Ebrahim عليه السلام and his Father
Today we take a look at one of the very great Prophets of Allah, Ebrahim AS.
Ebrahim AS was born at a time when it is said that most of the people worshipped idols of stone and wood; however, there were others who worshipped the planets, stars, sun and moon; still others worshipped their kings and rulers.
Ebrahim AS 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 Ebrahim AS’s father died before his birth and that he was raised by an uncle whom Ebrahim AS called father. Other traditions said that his father was alive and was named Aazir.
Into that family Ebrahim AS 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 and gave him wisdom from childhood. Allah the Almighty stated:
وَلَقَدْ ءَاتَيْنَآ إِبْرَٰهِيمَ رُشْدَهُۥ مِن قَبْلُ وَكُنَّا بِهِۦ عَـٰلِمِينَ
And indeed, We had granted Ebrahim sound judgment early on, for We knew him well ˹to be worthy of it˺. [Ambiyaa 21: 51]
During his early childhood Ebrahim realized that his father made strange statues. One day, he asked him about what it was that he made. His father replied that he made statues of gods. Ebrahim 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 again.
Ebrahim 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 Ebrahim laugh. He was only seven years old at that time.
As time went on, Ebrahim AS made numerous attempts to caution his father and his people against idol worship. The people were upset with Ebrahim AS but, 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 sculptured and sold them as well. Ebrahim AS 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.
إِذْ قَالَ لِأَبِيهِ يَـٰٓأَبَتِ لِمَ تَعْبُدُ مَا لَا يَسْمَعُ وَلَا يُبْصِرُ وَلَا يُغْنِى عَنكَ شَيْـًٔا
Before his father could become angry he hastily added:
يَـٰٓأَبَتِ إِنِّى قَدْ جَآءَنِى مِنَ ٱلْعِلْمِ مَا لَمْ يَأْتِكَ فَٱتَّبِعْنِىٓ أَهْدِكَ صِرَٰطًا سَوِيًّا
“0 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.
يَـٰٓأَبَتِ لَا تَعْبُدِ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنَ ۖ إِنَّ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنَ كَانَ لِلرَّحْمَـٰنِ عَصِيًّا
0 my father! Worship not Shaytan. Verily! Shaytan has been a rebel against the Most Beneficent (Allah).
يَـٰٓأَبَتِ إِنِّىٓ أَخَافُ أَن يَمَسَّكَ عَذَابٌ مِّنَ ٱلرَّحْمَـٰنِ فَتَكُونَ لِلشَّيْطَـٰنِ وَلِيًّا
0 my father! Verily! I fear lest a torment from the Most Beneficent (Allah) overtake you, so that you become a companion of Satan (in the Hell-Fire).”
قَالَ أَرَاغِبٌ أَنتَ عَنْ ءَالِهَتِى يَـٰٓإِبْرَٰهِيمُ ۖ لَئِن لَّمْ تَنتَهِ لَأَرْجُمَنَّكَ ۖ وَٱهْجُرْنِى مَلِيًّا
He (the father) said: “Do you reject my gods, O Ebrahim? If you stop not (this), I will indeed stone you. So get away from me safely before I punish you.”
Ebrahim AS said:
قَالَ سَلَـٰمٌ عَلَيْكَ ۖ سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ لَكَ رَبِّىٓ ۖ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ بِى حَفِيًّا
“Peace be on you! I will ask Forgiveness of my Lord for you. Verily! He is unto me, Ever Most Gracious. [Maryam 19:42-47]
Lesson to learn:
Ebrahim AS conduct and character towards his father despite the father being a disbeliever is thought-provoking.