and said: 'It is you yourselves who are wrongdoers'" (Qur'an, 21:64). Despite the fact that they saw the truth and accepted it in their hearts, they persisted in their denial and remained loyal to their idols.

Darwinists also know that modern science has exposed the theory of evolution as a fallacy. (For details, see Harun Yahya, Darwinism Refuted, [New Delhi: Goodword Books, 2002].) Every new study that reveals the proofs of God's superior creation pushes them deeper into despair and defeat. Examples of all living things' flawless design and His marvelous creation's details are being made known by scientists, whereas the claims of Darwinism are being dismissed by science. However, while Darwinists do not openly admit this, they do so between the lines and most unwillingly, and even then not in the full sense. In every debate, they blindly continue to defend their theories and ignore the evidence against them.

Believers must not forget one very important fact: The important thing is not to attest to a truth on the surface through words; what really matters is to grasp this truth within one's heart. Darwinists have accepted the truth of creation in their hearts, and their desire to conceal their true thoughts does not alter this fact. Furthermore, this reveals an important truth mentioned in the Qur'an: "Only a small community will believe"(Qur'an, 40:59).

Believers are responsible for explaining the truth as many times as required, to develop new methods and styles in order to reach those who do not understand, and to wage a wide-ranging intellectual struggle to inform people of His religion in the best manner possible. Believers who engage in this struggle must be humble and fully submitted to God, for only God can lead those who listen to them to the true path.

While relaying His message, Prophet Abraham (pbuh) was most patient and set an example to others with his humility and submission to God. In all situations, he knew that God was with him, believed that even the most difficult times and situations were created by Him, and that our Lord would always bring everything to the proper conclusion. Therefore, he persisted in the face of the threats from his tribe and placed his trust in God, since he knew that the end result was in His hands. In return for this most pleasing humility, God always granted him strength and success.

Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) Intellectual Struggle


They took the place where Abraham stood (to pray) as a place of prayer. We contracted with Abraham and Ishmael: "Purify My House for those who circle it, and those who stay there, and those who bow and who prostrate."
(Qur'an, 2:125)

As mentioned earlier, Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) tribe persisted in their denial and tried to engage him in a debate. On the other hand, Prophet Abraham (pbuh) was patient in every situation and displayed a superior morality by taking God as his Guardian and giving thanks to Him. When talking with his tribe, he always provided concrete proofs and, thanks to the superior wisdom inspired in him by God, gave the most effective examples and employed a most convincing method. His moral values were pleasing to God, and he always approached people with affection and compassion.

By means of his plan, Prophet Abraham (pbuh) eliminated the fundamental bases of his tribe's pagan superstitions by proving that they were irrational, illogical, and contrary to God's revelation.

Whereas his tribe and his father Azar sought to employ the most unjust methods against him, Prophet Abraham (pbuh) limited himself to working on the level of ideas and demonstrated how important the intellectual struggle was. His opponents sought to stone him, exile him, and even murder him, but he responded to their threats in a balanced and proper manner. Such behavior is part of the morality that pleases God and that He wills believers to adopt:

A good action and a bad action are not the same. Repel the bad with something better and, if there is enmity between you and someone else, he will be like a bosom friend. (Qur'an, 41:34)

Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) complete submission to God, as well as his powerful faith, sincerity, submission, and purity strengthened him in the face of his tribe's hostility and helped him develop effective methods of explaining God's existence. He spent his whole life waging an intellectual struggle against all unbelievers with enormous determination and enthusiasm, all the while expecting no reward other than God's good pleasure, mercy, and Paradise.

It is much easier to believe in a society in which everyone has faith and lives according to God's good pleasure, for people can easily find the true path in such a society. However, living as believers in an unbelieving society requires a much greater determination to live such a life. Therefore, such a life may be more esteemed. (God knows best.) In these terms, too, God made Prophet Abraham (pbuh) superior to all of his tribe.

Some present-day people despair because, seeing their fellows deny God's existence and lead lives far removed from the Qur'an's moral values causes them to lose their enthusiasm for gaining His good pleasure. However, even if the whole world were to deny God, Muslims would still have the duty to submit sincerely to Him and live in the manner that earns His good pleasure. In the verse, "Abraham was a community in himself, exemplary, obedient to God, a man of pure natural belief. He was not one of the idolaters" (Qur'an, 16:120), God reveals that this servant turned only to Him and lived according to the true faith all by himself. Therefore, all believers must display the same determination and refuse, no matter what the circumstances, to make concessions when confronted with the unbelievers' deceptions and snares.

The Wish to Burn Prophet Abraham (pbuh)

Angered that their idols had been smashed, the pagans decided to take their revenge upon Prophet Abraham (pbuh) by burning him to death. As the Qur'an recounts:

They exclaimed: "Build a pyre for him and fling him into the blaze!" They tried to outwit him, but We made them the lowest. (Qur'an, 37:98)


Say: "Nothing can happen to us except what God has ordained for us. He is Our Master. It is in God that the believers should
put their trust."
(Qur'an, 9:51)

In another verse, God reveals their hostility, as follows:

The only answer of his [Abraham's] tribe was to say: "Kill him or burn him!" But God rescued him from the fire. There are certainly signs in that for people who believe. (Qur'an, 29:24)

Although they could clearly see the proofs of God's existence, their great anger drove them to throw Prophet Abraham (pbuh) into the fire. This is an important example of their hatred and intolerance of God's prophets and believers. In fact, the Qur'an reveals that a number of other believers were subjected to a similar cruelty:

Cursed be the Companions of the Pit-the fire well stocked with fuel-when they were seated right beside it witnessing what they did to the believers. The only reason they punished them was because they believed in God the Almighty, the All-Praiseworthy. (Qur'an, 85:4-8)

As with all of the unbelievers' other snares, this one was also foiled by God. Those believers who suffer torture gain great merit in His sight, and the unbelievers who inflict it upon them are rewarded with eternal suffering in Hell.

At first sight, it appeared that Prophet Abraham (pbuh) would be burned to death. However, in the same way that death only comes when God wills, fire can only burn if He so wills it. God, the Creator of all things, commanded the fire to be cool at that moment, and thus turned the unbelievers' trap against themselves:

We said: "Fire, be coolness and peace for Abraham." They desired to trap him, but We made them the losers. We delivered both him and Lot to the land that We had blessed for all beings. (Qur'an, 21:69-71)


His command when He desires a thing is just to say to it, "Be!" and it is. Glory be to Him Who has the Dominion of all things in His Hand. To Him you will be returned. (Qur'an, 36:82-83)

Just as God always helps His prophets, He rescued Prophet Abraham (pbuh) in his moment of need and in the finest way. The unbelievers' trap was miraculously foiled, just as He parted the sea and then drowned Pharaoh's army to rescue Prophet Moses (pbuh) and the Children of Israel. By keeping his fortitude, courage, and humility in such a situation, Prophet Abraham (pbuh) sets an example for all believers. Due to his exceedingly powerful faith, he was aware that everything that happened to him was due to God's will. He knew, therefore, that God's help and support were always with believers, even in the most difficult-appearing events, for God never permits unbelievers to make progress at the believers' expense: "God will not give the unbelievers any way against the believers." (Qur'an, 4:141)

Taking Prophet Abraham (pbuh), who is praised for his faith in and submission to God, as well as for his pleasing morality, as a role model, believers must submit wholly to God when they encounter difficult circumstances, and must never forget that God creates everything. In fact, all events, even those that appear to be harmful, are actually tests and are auspicious for believers. This being the case, the most appropriate attitude for Muslims to adopt in order to earn God's good pleasure is to be enthusiastic and determined and to place their trust in our Lord.

For that reason, believers should not feel sad or troubled by the unbelievers' traps, plots, and assaults, for they are all means to increase their enthusiasm and draw closer to God. Indeed, God tells our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) the following:

Be patient. But your patience is only by God. Do not be grieved by them and do not be constricted by the plots they hatch. God is with those who fear Him and with those who are good-doers. (Qur'an, 16:127-28)

Signs from the Story of Prophet Abraham (pbuh) for the Present Day

In the verse, "Fire, be coolness and peace for Abraham" (Qur'an, 21:69), God reveals that the fire did not harm Prophet Abraham (pbuh). As a result, the pagans' snares were neutralized and they could not harm him. This verse also contains an important indication for the present day. (God knows best.)

As we know, all kinds of fabrics and materials are now produced by high technology. Among them are fire-proof clothing and vehicles. For instance, fire-resistant clothes protect their wearers against fire, flames, and other effects of burning, for they catch fire less easily, burn slower, and put themselves out when the flame or the fire's source is removed. Such clothing gives people more time to remove their burning clothes or extinguish the blames.

Fabrics made from glass, aramid, novoloid, sulphur, and saran fibres do not catch fire and resist very high temperatures. These fabrics are the result of different fibers joined together, through a series of tests, to protect the wearer against fire. Shirts, pants, jackets, sweaters, shoes, gloves, socks, and headgear designed from such fire-resistant materials are used by workers in oil refineries, chemical substance producing plants, electricity and natural gas facilities, steel and aluminum factories, welding plants, the air and space industry, the construction industry, and emergency and fire-fighting personnel. (American Firewear Product Specifications; http://www.firewear.com/spcgide.htm)

The above verse may be pointing to this major scientific development, which will emerge during the End Times, and indicating the production of these fire-resistant fabrics and materials. (God knows best.)

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3- Phillip Johnson, The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, (Illinois: 2000), 154.

 

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